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Blender For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Jason van Gumster

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Navigating in Three Dimensions

The 3D View is probably the most used window type in all of Blender. It also has some of the most unique interface decisions of any 3D software program. The purpose of this section is to guide you to understanding how to wield this part of Blender like a virtual 3D ninja!

All right, so perhaps I am a little over the top with the whole ninja thing, but hopefully this section takes you at least one or two steps closer to that goal.

Orbiting, panning, and zooming the 3D View

When trying to navigate a three-dimensional space through a two-dimensional screen like a computer monitor, you can't interact with that virtual 3D space exactly like you would in the real world, or as I like to call it, meatspace. The best way to visualize working in 3D through a program like Blender is to imagine the 3D View as your eyes to this 3D world. But rather than think of yourself as moving through this environment, imagine that you have the ability to move this entire world around in front of you.

The most basic way of navigating this space is called orbiting. Orbiting is the rough equivalent of rotating the 3D world around a fixed point in space. In order to orbit in Blender, middle-click anywhere in the 3D View and drag your mouse cursor around.

Occasionally, you have the need to keep your orientation to the world, but you'll want to move it around so that you can see a different part of the scene from the same angle. In Blender, this movement is called panning, and ...

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