Background reference image + wireframe editing: how to?

I’m sure I’m not the first person to ask this, but couldn’t find anything on it.

Ok, so I can set a background reference image the usual way, and it works and all that, but there’s a catch. If I’m modelling something in plan view the background image vanishes as soon as the Y axis is not vertical. This is, to put it politely, rather a nuisance. Often I would like to rotate the view due to dimensions being written on the background image, or just to get a better grip on some aspect of the modeling. Having the image vanish results in me talking to my computer and saying things like “Look you dumb mofo, I’m still looking at the effing thing in top view and I want that insert expletive of choice reference image”.

Now sure, I can make myself a background plane and set a texture on it, with the texture holding my reference image, and that will work with the screen rotated. But it won’t effing work in wireframe view, and wireframe is mostly what you need for this sort of stuff.

So, question: is there any way to get a background reference in any and all plan views, regardless of screen rotation, and to have it visible when doing wireframe view editing?

If the answer is “No”, then the next question becomes “Why effing not?”. It would be a really handy feature.

Set the maximum draw type for the object you’re working on to Wire:

You know, you can turn everything into wireframe by simply pressing ‘Z’ on your keyboard…? This toggles wireframe and solid views.

Try empties set as images instead. With an empty selected Properties > Empty > Display (dropdown menu) > Image gives same adjustment controls as the viewport background image settings but the image is on an empty placed where you want, visible at any angle, and works with wireframe viewport shading mode.

After setting up it’s probably a good idea to lock down tranforms on the empties so they can’t be accidentally moved while working.


Had to read up on that. Sounds good for some things, but for what I’m doing I just want the standard toggling of views for all objects. I’ll file the info away anyhow in case it’s useful later. Cheers.

Yes, I know, but that’s not what I was asking.

This is the one I was after. Works perfectly. Thanks for that. Marking as solved.