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Fast, Precise Multi-object Editing with Gizmos

Photo by Kyle Johnson on Unsplash

A frequent question we get goes something like this: "How do I quickly change the absolute rotation or scale of multiple objects in my scene without changing their properties relative to on another or rebuilding the entire scene from scratch?"

For example, perhaps you have a living room scene and want to change the orientation of the couch, end tables, and coffee table relative to the fireplace and chairs.

While Torch provides you with several ways to modify grouped objects, I want to show you an option that balances precision and control with speed: using multi-select plus gizmos.

First, a brief (re)introduction to Gizmos

Released in Torch 3, gizmos are a powerful feature you can use to edit objects in 3D with more precision than freeform gestures but much more quickly than manually editing numerical values in object property fields.

What makes gizmos particularly powerful is they allow you to select a single axis along which to change the object(s).

You can use gizmos to change position, rotation, and size or scale. You can choose the property to modify by tapping on the medallion that appears in 3D near a selected object.

Manipulating a single object with gizmos is pretty straight forward. Where this approach really becomes powerful is when you turn on the Multi-select option in the Quick Actions menu.

You can turn on Multi-select through the Quick Actions menu.

Now the objects behave as one: you'll even notice that the gizmo medallion appears offset from the the center point between all the selected objects. Any change you make to any property along any axis will effect all the objects in the group equally.

Changing Object Orientation Relative to the Anchor

In this example, first I show the behavior of gizmos as I add objects. Then I use the rotation and position gizmo change the position of three chairs relative the world anchor.

You can do this for all the objects in a scene by either manually selecting them or going to the Scene Properties menu, selecting Scene Objects, and choosing all the objects on the manifest. This is a great way to select objects that are too small to select, are distant from the anchor point, or, in rare cases, where an animated object is difficult to select.

Changing Objects relative to another Object

This example really captures, for me at least, the elegant power of gizmos -  in this case, rotating a pair of objects relative to another along two axes while maintaining their relative position to one another.

Scaling Multiple Objects Proportionally

This is an excellent short-cut for scaling a group of objects proportionally. And don't forget, in case you make a mistake or don't quite like what you've made, the Undo button works just the same with gizmo manipulations.

And that's it. Just another of the many tools Torch provides to make your design experience smoother and more efficient that came about from community feedback. In fact, every single feature we used today was suggested to us by people designing in Torch.

Please keep the suggestions coming.