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This course provides an overview of modeling, animating, and rendering 3D graphics in the open-source software Blender 2.6. Beginning with a tour of the Blender interface, author George Maestri shows how to create and edit basic objects, work with modifiers and subdivision surfaces, and apply materials and textures. The course also demonstrates lighting 3D scenes, setting up and using cameras, animating objects, and assembling basic character rigs.
Whenever we move, rotate or scale objects in Blender, Blender needs to keep track of where all of these objects are. So every object in Blender is assigned some numbers that tell Blender where that object is in space. Now we can take a look at these on the Properties Panel. I am just going to open that up. This particular wheel, if I right-click on it, you can see that its Location is at 0 0 0, in fact, Rotation is at 0 and Scale is at 0, so this is perfectly positioned at the origin of the scene.
But if you notice it, well, it's not perfectly positioned because actually the wheel itself is much bigger than just the origin of the scene. It actually comprises of volume that contains many points. But Blender has to have one point to say this is where that object is. And that point is called the origin of the object or other people call it that pivot point of the object. So I am going to go ahead and scale this down here so we can take a look at this. When you select an object, you will notice that the pivot point is highlighted by a little orange dot.
So you can see this orange dot here, and when I right-click on this tire, you can see that my manipulator surrounds that orange dot. So if I were to rotate this object, it rotates around the origin of the scene. This is fine if the tire is rocking back and forth on the ground or something like that, but if we were to attach this tire to a vehicle and we wanted it to roll down the street, we might want to have this tire rotate around its center point.
And what that means is that we have to move this point to the center of our object. A Blender is very handy in that it does have a number of tools that we can use to move this origin or this pivot point to anywhere we want in the scene or in the object. So you can find these tools under Object> Transform and we have three of them here. We have Geometry to Origin, Origin to Geometry and Origin to 3D Cursor.
Now the middle one Origin to Geometry just centers the pivot. So when I select that, it centers it to that object. It calculates how big the object is. It finds the exact center of it and then it puts the pivot point there. And when I do that on this tire, now I have it centered so I can rotate my tire. Now there are times when you might need the pivot point in a different place. And we can change that place by using something called the 3D Cursor.
And this is the 3D Cursor here. Now if I left-click anywhere in the window, notice how this little circle with some crosshairs follows me around. And this is what's called the 3D Cursor. And in Blender, this 3D Cursor can be used as a placeholder for things to happen. So if you create a new object, it will create it at the 3D Cursor. We can also snap our pivot point to that cursor. But the problem with this 3D Cursor is that, well, we are moving a 3D object into the space, so we don't have a very precise idea as to where this is.
Is this behind or in front of the Y axis, we really can't tell for sure. So in this case in order to position it, we have to use orthographic views. So I am going to go ahead and Toggle Quad View, in fact I am going to zoom out here and I'm going to just go ahead and center my tire here. So if I want to move my 3D Cursor to a specific place, I can use these orthographic views to get it exactly where I want.
So let's say I wanted to be up here where the tire for example might be hanging on a wall or something like that, all I have to do is just click here in my right view and click here in my front few, to get it aligned. And then when I Toggle my Quads View back off, I can see that, that 3D Cursor is kind of right there at the back of the tire. So now that I have that, I can just do Object>Transform>Origin to 3D Cursor.
When I do that, it snaps the origin to that cursor. And now, it's like the tire is hanging on a peg on the wall. So this can be very handy when you're doing animation. Anytime you need to rotate an object, the position of that origin or pivot point is very, very critical. Now we also have one more tool in our toolkit and it's basically the opposite of the first one that we did. We did Origin to Geometry, which means we snapped this pivot point to the tire, but we also have Geometry to Origin, which means we can snap the tire to the pivot point.
And again, that will center it, so that way the tire will rotate. So we have three options to change where our pivot points or our origins are. We can snap Geometry to the Origin, the Origin to the Geometry or we can set a 3D Cursor at a very specific location and place the origin there.
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