Jump to content
AutoDesSys Forums

Upgraded from 6.5 to 8.6.2 (finally!): Some questions

Recommended Posts

Hello all.  Longtime 15+ year formZ user here.  I'm an industrial designer and it's my primary tool both at my day job and also freelancing.  I love the program; it's lightweight but does exactly what I need it to do.


I've used 6.5 for ages and ages (love that hardware dongle!) and finally made the leap yesterday to 8.6.2.  It's pretty different!  My keyboard shortcuts made it over mostly intact, but I have some questions about setting up the interface.  I've attached a screencap of my 6.5 interface for reference.


  • What happened to the pick tool options?  If I have objects grouped, it looks like it will only select the group and not individual objects within?  And I can't click on a face to select an object, but have to grab an edge?
  • I like to turn off the world axes but leave the plane axes on.  How do I change their length?
  • Did the perpendicular switch make it to 8.6.2?


That's it for now I think.  More to come.


My 6.5 interface:



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Making the switch from 6.5 to 8 is no easy task.  You need to change your fundamental thinking on how things are now done.  Some of the tools and interface are the same but many have changed substantially.  For instance, now we do almost all our work in shaded view when previously I worked exclusively in wireframe.  I would recommend going through the basic tutorials to get a better feel for it.  You will eventually learn to love the new interface but even now there are certain things about 6.5 that I miss terribly.  Like the stability and texture mapping tools.  For what its worth I know they are working on a release of V9 that has the promise of changing the interface once again.  However, if history is any guide that release could be either months or years away.  They are very quiet about it at the moment.

Good luck and be patient.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to answer your questions:

In order to pick an object by its face you need to be in shaded mode.  In wireframe you need to pick the edge.  The pick options are under the tool options palette or by right clicking the pick icon.

You can change the size of the axis by using a new tool in the grid dialogue box.  It is next to the little icon that looks like a pyramid and which is next to the grid subdivision number.

The perpendicular (ortho) icon is down at the bottom in the grid snap palette.

I believe you need to ungroup objects if you want to pick an individual object within.  I do not use the group tool for this reason and instead I just use layers to group things.

Hope this helps

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can edit grouped objects by unlocking the group or right click and select "edit group".

You can select a face by using the "autopick" while holding down the command key (on Mac), or by using the "faces option" from the "tool options" pick pallet

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome!  Now get ready for a change.  :)


I think you will be pleased with the newer version once you get more accustomed to working in Shaded view much more often.  Also, if you look into your preferences, you can still set many of those earlier options.   Like Andrew mentioned, v9 is coming before too long, so I would expect another shift in interface again in the future.


The Pick Tool Options are now integrated into the top of the Tool Options palette.


I love working with Groups now that it has been more easily implemented.  Ctrl+G  = Group  ,  Shift+Ctrl+G = UnGroup   or you can use the right click context menu.  The Edit Group command is also handy, but you will need to add your own shortcut (I like Shift+G for this).  Using group sets has made it much easier to work on larger, more complex files without the need for so many layers.  Layers are still very important!  But using Groups can just make general modeling faster to keep things separate while working quickly on one layer.  I use both personally, but love that we have the flexibility to use many different options.  I know some people love using the Objects palette for organizing things, and even though I use Groups, I never use the Objects palette.  Layers and it's palette and Groups are all that I need to stay organized.


A little tip, once you setup all your tool bars and palettes customized the way you like it, this is called your 'Workspace'.   Save it by exiting FormZ and/or using the Export Workspaces tool in the Workspace Manager.  Then re-open FormZ, and go to Workspace>Workspace Manager.  Uncheck Save Between Sessions.  Exit FormZ and Restart FormZ.  Now your custom Workspace should be safe for you to use.  If you don't do this, your customized Workspace will end up causing you problems and needing many frustrating resets and preferences files rebuilt. 


I'm currently using FormZ 8.6.2 setup like this with a right hand tool bar to reduce the amount of mouse movement from the Tools to the Tool Options.  




