Object Properties

All objects in a sketch set have properties that may be edited, which is done by selecting the object(s) of interest and entering the desired values using the facilities provided, described below.

In the construction view, points, edges, control points, blocks, images and geometric data sets have editable properties. [CS: move this when ready] The images and geometric data sets can have their properties edited in the control panel but not the popup property editor. In the extrusion view, the starting point, points, edges, and the extrusion axis have editable properties.

The editable properties of each object type are described below (note points and edges are only presented once, as they are handled nearly identically in the construction and extrusion views, even though their functions differ).



Figure 1: The popup property editor and control panel for a single point

Coordinates/Position: This is the x and y position of the point. This may be specified with numbers or with FISH variables (note that a single FISH variable can contain a vector and thus be a valid entry for the point position).

Group: One or more points may be grouped together by assigning them to a named group. See the topic Groups for more information.



Figure 2: The popup property editor and control panel for a selected edge

Edge Type: Specifies one of three types of edge: line, curve, arc. See the topic Curved Edges for information on working with each.

Zones: Specifies the number of zones along an edge. This will override any automatic zoning that has previously been applied to the block that contains the edge.

Ratio: Ratio can be edited when a single edge is selected. It specifies the zoning ratio to use along the edge, where the base setting is 1 (no ratio). Though values may validly range from zero to infinity, most cases should reasonably fall between to .5 to 2.

Group: One or more edges may be grouped together by assigning them to a named group. See the topic Groups for more information.



Figure 3: The popup property editor and control panel for blocks

Zone Multiplier: The number of zones specified along the edges of a block will be multiplied by the integer value provided here. See the topic Zoning for more information on methods to control the zoning in a block.

Group: One or more blocks may be grouped together by assigning them to a named group.

Background Images


Figure 4: The control panel for images

X and Y: These are the coordinates of the top-left corner of the selected image.

Rotation: This specifies the angle of rotation around the top-left corner of the image. When using the mouse to rotate the image, it will rotate around its center.

Scale: This is a percentage of the original size that the image is scaled to. The image will be scaled using the top-left corner as a reference point.

Transparency: A percentage saying how transparent the image is.

Background Geometric Data


Figure 5: The control panel for imported geometric data

Geometric data can be an imported DXF file, an STL file, or one of Itasca’s .GEOM files.

Map 3D > 2D: When a file of 3D data is imported, you can change its origin and orientation in the display using the controls here.

X and Y: The position of the geometry relative to its origin.

Rotation: Rotation around the center of the geometric data.

Scale: Scale relative to the origin of the geometry.

Transparency: A percentage saying how transparent the data is.

Color: You can change the color used to represent the geometric data by clicking the color control.

Extrusion Starting Point

The starting point, at the bottom-left corner, can have its depth and group name edited in the Popup Property Editor or the Object Properties control set.

Extrusion Axis


By default, an extrusion has an origin at 0,0,0 in model coordinates, and will extrude along the y-axis in the positive direction. These settings can be changed. To do so, select the extrusion axis control by clicking it with the select tool (selecttool). The orientation and position of the extrusion may now be edited either through the Control Panel or via the Popup Property Editor. If the latter is used, a window like the one shown below will appear; the same properties appear in the Control Panel.

PPE for Extrusion Axis control

Altering the origin can be done by entering a new x, y, or z coordinate(s), respectively, on the “Origin” line. Changing the extrusion orientation in model space involves selecting one of six basic axis directions (positive or negative x, y, or z). With one of these selected, the position of the origin and the selected direction are sufficient to orient the extrusion.

There is a final option in the “Extrusion Axis” selector for orienting the extrusion: the option “Extrude, X.” When this option is selected, it is necessary to specify two additional values below the selector. The first is labeled “Extrude”, and it defines a unit vector which articulates the direction of extrusion. The second value is labeled “X,” and is used to provide 3D orientation by defining a plane that is formed by itself and the “Extrude” unit vector. With these two defined, an “Extrude, Y” unit vector that is perpendicular to the “Extrude, X” plane is implied; with it an “Extrude Plane X-Extrude Plane Y” plane is defined by FLAC3D. The model is now oriented so that this plane is coincident with the plane on which the construction view sits (the plane holding the “face” of the extrusion). Finally, when a mesh is generated the extrusion direction will be perpendicular to the “Extrude Plane X-Extrude Plane Y” plane, even though the initially supplied “Extrude” unit vector may not be. This adjustment is made automatically when the extrusion is performed.

Changing Object Properties


When multiple objects are selected, only properties that may sensibly be applied to all object members of the selection are available for editing; other properties are disabled.

The two principal methods for accessing the properties of an object are through the Control Panel, and through the Popup Property Editor. The properties available from one are, in almost all cases, identical to those available from the other—meaning the choice of which to use is a matter of personal preference. (One exception is that the Popup Property Editor is not available for imported images.)


Figure 7: The popup property editor on the left, the Object Properties control set on the right

Property Editing With the Popup Property Editor

  • Select the object(s) whose properties are to be edited.

  • Press spacebar or Ctrl + or Ctrl + or Right-click the object and select “Edit [Object] Properties” from the context menu.[1]

  • Continue pressing Ctrl + or Ctrl + as needed to access the desired property, or click the arrow buttons in the top left corner of the editor.

  • Enter the property value when the correct property is displayed.

Property Editing via the Control Panel

  • Select the object(s) whose properties are to be edited.

  • Enter the property value(s) desired in the appropriate fields in the Control Panel.