Visual styles were introduced in AutoCAD 2007. They bring your ability to control how objects look to a whole new level. You can control how faces and edges look, as well as display a background, shadows, materials, and lights — all without rendering the drawing.
Visual styles are important when you want to create a presentation-quality drawing that still functions like a drawing, meaning that it can be edited. They can also help you visualize your drawing more clearly.
To create a visual style, open a drawing with a 3D model, display it in a 3D view (Southeast Isometric, for example), and follow these steps:
- Open the Visual Styles Manager by clicking the Visual Styles Manager button in the Visual Styles control panel of the Dashboard. You can also click the same button on the Visual Styles toolbar, choose Tools> Palettes> Visual Styles, or use the VISUALSTYLES command on the command line.
- It’s useful to use an existing visual style as a basis for the new one, and in this tutorial, we’ll use the Conceptual visual style as a basis, so right-click the swatch for the Conceptual visual style, and choose Copy.
- Right-click in the swatches area, and choose Paste.
- Right-click the new swatch that appears (it’s called Copy 1 of Conceptual), and choose Edit Name and Description.
- In the Edit Name and Description dialog box, enter MyConceptual for the name. In the Description box, enter Sketch. Click OK.
- In the Face Settings section, notice that the Face Style is Gooch, the Lighting is Smooth, and the Highlight Intensity and Opacity are both negative numbers, meaning that they’re off.
- In the Materials and Color section, leave Materials set to Off. Set the Face Color Mode to Monochrome. The Monochrome Color should be white (255,255,255).
- In the Environment Settings section, both Shadow Display and Backgrounds should be set to Off.
- In the Edge Settings section, set the Edge Mode to Facet Edges. This places a line at the edge of each face.
- Set the Color to Blue, or another color that contrasts with your models.
- In the Edge Modifiers section, click the left, small button to the right of the name of the section. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that this changes the value of the Overhang item from -6 to 6, turning it on.
- Click the right, small button in the same area. Note that this changes the color of the Jitter item from gray to white, making it available.
- Click in the Jitter item, and choose Low from the drop-down list.
- Set the Crease Angle to 40. This reduces the number of facet lines on curves. If you have curved faces in your drawing, try setting this item to 20, then to 1 (the minimum), then to 180 (the maximum) to see the difference. The results will depend on the curved faces in your drawing. Set the Crease Angle back to 40.
- Leave the Halo Gap % at 0.
- In the Fast Silhouette Edges section, set Visible to Yes.
- Set the Width to 7. Notice that the outside edges get thicker.
- In the Obscured Edges section, set Visible to Yes. This lets you see hidden edges, but without losing the feel of a solid.
- In the Intersection Edges section, set Visible to No.
- To save the visual style for use in other drawings, open the Tools Palette (Ctrl+3). Right-click the gray bar and choose Visual Styles from the list of palettes at the bottom.
- Drag your new visual style to any place on the Visual Styles tool palette. (You can also right-click any tool palette tab, choose New Palette, and create a new palette for your visual styles.)
- To use the visual style, you can now choose it from the Visual Styles control panel of the Dashboard or from the Tool Palette window.
Experiment with other settings. There’s a lot to choose from!