Zoom Issues

In my mind, Rhino’s greatest weakness lies in the behaviour of its zoom function. This is a source of constant frustration for me. I run Rhino for Mac and have it set so that holding the “option” key whilst scrolling operates the conventional zoom function where the target is constantly reset and holding the “command” key whilst scrolling zooms in and out of a fixed target. I regularly use “zoom selected” and have set the alias “ZT” to operate “zoom target”. Zooming with a fixed target is all well and good but if I want to zero in on a particular part of the target, I either have to pan to that area or reset the target. The former can be slow and frustrating and the latter is not an option if I have already selected a number of objects and want to zoom in on another in order to select it. The aforementioned zoom function where the target is constantly reset is hugely frustrating as there appears to me to be no logic as to where Rhino sets the new target. If I simply zoom out, suddenly the target can be reset to be way off in the distance or off to one side or both.

I cannot understand why this has not been more thoroughly worked out. Every other piece of 3D modelling software that I’ve used does not have these issues. I also cannot understand why there is not more frustration voiced surrounding Rhino’s zoom as I can find so little evidence of it online. Unless, of course, there is something obvious that I have managed to miss after 7 or so years of using Rhino. In which case, I would love to be enlightened. I saw a previous thread recommending the plug-in Walkie which appears to offer exactly what I’m after but it is only available for Rhino for Windows. Any help would be much appreciated and if there is none to offer, McNeel taking this as feedback would also be greatly appreciated.


Hello- does it work better if you change the camera projection to Parallel?


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Hi Pascal,

Yes, it does. Thanks for the recommendation. As a designer, though, I am using Rhino to get the proportions of my designs right and working in parallel projection creates an incorrect representation of the model. Is there anything else you can recommend?

Does anyone have any advice for me? I find this issue beyond frustrating, to the point that I’m considering moving to another piece of software. Why does no other CAD programme I’ve used have this issue? Is it normal that every time I zoom in or out the target is reset? It doesn’t even stay on the same object. It just ends up at a random point in the model space. Every time I zoom out then in and rotate the view, the target is reset and I loose my object. Infuriating!

One solution that I thought of that would help ease the frustration is to be able to double click on an object and have that run either the zoomselected or movetargettoobject command. I am not sure if this is possible though. Any advice?

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Does the ZS alias or the built-in WalkAbout command help any? The latter uses the arrow keys once activated. The help documentation has the less obvious controls. I’ve requested a fixed delta for camera translation and not an auto-adjusting scale almost every Rhino version I’ve owned.

Fixing the zoom and the selection of objects are my #1 requests every version.

For selection, the closest to the cursor tip and camera viewpoint should get selected every time, unless there is a decisive overlap at that pixel. For coplanar objects, points would be selected first, then curves, then surfaces, then meshes. If nothing exists at the pixel it could then expand the selection area to the small surrounding area it currently also examines, something that is often undesirable in a crowded model. (Perhaps the area it expands into could be an Options preference.) If the user holds down a key (like Ctrl) while selecting it would then display the pop-up choice of all objects that overlap, sorted by type (points, then curves, … – again the same precedence order – and within each type, sort by name). I spend so much time daily fixing select clicks that fail to select anything, specifying what I’m trying to select, and working through the zoom scale issue. These are so core to the product. It could be made so amazing.

I personally can’t imagine working without a spacemouse, so if you have the option to look into the spacemouse compact or another model from 3DConnexion, you won’t regret it. (I have no affiliation with them). It makes navigation so much easier, as it doesn’t change the movement scale. Rhino reduces the distance the camera will move in any direction due to a scale multiplier that approaches zero as you zoom in. It is tied to the mousewheel and the dynamic zoom, etc. If you keep zooming in when movement seems frozen (the scale is very nearly zero), eventually the code bumps the scale factor up, away from zero, and it will launch forward. If you end up with a spacemouse, you sometimes have to zoom in or out with the mousewheel just to set the scale facter lower or higher respectively, but then you can use the spacemouse from then on. Most of the time you can navigate at whatever zoom scale it is using until you need to change the speed of the motion.

In Rhino, we need control of the speed of viewport camera translation when we are working on small internal details of a large model – any time we are tightly zoomed in. To fix this, Rhino needs a user-adjustable always-on-screen viewport ‘camera speed’ slider (allowing us to set the internal scale value it currently uses) and then also decouple the auto-changes to that value from mousewheel / dynamic zooming, etc. An Options preference could allow users to retain the current auto-adjust behavior, if it works for them.

I like your double click zoom selected thought. If my mouse hardware doesn’t accidently send double clicks at times, that could be a nice feature once accurate selection precedence is working.

Hi Liam - are these using parallel or perspective projections?


Hi Pascal,

This is in perspective projection. Parallel does not work for me due to its distortion of object proportions.

Thanks for the response. There’s a lot there. I use ZS all the time and have created a ZT alias for zoom target as well. I really don’t feel as though we should constantly have to be running these commands, though, to compensate for the software’s insufficiencies in what ought to be quite a simple matter. I am running Rhino for Mac and walkabout does not appear to be a valid command for me.

I personally don’t have too many issues with object selection and when I do, it’s a minor annoyance. Thanks for the spacemouse recommendation. Personally, I can’t see myself going down that route, though.

I’m just amazed that there are not more people airing frustrations about this targeting business. It’s so frustrating and the silence seems absurd to me!

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Just found this thread and totally agree… as amazingly awesome as the infinite pan idea and execution is the zoom concept and execution totally sucks…

for awhile I was using the 3d space mouse which solved all of the productivity issues I was having with Rhino… but then I got the CAD mouse from 3dcx and had to install their bloatware… their driver totally destroyed the usability… rhino does allow you to override their driver with the excellent rhino driver for the 3d mouse… so I am back to world of typing in ZOOM resetting the focus point… as an NX user I have to say this issue was solved so long ago that its crazy to think we are still talking about it…

but alas, everyone loves rhino (so do I) so I think its hard for people to see whats wrong with it…

I dont know Blender at all… do any blender users have issues with zoom? I bring this up bc my guess is that open source software usually gets stuff like this corrected sooner than niche software.

I can’t find WalkAbout in rhino 8… anyone know if it was left behind?