Blender tutorial: How to change pivot point

Changing the pivot point (also known as the rotation and anchor point) is something we all have to do at one point in our Blender journey. If you come from 2D software like After Effects or Photoshop, changing the pivot point has been as easy as holding in ALT and clicking somewhere on the screen.

In Blender, it’s not that easy, although not far from it. There are actually several different ways to move the anchor point, depending on what you are doing and what the desired result is. If you want, you can read the official documentation from Blender.

I will be covering two different ways to change the rotation point of an object in this post, and some tips as well.

The manual way

You can change the pivot manually, meaning it doesn’t automatically align to anything in the scene or on your model. This solution will work most of the time, but not always. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Select the object which should have its pivot point changed
  2. Go into edit mode (TAB).
  3. Select all vertices (A) and then move (G) the selected object to where you like.
  4. Exit edit mode (TAB), you have now changed the object’s pivot.
An easy and quick way, but not the most precise.

Using an empty

There’s also another way to manually change the pivot of an object in Blender, although you are not actually changing it permanently. By creating an empty and parenting it to your desired object, you can have the empty act as the pivot point. This can be useful if you’re working with a very heavy model and cannot go into edit mode without it lagging on you.

  1. Press Shift + A > Empty > Plain Axes (or any other one, it’s just a visual representation)
  2. Select the Empty and move it to your desired pivot point location
  3. Click on the object, then shift-click on the Empty
  4. Press CTRL + P and select Object (Keep Transform)
  5. You are done, you can now rotate the object via the Empty
Using an empty as an anchor point.

Using the 3D cursor

You can use the 3D cursor as a global pivot point too, just remember that all objects that use the 3D cursor as their pivot will rotate around it too. So if you have multiple objects that are scattered around the scene, they all will rotate around the same point.

If you want to snap the pivot to the 3D cursor, skip the list below and hop onto the next section.

Using the 3D cursor as a global pivot point

  1. In the middle top toolbar, press the icon that looks like 2 chain links (besides the dropdown menu that reads “Global”)
  2. Select 3D Cursor from the drop-down menu
  3. Change the placement of the 3D cursor by shift + right-clicking anywhere in the scene
  4. You can also hop into edit mode, select a vertex, edge, or a face, press SHIFT + S, and select “Cursor to selected” to place the 3D cursor at the selected point.
  5. Everything will now rotate around the 3D cursor
Using the 3D cursor as a global pivot.

Using the 3D cursor to assign a new pivot point for an object

But what if you want to permanently change the pivot to a vertex of an object? Well, it’s not much different than the steps listed above. Just make sure you have changed your pivot point back to Median Point instead of the 3D cursor in the top middle menu.

  1. Select your object and go into edit mode (TAB)
  2. Select a vertex, edge, or face
  3. Press SHIFT + S > Cursor to Selected
  4. Exit edit mode (TAB)
  5. Go into the menu on the top left and find “Object”
  6. Object > Set Origin > Origin to 3D cursor
  7. Press SHIFT + S > Cursor to World Origin to get the 3D cursor back to the center
Using the 3D cursor to permanently change the origin.

There’s no best way

Who knew that changing something simple as a pivot point could be so complex? I want to end this post by saying there’s really no best way to change the anchor point of an object in Blender, it really depends on what you’re trying to achieve and the scene you’re working with.

4 Comments

  1. OMG thank you! i am so tired of having to watch 10 minute videos to find an explanation of something that takes a few seconds

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