June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Mastering the 3D Cursor in Blender: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering the 3D Cursor in Blender: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering the 3D Cursor in Blender: A Comprehensive Guide

#DigitalArt

#DigitalArt

#DigitalArt

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You can think of the 3D Cursor tool in Blender as sort of being the center of the world you’re creating. Your 3D Cursor is located in the 3D space that you’re working in, and at first, you might just see it as the point that all new objects are “spawned”. 

However, there’s a whole lot more that you can do with the 3D Cursor once you master it. It can be an invaluable tool when modeling or animating, and this article is like a mini Blender 3D Cursor tutorial that leads you through some of the broader strokes of using this tool.

Section 1: Basics of the 3D Cursor

What is the 3D Cursor?

So, you want to know: what exactly is the 3D Cursor in Blender? Well, you can think of it as a custom point in your world that can be used for a whole bunch of things. Most notably, new objects are created wherever the 3D Cursor is positioned.

However, the 3D Cursor can also be used to pull vertices to specific spots, set a pivot point for objects, move objects or their vertices, and so much more.

By default, you don’t need to do anything to set the 3D Cursor up. It’s always at the world origin to start, which is at coordinates 0,0,0.

Navigating the 3D Cursor

Mastering Blender 3D Cursor starts with knowing how to move the 3D Cursor around. That’s not too tough, to be honest. You can simply click the Cursor option in the Toolbar (second from the top) and click anywhere to place it. It’s best to do this with at least two orthographic views for precise placement.

Shortcuts in Blender are key though, so you can also use the Shift + Right Mouse Button combo to place the 3D Cursor regardless of which tool you’re currently using. Shift + Spacebar, followed by Spacebar, will take you to the 3D Cursor tool too.

Section 2: Practical Applications

Modeling with the 3D Cursor

The origin of an object is at the center of that same object by default. However, you might need to move its origin to another position for the sake of your modeling. You can instantly set an object’s origin to wherever the 3D cursor is. Select the object, go to the Object menu in the top header, then Set Origin > Origin to 3D Cursor. You can also access this by right-clicking on the object.

This is cool because now the origin serves as the new pivot point for rotations, which can come in handy for a lot of animation scenarios, like one object orbiting around another.

Aligning Objects

Want to align objects straight to where the 3D Cursor is? That’s incredibly easy. Place the 3D Cursor and then select the object you want to align. Press Shift + S to bring up the Snap menu and then choose “Selection to Cursor”.

Alternatively, you can right-click on the object you want to align, then choose Snap > Selection to Cursor.

However, I really advise you use this when you’ve placed the 3D cursor precisely. It’s best to do this from at least two orthographic views. You can access the front, side, and top orthographic views using Numpad 1, Numpad 3, and Numpad 7 buttons respectively.

Adding New Objects

New objects instantly find themselves where the 3D Cursor is located. You can try it yourself by moving the 3D Cursor to a new spot (you should know how to by now!), then going to the Object Mode header, choosing Add, and then creating any object there. Also, it’s a good idea to learn UV mapping to make those bland objects look a lot better.

Section 3: Advanced Techniques

Custom Transformations

One of the best Blender modeling tips is how you can use the 3D Cursor for some very precise transformations. For instance, did you know that you can snap a vertex to the 3D Cursor when in Edit Mode? Yep, and it’s straightforward to achieve too.

Select the vertex or vertices that you want to snap to the 3D Cursor’s location. Now, right-click and click on Snap Vertices > Selection to Cursor. Pretty cool, right?

On top of that, not only can you use the 3D Cursor to change the origin/pivot point for rotations, but it works the same for scaling too! Give it a shot, and then check out how good your model looks once rendered in Eevee

3D Cursor in Animation

The 3D Cursor is absolutely invaluable when it comes to animation in Blender, whether you’re using assets you downloaded or created. Remember that I talked about how a changed pivot point could be useful for animating something orbiting around another object? What if you only need it to orbit for a few seconds before rotating it relative to its geometry again?

Well, you can use the 3D Cursor as a temporary pivot point and animate using that. Once you’re done, snap the origin of the object back to its geometry and you can resume “normal” rotation.

Scripting with the 3D Cursor

If you script using Python in Blender, you’re very likely headed towards being a more advanced user. You may be putting together your own custom 3D Cursor techniques in Blender, and if that’s the case, all you really need to know is the method you need to read the cursor’s coordinates and the one you can use to set new coordinates.

  • Get Cursor Position: bpy.context.scene.cursor_location

  • Set Cursor Position: bpy.ops.view3d.cursor.set(float1, float2, float3); where the arguments are floats relating to the x, y, and z coordinates.

Section 4: Troubleshooting and Tips

Common Issues

One of the biggest issues you can encounter with the 3D cursor is finding out that it’s misplaced. This happens mostly because you set its position in the perspective view, which really doesn’t allow for precise placement. The best way to make sure it is set in the right spot is by setting it using multiple orthographic views! Remember, you access these quickly using 1, 3, and 7 on your keyboard’s numpad.

In addition, it’s a good idea to know how to reset the 3D Cursor to its default location at 0,0,0 real quick. With the 3D Cursor tool selected, press Shift + C. That’s it.

Conclusion

You can be a fantastic Blender user without knowing a single thing about how versatile the 3D Cursor is, but you’re bound to get there a whole lot faster if you do (the right knowledge can speed up your rendering too!). The best way to get the hang of this tool and understand how far its abilities go is simply by practicing a lot with it.

Once you get used to using the 3D Cursor in Blender in your daily workflow, you’ll thank me for giving you a little guidance on how to use it.

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