Rotating objects

To rotate objects, activate Rotate mode by pressing RKEY. As in Grab mode, you can now change the rotation by moving the mouse, confirm with LMB or ENTER and cancel with RMB or ESC.

Rotation in 3D space occurs around an axis, and there are various ways to define this axis. Blender defines an axis via its direction and a point that it passes through. By default, the direction of the axis is orthogonal to your screen. If you are viewing the scene precisely from the front, side or top, the rotation axis will be parallel to one of the global coordinate system axes. If you are viewing from an angle, the rotation axis is angled too, which can easily lead to a very odd rotation of your object. In this case, you may want to keep the rotation axis parallel to the coordinate system axes. Toggle this behaviour by pressing MMB during Rotate mode and watch the angle display in the window header.

Alternatively, once you are in rotate mode, you can press XKEY YKEY or ZKEY to constrain rotation along that axis.

The point that the rotation axis should pass through can be selected with four buttons in the header of the 3D window (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The rotation point selection buttons

All these details are very theoretical and not necessary if you are getting started; just play around with Blender's tools and you'll get a feeling for it.

Keeping CTRL pressed switch snap mode in this case too. In snap mode rotations are constrained to 5 steps. Keeping SHIFT pressed allows fine tuning here too.

An alternative way to enter Rotate mode is to draw a circular line while holding down LMB. The rotation of selected objects can be reset to the default value by pressing ALT-R.