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Introduction

Blender lets you work in three-dimensional space, on monitor screens that are only two-dimensional. To be able to work in three dimensions, you must be able to change your viewpoint as well as the viewing direction of the scene. This is possible in all of the 3D viewports. While we will describe the 3D View window, most other windows use an equivalent (sub)set of functions. For example, it is possible to translate and zoom a Buttons window and its panels.

Blender3D FreeTip.gif
Mouse Buttons and Numpad
If you have a mouse with less than three buttons or a keyboard without numpad, please refer to the Keyboard and Mouse page of the manual to learn how to use Blender with them.


If You Get Lost…
If you get lost in 3D space, which is not uncommon, two hotkeys will help you:
  • ↖ Home changes the view so that you can see all objects (View » View All).
  • . NumPad zooms the view to the currently selected objects (View » View Selected).


Rotating the View

Mode: All modes

Hotkey: MMB Template-MMB.png / 2 NumPad / 4 NumPad / 6 NumPad / 8 NumPad / CtrlAltWheel Template-MW.png

Menu: View » View Navigation

Description

Blender provides four default viewing directions: Side, Front, Top and Camera views. Blender uses a right-angled “Cartesian” coordinate system with the Z axis pointing upwards. Side corresponds to looking along the X axis, in the negative direction, Front along the Y axis, and Top along the Z axis. The Camera view shows the current scene as seen from the camera view point.

Options

A 3D viewport’s View menu.

You can select the viewing direction for a 3D viewport through its View menu entries (A 3D viewport’s View menu), or by pressing the hotkeys 3 NumPad for “side”, 1 NumPad for “front”, 7 NumPad for “top”. You can select the opposite directions if you hold Ctrl while using the same numpad shortcuts. Finally 0 NumPad gives access to the “camera” viewpoint.

Hotkeys
Remember that most hotkeys affect the active window, that has focus, so check that the mouse cursor is in the area you want to work in before your use the hotkeys!


Apart from these four default directions, the view can be rotated to any angle you wish. Click and drag MMB Template-MMB.png on the viewport’s area: if you start in the middle of the window and move up and down or left and right, the view is rotated around the middle of the window. Alternatively, you can press and hold Alt while dragging LMB Template-LMB.png in the viewport’s area.

To change the viewing angle in discrete steps, use 8 NumPad and 2 NumPad (which correspond to vertical MMB Template-MMB.png dragging, from any viewpoint), or use 4 NumPad and 6 NumPad (or CtrlAltWheel Template-MW.png) to rotate the scene around the Z global axis, whatever being the point of view.

TrackBall/Turntable

By default, when you rotate the view as described above, you are rotating the scene as though you are rolling your hand across a “trackball”. To switch the camera controls to the default mode used by most other modeling software, you'll need to select “turntable” style. Which style works better is a matter of personal taste.

The Turntable style is fashioned more like a record player where you would have two axes of rotation available, and the world seems to have a better definition of what is “Up” and “Down” in it. The downside to using the Turntable style is that you lose some flexibility when working with your objects. However, you gain the sense of “Up” and “Down” which will be helpful when modeling an object that has an inherent up direction.

View rotation.

To change the rotation “style”, use the User Preferences window (remember to pull the main window down because only the header shows by default), View & Controls section. Find the View rotation group of buttons (View rotation), and choose the method you like.

There are two additional buttons for controlling the display in the 3D window:

  • Auto Perspective will automatically switch between orthographic (front/side/top views) and perspective (all other view points) projections.
  • Around Selection will rotate the view around the center of the current selection. If there is no selection at that moment (e.g. if you used A to deselect everything), the last selection will be used anyway.


Panning the View

Mode: All modes

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftMMB Template-MMB.png / ⇧ Shift2 NumPad / ⇧ Shift4 NumPad / ⇧ Shift6 NumPad / ⇧ Shift8 NumPad / ⇧ ShiftAltLMB Template-LMB.png

Menu: View » View Navigation

Description

To pan the view, hold down ⇧ Shift and drag MMB Template-MMB.png in the 3D viewport.

