So far, you've learned how to import or create 3D objects, and how to manipulate the 3D camera around an object. Now you'll learn about setting up options for displaying the contents of a 3D layer. You'll also learn how to modify the object itself — how to transform it, change its textures or materials, and adjust its lighting properties.
The 3D panel is one of the first places to look when setting up the way your 3D scene is displayed or rendered. Choices range from simple wireframes to high-quality previews, and the system resources required to generate these displays varies accordingly. You may want to change your rendering preset to a low-quality setting while you're working, and then bump it up to a high-quality setting for final output. Or, your design may call for a flat, geometrically shaded version of your object — that option is available too.
Select a 3D layer and double-click its thumbnail to display the 3D panel if it's not shown (or select the panel from the View menu). Figure 27.7 shows an example of the 3D panel in Scene mode (which is reflected by the label on the panel's tab). The upper part of the 3D panel is populated with the scene hierarchy — that is, the meshes, materials, and lights that make up the selected 3D object.