Introduction: 1.3. Navigation | Learn SelfCAD

About: Student at the Faculty of Civil Engineering at the Silesian University of Technology

1.1. Introduction
1.2. Interface
1.3. Navigation
1.4. Preferences
1.5. Workspace Settings
1.6. Environment Settings
2.1 Dollhouse project, part 1
2.2. Dollhouse project, part 2
2.3. Windows
2.4. Beds
2.5. Armchair & Sofa
2.6. Chairs & Table
3.1. 3D Print - Slicer interface
3.2. 3D Print - Settings

Before you start modeling you have to know how to rotate the scene, move the camera, zoom in, zoom out, etc. It's important to feel convenient in using the editor to quickly model interesting objects.

There are several ways to navigate in SelfCAD.

Step 1: Mouse Navigation

The basic navigation tool is a mouse.

Having the cursor positioned in the editor:
- click the left mouse button and move your mouse to rotate the scene. Left-click also selects a single object/region and is used in most of the tools.
- use the middle mouse button to move the camera on the plane
- roll the wheel to zoom-in or zoom-out the scene
- use the right mouse button to select objects or regions.

But what you can do if you do not use a mouse? Then you probably have a touchpad or mouse with one button and it's enough. You can simply change the functions of the left button next to the Rotation Cube. Learn more about it in the next steps. For selection you can use the Marquee Selection button - it is the same type of selection.

Step 2: Keyboard Navigation

In SelfCAD, you can do many operations using your keyboard. There are keyboard shortcuts for almost everything, also for camera navigation. You can use arrows to move the camera, +/- signs to zoom in/out "0" (zero) button to reset the camera and spacebar to switch projection mode.

You can find the full list of keyboard shortcuts in the Help Center.

Step 3: Camera: Camera Position

You can also use Camera settings. You can find it in the Settings drop-down list. There you can find several camera options. The first two sliders determine the accurate position and rotation of the camera. In fact, they both are rarely used because it's much more comfortable to change camera position using mouse buttons.

Step 4: Camera: Zoom Towards the Mouse

Zoom towards the mouse is a very useful option and I suggest you have it always turned on. It causes that the center of zooming is where your cursor is, which saves many mouse moves.

Step 5: Camera: Projection Mode

There are two types of projection in SelfCAD: Perspective projection and Orthographic projection.

In Perspective projection you see the scene in the same way as you see the world with your eyes. The further an object is placed, the smaller you see it.

In Orthographic projection all objects are cast on flat a surface. In this mode, you see all edges with their exact dimensions.

Step 6: Rotation Cube

Rotation cube is a powerful tool for navigation. It consists of a big cube and three buttons.

Step 7: Rotation Cube: Cube

The cube shows what is the direction of the camera. For example in the situation from the picture, we are looking from the top-left-front corner of the scene. You can rotate the scene by rotating the cube (using left mouse button) or by clicking on faces, edges and vertices of the cube. For example, it is often useful to click the top face of the cube and place the camera above the workspace looking directly downwards.

Step 8: Rotation Cube: Projection Mode

It is the second way to change projection mode.

Step 9: Rotation Cube: Reset Camera

Sometimes you can get lost on the scene. In such situations use the Reset Camera button. It moves the camera to the top-front-right corner of the project and rotates so that it looks at point 0, 0, 0.

Step 10: Rotation Cube: Left Mouse Button

The last button defines how the left mouse button works. By default, it rotates the camera, but you can also set it to zoom the camera or move it. This possibility can be really useful if you don't use a mouse.

Step 11: Next Lesson

Now, when you know how to move and rotate the scene, you can learn more about the settings in SelfCAD. First, adjust the app to your preferences.

Click here to open the next lesson.