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Code Documentation

Core

At the base of the addon there's the properties structure. The model subpackage defines a set of blender PropertyGroups. This is needed so that values are stored to disk on file save. These PropertyGroups have to be registered and then be pointed to from somewhere by a PointerProperty.

Additionally to pure properties PropertyGroups can also hold methods and attributes, the addon makes heavy use of that as it leads to a convenient way of working with the data.

The root of the addon's data structure is SketcherProps which is registered on blender's Scene type and can therefore be accessed as follows:

bpy.context.scene.sketcher

From there the structure looks as follows:

sketcher - entities - points3D (CollectionProperty of 3D Points) - lines3D (CollectionProperty of 3D Lines) - sketches - ...

  • constraints
    • coincident (CollectionProperty of coincident constraints)
    • equal
    • ...

Note: The nesting of PropertyGroups is done by defining PointerProperties inside of a PropertyGroup.

Entities

Entities always inherit from the SlvsGenericEntity class which implements the basic properties (like properties to store if an entity is visible, construction, origin etc.) and logic (like the draw method which draws itself based on its geometry batch) entities have.

Index system

As an entity can depend on other entities there has to be a way to point to an entity. This is done by storing an unique index on each entity (entity.slvs_index) which is set when an entity is created through its "add_*" method on the SlvsEntities class.

Pointing to an entity is done by storing the entity's index in a IntProperty, the entity itself can then be looked up by:

entity = bpy.context.scene.sketcher.entities.get(index)

For convenience there's the slvs_entity_pointer function which registers the IntProperty with a "_i" prefix and adds getter/setter methods to directly get the entity without having to deal with the index itself.

Drawing

Entities are drawn in the viewport by utilizing blenders GPU Module. Every entity type has an update function which is responsible for creating the geometry batch that is used for drawing. As this can be expensive to compute the batches are stored based on the entity's index in global_data.batches. There's an initial tagging system in place to tag entities as dirty however this is currently still disabled by default.

NOTE: In order to draw anything a draw handler has to be registered on the viewport type. This usually happens from an operator that the user invokes. As this is rather bad UX the addon registers the handler when the addon is registered. More precisely, as the the context at register time is limited, a Application Timer is used to register the draw handler shortly after the addon has been registered.

Selection

Entity selection is done by simply drawing entities a second time in an Offscreen Texture. The color however is used to identify the entity. The two functions index_to_rgb() and rgb_to_index() inside functions.py are used to convert between the entity's "slvs_index" and the color value that is written to the texture.

This concept is explained here.

NOTE: There's the "Write Selection Texture" operator in the debug panel which can be used to write the current selection texture to an image data-block in order to inspect it.

Preselection

The addon makes great use of preselection highlighting. To achieve that the VIEW3D_GT_slvs_preselection gizmo is used which looks up the currently hovered pixel and writes the index to global_data.hover whenever the "test_select" method is called.

NOTE: The test_select method of gizmos is used as it receives the cursor location and is called whenever the cursor moves.

Constraints

Constraints always inherit from the GenericConstraint class which implements the basic properties (like properties to store if a constraint is visible or has failed to solve etc.) and some basic logic that constraints have.

Unlike entities the constraints are not implemented completely from scratch but rather make use of the Gizmo API to display themselves and handle other interactions like selection.

Interaction

There's a set of operators defined in operators.py which are used to create the interaction between the user and the addon. Note that the addon also has to define operators for basic interactions like selection or calling the context menu due to the fact that entities are implemented from scratch.

Most of the viewport operators inherit from the StatefulOperator class which is a framework to allow defining complex tools in a declarative fashion. Besides the base class itself which implements logic for native blender types there's also the GenericEntityOp which adds support for addon specific types. Have a look at the interaction chapter in the docs.

The addon also makes heavy use of workspacetools. Note that they depend on some functionality defined in the StatefulOperator class to display the correct description and get the tools shortcuts.

NOTE: Tools that need to be able to select entities have to use the preselection gizmo in order to get updated selection.

Solver

The addon uses the Python Binding of Solvespace. As the solver module isn't well documented it's best to inspect it through the an interactive python interpreter. This can be done inside blender's python console when the solver module has been installed, something like this:

from py_slvs import slvs
sys = slvs.System()

On the system object you'll find all the methods to add entities and constraints. You can use the inspect module to get more info like the signature of a function:

import inspect
inspect.signature(sys.addEqual)

The solver data isn't persistent, so whenever the solver is triggered it will create a new "py_slvs.slvs.System" object.Then the solver will go through the relevant entities and call their create_slvs_data method and pass the system object to it. Same applies to the constraints.

The create_slvs_data has to return the solver handles of the elements it adds to the solver. This is later used to check which constraints have failed to solve.

When the solver was successful it will again go through all the entities and call their update_from_slvs methods to update the blender data from the solver system.

Converter

Currently there is only one native converter implemented, namely the BezierConverter defined in converters.py. When converting to mesh the target bezier object is simply converted again with blenders to_mesh function. This is a design choice to workaround the problem of finding the area to fill for a given shape.

As a bezier spline is defined by a list of bezier control-points entities we have to create a list of connected entities. This is done by the BezierConverter.walker() method. After that we cam simply loop through these connected entities and call their to_bezier() method.

FAQ

What happens when a button is pressed?

In blender every user interaction happens through an operator. You can enable python tooltips to find the corresponding operator from a button. Check blenders API Docs for more information.