Pivots are the rotation point on 3D models. placing the pivot correctly is essential to easy placement, copying and rotation of your modular assets. In this video we'll take a look at easy, step to choose a pivot location and change the existing pivot point location. We'll also look at whywe may not want the pivot to be placed in the center of the object, ,but rather on the bottom edges, where the pivot tplacement will allow the model tomore easily snap to the grid and rotate.
- [Voiceover] Let's look at how to set the location of a pivot on our object. A pivot is the position that the model moves, rotates, and scales from. Positioning the pivot correctly on our objects will speed up our workflow and make the objects much easier to deal with once they're imported into their final destination program. Now, I have a couple objects here. I have big blocks, some skinny blocks, and this skinny little rectangular piece here. These are all going to be stand-in objects for a wall unit.
Eventually we're going to be making grayscale wall units, which will look very similar to this. Simplified versions of our final assets. But none of these pieces have their pivot in the correct location. You'll see if I move this wall around, it will snap to the grid if I have 3D snaps on. However, it's snapping to the middle of the grid, you'll see that black line right there, running right through the bottom of my wall in the center.
That's not where I want, it's good that the wall is on the floor plane. But it's not good that it's snapping to the center. So we need to place the pivot in a location that will make it snap on the grid correctly. To move our pivots around, we need to go over here to our hierarchy tab, click affect pivot only. And now we can move the pivot around, however we can't really place the pivot on anything other than the grid points and that's because under our 3D snaps, we have grid points turned on.
So I'm gonna turn off grid points, and in this case, I'm going to select vertex. Vertex is a good option whenever we wanna place the pivot or anything right on the vertex of an object. Close that. And now, if we zoom in real close so we can see what we're doing. And I move my pivot, you'll see that it snaps right to that particular corner or vertex of my object. Now remember to turn off affect pivot only when you're done or you're gonna mess up the pivot that you just set.
Now this wall unit will snap directly onto the grid, if I change my snap settings to grid points. And it'll snap right into place. Now I'm gonna do that with the rest of these but you might be wondering why did I place the pivot on the back corner and not in the center of the object? And that's because we want the pivot to be against whatever the boundary of our modular objects is.
In this case, I'm going to say that the walls will overlap the floors by one unit. Which is pretty normal. Now we could use flat planes, we'll take a look at that in a little bit. And if we were using a flat plane, well then I wouldn't have much choice except to place the pivot on the back of the plane. Also you might be wondering why it's not in the center. And that's because if I was to rotate this object. Click on that object.
It will rotate like a door or a hinge from that point. Where if I had this in the center, I would have to rotate it and then re-position it every time. Where you place the pivot's really up to you. But make sure you place it in the same spot on all your objects, or they're not gonna line up properly. Now, I'm gonna go ahead and click on this particular object over here, I'm gonna go back to move. And I'm gonna affect pivot for this one. And I'm going to move this pivot to the back vertex, I still have grid points turned on.
There we go, and we'll move that right to the back. I'm gonna do the same thing with this piece here. Affect pivot. Make sure we have vertex on. And we'll move this to the back vertex, back corner vertex. Now these other objects are a little different. Cylinders, you can leave the pivot in the center of the cylinder, probably won't do you much good to move it to a particular vertex, it can stay in the center.
But make sure that it is on the bottom of the cylinder, so that it will snap to the floor plane, or at least that's what I usually want. And this skinny piece, which is going to be a decorative piece, so in other words, what I want this to do is to snap onto the surface. This one, it's not gonna do me much good to place the pivot against this vertex. Because when I snap it to my object here, I want it to snap right to the front.
Now, it would snap to the front, but if my object was a different thickness, it might not necessarily work. So we got some choices to make. I'm gonna go ahead and affect that pivot. And I could really either snap it right to the vertex. And I'm gonna come up here and put grid points on, I'm gonna snap this to a grid point. And I could then, change the pivot and move it one unit back.
Now what that's going to do is it allows me to just snap that right onto the surface. So if I'm using that particular trim on an object that has one unit of thickness, it will always snap into place. So let's put our wall together here, once we're done with it and see what we have to work with. I'm going to make sure that I have grid points on, everything should snap to grid points. And we'll just snap these guys into place here.
I'm gonna make a clone of this object. One thing to keep in mind, we have not started texturing our objects at this point. But we don't want to use instances, and the reason is, instances will not export out to game engines. The FBX exporter will allow it to use instances, but most game engines won't read instances. So I'm gonna use copy instead, copies are always pretty safe. They're just another object, is all that it really is.
And we'll move this cylinder into place, let's put this cylinder right there. And I'm going to use this piece, we'll put it here kind of like a shelf piece. And we're just kind of mocking these into place. One thing to keep in mind when you have snaps on with perspective viewport, moving up and down doesn't work well 'cause it wants to snap to the grid in the background. So you can just hit F and go to an isometric viewport and snap that into place. And you'll see, we'll switch over to L, and move this guy right to the place, there we go.
One thing I wanted to show you was, if we have an object that is off-scale. I'm going to cheat a little bit and make that guy so he's off-scale. We can just turn on our 3D snaps, go to vertex, select whatever you wanna put on-scale, right-click. And usually you'll wanna use grid lines for that, not grid points 'cause grid points will snap all over the place and kind of bend your object up. And we'll just move this guy down and he'll be snapped right into place.
You wanna do all this before you texture your object, obviously. I'm going to move this one over here now. Remember it needs to be a copy, and hit OK. And now we have a mocked up wall that is modular, it will snap into the wall next to it, just fine. A few unit settings that will be important for what I'm doing. I am going to make my walls 512 by 512 units large.
So remember our unit scale was 64. So if I get eight 64 units, that should equal 512 by eight 64 units high, that should be 512. So that's gonna be my base wall unit. Now would be a good time to figure out what your base wall unit is. 'Cause we're gonna be coming back to that number quite a bit here in the future. Also, my walls will be one unit thick, unless I want them to be a specific type of wall.
I'm gonna end up using both types of walls to show you how to do it, but for the most part, my walls will be one unit thick. Positioning your pivots right on your objects is gonna save you a whole lot of time down the road. Things like rotating the objects, positioning the objects, and your transforms are totally dependent on you positioning the pivots in the correct location. Aim the pivot at whatever the floor plane is gonna be, unless your object is a specific piece that needs to snap to another specific piece in a certain way.
Most of the time, placing your pivot on the floor in the back corner of the object will work really well. Selecting an efficient location for your pivots will not only make the process of modelling easier, but make the modular process work more smoothly.
He first introduces the modular pipeline in Max and the basics of making modular models. Then Christian shows how to ensure your texture maps align to the grid, and places objects in the scene to build the complex final structure—an ornate castle—shown at the end of the course. With a little patience, attention to detail, and the skills learned in this class, you can create design kits that speed up development and result in more realistic and immersive game environments.
- Setting up the workspace, units, and grid
- Modeling the main walls
- Working with back-facing polygons
- Creating base objects
- Building modular elements
- UX mapping modular meshes
- Changing materials