Nice! You just learned how to transform objects with Blender’s most basic functions. The G (grab),R (rotate), and S (scale) keys change the object in every direction. For example, to scale an object uniformly, you can press S and see that the object gets larger or smaller without changing its shape at all.
But what happens if we want to move, rotate, or scale an object in only one direction at a time? This can be done by pairing the grab, move, and rotate keys with either the X, Y, or Z axes on the keyboard.
For instance, to move the cube just a little to the left, we would select the object, press G, and then press X on the keyboard. Once you move the mouse, you will see the movement is locked to only the X axis.
The same can be done with the rotation and scaling, meaning that if you scale an object in only one axis, its shape will change. Press S and then Y for the Y axis, move your mouse and you will see how it elongates into a rectangle.
You can also transform two axes at once, and lock the value of the third.
For example, let’s move the cube back and to the right, but without lifting it. All you have to do is select the object, then press G (for grab), hold SHIFT, and then press Z to lock the Z axis. Now you can move the object only in the X and Y axes without moving it up or down at all.
So, remember: Whichever Transform Operation you want to use + SHIFT + the axis key, will lock the values in that direction.
If you’re old enough, maybe you are part of the kids that drew things on Paint, and know how painfully difficult it is to hold a steady hand when working with your mouse. Don’t worry, you don’t have to battle with your steady hand to get an exact value. You can also be really precise on any of the Transform Values by just typing the value you want.
Let’s say you want to rotate an object exactly 45 degrees. You can go to the sidebar and, in the Transform Tab, just manually type “45” on the axis you want to rotate, and hit Enter.
You can also do this even quicker by just selecting the object, hitting R (for rotate), pressing the axis key (let’s say X), and right before click-confirming, just type the value (45) on your keyboard, and hit Enter. Easy peasy!
Tip: When typing the value, you can also transform the object “the other way”. Let’s say you want to rotate your object 45 degrees to the left, instead of to the right. Just follow the steps mentioned above and, when typing the value, press minus ( — ) and then the number you want to rotate it the other way.