Edited by Justin Montoya

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the tips guys.  I'm on 6.5 now here at work just b/c I have to get some stuff done, but I'll be digging into 8 more over the weekend.  A few responses:

  • I use texture maps and decals all the time.  I really hope they haven't altered that too much.  How do I import texture maps from another formZ model?  Can I purge unused textures as before?
  • I don't use layers in formZ, but objects instead.  It's just more intuitive to me that way...  Probably something to do with the fact that I also use SolidWorks and that program is object-based.
  • Thanks for the tip about Workspaces.  Will have to look into that.  In 6.5 it saves the location of all my toolbars in the preference file.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Decals only work with RenderZone rendering, and is being phased out.  You should consider using another method to apply a texture map type for the future.  Planes with textures applied and shadow casting turned off works great, and is also visible in the Shaded view and VRay rendering, unlike Decals.  You can even turn off Outlines for the Shaded rendering so it looks exactly like a Decal in Shaded view without the edges.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


To import texture maps from a different form.z model you would hit Command O. Then in the lower left corner of the dialogue box there is a little box called "add to project".  Once you choose your project just select all the things you want to add, like texture maps, lights or views.  You can easily purge unwanted textures by right clicking in the materials palette and hitting purge.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again.  The transition is coming along smoothly...  So far I've worked on 2 freelance projects and although they took me longer, everything went fine.  Got my workspace set up and found all my essential functions.  A couple more questions:

  • Is there any way to change the window zoom tool so that it zooms in by corners instead of by center?  Corners is how I had 6.5 set up, and is how Adobe products function also.
  • What is the 8.6.2 equivalent to the absolute/relative toggle on the Prompts dialog bog on 6.5?  I try to build everything around the origin and it's so nice to be able to toggle on "absolute," hit "0" and rotate/mirror about the center.

Thanks again for all the help!  Feeling better about it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

To rotate an object around the origin, select the Rotate Tool, click on the object, hit Tab (which selects the "x" input field),0,tab,0,tab,0.  It's a lot more keystrokes but accomplishes what you are after.  I tried for awhile to figure out a more efficient way to achieve the single entry of "0" we used in V6 and this was the fastest method I found.  I use the same method for snapping a point on an object to move the object to the origin.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello friends

Like Spannerhead I'm migrating to version 8x (at least I'm trying ...)
My problem is very similar except that I work in architecture
But I understand your situation

It's reassuring and very disturbing at the same time to read you all...

I also have to convert many of my work procedures and it's really not easy.
I use almost all parts of the software (modeling rendering drafting etc ...)
I use the object palette first but also the layers (for cross organizations for example group objects by materials or simply to double the visibility options, adjust the visibility is faster at layer level than objects palette level for a large number of entity with Z673)
So I use groups intensively (as hierarchy of objects)
But I also use the symbols mainly to optimize the size of the files (instances) or to speed up the display with the bounding volume option
In this spirit I am close to Justin
The only thing I do not do is create scripts.
But I use a series of scripts that have become essential.
Besides, I also use maxwell as a reinforcement of RenderZone for more demanding images.

In some cases I really do not see how to reproduce what I do with FZ 673
Especially in the case of drafting it's really too complicated.
Z8 does not recover my Z6 drafting files.
Besides there is the layout ... so it's a subject all by itself ...
The drafting of FZ 673 was a bit of Autocad on the edges but this time it's completely different.
I do not even bother trying to set up a plan (on a 3D XY and try to display it as a layout ...
I will still try.

For a long time now I have become used to separating my 2D file and my 3D file (drafting / modeling)
At least with that I can immediately identify what will work on Z8 or not ...

The support advised me to continue working on both versions ...!
It's a little crazy anyway

Finally for me Z8 it's almost as if I had to train myself to a new software entirely and not as if it were the continuation of the one I'm currently using.
So we need a good dose of affection for FormZ and also for its history and those who built it to pass in Z8

I put an image of my user interface this morning in mode just before rendering render zone

Your conversations raise a lot of questions.

