Y-axis Up in Rhino and Other Viewport "Anomalies"

On my computer, I’ve noticed that in all of the viewports the Y-axis is “up,” but when I try to export the model, Z-axis is “up,” hence creating a bit of a disorientation for me.

Viewport naming is also confusing, for example, “Right” viewport is not viewing the “right-side” of the model, but it appears (to me) as if the “camera” is pointed towards the right.

Have I missed a setting or have overlooked a feature?

Many thanks in advance!

Mohammed :slight_smile:

Hi Mohammed,

Different CAD systems use different orientations for UP. For example when exporting to OBJ you will see an option to map Rhino Z to Obj Y.

Viewport naming is best understood by picturing yourself as an audience member looking at a stage. So Stage Right is the RIGHT side of the stage from the audiences perspective.
Where everyone gets confused is when you have an object that has a “side” eg. a car that has a front, back, left and right.
However the CAD system doesn’t know (or care) which is the left or right of the car. It just cares about the orientation on the stage.

If you think that’s bad, have pity on us poor old sailors who have to reboot our brains every week when going from CAD to Compass. In CAD land 0 degrees is right horizontal (ie East) and increase anticlockwise. On a Compass, 0 degrees is UP (ie North) and increase clockwise.

Hope that helps, Steve

Mind blown

Thanks, Steve, for the explanation!

Mo :slight_smile:

I feel no pity for you, you better pity us who are stuck on CAD land without an opportunity to switch paradigms any time soon, let alone on a weekly basis :wink:


Hi Willem,

You must go down to the sea again
To the lonely sea and the sky

S :wink:

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