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Edit object; What's the best way to "nudge" an object along an axis?


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Randall Ahren wrote: There are arrows you can press under the object tab when editing an object for the x, y, and z positions. However, I don't think the arrows move the object incrementally by the minimum amount possible . You can just type in the amount you want if it is critical for alignment. 

Thanks, and yuck. I use Photoshop a lot and like to be able to nudge one pixel with arrow keys etc. Would be nice to have that in SL edit.

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Also, in Phoenix certainly - not sure about other viewers, you can do the nudging by holding down shift or control while you click the arrows. That changes whether its the centimeter or millimeter value is used for incremental change. Saves you having to change the units setting.

Can't remember which is which but a bit of experimentation should set you right.

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Carbon Philter wrote: Also, in Phoenix certainly - not sure about other viewers, you can do the nudging by holding down shift or control while you click the arrows. That changes whether its the centimeter or millimeter value is used for incremental change. Saves you having to change the units setting.

Can't remember which is which but a bit of experimentation should set you right.

Yes, I have Phoenix, but no, this does not work; no combination of Shift or Control, either clicking on arrows or dragging them.

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Domitan Redenblack wrote:

I use Photoshop a lot and like to be able to nudge one pixel with arrow keys etc.

I suspected that was why you were asking.  That works in Photoshop because it's a 2D program.  In 2D, up is always up, down is always down, left and right are always left and right.  But in a 3D environment, that simply can't be the case.  What is "up" in 3D space?  Is it the top of the screen, like in 2D?  Or is it the positive direction on the global/local/referenced Z axis?  Or is it forward along the camera vector?  There are any number of possibilities.

Let's say we come up with a definition, and we say up always means positive Z.  OK, down then becomes negative Z, easy so far.  But what about left and right?  Do those correspond with X or Y?  Without six arrow keys (or at least six combinations of keys), it's pretty hard to make it work logically.

Alright, so let's give it six keys.  A logical way to assign them could be we could take our cues from SL's cardinal directions, and from the avatar controls that people are already familiar with.  In that case, the up and down arrows would be north and south (Y axis), the left and right arrows would be east and west (X axis), and PgUp and PgDn would be the Z axis (up and down).  That all works if we're thinking only about the map.  But there are some major consistency problems that could make things awfully confusing.

For example, what if we're building a vehicle?  SL considers "forward and backward" for vehicles to be the local X axis.  Therefore, it's usually best practice to have a vehicle be facing east while it's under construction.  Say I'm doing that, and I want to nudge the whole vehicle forward. If I do the intuitive thing, and press the up arrow, the vehicle would move its left instead of forward.  To move it forward, I'd need to press the right arrow key. That could get really confusing, really fast.

OK, one might say vehicles are a special case, and vehicle builders can just deal with that one level of inconsistency.  It works for every other kind of project, right?  Wrong!  Things actually get way more confusing than that. How often is anyone's point of view actually oriented with cardinal directions?  Almost never.  People move their cameras around all the time.  Heck, most of the time, cameras aren't even level, let alone looking eastward ("forward").

What if I'm building something small, I've zoomed way in on it, and I'm looking up and diangonally at it from some oblique angle I've arbitrarily arrived at?  How the heck am I gonna instinctively know which way is north?  Sure, I could look at the mini map or put my manipulator on world mode and select an object, but the fact that I'd have to do either of those things represents a severe degree of disconect between me and my work.  Every time I'd have to stop to figure things out, not only would it make the entire build take longer, it would also disrupt my creative flow.  And chances are I'd have to make such stops A LOT.

This is why SL has the on-screen rulers, which are fantastic.  If you haven't been using them, you absolutely should be.  They enable you to very easily snap the movement of objects (as well as rotation and scale) to any increments you want.  If you need to be able to move things a centimeter at a time, no problem.  Just set your grid units to that size, drag the object along the ruler, and snap it to the next ledger line.

As you get used to working this way, you'll find yourself quickly forgetting all about the arrow keys (and key commands in general).  You'll never have to lift your hand off the mouse, so there's never any mental break between what you're looking at and what your hand is doing, which is the way it aught to be.  You want something to move, just pick it up and move it, simple, intuitive, done.  You get to rely on your body's muscle memory to make all the physical decisions, leaving your brain totally free to concentrate on the quality of the work, rather than on the how-to's.

This is how pretty much every 3D modeling program expects you to work.  To my knowledge, I've never encountered one that uses arrow keys to move objects around in 3D space.

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Chosen Few wrote: I suspected that was why you were asking.  That works in Photoshop because it's a 2D program.  In 2D, up is always up, down is always down, left and right are always left and right.  But in a 3D environment, that simply can't be the case.  What is "up" in 3D space?  Is it the top ....

 

Yes, I thought mouse-down on arrow, then arrow keys to step.

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Domitan Redenblack wrote:

 

Yes, I thought mouse-down on arrow, then arrow keys to step.

That could certainly work if SL had an option to allow you to preserve selection of a manipulator handle, like Maya and some other 3D modeling programs do.  But it doesn't.  All you can do is temporarily select handles for dragging.  As soon as you let go of the mouse button, the focus is released back to the object selection.  I would imagine changing that behavior would not be trivial, but it is an interesting idea.

 

By the way, you inspired me to do a little digging, and it turns out Maya does indeed offer an option to move objects with arrow keys.  All these years I've been using it, I never knew.  If any other Maya users out there might be interested, here's how it works.  Alt plus an arrow key will move the selected object one screen pixel at a time.  It seems a largely useless feature to me, since the in-scene value of a pixel is totally arbitrary.  But some developer somwehere did see fit to include it.  You learn something new every day, right?

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I agree, Chosen.  I keep my right hand over the arrow keys most of the time, except when I'm typing in chat, and my left hand over the CTRL, Shift, Alt keys for camera control.  I move my right hand to the mouse for finer camera control (still keeping my left hand over the CTRL, Shift, Alt keys) or when I am building, but wouldn't have thought of using the mouse for movement.. 

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heh I'm a power mouser... so alt(wheel button) and ctrl(thumb) are also mapped onto my mouse for SL (in addition to the right side = up). it's a habit I gained from playing FPS games... where turning accuracy is everything. normally I wouldn't map  movement to the mouse, but it makes it nice in SL when I'm exploring I don't even need to touch the keyboard.

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Rolig Loon wrote:

I move my right hand to the mouse for finer camera control (still keeping my left hand over the
CTRL, Shift, Alt
keys)

 

Do you mean you use the arrow keys for rough camera movement?  I never do that.  The mouse is my only camera control. Keys are so clunky for camera movement.  There's no way to set the focus point if you can't click on the screen, so the experience is very non-fluid. 

I guess the habit comes from using 3D modelling programs like Maya all day long, and also from games.   My camera never sits still.  I'm always moving it around the scene, constantly, to look at everything from every angle.

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Oh, my camera is always in motion too, although I have never been a gamer or wanted to be.  I just like being aware of my surroundings, whether in RL or SL.  I'll admit that my hybrid approach to the right hand isn't as efficient as yours,  but my mouse is only about 3 inches from the arrow keys, so it's not a big leap.  I do move to the mouse whenever I need to change camera focus.  The thing I can't understand anyone using is LL's on-screen camera controls. Not only are they slow and clunky, they block your view of the world.  THAT's inefficient.

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Yeah, the onscreen controls suck donkey balls. If and when SL can run on a tablet or smartphone, maybe they'll finally serve a purpose. But considering no one on the planet knew such devices would be coming, back when SL was first invented, it's a pretty safe bet that that's not what LL had in mind when they created those controls. I have no idea why anyone might have thought they were a good idea.

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