Navigating in 3D Views

In 3D views, a set of navigation controls and shortcut keys lets you change the way in which you view your scene. You can use these controls and keys to zoom in to and out of a scene, frame objects within a viewport, and orbit, track, and dolly the scene among other things.

Activating Navigation Tools

Most navigation tools have a corresponding shortcut key so you can quickly activate them from the keyboard. However, some tools are only available from a viewport’s camera icon menu. In either case, activating a navigation tool makes it the current tool for all 3D views, including object views which do not have an equivalent to the camera icon menu.

 

The following sections discuss the available navigation tools, listing keyboard shortcut where applicable.

Framing Objects in 3D Views

Framing commands let you instantly zoom in to or out from selected objects in 3D geometry views. You can frame objects in two ways: framing selected objects or framing all objects in one or all 3D views.

To frame selected objects in a 3D view

• Do one of the following:

- Position the mouse pointer over a 3D view and press F.

or

- Choose Frame Selection from the camera icon menu.

To frame selected objects in all 3D views

• Do one of the following:

- Press Shift+F.

or

- From the main menu, choose View > Frame Selection (All 3D Views).

To frame all visible objects in a 3D views

• Do one of the following:

- Position the mouse pointer over a 3D view and press A.

or

- Choose Frame All from the camera icon menu.

To frame all visible objects in all 3D views

• Do one of the following:

- Press Shift+A.

or

- From the main menu, choose View > Frame All (All 3D Views).

Zooming

You can zoom into and out of your scene or pan in all 3D views using the zoom controls.

• In perspective camera views, zooming changes the Field of View Angle of the camera.

• In spotlight views, zooming changes the Cone Angle.

• In perspective user views, zooming changes the Distance to the Center of Interest.

• In any orthographic view, zooming changes the Ortho Height.

Panning and Zooming

To pan and zoom

• Choose Pan & Zoom Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu, or press the Z supra key to activate the zoom tool. Then, in any 3D view, do any of the following:

- Click the left mouse button and drag to pan.

- Click and hold the middle mouse button to zoom in.

- Click and hold the right mouse button to zoom out.

- Press Esc to deactivate zoom mode.

By default, Softimage zooms into or out from the center of the view.

You can also zoom into or out from wherever the mouse pointer is located by activating the Zoom on Cursor feature: choose File > Preferences from the main menu to open the Preferences window, click the Tools > Camera icon in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor, and activate the Pan/Zoom > Zoom On Cursor option.

To set pan and zoom speed

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera icon in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. Do any of the following:

- From the Nav options, set the Pan Speed parameter to adjust the pan speed. Higher values cause the camera to pan faster.

- From the Pan/Zoom options, set the Zoom In/Out (rate/sec) parameter to adjust the zoom speed. Higher values cause the camera to zoom more quickly.

Zooming and Panning

There is an alternative tool that allows you to zoom in or out by dragging the mouse right or left. Some users may prefer this style of interaction.

To zoom and pan

1. From the camera icon menu, choose Zoom Tool.

2. Do any of the following:

- Left-click+drag to the right to zoom in.

- Left-click+drag to the left to zoom out.

- Middle-click+drag to pan in the corresponding direction.

Zooming with the Mouse Wheel

By default, you can zoom using the mouse wheel. Scroll forward to zoom in and backward to zoom out. Press Ctrl to zoom quickly, Shift to zoom slowly, and Ctrl+Shift to zoom even more slowly.

However, you cannot use the mouse wheel in other tools, for example, to set the radius for the brush or proportional modification; instead, press R and drag the mouse to modify the radius.

If desired, you can disable the mouse wheel zoom or restrict it to the Navigation tool so that you can use the mouse wheel with other tools. See Mouse Wheel in Camera Preferences [Preference Reference].

Rectangular Zooming

Rectangular zooming lets you define a rectangular area that becomes the new view extent. When zooming in, the rectangular area fills the viewing space. When zooming out, the current viewing space is fitted into the rectangular area.

To zoom in an area

• Choose Rectangular Zoom Tool from the camera icon menu, or press Z and then hold Shift. Then do either of the following:

- Left-click+drag diagonally to zoom in.

