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Another critical consideration for hierarchies is the position and orientation of the pivot point of each object. In this version of the robotArm, some of the pivot points are correct and some are not. For example, this shoulder object has its pivot point exactly in the center of this ball joint. I'll select the Rotate tool and turn it so you can see. This object however does not have its pivot point in the correct location, I'll undo that.
To move or rotate the pivot point, select the object and go to the Hierarchy panel, and the Pivot sub- panel is active by default. To move or rotate the Pivot, click on Affect Pivot Only, and now you'll see a new axis tripod that indicates the position and orientation of the pivot point. Don't confuse the pivot point with the Transform Gizmo, because they are two different things. The pivot point is a property of the object itself and the Transform Gizmo is merely a manipulator that you can use to move things around and rotate them.
Sometimes the Transform Gizmo is at the same location as the pivot point, but not always. For example, the Gizmo could be located at the origin of the World. I want to move this pivot point down so it's at the center of this ball joint here. I'll choose the Move tool and I can just move it straight down. To make sure that it's exactly where I want it to be, I'll hit Alt+W and get in very close in the Front viewport. I just want to make sure that that's positioned exactly in the center of that sphere.
To test it, I'll exit Affect Pivot Only and grab the Rotate tool and turn the object and make sure that it's turning in the direction that I need it to. And that looks okay, so I'll hit Ctrl+Z to undo that. Next I want to look at the pivot point orientation. I've got these two claw objects up here. What I want here is I want to be able to select both of those claws and rotate them in opposite directions at once. Currently, if I select them both and try to rotate them, they'll rotate in the same direction, but I can change the pivot point orientation to get the result that I need.
Once again, I'll select the object and go to Affect Pivot Only, and what I want to have happen here is I want the Y axis to be pointing in opposite directions for each one of these. You can see here the Y axis here is pointing in the world positive Y, and this one as well is pointing in the world positive Y. I want this to point in the world negative Y. With Affect Pivot Only active, the Rotate tool active, and Angle Snaps turned on, I'll rotate the pivot point exactly 180 degrees.
I'll disable Affect Pivot Only, make sure that I'm in Gimbal mode, and use pivot point center. Then I'll grab the two objects and rotate in Y, and you'll see I can rotate them both symmetrically. Excellent! So now I have set the position and orientation of each pivot point on my object. And next I'm going to lock some of the transforms so that I can't accidentally move or rotate them in undesired directions.
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