Using a 3D View to preview scenes

05.01.2017 @ Tutorials(Blender, Tip)

Do you find your­self con­stant­ly switch­ing in and out of cam­era view while work­ing in Blender? There’s a bet­ter way!

Just keep a sep­a­rate 3D View to pre­view your scene while you work on anoth­er. You can use this view to ren­der in the view­port, check com­po­si­tion or ani­ma­tion as you move things around. Making a view­port for pre­views is easy. The first step is to make a new 3D View by split­ting some edi­tor. I usu­al­ly do it above the Outliner or the Properties Editor.

The next step is the most impor­tant bit: Detach the 3D view.

You’ve prob­a­bly noticed that when you change a set­ting in a 3D View, it also changes it in any oth­ers you have open. Detaching a 3D view sep­a­rates it from the rest and lets you set it up on it’s own.

With that out of the way, let’s start by enabling all lay­ers. Since we have detached this View, these lay­ers will only be active here. You can enable all 20 lay­ers at once or you can acti­vate them as you go, just remem­ber they won’t affect the final ren­der. Blender will only use the lay­ers active in the “main” 3D View for ren­der­ing.

We’re going to use this edi­tor to check our scene as it’s seen from the cam­era, so go ahead and set it to cam­era view (press­ing numpad 0). I per­son­al­ly pre­fer to keep the area out­side the cam­era dark to focus bet­ter on com­po­si­tion. The french (and Blender) call this passep­a­rtout.

To use it, select the cam­era first. Then look into the cam­era tab of the Properties Editor and scroll to the Display pan­el. Enable “Passepartout” and set it to about 0.95. This is enough to help you focus on what’s in front of the cam­era but still translu­cent enough to check around it. Don’t for­get to check the com­po­si­tion guides while you’re in the cam­era tab.

We’ve got our view set up, but there’s still a lot of dis­tract­ing stuff we don’t need. Let’s remove them and add some fan­cy to our pre­view.

Open the N‑panel (press­ing N), scroll down to the Display pan­el and tick “Render only”. This will hide lamps, emp­ties, and oth­er objects that aren’t ren­dered. Also untick “Grid Floor” and enable “World Background”, so you can get a clos­er idea of what the scene looks ren­dered. Scroll down and enable Ambient Occlusion for extra cool­ness.

Finally, hide the manip­u­la­tors and enable Render Border in the Render tab of the Properties Editor. You can also use mat­caps if you’re sculpt­ing, it can even be a dif­fer­ent mat­cap than the one you use in the main 3D View.

If you want to save a cou­ple pix­els you can also hide the head­er. Simply click on it’s top bor­der and drag it down.

Here’s the final result on a scene I’ve been work­ing on (still WIP). The pre­view edi­tor has been an enor­mous help in get­ting every­thing orga­nized, as well as doing pre­view the final ren­der.

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