In this tutorial, we’ll go over the basics of creating shapes in Silhouette ModelMaker™. You’ll find buttons to create each kind of shape here in this Shapes Toolbar to the left of the Edit Window.
If you see fewer shapes than we show on my screen, you can expose more by going to the Tools menu and choosing Advanced or Custom. This will show more buttons on all of your toolbars.
ModelMaker™ uses 3D shapes to design models on the screen. You can draw a single shape in the Edit Window or multiple shapes, which can be combined to make a more complex 3D model. Shapes can be drawn in three ways. You can select a shape among these on the toolbar and draw it with the mouse.
Or you can open the QuickShapes library and drag a shape onto the screen.
Or you can use the Shape Wizard to type in dimensions.
When a shape is selected, you can delete it with your delete or backspace keys, or use the delete button on the bottom toolbar.
Let’s draw some of these shapes so you can see how it works. Keep in mind when you’re learning ModelMaker™, it’s a good idea to keep the shapes small, only a couple of inches wide. That way, it’s easier to see what’s happening and the shape nets will fit on a single page. Nets are these images that appear in the Output Window as you draw in the Edit Window. It’s the way the shapes will be printed and cut out with the necessary fold lines and glue tabs so your 2-dimensional paper can be folded and glued to make 3D shapes.
To switch from metric to inches or vice versa, go to File > Preferences > Units tab, select inches, and click OK.
Let’s draw a cube. Select the cuboid tool. Click on the screen to set a corner point of the base. Drag the mouse left or right to draw out the base, and click to set the base.
Drag the mouse upward or downward to give the cuboid height,
and click to finish.
The wedge shape is the same. Click to set a corner, drag right, click to set the base, and then drag up and click to set the height.
Some of these shapes, when selected, have two red control handles on the top of the wedge. These can be used to adjust the pitch of the sides of the shape.
Most of these shapes are drawn the same way. The sphere only takes two clicks to draw.
As we move into the next section of the toolbar, you can see dropdown arrows. These let you choose which variation of that shape to use.
On the regular prism, we will choose a pentagon.
Click left, click right, click up. The sides all stretch up vertically.
We are going to choose a frustum of a regular pyramid next so the top is narrower than the base. We will choose pentagon again, and now as we hover over the first pentagon, orange hotspot guides will pop up and we can use the first shape as the floor to attach the new shape directly to it.
Click on the hotspot when the cursor changes to orange,
drag it, and watch for it to snap to the shape before clicking. Then drag up and click to finish.
We will choose the pyramid shape to create a pointed tip, pentagon again,
watch for the hotspots to snap the shape to the other, and drag and click to finish.
We can color the shapes individually
and change the view or zoom to see the shapes best.
Let’s look at a few more shapes. The transition piece shape lets you create a connection between a variety of shapes so you can perfectly connect any shapes you are working with. The top portion of the shape is listed first and the bottom portion of the shape is second, so “triangle to circle” means a triangle face will be on top and a circle face will be on the bottom.
The next two shapes can get pretty interesting. To draw an irregular prism shape, click to set a corner point of the base. Drag the mouse to draw out the base, and click to set it. Then drag the mouse upward and click to set the height. Now it looks like a cuboid shape.
ModelMaker™ now animates the shape to position its side face square on to us, ready for editing.
This is one of two shapes that lets you use edit points to choose where the corners and faces are. Create points by clicking on the white perimeter, and move existing red points by clicking and dragging.
A highlighted point is a pale red, and you can use the delete button on the popup menu to delete a selected point.
Click Finish when done.
The other complex shape where you can use edit points is the Solid of Rotation shape. Click on the screen to start drawing the base. Drag the mouse to draw out the diameter and click to set it. Drag the mouse upward to give the shape height and click to finish. Now it looks like a cylinder.
ModelMaker™ animates the shape to position its side view towards us, ready for editing.
Use the mouse to create and reposition edit points along the white perimeter.
When you’re done, click Finish.
Creating the last two shapes is similar to the sphere above, with simple clicks at two points to set the size.
Those are the basics of creating shapes in Silhouette ModelMaker™.