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Does anyone know if there is a way in Blender where you can arrange models in such a way that the don't pass through each other? I realize in animations you can have collision detection but is it possible in static image. Such as putting fruit in fruit bowl and having some sort of collision detection.

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Aside from using physics to arrange objects (which is a common practice, there is nothing wrong with doing that), you can use Snapping.

There are several ways to snap the surface of one object to another object:

Transform Snapping:

  1. Enable snapping 3D view > Header by pressing the magnet icon, and set the Snap Element to Face:

    enter image description here

  2. Now when you transform an object, it will snap to the surface of whatever object is under your cursor:

    enter image description here

Note that you can enable or disable snapping (depending on if it is already enabled in the header or not) during transforms by holding Ctrl.

Snapping with the 3D cursor:

  1. Snap the Origin to the point on the source object you wish to snap to the target object.

    Either move the 3D cursor by clicking on the object with LMB when Cursor Depth is enabled in User Preferences > Interface > View Manipulation With the source object selected, or enter edit mode (Tab) and select the element you wish to snap to the 3D cursor and press ShiftS>Cursor to Selected. Then press CtrlAltShiftC>Origin to 3D cursor to move the origin to that element:

    enter image description here

  2. Move the 3D cursor to the surface of the target object either by selecting a geometry element (vertex, edge, face) on the target and pressing ShiftS>Cursor to Selected, or again by clicking on it with LMB when Cursor Depth is enabled in User Preferences > Interface > View Manipulation:

    enter image description here

  3. With the source object selected in Object Mode, press ShiftS>Selection to 3D cursor:

    enter image description here

You can then reset the origin of your object by pressing CtrlAltShiftC.

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You can always use a Rigid Body simulation for placing objects when it's inconvenient to do it all manually.

Here's a simple setup with a bowl set to be a passive object with some balls set to be active.
Something to note is that for complex objects, the collision will be most accurate with the Shape set to type ->Mesh

Here are some images that show mostly default settings.

enter image description here

enter image description here

And a quick animation of the result. Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ True, but you should give a short step-by-step guide how to do that. "Ridgid Body" should appear somewhere as buzzword. $\endgroup$ – CoDEmanX Feb 6 '14 at 17:27
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, that would be one way to go about but I was looking for dynamic solution where when moving an object in scene that it would automatically re-position itself against the surface normals in the other object rather than intersecting. The reason I posed this question is because I have over 12 years experience with ZBrush and with ZBrush once you have dropped an object to the canvas any other object that is still in edit mode will automatically re-position itself according to other objects that have been dropped to the canvas. $\endgroup$ – ArfGraf Feb 6 '14 at 18:12

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