3D navigation in HitFilm is not good

edited July 2015 in Express Support

Coming from different 3d software and then trying to do 3d in hitfilm, imho the 3d navigation in hitfilm is not good and not intuitive.

Why is there a need to use ctrl+rmb to orbit, rmb to pan? Why the change from standards?
Its so common in 3d appz to use alt+lmb to orbit, alt+rmb to zoom, mmb to pan or shift+alt+lmb to pan for macs that don't have mmb.
In windows its common to use alt for most navigation combos.  Is there a conflict with other functions in hf for alt?

Another issue is the orbit in hf is based on the mouse pointer. Its a good option but for most cases its one of the reason why an area or object in focus gets out of focus in the viewport because you click on an infinite empty space to orbit around and your objects gets out of viewport. The user constantly has to pan to put the object on the center of the viewport again.
The orbit should be circling around close to the object. Just try 3dcoat, lightwave, modo orbit.


  • Thanks for feedback. Any other 3D software users out there? If so, let us know what you'd like to see implemented for 3D navigation, so that we can build a comprehensive user story for it.

  • Just chiming in to say I agree with the above, alt+ mouse click is the standard in essentially every mainstream DCC application, as well as pretty much every other application with a 3d viewport. 

    As far as orbit/rotation control for navigation, it's common practice to orbit around the currently selected object, or if no object is selected then in most cases it defaults to rotating around the world centre (0,0,0) or last selected object (usually user configurable)

  • edited July 2015

    I agree, navigation in HitFilm's 3D space is cumbersome at times.

    For me the biggest issue is Chibi's second point, the orbit point of the perspective view. Each time you orbit, HitFilm guesses what point in the 3D space your mouse cursor points at and orbits around that point - and this guessing doesn't really work that great and is sometimes hard to reproduce. It certainly doesn't feel natural.

    In most programs (I'm specifically having blender in mind here), the camera always orbits either around the actually selected object, or around a point that's always in the center of the camera's view (which is the default mode I think). This point's z-position also is never guessed, but set to a default value at the beginning (like, the center of the coordinate system). This pivot point stays exactly in the center of the camera's view at all times. It's relative position to the camera only ever changes on the camera's local z axis, and even that only happens when moving the camera along it's z axis by using the mouse wheel (or ctrl+right click drag). In this case, the pivot point will stay where it is, thus allowing the camera a wider orbit around it.

    By implementing this behaviour, the user always knows exactly what point the camera will orbit around, and how it will behave - because the pivot point does not change it's position unless the user explicitly wants that.

    Another thing to make navigation easier, is to prevent camera roll along it's local z axis. In HitFilm, it's quite easy to get the ground floor to be tilted in relation to the camera. In a normal scenario, I will ALWAYS want to have the camera's local x axis (left to right) aligned with the floor plane. That way, a movement of the mouse (which is inherently 2D) will only have to be translated to a rolling movement on 2 axes, not 3. It feels more natural, is easier to predict and prevents me from having a messed up floor plane I can't get straight in the viewport anymore.

    A little disclaimer at the end: I would expect this behaviour, especially that last paragraph, only from the perspective view, thus exploring the scene, making adjustments, going around quickly etc. If you're viewing the scene throught the active camera and try to set up the actual camera for the scene, other controls might be more suitable.

    Finally, button combos. Again I agree, those are implemented unconventionally in HitFilm. In blender, I use the mmb (doesn't really matter if rmb or mmb though) to orbit, shift+mmb to pan, and the mouse wheel or ctrl+mmb to zoom. I guess in HitFilm you pan with a simple right click, because in traditional video, you have no orbit, and panning is what the most frequent navigation on the canvas is. This may also apply to the active camera view, but in perspective view, other principles apply, as most often you will orbit more frequently than pan.

  • I was just thinking about this yesterday while navigating the 3D viewport. I have to agree with all of the above specifically about rotating around a selected object or around the camera's center. It's hard to quickly spin a quarter turn and make an adjustment.

    Photoshop Extended

  • "alt+ mouse click is the standard in essentially every mainstream DCC application, as well as pretty much every other application with a 3d viewport. "

    Yep. Most appz have adapted the Maya navigation style. Its easy and intuitive.

  • Again, very useful, thanks. This gives me something to build into a detailed user story so that it can be passed on to the devs.

  • IMO, the viewport on the 3D Model Import dialogue screen (where you add the textures) is closer to how the 3D navigation viewport should be. It's easy to spin and zoom in and out on a model. A 3D scene should be more like that.

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