Object Manipulation in 3ds Max - Working Pivot

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  • Design Visualization
  • 2011
  • Basics
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
4 min

Object Manipulation in 3ds Max - Working Pivot

In this tutorial, learn how to set and use a working pivot. This is useful in the case where an existing object's pivot point does not suit your needs. It also shows you how to set a hotkey to make the feature faster to operate.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2010
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2010 or higher.


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A working pivot is a point you specify in 3D space to help you transform
an object whose own pivot point does not suit your needs.

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A working pivot can also be used at a sub-object level, to transform
vertices, edges and faces.

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In fact, using Working Pivot in sub-object mode is where it is most useful.

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A good example would be using Working pivot to open the hood
or the trunk on this car.

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In this case, the body of the car is a single object.

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To open the trunk, you would need first to select the appropriate
polygon/elements, and then rotate them in space.

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The rotation base is hardly satisfactory.

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A working pivot is used on a temporary basis. You can have only
one working pivot per scene.

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You place a working pivot by clicking the Edit Working Pivot button
in the hierarchy panel.

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You then use the transform tools such as Move and Rotate, to position
the working pivot where you need it.

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You can also quickly align a working pivot to a view,

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or reset the pivot if you need to start over.

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The Reset option moves the working pivot to the selected object's
pivot point.

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If no objects are selected, the Working pivot moves to the origin
of the World [0,0,0].

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You can also "place" a pivot in a view.

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This places the pivot where the mouse cursor is and reorients
the pivot so its XY plane is aligned with the view.

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This method works well in an orthographic view but can yield
unexpected results in a 3D view.

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You can also place the pivot on an object's surface,
although this method is usually hard to control.

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Once set, you exit Edit Working Pivot mode.

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To use the working pivot as a temporary base for object transformations,
you enable Use Working Pivot mode.

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This mode places your selected transform tool into
the Working Coordinate System.

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It also instructs the transform center to use
the Transform Coordinate Center.

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With this mode active, you can now transform your objects
or selected sub-objects based on this new transform center.

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When you're done, be sure to exit Use Working Pivot mode.

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You may find it useful to create a shortcut for the working pivot
or to add an entry for it in the Quad menu.

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You can do either through the Customize User Interface dialog.

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To add the Use Working Pivot to the Quad menu, just drag the command
next to the other transforms.

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Now, you can toggle this mode on or off without visiting
the Hierarchy panel.

Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • 2011
  • Basics
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