To pan the view in discrete steps using the mouse

  • left and right use CtrlWheel Template-MW.png
  • up and down use ⇧ ShiftWheel Template-MW.png


To pan the view in discrete steps using the number pad

  • Up: Ctrl8 NumPad
  • Right: Ctr6 NumPad
  • Down: Ctrl2 NumPad
  • Left: Ctrl4 NumPad


For those without a middle mouse button, you can hold ⇧ ShiftAlt while dragging with LMB Template-LMB.png.

MMB Template-MMB.png default behavior.

The behavior of the MMB Template-MMB.png can be customized, in the User Preferences window, View & Controls tab, so it will pan by default and ⇧ ShiftMMB Template-MMB.png will rotate the view.

Zooming the View

Mode: All modes

Hotkey: CtrlMMB Template-MMB.png / Wheel Template-MW.png / + NumPad / - NumPad / CtrlAltLMB Template-LMB.png

Menu: View » View Navigation

Description

You can zoom in and out by holding down Ctrl and dragging MMB Template-MMB.png. The hotkeys are + NumPad and - NumPad. The View » Viewport Navigation sub-menu holds these functions too, see (A 3D viewport’s View menu).

If you have a wheel mouse, you can perform all of the actions that you would do with + NumPad and - NumPad by rotating the wheel (Wheel Template-MW.png). If you have neither a wheel mouse nor a middle mouse button, you can easily zoom in and out with CtrlAltLMB Template-LMB.png.

Note that in some windows, e.g. the Buttons ones, Wheel Template-MW.png will pan the view rather than zooming in it – but the shortcuts and CtrlMMB Template-MMB.png will nevertheless zoom in/out.

Fly mode

Mode: All modes

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftF

Menu: View » View Navigation » Camera Fly mode

Description

When you have to place the view, normally you do as described above.

However, there are cases in which you really prefer to just navigate your model, especially if it’s very large, like environments or some architectural model. In these cases viewing the model in perspective mode has limitations, for example after zooming a lot of panning is extremely uncomfortable and difficult, or you apparently cannot move the camera any nearer. As an example, try to navigate to a very distant object in the view with traditional methods (explained above) and see what you can get.

With “Fly mode” you move, pan and tilt, and dolly the camera around without any of those limitations.

Exclamation mark.png
This mode actually moves the camera used by the view. This means that when you are in Camera view (0 NumPad), it moves the active camera, which is another way to place and aim it. In other views (top, front, user, …), it moves the view’s virtual camera…

Options

To enter Fly mode, in Object mode, press ⇧ ShiftF: the mouse pointer will move at the center of the view, and a squared marker will appear – a sort of HUD… In any other mode, you can access it via View » View Navigation » Camera Fly Mode.

Some of the options of Fly mode are influenced by the position of the mouse pointer relative to the center of the view itself, and the squared marker around this center provides a sort of “safe region” where you can place the mouse for it to have no effect on the view. The more you take the mouse pointer away from the marker, the more you pan, or track, etc.

You can:

  • Move the mouse left/right to pan the view left/right or move it up/down to tilt the view up/down.
  • Move the view forward/backward:
    • WheelUp Template-MWUP.png or + NumPad to accelerate the movement forward.
    • WheelDown Template-MWD.png or to - NumPad to accelerate the movement backward.
So if the view is already moving forward, WheelDown Template-MWD.png/- NumPad will eventually stop it and then move it backward, etc.
  • Drag the MMB Template-MMB.png to dolly. In this case the view can move laterally on its local axis at the moment you drag the mouse – quite obviously, dragging left/right/up/down makes the view dolly on the left/right/up/down respectively.

When you are happy with the new view, click LMB Template-LMB.png to confirm. In case you want to go back from where you started, press Esc or RMB Template-RMB.png, as usual.