# Using the Camera Data Node

In the blender manual the options for camera data node are explained like this:

View Vector

A Camera space vector from the camera to the shading point.

View Z Depth

How far away each pixel is from the camera

View Distance

Distance from the camera to the shading point So, what is the shading point? How is each of these options different form the other, and in which cases should one be used instead of the other?

• – user1853 Jun 19 '18 at 17:18
• – user1853 Feb 25 '19 at 21:31

## 1 Answer

Shading Point

is the nearest point of intersection of the camera ray with a visible object, which the render engine is currently calculating the color for (these calculations are referred to as shading)

## The real View Vector

it is a vector (or a ray) in the camera space, starting from the center of the camera (or the view) and reaching the shading point View Vector

it is a normalized view vector (magnitude = 1 or unit vector) in the camera space, starting from the center of the camera (or the view) and pointing at the shading point (it doesn't necessarily reach it ) View Z Depth

• it is the Z component of the view vector (the non normalized)
• it is the shortest distance from the shading point to the camera's XY plane (the is not normalized Z-depth, it is not from 0 to 1) View Distance

it is the magnitude of the non normalized view vector, or simply the distance from the shading point to the camera's center where to use each one: well you know enough now to decide where to use them!