- Right-click+drag diagonally to zoom out.

Tracking

The track tool allows you to pan at varying speeds in any 3D view.

To track

• Choose Track from any viewport’s camera icon menu to activate the track tool. Then do any of the following:

- Press the left mouse button and drag to track normally.

- Press the middle button and drag to track slowly.

- Press the right button and drag to track quickly.

Orbiting

Orbiting rotates a camera, spotlight, or user viewpoint around its point of interest. This lets you study your scene’s overall “look” in any angle in any view. Orbiting is sometimes called tumbling or arc rotation.

 

Orbiting is only possible in the non-orthographic views (camera, user, and so on).

To orbit

• Choose Orbit Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu, or press the O supra key while in User view.

When you orbit, the left mouse button allows free rotation, the middle mouse button allows vertical rotation, and the right mouse button allows horizontal rotation.

To set orbiting speed

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera icon in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. From the Nav options, set the Orbit Speed parameter to adjust the orbiting speed. Higher values cause the camera to orbit faster.

Orbiting Around Selections

You can set the orbit tool to orbit around selected objects or components, rather than around the normal camera interest.

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera item in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. From the Nav section, set the Orbit Around Selection option to one of the following:

- Off — the orbit tool will always orbit around the camera’s point of interest.

- On — if you are in object selection mode, the orbit tool orbits the camera around the selected object, rather than the normal camera interest. If you are in component selection mode, using the orbit tool orbits the camera about the selected components.

- Components Only — if you are in object selection mode, the orbit tool orbits the camera around the normal camera interest. If you are in component selection mode, using the orbit tool orbits the camera about the selected components.

Pivoting

Pivoting is like orbiting in reverse; the point of interest rotates around its camera, spotlight, or user viewpoint. This is convenient when you want to precisely adjust the interest’s position.

 

Pivoting is only possible in the perspective views (camera, user, and so on).

To pivot

• Choose the Pivot Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu.

When you pivot, the left mouse button allows free rotation, the middle mouse button allows vertical rotation, and the right mouse button allows horizontal rotation.

Dollying

In perspective camera and spotlight views, dollying moves the position forward or backward without changing the Field of View or Cone Angle, unlike zooming which changes the angle without changing the position. For viewpoints and user views, dollying is the same as zooming.

To dolly

• Choose Dolly Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu or press the P supra key. Then, in any 3D view, do any of the following:

- Press the left mouse button and drag to track normally.

- Press the middle button and drag to track slowly.

- Press the right button and drag to track quickly.

Rolling

Rolling rotates the camera along the viewing axis (Z). It is possible in only perspective views.

Note that you cannot keyframe camera roll from a 3D view. Instead, you have to do it from the camera’s constraints property editor. For more information about keying camera roll, see Animating a Camera Roll [Cameras and Motion Blur].

To roll the camera about its Z axis

• Choose Roll Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu or press the L supra key. Then, in any 3D view, do any of the following:

- Press the left mouse button and drag to roll normally.

- Press the middle button and drag to roll slowly.

- Press the right button and drag to roll quickly.

Centering

Centering is similar to framing, but without any zooming or dollying. The camera is tracked horizontally and vertically so that the selected elements are at the center of the viewport.

To center the selection in a single view

Do one of the following:

• Move the pointer over the view and press Alt+C.

or

• Choose Center Selection from the view’s camera icon menu.

To center the selection in all open views

• Press Alt+Shift+C.

Walking and Flying

The walk and fly tools are first-person walkthrough camera tools that combine mouse movement with a custom key map to help you navigate precisely in perspective views. When you use the walk or fly tool, the mouse pivots the camera, while the custom key map controls camera movement while a mouse button is held down. The key commands are:

Key

Movement

Key

Movement

Q

Move down

A

Move left

W

Move forward

S

Move back

E

Move up

D

Move right

You must first hold down a mouse button for any of the key commands to work.

To activate the walk tool

1. Choose Walk Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu.

2. Then, in any 3D view, do any of the following:

- Press the left mouse button to walk normally.

- Press the middle button to walk slowly.

- Press the right button to walk quickly.

