Be Selective with SOLIDWORKS Composer
SOLIDWORKS Composer is a great tool for repurposing your 3D engineering data to create awesome graphical content. Once your model is in Composer, there are lots of tools to help manipulate the actors to create these amazing visuals; like moving them or changing color or opacity. Each actor contains its own properties to easily make these changes, however, there are many times when it is not just one actor that you want to apply the same changes to.
There are many great options to make these selections seamless, like selecting by color, selecting inside or across a sphere, or even inverting your selection, to name a few (these can be found under Home –> Navigate –> Select).
However, in this blog, we are going to focus on the issue of continually selecting the same group of actors.
If the actors you want to select do not fall into one of the pre-defined selection options, you can, of course, Ctrl or Shift select the actors in the Viewport or Assembly/Collaboration Tabs of the Left Pane.
A quick tip when using this method: When selecting multiple actors in the Viewport, selecting the first actor, then holding CTRL to select more actors, only adds to your selection, using SHIFT can invert an actor’s selection state. However, in the Assembly/Collaboration Tabs, CTRL can invert the actor’s selection, SHIFT is used for selecting sequential actors in the list.
This is a great way of selecting a group of individual actors, e.g. all the hardware in the model, but repeatedly making these selections can be time consuming. The solution here is to create ‘Selection Sets’.
To do this is a fairly simple process. Once you have made your selections, there is an icon at the top of the Assembly and Collaboration tabs that looks like a stack of blue blocks with a plus (+) sign, to create selection sets (‘Ctrl + Alt + S’ is the shortcut).
Once you do that, a new selection set will appear at the bottom of Assembly tab and you can change the generic name given.
If you want to add more actors to a given selection set, simply choose those actors and right click on the selection set. From there, there is an option to ‘Add Actors to Selection Set’!
Adding actors to a selection set does not apply previous changes to the selection set actors to the newly added actors. Selection sets are just a way of quickly selecting all the actors. Individual actors in the selection set can still be changed independently.
If you need to remove an actor from a selection set or remove a selection set all together, do not use the delete key. To do this, right click on the actor, or selection set, and choose either ‘Remove Actors from Selection Set’, or ‘Delete Selection Set.’
You now have a great way to quickly select a group of actors that you need to repeatedly select, which otherwise would have required a lot of clicks.
Hopefully you found this tip beneficial. If you have any questions, please reach out to us at Computer Aided Technology.
Sr. Application Engineer
Computer Aided Technology, Inc.