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Basic 3D Terminology

If you’re new to 3D graphics, you should familiarize yourself with some basic 3D concepts. Don’t worry, it’s not hard to get around it. Knowing the concepts behind what you’re doing will give you a more complete understanding of how DAZ Studio works and how to use it.

Axes: Working with 3D on a 2D Screen

DAZ Studio allows you to work in three dimensions. However, this creates a dilemma … the viewing surface of your computer monitor is two-dimensional, and your mouse only moves on a two-dimensional plane. The images that you generate from DAZ Studio will all be two-dimensional. If your tools and output are all in 2D, how can you possibly work in 3D?

Each of the three dimensions are represented by axes, with each individual representation termed an axis. These axes are usually designated as shown in the figure below, assuming that you are looking through the default or front camera:

  • The axis that runs from left to right (width) is known as the X axis. The X axis is shown as red in the figure that follows, and also displays as red when you are using manipulators in DAZ Studio.
  • The axis that runs up and down (height) is known as the Y axis. The Y axis is shown as green in the figure that follows, and also displays as green when you are using manipulators in DAZ Studio.
  • The axis that runs front to back (depth) is known as the Z axis. The Z axis is shown as blue in the figure that follows, and also displays as blue when you are using manipulators in DAZ Studio.


Orthogonal and Perspective Views or Cameras

DAZ Studio has several pre-built cameras that allow you to view your scene from one or more different directions. You’ll find them in the View Selector menu in the top-left corner of your Viewport area. Click the name of the current viewport to open the view selection menu, and select a different view as needed. These cameras fall into one of two category types: orthogonal or perspective.


Orthogonal Cameras

Orthogonal views and cameras (highlighted in the figure below) allow you to view your scene with a “straight-on” view. The objects in your scene that are farther away will appear to be the same size as objects that are closer to you. These views are very handy for positioning objects in relation to one another, so that you can get an accurate reflection of their actual position in a scene.


There are six possible orthogonal views for any real or virtual object, and they are listed in the following order in the View selector menu: Front View, Left View, Right View, Back View, Top View, or Bottom View:

  • The Front View and Back View cameras display the objects in your scene along the X and Y axes.
  • The Left View and Right View cameras display the objects in your scene along the Y and Z axes.
  • The Top View and Bottom View cameras display the objects in your scene along the X and Z axes.

Many 3D objects, including humans, are not fully symmetrical, and you may need to view them from several orthographic directions to manipulate them. The view you select depends on what you want to change. For example consider the following while viewing the figure below:

  • You can use the Front, Back, Left, or Right camera to adjust the height (or Y dimension) of an object, or to move the object
  • You can use the Front, Back, Top, or Bottom camera to adjust the width (or X dimension) of an object or to move your object to the right or left of the screen.
  • You can use the Left, Right, Top, or Bottom camera to move a figure forward or backward in your scene (along the Z axis).


Perspective Cameras

In the first three views of the figure above, you’ll notice that the Front, Left, and Top camera views lack depth or distance from the viewer. You also might find when working with the orthographic cameras that you can’t rotate the view to view your object from a different angle. That is where perspective view cameras come into play. DAZ Studio has two perspective view cameras available in the View selector: the Default View and Perspective View. The Default Camera is an optional camera that you can add to your scene if you don’t plan on creating additional cameras.


Perspective view cameras add the element of depth to the view (that is, they more accurately display the relative size of objects that are nearer to or farther away from the camera).

For example, observe the diagram below. Let’s say that your scene contains two people … one near, the other far. Even though the people might be about the same size, the person in the distance appears smaller. This occurs because the nearer person takes up more of your field of vision than the farther person.