Surface Properties (Shaper Editor)

Available inShaper: SurfaceProperties (P)

Surface Properties displays and edits the properties of the selected surfaces. This editor is composed of three tabs and an information zone.

Each surface has several properties listed in the zone labeled Information:

  • Its name,
    The name allows for rapid identification of a surface, both in Shaper and in Matter.
  • Its drawing color in Shaper,
  • A comment (initially, the name of the import file),
    The comment contains, once a surface has been imported, the path to the source file.
  • The layer to which it belongs,
  • The type of surface.

Its name and comment can be modified by clicking in the text field and typing a new value.

To change the Shaper drawing color, you have access to a color chooser:

  • Select a color, either by clicking on it in a color palette or in a color book, or by setting it in the color picker on the left.
  • To validate the selection and close the color chooser, click on the OK button.
  • The button Reset allows you to return at any time to the original color.


In this tab, set the default behavior of this surface when lit.

By default, all surfaces created cast shadows and receive shadows unless these values are overridden for a given surface. This behavior can be modified by unchecking the boxes here.

Default lightmap format and size options are also available. The lightmap size is determined by Patchwork 3D Design based on the size of the surface.

The Factor option allows the calculated size to be increased or decreased. The values available are multiplicative values applied to the length and to the width of the lightmap. Consequently, a factor of 2 will double the length and the width of the lightmap, for a total size increase of four. A factor of 0.25 will divide the total lightmap size by four.

Increasing the size makes a lightmap more precise but requires more computational time and takes up more disk space. A maximum size for lightmaps is set in the application settings. However, you can impose a different limit for this surface in the Max size field.


The Geometry properties of the surface:

  • Its scale initially defined on importing,

    The scale of a surface is the same used in the CAD tool used to model the surface. The scale of a surface is generally detected automatically during the CAD import. However, it can be subsequently modified.

  • The number of points and triangles used to represent it.

    The number of points and the number of triangles give information regarding the fineness of the lattice structure used to represent the surface.

The Symmetry properties of the surface:

  • Whether the symmetry is enabled or not,
  • The plane of symmetry (XY, YZ, ZX),
  • The position of the plane of symmetry.

The Animated Mesh properties of the surface:

  • The default frame to display, if the surface is an animated mesh. The frame corresponding to the slider position is used as the default visual for the surface. The frame number is also displayed to the left.


Surface State properties:

  • Hidden,
  • Frozen.

Just like the layers, the surfaces can be frozen or hidden individually. Each surface has two boxes: the first encodes the visibility, the second the freezing. In order to be visible, a surface must belong to a visible layer. It is editable if it is not frozen and if the layer to which it belongs is not frozen either.

The Optimization properties:

  • Removal of the hidden faces (backface-culling),

    Surfaces use global default settings of the model for the backface-culling (disabled by default). However, you can enable or disable this optimization for one or more surfaces by changing the Force to show backface or Force to hide default backface respectively.

  • Simplified display: drawing of the bounding box.

    When the lattice structure of a surface comprises a high number of triangles and points, its display may become overloaded. You can simplify the representation of a surface in Shaper by enabling the Display as Box option: the surface is no longer represented by its lattice structure but by its bounding box.

Billboard properties:

  • None, Rotate Y, or Rotate XY.

Properties of a Selection of Several Surfaces

If several surfaces are selected, you can modify their color, their scale, their state and their display properties.