Modo Mesh Centers 01: Mesh Centers Overview


This week we’re taking a look at importing CAD geometry and best practices for importing CAD geometry into modo. In this video we’ll take a look at item centers and how to control the center point for your models by building a classic modo material widget as an example.

new topics:

  • Item center overview
  • Rotating and moving an object around a center
  • Re-centering a document
  • Creating a classic modo material widget

More in this series:

About Adam OHern

Adam O'Hern is an industrial design consultant, designing products ranging from laptops to power tools, classroom toys to bathroom fixtures, and pro audio gear to guitar tuners. In 2008 he founded, and in 2010 co-founded EvD Media with Josh Mings of, and the two collaborate on the podcast.

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  • nonstop_paul

    me again… tell me, when I use  Automatic Action Centre and I click LMB I can effect the position of the action centre and there is a Blue handle which is offset from the Move Tool (in photo) which seems to rotate  the Action Centre and effects the objects rotation… what’s this about…sorry to be a novice. (see video) OK things now get weird… see video now when I ‘rotate’, ‘scale’ or ‘move’ the Sphere Mesh Items in Item mode, with the Action Centre set to ‘Origin’ the Cube Mesh Item moves… very frustrating! Where did it all go wrong?

    • nonstop_paul

      seems editing in Origin is for component mode no Item Mode which means everything moves relative to it…I’s still like to know the LMB and the moving on the origin manually and the effect the Blue handle has to do with it all.


      • adam

        haha, yes, I can see how this stuff gets pretty confusing!

        (1) With regard to the cyan colored dot, this is used to change the ‘Action Axis’. There are really two parts to an ‘Action Center’ in modo: the action ‘center’, and the action ‘axis’. You can control these independently. By LMB in the viewport on automatic mode, you can change the action center, but by dragging the cyan box, you change the action axis.

        (2) When you have centered your view on an object’s item center, all transformations will appear in reverse as you demonstrate so poignantly in your video. When you scale the sphere at the item level, it will appear as though you are scaling everything but the sphere until you go back to the world axis system, at which time you’ll see that in reality you’ve scaled the sphere. Confusing? Yeah, a little, but it makes perfect sense when you think about it. The short answer is that you are correct in your second comment: you need to be in component mode when doing the scale operation.

  • nonstop_paul

    OK so I was testing this an all went well then strange things started to happen I was in Item mode and World Origin and I started to scale and move the origin around so when I clicked out of world  origin mode the sphere was warped and it all sort of got out of control….

    • adam

      You were scaling the item center? I’m afraid I don’t understand.

      • nonstop_paul

        OK I found this after a bit of searching… would be a good upgrade to the site, where your comments were listed in the profile part of your account so you could find discussions, and or the receive emails if someone answered your posts.

        But that said, I was worried why my scale handle wasn’t in the centre of my object it was way off to the side. Also I didn’t know what that Blue star/box thing way over to the left was.

        I did however discover stray vertices in the mesh item, most likely having used Delete rather than back space to remove polys or lines from some previous geometry which without “toggle verts” applied were invisible and this was most likely why the scale handle was offset even though I used Action Centre Auto and Item.

        Did this explain it? I’ll practice this until it sinks in.


  • nonstop_paul

    after all this time watching modo tutorials THIS has just opened my eyes… you live and prosper!