Mike Rankin gives a tour of the Adobe Dimension user interface. He describes each of the tools and their uses, and shows how the tools are divided into sections by their usage. He points out how to access tool options, and describes the functions of the Assets, Scene, and Properties panels, as well as the canvas or viewport, and the menus.
- [Instructor] Let's begin our look at Adobe Dimension CC by exploring the user interface. We'll begin here at the welcome screen and click on Create a New Project. At the top left of the application window, there are two tabs: Design and Render. Design is where you create your image by adding 3-D models, manipulating them, adding materials and lighting to change their appearance, and compositing them with background images if you want. Render is where you export the final image and where you can choose options like the image quality, file format, name, and location.
So, naturally, there are a lot more controls in the Design tab. On the left side of the window there are tools, and we'll be using all of these in later movies. You can see that the the tools are separated into three groups by some very subtle gray lines, here and here. The top group of tools is for manipulating 3-D objects. So, we have the Select and Move tool, Select and Scale tool, and Select and Rotate tool.
And, notice how they're all named "Select and." That's because there's no separate selection tool in Dimension CC like the kind you may have used in other Adobe applications. So, each one of these three tools has the ability to select 3-D objects built in. When you have any of these tools, you'll see the same tool options here across the top of the window. And you can click on any one to choose it. The first four options determine what will be selected when you click on a 3-D object.
You'll either make a new selection, which would de-select an existing selection, or you can add the thing that you click on to your current selection, or subtract from a current selection. And then there's a group select mode that you can toggle on and off. We'll look at how to use all of these options later on. For now, just notice the kind of subtle way that Dimension tells you which option you have selected by turning the icon blue when the option's turned on, and gray when it's off.
Depending on the size and brightness of your screen, some cues like this in Dimension CC can be very subtle. Also, for the Move, Scale, and Rotate tools, there's an option to align to the scene, right here. This can be very useful when you're combining a 3-D object with a background image, as we'll see later on. Okay, let's go back to the tools, where the next group is for working with materials that you apply to your 3-D objects. So there's a Magic Wand tool for selecting pieces of complex objects, which is great when you want to apply the same material in several places at once, and there's an eyedropper, officially called the Sampler tool that you can use to grab the formatting applied in one area and apply it elsewhere, which can be a great time saver and it also guarantees that you get a consistent look where you want it.
The last set of four tools is for adjusting your view of the objects that you place in the main work area, which is also called the canvas, the scene, or the view port. And these tools are the Orbit tool, which lets you rotate your view around the scene so you can quickly view an object from any angle, a Hand tool that you can use to pan your view, which is also called the camera, up, down, left, or right. Under that is the Dolly tool for zooming in and out, and a Horizon tool, which helps you align the 3-D objects in your scene with the horizon in a background image.
Above the tools is a Content button that you can click to show and hide the Content panels on the left. Content is divided into two main sections. At the top is Assets, and below is Creative Cloud Libraries. You can show and hide them by clicking the small triangle on the right side. The three dots next to the triangles are menus where you can do things like switch between a list and grid view of assets.
Assets are things like Models, which are the 3-D objects, Materials, which you can use to make objects look like they're made of glass, metal, plastic, and so on, and Lights, which also affect the appearance of 3-D objects by simulating different lighting conditions and Background Images. On the left are Packs, which are combinations of Models, Materials, Background Images, Lighting and graphics that you can place on the objects themselves.
Everything that appears in the Assets panel is built into Dimension CC and we'll be using some of these things in later movies. The Creative Cloud Libraries panel is where you can access items in libraries associated with your Adobe ID. And, you can also search for additional assets on Adobe Stock from here. So, for example, if I wanted to see what kinds of 3-D models of coffee mugs were available on Adobe Stock, I could type "coffee mug" here and get the results.
I could then immediately add the model to my selected library, or if it was a premium asset I could purchase and license it. Then, over in the top right of the view port, there are buttons to zoom to fit to the selection, to create bookmarks of different views, which makes switching between the different views very fast and easy, and there's a button to toggle the Render Preview panel on and off. This panel shows you a preview of what the rendered image will look like and it can be a great guide as you work, but it might be in your way at times and it also puts a burden on your computer's processor.
So, you might want to hide it. On the right side of the window there are three more panels: Scene, Actions, and Properties. Scene is somewhat like the Layers panel in an application like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. You can use it to target specific components and then make changes using the Actions and Properties panels. And you can also lock and unlock items and control their visibility here. And, lastly, in Dimension's menus, we have Preferences, which is found under Dimension on the Mac or in the Edit menu on Windows, and this is where you can set the language of the user interface to English, French, German, or Japanese.
You can also change the theme, having either dark or light, and set other options. I'm going to make sure that everything is set at the default settings, by clicking Reset Preferences and then OK. The File menu is where you can create a new Dimension CC project or open a previous one, and this is also where you can import Models, Materials, Backgrounds, and Lights, as well as graphics to use as decals apply to objects. You might notice that there's a very common command that's missing here.
There's no Close command in Adobe Dimension CC. The only way you can close the current file that you're working on, is to either open an existing file, create a new one, or quit the program. Dimension CC cannot run without a scene in the view port. So, don't look for the Close command here. The Edit menu is where you'll find the typical commands like Cut, Copy, Paste, Duplicate and Delete. The Object menu is where you'll find commands that apply only to objects, like Group and Ungroup, Lock and Unlock, and Hide and Show.
The Image menu contains just one command called Match Image, which helps to quickly match a 3-D object to a background image. The View menu has commands for changing your view of the scene, including zooming and working with View Bookmarks, which I mentioned earlier. The Window menu gives you commands for showing and hiding parts of the Dimension interface, and for switching between Design and Render modes. And finally, the Help menu is where you can access Adobe's help pages and provide feedback.
So, that's a quick overview of the Adobe Dimension CC user interface. We looked at the tools, the panels for accessing assets like Objects, Materials, Lights, and Background Images, and for adjusting their properties, as well as the view port or canvas, and the menus. And as we go through this course, we'll be using almost every item that we saw in this movie starting with the Assets panel, which we'll use in the next movie to add our first 3-D model.