- Need to make an element in your part stick out?
- Hard to see the insides of an assembly?
- Ever try to change the color of an object in CATIA only to see nothing happen on the screen?
If so, then you may need to investigate the different graphic properties and settings that are available inside of CATIA.
With the Graphic Properties toolbar, you can access the most-commonly-used graphic settings and change the way that items appear on the screen.
If this toolbar is not visible, head to View > Toolbars and make sure Graphic Properties is enabled.
The first dropdown is for color changes. “Automatic” leaves the items at their default colors – solids are gray, surfaces are off-yellow, wireframe elements are white. Picking a different color in the list changes the item to that selected color.
The next dropdown is to change the transparency levels. There are a few presets here, with 100% being completely visible while 0% is completely invisible. Occasionally, transparency values from 75% down to 25% do not display differently. If this is the case, either changing the shading style to Shading with Material ( ) or set the Transparency Quality to High via Tools > Options > General > Display Performance.
Edge Thickness and Style
The third and fourth dropdowns control the display of the edges of faces and wireframes elements. The third dropdown is used to adjust the thicknesses of the edges while the fourth is used to control the style of the edges – whether they’re dotted, dashed, or another look.
The fifth dropdown is used for points. A point’s visual representation can be changed from circles to squares to other shapes.
Rendering Style: The Box is set to “Wireframe” while the semi-cylinder is set to “Shading with Edges.”
If “Rendering Style Per Object” is enabled in Customize View Parameters
Finishing off the toolbar, the number value is to place an item on a specific layer while the last two icons are to copy visualization styles and to investigate those styles.
All Options Mode: Properties
By and large, the options available by right-clicking an item and selecting Properties will be very similar to using the Graphic Properties toolbar, albeit with more discrete control over those settings.
The right-click Properties menu
The Fill Color is exactly the same as the color dropdown in the Graphic Properties toolbar. To the right of it is a slider for transparency, allowing transparency levels to be set from 0 to 255. The higher the number, the more transparent the item will be.
Edges can be color-coded independently of faces within the “Edges” section of this box.
All lines and points can be adjusted at once. This is particularly handy if you want to adjust the looks of all points or of all lines inside of a specific geometrical set or body.
Turning off “Pickable” means that this item can no longer be selected from the screen. It is, however, still selectable from the tree or by searching.
“Low Intensity” will generally display items in a dark green color.
The importance of Hierarchy
Generally speaking, adjusting graphic properties at higher levels will drive lower level items.
The top face is selected and its color is changed to red.
For example, changing the color of a face of a part will only change the color of that face.
Box.1 is made blue, and although the top face was red, making the entire box blue overrides the red on the top face.
However, changing the color of the entire part will override any one face and instead drive the colors of all of the faces of the part.
After many changes, it can become hard to track which item is controlling the color of a part. Ever try to change the color of a face, only to have nothing actually change? This is very likely due to the color being driven by another feature.
The icons along the bottom are used to determine which property is being investigated. Here, it’s set to color. Above that, color properties from each element are shown. In this case, Box.1 is set to be blue while Face is set to be red.
Beneath that, to the side of the equals sign, the Graphics Wizard indicates that the resulting color will be blue, because Box.1 has hierarchy over the red face. To ensure that the face displays as red, set the Box.1 color to Automatic.
After understanding how the graphic properties work, it should be much easier to give items a distinctive visual style.
The graphic properties options don’t exist in isolation; they can be combined with other viewing options in CATIA to give a variety of looks to parts and assemblies. Try combining these options with the different shading styles and lighting effects to make your parts easier to see and view.