Showing Alternate Textures

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Have you ever had a client that wanted to see what their house would look like with different colors, brick, rock, etc.? So you go through the process of changing the colors and then they keep changing their mind. They want to see what it looked like before. Then they aren’t sure, what was that other option again? And on and on it goes.

You may know that In V2012 you can save different 3D views. You can then switch back and forth between views by clicking on their tabs. But I bet you didn’t know that you can change the textures individually for each view.

For this Tutorial I will assume that you have a certain view in mind, say a perspective looking at the house from a sort of front-left direction. In a 3D view compose how you want the house to look. Once you get your 3D View looking the way you like it then Right Click the 3D Tab at the top of the screen for that view and select Save. You will notice that at the bottom of the Navigation pane there is an area called Saved 3D Views. When you right clicked on the 3D Tab and saved you created a Saved 3D View named “Previous View”. Right click the “Previous View” and rename it to something appropriate like 'Brick'.

Now we want to create alternate views showing what the house would look like with a different brick or maybe stone. To do this we will need to create additional 3D Tabs and Saved 3D Views.

Start by creating a copy of the Saved 3D View.

  1. Right Click on the Saved 3D Views name you previously created.
  2. Select Open. A new 3D Tab is created at the top of the page. At first the new view may or may not look the same as the original but it will after you select Regenerate.
  3. Select Regenerate.
  4. Make sure the new 3D Tab is selected and then select Options-->Setup Options. Uncheck “Use Common Project Materials” then select OK.
  5. You will see that there is now an asterisk '*' next to the 3D Tab name. This indicates that there are unsaved changes in that view.
  6. Right Click the new 3D Tab and select Save. A new Saved 3D View is created. You will see its name under Saved 3D Views in the Navigation Pane.
  7. Right Click your new Saved 3D View and give it an appropriate name such as 'Alt Brick'.

Repeat this process for as many alternate views as you want to create, making sure to uncheck Use Common Project Materials for each view. You can switch back and forth between the views by Double Clicking on their names under Saved 3D Views or clicking on their 3D Tabs at the top of the screen.

At this point all the saved views are exactly the same. But since you unchecked the option “Use Common Project Materials” for each view you created you can change the materials for any view without it affecting the others. Go through each Saved 3D View in turn, editing the materials in each as desired. Remember to Right Click the 3D Tabs and Save each time you make a change. You can tell if you saved or not by the '*' in the 3D Tab name.

But remember that if you change the view by changing the camera positions, angles, etc then those changes are saved as well as part of the Saved 3D View. So if you want all your views to be exactly the same other than the material changes be sure to not change your view of the house. If you accidentally do change the view and you want it back the way it was you can close that tab and then reopen it using the Saved 3D View. Regenerate and everything will be back the way it was at the last 3D View save.

There are lots of little settings in SoftPlan like the Use Common Project Materials setting that are pretty much hidden unless you know about them.

Note that:

  • 3D View Tabs do not reflect the names of their associated Saved 3D View. Rather, they reflect the 3D View Type such as Wire Frame, Illustrated, Textured, etc.
  • You can access a Saved 3D View either by clicking on the 3D Tab at the top of the screen or by double clicking the associated Saved 3D View name at the bottom of the Navigation pane.
  • If you make any changes to a 3D View an asterisk '*' will appear in the Tab for that 3D View until that 3D View is saved.
  • When you exit SoftPlan you will be prompted to save any previously unsaved 3D Views as well as any Drawing Files that have been changed but not saved.
  • You can use the Save All command at any time to save the current state of all edited Drawings and 3D Views.

Click on an image below to see a larger more detailed version. Each image shows a Saved View of the same house but with different textures for each View Tab. The image at the beginning of this Tutorial is a Photoshopped composite of these three images.

Bill is the owner and maintainer of

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