Doc:2.6/Manual/3D interaction/Navigating/3D View Options

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View Shading

Mode: All modes

Hotkey: Z / ⇧ ShiftZ / AltZ / ⇧ ShiftAltZ / D


Depending on the speed of your computer, the complexity of your scene, and the type of work you are currently doing, you can switch between several drawing modes:

A 3D view’s draw mode button.
Displays UV image textured models with OpenGL lighting. Neither procedural textures or non UV-mapped textures will be shown.
Approximates all textures and lighting at each vertex, and blends from one to the next. Much less accurate than using the render engine to check textures, but much faster. Note that if you have no lighting in your scene, everything will remain black.
This is the default drawing mode where surfaces are drawn as solid colors, with built-in OpenGL lighting. This draw mode is not dependent on scene light sources and can be configured in the Solid OpenGL lights group of controls from the System & OpenGL tab of the User Preferences window.
Read more about System Configuration »
Objects only consist of lines that make their shapes recognizable (e.g. the edges of meshes or surfaces…).
Bounding Box
Objects aren’t drawn at all. Instead, this mode shows only the rectangular boxes that correspond to each object’s size and shape.

You can switch between these draw modes by:

  • Using the Draw type drop-down list in the 3D views’ header (see A 3D view’s draw mode button).
  • Pressing D to pop-up the Draw mode menu.
  • Using the Z-based shortcuts as detailed below:
Draw modes and Z-based shortcuts.
Z Switches between Wireframe and Solid draw modes.
⇧ ShiftZ Switches between Wireframe and Shaded draw modes.
AltZ Switches between Solid and Textured draw modes.
⇧ ShiftAltZ Switches to the Textured draw mode.

View Properties Panel

Mode: All modes

Panel: View Properties

Menu: View » View Properties...


In addition to the header controls described above, the View Properties panel lets you set other settings regarding the 3D view. You show it with the View » View Properties... menu entry.


Control the focal length of the 3d view camera in millimeters, unlike a rendering camera
Lock to Object
By entering the name of an object in the Object field, you lock your view to this object, i.e. it will always be at the center of the view (the only exception is the active camera view, 0 NumPad).
If the locked object is an armature, you can further center the view on one of its bones by entering its name in the Bone field.
Lock to Cursor
Lock the center of the view to the position of the 3D cursor
Lock Camera to View
When in camera view, use this option to move the camera in 3D space, while continuing to remain in camera view.
Clip Start and Clip End
Adjust the minimum and maximum distances to be visible for the view-port.
Exclamation mark.png
A large clipping range will allow you to see both near and far objects, but reduces the depth precision.

To avoid this...

  • increase the near clipping when working on large scenes.
  • decrease the far clipping when objects are not viewed at a distance.

When perspective is disabled only the far Clip-End is used, very high values can still give artifacts.

This is not specific to blender, all OpenGL/DirectX graphics applications have these same limitations.


Local Camera
Active camera used in this view
3D Cursor Location
Here you can precisely specify the position of the 3D cursor


This section displays the currently selected object


Only Render
Displays only items that will be rendered.
Outline Selected
If disabled, the pink outline around your selected objects in Solid/Shaded/Textured draw types will no longer be displayed.
All Object Origins
If enabled, the center dot of objects will always be visible, even for non-selected ones (by default, unselected centers might be hidden by geometry in solid/shaded/textured shadings…).
Relationship Lines
Controls whether the dashed parenting, constraining, hooking, etc., lines are drawn.
All Edges
When wire overlay is enabled in the Object context, this options forces all of the wireframe to be displayed in the viewport.
Grid Floor
If disabled, you have no grid in other views than the orthographic top/front/side ones.
X Axis, Y Axis, Z Axis
Control which axes are shown in other views than the orthographic top/front/side ones.
Controls the number of lines that make the grid in non-top/front/side orthographic views, in both directions.
Control the scale of the grid floor
Controls the number of sub-lines that appear in each cell of the grid when you zoom in, so it is a setting specific to top/front/side orthographic views.
Control the way objects in the 3D view are shaded.
Textured Solid
Display face assigned textures in solid view.
Toggle Quad View
Toggles the four pane 3D view. Read more about arranging frames »

Background Image

Mode: All modes

Panel: Background Image

Menu: View » Properties...

A background picture in your 3D view is very helpful in many situations: modeling is obviously one, but it is also useful when painting (e.g. you can have reference pictures of faces when painting textures directly on your model…), or animation (when using a video as background), etc.

Exclamation mark.png

There are a few points worth to be noted about background images:

  • They are specific to their window (i.e. you can have different backgrounds for each of your 3D views, e.g. top/front/side images for relevant views…).
  • They are only available for Top, Side and Front (and their complementary versions) orthographic views! The picture remains the same when you switch between these six views.
  • Their size is related to the window’s zooming factor (i.e. they grow big when you zoom in, etc.).
  • You can use video files and animated sequences.


The Background Image panel.

Blender manages this feature through the Background Image menu on the view properties panel (N). The option box at the top of this panel toggles the Background Image feature on/off. By default, there is only space for one image. The settings can be accessed by LMB Template-LMB.png the white triangle.

Once enabled, you can add an image by selecting an existing datablock, or loading a new image. The Axis menu defines which views the image will appear in. Additional images can be added by LMB Template-LMB.png the Add Image button. When the image is loaded, the following settings become available.

Specifies what type of file is being used. Depending on the selected type, several options will appear below:
Use an image file
Source File
Represents the actual file that is linked to the current datablock. Supported formats include bmp, gif, jpg, png, tga, and tif.
a sequence of numbered image files
Set the number of image files to use in the sequence
Sets the frame number to start on
Offsets the number of the frame used in the sequence
Sets the number of fields per rendered frame
Auto Refresh
Always refresh the image on frame changes
Cycle the images in the sequence
Use a movie file:
Match Movie Length
Set the number of frames to match the movie
Use a image generated in Blender:
Width, Height
Set the width and height if the image in pixels
Generates a blank image
UV Grid
Creates a grid for testing UV mappings
Color Grid
Creates a colored grid for testing UV mappings


This slider controls the transparency of the background image (from 0.0 – fully opaque – to 1.0 – fully transparent).


Controls the size, or scale, of the picture in the 3D view (in Blender units). This is a scalar value so that width and height of the background image are each multiplied by the value to determine the size at which the background image is displayed. If one wishes to change the proportions of the image, it must be done in an impage processing program, such as GIMP.

X Offset, Y Offset

The horizontal and vertical offset of the background image in the view (by default, it is centered on the origin), in Blender units.
Blender3D FreeTip.png
Use Lo-Res Proxy
To improve PC performance when using background images you may have to use lower-resolution proxies. If your monitor resolution is 800×600, then the background image, full screen, without zooming, only needs to be 800×600. If your reference image is 2048×2048, then your computer is grinding away throwing away pixels. Try instead to take that 2k×2k image, and scale it down (using Blender, or Gimp) to, for example, 512×512. You will have sixteen times the performance, with no appreciable loss of quality or exactness. Then, as you refine your model, you can increase the resolution.