Nothing strange there. All this means is that you have a physical laptop screensize of about 1024 to 1440 pixels across, right?
Unlike modern apps (meaning: any graphics app, 2D or 3D made after 2000), the Bryce document size window doesn’t scale. You can scale your view WITHIN the document size you’ve set, but the window is the window: If you’ve set a window that has a greater number of pixels that your screen size can actually handle, You’ll only see a portion of your document size, starting from the top left quadrant.
And there’s no document size scrolling :/
The way to work with Bryce is to work with gradually increasing doc. sizes. For animation, I tend to work in the smallest screen size tolerable that still gives me a sense of how the elements work together, then change to the correct document size as the very last step. My workflow goes like this (for either a 720p or 1080p movie):
• Set the Paper color to White and Depth Cue to 0. Both of these settings are on the right side vertical strip. This gives you highest contrast of the wireframe.
• Set a small window size of 720 x 360 pixels. This is a 16:9 ratio screen a quarter of the size of 720p.
• Compose my scene and set keyframes as normal.
• Thumbnail test render: There’s a little film icon in the Animation strip. This gives a rough idea for flow and timing.
• If the Thumbnail’s OK, then I do a wireframe render. I think this is an undocumented tip for animation:
Select Render animation… > Edit the settings as you’d like, but don’t click the tick mark: SHIFT-click the tick mark. This is REALLY fast, and will give you a document sized version of your animation in wireframe. This tip is useless for material animation, but great for model movement.
• If timing and flow looks about right I’ll save the file, and change the doc size to something small: about 360 x 180 is tolerable, and render out either a Default or Regular grade animation at full frame rate. Here I’m looking for lighting and material choices, seeing if this works.
• When that’s done, I might tweak a few things and go to a full frame sub-render. That’s rendering a small working range (look it up), say, 2 seconds of a key moment, and see if there are material concerns I need to check out. In particular, shimmer and duration: if the material looks like ants are crawling all over it (see my tutorial link, bottom of my posts) I’ll need to adjust, or if the materials are creating render times that will mean DAYS to render out short scenes, I might swap out some materials for cheaper ones.
I try to put out 30fps footage. If each frame takes 5 minutes (which is around the max. I can tolerate) that means 1 second of finished movie takes about 3 hours. It’s likely you’ll want at least 10s of any animation. 30 hours is 1.25 days, and you’d better hope you don’t inadvertently stop the render, re-boot, crash, or discover AFTER the render is complete that you missed something. That’s why I work (and even the pros work) in incremental steps. It’s worth thinking about.
• Finally, full render at final resolution. If I have a small physical screen, I might only see the top left quadrant of my document BUT BRYCE IS STILL RENDERING THE CORRECT, FULLSIZE SCENE, the same scene I composed at a smaller document size.
So, to sum up: you can increase wireframe contrast, paper color and several other settings (like wireframe density) on the right side of the interface, and to make animation efficient to produce, work as much as you can in small sizes and save full renders as the last step.