Why Do We Need To Apply The Scale Of Our Objects?

Becoming a 3D artist requires technical skills just as much as it requires creative skills. This means that not only do you need to learn how to use the tools of Blender 3D, but you also need to learn the workflows that can get you the best results.

 An essential step for 3D artists is to apply the transforms of their objects. Because the transforms can directly affect many of the tools used in Blende, if we do not apply our transforms, then our tools, such as the bevel tool, may not work correctly or as intended. We can use our transforms by holding down control and pressing A and then selecting the transform to apply.

Applying your transforms is a crucial step towards being able to model your 3D objects successfully. A failure to successfully apply your 3D model transforms can often result in issues later on.

What Does it Mean To Apply Scale And Other Transforms In Blender?

When learning how to create 3D models in Blender, we can follow several different workflows, including the approach, for example, creating our objects purely in edit mode or choosing to manipulate the rotation and scale in objects mode and then editing the shape in edit mode.

When we use the term apply in Blender, we refer to a process where we effectively reset an object’s location, rotation, and scale values of an object back to their original values. We do this without resetting the actual rotation and scale of the object in the 3D viewport.

The most common transform that we need to apply is often the scale transform. This is a result of its impact on the various other tools used in Blender.

To apply the scale transform of our model, we need first to select that model and then open the side panel of our 3D viewport by pressing the N key.

Object Transforms

Within the side panel, we will be able to view the current transforms of our selected object so long as we are in object mode.

If our scale values are anything other than 1,1,1, we will need to apply that scale. Hold down the control key and press A to bring up your appliance menu with the object selected.

You have many options of how you wish to apply your transforms. However, in most cases, you will want to apply either the scale by itself or the rotation and scale as a pair if you have manipulated the rotation values.

The Apply Menu

In most cases, do not choose to apply your location transform, as this will reset your object’s origin back to the center of the world origin. Choose either scale by itself or a combination of rotation and scale from the menu.

If you go back to your side panel after applying the transforms, you will notice that the scale values should be reverted to 1,1,1. However, the actual size of your objects will not have changed due to you applying the scale. Instead, the new dimensions of your model will now be defined as the default dimensions of that object.

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Why Is It So Important To Apply Your Scale For 3D Objects?

We never really understand how important it is to apply our transforms until we end up in a situation where not applying those transforms creates headaches within our 3D modeling process.

For beginners, this is surprisingly common, mainly because the ability to apply our transforms is relatively hidden within our blender menus.

Let’s take a look at an example of how the application of scale can affect our 3D objects. Below I have two cubes stretched out along the Y-axis.

Two Cubes Example (Highlighted One Is Not Applied)

One of these cubes has had its scale applied, while the other cube has not had its scalable applied. The dimensions of the two objects are the same, but if you were to look at their scale values in the side panel, you would see that one has a scale value on the white axis or free while the other has a scale value of one on the same axis.

The bevel tool is an example of a tool that is impacted by the scale values of your model. First, we select a single edge for each of our cubes and then use the Control + B hotkey to activate the bevel tool. Then we create a bevel that stretches to the bottom part of our cube.

If you look at the image below, you will see that the effect of the bevel tool is different on each of our cubes. A value of 1 was used to match the amount of bevel for each cube.

Beveled Edge (Highlighted One Does Not Have Scale Applied)

The behavior is correct for the cube with its transforms successfully applied. This makes it easier to control the bevel tool while being used.

What Is The Shortcut To Applying The Objects Scale?

There are a couple of methods for being able to apply your transforms in Blender. The first method is to locate the apply menu.

The apply menu can be found by locating the objects menu, which appears as a button in the header bar of the 3D viewport.

Apply Menu Location

Locate the apply sub-menu within the object menu and hover your mouse cursor over the word apply. This will open up the apply menu, where you will have the various options available to apply your transforms.

A much faster method to reach this same menu is to use the hotkey. For example, the hotkey for applying your transforms is to use Control + A. This will bring up the same apply menu within your 3D viewports.
By default, there are no direct hotkeys to the individual transforms that you can apply.

You can create your own hotkey by pressing the right mouse button on the actual menu choice and then choosing to add a shortcut from this context menu.

You can also assign various tools to your quick favorites from the same context menu. The quick favorites menu can be used in the 3D viewports by pressing the Q key.

How To Clear Your Scale And The Difference Between Applying And Clearing?

In addition to applying our geometry’s transforms, we also can clear those transforms. There is a significant difference to make between the applying of your transforms and the resetting of your transforms.

In the example of applying or clearing our scale, both of these will revert the values of that scale to 111. However, the change comes from the model itself within the 3D viewport.

When we apply our scale values, they reset to the default 1,1,1 values. However, our mesh’s actual shape and size remain as they were before. In other words, we are creating new default values.

When we choose to clear our scale, on the other hand, we will not only revert our values to 1,1,1, but we will also revert the size and shape of the object to its default. In the example of a simple cube that has been scaled out along the Y-axis, this reverts that elongated cube to its original shape as if it had not been edited at all.

The clear menu can be located in the same place as the apply menu within the object menu of the 3D viewport header.

The Clear Menu

Unlike the apply menu, which has a hotkey associated with the menu itself, the clear transforms have one hotkey assigned to each of them.

These hotkeys are Alt + G for location, ALT + R for rotation, and Alt + S for scale.

Knowing The Difference Between An Objects Scale And Its Dimensions

While we have already mentioned dimensions in this article, you must understand the difference between dimensions and scale. The dimensions represent our objects’ actual length, width, and depth as they appear in our viewport.

On the other hand, the scale is the size of our objects on our XY and Z axes, using the dimensions as the base. So, for example, you create a cube with a default size of 1,2,3 on the X, Y, and Z-axis.

Then you increase the value of the Z scale from one to two within the side panel. By doubling the base value of the scale, you will double the dimension value on the Z-axis. So now, if you were to look at the dimensions in the side panel, you would see that the Z-axis has a value of six, twice as high as its initial value.

When Should You Apply The Transforms Of Your Mesh Object?

Perhaps one of the most critical questions is when do you apply the transforms of your mesh objects? And the answer to this is as soon as you change them.

For example, if you were to change your scale values to resize your model so that it is a more exact shape, you would want to apply that scale as soon as you have done so.

The faster you can apply your scale, the less likely you will forget. As we have previously mentioned, it is easy to forget to apply your transforms. So always make sure that you do it as soon as you can. This way, you can avoid any issues with using other tools later on.

Thanks For Reading The Article

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