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Yeah -- don't stumble around in the dark! Don't live with that lost feeling! Learn what everyone who works in AE has to learn:
Believe me: you might think it an insult that I point you here right off the bat, but you will be grateful in the end.
Two ways to do this. The best, after you create your 3D layer, create a camera then adjust the position of the camera and/or rotate the 3D layer using the rotate tool (keyboard shortcut is the w key), or, do not add the camera. Here's a hint. Perspective is controlled by camera position, not by focal length and you cannot change the camera position of AE's default camera.
One other thing, you'll have to be looking at the Active Camera view to make any of this work. Any of the other custom views will not show you what you will get when you render.
Thanks Dave for the links - greatly appreciated !!
Thanks you rick - your advice was bang on - cheers !!