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I thought the 3D cursor was pretty lame when I first started using Blender - another strange thing Blender was doing differently than every other program. But it seems like I find a new use for it every couple days. I noticed recently that it appears to have a rotation state (I'm using 2.8 in case it is a recent change).

What I'm wondering is why Blender doesn't make use of that rotation when I use the "cursor to selected" or "selection to cursor" commands. It only seems to change the object or cursor's position, leaving rotation as-is.

If these commands made use of rotation, we could then set our transformation orientation mode to cursor, and instantly have custom orientation modes within a few clicks. For example, you could select a character's eyeball, choose cursor to selected, set the orientation mode to cursor, then move some object or component, relative to their line of sight (G, Z, 10).

My question - is there a way to upgrade the cursor or enable a higher level cursor mode? Something that makes use of the cursor rotation state? If not, why does it have a rotation state?

Thanks!

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean object's rotation in accordance with the cursor's position? I think it could be scripted. For the sake of clarity, where did you see it? Give links/images. $\endgroup$ Aug 11, 2019 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ In 2.8, if you select View tab on the [N] panel, you can see the cursor's rotation state near the bottom, under the 3D Cursor section. $\endgroup$
    – Robert
    Aug 11, 2019 at 14:56

3 Answers 3

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In the N properties region of the 3D view, there is a 'Tool' tab for the options of your current tool. If you are using the ShiftSpace > Space 3D cursor tool, you are given options for orientation.

enter image description here

Here, by setting the ShiftA Creation > 'Align' option to '3D Cursor', a cube has been created aligned to the face of another object.

Edit.. as far as I can see....:

I haven't found a direct way to align the cursor to the transformation of an object or bone. However, you can do it in 2 steps:

  • Use the '+' at the top right of the header's Orientation panel to create a Custom Transform Orientation from your: object in Object Mode, components of your object or armature in Edit Mode, or bone in Pose Mode.
  • Use the 3D Cursor tool as before, with its 'Orientation' option set to 'Transform'.

This isn't too onerous, the 3DC setting is sticky: it persists after first use in each mode.

You can set up a Quick Menu item or keyboard shortcut for the creation of the Custom Orientation by right-clicking the '+'. AFAIK you will have to do this once for each of the modes: Object/Edit/Pose. You can set the Custom Orientation to be used immediately after creation, and/or overwrite the last-created one.

As for ShiftS snapping, the cursor does not automatically adopt the orientation when snapped. It had to be dragged a little in the viewport to take up the orientation before snapping.

You can always align an object to a transform orientation by using the Header menu > Object > Transform > 'Align to Transform Orientation' , and you can crate a shortcut for that, too.

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    $\begingroup$ Noticed the other day setting scene.cursor.matrix does nought. Is there a setting such that snap cursor to active, in object mode, sets cursor to the active object matrix_world? $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Aug 11, 2019 at 10:52
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    $\begingroup$ @batFINGER, see edit... is this area, umm.. 'unfinished'? $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Aug 11, 2019 at 17:05
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    $\begingroup$ My original intention was to use the cursor logic as a temporary custom orientation, so I wouldn't need to constantly create custom orientations for bones. My bone transforms constantly change, so I'm forced to delete and recreate my custom orientations, which becomes tedious after a while. Still, I appreciate your effort to provide a mechanism that helps. Might be a good candidate for future improvements to Blender. The selection <-> cursor tools are very helpful for positioning elements, relatively, but I think including rotations would make it better. Maybe with a toggle to disable it. $\endgroup$
    – Robert
    Aug 11, 2019 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Robert totally agree. The 3D cursor still seems an incomplete tool . the creation of temporary orientations / manipulation of object pivots is, IMO, a lot quicker and more intuitive in .. well.. at least 3DS and XSI, which are the ones I know about .. $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Aug 11, 2019 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ On unfinished... I hope so. the pre-drag snaps (good get btw) but inconsistently. Setting cursor rot-mode to quaternion worked on occasion too. As with OP my expectation is in transform mode it would take on the global transform of the object. $\endgroup$
    – batFINGER
    Aug 11, 2019 at 18:12
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The easiest way I've found is:

  1. Align 3D cursor to the object you want to duplicate rotation to (select object -> shift+S -> Cursor to selected).

  2. Select the target object that needs to be aligned to 3D cursor.

  3. Menu - Object -> Transform -> Align to Transform Orientation

  4. Left-bottom menu of the screen -> transform orientation to 3D Cursor -> and select axis you'd like.

  5. You are welcome! :)

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If you enter the View tab from the Sidebar (by pressing press N), there is a 3D Cursor section where you can set the cursor rotation.

enter image description here

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