BricsCAD Journey – Part 21: 3D Navigation

The previous stop on our BricsCAD Journey wrapped up our tour of the Classic edition. In my Classic Edition post, I mentioned several features, including basic 3D navigation tools, that are supported in BricsCAD Classic even though they are, technically, 3D features. I’ve decided to cover them as part of our exploration of the Pro edition.

BricsCAD Pro includes everything I covered in BricsCAD Classic, plus 3D modeling, rendering, and support for 3rd party applications. Since much of the focus of BricsCAD Pro centers on 3D modeling, we’ll start with a tour of the 3D Navigation tools.

For easy access to 3D tools, ensure the 3D Modeling workspace is set current and RUNASLEVEL is set to Pro or Platinum.

3D Modeling workspace

View Properties

As you navigate around and through your 3D model, the location of the model in space remain constant. It’s your current view (viewpoint), of the model that’s changing. You can see the current view properties in the Properties panel when no objects are selected. The Camera (X,Y,Z) represents your location as you view the model. Pretend you’re viewing it through a camera lens. The Target (X,Y,Z) is where the camera lens is pointed. As you navigate around the model, the Camera and Target coordinates update accordingly. Those coordinates are read-only in the Properties Panel. There are other View properties that you can edit. Perspective is the most important controls to be aware of for navigation purposes.

View properties

You can set Perspective to On or Off for the current view. When set to On, the view displays in visual perspective mode (left). When set to Off, it displays in parallel perspective mode (right).

Perspective on or off

Mouse and Keyboard Navigation Options

One of the easiest and most common methods for navigating around a 3D model is with the mouse and keyboard. Simply press the Shift key and middle mouse button as you move the mouse to orbit the model. The cursor changes to an orbit icon indicating you’re in orbit mode.

Mouse and keyboard navitation

There are many other mouse and keyboard navigation methods that you’re probably familiar with from your 2D CAD experience. Most of those methods are also useful for 3D modeling. Below are a few of my favorites.

  • Zoom in/out – Roll the mouse wheel. You can zoom all the way into a model and walk around inside it when in perspective mode. In isometric mode you can only zoom in very close, but not go inside.
  • Zoom Extents – Double-click on the mouse wheel.
  • Pan – Press the mouse wheel or middle mouse button.

Refer to  the Help system for a comprehensive list of view manipulation controls using the mouse and keyboard.

LookFrom Navigation Tool

The LookFrom tool is displayed in the upper right corner of the Drawing area. It’s comparable to the ViewCube in AutoCAD. Click on different places on the LookFrom tool to display the view from standard viewpoints. By default, it includes Top, Left, Right, Front, Back, Top Back Left, Top Back Right, Top Front Left, and Top Front Right. As you pass the cursor over a viewpoint, the relevant icon appears at the center and a tooltip displays below. You can press the Ctrl key to access similar options for Bottom viewpoints.

LookFrom navigation

A right-click menu offers access to additional controls and settings. To learn more refer to BricsCAD Online Help.

LookFrom menu

What’s Next

Now that you know how to navigate around your drawing, it’s time to start modeling! Join me next time as we tour 3D Mesh Primitives.

Looking Back

If you missed the previous tours on our BricsCAD Journey, it’s never too late to catch up! First, learn about functionality in the BricsCAD Classic Edition. Then, continue on to the Pro Edition. Everything you learn about Classic also applies to Pro!

Heidi Hewett

As User Success Manager, Heidi brings her passion for learning to Bricsys, where she will work to help our customers understand the fastest path to success with BricsCAD products. During her 26-year tenure at Autodesk, Heidi worked as a Training Specialist, a Senior Applications Engineer and as a Technical Marketing Manager.

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