Rotating z-axis to point left

Hi! I’ve a feeling this is one of those Noob questions to which there’s a really simple answer, but I just can’t figure it out.

I’m trying to rotate the view so that the z-axis points to the left (as you look at it), with the y-axis still pointing up and the x-axis now pointing out of the screen. I need the grid to still show behind the axes as well. (I’m trying to model a face using a background image with a side profile, so I need the image to show up behind my model; it’s also why I want the z-axis to point to the side.)

Every time I try to rotate the view using the NUMPAD keys, I get the z-axis pointing straight up, as if I wanted my side profile to be looking straight up as well; and every time I try to rotate the view manually, it moves the grid (and my background image) so that I can no longer see them.

(Just a little extra info–I’ve split the screen to edit the same object on both a front-facing bg image and a side-facing image, to better access all three dimensions. So I can’t just rotate my object to face left, because it also rotates in the split screen and no longer faces front.)

Any help would be appreciated! :o

supposed your looking at the front view and you want to see teh back of the object
just do Ctrl-1 on the keypad instead of 1 and this will show you the back onf the model


Ctrl-1 still leaves me with the z-axis pointing up, as does Ctrl-3. I can shift the x- and y-axes, but not the z-axis.

It just seems odd–I can’t do a 45-degree turn to the left (in the view) to have z point to the side. It’s as though you can go from the object facing you (with z pointing out of the screen) to the object lying down (and z pointing up), but the object can’t be viewed sideways without also lying down.

It looks like it can be done, since the tutorial I’m using (mr_bomb’s Adrianna face tutorial) shows precisely the views I’m trying to get. But how?


if you got 4 viwports you can go to the 3D one and rotate the z Axis view

to get what you want

but in blender normally z point up that’s how it is

see pic


If you absolutely must have the Z axis set horizontally, try this:

Go to the right view (Numpad 3)
Align active camera to view (CTRL ALT Numpad 0)
Select the Camera and Rotate it 90 degrees along the X axis.
Numpad 0 to switch to Camera View.
Numpad 5 twice to switch to orthogonal view.


I like to understand why the tools I’m using are behaving the way they do, so I hope this is helpful.

Most of the other 3D packages I’ve seen (I’ve never actually used one other than Blender) use the Y axis as the vertical axis. If you want something to be vertical, you align it up and down along the Y axis.

Blender uses the Z axis as its vertical axis. That’s why “top view” looks down the Z axis, and why Z is vertical from “front” and “side” views.

If you’re learning Blender as your primary (or only) 3D package, I think it’s best to get used to Z as vertical and Y as front-to-back. If, however, you’re learning Blender to use it in a pipeline with other software, I’m afraid you’re going to have to get used to the difference in axis conventions. My personal approach would be to model in Blender with Z-axis vertical, and rotate anything I export from Blender 90 degrees around the X-axis, so that it will work in other packages.

I hope this information is useful to some new Blender users.

tghat why i like to work with 4 viewport with the 3D viewport i can see the axis and
feel the object in 3 D space and know where my Z or sky is located

always very important in 3D soft

so it’s only a matter of getting used to this situation

and after a while it will work fine and you want even think about it LOL


Thanks everyone! Changing the camera around almost works–except then I’m stuck in camera view, which seems sort of stretched out (in terms of my bg image).

It is interesting that I hadn’t thought of the z-axis being the primary vertical. I wasn’t thinking in terms of “top view”; I was thinking instead just about the hot keys. Plus, when I open Blender, it automatically has y as the vertical axis and z pointing out of the screen.

I have figured out a way to get what I want (in effect). After opening Blender and creating an initial object (in my case, a plane):

  • press Numpad 3 to get the z axis pointing up, y to the right, and x out of the screen
  • select the object with which you want to work. Rotate it 90 degrees around global “y” (r key, then y, then drag to rotate; press Ctrl while dragging to help get to exactly 90 degrees). The object now faces “out” of the screen along the x axis
  • press Ctrl-Numpad 1 to get the object to turn to the left. If you wanted it to turn to the right, just press Numpad 1.
    If I don’t care what the axes are labelled, so long as I get the effect I want, this works. I can now have a split screen with one view of my plane facing front and one view of my plane facing to the side, and I can start modelling my face. (Well, not MY face! Narcissistic much? Eeep!)