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Main Window

This is MSV's main window
(If your browser is "usemap" capable this image is a map with hotlinks to sections describing several parts of the picture. There is also a link to a full scale .gif image allowing to read the text):
Menu Bar Object Browser Object Buttons Object Buttons Transformation buttons Scene anti-aliasing Depth of Field effect 3D drawing window icon Large image
This window has the following components:

File Menu

The File menu has the following menu items:

Add Object
display the Geometric Primitives Editor panel which allows to add geometric primitives to the scene. This panel can also been called using the Object button labeled "Add".

Import MSMS
Load the .vert and .face files produced by MSMS. The surface will be displayed using a single material. Download an example:Crambin (1crn.vert, 1crn.face)

Import colored MSMS
Load the .vert and .face files produced by MSMS and a .color file specifying a color at each vertex of the surface. The color file has to provide an R G B A values per line. These values range from 0.0 to 1.0 and are used as the diffuse component of the color. Download an example:Crambin (1crn.color)

Import VRML Objects
Load a VRML 1.0 file. Every shape and separator node will generate a MSV object and all of them will be children of a node named after the file. Texture mapping is not yet implemented. (see VRML section).

Save the current scene into a plain text file. Pointers to files providing the geometry as well as all MSV settings are saved. (see file format section)

Load a previously saved scene.

toggle Display List
By Default, MSV builds a display list for every MSV object having an associated display function. This allows to toggle back and forth between display list usage and direct rendering. (mainly used for debugging).

Frame Rate
Turns frame rate reporting on and off. When the frame rate option is selected, the time to refresh the scene is reported continuously.

Quit the program

Edit Menu

The Edit pull-down menu is used to display windows allowing to modify MSV's and OpenGL parameters. There are windows for customizing the:

Object Browser

This browser displays the hierarchy of objects currently loaded in the browser. Children objects are indented. In this example, the objects called 1crn, Sphere and Torus are children of the object root and Cone is a child of Torus. Only 3D transformation is inherited by children.

The Current object is highlighted with a yellow background. To select another object one can click on its name in the browser using any mouse button, or pick an object in the scene. Picking on the backround of the 3D window while the root object is selected selects the view-point transformation mode. If an object different from root was selected when a picking even occurs on the background, the root object is selected.

When there are more objects than what can be displayed a scroll bar appears at the right side of the browser.

A double click on an object's name brings up the object properties panel

Object buttons

resets the transformation of the current object.

Scales the scene such that the bounding box of the scene fits into the 3D window.

Set the center of rotation of the current object to center of gravity of its sub-tree.

Undisplay the current object.

Display the current object.

Delete the current object and all its children. Only the root object is never deleted.

Display the Geometric Primitives Editor panel panel. This can also be done using the Add entry in the File menu

Transformation buttons

These buttons allow to bind the 3D transformation (rotation, translation, scaling) to the view point, the current object, the current light or the current clipping plane.
View Point:
Select the view-point transformation mode. Transformations are applied to a hidden object parent of root. In this mode scaling changes the camera's frustum of viewing. This mode can be turn on by picking the background while the root object is the current object. It is turned off by selecting an object or binding the mouse the a light or a clipping plane.

This button allows to bind the mouse to the current object and displays the name of the current object. Selecting an object also activates this button.

This button allows to bind the mouse to the current light and displays its name.

Clip Plane:
This button allows to bind the mouse to the current clipping plane and displays its name.

Scene antia-liasing button

Not Anti-aliased

Note the jaggy lines.


When this button is pushed, the accumulation buffer is used to anti-aliased the scene. The jittering parameters can be set in the
camera panel. This might take a long time for some scenes because it implies redrawing the scene several times for every frame.

Depth of Field effect button

No Depth of Field Effect

Every thing is in focus.

With Depth of Field Effect

Here the focus plane is approximately situated at the in between the two boxes. Note how the front of the closest box and the back of the furthest box get out of focus. The distance to the focus plane and the amount of out-off-focus can be set in the
camera panel.

3D drawing window

This is the window where all geometries are rendered. The mouse buttons and their combinations have user definable functions such as rotation, translation, picking. See the
mouse panel for information about the mouse configuration.

Note the red clipping plane clipping only the sphere and not the other objects. Also the sphere's front polygons are Gouraud shaded while the back polygons are displayed as lines.

Two directional lights are visible (white and blue).

MSV's icon

Since the primary purpose of this viewer is to display molecular surfaces I though that it should have an icon which relates to this topic. This molecular parachute illustrates the relationship between the solvent accessible, solvent excluded and reduced surface and ... I simply like it !

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Michel Sanner
March 31 12:00 PDT 1997