How To Use The Object Origin In Blender?

All object types in Blender are connected to the 3D world of which they are a part. Regardless of the type of object, they will all have a set number of properties, such as the transforms of the object, which are the location, rotation, and scale. Many of these properties are defined by a single dot on your screen known as the Object Origin.

The object origin is the central coordinate of the object assigned to it, and every object will always have one origin point. The origin is used to define how many tools work in object mode, including selection, transforms, and parenting. We can move the object origin to change how these tools affect the model or object.

Learning to use the object origin is an essential step in scene creation, as it is the basis for many of the tools you are likely to use in object mode. So while the object origin does not impact editing objects as much, it is crucial to manipulating entire scenes, and here is why…

How To Locate The Objects Origin?

You can’t manipulate a tool if you don’t know where it is on your screen. The object origin is visible as a small yellow dot often found at the center of an object, especially for mesh objects.

When you select an object, the object origin will appear in the center, and the object itself will have a highlight of the same color.

The Objects Origin Dot

When an object is not a part of your selection, the object origin will not show on the screen.

If you were to select multiple objects, then all objects selected would display the object origin of that model.

Origin Of Selected Objects

While the object origin of the active object will appear yellow, any other objects that are a part of the selection will have an orange color to match the outline.

What Is The Purpose Of The Object Origin?

All objects have different shapes and forms, especially when discussing mesh objects. For our models to be editable in terms of their relationship to the 3D world, we need to store that data using an object origin tool.

The primary function of the object origin is to tell Blender WHERE the object is located on the 3D viewport.

It is also used for many different functions controlled in object mode, which can include the object’s rotation relative to the 3D world and the scale of the model relative to its original size.

What Object Types Have Object Origins?

Any object that you add to the 3D Viewport has to, at the very least, have a defined location, and this parameter is stored in the object origin of the object.

All Object Types Have An Origin

Therefore, any object in the 3D viewport must have its own object origin. Even objects that are not editable or do not have a geometric form, such as cameras and empties, will at least have an origin point so they can be positioned in 3D space.

Manipulating Transforms With The Object Origin

The most common example of using the object origin is by manipulating the three transforms of the object, which are the location, rotation, and scale.

Whenever you manipulate these transforms, you are doing so with object origin, and the positioning of the origin changes the way the transforms are affected.

To demonstrate how important the positioning of the object origin is, we can move either the origin of the geometry to show this.

Moving Geometry Without Affecting The Origin

To move the geometry, simply go into edit mode for your mesh object and select all of your geometry, then hit the G key to grab and move the mesh to a new location.

Moving Geometry In Edit Mode Away From The Origin

You will see that moving your geometry does not impact the object origin at all. This is because the object origin stores the object data, a separate entity from the mesh data. You can view these various data blocks in the outliner panel.

Moving The Object Origin By Itself

The better option is to move the object origin itself instead of your geometry. This method can be used with any object type since the previous method can only work with objects that allow access to edit mode.

Go to the options menu located in the corner of the 3D viewport header and left-click to open up a small menu.

Origin Only Location

One of the options in the menu will allow you only to manipulate the object origin, labeled as origins. Tick the box next to the option, and a gizmo will appear around the ring of your selected object,

Gizmo Attached To The Origin

Return to the viewport and use the G key to grab and position the object origin without moving the object.

Manipulating Transforms From Outside The Model

If your object origin is on the outside, the behavior of the transforms will change in two out of three cases.

When moving the object using the location transform, the object origin will move, and the mesh will move similarly.

The distance between the object origin and the mesh also remains the same regardless of how we alter the location.

Rotating Around The Origin

The rotation, on the other hand, operates differently compared to before. If we rotate on an axis with the origin outside of the model, then the model will orbit around the ring on the selected axis.

The scale transform also behaves differently if the origin is outside the model. When increasing the scale, the object will scale up but will also appear to move further away from the origin.

Scaling From Outside

On the other hand, reducing the scale will decrease the model’s size and move it closer to the origin.

Other Ways That The Object Origin Affects Tools?

Besides the transforms in Blender, the object origin influences other tools used in object mode.

For example, parenting connects objects to each other using a parent/child relationship, but rather than the object geometry being used for parenting, the object origins are used for the tool.

Another tool that is affected by the object origin is the selection area tool. This has three forms, the box select, circle select, and lasso select tools.

Circle Select Requires You To Find The Origin And Not The Mesh

When you use the circle select, for example, hovering over the geometry of an object does not select the model, but hovering over the object origin does.

This is also true for both the box select and lasso select tools. When creating duplicates, a new object origin is created and assigned to the new object because the object data is different from the original.

If two or more objects are joined together using the join tool, the nonactive object will lose its object origin as it is merged with the active element.

As you can see, many tools depend on the object origin to work, as it is the visual identifier for any objects in the 3D viewport.

Thanks For Reading

We appreciate you taking the time to read through the article. We hope you found the information you were looking for. If you are interested in learning more about the Blender software, you can check out a few of the articles we have listed below.