Trying to work with centers is frustrating

im currently working on a project where i take a morroind nif, rebuild the parts to a creature, and try and get it to animate right. the problem that is really the biggest obstacle for me is the way blender handles centers. it is clunky. i have yet to figure out how to place a center precisely other than hoping the 3d cursor actually lands it where i want it to instead of 100 ft -x or y away from where i am aiming, and then when it gets close i cannot tweak it by moving it manually to exactly where i need it, so is there a workaround i am missing for this? is there a plugin that allows the same functionality as in 3ds max where you can actually move the center point of an object or part to a location you want it? and also actually rotate it once it is moved to see how the limb or part behaves? this is one of the most frustrating things about blender besides linking objects, it is almost like trying to model with you hands tied behind your back. any of you guys know some tricks i am not aware of? short of exporting the whole thing to an obj and doing it all in max (which is a nightmare to get working in linux/wine) i dont know how i will get this done.

Shift+S menu to position 3d cursor or input its coordinates in the properties panel (shortcut N)
Then Set Origin to 3d cursor

that sounds good, but i cant figure out how to use it effectively, and the only way i found that sometimes works is to move the object to wherever the 3d cursor is, and then center it on the cursor, or move the joint/pivot point or wherever the center/pivot is supposed to be for the animation on the 3d cursor (wherever it decides to land because there is no precision in the way that the controls are designed) and then once i have the object aligned with the cursor i can get pretty close to where the center is supposed to be, but that is a pain. what i want is a real time visual cue from the center or object as i adjust the coordinates, and that doesn’t happen either, it only snaps after you input the coordinates. there is no way to select just the center and not the object that i know of. if there is they sure did not make it easy to figure out. even when i click on the button to “move centers only” that does nothing. object still moves when i move the center. this is one of the most dissatisfying limitations of blender that i have come across to date. there is no way i can properly link and animate things when i cant even put centers where they are supposed to be. thanks for the help but i tried to do as you suggested and didnt find it to be any easier than what i was already trying to do, in fact it was worse. yes i found the menus, and they are the same as the dropdowns. the values window that pops open didnt help either. i have been banging my head trying to work with it but it is not doing what want it to. if i knew the cooridnates of where the center is supposed to be then i would be omniscient. but i sont live in blender world space so i need a visual cue. i need to be able to see where i move the center as i move it.

here is a link of what i was talking about needs to be in blender and why. now i realize this will not help my situation any in blender 2.49b, and frankly until nifscripts catches up with 2.74 effectively i will continue to have issues with these models and animations. it has been a headache to say the least. but this proposal is exactly the solution for the problem of forcing the user to use numerics and play trial and error.

i am pretty much a technical modeler, so even though there is great advances in sculpting and other modeling methods in blender, they really missed the boat when they did not add the functionality shown in the link.

but if there is another way to do what i was trying to do without having to choose a vertices and hope the center goes there, then im open to suggestions.

I am not sure why this is such an issue for you. The origin of an object can easily to set, for example:

Position the 3D cursor anywhere you like, by either keying its coordinates in the N panel, or by selecting any vertex or other object and use the SHIFT+S menu to set the cursor to “Selected”, etc. Set the Origin to current 3D cursor position.

I often use Empties for centres of rotation and therefore object origins, snap the cursor to the empty, then set the object origin to 3D Cursor position. If you move, rotate or scale an object in Object Mode, you should apply the values using CTRL+A, otherwise animations can be troublesome.

The most important thing when placing/creating objects is to set the object origin. If you want the actual vertices offset from the origin, simply move them in Edit Mode, not Object Mode as moving in Object Mode also moves the origin.

Object can easily be moved a set distance by selecting the object, or all the vertices in Edit Mode if you want to preserve the origin and keying G X 45 Return, for example, which will move the selection 45 units along the X axis. Objects can similarly be rotated by keying R X 90 Return for example. Combinations of the above can also be done. Also read up on the RR & GG options.

I came from a CAD background and found it pretty easy to convert from CAD to blender, people told me I could’t model accurately in Blender, I disagree profoundly. It just involves changing your thinking a little.

Also read the manual on snapping, it will be useful to you, for example if you have free movement set, try holding the CTRL key as you move, objects will then snap to increments, such as 1 unit or 5 degrees, depending on how you set the snap option. There are many tools available for you to model accurately, the manual explains them all.

Guesswork never comes into my mind set when modelling engineering type components in Blender and all the tools are right there to make this possible. Personally I see no reason to change them.

Cheers, Clock.