How To Insert Orthographic Image References in Blender

Updated on: November 27, 2022

Have you ever wanted to make an extraordinary model based on a real drawing you have? Now that’s possible with something called Model Sheet! But how to put it into Blender? Well, keep reading because here you will learn how to insert images to start modeling here!

The Model Sheet

You first need to know what kind of images you are looking for. For example, to translate an object from a 2D image to a 3D model, you will need a Model Sheet: a 2D drawing of a thing or character you want to model in 3D.

Image 48.1

A Model Sheet must have at least the principal views, which correspond to the main axes that Blender has (X, Y, Z). So you will need the front, the top, and the side reference (You can avoid the Top, but you will need the right and the left sides if you want to be more precise when modeling). This helps the 3D designer to get as much information as possible to create an accurate 3D translation on Blender.

Note: A Model Sheet is not the same as Concept Art because it usually has no light, color, or texture information, just the drawing lines.


If you have a single image with all the Model Sheet information, try to separate it so you can edit it better. For that, you could use Lasso Select Tool in Photoshop:

  1. Draw around one of the references.
  2. Create a new file by pressing Ctrl + N.
  3. Then, press Ctrl + V to paste the selection.
  4. Crop the size of the board using the Crop Tool on your toolbar at your left. 
  5. Save the new document as an image:
    1. Go to File.
    2. Search the “Save as” option.
    3. Choose the location and name it (front, side, or top view).
    4. Save the type as PNG or JPG (or any standard image files format)
  6. Repeat this process with the other Orthographic references.

After verifying you have the images saved on your computer, you can close Photoshop and continue forward.

Insert the Model Sheet in Blender

Now in the 3D viewport in Blender, press Shift + A to bring up the Add Menu and search “Image,” then pick the “Reference” option for inserting the model sheets you saved as images. Now, Blender will show you a file browser, so you must navigate it to search for your chosen location.

Note: You cannot select all the orthographic references at the same time, you need to import them one by one.

If you are in perspective Mode, it will align the image you import with your camera angle, which means that it may have an odd inclination instead of a straight position. To correct that just press Shift + R.

Now, to put the image where you need to follow the next instructions without releasing the keys at the same time:

  1. Click on the orthographic image reference.
  2. Press R to activate the rotation Tool.
  3. Press the letter of the axis you need to set the orthographic image reference.
  4. Press 90 to correspond to the angle degrees of the rotation operation
  5. Press 1 to set it in the front orthographic view.
    1. If you want to set it in the right orthographic view, hit number 3.
    2. If you want to set it in the top orthographic view, hit number 7.

There you have it! Now, add a mesh object and start modeling according to your model sheet!

Lorena M. Rodas leverages her experience across film, writing, and production to make complex tech concepts accessible through storytelling. With a background spanning sci-fi, AI, and emerging tech, Lorena translates her depth of knowledge into engaging, educational content. She is an expert at decoding high-level topics to reach broad audiences.
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