Being relatively new to Blender I'm trying to understand the Active Object vs Selected Object paradigm.

When selecting an object I'd assume you'd always want the last object you selected to be the Active Object. But I've noticed you can create situations where a single object is Active, but not Selected. Or Selected, but not Active. You could also have a group of Selected objects on the left and a single unselected Active object on the right, for example.

Are there situations in Blender where having the Active object unselected, or an inactive object Selected, would be beneficial or even necessary?


One situation that comes in my mind is when you have the pivot center set to "Active Element".

I often use this to rotate the selected objects around the active object without rotating the active object itself. To achieve this I deselect the active object before I perform the rotation while it's still active.

(boah... sounds more complicated than it is :))

  • $\begingroup$ Nope, that makes perfect sense actually! What's your workflow when you do this? Select the object(s) you want to rotate, then select the object you want to rotate around (to make it active), and then deselect it so it's unaffected by the rotation? $\endgroup$ – andyV Aug 29 '17 at 21:41
  • $\begingroup$ @andyV: Exactly. $\endgroup$ – Peter Gloor Sep 5 '17 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ This is a hidden gem, using the unselected but still active element for transforms, however it only works up to version 2.82a and no longer works as of 2.83. A workaround is to either get an old version of Blender OR select an element and click the plus for creating a Custom Transform Orientation. $\endgroup$ – Coby Randal Jul 21 '20 at 17:26

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