question about modeling and normal

I ve been testing organic modeling in blender and so far it s ok. Now i need to model architectural stuff. for the precision it s ok. i usually start from one point that i extrude so as to get an edge that i extrude to get a wall… and i use num pad to enter precise amount. here come my first question. in some case i want to enter precise amount for grab tool but according to the move along normal.but when i select an edge then i type number it s still xyz even if i m with the normal move tool. but when i move twith the widget i see that i got some number according to the normal. so is there a way to type xyz numbers affecting the normal move?
I also notice a tool and i dont know how it work. Its the little magnet is that work and if yes how can i see teh use of this magnet?
And third i got some trouble with normal after editing i got some slight shadow on planar surfaces(normal have been redirected already) so i set planar surface to set solid. btu how do you do when you got a transition between a planar, and solid surface, and a smooth surface?

  1. You need to hit twice the normal axis key that you want to constrain your transformation to, i.e. if you want to restrict the grab along the X axis of the normal you need to hit the following combination : G then X,X while you are in Normal View, then if you want to input the value you want from the number pad . Alternatively the Shift - restrict axis function is called in the same way, that is Shift X,X to constrain the transformation along the normal Y & Z axis . This also works by the way in all the view types (View, Normal, Local & Global) except that in Local and Global Views the function is interchangeable .

This is very poorly documented especially the View and Normal transformations in their respective Views … I didn’t know what you were talking about until I experimented in Blender .

This also explains why when you are in Normal View the transform widgets grab according to the normal’s orientation .

  1. The little magnet is to toggle on the new snap function available in 2.43 in Edit Mode . Basically if you have it turned on and press down Ctrl while transforming a part of mesh a small orange circle will appear on the vertices to where your selected parts will snap to … It’s best to just play around with it … Create a cube, and while still it the Edit Mode for that cube add another cube outside the first one . Turn on the new snapping function and see what happens with the three modes available … Just remember to hold down Ctrl while moving your mouse around …

Sorry but I can’t seem to find a link to any demos for this function …

  1. The only thing I can think of is to turn on the Auto Smooth and play around the “Degr” value … either that or make the parts you want smooth turned on and those you don’t into separate objects …

I think i got a trouble to figure out how auto smooth is working. Thanks for your help.