|<< Step 2: Features for Stretching
In this article:
- Model measure parameters
- Additional information
- Wrapping up
We have covered preparing our product's model as well as it's features so that our product can have the ability to be stretched. Now, we will link everything together in the Geometry tab of Catalogue Creator.
There are three essential components we need for stretching to work. These are:
Model measure parameters
Before we look at any of the three components, we must first identify our model's parameters.
Start by selecting our product and then linking the model we set up to the product. To do so, just drag the model into the Product View as shown below.
Linking model to product
Now that the model has been linked to our product, the model's measures that we created in Model Lab should be visible in the Parameters sub-tab.
The parameters shown here will display the measure ID we set for them in Model Lab. The color of the link icon denotes what the parameter has been linked to.
Purple: Linked to a Measurement
Yellow: Linked to a Connector
Green: Linked to a Feature
If a parameter is linked to more than one of the components, the icon shows a mix of the corresponding colors (). Our goal now is to link each parameter to each of their corresponding components.
When a parameter is linked to a component, expanding the component will show the parameter nested within ( ).
Drag and drop
Measurements () are used to represent the characteristics of a measure parameter. To create a measurement, just drag a measure parameter into the Product View. It will automatically generate a measurement using the measure ID of the parameter.
Creating measurements from parameters
There is another way to generate measurements. The Products tab has three specific columns that will create measurements linked to the product when a value is inputted into them. These are the depth, height, and length columns.
Creating default measurements
These measurements will not be linked to any parameter upon being generated so a parameter must be dropped onto them.
Selecting a measurement will highlight the corresponding measure lines in the 2D and 3D views (only if the Parameters tab is still selected). It will also populate the Edit Measurement window on the right of the Product View.
Edit Measurement window
In this window we can rename the measurement code, unit of measure, and also the default value of that measure. Changing the default value will immediately update the 2D and 3D views to show how the model would look.
The Edit Measurement window also displays the Model Measure Threshold and Feature Domains of the measurement.
Model Measure Threshold
Model Measure Threshold refers to the auto-calculated length of the measure. It is the starting value of the model for that measure. It is not recommended to input a default value that is less than the Model Measure Threshold, because that would shrink the model and may result in distorted graphics.
Feature Domains display the entire domain of the feature linked to the parameter. This is the domain that was defined previously when we created our features and options.
Every range and distinct numbers of the feature will be displayed here. If no feature has been linked to the parameter yet, then this property will remain empty.
If the default value is not within the Feature Domains, then it will be highlighted red to indicate an error.
Invalid default value
Measurements appears as columns in the Products tab. The column name is the measurement's code, and it will display values using the assigned unit of measure.
Default measurements naturally already appear here as the depth, height, and length columns. Any measurements that are created from parameters will also appear here, but by default are hidden and will need to be added through the Visible Columns dropdown.
Visible Columns dropdown, non-default measurement columns added
The next component we want to create are connectors. Connectors act as the stretch points of the product for its measures. They will also be used in connecting to other products, provided that proper connect rules are used. As each measure has a start and end point, we can have a connector for each of these points.
There are two methods to create connectors:
- Manually create connectors
- Auto-generate measure connectors
Manually create connectors
The first method is to traditionally create new connectors from scratch by clicking the Create New Connector button in the Toolbox window. This creates a new connector entry in the Connector sub-tab. We then need to drag that connector into the Product View, appending the connector to our product.
Create and add connectors to product
Now that the connector has been added to our product, we need to link the connector and parameter together. Swap back to the Parameter sub-tab and drag the parameter onto the connector in the Product View.
Link parameter to connector
Once the parameter is linked to the connector, the Edit Connector Reference window (shown when the connector in Product View is selected) will display different content. Within this window, we can change the Visible Position of the connector, which acts as an additional position offset applied to the connector.
Visible position of connector
We can also set the Model Measure Point, which is whether the connector is used for the start point (Green anchor indicator) or the end point (Red anchor indicator) of the measure.
Auto-generate measure connectors
When we have a measurement selected, the Edit Measurement window has a Generate Stretch Connectors button contained within. Clicking this button will automatically generate two connectors which are immediately linked to the parameter of the measurement, and are also assigned to the start and end points of the measure respectively.
Generate Stretch Connectors button
These connectors have the "Never connect" connect rule by default.
We have already created the features that define the domain of our measures. Now we need to link them together. There are also two different methods to do so:
- Drag and drop
- Attach Feature dialog
Drag and drop
We can simply drag and drop these components to link them together. Select the Features sub-tab and then drag the feature into the Product View.
Create and add features to product
We've added the feature to our product, and now we can link the feature and parameter together. Once again, swap back to the Parameter sub-tab and drag the parameter onto the feature in the Product View.
Link parameter to feature
Selecting the feature in the Product View now will show the Edit Geometry window. In there, the Feature Domain will be displayed. This domain is not editable here and can only be changed by modifying the options within the Features tab.
Feature domain displayed
Attach Feature dialog
Similar to before, when we have a measurement selected, the Edit Measurement window is displayed. It contains an Attach Feature button which is what we will be using now.
Attach Feature button
Clicking this button opens up the Attach Feature dialog.
Attach Feature dialog
This dialog displays all available features as well as the currently selected feature's stretchable domain. It serves as a quick and easy way to browse through all the different feature domains without having to add them to the Product View first. Once the correct feature has been selected, click the Attach Feature button at the bottom right of the dialog. This will add the feature to the Product View as well as link the parameter of the measure to it.
Added feature in Product View
Some products use multiple models that represent the entire product, with each model having measures of their own. We might have the case where we want these models to stretch together.
Table with screen
For the product in the image above, it has a table model and a screen model. These models are meant to have the same width and so should be stretched together. To implement this, these models share the same parameter (they have stretch measures with the same measure ID). In previous examples, we made connectors for each measure. However in this case, we would only want one pair of connectors, that are used to stretch both of these measures. Hence we end up with this:
Multiple models product
The models Table and Screen are linked to the product through option 1000-1600. These models both have a Width parameter. Representing these Width parameters is a single Width measurement. One thing we need to consider is which measure to use when determining the position of the connectors. For this, we need to look at measure priority.
Measure priority entries
When the parameter () within a measurement is selected, the Model Measure Point window is displayed. Inside it contains the Populate Measure Priority button which, when clicked, generates the measure priority entries shown in the Product View under the parameter. The model at the top of this list is used to determine the measure used for the position of connectors.
Screen has priority
Table has priority
Notice how in the first image above, the connectors are on the Screen Width measure, but in the second image above, the connectors are on the Table Width measure. This determines the actual position of the connectors, not just the visible position. Any snapping will be done at these positions, even if the connectors may not appear at those positions (due to visible position offset).
An added connector can easily be replaced by dragging and dropping a different connector onto the added connector in Product View. The existing visible position and parameter will still be retained for the new connector.
Replacing a connector
Putting all this together, we now have a product that has measurements, connectors, and features all linked to it's model's parameters.
If everything has been done correctly, we should now have a stretchable product. Click the product icon at the top right of the Geometry tab to pick up the product, and then place it into CET. It should have connectors that can be stretched.
That marks the end of this walkthrough. This was a simple test case to get you started with integrating stretching into your products. There are more complex cases that you can implement, here's a peek at some other possibilities:
Changing models through stretching
Simulating opening a door
Simulating opening a drawer
If you're up to the challenge, you can try applying what was explained in this tutorial to make something work like these 3 demonstrations.
The Catalog files that contain these demonstrations are at the top of this article. (CMSYM TEST.part1.rar, and CMSYM TEST.part2.rar). The products respectively are:
- Table - Model Change