Whenever a 3D tool is selected, the Tool > Deformation sub-palette becomes available. This can be used to apply deformations of many types (bending, skewing, flattening, etc.) to the selected tool.
Deformations can be applied on any combination of the x, y, and z axes, as indicated by small letters in the top right corner of each deformation slider; these are the global coordinate axes, not those local to the object. (This point will become clearer when you read the procedure below.) When a letter is white, that axis will be deformed by the amount set. Click an axis letter to toggle it on or off.
Results can be seen in real time as you adjust a slider. Here is the recommended procedure:
- Select the tool.
- Open the Tool:Preview subpalette and set the object up in the preview, relative to the global xyz axes, according to how you want the deformation to affect it. For example, if you want to stretch a cube into something that looks roughly like an elongated diamond, rotate it so that one point is that the top of the preview, the opposite point at the bottom, select only the y axis on the Size deformation, and go to the next step.
- Apply the deformation.
- Add the modified tool to the document.
Most deformation sliders reset to their middle position [zero] after the deformation is applied. This means they can be applied repeatedly, with cumulative effects. Also, most sliders can be dragged left or right, with opposite results depending on which direction you drag. Because of the way the deformations are applied, dragging in one direction and then an equal distance in the opposite direction doesn’t always return the object to its previous shape. In such cases, you can use Undo (Ctrl+Z) to abandon changes.
For detailed descriptions of the controls see the Tool> Deformation sub-palette.
Working with SubTools
Although the Deformation sub-palette has Size and Offset options, the position and size of SubTools relative to each other can also be adjusted using the Position and Size sliders in the Tool > Geometry sub-palette. These sliders are simpler to use than those in the Deformation sub-palette as the values are absolute and so size/position can easily be restored to their original values.
If you wish to change all SubTools then the Deformation sub-palette provides a simple solution. Each Deformation action can be repeated to other SubTools by using the Repeat To Other or Repeat To Active options. See the Tool> Deformation sub-palette for details. Note that these options will only repeat the last deformation action, not a series of actions.