Purpose: To review advanced scene browsing features.

Objective: To become familiar with the advanced XSI scene editing windows.

Bevel Component Tool

Now that we are familiar with the basic transform tools, points, edges and polygonal editing, let’s dive in a bit further and learn a few more task specific tools. We will start with the bevel tool.

  • Start off by creating a rectangle primitive; so that it roughly resembles a flat table top, it can either be a perfect square or more of a rectangle.
  • In select Mode with the table selected, enable Raycast Polygon Select mode.
  • Select the top face of the table, Right Mouse click and select Bevel Components.
  • This will automatically bevel the top surface for you with the top face not slightly raised.

Spend a few minutes selecting the 4 inside points of the new top face and translate them slightly upwards. Additionally, with those 4 points still selected you may wish to scale all 4 points inwards, increasing the bevel distance to the table edge, or outwards, decreasing the distance (and increasing the slope angle). Remember, when scaling, scale by the 4 points Origin to uniformly scale.

This very simple, but highly effective, technique can be applied to many objects in a scene. Very rarely are objects, that would appear at first glance, perfectly edged – and even those that once were become smoothed and rounded off on the edges. Most commonly, beveling is used on tables, or otherwise flat surfaced furniture, but it can also be used in many other ways.

Such as:

  • The baseboard of a wall in a room
  • Speaker box edges
  • Keyboards, etc.

In fact, beveling need not apply to square shaped objects only, lets create a circular table and apply some beveling.

  • Create a Polygon Mesh Cylinder. Adjust the radius to about 4.75, and set the U subdivisions to about 16. Scale the height of the cylinder so that it resembles a table thickness.
  • Press U to activate Raycast Polygon Select mode. Now left click a face, and while holding left click, drag your mouse across every polygon on the surface. All polygons on the top surface should be selected when you are finished.
  • Now right click anywhere on these faces and select Bevel Components. Repeat the steps we used on the rectangular table to raise the inside points of the circular table and scale them as we see fit.

TIP: Try using the Lasso Tool (F8) in the Top view to drag a selection box around the inner points. If you accidentally select an outer point, or miss an inner point, you can use the CTRL button to select or deselect additional points, but first you must return to rectangle select mode to do so by pressing (F7).

The bevel tool is useful in making primitive shapes appear to be more lifelike and not so… primitive.

Tweak Component Tool

The Tweak Component tool allows you to translate, rotate, and scale points, polygons, and edges with greater ease, and all within the same tool!

Modify > Component > Tweak Component Tool, or press (M)

  • Hover your mouse over a point, polygon or edge to highlight it (it will turn green), and simply left click drag your mouse to modify. If you wish to utilize the XYZ manipulator tool, left click the point, edge or polygon face once, and the manipulator tool will show up. From there you can select a manipulator handle as you normally would.

Note: As with any transform tool, you can constrain movements to a specific axis by left click selecting it in the Transform Tools menu. To undo the constraint on a specific axis, right click select the other axis’s to re-enable them.

The Tweak Component translates a point, edge or polygon relative to the XYZ origin of the point, edge or polygon being modified – whereas in Rectangle Select mode you can translate only based off the Origin point of the entire scene. See the picture below to visually understand the difference.

Notice in the Tweak Tool that the selected point’s XYZ manipulator tool is at an angle relative to the position of the point on the sphere. The Rectangle Point Select tool only allows us to translate this same point in the standard left/right/front/back/up/down angles relative to the 0, 0, 0 origin of our entire scene. Spend a few minutes switching between the 2 different tools to let this point sink in.

Rectangle Point Select Mode - Tweak Component Tool Point Select Mode

The Tweak Component Tool includes 3 additional modes that can be activated independently of each other or combined for a specific purpose. These are located at the bottom of the Camera Viewport underneath our sphere.

  • Toggle Manipulator (Transform Tool)
  • Magnet Tool (Slide Components)
  • Weld Points

Toggle Manipulator (Translate Tools)

This is the default tool selected when the Tweak Tool is selected. Right click on your object to open the context menu. This will enable you to select the translate, rotate or scale tools. Note that you can still utilize the Transform hotkeys to switch between the 3 transform tools, V, C, and X. However, if you select the transform tools from the MCP, this will exit the Tweak Component Tool and you will be in Rectangle Select Mode instead. Either use the hotkeys, or right click to select a different transform tool.

Spend some time on this to understand the differences between the regular Transform Tools of the MCP and the Tweak Tool’s Toggle Manipulator Tool. Moving on without a solid grasp of this will become confusing later.

Magnet Tool

The middle icon is the magnet tool, aka the Slide Components Tool. This helps to preserve the contours of objects as you tweak them. Sliding an edge moves its endpoints along the adjacent edges by an equal percentage. Sliding a point or a polygon clamps the associated points to the nearest location on the surface of the mesh, as if they had been shrink-wrapped to the original un-tweaked object.

Weld Tool

You can interactively weld pairs of points on polygon meshes while using the Tweak Component tool. Welding merges points into a single vertex.

Select a point and drag it onto another point to merge them. This is a useful technique in simplifying a model mesh, or in other words, removing points that are not desirable or needed for the design you are going for.


Spend at least 15 minutes working with the Tweak Component Tool to become familiar with it. Create various Polygon Mesh primitive objects and practice using the various optional tools:

  • Toggle Manipulator (Transform Tool)
  • Magnet Tool (Slide Components)
  • Weld Points

When you become comfortable with the Tweak Tool, you will be ready for the bulk of Polygonal editing in the MOD Tool.

  • Feel free to save your work in the Scenes Directory under Haus of Mapping Curriculum Project Path.

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