Transforming an Object by Using the 3D Manipulator

In Blender's default configuration, the 3D manipulator is activated and viewable at the center of your selected object. You can use the manipulator to transform any object in a 3D scene. When Blender first starts, the manipulator is in Translate (Grab) mode, which you can determine in two ways:

  • The manipulator itself looks like a set of colored axes located at the center of the selected object.
  • In the 3D View's header, the button with the blue arrow icon on it is depressed to indicate that the manipulator is in Translate mode. By default, the manipulator is oriented to align with the Global axis.

image In all coordinate system orientations under Blender, red represents the X-axis, green the Y, and blue the Z. If you think about the primary colors for light, a handy way to think of this is XYZ = RGB.

Switching manipulator modes

As you might expect, translation isn't the only transform operation available to you with the manipulator. If you refer to the 3D View's header to the left of where the Coordinate System Orientation menu is located, the button with the blue arc icon on it activates Rotation manipulator mode, and the button with the icon of a line connecting to the corner of a square activates Scale mode. Press the Rotation mode button to see the change in the look of the 3D manipulator. In this mode, the manipulator is a set ...

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