It’s best to keep units of measurement close to real-world scale when using Blender. We can choose different units of measurements in the properties panel. I’ll also show how to display measurements in the 3D viewport for precision modeling.

How to Set Unit Measurements in Blender

To change the units of measurement for a Blender scene, go to Scene Properties. Expand the “units” tab and choose the unit system at the top. Then change specific settings for Rotation, Length, Mass, Time and Temperature.

Unit Systems

The three available options for “Unit System” are: Metric, Imperial and “None.” If we choose “none” all measurements will be what are called “Blender Units” which are fictitious units of measurement used solely in Blender.

In the Scene Properties Panel in Blender, the Units tab is expanded showing the unit system and scale settings.
Units in Scene Properties

Just as a reminder the “Imperial” system is the system used in the United States: miles, Feet, Inches, etc.

How to Change and Display Units of Measurement in BLENDER (Micro Tip)

How to Display Measurements in the 3D Viewport

When modeling, it is helpful to see relevant measurements in real time inside the 3D viewport. This can be done in Edit Mode.

As of Blender 4.0, the measurements are now found in the “Edit Mode

How to turn on the unit measurement overlay in Edit Mode

To see measurements while in Edit Mode, go to the Viewport Overlays menu. Go to the section labeled “measurements” and check on the types of measurements we want to display.

Edge Length, Edge Angle, Face Area and Face Angle are options.

Choosing Specific Measurement Units

After we select a system of measurement, we choose individual units.

For example, with the metric system we could choose “kilometers,” “meters,” etc. The unit measurement is what will be used everywhere in Blender and should be chosen based on the overall size of the scene.

A beach scene with nature assets
Geo Scatter Add-on for Blender

As an example, if we have a very large city scene, kilometers may be the most appropriate measurement. If we were trying to model a small object precisely, centimeters may be more useful.

Remember, we want to be close to real-world measurements in Blender. Don’t create a donut ten meters wide. It will cause problems with lighting, physics and other tools.

The edge length is displayed in meters for the Blender default cube in edit mode.
Edge Length
The edge angle is displayed in degrees for the Blender default cube in edit mode.
Edge Angle

Adaptive Measurements

For several measurements in both systems, we also see “Adaptive” which will adapt the display based on the measurement.

For example, a scene will display centimeters for measurements between one centimeter and one meter. Once a measurement is longer than a meter, Blender will display meters. Once it is larger than a kilometer, it will display in kilometers, etc.

Adaptive measurements are good for general use, but if we need to model precisely in specific dimensions, we can choose from several options.

Two 3d human models
Human Generator Add-On for Blender

Rotation

There are two choices for rotation, regardless of whether we are using the metric system, imperial system or Blender Units. Most will want to leave this in degrees. Radians are mathematical measurements of the arch distance created by a rotation (complicated).

Length

The length is the most common measurement of interest for 3D modelers. If using the Metric System, we choose from micrometers, millimeters, centimeters, meters and kilometers. With the Imperial System, we have miles, feet, inches and “thou” which is thousandths of an inch.

The face area is displayed in squared meters for the Blender default cube in edit mode.
Face Area
The face angle is displayed in degrees for the Blender default cube in edit mode.
Face Angle

Mass

Mass is used for physics calculations in Blender.

With the Metric System, we choose from milligrams, grams, kilograms, tonnes (or “tons”) and “adaptive.” The Imperial System gives us ounces, pounds, stones, centum weights, tonnes (tons) and “adaptive.”

A beach scene with nature assets
Geo Scatter Add-on for Blender

Time

Time is a necessary measurement for animation in Blender. For both Imperial and Metric Systems, the time units are the same. We can select microseconds, milliseconds, seconds, minutes, hours, days and “adaptive.”

Temperature

Temperature measurements in Blender come into play when color is based off “temperature.” The blackbody node for example uses temperature to display color. With the Metric System, we can see temperatures displayed in Celsius. In the Imperial System, Fahrenheit is an choice. In both systems, Kelvin is also an option.

Conclusion

Measurements need to be close to real-world scale. Whether you are used to working in the Metric or Imperial system, you can use units of measurement you are familiar with. We can choose to view different measurements within the viewport from the Overlays Menu.

For more information on units of measurement, visit the Blender Manual page on scene properties.

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