Orbiting and Zooming Objects in the 3DS Max Viewport

Modeling an object in the active Viewport involves  a lot of Orbiting and Zooming, therefore it is very important to master how it is done. This may sound simple for Pros, but for starters, it takes a lot of practice and familiarization.

In this simple Tutorial, I will be showing you the most common ways to do it.


“Zooming” as the word suggests lets you take a closer look at an object in your Active Viewport perhaps to manipulate or to check whether its texture is properly applied.

1. The most common way when you are new to 3DS Max is to select the object,  and by using the Middle Mouse you try to slowly roll the Mouse Wheel towards the target object in the Viewport. This is fine, but this doesn’t allow for smooth Zooming, and when working with complex scenes with loads of objects, using this method may work against your favor.


2. Another way is to just click on the “Zoom Toggle” as shown below and by pointing the “Magnifying Glass Icon” unto your target object you can simply drag the left mouse button forward to Zoom or backward to Unzoom. You will notice how smooth the Viewport moves as you get closer to an object. Using this allows you to pinpoint more accurately a Vertex of a Spline or an Edge of a Polygon.


3. This has to be my favorite method of Zooming in 3DS Max. By selecting the target object and by pressing ” Z” on your keyboard, it will instantly zoom in to the object within the blink of an eye. You can use this with vertices, faces or edges of polygons as well.

Note: If you press Z without selecting the object first, it will Zoom all the objects inside your scene instead of just one. Please also note that you should be in the “Perspective” Viewport for this to work, try it in Orthographic and it will not have the same result.


1. The first method of doing this is by using the middle mouse and the ALT key on your keyboard. This is the more commonly used way of Orbiting in 3DS Max. Most users prefer this due to the fact that: you don’t have to open or select anything on the panel, and that the Active Viewport is free from any annoying Gizmo that might block your view.

You can try this Method by pressing the ALT key and the Middle Mouse simultaneously, and by selecting anywhere on your Active Viewport, you can then Orbit around an Object or group of Objects in your scene. If working with several objects, you might need to select the target object first and zoom unto it by pressing Z. It is more effective when the object is selected first before you Orbit although it is not necessary.


2. The second one is as simple as the first. Just press CTRL+R and a circular gizmo should appear in your Viewport. Use the icon to orbit in any direction using the left mouse button. A lot of 3DS Max users prefer this because it doesn’t require you to select a model hence less computation and memory usage allowing for faster Orbiting.


3D Studio Max has given us some options for Zooming and Orbiting within the Viewport. One may prefer a method over the other for many different reasons. Let us know your preferred method by adding your comments below.


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