Home > Articles

This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Moving, Rotating, and Scaling

After you create objects in your 3D scene, you need to be able to control where they are located, how they are oriented, and what size they are. In this section, you see how to do just that. Moving, rotating, and scaling are the three different transform operations you can perform on any 3D object, and there are several ways to do it.

Using Active Tools

The most obvious way to transform an object is to use Active Tools: the buttons with icons that are shown on the 3D Viewport’s toolbar (you can show or hide this bar pressing T), as shown in Figure 3.1.


FIGURE 3.1 Active Tools to move, rotate, and scale objects, located on the 3D Viewport’s toolbar

It’s simple: you choose the Move, Rotate, or Scale tools, and they become the Active Tools. The manipulators for the selected type of transform will be always shown for the current selection, and you can click and drag parts of those manipulators to perform the transformation. (For more information about using manipulators, see the next section.)

There is a fourth Active Tool for transforms, conveniently named Transform, as it shows manipulators for moving, rotating, and scaling simultaneously.

Although this method for transforming objects can be obvious to new users, it’s not always the most efficient method. Sometimes, you may prefer that your Active Tool be a different one, and you have to switch back and forth.

It’s convenient when you have the objects in your scene and all you need to do is to place them. The purpose of Active Tools, after all, is to stay active so you can use them repeatedly, but if you’re using different tools often, Active Tools may not be your best option.

Using Manipulators

There is an option to show manipulators for transforms while using other Active Tools. All you have to do is enable them on the Viewport Gizmos pop-up within the 3D Viewport’s header. (See Figure 3.2.)


FIGURE 3.2 Manipulators in the Viewport Gizmos menu on the 3D Viewport’s header and different manipulations

When you want to transform objects or elements in the 3D scene, Blender offers manipulators that help you control those transformations. The following are the manipulators:

  • Move (A): Changes the position of an object in space

  • Rotate (B): Controls the orientation of an object

  • Scale (C): Manipulates the size of an object

  • All Transforms (D): Allows you to use more than one transform manipulator at the same time

In the 3D Viewport’s header, you can select the type of transform you want to perform. If you press Shift while clicking different transform icons, you can perform multiple transforms at the same time. (In Figure 3.2, example D shows all three transform manipulators being used at the same time.)

Using the manipulators, you can move, rotate, and scale objects. These manipulators appear at the pivot point of the object (marked as a little orange spot called the origin in Blender), and you perform an action with them by using the following controls:

  • Left-click one of the axes to make the object move, rotate, or resize on that specific axis. (X is red, Y is green, and Z is blue.) Left-click again to confirm the transform. Or press Enter to confirm or Esc to cancel.

  • To enable Precision Mode, press and hold Shift after you click to transform. This action makes the transform slower, allowing you to make precise adjustments.

  • To lock one axis and manipulate the other two, press and hold Shift before you click the axis you want to lock. If you press Shift and then click the Z-axis to move it, for example, the object actually moves on the X- and Y-axes, as the Z-axis is locked. (This option works only for moving and scaling; it is not available for rotations.) On top of using keyboard shortcuts, you can use the little squares present in the Move and Scale manipulators. You’ll see that, for example, there’s a green square between the X- and Z-axes, and it’s green because it locks the Y-axis (green).

  • Move and Scale manipulators have a small white circle in their centers. Click and drag the circle of the Move manipulator to move the object, using the current point of view as a reference (dragging it parallel to the view). Click and drag the small white circle of the Scale manipulator to scale the object on every axis.

    The Rotation manipulator also has an outer white circle but is slightly different; click and drag that circle to rotate the object, using the current point of view as the rotation axis. Instead of having a small white circle in its center, the manipulator for rotations has a spherical shape in transparent gray, and its axes are drawn on the surface of that sphere. Click and drag anywhere within the Rotation manipulator’s sphere (without clicking any of its axes) to enter Orbit Mode, which allows you to rotate on all axes at the same time.

  • Hold down Ctrl while using these manipulators to switch between normal transforms and Snap Mode. This feature allows you to snap to several elements while you perform transforms. If snapping is enabled, holding down Ctrl frees the object when transforming; if it’s disabled, holding down Ctrl enables the snapping. This feature is very useful because you won’t need to continuously turn the Snap tool on and off by clicking the Snap icon on the 3D Viewport’s header. You’ll learn more about snapping tools later in the book.

  • In the 3D Viewport’s header, you can select Pivot Point and Transform Orientation. Pivot Point defines the point around which objects rotate and scale. By default, Transform Orientation (access this menu by pressing Alt+Space) is global, which means that it’s aligned to the 3D World axes (default scene axes: X is left/right, Y is front/back, and Z is top/bottom). You can switch Transform Orientation to the local axes of the selection to transform objects using their own orientation.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts (Advanced)

Although you can use manipulators easily, the expert, really fast way to transform objects in Blender is to use keyboard shortcuts. Sometimes, the manipulators are useful, but most of the time and especially for simple transforms, using the keyboard is faster and more efficient (even though it requires a bit of getting used to and memorizing the keyboard shortcuts). Here are some of the most relevant keyboard shortcuts that make transforms easier and faster:

  • Press G (Grab) to move, R to rotate, and S to scale. When you do these things to move and rotate the objects, they move and rotate according to the view. Left-click or press Enter to confirm, and right-click or press Esc to cancel.

  • After pressing G, R, or S, if you press X, Y, or Z, the selection transforms only on that global axis. Press X, Y, or Z twice to align to the selection’s local axis.

  • Press R twice to enter Trackball Rotation Mode, which makes the object rotate in all axes simultaneously following your mouse movements.

  • As an alternative to the previous option, when you’re transforming with no attachment to a given axis, you can press MMB. Lines for the axes appear, and if you move the object close to one of those lines, it is automatically locked to that specific axis.

  • The options for precise transforms, snapping, and axis locking using Shift and Ctrl while transforming with manipulators also apply when you use keyboard shortcuts. Press G and then Shift+Z to translate the object in the X- and Y-axes at the same time, for example.

Using Menus

You can also use numerical fields in menus to transform objects. You’ll find such fields in two places of the interface (see Figure 3.3):

  • 3D Viewport’s Sidebar (press N to show and hide). Within the Sidebar, pick the Item tab, and you’ll find the Transform panel, where you can see numerical fields for every location, rotation, and scale axes.

  • In the Object tab of the Properties Editor, you will also find the Transform panel.


FIGURE 3.3 On the left side, you can see the Item tab of the 3D Viewport’s Sidebar. On the right side, you can see the Object tab of the Properties Editor. Both Transform panels can be used to input values to transform objects.

In any of those panels, you can do either of the following things:

  • Click and type a specific number in the input field.

  • Click the arrows on the sides of the input field to increase or decrease the number.

  • Click and slide left and right to increase or decrease the number. Hold Shift while sliding to change the number with more precision. Hold Ctrl while sliding to change in increments. Hold Shift+Ctrl while sliding to change in smaller increments.

  • If you change a value in one of those parameters, the change will affect only the active selection. Hold Alt while you change a value to affect the entire selection; this command essentially expands the changes from the active selection to the rest of the selected objects where applicable. Click and drag up and down to select several adjacent fields (works only when those fields are grouped together) and then release to write a number that will be entered simultaneously in all of those fields, or drag left and right to use the sliding options in all of the selected fields at the same time. For example, if you wanted to scale an object in all axes, you could click and drag from the X scale field toward the Z scale field, release, type 2 on your keyboard, and press Enter to input the value of 2 in the X, Y, and Z scale axes in a single action.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020