I have a cylinder which I arrange in a grid, using 2 array modifiers: 1 to multiply along the x-axis and a second one to multiply along the y-axis.

I do this twice, and I can't get around why those arrays have different editing behaviour:

  1. The first array, in Object mode, I can only click-select the base object in the scene, and in the N-menu (item transform), I can change the scale and dimension of that object. It will apply to the array-instances as well. This is the expected behaviour.
  2. In my second array (which is exactly the same, and actually a copy of the first one, but this is now also what happens when I create the array from scratch), I can select any instance of the cylinder in the scene. And the item-transform menu shows the total dimension. I can NOT edit the base object!

Why is there different behaviour anyway? And how am I supposed to edit the base object to be applied for all instances? Obviously, I don't want to remove and re-create the array modifiers, just to edit the base object.

I'm very new (again) to blender, but I think for what I'm doing, I'm quite happy in Object mode. I am aware that I can edit the instance in Edit mode, but this one looks more like I'm not understanding something about the Object mode and arrays.

Updated Details

Here are some more details, trying to explain what behaviour I am looking for, and which is actually the behaviour I sometimes see as described in (1.)

So I'm starting with the default cube, and just to highlight which transform-dialog I'm talking about, it's dimensions are 2x2x2.

enter image description here

When I add an array modifier, I kind of expect to still being able to edit/transform the base object. But when I select, the object size is shown as 12x2x2. And when I transform the dimensions, the whole group/array is transformed.

enter image description here

However, in some cases, when I selected the base object, the transform dialog did show the dimensions of only that object, and allowed me to edit it's dimensions. Which then applied to all array-copies. This is the behavior I actually expected, but most of the times, the selection will be the whole group/array, not the single object.

I can't get to reproduce the "expected" behavior, but it was definitely there. Once, I had an array selected so that I could edit the base object - and then after saving the file, that behavior was gone.

This is unfortunately very blurry and I'm sorry for not being able to provide an example of "the good behavior". From the comments I understand that this actual behavior is expected, which also makes sense. Just confusing, that in some instances I could edit the base object.

  • $\begingroup$ I can't reproduce your situation, could you share your file? blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com $\endgroup$ – moonboots Sep 13 '20 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ I can't seem to reproduce situation (1.) either. After reloading the file, that array had same behaviour as (2.) and I can't edit the base object independently. There seems to be a bug in that dimension display (N menu) anyway: When I change the dimension of the array-group and undo, it will show the dimension of the single object. $\endgroup$ – Janos Sep 13 '20 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ The main question remains: what is a/the way to transform the base object of an array? $\endgroup$ – Janos Sep 13 '20 at 18:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @ Janos, as @moonboots said, the best way to objectivize what you are asking is to provide an example file here. If not all this will be a little broad and hard to understand in its details. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – lemon Sep 13 '20 at 18:12

I speculate that the problem lays in a slight missunderstanding of the concepts of object/edit mode and modifiers. For better understanding maby you should update your question and add some visualization what you want to accomplish exactly and what is not working as expected. Then if you put a comment under this answer i could take another look at it and edit my answer accordingly.

the only way to realy edit the array itself in object mode is via the thwo separate array modifiers. Relative offset values or object offset can produce diffrent results. Transformations will apply to the whole object+array-setup.

the other way would be to edit your base mesh in edit mode. This edit will get passed down first to the one array modifier and then also this result will get passed down as a whole to the next array modifier. Individual edits are not possible, as for they are not what array modifier is intended.

There are other ways of working with seriality and transformation offsets in it, so it would really help knowig what you want to suggest other solutions. :)

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your explanation. I updated my question with screenshots, though they only show what is probably expected. My actual question is about how to get "that other behavior", where I was indeed able to transform the base object in object mode, which applied to the array-instances. $\endgroup$ – Janos Sep 15 '20 at 21:06
  • $\begingroup$ Apart from that, I'd be very interested in learning more ways to duplicate objects, while still being able to edit them. Could you throw me in some keywords? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – Janos Sep 15 '20 at 21:07

I found a solution to the problem. To briefly summarize the problem again: When using the "array" modifier, editing object dimensions applies to the result of the array, i.e. the dimensions of all array-items, instead of the object which is multiplied. The only way so far I found to edit the base object was to delete the array modifiers, edit the object, and add the modifiers again.

The soulution I found:

  1. In object mode
  2. Disable the "Realtime (display modifier in viewport)" option of the array modifiers. Only the base object will be visible.
  3. Select the base object -> The "Transform" properties now show the properties of the base object, not of the array
  4. Adjust the transformation properties
  5. (if we would re-enable visibility of the arrays now, the array would be scaled to the new transformation properties)
  6. Scale the base object to the new transformation (ctrl+a, scale)
  7. Re-enable visibility of the arrays

enter image description here


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