# Easy way to set camera viewing axis normal to a plane

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Jason on 2 Jul 2011
Commented: Josh Philipson on 12 May 2016
Is there an easy way to set the camera viewing axis normal to one of the planes in a 3D plot. That is set the camera to only look at the xy plane or xz plane, etc. Trying to position the camera manually does not work well and is very frustrating.
I created a bunch of .fig files of some data points in 3D space and now I am trying to visualize them from different angles, namely looking down(xy plane) and across(xz-yz planes).
Thanks for the help.

Matt Fig on 2 Jul 2011
Run this to see. Look at the view of the plot that pops up, then press return to see the next view. Do this twice.
plot3(0,0,0)
axis([-1 1 -1 1 -1 1])
xlabel('X')
ylabel('Y')
zlabel('Z')
view(0,90) % XY
pause
view(0,0) % XZ
pause
view(90,0) % YZ

#### 1 Comment

Jason on 8 Jul 2011
Thanks for the quick response and help.

Paulo Silva on 2 Jul 2011
doc view

Massimo Ciacci on 2 May 2016
Edited: Massimo Ciacci on 2 May 2016
I guess the following function should do, it is based on the fact that the conversion [x,y,z] to [az,el] to [x,y,z] is
x=sin(az)*cos(el)
y=cos(az)*cos(el)
z=sin(el)
and therefore
az = 180/pi*asin(x/sqrt(x^2+y^2));
el = 180/pi*asin(z);
---------------
function [az,el]=normalToAzimuthElevationDEG(x,y,z, applyView)
if nargin < 3
applyView = 0;
end
if length(x)>1
v = x;
if nargin > 1
applyView = y;
end
x=v(1);
y=v(2);
z=v(3);
end
if x==0 && y==0
x =eps;
end
vNorm = sqrt(x^2+y^2+z^2);
x=x/vNorm;
y=y/vNorm;
z=z/vNorm;
az = 180/pi*asin(x/sqrt(x^2+y^2));
el = 180/pi*asin(z);
if applyView
thereIsAnOpenFig = ~isempty(findall(0,'Type','Figure'));
if thereIsAnOpenFig
axis equal
view([az,el]);
%the normal to the plane should now appear as a point
plot3([0,x],[0,y],[0,z],'linewidth',3)
end
end

#### 1 Comment

Josh Philipson on 12 May 2016
Massimo, Thanks!!