What the Gumball so badly needs [SOLVED]

Functions that both SketchUp and AutoCAD have had for eons:

EASY TRANSFORM CONSTRAINTS for the Gumball that allow one to move an object from a reference point (or reference plane), either on the object itself or on another object, along an axis-constraint to a plane containing a target point (either on another object or a stand-alone point).

Sorry if my convoluted sentence is nearly incomprehensible. Please refer to uploaded screenshots for a better explanation.

hmm… moving stuff in rhino is better than sketchUp…

do you know about the shift & tab keys? and the _Move command?

I think what the OP is talking about is moving object A along a specified axis to align with point B on another object that is not on that axis. I’m not familiar with the steps to do that in SketchUp. Maybe the OP could come back to the thread and provide some guidance. There’s a plugin for modo called mARCH that does this - you choose an object, then you choose a point on a second object and an axis. The first object moves along the chosen axis until it’s in line with the point on the second object.

his su pictures show the red axis… and in sketchup you can only do red,green,blue with shift key lock in order to get the perpendicular snap he’s showing.

in rhino, the shift key (ortho) will put you on one of those axis and tab locks to it. but you can also use tab to lock to any vector instead of x,y,z…

another good thing in rhino vs sketchup move is that you can get inference off the same object you’re moving

In general agreed about moving in Rhino vs SketchUp but I can’t replicate his example (in SketchUp or Rhino). Using his second example, he’s moving the elliptical object along the red axis to snap to a point on the axis perpendicular to the pyramid (or at least I think that’s what he’s demonstrating). I can’t figure out how to do that. And I’m on my 4th coffee of the day so I have no readily available excuse.

once you have it moving in the right direction, push the tab key. (tab acts as a toggle-- not a push and hold)

if needed, the shift key will put you on whatever axis you’re closest to (adjustable in degrees)

(ps- I’m typing on a phone with a few glasses of wine in me-- maybe I should hold off on giving instructions at the moment :slight_smile: )

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Ya, I hear ya…Rhino is far more advanced than SketchUp on pretty much every level. BUT, I’ve always found Rhino lacking in certain fundamentals that AutoCAD and SketchUp have had for years (longer than I’ve been using them, at least, so 7+ years). And one of those fundamentals is what I have just pointed out, which was correctly interpreted by Arail.

Now, to clarify further, I am talking about the Gumball transforms (and transforms, in general) which do not allow you to snap to the vertices, midpoints, endpoints (etc.) of other objects when the Gumball is used…it’s like other objects aren’t even there. This is also true if you use SHIFT or TABS to constrain the movements to a particular axis (or vector) when using the _MOVE function.

It’s a simple concept really. You should be able to reposition the Gumball to a reference point on any object (whether it is the object you are transforming or not), then click an axis on the Gumball, then move your mouse cursor (i.e. crosshair) to a point on any other object, thereby bringing your transformed object into alignment with that target point. But you cannot and it’s very frustrating. It requires several steps that would be redundant in SketchUp and AutoCAD.

I hope that wine your drinking increases your ability to understand non-succinct and convoluted explanations, because, if I didn’t know what I was talking about, what I just wrote probably wouldn’t help me much. LoL

[EDIT: Sorry, I just tried the TABS lock for the first time! It works!!! YAAAY!!! Thank you for that! It would still be nice if the Gumball had this feature. But, unfortunately, it does not and the Gumball is SO useful for everything else.]

This might illustrate what I think he’s getting at - the solid is going to move along the axis (the solid blue line) and then stop when it’s aligned with the corner vertex on the plane (at the point of the blue X in the circle). It’s not snapping to the vertex, the vertex is determining how far along the axis the object is going to travel. I don’t think the question is about how to establish an axis, it’s how to use a point on an object that’s not on the axis to determine the distance of travel. At least that’s what I see in his 2nd illustration (and maybe his first).

(I hope it was good wine - maybe the first beautiful Spring evening we’ve had this season)

I was typing that while 3DSquatch was posting. 3DSquatch - can you tell me how to do that in SketchUp? I know how to do it in modo (with a plugin that’s a bit wonky) but not how I would do it in SU or Rhino.

In SketchUp and AutoCAD it’s easy! You click and highlight the object, then you select the MOVE tool and click on ANY point on any object, which then becomes your reference and the object immediately starts to move. Now the movement is free in any direction, but it will snap to axes, parallels and perpendiculars, but to move it from the reference point to the target point along an axial constraint for alignment, all you have to do now is hit one of the ARROW keys. Up and down arrows are for the Z-axis (blue axis), and left and right are for X- and Y- axes, respectively. Then you select a point on any other object and voila, the reference and target points are now aligned in the same plane.

[EDIT: Sorry, that explanation was for SketchUp alone. In AutoCAD you move the transform Gizmo to a reference point and then select the axis arrow that you wish to constrain the movement to. Then you just hover over your target point until it ‘snaps’. Then you click and voila!]

