1B-2: Setting The View: Quick Guide


Preparing The Viewport

As we know from photography, setting the camera to capture a good view (a good visual composition) is one of the most basic and most important tasks, and it’s no different when it comes to renderings. Ideally you want to set up correct camera views as soon as possible. This will let you know which part of the model needs more attention, and which parts you may even completely ignore (if they are not going to be visible in the final image).

Matching Viewport To Rendering Resolution

Comparing the final image we have to what we see in Rhino viewport shows us an obvious problem: our final image is square (1080 x 1080px), while our Rhino viewport shows some random proportion, depending on how big Rhino window is.

In order to correctly set camera, it’s important that your viewport has the same proportions as the final image. Otherwise, you’ll see one thing in the viewport and then the different image/composition in the final rendering:

render-viewportNote the great difference between our composition in the final image and what we see in the viewport.

In order to avoid this consistency, we need to set the viewport size to the same proportions to what we have in the final rendered image (which is 1:1).

We do this by changing the Width and Height of the Viewport in Properties tab (make sure the correct viewport is active, and that we have no objects selected – otherwise we’ll see Object properties here, not the viewport properties).


Here’s the video of how I did this – you’ll notice that I also made the viewport bigger, in order to get the bigger view (which in return has “sacrificed” the viewport above it):

Now what we see in viewport is looking exactly the same as the composition we have in the rendering. This means that now we can accurately set our view in Rhino knowing that we will get the same visual composition when we render.


Better Looking Viewport

Of course, the problem with our viewport is that its linear view doesn’t tell us much about how the actual image will look like, but that’s no problem because we can change its looks.
Click on a small arrow next to Perspective button and select “Artistic” to get the following style:

style-artArtistic viewport style lets us preview lighting in viewport.

Or if you installed free Neon Renderer plug-in, you can choose even better viewport style:

style-neonNeon plug-in allows for very high quality (but slow) preview in the viewport.

As you see, both Artistic and Neon (if installed) viewport styles help us get the better idea on how our scene will look like even without having to render a preview.

Manipulating The Camera

Using Keyboard + Mouse With The Camera

The quickest way to “explore” the 3D model is to manipulate view (camera) quickly using a combination of keyboard and mouse shortcuts.

Here are the most common combinations:

Rotate camera around target* = Right Mouse Button (RMB)

Look around* = CTRL Key + ALT Key + RMB

Zoom in/out = CTRL Key + RMB or Mouse Wheel

Pan camera = SHIFT Keye + RMB

Please note the difference between “Rotate around target” and “Look around”:


You should practice a lot and get familiar with these shortcuts as you will be using them a lot. Here’s how they work in practice, in order to find an interesting view:

For more complete overview of the keyboard+mouse camera shortcuts, see this:


Changing Camera Lenses

As in real life, in our 3D programs we can change the camera’s “lenses” which will affect how much space around we will see through our camera. By default, Rhino’s cameras use 50mm lenses, which is not very wide angle. Let’s change the lens to 28mm and compare the two views side by side:


Notice the following on these images:

Fixing Verticals

When we take photos of architecture (in real life), very often we are forced to point camera up which results in vertical lines converging in perspective – something we’d normally want to fix in Photoshop (see this tutorial on how to fix perspective in Photoshop).

We can fix this in Rhino directly simply by choosing 2-Point Perspective for our camera:

two-perspThe difference between normal Perspective (left) and Two Point Perspective (right).

Showing And Dragging Camera Position

Finally, there’s another very accurate way to move camera, by actually dragging camera position and its target directly in other viewports, as if it was the same as any other object in Rhino.

To show the camera position in other viewports, click F6 or pick “Show Camera” from the following menu that opens when we click a little arrow next to the viewport name:


What happens is that we suddenly see the “camera cone”in other viewports, and we can use that to move (and accurately place) the camera:

By now you have learned the basic camera manipulation technique that should be enough for the Rhino Safari exercise!

Related Tutorials

Mandatory: To continue the Rhino Safari homework, take a look at the following tutorial:

Optional: If you want to know more about view manipulation, check this tutorial which covers the material in greater detail. I highly recommend you see the part of the tutorial called “Named Views”!

Rhino #2: Setting Up The Views
Camera control is one of the essential parts of creating impactful architectural images. Here's a complete guide on how to control the camera and views in Rhino.


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