By Jason van Gumster

On occasion, you want to know what a model looks like when it’s viewed directly from the front, side, or top. Blender has some convenient shortcuts for quickly switching to these views. The most obvious way is to use the View menu in the 3D View’s header, as shown on the left of the figure.

This menu lets you choose a variety of angles, including the top, front, right, and the view from any of the cameras you may have in your scene.

The View menu in the 3D View (left) and the pie menu version of the View menu (right).
The View menu in the 3D View (left) and the pie menu version of the View menu (right).

You can also use this menu to switch between orthographic and perspective views. The orthographic view of a 3D scene is similar to how technical ­drawings and blueprints are done. If two objects are the same size, they always appear to be the same size, regardless of how far away from you they are.

This view is ideal for getting sizes and proportions correct in your models, especially if they’re based on blueprints or technical drawings. The perspective view is more akin to how you actually see things. That is, objects in the distance look smaller than objects that are near you.

If you have the Pie Menus add-on enabled, there’s an even faster menu for changing views. With your mouse cursor hovered over the 3D View, press Q. When you press this hotkey, a pie menu appears under your mouse cursor. The options in this pie menu are conveniently arranged for changing views.

Move your mouse cursor up to change to top view, down for bottom view, left and right for their respective views, and so on. It’s really incredibly fast. It feels almost like you’re flinging the 3D View around in front of you. On the right side of the figure is the pie version of the View menu.