Well that’s cool! There must be a way to do that in Rhino - Jeff? Got any ideas?
(And of course now that I see how easy that is in SU, it pisses me off that I had to pay $129 for a plugin to do it in modo)

As Jeff pointed out, which will save me a LOT of stress (thanks again, Jeff), is that you can achieve the same thing in Rhino by using the TABS key during the _MOVE function to lock into a particular vector (axial or not).

I’ll try to simplify with a list of steps for each program.


  1. Select the object you wish to move.
  2. Choose the MOVE tool.
  3. Click on a reference point to move your object from (this can be on your object or on any other object.)
  4. Press one of the ARROW keys (on your keyboard) to select a particular axis of constraint.
  5. Select a target point (snap) on the object you wish to align your transformed object to.


  1. Select the object you wish to move.
  2. Move the transform GIZMO by clicking on its origin square (where all its arrows/axes intersect).
  3. Relocate the GIZMO to your desired reference point.
  4. Select an axis to constrain the movement by clicking on one of the GIZMO axes/arrows.
  5. Hover your crosshairs over your desired target point (snap) until the OSNAPS square appears and click.

Rhino (_MOVE command):

  1. Select the object you wish to move.
  2. Type the MOVE command or select the MOVE icon from the TRANSFORM toolset.
  3. Click on your desired reference point (snap).
  4. Align your object to your desired axis constraint (with ORTHO on) or any vector you choose (ORTHO off).
  5. Hit the TABS key on your keyboard.
  6. Hover the crosshair over your desired target point (snap) and click.


Rhino (GUMBALL transform):

1. Click and select the object you wish to move.
2. Click the white circle (connected to the Gumball Widget via a white dotted line, a.k.a. the “Bunny Tail”) and make sure your Gumball is set to “SNAPPY DRAGGING”.
3. Click “RELOCATE GUMBALL”, then move it to your desired reference point (snap) on your selected object and set it axis orientation.
4. Select an axis to constrain the object’s motion by clicking on one of the Gumball’s axis arrows.
5. Click on your desired target point (snap) on any object in your model.

BUT…BUT…it still doesn’t solve the problem I pointed out in the title of this post: it does not work with Gumball transforms and it bloody well should!!

Dear Rhino Programmers: get on it! LoL
P.S. I’m only partially kidding.

Dear Arail: I"ve never heard of Modo until now! Could you give us a brief sales-pitch? Is it a good program or what?


modo - great program, sort of a David in the field of Goliaths (3DMAX, Maya) but it’s apples to oranges when compared to Rhino.

Maybe this will clarify

  • a client comes to you and wants a design for a shampoo bottle (think subtle, graceful curves) and part of your mandate is to complete the design, ready for fabrication (i.e. molds, surface analysis, etc.): Rhino

  • a client comes to you and wants a design for the same shampoo bottle but your mandate is to produce the design plus animations showing the bottle leaping into the air, spinning around throwing off bubbles, breaking out into a smiley face and landing with a splash for a short TV commercial: modo

I hope that helps

shift and tab work in all the commands (if applicable). not just _Move.

not sure how you want this to work with gumball? there’s no ‘from’ point etc.

if you want to do it without _Move, just drag instead… like click&hold the cursor on an endpoint and just drag the object… let go when you’re done… tap alt key during dragging for copying an object instead of moving.

@arail- pretty sure it’s not good wine… it’s pink and cold and in a box… the box is wood though so a little more fancy than other wine in a box.

Well, better that than in a plastic jug! Enjoy.

[quote=“jeff_hammond, post:15, topic:7490”]
shift and tab work in all the commands (if applicable). not just _Move.[/quote]

That’s VERY good to know. Thanks again!

Ya, I know about that already. The same as hitting CTRL during dragging/moving objects in SketchUp. Muchos gracias.

Now, if you’re not yet too stewed on that vino to answer the following fundamental oversight on the part of McNeel, perhaps you know of a way to solve the following: in SketchUp, you can snap to a surface! Why not in Rhino??

Does setting Snappy dragging on Gumball get the effect you want? This snaps the start of the move to the gumball origin, and allows snaps which are projected to the axis of movement at the gumball origin.


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OMG!!! That’s why I LOVE these forums! If I overlook something (or have been overlooking something for the past 2 years) somebody on the net will know a solution! THANK YOU.

I now feel like an idiot for not trying this. I’ve read through that menu probably hundreds of times and NOT ONCE did I think of selecting “snappy dragging”.

Dear McNeel: This issue is SOLVED. Sorry for underestimating you guys.

Now, can somebody solve the issue of snapping to a surface–not to control points–but anywhere in between knots, vertices and control points. Selecting “NEAR” in the list of snaps works for curves, but how about surfaces?

Any ideas? I’m laughing in advance because I know it’ll be something else silly that I’ve overlooked.

Hi 3dSquatch- you need the one-shot OnSrf (for one pick only) or PersistentOnSrf (for the duration of a command). These can be typed as needed, or accessed via the Osnap toolbar when Ctrl is held down. Also in the Tools > Object Snaps menu.