Why are bone axis displayed at the tail?

It makes a lot more sense to display the axis on the head of the bone.
If there is a display issue, just adjust the way in which the axis are displayed so that they are not hidden by the display of the bone. Simple…

It’s counter-intuitive to display the axis on the tail…
However, I’m no developer. Can someone explain to my why this is?


And it would make more sense if the head was at the top also, but thats not the case either, other than bones - who stands on their head? Just saying…

That’s not very particular, it could just as well have been called the start and end or what-have-you.
Have you ever had a need to use the display axis mode to tune a rig? It’s not intuitive.

Yes, you are correct , sorry for the crappy reply - rigging and some modelling is all I do. I almost always have it on, but I have been doing this for a long time and it is just something I really don’t even notice anymore TBH. It would be nice if there was a way to adjust the transparency of it. I’m not sure what you mean by intuitive in this case, it’s just a display reference, you can turn it off.

The display is wonderful when I need it, I don’t mind how it looks at all. I’m just really curious why the display is at the end of the bone and not the top… the point from where the rotation actually occurs.

Just a thought…

I’d be surprised if there was a reason. I mean, it’s not a particularly big deal, but I agree with you. It’s misleading for things like locked tracks.

But damn, there are some bigger problems than that.

If you really wanted, you could make custom shapes for your bones with axes at the head and use those.

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The idea may have been to look along the y axis (primary) so you can control the roll to match up, which is how I use that particular choice to my advantage. I can look from the head down the bone and align say, the inside of fingers so when rigging I can match the x axis for scale control of fingers so they roll closed strait instead of wonky.

It was probably really just a preference of whoever was rigging at the time, but it works fine as is once you get used to it-- which frankly is required for any aspect of a DCC, not just blender. (maya for example has color choices that bother me, max has menu systems I find confusing, zbrush menus have layers of things in places that don’t make sense to me…) All of these applications are complicated with many aspects, controls and rather large scope of things to learn, manipulate, etc. There’s only so much you can abstract away without losing control of those things which people do actually need to have control over.

I’m not sure it’s counter-intuitive as this stuff is all abstract, but it is inconsistent with object axes showing at the origin point. If I recall correctly, Maya puts their bone axes as you suggest (been a while since I’ve used it), and I don’t know how 3DS handles it, but if your “intuition” developed from using other software, that’s a different issue.

As you note, a practical consideration may have been that, since the axes shown are all positive, the y-axis would be obscured by the bone display. Then again, the next bone may be in the way, so who knows? As was alluded to in other comments, the decision was made long ago, and there probably wasn’t a great deal of R&D put into the choice.

It saved me a lot of time when I started using ctrl N to set finger rolls. Select head of parent, shift select tail of child, cursor to selection, select child, ctrl-n to cursor. Assumes fingers are modelled with slight bend. Just offering in case you find it as useful as I did :slight_smile:

Was wondering the same thing the other day. It would make much more sense to have the axes at the head. I sometimes find myself confusing bone axes to belong to next bone in chain because intuitively I expect them to be at bone’s head.

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You"re not alone, it also has bigger issue when switching between modes, go vote up to my request so we can get it fixed.


Dutifully up-voted!

Everyone should upvote!

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Yeah exactly!