This is my first ever question I post regarding Blender and I've been a Blender user for years. I always find what I'm looking for but this time I really can't get the answer to my problem. The problem regards the Graph Editor. I really don't understand the transform axis. First, does the graph editor uses World or Local coordinates? I'm guessing it's not World, because World Z is top, but when I move Z in the graph editor, the bone moves sideways in what should be the X axis. I then tried changing to Local. It works as expected. I move X in the graph editor, the bone move in X, the same for Y and Z. But when I rotate the bone, moving X, y or Z in the graph editor behaves like the bone was not rotated at all. It moves in local axis without rotation. This is very confusing and I simply cannot use the graph editor. Is this the normal behaviour? Is there any option to show the axis the correct way matching the Graph Editor?

Local axis, X down. Bone moves vertically as expected if X is changed in the graph editor. enter image description here

With rotation, moving X in the graph editor still moves the bone vertically and not in the direction of the axis arrow.

enter image description here

What's going on here?


  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about the graph editor in the driver editor or the Graph Editor itself? Are you asking about the situation where you've set a keyframe and are manipulating it, or are you asking about the behavior of a driven object? $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2021 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I understand your question correctly, but bone rotation in Blender is a little wonky, due to the fact that Y is the outward projecting axis, and Z (usually "up/down") is the axis you would karate chop toward if the bone were your arm. (And I suppose by that logic it is still "up/down" in its own way.) Sorry, my explanation probably isn't helping. Here's a screenshot. So if you Add→Armature the bone axes will differ from the world axes. But maybe you knew this already? $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Jul 11 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


I presume, since you're talking about bones, that you're asking about f-curves that represent bone transforms. Those transforms are numbers that are in the local space of the bone.

It uses local space. Local space location is not the same thing as translating in local axes; it is the same thing as sliding up/down your XYZ location. You can think of the orientation of the bone as being it moved, then scaled, then rotated. Its rotation is about its origin after being moved.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ The graph editor knows nothing about space. The space of an F-Curve is a result of the property it is attached to. Further, in a driver it might be a property of the object being driven. It's why I asked for more details. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Marty Fouts Yes, you can f-curve anything. I presume, since jrlima is talking about bones, that they're asking about f-curves that represent bone transforms. Those transforms are numbers that are in the local space of the bone. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Jan 1 at 20:06
  • $\begingroup$ It would make your answer clearer to me if you replaced your first sentence with that explanation. I thought 'It uses local space' was meant as a general statement about the graph editor; since the question asked about the graph editor in general ("does the graph editor uses World or Local coordinates?") Sorry for nit picking and happy new year. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 at 20:10

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