3D navigation essentials

To navigate in the 3D Viewport window Viewport, you can use the navigation tools to track, tumble, dolly, or look around. You can select the appropriate tool on the toolbar and click and drag the mouse in the Viewport window Viewport. Alternatively, these actions can be applied any time using a modifier. The following table describes navigation actions:

Frame tool Frame+ click

Frame the selection (or the whole scene if the selection is empty) in all 3D viewports.

Pan tool Pan+ click / Press Alt+scroll wheel

Pan/track the camera horizontally or parallel to the view plane.

Dolly tool Zoom+ click / Press Alt+right-click

Dolly/zoom the camera toward or away from the point of interest.

Tumble tool Rotate+ click / Press Alt+left-click

Tumble/rotate the camera around the point of interest.

Look around tool Lookaround + click / Press B+click

Rotate the camera around its eye. This can help to create bookmarks for 360 VR exports.

Press F

Frame the selection (or the whole scene if the selection is empty).

Press arrow keys

Move the camera left, right, forward, or backward.

Press A

Frame the whole scene.

Press N

Turn the camera's view direction toward north while keeping the view angle to the ground.

Press Shift+N

Turn the camera's view direction vertically down and rotate the scene so north is up.

Press X, Y, or Z

Turn the camera's view to respectively align to the x-, y-, or z-axis. This allows you to quickly see front, back, top, bottom, and side views.

Press H

Reset the camera to the default position.

Press Spacebar

Maximize 3D Viewport. The active 3D Viewport is maximized and fills the entire CityEngine window. Press the Spacebar again to restore the previous window layout.

Right-click Viewport then Toggle Fullscreen

Make 3D Viewport fullscreen. To return to the normal mode, press Esc or click the same context menu entry.

You can click an object to select it or drag a selection rectangle and press F to frame the selection. Then you can rotate, pan, or zoom in and out to explore the object and CityEngine scene.


  • The CityEngine preferences (Edit > Preferences > General > Navigation Devices > Mouse) allow you to change the mouse navigation schemes according to the schemes of other 3D applications.

    If you have a 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse device (https://www.3dconnexion.com/), click Edit > Preferences > General > Navigation Devices > 3D Mouse to set the scheme.

  • Linux users may want to change the modifier key mapping for navigation to the Ctrl key since some window managers catch the Alt key.