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Blender For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Jason van Gumster

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Differentiating Between Coordinate Systems

Before you bound headlong into applying transformations to your objects, you need to understand how coordinate systems work in 3D space. All coordinate systems in Blender are based on a grid consisting of three axes: X, Y, and Z. The X-axis typically represents side-to-side movement, whereas the Y-axis represents front-to-back movement, and the Z-axis goes from top to bottom. This grid system with axes is referred to as the Cartesian grid. The origin, or center, of this grid is at the (0,0,0) coordinate. The difference in the coordinate systems within Blender lies in the way this grid is oriented relative to a selected 3D object. Figure 3-1 shows the Coordinate System Orientation menu in the 3D View header when you left-click it.

image If you're coming from another 3D program, you may find the way Blender handles coordinates a bit disorienting. Programs like 3DS Max and Maya have the Y-axis representing vertical movement and the Z-axis going from front to back. Currently, you can't change the coordinate system in Blender to match these programs, so this system is one of those things that migrating users just need to get used to.

As Figure 3-1 shows, you can choose from five orientations: View, Normal, Gimbal, Local, and Global. Working in any of these coordinate systems gives you absolute control of how your object lives in 3D space. Depending ...

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