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Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii
Chapter 1: 3D Concepts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
3D Space . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Transformations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Chapter 2: Modeling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Geometry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Modeling Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Embellishing Your Models. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Surface Properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Shading Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Texture Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
File Textures and Procedural Textures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Mapping Coordinates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Chapter 4: Rendering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Camera Moves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Animating Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
How Light Works. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Light Types . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Shadows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
Lighting Setups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
Rendering Scenes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Optimization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Rendering for Compositing. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
Chapter 5: Animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Time. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
Animation Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Reactive Animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
Animation Curves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
Hierarchical Animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Types of Deformations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Review User Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Review File I/O . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
Review Getting Started. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Review Transforming Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Review Modifying Objects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
Review Modeling with 3D Geometry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Review Modeling from Splines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
Review Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
Review Using Maps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
Review Mapping Coordinates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
Review Cameras . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92
Review Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
Review Advanced Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
Review Animation Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
Review Rendering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Appendix B: Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Shrine Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
LakeHouse Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114
Ocean Project. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
Chess Project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
Courseware from Autodesk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132
Autodesk Services & Support . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Autodesk Subscription . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Autodesk Consulting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
Autodesk Partners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Autodesk Authorized Training Centers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
Autodesk Certification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
Useful Links. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
New: Group
Welcome to the 3ds Max for Design Visualization Instructor Guide.
The Instructor Guide is a complement to the Student Workbook and contains additional information
for educators to use in their classrooms.
The Instructor Guide contains a series of application-independent concepts that illustrate the laws
that govern 3D environments and 3D software.
The Chapter Reviews section is a set of quizzes in the form of multiple-choice and/or True or False
questions and answers. Each quiz corresponds to a chapter in the Student Workbook. Use these
quizzes to test student comprehension.
The projects found in the Projects section provide students with workflow information, rather than
step-by-step instructions. Use the Projects Section as a way to help your students apply their
knowledge, and prepare for real-world projects. They will be able to apply their own style and
creativity while working through the projects.
3D Concepts
This chapter includes some basic and useful information related to the 3D industry.
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Understand the concept of 3D space.
Understand the concept of object transformations.
3D Space
About 3D Space
Every day, you come into contact with three dimensional objects and spaces. You have learned how
to recognize and work with three dimensions in your daily routine and have an intuitive feel for how
it works. If you have ever drawn a sketch, built a model or sculpted model, you also have a creative feel
for how shape and form can be described in 3D. Three-dimensional objects can be measured and
quantified. If you have ever measured the length width, and height of an object, you have analyzed its
three dimensions. You can also determine an object’s position by measuring it in relation to another
object or to a point in space.
Using different 3D modeling and animation packages, you can explore three dimensional objects and
recreate them on screen as rendered images complete with light and shadows.
Two Dimensions
When you measure the width and height
of an object, you are analyzing two of its
dimensions. The X and Y axes can be used
to find points on an object, such as the
centre of the wheel or the position of the
headlight in this two-dimensional space.
Three Dimensions
When you measure the length, width, and
height of an object, you must consider a
third dimension as defined by the Z-axis
(or Y-axis, depending on the application in
use) when defining point in space.
Chapter 1: 3D Concepts
XYZ Space
In most 3D software, space is measured using three axes that are defined as the X-axis, the Y-axis, and
the Z-axis. If you imagine looking into a movie screen, the width would be the X-axis, the height would
be the Y-axis, and the depth would be the Z-axis. Depending on the 3D software package, the Z-axis
and the Y-axis directions may be switched. You can find any point in this 3D world by defining a
coordinate for each of the axes. To help you visualize these coordinates, a grid with axis indicators
shows you their orientation.
The Ground Grid
To create a ground surface to reference your
work in XYZ, most of 3D applications include a
grid that maps out an area of user defined units.
In most cases the X and Z axes are on the
ground and form the lines of the grid. The
Y-axis is the height.
Points in a 3D coordinate system are measured
against an origin point. This point is assigned
a value of 0, 0, 0.
Axis Indicator
To help you visualize the three axes, each is
given a corresponding RGB color.
When an object is moved, rotated, or scaled, the XYZ axes are used for reference. An object is moved
along, rotated around, or scaled along the chosen axis line. Values are stored for each of the three axes.
Y-up and Z-up Worlds
As mentioned earlier, depending on the 3D application in use, the axes representing the height may
change from Y to Z. In case of transferring work between different 3D packages, you have to either
reorient the model or set up the 3D software in use to accommodate the imported model’s
3D Space
When you visualize objects in the real world, you do not usually think about axis lines and 3D
coordinates. Instead, you see the world in perspective where lines vanish to the horizon and objects
get smaller as they get further away. A perspective view allows you to visualize a 3D space in a way
similar to how you view the world through either your eyes or the lens of a camera. Most artists have
learned to sketch a 3D scene in perspective or use drafting techniques to create more accurate
perspective drawings. In all 3D applications, the 3D perspective is calculated for you based on a
camera position and a view angle that you set.
Perspective Camera
Perspective views are generated by cameras
that simulate real world camera attributes. It is
possible to set up a number or cameras and
then choose your preferred shot later
Orthographic Projections
While a perspective view can help you compose a shot, it is not always the ideal method for modeling
and animating objects. Therefore, an orthographic view lets you analyze your scene using parallel
projections of only two axes at a time. Using this view, you can more accurately determine how an
object is positioned. Most 3D animators find themselves using perspective views to compose a shot
while orthographic views offer a place to view the scene in a more analytical manner. Both views are
crucial to working properly in 3D.
