I am using the quaternion rotation mode to rotate bones into poses for an animation. For some of my bones, when I increase the X value of the quaternion the bone rotates around the y axis instead. For other bones this does not happen.

I have set all my bone rolls to 0, in case that makes a difference. How can I make all of my bones rotate around the same axis when I modify the same value of their quaternion?


I have discovered that in pose mode bones use the vector from their head to their tail as the y axis and the roll affects the orientation of the x and z axes. Still looking for a way to change these to the global axes.

  • $\begingroup$ if you're not set on Quaternion, I can only recommend using euler, it's much more intuitive and easier to correct in the graph editor $\endgroup$
    – Spiderguy
    Feb 15, 2014 at 6:52

2 Answers 2


You can recalculate roll, (Armature -> Bone Roll -> Recalculate Roll), or Shift+N

This can align bone roll to local or global space.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Shift+N in Blender 2.8 $\endgroup$
    – Dan
    Nov 23, 2019 at 5:16

I've found a method which solves my problem, incase anyone else has the same: I seperate each of the bones and place the tail at the same x and z point with a y value greater than the head, then lock the position of the bones and set the roll to 0. This effectively sets the local axes to the same as the global.


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