Trying to use the snap functions, I don't really understand how the "part to snap" option works in object mode and how to accomplish a precise snap.

  1. Closest is working as expected.

  2. and 3. Center and median : I couldn't notice the difference. I would await "center" to snap the origin on the target (that's the case in all my test), but then "median" should snap the "middle of the mesh" to the target ? At the end, on my computer with 2.68, both do the same. Wrong configuration or bug ?

  3. "Active", the one I need the most. I would await it to snap the active vert/edge/face in the mesh. But it does like "Center" and "Median", it snaps the origin to the target :/ Maybe the "active thing" is the object and not the vert at that moment, but it makes no sense to have 3 different options that do the same and really not what is expected ? It works in Edit Mode.

What am I doing wrong ? If it has to stay so, maybe explain why and a way to accomplish 4) in object mode would be great.


3 Answers 3


Object Mode Snapping:

  • Center
    When in Object mode, "Center" for snap means taking the current Pivot point setting of your selection, which also means the transformation center, not the bounding box center of your selection.
  • Median
    As for "median", it means the same as the Pivot type Median.
    Median means a sort of center of gravity of the selection. The behavior is most obvious with an asymmetric selection: Median in object mode

    There is one way to get the same result by using "Center" and "Median" snapping, which is when using Center snapping mode, if your Pivot point setting is Median, then it behaves the same as when using "Median" snapping mode.
    In any other case, they will not be same unless your selected objects are distributed perfectly even with each other.

  • Vert/edge/face

Vert/edge/face are only available in Edit mode. So, don't think about it in Object mode, when in object mode, unless you are using "Closet" as snap target (available for vertex). your snap target "Active" will only be the origin of the one you selected last. Furthermore, make sure you do have a object that is selected and activated, otherwise blender has nothing available to snap, but to use "Median" point as the alternative one.

I hope I've tried my best to answer every point in your question. Of course, if any question, just throw it here, we'll try to offer further help. :)

P.S.: If you really need to snap certain element (vert/edge/face) in Object mode, you may consider switching to Edit Mode first, place/snap 3D cursor to wherever you want, then go back to Object Mode, using Center as snap target. Then switch Pivot point to 3D Cursor, which may behave as you expected.

  • $\begingroup$ AFAIK Vert/Edge/Face snapping is available in object mode? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 1:36
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3, I bet he or she means the vert/edge/face on the one that is being transformed. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 2:51
  • $\begingroup$ @LeonCheung ah, you are probably right.. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 3:24
  • $\begingroup$ Yep, verts/edge/face on the one being transformed, that's right. $\endgroup$
    – matali
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 13:30

From the Snap Target section of the wiki:

move the active element (vertex in Edit mode, object in Object mode) to the target.
move the median of the selection to the target.
move the current transformation center to the target. Can be used with 3D > cursor to snap with an offset.
move the closest point of the selection to the target.

By "transformation center" they are referring to the Pivot Point, which defaults to Median, hence the difference not being immediately noticeable.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Please add some detail to your answer explaining what's contained in the link. If the link goes down, so does your answer. $\endgroup$
    – CharlesL
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, but the given links are about "pivot center", which is not what I'm looking for and the one about snap doesn't give more info on the reason why there are 3 different names for, in the end, 3 times the same function in Object mode. I must be doing something wrong, Devs have little time, they won't code 3 time a function under 3 different names in a single list menu. So it's either a bug, or I don't understand the differences. $\endgroup$
    – matali
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 13:34
  • $\begingroup$ I do think the wiki links conains all explanation for you on the three references. esp. Median. It would be harly possible for you to still puzlling on it after carefully reading the links (see the examples there). But Aldrik is also right. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 17:14
  • $\begingroup$ Actually, I already had a look to the wiki before asking here. You seemed so sure about your answer, that I tried further. After trying a while to see the differences, I noticed that those descriptions from wiki only works when multiple objects are selected. That must be why Active, centre and median do the exact same thing with one object. I'll play more with it to understand how it all works and if I can do what I want with it. $\endgroup$
    – matali
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ Well, I'll try to explain in my way as I can. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 25, 2013 at 4:52

To accomplish 4, you could A select the entire mesh in Edit mode, then enable snapping:

enter image description here

Now you can snap the entire object to another object (To a face, edge, or vertex, depending on the settings)

enter image description here

Then to reset the origin, Shift+Ctrl+Alt+C > Origin to Geometry, or T > Tool Shelf > Origin > Origin to Geometry

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Gandalf, but the question was about doing it in object mode. Edit mode gives a mess when meshes are instantiated (all instances are moved) $\endgroup$
    – matali
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ That is a limitation, you might be able make them single user than re link them $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Commented Aug 4, 2013 at 19:57

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