When you use the walk tool, movement is parallel to the ground.

To activate the fly tool

1. Choose Fly Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu.

2. Then, in any 3D view, do any of the following:

- Press the left mouse button to fly normally.

- Press the middle button to fly slowly.

- Press the right button to fly quickly.

When you use the fly tool, movement is toward the camera’s interest.

To set Walk/Fly tool options

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera icon in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. Set the following Walk/Fly options:

- Look Speed (units/sec) sets the speed at which the Walk/Fly tool “looks” when you move the mouse.

- Forward/Sideways (units/sec) sets the speed at which the Walk/Fly tool moves forwards and backwards (W and S keys), or left and right (A and D keys).

- Slow/Fast Multiplier specifies the factor by which speed is adjusted when you use fast (right mouse button) and slow (left mouse button) interaction.

Driving

The drive tool is a first-person walkthrough camera tool that is similar to the walk and fly tools, but has more versatile mouse controls and additional visual feedback.

When the drive tool is active, left-clicking or middle-clicking anywhere in the view displays a guide icon, which delineates the different movement zones. Dragging the mouse into any of those zones moves the camera in the corresponding direction and changes the mouse pointer to indicate the type and direction of the movement. As you move the mouse further from the center, the movement speed increases and the guide icon fades to transparency.

The type of movement depends on which mouse button you press: the left-mouse button is for turning movements and the middle-mouse button is for sliding movements, as shown below:

Left Mouse Button (Turn Mode)

Forward + Turn Left

Slide Forward

Forward + Turn Right

 

 

 

Rotate Left

Rotate Right

 

 

Reverse + Turn Left

Slide Back

Reverse + Turn Right

Middle Mouse Button (Slide Mode)

Forward + Slide Left

Slide Forward

Forward + Slide Right

 

 

 

Slide Left

Slide Right

 

 

Reverse + Slide Left

Slide Back

Reverse + Slide Right

In addition to the mouse commands, you can use a custom keymap to move the camera. The key commands are:

Key

Movement

Key

Movement

Q

Move down

A

Look left

W

Look up

S

Look down

E

Move up

D

Look right

The right-mouse button pivots the camera but does not display the guide icon or activate the custom keymap.

To activate the drive tool

• Choose Drive Tool from any viewport’s camera icon menu.

To set Drive tool options

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera icon in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. Set the following Drive options:

- Speed sets the speed of Drive tool mouse interaction.

- Turn (deg/sec) sets the speed at which the Drive tool “turns” when you use the mouse to turn or rotate.

- Up/Down (units/sec) sets the speed at which the Drive tool moves up and down (E and Q keys).

- Show Guide specifies whether the Drive tool guide is displayed in the viewports when the tool is activated.

Combination Mode

The Navigation tool combines a number of different viewport navigation tools into one.

To activate the navigation tool

• Choose Navigation Tool from the camera icon menu or press the S supra key in a viewport perspective view. Then do any of the following:

- Left-click to track (pan).

- Middle-click to dolly.

- Right-click to orbit.

• Press Shift and click as follows:

- Left-click to track (pan) horizontally/vertically.

- Middle-click to roll.

- Right-click to orbit horizontally/vertically.

• Press Ctrl and click as follows:

- Left-click to zoom in using the rectangular zoom tool.

- Middle-click to zoom out using the rectangular zoom tool.

Setting Maya Mouse Mapping

You can set the navigation tool to use the same mouse button behavior as in Maya.

To set Maya mouse mapping for the navigation tool

1. From the main menu, choose File > Preferences to open the Preferences window. Then click the Tools > Camera item in the explorer pane to open the Camera property editor.

2. In the Nav section, set the Mouse Mapping option to Maya.

When the Maya mapping is set, the mouse controls change to the following:

Right-click to orbit.

Left-click to track (pan).

Middle-click to dolly.

Press Shift and click as follows:

Right-click to orbit horizontally/vertically.

Left-click to track (pan) horizontally/vertically.

Middle-click to roll.

Press Ctrl and click as follows:

Left-click to zoom in using the rectangular zoom tool.

Middle-click to zoom out using the rectangular zoom tool.

