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So I just spent the better part of a day looking everywhere for a solution, to no avail.

Basically, I wanted to rotate a bone to where it points perfectly towards an axis (the global axis, not a local axis) in pose mode, preferably without using object constraints. Like "snapping" a bone's rotation towards one of the 6 axes, if you will.

Is this even possible to do?

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  • $\begingroup$ could you not just set the rotation to be a multiple of 90 degrees via the properties panel? $\endgroup$ – GiantCowFilms Apr 1 '18 at 1:03
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantCowFilms - that only works if the bone is created aligned to the axis. An arm bone in the t-pose may point down 36 degrees, making a zero pose mode rotation not aligned to any global axis. To get it horizontal you need to move it up 36 degrees in pose mode. $\endgroup$ – sambler Apr 1 '18 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ I think you will need to use a constraint. It would be position an empty, add a trackto constraint, apply the transform and delete the constraint. An addon could be made to do it, don't know if there are any existing. $\endgroup$ – sambler Apr 1 '18 at 20:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, what sambler said is primarily why I can't simply set the rotation to a multiple of 90 degrees. I'll try the constraint thing later and see if that works for me. $\endgroup$ – anony Apr 3 '18 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @sambler When you say "apply the transform", what exactly do you mean? I positioned an empty, used a constraint and got the bone pointing upward, but I'm stuck at that. I assume you mean applying the constraint transformation, but I do not know how to do such; I know it's not like modifiers where you can simply apply the transformation with a click of a button. $\endgroup$ – anony Apr 4 '18 at 21:16
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While you ask for a way without constraints, I think you will need to use one, at least temporarily, to get the bone positioned.

  • Align an empty to the head of the bone.
  • Move the empty on the global axis you want to align to.
  • Add a TrackTo constraint to the bone and set the empty as the target.

Now that the bone is pointing the direction you want, you can use ⎈ CtrlA->Apply Visual Transform to Pose and delete the constraint.

You can also use I->Visual Rotation to keyframe the values used after constraints have been applied to the bone.

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