Names ortho views not logical to newbies

my title read
names of Ortho views no doubt national agreement but not logical to newbies.
got 60 chars warning.

Place a farm tractor in Rhino, Top will be view of its top, front a view of its front, rotate it to get that.
so far so good.
right a view of its right (offside in car terms, aka Drivers side if UK) NO ! its a view of its left side, so to see its right choose left and vice versa.
Bottom is a view of its underside, back a view of its rear end., that works.

Is there a way of altering this so right is its right side or is that it ?
I am sure a lot of folk starting in 3D find this somewhat back to front to what they expect.

ortho views tractor.3dm (93.8 KB)


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This is 3D 100-level stuff, basic drafting standards stuff. The solution is explaining the principle to newbies, not abandoning it just because some objects have what they colloquially call a ‘right’ or ‘left’ side that is opposite to this. That’s going to screw up their ability to communicate with anyone who’s used CAD for more than 1 hour.

I have had to train people who were so new to 3D CAD that they had to get used to the fact they could actually rotate their view around an object without actually rotating the object in the 3D space. This issue was not a problem.

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The view is the direction from which you are viewing the scene. Any coincidence with an object such as your tractor is entirely dependent on which way it is pointing within the scene…

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I posted this so newbies would understand. and view ‘right’ is not view from the right, where they then think thats from the right of the tractor so still would see right side of it, its the right of centre in the top view, so with front having been allocated to front of tractor, the left side is seen from a location right of centre !
and no reason to allocate front to front of tractor, I did that as a newbie might, it could be allocated to the side !
Not every object has a right or a front so its done this way to be internationally understood.
Lesson ch1 verse 1 done.

You are right - I made the same comment about right view versus left view about a decade ago. JimCarruthers replied with the following picture:

The same confusing convention was debated at Fusion 360 forum: Solved: Why left is right and right is left ? - Autodesk Community

Some conventions are difficult to change. For example, real direction of electric current (flow of electrons in wires) is opposite the conventional direction because the convention was set in stone before electrons were discovered.

Rhino should give us the option to reverse the names of left and right views.

There’s more than enough 3d programs out there that aim for newbies from my point of view. They are very often also limited because of this “userfriendliyness”, like e.g. 3Design or SketchUp.

Others have started with SketchUp because its easier to make some cubes, but they all finished by usining rhino because there’s near to no limits, even if it’s more complex/detailed.

reading a plan seems like a easily learnable basis of 3d modeling and will help in printed plans as well… great and easily understandable illustration from @JimCarruthers in any case!


I wonder if you may be referring to first angle projection, which is an alternative convention
Here’s a comparison of first versus third angle projection:

That discussion is about two standards for placement of views relative to one another on a piece of “paper”.

You will note that regardless of where it is placed relative to the others the view looking at the left side of the object is labelled “left”, the view looking at the right side is labelled “right”, etc.

I think Steve (and the others who have complained about this) are talking about the way Rhino names the views.

It was setting right to a tractor in metashape and ending up with LEFT SIDE that had me look at Rhino and found same, so its convention, even if its a bit confusing at first, one soon remembers to click left for right side etc. I have had it after using Cplanes that top is then bottom, front is side, all sorts of things, and makes me reluctant to play with Cplanes and restore Cplane etc.

If there is a setting where the right is right and left is left, top is top etc, then I am up for that !


There’s a reason the viewports are named for the direction you are looking into the scene. Suppose that instead of one toy tractor you had three:


…and I suppose if there was an option to have left side of a single item called LEFT, taking that into a another project with normal convention views might cause problems ?

If there was an option to name the view for that one project if such mayhem if ever exported out didnt happen then that might appeal to some.

P.S nice tractor, found it or created it ?

Like this?

Just take the right view and save it as a named view, calling it something different. Save the left view as another. You’ll still have the standard left and right views to fall back on.

Created it for a childrens’ story concept.

Hi Steve,
Rhino is doing it properly, recall first year drafting and your projection techniques to get the “end view”

You’re forgetting views are based on a projection from the user looking at the object. Notice to viewers right what you would get is what Rhino displays. In the old days we called that an “end view” your getting confused with stage left and right and audience left and right. @jeremy5 sums it up perfectly.
I’ve attached this little image from when my dad took drafting in the fifties through a correspondence course before he became a tool and die maker.

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Your argument is valid when it is not clear which view is the front view. If there is only one object which has clear front end and rear end (person, tractor, airplane), many CAD users would prefer to reverse the names of left and right views. I always prefer the reversed names.

I find the simplest way to get your head around this is to think of the 3D workspace as a stage, you’re in the audience and your tractor is an actor/prop on the stage facing you. ‘Left’ view is the view from your left, which will show the tractor’s right side.

This makes even more sense if the model you’re making is a laptop computer, when it is open it is facing you, but when you refer to the ‘left side’ of it you’re talking about your left, not its left.

My advice would be to go with the flow, get used to the conventions rather than trying to change everything to suit what you’d expect, in my experience there’s always something unforeseen down the line that bites you if you customize too soon.

Fully agree, stage example and laptop etc. one gets used to selecting left to view items RHS.
if one wants to avoid confusion there is the naming views as shown, .


This has been a very informative and interesting discussion for me. As a vehicle designer for many years I have always had a single object (the vehicle) frame of reference. Even when designing detailed parts they were usually designed in vehicle orientation. The views were always named with respect to the vehicle, not the parking lot. It certainly seemed very intuitive - one might say the only logical and common sense way of naming them.

A related issue is the coordinate system: X was always front-to-back, ie: positive X increased from front to back. Y was always lateral with positive Y increasing from vehicle left to vehicle right. Z was vertical and positive up.

It has become obvious from the discussion that there are design activities where this might not make sense and a different way of looking at things has evolved. I am still trying to wrap my head around this and am having difficulty because I am having trouble imagining the situations where it would make sense and why it would. Lack of imagination and too stuck in my ways, I guess.

I personally think it would be great if McNeel would provide an option for the user to select “viewer” or “object” view labelling as a Rhino option or a document option, thus promoting the object-preferring users out of their second-class status which requires them to do extra work in each document to set things up to their preference.

Can those users work with Rhino as it is? Sure. But there’s always that nagging feeling that Rhino isn’t really for them; that they are poaching on someone else’s territory.

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As always Jim Carruthers explains it perfectly