Placing Objects in Natural Arrangements

You can use physics simulations to place objects in a natural-looking arrangement.

For example, suppose that you want to place some pens in a cup in a natural arrangement. You position the pens above the cup and then simulate gravity to drop them. The pens bounce against the cup and each other according to the physical properties you define for them, resulting in a somewhat random arrangement. Then you can use the Shake tool to reposition the pens into an even more natural-looking arrangement.

Before you begin:

  1. On the Main toolbar, for Renderer Selection, click Preview .
  2. In the Palette, select the Models tab and the Physics subtab.

To place objects in a natural-looking arrangement:

  1. In the Model tree or the viewport, select an object (part , group , or model ).
  2. For Simulation Type, to specify whether the object can move during the simulation, select one of the following:
    Option Description
    None The object is not included in the simulation.
    Static The object cannot move, but it affects objects that collide with it.

    For example, set the cup to Static.

    Dynamic The object can move, and its motion is determined by the simulation.

    For example, set each pen to Dynamic.

  3. For Collider Geometry, to specify the accuracy of the object's geometry to use in collisions, select one of the following:
    Option Description
    Bounding Box Provides less accurate but faster results.

    For example, set each pen to Bounding Box because the pen geometry is simple.

    Mesh Provides more accurate but slower results.

    For example, set the cup to Mesh because a bounding box would close the top of the cup and prevent the pens from falling into the cup.

  4. For Physical Properties, specify properties such as static friction, dynamic friction, elasticity, and mass.
    Leave as is for the first pass. You can adjust the properties later to modify the simulation behavior.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 for each object to include in the simulation.
  6. Click View > Show Simulation Manager.
    The Simulation Manager appears at the bottom of the screen.
  7. In the Simulation Manager, click Toggle Physics .
    The simulation starts and gravity causes the dynamic items to fall into place. For example, the pens fall into the cup. The higher the drop is, the more intense the collisions are.

    Before After
  8. To reposition the dynamic objects into a more natural arrangement:
    1. In the Simulation Manager, click and hold Shake.
      The longer you hold the click, the more intense the shaking becomes. Shading on the button indicates the progress to maximum intensity.
      The pens shake into a more natural arrangement.
    2. Release the click.

  9. Click the blank box under Simulation States.
    The state of the simulation is saved.

    You can click the box to return the simulation to that state. During the simulation, you can save up to 11 simulation states. If you save more, the oldest state is overwritten with the new state. You can pin a simulation state to prevent it from being overridden.
  10. To stop the simulation, click Stop Physics .