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Rotate an object in 3D

To change the rotation of an object in three dimensions, select the desired element, click the 3D Object Rotate tool, and then use your mouse to change the rotation.

You can freely rotate the object by clicking and dragging anywhere other than the color-coded rotation handles. However, you have more control when you rotate an object one axis at a time. For example, dragging the red ring will cause the object to rotate around the global x-axis. 

You can optionally change the rotation point by clicking and dragging the inner ring of the control. You can also hold the shift key while dragging to constrain the rotation to 45° increments.

To reset the object to its initial rotation, go to the Properties panel, and under "Translation, rotation, and scale", set the rotation X, Y, and Z values (the second row) to 0.

Local and Global rotation

When you use the 3D Rotate tool in local rotation mode the 3D handles stay aligned to the object you're selecting. When you use the tool in global rotation mode, the handles stay aligned to the stage. To choose your rotation mode, select local rotation  or global rotation  in the tool options bar. You can also temporarily switch to global mode from local mode by pressing the Option key (Mac) or Alt key (Windows). 

Absolute and Delta positioning

Absolute positioning is when you change the position of an object in 3D with regard to the stage. Delta positioning is when you change the position of an object in 3D with regard to its current position. In the Properties panel, you can choose to change the rotation either way, or switch back and forth to precisely position your object.
Selecting the absolute setting shows how the object is positioned relative to the stage:
Selecting the delta setting shows zero for all parameters between adjustments. When you enter another value, the object will move that amount, and once that amount has been entered, the values will return to zero:
 
 

 

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