Poor pivot workflow impedes Blender's modelling proficiency

I am using Blender for modeling pretty much daily these days, and so far the biggest issue in terms of productivity seems to be very poor pivot workflow (it’s still called origin in 2.8 but hopefully it will be finally renamed soon). Very often it is the case I need to transform pivot to the specific place, or snap it onto something, and only way to do that currently in Blender is painfully, via the 3D cursor tool. On top of that, pivot adjustments are possible only in object mode, requiring me to exit from edit mode every time I need to adjust pivot. Currently, this is where most of my time is getting wasted.

Since Blender is now heading in professional direction, one of the big things that should be addressed is a simple, straightforward direct pivot transformation, instead of indirect one though 3D cursor.

Furthermore, 3D cursor in general feels like an ancient excuse for proper implementation of 3D manipulators. Its only sensible purpose is to serve as a “custom” mode for manipulation center:


And should be hidden as long as the manipulation center mode is not set to it. Any other tools that require arbitrary placement of new elements within the scene should have this functionality already built in, not requiring user to first place some “aid entity”, in this case 3D cursor, before they can actually start to use such tool.

In general, it would be very beneficial for modeling productivity if tools in Blender went in the direction of less and less reliance of 3D cursor, so ultimately 3D cursor could be removed altogether. No other 3D DCC out there has such concept, and as a consequence, any tools related to transformation, creation and placement of the objects at arbitrary place in scene are implemented in much faster and easier to use way.

EDIT: This has now been solved by addition of direct pivot transform mode. This thread is now obsolete.


i would also like to see this as a built in functionality of blender, in the mean time there are some addons that will make your life better:D

That doesn’t help. It still makes it a two step process. I can only set origin to selection, not really transform it arbitrarily, such as snap it to vertex of another object easily.

yes that is true but it solves at least the switching of modes on the current object. maybe someone will extend it with some snapping functionality.

There was a good addon for that, but the author has not migrated it for 2.8 yet. But even if that addon was present, it still doesn’t change the main point, which is that such basic functionality should be built in and 3D cursor should eventually die and be removed :slight_smile:

Maybe there’s hope


i think they should do it a similar way to maya that’s what i was always thought blender is going to do, it’s easy fast and powerful and something always missed when i picked up blender, what surprised me is both softwares did the opposite in this regard, maya went with hotkeys based while blender went with the pie menus and the popovers instead of the hotkeys which is known for,… it’s really ironic.

@LudvikKoutny, maybe you can try this addon (BS Modify Pivot):

yep agreed, it’s very simple and easy, since it is also in the modeling toolkit there are many hidden “tricks” too, like one click alignment on verts/edges/faces/curves…etc.

Change the pivot point

The pivot transform addon comes pretty close.

Coming from Maya, and using Maya every day during my day job it’s one of the things that I miss the most.

Well, it was committed

Now let’s see how it works…

the buggy thing in this tread its that “Origin”, “pivot” and “3D cursor” are completely different things that have more or less common fields, when we are modeling (more than 17 years of experience here) its not often required to move the origin but to place a pivot point and orientation, as @Znio.G shows in that maya demo that is a version with steroids of the 3D cursor, besides that maya and only hear of this in maya not other soft, can animate and arbitrary change the origin of the object (i can’t imagine the mangle under the hood to enable that behavior)
3D s max has a tool that its expecacular in paper but horrible to use called working pivot, it has a lot of functionallity in paper but it requires entering an edit mode place exit edit mode use back and forward it is very inefective in that line the blenders 3D cursor its a lot faster and practical, the only maybe missing feature in blender are 1-visible gizmos to edit it 2-copy the orientation of the target when its snap to selected.
So yes many different topics mixed in one post. . .

Yes exactly - setting an origin and the 3d cursor should be pretty much the same, while the first changes the relationship to the geometry, the later is just a temporary working pivot, both could be set the very same way.

Repost from my comment under the task:

Very disappointing implementation:

  1. It’s very clunky to access (2 clicks)
  2. There’s absolutely no visual indication that you are in the pivot editing mode, so if you use hotkey to switch it, you have to cycle the state to make sure you are in or out of the pivot editing mode. This is big issue in many areas of Blender. Often you have no idea which state you are in, so you first need to do an error and then correct it by undoing, rather than having an indicator of the current state to prevent erroneous action.
  3. The most important feature, being able to snap the pivot does not work. It can’t be snapped to the vertices in object mode for example.
  4. Affect origins and affect locations options can be used together. What sense does that make?
  5. Not working in edit mode.
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Also I noticed another “big” issue, IMO. For example, which 3DS Max Handles well, is per Object Pivots. Even while the object is instanced. Some may or may not like that, but I like it. Basically in Max, if you instanced an Object, you can then modify each Instance Pivots separately.

But in Blender, if you edit an instanced objects pivot, the other objects/mesh then starts to move/offset in ways you don’t want it to.

Since Rawalanche comment, several points were improved.
There is a shortcut.
Origin can be snapped to elements of mesh.

But I agree that a visual indication, a warning that “Affect Origins” mode is ON will be welcomed.
It always had been a recurrent mistake of newbies to enable Origins Only option in previous blender releases. But, at that period button was visible into header.
Now, option is hidden into pop-over.
People could make invalid bugreports because of that option.

Maybe it could be possible to transfer delta transforms of object to origin representation. But that would imply to give a different look to that origin.

Yes, it’s pretty much solved now. This thread is now obsolete.

Not really. The origin toggle should still be in the header. It makes no sense where it is currently.

Yes, it’s not very well accessible, and should be at better place. I personally don’t mind though, as I use origin transform so frequently I will have it on a hotkey.