Altium Designer Documentation

View Configurations - Physical Materials tab

Modified by Susan Riege on Jul 7, 2017

The Physical Materials tab of the View Configurations dialog.

Summary

This tab of the View Configurations dialog allows the designer to configure how the board is rendered in 3D.

Access

This is the only tab available for a 3D view configuration – accessed from within the View Configurations dialog. This dialog can be accessed from both the PCB Editor and the PCB Library Editor, in the following ways:

  • In 3D Layout Mode, choose the Design » Board Layers & Colors command (PCB Editor), or choose the Tools » Layers & Colors command (PCB Library Editor).
  • Press the L key.
To access the 3D view-related tab, either ensure the workspace is in 3D Layout Mode prior to accessing the dialog, or select a 3D configuration in the Select PCB View Configuration region, once the dialog is accessed.

Options/Controls

General

  • Workspace Color - reflects the color used for the 3D background workspace. Click the color swatch to change the color as required through the Choose Color dialog.
    • Gradient - controls the color transition and direction of the 3D background workspace color. Placing the slide control in the center will stop any color transition and leave the background an even color.
  • Board Thickness - controls the vertical scale of the 3D view to make it easier to differentiate layers when viewing the PCB internally. Drag the slider to the right to select between 1 and 100 times the vertical scaling. The number displayed on the right of the slide control represents the current scale being used. For example, a value of 10.0x would show the board ten times its actual height.
    The actual physical thickness of the board layers is controlled through the Layer Stack Manager dialog.
  • Show Origin Marker - enable to display an origin marker when in 3D display mode. This marker represents the 0,0,0 position for the X, Y and Z-axes.
  • Show Board Cutouts - enable to show any board cutouts in the 3D workspace.
  • Show Rooms - enable to show any rooms in the 3D workspace.
  • Show Route Tool Path - enable to show the route tool path in the 3D workspace.
  • Projection – determine the projection of the 3D view. Choose from:
    • Perspective - choose this option for a more realistic 3D view of the PCB.
    • Orthographic - choose this option to see the exact position of objects and text on the PCB without being obscured by surrounding objects.
Setting the Projection to Orthographic prevents navigating inside the PCB structure.

Colors and Visibility

Choose the source for coloring of the various enabled (visible) layers – and objects thereon – for a 3D board:

  • Realistic Colors - renders objects using more realistic, real-world coloring. A default set of colors will be loaded, presented to the right of each layer/object in the tab. With this option enabled, you are free to change the colors as required (using the respective color swatch).
  • Color By Layer Using Current System Colors - renders objects using the default 2D layer colors. The set of colors will be loaded, presented to the right of each layer/object in the tab. You cannot change these colors.

Copper is always visible for a board viewed in 3D. Choose which of the additional layers to make visible:

  • Core - enable to show the PCB core as part of the 3D model. The core represents the physical dielectric and prepreg layers of the PCB wafer.
  • Top Silkscreen - enable to show the top silkscreen as part of the 3D view of the board.
  • Bottom Silkscreen - enable to show the bottom silkscreen as part of the 3D view of the board.
    The silkscreens show printed information on the top and bottom of the PCB wafer, such as manufacturing information, component designators and outlines.
  • Top Solder Mask - enable to show the top solder mask as part of the 3D view of the board.
  • Bottom Solder Mask - enable to show the bottom solder mask as part of the 3D view of the board.
    The solder masks represent photo or silkscreen areas on the board that have no copper, i.e. areas that are not used for electrically connecting components to the PCB.
  • Layer Color - when using Realistic Colors, you are able to change the colors as required. Simply click on the color swatch to the right of any of the above entries (including Copper) and change the color using the standard Choose Color dialog.
  • Opacity - use this slide control, associated to each of the options above (excluding Copper), to alter the opacity of the layer. The greater the opacity, the less 'light' passes through the surface. Move the slide bar to the right for greater opacity.

3D Bodies

  • Show Simple 3D Bodies - use this field to determine how extruded (simple) 3D bodies will be displayed. Choose from the following available options:
    • No - extruded 3D bodies will not be displayed.
    • Yes - extruded 3D bodies will be displayed.
    • Use System Setting - extruded 3D bodies will be displayed or hidden according to the system setting Show Simple 3D Bodies, on the PCB Editor – Display page of the Preferences dialog.
  • Show Generic Models - use this field to determine how 3D Generic models (from linked or embedded STEP, Parasolid, or SOLIDWORKS Part files) will be displayed. Choose from the following available options:
    • No - Generic 3D models will not be displayed.
    • Yes - Generic 3D models will be displayed.
    • Use System Setting - Generic 3D models will be displayed or hidden according to the system setting Show Generic Models, on the PCB Editor – Display page of the Preferences dialog.
  • Show Snap Point Markers - enable to display Generic 3D model snap point markers. Snap Points are references to specific vertices on a Generic 3D model. With three or more snap points added, you can reposition and orient a Generic 3D model, using one snap point as an absolute reference and two others as alignment and plane references.
    The color of the snap points is based on the Selections system color. If you need to see them more clearly, change the color in the System Colors region, on the Board Layers and Colors tab of this dialog (available under any 2D view configuration).
  • Show Axes - enable this option to display any axes that have been defined for 3D bodies, in the workspace.
  • Jump to system settings - click this link to access the PCB Editor – Display page of the Preferences dialog, from where you can view the current system settings for the display of 3D Bodies.

Components with both Simple and Generic Bodies

When there are both Generic 3D model and extruded (simple) 3D body objects defined for a component footprint, use the settings here to determine which type to display. Available options are:

  • Prefer simple bodies in components - display only the extruded 3D body object, not the Generic 3D body object.
  • Prefer Generic in components - display only the Generic 3D body object, not the extruded 3D body object.
  • Show both in components - display both extruded and Generic 3D body objects.
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