Resetting Cameras

You can reset the camera and other 3D views so that their global point of origin (X = 0, Y = 0, Z = 0) is in the center of the 3D view.

To reset the camera and view coordinates

• Choose Reset from the camera icon menu or press R.

Navigating with the ViewCube

The ViewCube is a tool that provides consistent navigation across many Autodesk 3D applications. When enabled, it appears in the view that is under the mouse pointer.

 

A

Click on a face, edge, or corner to view from the corresponding angle. Depending on your preferences, the selected elements (or all visible objects if if nothing is selected) are framed.

Drag anywhere on the cube to orbit freely. Depending on your preferences, the viewpoint will snap to a face, edge, or corner viewing angle (solid lines instead of dashed lines) when it is dragged to a nearby viewing angle.

B

Return to the home viewing angle. Each camera has a different home.

C

Click for a menu:

Home: Return to the home viewing angle for the camera.

Lock to Selection: Remember the current selection and always frame it instead of whatever you select later. Choose this option again to deactivate.

Set Current View as Home: Set the current view as the home viewing angle for this camera. The home viewing angle is not saved with the scene.

Reset Home: Reset the home viewing angle to the default for this camera.

Set Current View as Front: Use the current view to set the global orientation of the ViewCube. The front viewing angle is shared by all views (except Object views) and is not saved with the scene.

Reset Front: Reset the front viewing angle to the default.

Preferences: Set your ViewCube Preferences, including whether the ViewCube is enabled at all. If you have already disabled the ViewCube, you can access its properties by choosing File > Preferences and clicking on ViewCube.

D

When looking at a face, click a triangle to move to an adjacent viewing angle.

E

When looking at a face, click a curved arrow to roll +/– 90 degrees.

F

You can activate the compass in your preferences and then:

• Drag the ring to spin the ViewCube’s ground plane freely.

• Click a letter to spin to the corresponding viewing angle.

Autokeying Camera Navigation

By default, navigating the camera while autokeying does not set keys on the camera parameters. This is because the camera is typically not selected and the corresponding parameters are not marked during navigation. However, you can set up specific cameras and spotlights so that their parameters do get keyed automatically during navigation.

The camera navigation parameters that get autokeyed are:

• The camera’s transformation values.

• The Field of View - Angle (zoom factor) or Ortho Height, depending on whether the camera has a perspective or orthogonal projection.

• If the camera has a direction constraint, then the interest’s position.

• If the direction constraint’s up vector is active, then the roll value.

Autokeying the camera parameters does not work when using the ViewCube to navigate.

To autokey camera navigation

1. Set a viewport to look through the desired camera or spotlight.

2. Open the camera or spotlight’s properties, for example, by choosing Properties from the camera icon menu.

3. Make sure that Allow Autokey during Navigation is active.

4. Choose the keying method:

 

- Key Marked Parameters, Key All Keyable, and Key Marked Keyable all work well when autokeying camera navigation. Note that you do not actually need to mark the relevant parameters.

- Key Character Key Set typically does not work when autokeying camera navigation (unless, of course, you create a character key set for the camera parameters).

For more about the different keying methods, see Methods of Keying [Animation].

5. Activate autokeying.

 

For more about autokeying in general, see Setting Keys Automatically [Animation].

6. Navigate the camera, then change frames, and repeat.

You can also play back the scene while navigating interactively using tools like Walk, Drive, and Fly.

Notes on Autokeying Camera Navigation

Here are some things to be aware of when autokeying camera navigation:

• Autokeying navigation works only for scene cameras and spot lights, not for viewpoints like the Top, Front, Right, User, and Object views.

• Camera commands like Reset (R), Frame All (A, Shift+A), Frame Selection (F, Shift+F), and Center Selection (Alt+C) do not set keys.

• Undoing camera navigation using Alt+Z does not remove the keys that were set automatically. To remove the keys, press Ctrl+Z instead of or in addition to Alt+Z.

• If a camera is free, that is, if it has no direction constraint to a camera interest object, then autokeyed rotations are continuous, that is, they can span more than 180 degrees between frames. For more information about continuous rotations, see Making Rotations Continuous [Animation].



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