Visualization Guide
Visualization Guide
Visualization Guide

Interactive rendering modes

Interactive rendering modes provide direct illumination only. That is, you see only the effects of lighting on elements. You do not see reflected light, nor do you see reflections, or refraction of light. Additionally, you can use the Set View Display Mode view control to turn on Graphics Acceleration for Wireframe, Wiremesh, Hidden Line, Filled Hidden Line, Constant, and Smooth display modes.This lets you work in a “rendered” view.

A view can be rendered in the following ways (listed in increasing order of realism).

Wiremesh display

Similar to wireframe display — all elements are transparent and do not obscure other elements. Hidden lines are not removed. Curved surfaces are represented by a polygonal mesh — this can increase the realism of curved surfaces, although it may also increase the amount of clutter as more lines are displayed for surfaces that normally would be hidden.

Wiremesh rendering


Hidden Line display

Only parts of elements that actually would be visible are displayed — lines hidden behind objects are removed. Also called “polygon” display as each element is first decomposed into polygons (in memory), prior to the final display. Due to these calculations, hidden line display takes longer than wireframe or wiremesh display.

Hidden-line rendering


See Visible Edges Design Files for information about creating a 2D or 3D design file that contains only the visible edges in a 3D view.

Filled Hidden Line display

Similar to Hidden Line display, except the polygons are filled with the element color. This creates a cartoon-like effect that may be useful in some circumstances, especially with hardware that displays a limited number of colors. This mode is also called “filled polygon” display.

Filled hidden line rendering


Constant shading

Surfaces are displayed as one or more polygons, each filled with a single (constant) color. The color for each polygon is determined by the material definition of the surface and the lighting applied. With this form of shading, curved surfaces are decomposed into a mesh of polygons, and appear tiled.

Constant-shaded rendering


Smooth (Gouraud) shading

Smooth shading, like Constant shading, displays surfaces as one or more polygons. In smooth shaded models, however, the appearance of curved surfaces is more realistic than in constant shaded models. With Smooth shading, colors are calculated at the vertices of the polygons, and then blended across the polygon interiors. This gives curved surfaces a smooth appearance, without the tiled effect that appears in Constant rendering.

Smooth-shaded rendering


Phong shading

Phong shading differs from Constant shading and Smooth (Gouraud) shading in that the color of each pixel is individually computed — useful when better quality is more important than speed.

Computations for Phong shading, being more complex than that for Smooth shading, can slow display time. Where Phong-shaded images are very similar to Smooth-shaded images (that is, there are no transparent elements, shadows, or bump maps) it may not be worth the extra rendering time.

Phong-shaded rendering