3D Viewport

In the first in our series of Blender 3D Basics classes, Ethan Davis introduces Blender’s fundamental interface: the 3D Viewport. You’ll cover the key elements of the viewport, including its various menus and functions.

Basic tools explained by Ethan include the Selection, Cursor, Move, Rotate, Scale and Transform tools. You’ll also discover overlays and viewport shading, as well as the Layer panel.

As with many aspects of Blender, the viewport is highly customisable, and Ethan offers his tips for achieving a smoother, cleaner workflow.

You may also wish to refer to the Viewport entry in our 3D CGI Terminology A-Z.

Questions? Please post them below.


  1. Mofe Koloh

    Hi Ethan, my axis view tool looks different from yours, mine is more simplified and I can’t click and drag on it like you are on 14:10, can you help me, I don’t know if mine is set correctly or if there’s a setting I need to turn on to make it look like you’re. I’m using blender 3.2 btw

    1. Hi Mofe, it sounds like you have the “Simple” navigation gizmo enabled.

      To change this, go Edit > Preferences, then from the preferences dialogue box, choose Viewport > Display > 3D Viewport Axis > Interactive Navigation.

      Then go to the “burger” menu on the bottom right (three horizontal lines) and choose Save Preferences, this should make the Interactive Navigation gizmo your default setup.


  2. Gary Stasiuk

    Question about scaling an object as opposed to physically changing the size.. lets say you start with a cube (10 x 10 x 10).. but you want something 20 x 10 x 12. Is there a difference to the final outcome where modifiers or bump maps are applied if you scale the object to get those proportions, or should you be resizing the object by repositioning the vertices? Is the scale baked into the shape after the scale, or is the scale always retained in the objects history as a modifier in some fashion?

    1. Corey (KTE Team)

      Hi Gary, thanks for the question.
      I’m a Cinema 4D user mainly but from my understanding of Blender, if you scale in Edit Mode, this is essentially applied and does not affect the numeric scale, your transform tab will remain at 1.000 on the XY&Z scale parameters.

      If you scale in Object Mode, this affects your object’s scale.

      For example, doubling the X scale on the basic cube in Object mode would show Scale values of X: 2.0, Y:1.0, Z:1.0, and the Dimensions would show X:4m, Y:2m, Z:2m. The software remembers the set base value as 1.0.
      If you then “apply” (Cmd/Ctrl + A) the transformation, the Scale values will now be hard set to 1.0, but the dimensions will stay as 4x2x2.
      There are some instances where you wouldn’t want to apply your transforms, but for the most part, especially with static meshes, you will want to do so. Modifiers, materials and rigging can experience issues with non-applied transforms, such as stretching.

      You can see the effects of this with a checker texture. On the basic cube, plug a “Checker Texture” into the base colour, add a “Texture Coordinate” node and plug the “Object” option into the “Vector” of the “Checker Texture”. Now try scaling in edit mode, then object both with and without applying the transform and you should see the effects of this.

      Hope that helps!

  3. Gary Stasiuk

    Question about the render engine. Can you set up the render engine to be cycles through the camera view, and then a different faster renderer when you switch back to perspective view or in that general roaming view, so as you shift back and forth between views, it remembers… or is it an all views applied?

    1. EthanDavis

      Hi Gary, Once you select a render engine, it is for both camera and perspective view. It would offer drastically different results if you were to switch as render engines and particularly Eevee and Cycles are built for different purposes. As well as this different render engines require different material setups and light setups and would most likely not work.

      I’d stick to Cycles if you’re trying to get the best result, or even try Octane which is also free.


  4. Thanks Ethan & Karl for getting this up on the site… looks like I am off to the races!

Leave a Comment