Navigating 3D Models and Animations

Note: Reviews using the 3D Model Viewer are currently only available to customers on our Team, Enterprise and Education Plus plans.  Models with animation are only supported on the Enterprise and Education Plus plans. 

Customers on Free, Indie and the legacy Pro plans can continue to annotate 3D models and animations from SketchFab as previously.

Moving the Camera


When you activate the Camera Navigation tool in the 3D Model Viewer, Orbit is the default navigation mode. The Orbit mode lets you easily rotate the camera around the model, helping you to quickly inspect your model from any angle.

Camera Navigation can be activated as a mode by clicking the icon at the lower toolbar or in  the upper right tool group in the viewport.  It can also be activated momentarily when the brush tools are active by holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac); releasing the key will return to brush mode.

While orbiting the camera in Camera Navigation mode, you can Rotate the camera (revolve it around a target), Pan the virtual camera object horizontally and vertically, or Dolly (move the virtual camera object closer to or farther from the target).  The controls available include cursor  controls used with keyboard modifiers, input device controls (mouse buttons, trackpad gestures etc.), and the onscreen "dragger" controls in the upper right of the viewport.

Orbit mode Description Windows controls Mac controls Onscreen dragger
Rotate Revolves the camera around a target from a certain distance Left-click+ drag in viewport  
Pan Moves the camera laterally without rotation, shifting the target point

Middle-click + drag

Dolly Moves the camera object closer to or farther from from the target Right-click + drag in viewport Two fingers or scroll wheel

Setting the Orbit Target 

Orbit mode intrinsically needs a target.  This defaults to the origin of the model. There are several ways to set or move a target for the camera to orbit around:

  1. Double-click an object surface.  This will set the target in the center of that object's bounding box.
  2. Use the Pan control.  This moves the camera's target along with the virtual camera object. Since you cannot change the distance of the target by using this control, it's generally the least useful method.
  3. The Object Selection Tool.  This includes a function that sets the target more precisely to a specific object, and can also reframe the view.  See below for details.
  4. The Default View Preset controls (X, Y, Z and ¾) will pop the view of the model back to the common orthographic views or a three-quarters view, resetting the camera target to the origin of the view.
  5. The A key will center all of the model in the viewport.

Flythrough Mode

The second interactive navigation mode available in SyncSketch is Flythrough mode. In this mode, you control the camera object much as you would in a game, using WASD keyboard controls for the X and Z axes and a mouse or similar to rotate the camera. There are onscreen controls to move in the Y axis.

FlythroughControlsTo access Flythrough mode, click the paper airplane icon.  The Orbit controls are replaced with Flythrough controls.  The directional diamond moves the camera left and right, forward and back; the controls to the right move it up and down. 

Speed controls

The number is a speed multiplier that can be adjusted by direct numeric entry or by dragging horizontally.  Alternatively, modifier keys can be used to momentarily speed up to slow down the movement for increased speed or increased precision.

Control Description Windows control Mac control Onscreen control
Rotate Rotates the camera object around its own origin Drag in the viewport
Forward Moves the camera object forward on the Z axis W
Left Moves the camera object left on the X axis A
Reverse Moves the camera object backward on the Z axis S
Right Moves the camera object right on the X axis D
Up Moves the camera object Up on the Y axis E
Down Moves the camera object Up on the Y axis Q
Accelerate While moving, increase the speed Hold Option, release to return to normal speed Tap Alt. Tap Ctrl to return to normal speed

Increase speed multiplier value

Decelerate While moving, decrease the speed Tap Command Tap Ctrl Decrease speed multiplier value

Note: Flythrough mode tends to disrupt Orbit mode's targeting, so switching back to Orbit mode usually requires specifying a new target using one of the methods described above.

Note: Due to browser quirks, flythrough may require dragging once in the window with the camera mode selected at the bottom of the viewer window before the keyboard controls work.  We're still seeing what we can do about that.

You can drag from the center of the four-way control out to the direction controls in the same manner as the Pie menu. 

You can double-click distinct objects in the scene to redirect camera rotation in the direction of the object.


Object Selection Mode

This tool lets you identify distinct objects, select them and focus the viewport in on them.  You can even hide them. 

Once you select this tool (using the Q key or clicking the icons appearing in the lower toolbar or in the upper right corner of the viewport), hovering over objects in a scene highlights them in pink, and clicking them selects them. 

Objects clicked while holding the Shift key will be added to the selection, or if already selected will be deselected.  Control-Shift-I will invert the selection.

Pressing Shift-F will target selected objects and frame them in the viewport.  Pressing Shift-H will hide them and Alt- (or Option-) H will restore all hidden objects.


Object Selection Mode is particularly useful when reviewing textures using the UV Window.  See Using the UV Window in the 3D Model Viewer for details.