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Using Family Color and Grouping Organization in Bryce

Author: thedanman

Tools Needed

* Bryce 6 or earlier

Introduction

Have you ever created a complex Bryce scene just to find it a mess to select your objects and to keep things organized? This tutorial will hopefully give you some important pointers to object organization via the family colors and groups within Bryce that has helped me through many complex projects.

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Step 1 - Toggling between wireframe and shaded view modes

To benefit from this tutorial it is imperative that you'realize that Bryce has various view modes as specified by clicking on the shaded bound box to the lower right of the interface - just above the zoom icons. As you can see OpenGL, Sree3D, and Direct3D will give you shaded previews. These will not however display family colors and thus won't help you visualize your object groupings very well. Toggle to the Default Wireframe mode to assign and view families, you can always switch to a shaded view through this shaded box icon.

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Step 2 - Assigning and labeling families

The Family icon is located directly under the attribute icon any time an object is selected. Bryce allows you to label up to 25 different families and gives you a color to visually represent them. You can rename the family names to help you organize your collection better. Here I have renamed “Default Family” to “3D Clouds.”

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Step 3 - Using grouping for selection organization

Again the benefit of using families is mainly for organization and visualization - but even with families assigned it is sometimes difficult to get a handle on say all my 3D clouds in the scene. I suggest grouping objects in the same family. This is especially helping if what you want to one object you want to do to the entire family of objects. To group, select all objects that you wish to associate into a group (say all your family members) and click the “G” icon or use Control+G. To ungroup at any time click the “U” icon or use Control+U when the group is selected.

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Step 4 - The left control click trick

As you use these techniques more, as your scene starts to get cluttered even your family and groups sometimes overlap. Perhaps one of the shortcomings of Bryce is a lack of a 4 pane view - nevertheless Bryce's authors thought of an innovative and simple object selection mechanism by allow you to select objects within your click if you use Left Control+Left Click on your object. A window will appear as shown, asking you to select what your selection is to be. So long as you have named your objects clearly, or have a notion what is what this will help you immensely in getting what you are looking for without changing views.

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Step 5 - Conclusion

Bryce is a powerful tool, built by artists for artists. It may not be as technical as many suites out there, but that is one of its fortes. If you have found yourself struggling through working with Bryce, keep at it because it's learning curve is low - requiring mainly the help of a few simple tutorials like this one to get you on your feet. Enjoy and render away!

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