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Resolution on 5k retina display


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I'm moving my FormZ modelling from a 10 year old iMac to a 3 year old iMac (5k Retina display) and while all is going good, I've noticed how fine the lines on screen are. In fact some are very hard to see! Using silhouette edges helps but even the FormZ cursor is hard to find so I have to wiggle it to find it. I bought this machine from new but used it for other purposes.

Admittedly my eye sight has deteriorated (getting on a bit) but does anyone have any suggestions to improve the visual experience?




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Hola Des, I have a 4k monitor, and for my daily work in formZ in Shaded Full, I prefer to work in 2k, at 2560x1440 72 DPI (non-retina). The lines don't look crisp and even a little jagged, but it's ok, and I prefer the thicker lines and strong selection highlights. Also, everything feels smoother on my Mac mini M1 at a lower resolution, but that's another story related to formZ being non-native yet!

With my current method, I only switch to HiDPI 2560x1440, scaling my 4k display with SwitchResX from the menu bar, before producing screenshots that allow me to get good-looking PDFs for clients.

With this very-personal method, I don't care about exporting images anymore, and now I only take screenshots with command+shift+5 and a selection frame that is preset to 1920x1080 at 144 HiDPI. As a result, I get 3840x2160 uncompressed JPG images that I edit with Preview or Affinity Photo.

I work exclusively in Shaded Full with the following settings and one ambient light set at 100%. Before taking my screenshots, I change my lights and turn on Silhouette Edges, Shadows, Ambient Occlusion, Background, etc., if necessary.

Also, after returning to working with a desktop Mac, I added a 2K and 16:10 portable display for my palettes below the main one, which has been a game changer and highly recommended. The Mac mini has been an excellent choice also because it's portable, and I use it to work in cafes with the portable monitor and to visit my clients by connecting it to one of their TVs. Quite a discovery! Indeed, I'm working and writing from a neighborhood cafe! 😉

P.S. Speaking about mobility, I'm very tempted to change it for a new Mac Studio M2 Max overloaded... a little bulkier, but after my experience with the mini, I'm sure totally doable!


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Speaking of monitors, after buying the 27" and 4k I currently have, I discovered a little too late another display that I think would be an excellent choice for working specifically in formZ.

It's a 34" ultrawide 2k flat monitor, which has the advantage that you can split the screen in two, one at 16:9 2560 x 1440 and the other at 5:9 880 x 1440. Both parts work as separate displays, which I think would be helpful in organizing the palettes and better resolving the workspace with the current formZ UI.

With this monitor, I suppose I could work with the main window on the big screen in 2k at 16:9, the object and layers palettes side by side on the vertical screen on the right side, and the other palettes I use on the portable display at the bottom center as I do now.

In case anyone finds it useful, the monitor is the BenQ PD3420Q.

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When it comes to doing actual work, I prefer the taller 16:10 ratio screens,  or even the 4:3 screens.    You can get some of the new Ultra Wide monitors to break into 3 screens like this, but the resolution is so high that you have to sit pretty close IME.  Still waiting for the unicorn screen.  Until then my (3) 1920x1200 ASUS are working great after color correction.

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Yes, I agree!

That's the nice thing about this display because it works as two separate screens connected to 2 different video ports, with the main one in 2k at 16:9 and 27" in size and flat too, and not weirdly curvy!

Indeed probably is an excellent monitor, with all the bells & whistles. However, the key for me -very personal opinion- is that it could be an even more effective and clean way to organize the workspace and deal with FormZ's UI in tandem with a small screen at the bottom, as I'm doing.

The main drawback, apart from the moderately high cost, is you need support for a minimum of 3 displays with separate connections.

In the images below, I'm showing my current workspace and the result of using it with a monitor like this and the three screens... it seems neat and very tempting to me! ;)


Current workspace with 2 monitors / 2560x1440 + 1920x1080:



Current workspace with 1 monitor divided in 2 screens + 1 monitor / 2560x1440 + 880x1440 x 1920x1080:


Edited by ZTEK
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Thanks for all the info guys. In the end it was an easy fix for me on the iMac. At some time in the past I must have changed the settings to the maximum of 5120x2880, but I've changed it back to the default of 2560x1440 and everything is better. While the menus and palettes are all good now I still find the actual lines are still very fine, as in thin. Apparently it is because of the screen pixels are so small that they are indistinguishable (for my eyes anyway). Antialiasing and silhouette edges helps a lot while modelling.

I do love the iMac screens though, imaging and video look absolutely stunning. I have a relatively cheep curved screen on my pc and the imagery looks terrible no matter the settings I pick. The colours are so dull and the resolution is pretty bad but good enough for other stuff though (barely). You only get what you pay for.

Interesting to see your setups...




Edited by Des
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Whoa! I use HDMI out to a single cheap 42" color TV in front of me on my desk. It is 4K, but it is big, so it works. We have a great eye doc here, Dr. Beran, when I got cataracts a few years ago he set my eyes up for working on monitors, one eye focuses at 3' and the other at 6'. I can't see very distant (50 yards out) street signs or stars, but I could get glasses again for that. I used to be horrifically nearsighted. The big TV to me is great. I have a whole separate machine to run monitor two. I don't do the same sorts of activities on that monitor, other multi tasks are done there.

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