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During modeling my origin point, (object origin) has moved and it has me wondering where the best place to put it is.

When modeling in Blender is there a general rule or suggestion for where the origin point of an object should be?

Please elaborate with what purpose it serves. For example, is there a benefit to having the origin point at the bottom center rather than the absolute center? Explain what scenarios the origin point is useful for.


Related question: How can I put an object in the center of the viewport and on top of the floor? (For those who want to know how to move the object origin to the bottom center)

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    $\begingroup$ The origin point of an object can serve modelling purposes, as well as animation pivot. It is generally not something you just place at random, as it stands this question sounds too broad or specific case dependent $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos Mar 5 '18 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @DuarteFarrajotaRamos Don't post answers as comments. That in itself is an answer to the question. This is a question by a beginner for beginners. The first thing you notice when you first modeling is there's this origin point. The next thing your curious about is where it should be and what purpose it serves. Therefore, this question is not even slightly broad because it is 1. Asking where it should generally be and 2. What purposes it can serve (for consideration of the first part of the question.) $\endgroup$ – LateralTerminal Mar 5 '18 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ Getting some general pointers is really not too broad. Not every question needs a black or white answer to contribute. $\endgroup$ – Haunt_House Mar 5 '18 at 19:09
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The Object Origin is the 0,0,0 mark of the local coordinate system of your object. Imagine your object sits inside a glass shoebox and snugly fits in. The three axes (width, length and height) run parallel to the edges of the box. The Object Origin is the ball joint by which the shoebox is fastened to the room.

Here are some general rules of thumb that you can break as soon as you understand their limits:

  • When you mirror anything, the Object Origin should lie on the mirror plane. If you have a symmetrical creature, it's left ear should be just as far away from the OO as its right ear.

  • The OO is the point around which your object rotates. When you do simple stuff like a door and you don't need an armature, you can put the OO where the hinges would be. That way you can just rotate your door and it will move correctly.

  • The OO is also the center for scaling. So if you want something to stay on the ground and only grow upwards, the OO should be on the ground, not in its middle. Think of a bar chart.

  • In most cases, object origins should stay close to your mesh. Beginners often move stuff in Edit Mode and forget that the OO stays put and then wonder why rotations don't work as expected.

  • Some Modifiers make use of the OO. The Mirror Modifier usually uses it to determine where the mirror sits. When modifiers have more than one object to deal with, aligning their OOs can help. Try the Array Modifier with object offset. The Curve Modifier usually cares a great deal about where the OO is.

  • Since the OO is the pivot point of the mesh, you can think of it as its gravitational center. Rigid body simulations actually treat it that way. So putting it to the visually correct center of gravity can be interesting.

  • Sometimes it makes sense to not put the OO where the hinge is, maybe because the symmetry of the object has nothing to do with its rotation. Then just parent your object to an empty and you have, in a way, created an in between OO.

To summarize it all: Stay inside the mesh and or stay on the centerline and or put it where a hinge or COG would be, break those rules whenever the consequences are useful and elegant.

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  • $\begingroup$ Note that origin point affects rotation / scale etc in Object mode, Edit mode depends on selection (if not 3D cursor as pivot point). $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Mar 5 '18 at 20:07
  • $\begingroup$ @MrZak Even with Object Mode, it's different when you have multiple objects selected. But these aren't rotations anymore, these are also translations. And the reason why beginners sometimes wonder why their animation goes bonkers. $\endgroup$ – Haunt_House Mar 5 '18 at 23:54

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