What...? (and why must the title be at least 10 characters!?)

surely the “what” command could bring up a dialog that stayed open till it was told to go away…?

Its insane having to continually bring re-run the command for each different entity; pre-selecting the entities is too confusing - why? because the dialog gives, in a continuous stream of info in this case, more information than i would normally want, so it becomes very verbose, very confusing very quickly.

“other” programs have a dialog you can dock, that reports on entities as you select them, the new selection overwriting the old, and from within which you can make some basic changes eg layer, lock and so on - its a better, more considered approach.

The “what” command is a perfect example of “tacked on interface” stuff, of which rhino has too many instances, and which will hopefully be all tidied up with V6 shortly…?


I think what you’re describing is the Properties dialog which can be docked and left open all the time… The “Details” button has the same info as “What”…


Still he has a point though.
The information accessible via “details”/“what” would surely be helpful in a dockable panel.


Hi Norbert- the problem we encountered is that this slows things down unacceptably when there are many objects selected at once. I’m sure it is possible to ‘kill’ the details beyond a certain number, but we did not do that back in V3 when we made this change.


this would seem to be the same question i was asking about properties being easily accessed. clicking from entity to entity is very useful for me. the workaround for me is to leave properties open which gives me level info, then pinning analyze point to the pop up menu for xyz coordinates. still more clicking than i would like, but better than having to close the details box after every inquiry.

Yes… But I assumed from his comment

that he wasn’t aware that you can do all that in the docked (or floating) Properties dialog (without having to go into details)…


Yeah, obviously selecting hundreds or thousands of objects would bog down even fast machines.
Maybe some conditional dialogue might be a solution.
Something like this:
the details information is calculated only when objects are selected and details panel is open. If more than X objects (number can be defined by preferences) are selected a pop-up window
"you have selected more than x objects, do you really want to calculate detailed object information? /" is shown. Selecting collapses the details panel (leaving it docked though) thus effectively pausing the calculation of object information.

Just an idea…

Cheers, Norbert

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I was thinking about more specific information, like curve lengths, point and control point coordinates, curve degrees etc.


Yes. And the Details panel is really pretty poorly organized in terms of order of info presented and quantity, especially with multiple or complex objects. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the info you need, if you can find it at all…

I agree that for single selected simple objects we could have more info visible directly - length, # of control points or Brep faces, point coordinates (for a single point) etc… For multiple selected objects this stuff could just say “varies” I guess…


Thanks Mitch - well no - this is exactly the same thing.

So if i have the properties window open, sure basic info changes as each entity is clicked, but if you click on the details button to get at stuff. it simply opens the “what” dialog, and then you are back to square one, since that wont change as you click on a different entity…


Hi Mitch, Tony, all- if there were details available ONLY if one object were selected, would that be useful, and Details, or What would show you stuff for multiple selections?



Pascal - yes, that is exactly what i would expect!

(assuming i am reading your post correctly:
1] click on a single object - properties (if you have it open) shows basic stuff.
2] call either “details” from the property window, or call “what” separately - in either case the dialog comes up with further info.
3] click on a different single object - the dialog refreshes to display the new info.
4] continue for other single objects until done; close the dialog.)


Hi Tony - OK, but if I understand you the info you want is less than What/Details currently gives bur more than Properties currently shows about layer, display color etc, is that correct? If so, what do you want to see?


Well, this is a can of worms, because what i might want is not of course what someone else might want, and also depending on what im doing, i will want to see different stuff.
for example, at present i am modelling an existing object as a reference in a larger model - this will never be manufactured or printed, so im not too worried about edges and so on.
But later, i will be creating new stuff in this model, that will be manufactured, and i will be very interested in any edges, the tolerance etc.

All i can think is that youd have a toggle called “verbose” or something, that would include ALL the info available, but initially it would just display a reduced set.

What might that reduced set be?

Well, for my money, just looking at a current “what” dialog on screen now:

polysurface - sure, we need to know what it is
id - no its just gobbdey gook to me
layer name - yes
render material - no
geometery - yes, edges yes, but i dont need to know all the tolerances unless i go into “verbose” mode; render mesh no, analysis mesh no

if it is a circle or line, then everything there is good except id and render material.

really, i think the answer, since you cant please everybody, is to simply have a few buttons that alter the amount of info at the bottom of the dialog:

  • it comes up with a basic report along the lines suggested above.
  • a “render” button, that gives info relevant to that
  • a “ALL” or verbose button that delivers everything known about the object
  • maybe one or two others for other subsets that are useful to where you are at with the model. For example, if one isnt going to apply any colour or texture to the model until later, or at all, then there is no need to display this info until if and when you need it

It would be a small example of a way of tailoring the interface (in this case the amount of info you need at a particular stage in your modelling process) to suit an individual situation, and this kind of idea could be extended so the overall interface presents a more ordered set of not just info, but tools depending on what you are up to.
At present, everything is available all the time, often in a rather arcane way, which makes it difficult to get a handle on the toolset you need at various stages in your process.
i know people, especially users who have come though the various releases of the software over time and remember all the little tricks and commands (and special tools and scripts they use all the time without really thinking about it anymore) are resistant to an imposed order - but I suggest that the time is long overdue for a rather big cleanup and rationalization of the whole way the user interacts with the software.
I also think that the downside of scripts, macros etc is that we come to rely on these fixes too much - for example, I knew there was a way of finding the centerline of a pipe, but it took me a while to remember this was actually a script you had written some years ago, that i no longer had on this computer.
Likewise a script to mirror objects containing text, which kept the text from reversing.

Anyway, too much raving, and i need to get back to work…


Hi Pascal,

Well as Tony said, there will be different sets of data that will be important for different people… I would propose something akin to the way the status bar info panel (lower right) now works - provide something like 3-4 boxes in which the user can choose what they want to see (there would need to be some sort of right click setup menu for each box or something…)

My list would be different obviously for each different type of object (in addition to what is already shown, layer, color, etc…):

Point: coordinates
Line: start/end points, length
Circle: center and radius
Arc: center/start/end points
Single NURBS curve: open/closed, length, # of control points, degree
Polycurve: open/closed, length, total # of control points, degree, # of segments
Single plane surface: trimmed (or not), area
Single NURBS surface: open/closed, trimmed (or not), degree, # of control points, area, volume (if closed)
Polysurface: open/closed, number of faces, area, volume (if closed)
Mesh : # faces, # vertices, area, volume (if closed), disjoint parts

There are more object types, but you get the idea…


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