Boxshot Tools

Boxshot comes with numerous tools that help making certain tasks easier. You can access tools by right–clicking a shape in the scene, or by clicking the Tools item in the main menu. Below is the list of available tools:


Fit to View

This tool helps you zoom the camera exactly to the scene, minimizing the space around it. The user interface is pretty straightforward:

Fit to view Boxshot tool user interface

The Padding slider controls how much space to leave around the scene. The Keep Aspect Ratio box controls what to do with the scene proportions.


Put on the Floor

This is a very simple tool. All it does, is put the selected shape(s) onto the floor by moving them along the Z axis to the level when the bottom point of the shape touches the floor.


Center Camera on Selection

Again, a very simple tool. It computes the center of the selection bounding box and points the camera there.


Group Selection

Another simple tool: it takes all the selected shapes in scene and group them by adding a group node and making all the objects its children.


Alignment Tool

Boxshot lets you align a few objects, so they stay on the same line. In order to do so, select several objects you want to align, then right click one of them and select Tools → Align… or do the same in the main menu of Boxshot.

Alignment tool user interface

Alignment tool window will pop up where you can configure the following:

Boxshot modifies the scene while you setting up the options, so you can see the effect in real time. Once you are happy with the results, simply click OK, otherwise you can always revert to the original state with Cancel button.


Distribution Tool

Boxshot lets you distribute objects, so they have the same distance between them or their parts. In order to distribute objects in Boxshot you need to select them, then right click one of them and click Tools → Distribute… or click the same in the main Boxshot menu.

Distribution tool user interface

Distribution tool window will pop up where you can configure the following:

The distribution tool does a simple thing: it sort all the objects along the selected axis, then fix the first and last ones (unless you selected distance in the Align to dropdown) and then distribute the rest of the objects between these two, so their minimums, centers or maximums are on the same distance one from another.

If you selected Distance, Boxshot uses just the first object along the selected axis and then use the distance value you entered as a distance between the objects’ minimums/centers/maximums.

Finally, if you selected Free space in the Distribute dropdown box, Boxshot does the same for free space between the objects. Unless you selected Distance, Boxshot will distribute the shapes in the selection or scene bounds. If you selected Distance, Boxshot will make sure the objects have exactly the space you need between each other.

All the changes are done in real time, so you can see the modified scene right after changing distribution parameters. Once you are happy with the result, you can simply click OK, otherwise click Cancel to revert to the original scene.

If you need to distribute objects along several axes, simply apply the distribution tool several times: once per each axis.


Stack Tool

This tool helps you put flat shapes on top of each other to build, well, stacks. To run the tool, pick its name from the Tools menu after selecting some shapes that you would like to stack up. Please note that Boxshot Home allows you to stack just one shape at a time, you can’t mix different books like on the image above. Professional and Ultimate editions support mixing different shapes in the same stack.

Boxshot Stack tool user interface

The user interface of the tool is quite straightforward. The list at the left contains shapes to be stacked. You can arrange them by dragging items with the mouse. Boxshot repeats this list several times to build a stack.

Boxshot rebuilds the stack while you changing parameters, so you can move the tool window away from the scene to see the effect of your changes. Then click the OK button to commit your changes.

Stacks are not special shapes. Boxshot simply clones your shapes and adjust transformations, so you can edit separate shapes later by selecting them as usual.


Step and Repeat

This tool clones a shape or a group of shapes multiple times, so you can fill some space with the similar objects. To run the tool, pick its name from the Tools menu after selecting the shape that you need to clone.

Boxshot Step and Repeat tool user interface

The Repeats section allows you to configure how many clones you need. Boxshot clones the shape to all the directions around. Each parameter defines how many clones you need in each direction.

The Offsets section controls how far to move the clones. Zero value means the clone is located right near the original (no offset), positive values mean clones go further, negative values mean clones are overlapped.

