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Introduction

Selection, in almost any program, determines which elements will be the target of our actions. As such, the more adapted the selection tool is to the action intended the better. Tools and functions are in a great number in Blender and so are its selection methods.

What follows is a short description of the concepts and selection tools which are available in Object mode.

Selections and the Active Object

Blender distinguishes between two different states of selection:

A) Selected Active Object,
B) Selected Object,
C) Unselected Object.
Outlines have been thickened to make them easier to distinguish.
  • In Object mode the last (de)selected item is called the “Active Object” and is outlined in pink (the others are purple). There is exactly one active object at any time (even when nothing is selected!).
Many actions in Blender use the active object as a reference, for example the boolean tools or linking operations. If you already have a selection and need to make a different object the active one, simply re-select it with ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png.
  • All other selected objects are just that, selected. You can select any number of objects.
Some bugs?
There seems to be display bugs sometimes, like e.g. under (2.49b/linux/ATI Radeon HD 3200), the selected/active objects outlines only show in wireframe viewing mode.


Point Selection

The simplest form of object selection consist into using RMB Template-RMB.png on it.

To add to the selection, use ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png on more objects.

If the objects are overlapping in the view, you can use AltRMB Template-RMB.png to get a list of possible choices.

If you want to add to a selection this way then the shortcut becomes ⇧ ShiftAltRMB Template-RMB.png.

To activate an object that is already selected, click ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png on it.

To deselect an active object, click ⇧ ShiftRMB Template-RMB.png one time – and hence two clicks if the object isn’t active.

Rectangular or Border Select

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: B

Menu: Select » Border Select

Description

With Border Select (B) you draw a rectangle while holding down LMB Template-LMB.png. Any object that lies even partially within this rectangle becomes selected.

For box-deselecting objects, use either AltLMB Template-LMB.png, MMB Template-MMB.png or RMB Template-RMB.png.

As usual, to exit from this tool click RMB Template-RMB.png, or hit the Esc key.

Example

In (Start), Border Select has been activated and is indicated by showing a dotted cross-hair cursor. In (Selecting), the selection region is being chosen by drawing a rectangle with the LMB Template-LMB.png. The rectangle is only covering cubes “A” and “B”. Finally, by releasing LMB Template-LMB.png the selection is complete; see (Complete).

Start.
Selecting.
Complete.

Notice in (Complete) the bright color of selected cube “B”. This means it is the “active object”, the last selected object prior to using the Border Select tool.

Hints

Border select adds to the previous selection, so in order to select only the contents of the rectangle, deselect all with A first.

Lasso Select

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: CtrlLMB Template-LMB.png

Menu: no entry in the menu

Description

Lasso select is similar to Border select in that you select objects based on a region, except Lasso is a hand-drawn region that generally forms a circular/rounded shaped form; kind of like a lasso.

Usage

To activate the tool use the CtrlLMB Template-LMB.png while dragging. The one difference between Lasso and Border select is that in Object mode, Lasso only selects objects where the lasso region intersects the objects center.

Lasso select adds to the previous selection. For lasso-deselection, use Ctrl⇧ ShiftLMB Template-LMB.png.

As usual, to exit from this tool click RMB Template-RMB.png, or hit the Esc key.

Example

(Selecting) is an example of using the Lasso select tool. Dragging started at “S”, curved around to “B” and stopped at “C”. Notice that the lasso region included the circle’s purple colored object center.

Selecting.
Selected.

(Selected) is the result with just the circle selected even though the square was in the lasso region.

Menu Selection

The selection methods described above are the most common. There are also many more options accessible through the Select menu of the 3D view, or the Select option of the “SpaceBar” menu.

Each is more adapted to certain operations.

Select Grouped

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftG

Menu: Select » Grouped

Description

There are two ways to organize the objects in relation to one another. The first one is parenting, and the second simple grouping. Both are described here.

We can take advantage of those relationships to select members of those families or of those groups.

Options

Selected Grouped pop-up menu.
Children
Selects all the active object’s children, and the children’s children, up to the last generation.
Immediate Children
Selects all the active object’s children, but not those of these children (no “grandchildren” selected!).
Parent
Selects the parent of the active object and deselects the active object.
Siblings (Shared Parent)
Selects all the siblings of the active object.
Objects of Same Type
Selects objects based on the current active object type.
Objects on Shared Layers
Selects all objects on the same layer(s) of the active object.
Objects in Same Group
Selects objects that belong to the same group as the active object.
Object Hooks
Selects all hooks which are attached to the active object.
Object PassIndex
Selects all objects which have the same PassIndex number as the active object. See the ID Mask node usage for more information on this option.
Object Color
Selects objects that have the same color (the one set in Draw panel) as the active object.
Game Properties
Selects objects that have the same game properties as the active object.


Select linked

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: ⇧ ShiftL

Menu: Select » Linked

Description

Options for objects which share a datablock.

Selects all objects which share a common datablock with the active object.

Options

Select » Linked in Object mode uses the active object as a basis to select all others.

Available options are:

Object Ipo
Selects every object that is linked to the same Ipo datablock of the Object type. Any other type like Constraint, Pose, …, won’t work.
ObData
Selects every object that is linked to the same ObData, i.e. the datablock that specifies the type (mesh, curve, etc.) and the built (constitutive elements like vertices, control vertices, and where they are in space) of the object.
Material
Selects every object that is linked to the same material datablock.
Texture
Selects every object that is linked to the same texture datablock.


Select All by Type

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: None

Menu: Select » Select All by Type

Description

Options for selection of objects of one type.

The types are Mesh, Curve, Surface, Meta, Armature, Lattice, Text, Empty, Camera, Lamp.

With this tool it becomes possible to select every visible object of a certain type in one go.

Options

Select All by Type in Object mode offers an option for every type of object that can be described by the ObData datablock.

Just take your pick.

Select All by Layer

Mode: Object mode

Hotkey: None

Menu: Select » Select All by Layer

Description

Layers are another means to regroup your objects to suit your purpose.

This option allows the selection of every single object that belongs to a given layer, visible or not, in one single command. This selection is added to anything that was already selected at that moment.

Choice of one layer.


Options

We have the option of selecting the objects of one single layer at a time by LMB Template-LMB.png-clicking on its number. This has to be repeated for each new layer.

Blender3D FreeTip.gif
Selection of Objects
Rather than using the Select All by Layer option, it might be more efficient to make the needed layers visible and use A on them. This method also allows objects to be deselected.


Other Menu Options

Other selecting options.

Available options on the first level of the menu are:

Random Select Percentage.
Random
Randomly selects unselected objects based on percentage probability on currently active layers. On selecting the command a numerical selection box is displayed for the user to select the percentage chance that an object will be selected.
It’s important to note that the percentage represents the likelihood of an unselected object being selected and not the percentage amount of objects that will be selected.
Inverse (CtrlI)
Selects all objects that were not selected while deselecting all those which were.
Select/Deselect All (A)
If anything was selected it is first deselected. Otherwise it toggles between selecting and deselecting every visible object.
Border Select (B)
As described above in the section on border select.