As a professional Autodesk Maya user for over a decade, one of the things that took me a while to wrap my head around was the one and only “3D Cursor” in Blender.
That tiny circle that keeps floating in your 3D viewport at first I just ignored it but it just kept being in my way until I dug deeper into it and found out that this little thing can be really helpful in so many ways.
To position the 3D Cursor you only need to Shift+Right-Click where you want the 3D Cursor to be placed. To Snap the 3D Cursor to your selection use the Snap menu with Shift+S and then “Cursor to Selected”.
In this article, I will explain to you everything you need to know about the 3D Cursor in Blender and the ways you can take advantage of it in your daily workflow.
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What is the 3D Cursor in Blender?
A question all beginners starting with Blender ask, even professionals switching to Blender, and to put that question to rest let’s define what the 3D Cursor actually is.
The 3D Cursor in Blender is a reference if you are a Maya user consider it as a Null, something that you can place anywhere you want with ease and then snap objects, components, and pivots to it.
The 3D Cursor is like this tiny helper that can make your workflow easier, Yes sometimes it’s just in the way but you can easily hide it and I will show you how to do that next.
Hiding the 3D Cursor in Blender
The 3D Cursor is just one of the Viewport overlays and you can easily disable it by clicking the “Viewport Overlays” and then the checkbox that says “3D Cursor”.
Why We Need the 3D Cursor in Blender?
The 3D Cursor has lots of uses which make it very important to implement in your workflow Let me list some of those uses:
- Moving the pivot of any object to the center of the world or anywhere the cursor is located.
- Moving any object anywhere you want by snapping it to the cursor
- Create new objects in specific locations where the cursor is placed
How to Use the 3D Cursor in Blender?
In order to start using the awesome (previously annoying) 3D Cursor we need to get ourselves familiar with its shortcuts because it’s essential for a quick and fast workflow.
3D Cursor Shortcuts
Below I will list some of the most important shortcuts I use when moving and manipulating the 3D Cursor:
|Shift+right-click||Place 3D Cursor|
|Shift+S+1||Cursor to World Origin|
|Shift+S+2||Cursor to Selected|
|Shift+S+4||Cursor to Grid|
3D Cursor Pie Menu
Alright so as we have seen above the pie menu you get when you click Shift+S is called the Snap Pie Menu, which has most of the cursor manipulation commands you would need, some artists call this menu the Cursor menu as it has lots of the Cursor commands you would need. I will list some of those below:
- Cursor to World Origin: This would snap the cursor to 0,0,0 world origin.
- Cursor to Selected: This would snap the Cursor to the object or component you have selected. If it’s an object it will snap to its pivot.
- Cursor to Grid: This will snap the Cursor to the Grid.
- Cursor to Active: This will snap the Cursor to the active object you have which is the last selected object.
How to Move the 3D Cursor in Blender
Moving the 3D Cursor is one of the most essential things you would need to do, and to do so is very easy there are 2 ways:
- Using the menu bar button for it
- Using the shortcut
There is a button for the 3D Cursor that you can use to place it wherever you like and that button is called “Cursor” and it’s located in the left toolbar.
The other method is the most famous and used method, which is using the shortcut Shift+right-click and will place the 3D Cursor where you right-click.
How to Move the 3D Cursor to World Origin?
Sometimes while you working the 3D Cursor gets lost in the scene or places in locations that are hard to grab, and you want to easily reset the 3D Cursor and bring it back to the world origin at 0,0,0.
To do that simply, press Shift+S+1 on your keyboard and that will snap it back to the world origin.
How to Move the 3D Cursor to Selection?
Moving the 3D Cursor to selection whether your selection is an object or a component or any type of object you simply press Shift+S+2 and it will snap it to the selection.
Be careful if you have an object it will snap it to the pivot of that object, if you want to snap to specific locations within that object enter Edit Mode by hitting Tab on the keyboard and then select a vertex or an edge or a face then snap it to selection.
How to Move Object Pivot to World Origin?
This is a very important process to do utilizing the 3D Cursor, I would break it into 2 steps:
- Snap the Cursor to World Origin: As we said before press Shift+S+1 and the Cursor is at World Origin.
- Snap the Pivot of the object to the Cursor: Select the object and press “.” It will give you the pivot pie menu then click “3D Cursor“.
As simple as it is, the 3D Cursor in Blender is a very useful and essential tool you should be using in your daily tasks, it will offer you ways to precisely place objects, components, and pivots.
Hopefully, this tutorial was helpful and now you can start using the 3D Cursor in your daily work.
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