By taking a little in the order of your questions SannerHead I come back on the first:
What disturbs me a lot is that with Z6 the software was built on the basis of topological levels (dating from the strictly polygonal era) and today with Z8 we wanted to automate and send them back to the second plan…
No doubt also to eliminate cases where they were not relevant (for example on cases of parametric geometry)

Finally I wonder if they are available as an option of another tool that the pick tool?

I think it would be a good suggestion to ask that the topological levels be integrated with the options of other tools as is the case with the pick tool

You will tell me that we have some options with ctrl, shift, alt and tab ...
But frankly, while the goal was to simplify the interface, we now have to integrate the subtleties of ctrl shift alt and tab before or during operations ...

For example if I want to move a segment directly with the move tool it is possible.
You can take the segment by pressing ctrl continuously FORWARD then click on the segment and then release ctrl after you move the segment
Now if you want to move perpendicular to the reference plane you press ctrl again (releasing the key)

By cons I still do not understand what is the tab key with the move tool ...
(It seems to be a kind of toggle to see to which entity the selection is related for example such face with such object ... I'm not sure)

So in Z 673 I use some tools directly in conjunction with topological levels like for example the triangulate tool
I triangulate only certain faces of a mesh (with the option of selection inside boudaries)
I have the impression that to do the same in Z8 it is necessary to pre pick faces ... It's still more complicated ...

In relation to your question SannerHead, about groups, I found that with the edit menu you can unlock groups globally
(in addition to the answers of Andrew and Justin...

Justin why do you think the decals will be suppressed?
Andrew where did you find your information on a new version of the interface in version 9?

I'm also looking for zooming corners?

I'm searching...

As far as set view is concerned I use the interactive set view (center of interest) with a shortcut ctrl + single click, right
And when I want to change the COI I use the famous script "attention" with a shortcut
And so I'm looking for how to adjust the COI via a shortcut in Z8 if one of you has an idea?




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

^That's a lot of issues (and questions!).  I sympathize.  It's been a process, but after getting a few low-pressure projects under my belt on 8.6.2, I'm feeling very positive about it now.  I'm 95% switched over at this point.


I don't do any drafting in formZ, so I can't address your questions regarding that.


Still wish there was an option to zoom using corners, but...I'm getting used to the center zoom.


Good luck!  Sorry I can't be more help.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Modelling is way quicker now.


I couldn't agree more.  There is a small learning curve to the newer, quicker modeling, but it's pretty straight forward.  I particularly love the Isolate (Ctrl+Shift+I) and Reveal (Ctrl+Shift+R) functions that make working with more complex projects a breeze.


The only things I miss about pre v7 FormZ are the stability, the simpler UI, with a cleaner interface that used pop up dialog boxes instead of all these palettes that permanently clutter the space, and the detailed texture mapping window that would allow for faster mapping of groups and more accurately map cylinders.  That's it.  Everything else is an improvement in my book, and I'm certain that with a bit more time we will get a better UI.  VRay integration has been a game changer here, so if you haven't yet made that leap, I highly recommend you give it a try.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you all
I understand your points of view, and for 3D modeling there are actually many interface improvements.
As for the raw features I'm not sure to share your enthusiasm (for example, look carefully at what the bezier patches proposed in 673 and see what the sub-d do in 8)
I'm not saying that it's not better, I'm just saying it's not the revolution ...

Finally concerning the architectural layout it's simple: it does not work in z8.
So I do not see how to fully switch to Z8 at this point.

I can only imagine working with both versions as needed.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/24/2018 at 4:43 PM, Justin Montoya said:


I couldn't agree more.  There is a small learning curve to the newer, quicker modeling, but it's pretty straight forward.  I particularly love the Isolate (Ctrl+Shift+I) and Reveal (Ctrl+Shift+R) functions that make working with more complex projects a breeze.



Wow.... Mind blown!

I had no idea this existed. I took some time out of design to concentrate on a side project but kept a few freelance clients ticking along. I'm stepping back in and have been browsing the forums to get myself back up to speed on all the latest FormZ developments. This one was a revelation! Thank you

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now