This tool is used to align objects in the scene to each other. For example, aligning a screw with a hole or a surface against another surface. A shape can be drawn onto both objects, which is used to determine the translation and/or rotation one object has to make to be aligned to the other.
An example of a circle-to-circle aligment
Where to find
The Alignment tool can be found under Utilities > Alignment Tool
This will open the following window:
The image below shows the complete feature layout of the Alignment tool.
Part A / Part B
Use this field to select a transform in the scene that will be used in the alignment operation
Use to select a color for the alignment shape that will be drawn in the scene
Alignment tool type
The type of tool that will be used for the alignment operation. This determines how the moving transform will be translated/rotated, and to which exact point it will be aligned. The following options are available:
3-point plane: A plane described by 3 points, with the weighted average of these points as a centerpoint and a direction perpendicular to the plane
3-point circle: A circle described by 3 points, with the centerpoint at the center of the circle and a direction perpendicular to the circle
Transform pivot: A single point that is equal to the pivot of the object and a direction equal to the rotation of the object
N-gon plane: A plane described by n > 3 points, with the centerpoint at the average of those n points and a direction perpendicular to the plane
2-point line: A line described by 2 points, with the centerpoint at the position of the first of those two points and a direction equal to the vector p1->p2
The transform settings that will be affected by this alignment operation. The following options are available:
Position: rotates the moving transform while retaining its original position
Rotation: Translates the moving transform while retaining its original rotation
Position and Rotation: Rotates and translates the moving transform to a new position and rotation
Executes the alignment operation
Isolates the selected transforms in the scene. All other objects will be hidden
How to use
Drag the object you wish to align (moving object) into the Transform field
After selecting the tool type, use the handles in the scene to position the alignment shape onto the object
Press Shift+v to enable vertex snapping, which makes it easier to position the handles correctly, as seen in the example above. Don’t forget to turn off (Shift+v) when you are done with positioning the handles
3. Repeat this process for the destination object
4. Select whether you want to align using translation and rotation, translation only or rotation only with Affected Fields
5. Click on the Apply Alignment button to align Part A (Object to move) to Part B (Destination)
Expanding the Advanced Settings gives you the following options:
Invert Alignment Points
Inverts the point order of the alignment shape, flipping the direction vector of the shape
The space in which the alignment shape point locations are set (global/local)
Use these vector fields to manually set the alignment shape point positions
The weighting factor of each alignment shape point. Use this to control where the centerpoint of the alignment shape will be positioned
The position of the centerpoint (read only)
The direction vector of the alignment shape (read only)
Adding an Offset
Click on Offset Settings.
Click on the Add Offset Vector button.
To edit the vectors, click on Offset Vector n. See Scene Vector for further reference.