The Axes

The arrows correspond to X, Y and Z.
The arrows correspond to X, Y and Z.

Before we get started on talking about any sort of addon and how to use it, it’s important to understand what some of the symbology means.  The default Rift editor works off of a three axis system–in this case, X, Y and Z (red, green and blue).

Okay, but what does that mean?  At it’s most basic, it’s a direction of movement.  Y (green) is always going to be up and down.  X (red), is either going to be front to back or side to side, depending on your angle of view–in the image above, it’s front to back.  Z (blue), is the same as X but in the opposite direction–side to side in the picture above.

One important thing, especially when talking about movement–if you’re going with the direction of the arrow, it’s a positive movement in that axis.  If you go the other way, it’s a negative movement.  The same theory applies when you start talking about rotations.

Yaw, Pitch and Roll, to correspond with Y, X and Z.
Yaw, Pitch and Roll, to correspond with Y, X and Z.

In the default editor, once you turn an item on an angle in the Yaw (green), any subsequent rotation done by hand means you’ll be turning on all three axes at the same time.  This can cause a lot of frustration when building by hand.  An addon like Tinker Tools alleviates that problem, by giving you the ability to rotate items in only one axis–or two, or in all three if that is your design, although rotating in all three axes may cause translation problems in how the addon reads the input.


In the Tinker Tools UI, the addon reads the axes in alphabetical order, X, Y, and Z, and corresponds the rotations to that same structure–Pitch, Yaw and Roll.  However, the way they all work together remains the same, the numbers are merely in different spots than you may be used to.

One last bit–if you look at the images above, it may look like the arrows and movement circles are in the ground, and that’s because of where the the default Rift editor moves any particular item from.  With some items, that point is on one end, with others, it’s actually in the center, and with others, it’s centered on two axes but aligned with a particular edge so it’s not centered in a third.  So from here on out, when you hear me talk about (or read what I write about) the selection point, that’s what I’m referring to.  I’ve called it the center point in other guides, but that term is misleading and leads to confusion–the very last thing we want!

Happy Building!

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