The Softimage interface is composed of several toolbars and panels surrounding the viewports that display the elements in your scene.


This image shows the default layout. You can choose other layouts from the View > Layouts menu, or create your own layouts as described in Customization (

A - Title bar Displays the version of Softimage, your license type, and the name of the open project and scene.
B - Viewports Lets you view the contents of your scene in different ways. You can resize, hide, and mute viewports in any combination.

See Viewports below for details.

C - Main menu bar Displays menus containing commands for general operations such as managing files, editing, setting preferences, opening tools and editors in floating views, displaying elements, and accessing the documentation.
D - Main Toolbar Contains commands and tools for different aspects of 3D work. Press 1 for the Model toolbar, 2 for Animate, 3 for Render, 4 for Simulate, and Ctrl+2 for Hair. You can also access these controls from the main menu bar.
E - Icons Switch between toolbar and other panels, or choose viewport presets.
F - Main command panel (MCP) Contains frequently used commands grouped by category. Switch between the MCP, KP/L (Keying Panel/Layers), and PPG (property page) panels using the tabs at lower right.

See Main Command Panel below for details.

G - Lower interface controls The controls at the bottom of the interface include a command box, script editor icon, the mouse/status line, the timeline, the playback panel, and the animation panel.

See Lower Interface Controls below for details.


The viewing area of the interface contains four windows, called viewports, where you can view and work on your scene. Each viewport can display different types of views. You can display up to four different views in the viewports.


A - Letter identifier Identifies the viewport, as well as muting or soloing it:

Muting a viewport prevents its contents from being displayed. Muting a viewport’s neighbors helps speed up its refresh rate. Middle-click the letter to mute the viewport - it's displayed in orange. Middle-click the letter again to un-mute the viewport.

Soloing a viewport mutes all the others. Click the letter to solo the viewport - it's displayed in green. Middle-click the letter again to un-solo the viewport.

B - Views menu Choose which view to display in the viewport. These can be different geometry views (Top, Front, Right, and User) or other tools such as the animation editor, browser, and the explorer.
C - Memo cams Store up to 4 views for quick recall.
  • Left click to recall.
  • Middle-click to save.
  • Ctrl+middle-click to overwrite.
  • Right-click to clear.

There are similar memo cams in other views, including the object view, schematic, and so on.

D - Camera icon menu Navigate and frame elements in the scene - see Navigating in 3D Views ( for more information.
E - Eye icon menu (Show menu) Specify which object types, components, and attributes are visible in the viewports. Hold down the Shift key to keep the menu open while you choose multiple options.
F - XYZ buttons These commands change the viewpoint but you can still orbit afterwards unlike in the Top, Front, and Right views selected from the Views menu.
  • Click on X to view the right side, Y to view the top side, and Z to show the front side.
  • Middle-click to view the left, back, and bottom sides respectively.
  • Click again to return to the previous viewpoint.
G - Display Mode menu Specifies how scene elements are displayed: Shade, Wireframe, Texture, Hidden Line, and other options. See Choosing How Things Are Displayed in 3D Views ( for more information.
H - Resize icon Resizes viewports to full-screen, horizontal, or vertical layouts.
  • Click to maximize and restore.
  • Middle-click to maximize and restore horizontally.
  • Ctrl+middle-click to maximize and restore vertically.
  • Right-click for a menu.
I - Gray border Indicates that this is the active viewport.

Lower Interface Controls

The controls in this area give you information, such as what each mouse button does or the last command that you used. From here, you can also open the script editor for working with scripts. There is also animation information and tools, from the timeline and playback controls to the Animation panel.


A - Timeline and time range Displays the current moment of the animation in time, range of frames, and lets you move between frames. See Playing Animations or Simulations ( for more information.

You can also view and edit keys here - see Editing Keys in the Timeline ( for more information.

B - Command box Displays the last executed command. You can type a new command and press Enter to execute it, or click the arrow button to select a recent command and optionally modify it before pressing Enter.
C - Script editor button Displays an editor that lets you create, save, and modify scripts.
D - Scene debugger icon Allows you to analyze scene performance and memory - see Analyzing Scene Performance and Memory ( for more information.
E - Playback panel Lets you control animated scenes through a series of playback controls and options in the Playback menu. See Playing Animations or Simulations ( for more information.
F - Animation panel Provides access to a number of animation controls that let you mark parameters, set keyframes, retime animation, remove animation, create character key sets, and more. See Tools for Animation ( for more information.
G - Mouse/status line Displays the current functions of your three mouse buttons as well as status and error messages when applicable.

Main Command Panel

The main command panel on the right side of the interface contains all the commands and tools you will use most frequently while working in your scene.

You can collapse a panel by right-clicking on its label. Right-click on the label a second time to expand a collapsed panel. This can be useful when working at small screen resolutions.

As well, each menu and submenu on the main command panel can be torn off and kept in a handy floating window for the current Softimage session.

A - Select panel Select elements in your scene through menu commands, selection icons, filter buttons, and text boxes. See Overview of Selection ( for more information.
B - Transform panel Scale, rotate, and translate elements in your scene through commands, transform tools, and text boxes. See Transformations ( for more information.
C - Snap panel Set the type of grid or object snap to use for modeling and positioning. See Snapping ( for more information.
D - Constrain panel Set up a number of different types of constraints between objects. See Animating with Constraints ( for more information.
E - Edit panel Edit objects, including duplicate, clone, instantiate, group, freeze, and delete. See 3D Objects ( and Operator Stack ( for more information.
F - MCP button Switches to the MCP (as displayed).
G - KP/L button Switches to the keying and layers panel. See Tools for Animation ( for more information.
H - PPG button Switches to the property page panel. When this panel is displayed, property panels open here instead of in floating windows (unless the property editor displayed here is locked).

Articles in category "Interface"

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This page was last modified 20:32, 8 Dec 2010.
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