Welcome to the article dedicated to SelfCAD's 3d modeling tool called Flatten, in which I'm going to explain all of its ins and outs, as well as present its applications. The Flatten is one of the Deform tools available in SelfCAD and, as its name suggests, it allows you to deform selected figures or their regions, by smoothing any round segments and shrinking their size on the chosen axis. Deform tools, in general, rely heavily on the level of the detail of the object, so by increasing its resolution beforehand, you will achieve much smoother deformations.
Select the object
The first step of using any tool is selecting an object, on which you want to use it. You can do it by either left-clicking on the object in the grid or by selecting from in the Object Management section in the Right-Side Panel.
Activate the tool
Once the object is selected, you can access the tool itself. To activate the Flatten tool, you need to choose it from the Deform drop-down in the Main Toolbar or use a shortcut by pressing the ‘D+L’ combination on your keyboard. This way, you’ll open a Tool Setting panel with all of the available, customizable options for this feature.
Now you can start flattening the object. As usual in SelfCAD, there are two ways to do that. The first option is to drag the gizmos around the selected axis to flatten the object in the desired direction.
The second option to flatten the object is by typing in the values into the text-boxes, with each of them referring to inflating the object on a different axis. You can select the check-boxes near them to copy the values between the axes as well.
In SelfCAD, you can not only Flatten the whole figures but their separate regions as well. It requires you to enter the specific selection mode by choosing it on the Interactive Rectangle in the Right-Side Panel and then selecting the region of the figure you want to flatten.
Flattening regions work on the same premise as flattening entire objects did - you can do it either by dragging gizmos in their respective directions or by typing in the value by which you want to flatten the object into the text-boxes.
Below are the Advanced Settings of the Flatten Tool. The first setting is called Symmetry, which allows you to flatten object the object proportionally to the axis used.
The second, of the advanced setting, is called Origin, which allows you to set the vertical position of the gizmo. You can use one of the preset positions available in the drop-down list. In practice, Origin allows you to set a point from which the flattening will take place.
Manual gizmo position
Manual gizmo position is an extension of the Origin feature, but it allows you to place it at any place in the grid.
When you choose the Region Selection, you’ll notice that the Local Transformation option appeared in the Advanced Settings. Enabling this option will adjust the placement of the gizmo to the vector of the region's normal, granting you the possibility to flatten selected object or its regions from different directions, independently from the rest of the model.
Another advanced setting is available for Face Selection, and it is called Individual Transformation. To use this setting, you need to select at least two faces. This option forces the Flatten Tool to treat each selected Face as a separate object and flattens it independently from each other.
And that's all there is to the Flatten feature. After reading this article, you should know the basics of the Flatten tool and how to use it, know about its different applications and how to use and customize its advanced settings. Of course, the graphics shown here were just examples, and using this tool on other shapes will give you slightly different effects, but its underlying principles will always stay the same. That's all I had for you. I wish you success in your future projects. See you, and stay tuned for more content to come!