Finally, the Create copies as instances lets you make lightweight shapes instances instead of copies. Note that the feature doesn’t work when you step–and–repeat groups or other nested shapes.


Circular Step and Repeat

The circular step and repeat tool lets you place a multiple copies of the selected shape into a circle or a spiral way. Select the shape, then right–click it and select Tools → Circular Step and Repeat… from the popup menu to start the tool:

Circular Step and Repeat tool user interface

On the screenshot above the tool’s parameters are on the right:


Copy Materials

Sometimes you may need to copy materials of one objects to others. For instance you may have a stack of books need to apply the same look to all of them. Copy Materials tool helps you to do this quickly.

All you need is to configure one object the way you need them all to look, then select it, right click and select Tools → Copy Materials from the menu.

Copy Materials tool window will pop up where you will have two lists: the list of materials of the currently selected objects and the list of possible target objects. Select items in both list and see materials are being copied immediately in background. Click OK when done or Cancel if something goes wrong.


Convert to Embedded Model

This tool is only available in Boxshot Ultimate, as only this edition supports embedded models. The tool lets you convert any built–in shape into embedded model. Embedded models cannot be easily resized using obvious parameters, but instead you get the access to internal structures like meshes, mapping and normals.

This might be helpful if you need to hide or re–configure a part of the standard object which is not configurable by the options in the right panel. Then you right–click it, select Tools → Convert to Embedded Model in the pop–up menu and then open the model editor to make the changes.


Add to the Shapes List

This tool is only available in Boxshot Ultimate. It lets you add any shape in the scene to the Shapes panel at the left.

It does that by saving a copy of the shape to a special folder that Boxshot checks before displaying the shapes list. You can read more about custom shapes here.

Select the shape you want to add, right click it and select Tools → Add to the Shapes List in the menu. A “New User Shape” window will pop up:

New User Shape tool user interface in Boxshot

You see the shape preview at the left and two fields at the right:

The second field says “User” by default, but you can type whatever you want here. Say if you want the shape to be added to the books section, type “Book” there.

Once done, click Create button at the bottom and see your shape added to the shapes list. You can right–click it in the list to open its location or to delete it if it is no longer needed.


Rename Selection

This tool lets you batch–rename multiple scene elements at once. To use it select some elements, then right click one of then and select Tools → Rename Selection… from the popup menu:

Batch renaming tool in Boxshot

The tool lets you define the new base name to use for all the selected elements and optionally adds an incrementing index to the names.



The tool lets you randomly modify offsets, rotations and scales of the selected objects. This helps adding some realistic misalignments and other imperfections to objects, like in the real world.

Scattering tool in Boxshot

You can specify the range of changes for offset, rotation and scale. Each range is configured separately for X, y and Z axis, except for the scale, which is defined for all the axes at once. Note that you can turn this off and specify random scale changes for each axis separately.

All the changes are relative. Offset and rotation changes are applied by adding to the current ones, scale changes are applied by multiplying the current scale to the new value.

Boxshot randomly chooses a value for each range and apply it to the given parameter of every selected shape. Note that the changes are only applied to the implicitly selected objects, so if you want to adjust a group of elements (as on the screenshot above), you need to select all the objects, not the parent group. If the parent group is selected, the changes will only be applied to the group itself. This will affect the children objects, but hardly the way you expected.

The Seed parameter is used to initialize the random number generator used for selecting random values from the specified ranges. This means that each value of the Seed parameter gives a new layout of the selected shapes. Try different seeds until you see the random scene you are happy with. You can quickly change the seed by selecting it and pressing up/down keys on your keyboard.

The tool can also be used by making similar changes to a number of objects. Say if you need to rotate all the objects to 90° you can use the tool with min and max angle set to 90, which gives you the needed result.


Instances Tools

There are tools that let you create instances, convert instances back to normal shapes and select all the instances of the selected object. You can read more about them in our instances tutorial.

More Tutorials