XYZ axis question


Coming from a CAD (autocad to be specific) background, it is disorienting for me having the Y axis be the third dimension, as opposed to the Z. I am continually transposing incorrect dimensions for each.

Is it possible to change the default XYZ axis?



Nope, Y is always up in Cinema with X accross and Z depth. Theoretically you could go through the res files and rename the X,Y,Z in them so that in the itnerface they appeared another way around, but it would be a fair bit of work for no real gain. As far as I’m aware all the main 3D applications use the Y is up method.


Max and Blender both have Z up, which is why I always had trouble animating in them.

For some reason C4D has the +z axis in the opposite direction of the other Y up apps, which has always bugged me.:sad: Does anyone know why this is?


No idea, it’s an oddity for sure of the app. I suppose the rationale is that you look along z rather than into z perhaps.


Yes. Cinema 4D uses a Left-Handed Coordinate system whereas others standardize on the Right-Handed Coordinate system, including OpenGL. Direct 3D uses a Left-Handed Coordinate system.

Right-Hand Rule

CAD systems seem to work in typical 3D mathematics systems (Z up), whereas Physics works in a system were Y is up. Considering the collusion of 3D maths and Physics, it must make one wonder why this is so.

Just remember that, for the most part, this is just a ‘preferred’ orientation of the coordinate system - it’s just that the preference can have an impact when moving from system to system.


Ok, then I shall adapt. Thank you all for your replies.



I’m just guessing, but I think CAD applications may have adopted the Z axis up (right handed coordinate system), as sort of a carry over from drawing floor plans, which is a view from above looking down, so that the X & Y axes are on the floor.

I remember when I was a drafstman for Public Works (way back in prehistoric times before computers), we only drew plan and elevation views.

Cactus Dan


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