About cameras and views

In a 3D workspace, everything is seen from the viewpoint of a camera. If you want to export your project specifically from a camera view, you must add a scene camera. When you add a scene camera to a project, additional reference cameras become available to help you see your composition from various angles, such as top, bottom, left, and right. Scene cameras are used for rendering output when you export your project; what you see through the scene camera represents your final render. Reference cameras are not used for rendering.

Scene cameras

There are two types of scene cameras to choose from in the Camera Inspector:

  • Framing: Sets the camera origin (or anchor point) at the focal plane (a plane perpendicular to the camera’s local Z axis—in other words, perpendicular to your line of sight as you look at the Canvas). The position of a Framing camera’s origin makes it useful for orbiting moves—rotating the camera causes it to orbit.

    Canvas showing difference between Framing camera and Viewpoint camera
  • Viewpoint: Sets the camera origin (or anchor point) at the center of projection, “inside” the virtual camera. Rotating a Viewpoint camera causes it to pivot—also known as panning (horizontal) or tilting (vertical).

    For more information, see Controls in the Camera Inspector.

You set the scene camera type (Framing or Viewpoint) in the Camera Inspector. Scene cameras appear in the Layers list and Canvas (as wireframe objects that you can move and rotate to change your point of view).

Reference cameras

There are two types of views provided by the reference cameras:

  • Orthogonal: Views the scene by looking straight down one of the world axes: X, Y, or Z. The Front and Back cameras look straight down the Z axis. The Top and Bottom cameras look straight down the Y axis. The Left and Right cameras look straight down the X axis. Orthogonal views do not show perspective.

  • Perspective: Views the scene with perspective distortion, the way a real-world camera would. (Scene cameras also view the scene in perspective.)

    Reference camera views are selected in the Canvas, via the Camera pop-up menu or the 3D compass.

Reference cameras do not appear as objects in the Layers list or Canvas, nor can they be manipulated like a scene camera.

Canvas showing object with no rotation, rotated in orthogonal camera view, and in perspective camera view