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Animation Builder - Parts, Groups, and Pivots
Animation Builder - Parts, Groups, and Pivots

Part 02: Understanding how to select parts, grouping, and pivot adjustments.

Updated over a week ago


In our animation journey, the first step was choosing our camera. Now, let's talk about another important step: picking the parts that will move in our animation. Do we need more than one part to move? Can we make things easier by grouping some parts together? This article will guide you through selecting the parts, grouping them, and adjusting their pivot points.

Selecting Parts:

The second step is all about selecting the parts you want to animate. You have two ways to do it:

Selection Mode:

  1. Press and hold the CTRL key on your keyboard to enter selection mode.

  2. Hover your mouse over the parts you want to choose; they will turn light blue.

  3. Click on the light blue parts to select them.

  4. You can pick multiple parts as long as you keep holding CTRL.

  5. To cancel your selection, either click the selected parts again or click away from the digital twin.

Parts Catalog:

  1. If it's not open already, click "Open Parts List."

  2. This catalog lets you choose parts from the digital twin hierarchy.

  3. Like selection mode, you can select multiple parts by holding CTRL while choosing them.

Once you've picked the parts for your animation, click "Add Selected Parts" to include them in your animation list.

Tip: No matter which method you use, you'll find a "Selected Parts" counter at the bottom of the parts catalog. It helps you keep track of how many parts you've selected.

Selected Parts List

Before we dive into grouping and adjusting pivots, let's take a moment to understand the parts list.

When you hover over an item in the list, it highlights the corresponding parts on the model with a blue glow. This feature makes it easier to identify and differentiate between the parts listed.

Groups within the list are framed in light grey, and you can conveniently collapse or expand their contents by clicking on the side arrow. This functionality helps you maintain an organized list, distinguishing between grouped parts and individual components.

Each part listed is presented in a row, and each row comprises four key elements:

  1. Part Name: The name of the part is displayed prominently.

  2. Magnifying Glass Button: This button allows you to focus on a specific part for a closer look.

  3. Pivot Button: Use this button to adjust the pivot point of the part.

  4. Trash Bin Button: Clicking this button removes the part from the list.

As seen in the image above, the "PowerOutletCat" is a single object, so it has all three buttons aligned with it.

On the other hand, when parts are grouped together, each part within the group features the magnifying glass and trash bin buttons. Changing the pivot for grouped parts is done from the top group folder, as all parts within the group share the same pivot point.

Grouping Parts for Animation:

Animating multiple parts individually can be cumbersome, requiring you to select and move each part separately. To simplify this process, we introduce the "Create Group" button.

This feature allows you to take the parts you've selected and group them together, enabling you to animate them collectively without the need to animate each one separately.

You have two options when creating a group:

  • Select All: Select this option to include all the parts you've chosen in the new group.

  • Selective Grouping: Alternatively, you can individually select which parts to include in the new group by clicking the checkboxes located next to each part.

After Selecting the parts to group click on the "Set Group" button to create it.

The new group will share the same pivot point, and any animation you apply to the group will affect all its members simultaneously.

Please note: Once you've grouped the parts, you won't be able to animate them separately, as they will function as a single entity within the group.

Edit Pivot

Not all CAD files are created equal; some come with perfectly placed pivots, while others may not be as precise. If you find yourself in the second scenario, it's crucial to adjust the pivot for your model.

Pivot adjustments should be made before you reach the first waypoint for the selected part. Once you've reached the first waypoint, the "Edit Pivot" button will no longer be available for that part. Therefore, it's wise to plan ahead and ensure your parts have the correct pivot placement before jumping into animations.

In the selected parts list, as mentioned earlier, each part has its own "Edit Pivot" button. By clicking on this button, you can access the option to modify the pivot for the selected part.

Clicking "Edit Pivot" triggers the appearance of a Gizmo within the scene, visually indicating the pivot location.

In the Parts list, you'll observe a transformation in the part tab. Now, you have the flexibility to either Move or Rotate the pivot directly, or you can opt for manual adjustments.

After fixing the pivot placement, click again on the "Edit pivot" button to save it.


This article covered key steps in animation preparation. We began with selecting parts for animation, offering two methods and a handy parts counter. We explored the selected parts list, featuring essential options for parts.

Next, we introduced grouping parts for efficient animation. The "Create Group" button simplifies the process, with options to select all or specific parts for grouping.

Lastly, editing pivots was emphasized as a vital step. Adjust pivots before the first waypoint to ensure precision. A Gizmo assists in pivot adjustments from the Parts list.

With these essential animation skills, you're ready to embark on your animation journey with confidence. Happy animating!

Next Article in the Animation Builder flow: Creating Animations: Discover how to animate your parts.

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