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If I have multiple objects selected can I use scaling to make the objects closer together (without rescaling the objects)?

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3 Answers 3

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Yes, enable the pivot-point-align option.

This transforms the center points only.

One way to think of this is as a ferris-wheel - where each gondola stays in place, but you can rotate their locations.

Scale: scale

Rotate: Even though you didn't ask about this, it helps to understand how the feature works. rotate

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    $\begingroup$ That is awesome! I never realized this feature existed! +1. $\endgroup$
    – CharlesL
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 18:09
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    $\begingroup$ I've just had a look in the Manual but there seems to be nothing about this useful little feature. $\endgroup$
    – SteveW
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ Elegant and effective combination of simple tools is pure joy. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 14, 2013 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ Wait, did they change the name of that button? I swear the popup calls it "object centers only". Grawr, computer not handy. $\endgroup$
    – Weaver
    Commented Nov 27, 2014 at 10:38
  • $\begingroup$ This does not work in edit mode, just a reminder. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 14:08
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As answered by @ideasman42, pivot point align option is a really awesome transformation tool. That coupled with Proportional Editing (Object Mode with Constant Falloff) the following transformations can be easily achieved.

Initial state of the objects

  1. Enable Pivot Point Align (Alt+,).
  2. Enable Proportional Editing (O).
  3. Choose Constant Falloff (Shift+O until constant falloff is displayed).

Enable Pivot Point Align, Proportional Editing with Constant Falloff

Left most object selected and scaled

Start scaling the objects and move the mouse while adjusting the proportional inflience area by scrolling the mouse wheel

Start scaling the objects

Middle object selected and scaled

In this case, the objects are proportionally scaled about the middle object.

Another way of scaling the same set of objects

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For version 3.1:

  1. Open the 3D view side panel for current tool and select Affect only | Locations.

  2. Select Active Element as the pivot point.

  3. Use the scale tool.

enter image description here

Documentation for further details.

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