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When I was performing Yellow Submarine lesson, I was suddenly able to extrude unconstrained. I.e., I was pressing E, then immediatedly new set of vertices appear and I was able to translate (drag) them in any direction.

After I finished extruding to one side and turned to extruding to another side, I lost this ability. Once I press E, new set of vertices appear, but I am able to move them only in vertical dimension. So, I press explicitly Y and after that I am able to move vertices in horizontal dimension. But in horizontal dimension only, i.e. I am not able to finetune vertically.

Video sample https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV6he45jLFs

I am to stop extrusion process and adjust vertices separately.

How to call unconstrained extrusion in my case?

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try pressing Y 2 times again (total of 3 times), until you are free to move the new geometry freely... every time you press Y you set other contraints for the transform.

  • after E you are "grabbing" along the face normal.
  • pressing Y 1st time puts you in "constraint to global Y"
  • pressing Y 2nd time puts you in "constraint to normal Y"
  • pressing Y 3rd time puts you in "no constraint at all"

you can see a feedback of these changes in the lower left corner of the 3d window, where coordinates change while you are moving...

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  • $\begingroup$ If I am grabbing along face normal, then why it means vertically in the case shown video? $\endgroup$ – Dims Nov 20 '15 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ Imho when you press E you are put into "normal Z" (blue line) constraint. the second time Y this puts you in normal (not local, edited the answer) Y constraint (planar to the face, as normal X would be) $\endgroup$ – m.ardito Nov 20 '15 at 10:42
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The difference of behaviour is probably caused by the presence of a face on one side of the mesh.

When you performe extrusion command, by default it constrain the new faces to move along the normal axis (average vector) of the initially selected faces.

To get rid of this constraint simply press Z.

If you have no faces selected, but just vertices (like in the ending of the image sequence below), Blender has no clue of what the normal vector could be, so it doesn't restrain the extrusion.

enter image description here

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