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
- Put on the Floor
- Center Camera on Selection
- Group Selection
- Step and Repeat
- Copy Materials
- Convert to Embedded Model
- Add to the Shapes List
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:
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.
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.
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 window will pop up where you can configure the following:
- Align shapes to — lets you choose between alignment to selection, to scene or to a key object;
- Key object — this one is enabled if you select Key Object above, let’s you choose a key object used for alignment;
- Axis X, Axis Y, Axis Z — here you specify what to do along each axis, how to align the objects. You can choose from doing nothing, aligning minimums, centers and maximums.
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.
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 window will pop up where you can configure the following:
- Distribute — lets you select what exactly to distribute, you can choose between minimums, centers, maximums and free space;
- Along axis — here you select an axis that will be used for distribution;
- Align to — here you let Boxshot know the bounds of distribution, you choose between selection, scene and fixed distance;
- Distance — lets you specify the distribution distance if you selected Distance in the Align to dropdown above.
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.
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.
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.
- Generation — this section controls how many times to repeat the list and which seed number to use for disorder randomization. Use the Repeat the list parameter to set up the number of shapes in the stack;
- Twist — use the Step parameter to control the relative rotation of the items in the stack. The Disorder parameter allows you to add some noise to the stack by shifting the rotation angles by random values;
- Offset — the same as above, but for offset, not rotations. You may shift each item in the stack relatively to a previous one. Like a stairs, or something like that. Use the Disorder parameter to add some noise here, as well.
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.
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.
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 saving a copy of the shape to a special folder that Boxshot checks before displaying the shapes list.
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:
You see the shape preview at the left and two fields at the right:
- Name — the name you will see in the shapes list;
- Category — the shapes group you want to place the shape to.
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.
- Realistic Rendering — improving scenes visual appearance;
- Decals — applying decals and configuring them;
- Lighting — control environment and directional lighting;
- Saturated Reflection — make "rich" colorful reflections;
- Floor Reflection — reflecting scene objects in the floor;
- Complex Shape Rotation — how to do more than the rotation gizmo can handle;
- Loft Objects — Quick Start Guide — making loft objects from scratch or configuring the built–in ones;
- Loft Objects — FAQ — frequently asked questions about lofts, when the quick start guide is not enough;
- Loft Objects — Shape Editor — editing loft shapes using the built–in editor;
- Lathe Curve Editing — editing lathe curves using the built–in editor;
- Glass Materials — how to make semi–transparent objects look attractive;
- UV–Spot — how to make a UV–spot effect easily;
- Depth Of Field — adding more realism to your renderings;
- Semi–Transparent Labels — how to make semi–transparent and partial labels on bottles;
- Foil Effect — how to add foil–finishing to your shapes;
- 3D Text — making 3D text objects in Boxshot;
- Extruded Objects — how to make thick 3D object of your flat 2D curve;
- Conical Labels — making conical labels with distorted artwork;
- Job Manager — rendering jobs later;
- Boxshot Materials — more details about Boxshot materials.