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Quick Tips

This page describes some short tips that can help you use Misfit Model 3D more effectively.

General Modeling Tips

  • Properties Panel -- Some parts of a 3D model will have modifiable properties that can be changed through dialog boxes or the Properties Panel. The Properties Panel is a context-sensitive dockable window that displays modifiable properties for the selected portion of the 3D model. Using the Properties Panel may be more convenient than using tools, commands, or dialog boxes to accomplish some tasks. Select "View | Show Properties" to use the Properties Panel.
  • Background Images -- When creating a model, it is sometimes helpful to have a 2D image for reference to help with getting the shape or scale of some object correct. You can project a 2D image into any viewport using Model | Select Background Image.
  • Snap to Grid/Vertex -- Use "Tools | Snap To | Grid" and "Tools | Snap To | Vertex" to help align the current tool with the grid lines and existing vertices.
  • Drag Vertex -- Use Drag vertex on edge to move a vertex along one of the triangle edges it is connected to. The tool will attempt to follow the edge that is closest to the mouse.
  • Edge Turn -- If two triangle form a concave angle when you want a convex angle (or vice-versa), use Edge turn. See the link for an example of when this is useful.
  • Extrude -- Use "Extrude" to take a set of faces and extend it out from the object it is connected to. There is a geometry command version and a tool version.
  • Shift Key -- Some tools modify their behavior if you hold the shift key while using them. For example, the move tool will operate only in one dimension and the rotate tool will rotate in 15 degree increments. Often these behaviors are noted in the status bar when you change tools. Any special behavior of the shift key for a tool will be described in the tool documentation
  • Face Out -- Triangles/faces only reflect light off of one side. If the dark side of a triangle is facing out toward the camera, you need to invert the normal of the triangle to reverse the direction it faces. If an enclosed 3D shape has some triangles facing in and some facing out, you can select the entire shape and use Geometry | Normals | Normals face out to correct any faces that are wrong. This can be easier than manually selecting faces and inverting them. Note that this only works if the faces are part of a complete, enclosed 3D shape.
  • Snap Together -- You can use Snap Together to make nearby vertices align themselves. Optionally you can have them weld into a single vertex. This operation can work on all selected vertcies, or pairs of nearby vertices.


  • Swith to Orthographic -- You may only use selection and modification tools in orthographic projections. If you see something in a 3D perspective projection that looks wrong and you are not sure which faces or vertices to select from an orthographic viewport, you can switch the perspective viewport into an orthographic viewport from the same angle by pressing the the left quote/backtick key (`).
  • Rotate 180 -- The Backslash key (\) will rotate the viewport 180 degrees so that you are looking at the opposite side of the object in your viewport.
  • Pan -- Click and drag the middle mouse button in a viewport to pan. You can also use the arrow keys to pan any viewport that is highlighted with mouse focus.
  • Zoom -- Use the vertical scroll wheel or the plus/minus keys to zoom in or out.
  • Rotate -- Use Ctrl + scroll wheel or Ctrl + plus/minus keys to rotate the viewport around the viewing axis.
  • Save/Restore View Angle -- Pressing Ctrl + <Number Key 1-9> will save the current rotation and zoom level of the highlighted viewport. Pressing the number key alone will recall the saved position and rotation. Pressing 0 will center the viewport on the origin.
  • Frame Selected/All -- Use "View | Frame Selected" or "View | Frame All" to and zoom your viewport on the object of interest (note that this changes all viewports).


  • Texture Groups -- To apply textures to geometry, the faces/triangles must be part of a group. The texture is then applied to the group.
  • Texture Projections -- Texture unwrapping is not supported, but using cylinder and sphere texture projections in addition to paint texture may give you a good starting point for applying textures.
  • Reload Textures -- If you are modifying your textures in a paint program, you can reload the model textures without restarting by selecting the "Reload Textures" option in the Materials menu.


  • Prefer Skeletal Animations -- Skeletal animations tend to be easier to work with than frame animations. For model formats that require frame (mesh deformation) animations--such as the quake formats--it is best to create skeletal animations and then convert those animations to frame animations before exporting to the desired format.
  • Setting Keyframes -- Keyframes are automatically created when you move or rotate a joint. If you want to create a keyframe without rotating or moving, use the "Set Rotation/Translation Keyframe" options.
  • Prefer Rotation Keyframes -- Beginners sometimes try to move the joints instead of rotating. Use rotation on the bone joints to animate your model instead of translation (think about how you move your own arms and legs).
  • Set starting and ending keyframes -- It is a good idea to set a keyframe in the first and last frame of an animation for every joint that will be animated during the animation. This will give you more predictable results regardless of whether the animation is looping or not.

Alpha Blending

  • Backfacing Polygons -- When working with transparent textures on a model, keep in mind that back-facing polygons are often not rendered by various rendering engines. Typically you will want to render back-facing polygons when you are modeling. However you can disable back-facing polygons from the View menu if you want to see what your model will look like.
  • Offset Co-planar Triangles -- Since triangles only render facing one direction, transparent triangles are sometimes doubled so that they are rendered properly when viewed from both directions. If these triangles are exactly co-planar you may see rendering artifacts that cause part of the triangle that should be rendered to be obscured. To prevent this, put a slight gap between the co-planar triangles.

Importing and Exporting

  • Work in MM3D Format -- Some supported file formats do not mix well with the way MM3D stores data internally. When working with 3D models on a regular basis it is often a good idea to save in MM3D format and then use "File | Export" to save in your desired format when you have something completed. There are many more exportable formats than save formats.
  • Import Animations -- You can use "Model | Import Animations" to load animations from another model with an identical skeletal structure. The skeleton will be checked to make sure that the parent/child joint relationships are correct. The position and rotation of the joints will not be checked, but if they are not identical the results of the import will probably not be what you expect.
  • Model Merge -- You can use "Model | Merge" to import another model into the current one. There are options for scaling and rotating as well as how to deal with animations. The merge feature can be useful if you have frame animations in your model, since adding and deleting geometry in general is not allowed in that case.
  • Format-Specific Notes -- Some model export formats have special considerations that you must keep in mind when you are working with them. See the links below for details.


  • Boolean Operations -- Use Boolean operations to modify one 3D object based on the shape of another 3D object. Boolean operations can combine two shapes into one, subtract the volume of one shape from another, or find the common volume between two shapes. After using a boolean operation you may want to use Simplify Mesh to combine some newly created faces.
  • Custom Keyboard Shortcuts -- It is possible to customize most menu shortcuts. There is no graphical user interface to do this, but you can edit a file called keycfg.in in the $(HOME)/.mm3d subdirectory (on Win32 this is userhome in the Misfit Model 3D Program Files directory). Simply specify the name of the function you want to bind and then the key combination you want to bind it to. See keycfg.out in the same directory for the current bindings. Anything you do not specify in your keycfg.in will use the default setting.

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Last updated: Sat Aug 1 08:57:04 PDT 2009
Copyright © 2004-2009, Kevin Worcester -- email kevin at the misfitcode.com domain.