Merging several objects into one is possible in Blender 3D using a shortcut. We’ll cover how to join objects in Blender, why to do it and alternatives that may be better options.

If you are looking to separate one object into different objects, here’s how to separate objects in Blender.

Merge Multiple Objects Into Single Object

To join objects in Blender, select two or more objects with one being the “active object” and press the shortcut “Control + J.” The objects will be merged into a single object.

An infographic that shows how to join objects in Blender. Three separate objects are combined into one single object in the Blender 3D viewport.

We can do this with as many objects as we wish as long as the objects are of the same type (mesh, curve, etc). 

Will Materials Be Affected by Joining Objects?

When we join objects in Blender, all materials from all selected objects will become materials assigned to the newly merged object. 

Will Modifiers Affect Joining Objects?

If the selected objects other than the active object have modifiers, the modifiers will be applied before the objects are merged. They will not appear on the new combined object.

If the active object has modifiers, they will remain on the final combined object. Continue reading for more about active vs inactive objects. Here’s a complete guide on all 54 Blender modifiers for more about them.

Industrial 3D Models in the Blender viewport.
Industrial greeble assets in Blender 3D viewport.

The Active Object is Important

When combining multiple objects into a single object, one will have to be designated as the “active” object. 

When multiple objects are selected in Blender, only one will be the active object. The active object will have a yellow outline while other objects have an orange outline. 

If none of the selected objects are outlined in orange, we can set one of them as the active object by again left clicking (selecting) it. 

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Why Does The Active Object Matter?

Blender will merge the selected objects into a single object, but it needs to know which object’s data the merged object will be based on. For example:

  • The merged object will keep the name of the active object
  • The combined object’s origin point will be that of the active object
  • The new object’s scale will be that of the active object.
  • Modifiers from the active object will remain on the new object. Modifiers on inactive objects will be applied before merging.

Reasons to Join Objects in Blender

The benefit of joining objects in Blender is that we have fewer objects to deal with in our scene. This does reduce the amount of data in the .blend file which is good. When exporting to some 3D object formats, we may need to export everything as one single object. 

When we merge objects, we only have to select one object to move, scale, rotate or animate the object. However, if you have a reason not to join objects in a scene, here are some alternatives.

Here’s the Blender Manual page on joining objects in Blender.

Two 3d human models
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Alternatives to Joining Objects in Blender

There may be a lot of reasons why we want to keep objects separate rather than joining them together. Here are some alternatives which may or may not work for your situation.

Parenting Objects

Instead of joining objects, parenting them may be a better solution in some cases. Multiple “child objects” can be parented to a single “parent object.” The parent object could be one of the existing objects or an empty object could be added as a master control object.

Three mesh objects are parented to an empty object in the Blender 3D viewport.

With parented objects, we can still control the rotation, location and scale of all the objects simultaneously by transforming the parent object. We can also animate the parent object and most effects would be copied by the “child” objects. 

The benefits of parenting objects over joining them together is that they remain separate objects which can be edited, copied, instanced and more independently. They could also be added to the Blender asset browser as individual objects.

Lastly, if the objects need to be rigged it may be easier to rig individual objects than a single combined object. 

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Creating Collections

Multiple objects can be added to a collection. All objects in a collection can easily be selected at one time. Entire collections can have their visibility turned on and off. Collections can even be instanced (copied) into a single object without affecting the original objects.

To add selected objects to a collection, use the shortcut “M” to open the collections menu. Choose an existing collection or create a new one.

Three objects are selected and the "Move to Collection" context menu is open.

Here’s how to use Collection Instances in Blender if that sounds like the right option for you. 

Conclusion: How to Join Objects in Blender

To join objects together in Blender, use the shortcut “Control + J.” This will cause selected objects to be merged into one. The active object will be the basis for the final merged object. This will give our scene fewer objects and make it use less data. 

For many reasons, we may find alternatives to joining objects a better option. Alternatives may include parenting the objects, placing them into a collection and possibly using a collection instance. 

My name is Brandon and this is my site. Please have a look around for more useful Blender content. I also have a YouTube channel with concise tutorials.

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Brandon Stocking


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