For instance, if you have a object that lies flat on the ground plane, then you can select the edges, push G then Z and move those selected edges straight down, in this case it would be as if the selected components were moving along the normals like how the extrude tool behaves.

However, if the object is rotated about several axis then this method will not work, so my question is this. Is there a way to move selected elements along the normals in the same way that extruded elements move away from an object?

Any help on the matter would be greatly appreciated.


You can set the Transform orientation to Normal in 3D view > Header:

enter image description here

This will align the Z to the normal of the selected element. (Or in the case of multiple selected elements, the average of the normals of all selected elements):

enter image description here

Note that pressing GZ will still move the selection along the global coordinates, to move the selection along the orientation set with Transform Orientation you need to press the axis key twice (so GZZ).

  • $\begingroup$ Alright that does it, I've always deactivated the transform widget as part of my fresh install configuration routine. I didn't realize that it is necessary for this setting to function. Thanks. $\endgroup$ Oct 19 '13 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ @MarcClintDion it's not necessary (actually I don't use it either ;) ) Just press the key for the desired axis twice instead of once. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Oct 19 '13 at 23:30
  • $\begingroup$ I see what you mean now, the z key is overloaded to perform a transform along normals operation. I was confused when you first said this since I thought that key would only lock or unlock an axis transform. That's one of those hidden gems that are difficult to discover. That's pretty cool. I tested this with the other two keys and did not $\endgroup$ Oct 19 '13 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ I just realized after some testing, all the keys do this but I did not understand the behavior with 'x' and 'y', the double tap moves the transform tool to the local coordinate axis. It's the difference between world space and object space but for selected components. $\endgroup$ Oct 19 '13 at 23:48
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    $\begingroup$ @MarcClintDion The Z key isn't really "overloaded to perform a transform along normals operation." Tapping any axis key twice while in a transform (grab, rotate, scale) will use the selected transform orientation instead of the global axis (or Local if the orientation is set to Global as well). There's nothing special about pressing Z twice except that the normal Z axis is what we commonly refer to as the "normal" – but the normal actually defines its own coordinate system. $\endgroup$
    – wchargin
    Oct 20 '13 at 14:13

You can press G twice in edit mode and it will let you acces to the edge slide. "Edge Slide" slides one or more edges across adjacent faces with a few restrictions involving the selection of edges. Source : wiki blender 2.6

I don't know how to explain that clearly so here is a little example: Cube with indicaiton Here is a cube witch is rotated in the Z axis. When you'll press G twice you'll can move the selected edge in the two arrows direction like in the two next picturesleftright


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