This study shows that the deformed configuration space of 3D rods can be spanned in an objective manner by means of a semi-configuration-dependent approach. We employ a partially dependent default rotational triad defined using the spatial reference curve, a custom director-unit-vector, and a twisting-like-angle interpolation to obtain the true orientations of the cross-sections. Numerical verification shows that, rotating the custom director-unit-vector in conjunction with the element's first node, strain measure objectivity is ensured throughout the element domain. Employing the fundamental theorem of calculus, this simple but accurate finite-element implementation need not invoke the virtual work principle in the classical sense. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.