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SolarTool: 3D Model Window

The second window in the Solar Tool displays the simple 3D Model, rendering it in OpenGL to allow for real-time shadows and interactive user manipulation as well as sketch-like drawing functions. The model can be manipulated by clicking with the left mouse button on its different elements and then interactively dragging the control nodes that are then displayed. Hovering the mouse over any node displays a tooltip indicating what parametric value manipulating it will adjust.

The Main SolarTool 3D Model Window
The Main SolarTool 3D Model Window

Each parameteric value can also be manipulated in the WINDOW MODEL panel. The SHADOW OPTIONS, DISPLAY OPTIONS and SKETCH OPTIONS panels control how the model is rendered within the OpenGL display area.

Changing the View

You can rotate, pan and zoom the 3D model by clicking and dragging it with the right mouse button. If, as you are doing this, you look in the Status Bar at the bottom of the window, instructions are provided on using keyboard modifiers to control the view.


You can rotate the view by simply clicking and dragging with the right mouse button with no keyboard modifiers. You can also use the Arrow keys when the model window has the input focus. When doing this, hold down the Shift key to refine the amount of rotation in each direction.

Use the Control Key pan


Holding down the Control key whilst you drag with the right mouse button allows you to pan the view around. If you have the appropriate mouse, clicking and dragging with the middle mouse button also pans the view.

Use the Control Key pan


Holding down the Shift key whilst dragging with the right mouse button allows you to zoom in and out. This is done by moving the mouse up/down or right/left. If you have a mouse wheel, you can use this to zoom in and out also.

Perspective Distortion

To adjust the view perspective interactively, hold down the Shift+Control keys whilst dragging the right mouse button vertically. Moving the mouse up generates more of a fish-eye type lens, whilst moving down flattens the lens generating a more orthographic type view.

The Model Context Menu

A quick right-click and release without moving the mouse displays the Model Menu. You can use this to choose commonly-used view settings.

SolarTool: Sun-Path Window
SolarTool: Location Panel


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