Unity: Getting Started Part 3 — Navigating the Scene View and manipulating game objects

If you saw my previous article here, you now know about the layout of Unity and also how to create and add a material to a game object. In this article I will go over navigation in the Scene View (which is where you will do a lot of the visual work on your project) and different ways of manipulating game objects so they appear as you want them to.

So let’s start with navigating in the Scene View. This is a 3d space that allows you to create the visuals of your project; it can also be 2D but we’ll ignore that for now.

To select objects, you can left-click on them in the Scene View. You can also left-click to select them in Hierarchy; this will make life easier when you eventually have many objects in a single scene. You can see when you select a camera object it will also give you a preview of the Game View, which is useful for positioning.

With your cursor over the Scene View, you can hold down the middle mouse button or wheel to pan the view, the right mouse button to rotate the view, and you can use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out.

What you may find more useful is FPS mode. If you click and hold the right mouse button down, you can control the camera with the WASD keys as if it was a 3D FPS game. This can help you get the best view of objects as you’re working.

If you lose sight of a game object and what to find it easily, select it in the Hierarchy, then with the cursor over the Scene View, hit the ‘F’ key. This will frame the view on the object you selected. This is particularly useful in complex scenes when you want to find a specific object.

Finally you can control the view with the widget in the top-right of the Scene View. Clicking on one of the sides will change the current view to that direction. Clicking that same side again will switch between perspective and isometric views. Isometric view gives a plan view of an object without any sense of depth which can be useful for accurate object placement.

For manipulating objects, there are a couple of ways of doing this.

When you select an object, control handles will appear in the Scene View. These will allow you to move the object by left-clicking and holding the particular handle.

These buttons on the tools ribbon in the top left of the screen dictate type of control handle that will show for the selected object in the Scene View. From left to right they are the Move Tool, which you have seen in action above…

…the Rotate Tool which allows you to rotate an object…

…the Scale Tool that allows you to resize an object, the Rect Tool which is useful for UI elements which I will talk about in another article…

…and finally the last tool of the four allows you to move, rotate or scale an object, but it can get a bit tricky so it’s usually best to stick to the individual controls. You can switch between the tools with the standard key bindings of Q W E R T and Y, starting from the hand tool on the left.

Finally, you can also control all aspects of objects in the Scene View with the Transform panel of the Inspector. As you move, rotate and scale an object, you will see these values change, and you can change the values to alter those aspects in return.

Apologies for such a long post this time! Hopefully that has been helpful and easy to follow.

In the next article I will get into customising the Unity layout before we get stuck in to some actual development.

Software developer in the field of Unity and C#. Passionate about creating and always driven to develop.