Orbit, Orbit Selected, Orbit Sub-Object

Command entry:Activate a Perspective or orthographic viewport. Viewport Navigation controls Orbit flyout
Command entry:Keyboard Alt+middle mouse button (3ds Max mode)
Command entry:Keyboard Alt+left mouse button (Maya mode)
Note How you navigate viewports depends on which interaction mode, 3ds Max or Maya, is active. In Maya mode, Orbit is turned off for orthographic viewports.

The Orbit flyout contains the Orbit, Orbit Selected, and Orbit Sub-Object buttons.

The Orbit function is modal: It remains active until you right-click or choose another command.

Orbit respects Angle Snap. If you turn on Angle Snap, the Orbit mouse pointer displays a magnet, and the rotation snaps by the Viewport Orbit Snap Angle setting.

Orbiting uses a hidden “virtual target” as center of rotation. Holding down the Ctrl key in Orbit mode has a special behavior: It performs a rotation of the scene around the screen’s X and Y axis (at the position of the virtual target). Moving the mouse horizontally yields rotation around world-coordinates referential Z axis. Moving the mouse vertically yields rotation around world-coordinates referential X axis. This differs from standard Orbit, in which horizontal mouse movement rotates around screen-coordinates referential Y axis.

TipAn alternative method for orbiting the viewport is the ViewCube


To use Orbit:

  1. Activate a perspective or orthographic viewport.
  2. Click (Orbit) or one of the alternatives from the same flyout.

    A view-rotation “trackball” is displayed as a yellow circle with handles placed at the quadrant points.

  3. Drag the mouse on and around the trackball to produce different types of view rotations. The cursor changes to indicate the type of rotation in effect:
    • To rotate the view freely within the viewport, drag inside the trackball. The free rotation continues while dragging even if the cursor crosses outside the trackball.
    • To constrain the rotation to the horizontal or vertical axis, drag the trackball handles. Drag horizontally on the side handles, or vertically on the top or bottom handle.
    • To rotate the view about the depth axis that is perpendicular to the screen, drag outside the trackball. When the cursor crosses inside the trackball during dragging, free rotation occurs. When the cursor crosses back outside the trackball, spinning rotation is again in effect.
  4. To exit the Orbit function, press Esc or right-click within the viewport.

To constrain rotation to a single axis:

To rotate with keyboard and mouse:


Orbit SubObject

Uses the center of the current sub-object selection as the center of rotation. The selection remains at the same position in the viewport while the view rotates around its center.

Orbit Selected

Uses the center of the current selection as the center of rotation. The selected object remains at the same position in the viewport while the view rotates around their center.


Uses the view center as the center of rotation. If objects are near the edges of the viewport, they might rotate out of view.