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Making pretty pictures

Posted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:59 am
by asciore
Hi guys! I've recently discovered Stella for visualizing the various symmetries of protein cages I've been making in my graduate studies. I'm slated to write a book chapter on the subject and I'd love to include these figure in it!

I have a couple of questions about the visual aspects of Stella:

1) Is there a way to preview or center the images that can be put on shapes? I'm trying to line up a triangular protein(that's saved as a square file, of course) onto the face of every triangle, and it's terribly difficult to line it up.

2) Is there a way to replicate the spheres and cylinders representation for edges and vertices? That mode is very pretty, but I need to color some of the edges different colors, and the default mode you can only choose one color.

3) Is there a way to just insert a sphere or cylinder where I want, or can I only add on polymeric objects? I'm interested in denoting several key spots with spheres and can't find this in any documentation.

Thanks in advance!

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:44 pm
by robertw
(1) You can use Image Mode to interactively move/rotate/scale an image on a face. Rotation snaps to parallel edges. If you apply the image to all faces they will all move/rotate in unison. You can probably centre it using "Image->Fit Image Around->Selected Face Bounding Circle", and then scaling as required.

See ... #imageMode

(2) You can colour the edge cylinders differently by going to the Sphere and Cylinder Options and setting the Cylinder Material to "Same color as lines". Then select an edge and use items from the Color menu to change the colour of just that edge, or all edges of the same type, etc.

(3) You can't insert a random sphere as such, but you might be able to do it by adding a shape that has vertices where you want the spheres, and hiding everything else from that second shape. It's a bit round-about, but might work.

You're welcome to use images from Stella in a book, but I do ask if possible to get a complimentary copy of the book. I like to see how Stella is used :-)

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:46 pm
by robertw
Oh, to centre the image, you could also create your images with dimensions that will perfectly fit around a triangle, and make sure the centre of your image is where the centre of the triangle would be, then just fit the image around your triangle.

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:12 am
by asciore
Awesome! Thanks so much! A followup question: I really like the gold/silver/copper representation for the vertices I'm trying to highlight, but it would be inaccurate and distracting to put them at all the vertices. Is there a way to set individual vertices to be shiny, and leave the rest as another color, or am I limited to just the RGB representations?

I'd love to get you a copy of the book, although it may be one of those online-only affairs. At the very least, I can securet you my chapter :)

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 4:57 am
by asciore
Also, is there a way to save custom colors? It seems like the colors I made didn't get saved after I restarted the program..

Posted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 1:49 pm
by robertw
At the moment the choice is either all spheres using a single material (gold, silver etc), or they can be different colours, taking their colours from the dual face, but then they all use a more mat material.

Photoshop maybe if you want to mix these in an image (if not too intricate)?

Save your model as a .stel file (File->Save) to save its colours.