Chapter 1: 3D Concepts
The Complete Picture
The different points of view afforded by orthographic and perspective views let you build and
evaluate your models.
Top view
Side view
Front view
Perspective view
3D Space
World Space and Local Space
When you build an object in 3D, it is possible to parent one object to another. This creates a hierarchy
where the parent object determines the position of the group in world space. The child objects inherit
this positioning and combine this with their own local space position. This parent-child relationship is
used during the animation of an object where keyframes can be set on both the child and the parent.
World Space
When the whole object moves in world space,
child objects such as the handle bar and the
wheels move with it.
Local Space
The handle bar and the front wheel use an
angled axis line to set up the local rotations.
Chapter 1: 3D Concepts
About Transformations
Transformations are changes made to an object’s positions, orientation, and scale in space. The
Transform node holds all this information and the Transform manipulators such as the Move,
Scale, and Rotate Tools are used to transform an object along the X, Y, and Z axes.
About Manipulators
Manipulators are used to move, scale and rotate objects in orthographic and 3D space. Each of the
manipulators uses red, green, and blue color handles matching the colors of the X, Y, Z axes, making
it easier to distinguish the direction of the transformation to one, two, or three axes at a time, allowing
for complete control.
1. Move Tool
The move Tool has a handle for each X, Y,
and Z axis and a center handle to move
relative to the view.
2. Rotate Tool
The Rotate Tool has a ring for the X, Y, and
Z axes. One ring moves relative to the view,
and a virtual sphere rotates in all directions.
3. Scale Tool
With the Scale Tool, you can scale nonproportionally in X, Y, or Z. You can also scale
proportionally by selecting the center handle.
About Pivot Points and Transformations
Objects are transformed around their pivot point location. This is important to be aware of because
the position of your pivot point affects the outcome of your transformations. Whichever 3D software
you may use, it will give you a possibility to place your pivot point according to your specific animation
Pivot point is in the wrong location
Objects rotating around a properly positioned pivot point
Chapter 1: 3D Concepts
In this chapter, various modeling concepts are discussed.
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Understand geometry.
Understand modeling techniques.
About Geometry
The mathematics of geometry is used by the computer to determine what you see on screen.
A 3D application’s interface gives you tools to edit geometry without having to understand the math
behind it. In order to build complex scenes, you need to understand how to manipulate geometry and
how the geometry will be animated and texture-mapped down the line. A good looking model is only
complete when it satisfies the needs of all aspects of the animation process.
About Geometry Types
One of the first decisions you have to make when you start a project is how you are going to build your
models. There are four types of geometry: Polygons, NURBS, Subdivision, and Bezier surfaces. You can
use any geometry type to create either simple or complex models. You can use one geometry type as
a starting point for another or you can build models that combine geometry types. In general, if you
are building organic shapes, you will probably use NURBS or Subdivision surfaces. They will give you
smooth surface and have the fewest control points which make edits to the surface easier. Since
NURBS are limited to a four-sided patch, there are limitations to the types of organic shapes you can
make from a single surface. This is where it is beneficial to use Subdivision Surfaces because they can
represent many more types of shapes with a single surface. If you are building none organic shapes
such as a desk, or wall, it is easier to use polygons because they easily make shapes like corners or
edges. If you are building a surface that combines hard edges with an organic shape, Subdivision
surface work well. In this chapter you will learn more about your options so you can decide on the
geometry that best suits the way you want to work.
NURBS geometry is spline based. The geometry
is derived from curves and surface approximated
from the surface’s control vertices (points)
locations. NURBS allow you to start with curves
that are then used to generate surfaces. This
workflow offers precise results that can be easily
controlled. All NURBS surfaces are four sided
patches, although this shape can be altered.
Polygons are shapes defined by vertices that
create three, four, or n-sided shapes. Polygonal
objects are made up of many polygons. Polygons
can appear flat, when rendered, or the Normal
across adjacent faces can be interpolated to
appear smooth.
Chapter 2: Modeling
Subdivision Surfaces
To create objects with Subdivision surfaces, you
need some understanding of both NURBS and
polygonal modeling. Subdivision surfaces are
mostly built using a polygon mesh as a base and
then refined. The advantage of using this
geometry type is that detail is added only where
needed, and it creates smooth surfaces like
NURBS but does not have the limitations of
being four-sided patches.
Modeling Techniques
About Modeling Techniques
Choosing the geometry type that best suits your model will depend on several factors such as how the
model is going to be used, how complex the model has to be, whether the model be animated and
deformed, and what kind of texture maps will be used. If you are unsure what type of geometry to
work with, it is possible to begin with NURBS because it can be converted to polygons or subdivision
surfaces later. Polygons, however cannot be converted to NURBS, but can be converted to
Subdivision Surfaces.
About Geometry Types
One of the most common ways to create a model is to begin with a primitive shape. This simple shape
is then molded or expanded to add more detail. This technique using polygons is frequently used for
developing environments and characters for interactive games. NURBS primitives such as spheres and
cylinders are commonly used to begin organic modeling of objects such as body parts. A polygon
cube is a good place to start a Subdivision model by simply converting it to a Subdivision surface and
then begin to extrude.
Primitives can be made of NURBS or polygons.
All primitives have the option of having
different spans and sections.
Modeling Techniques
Subdivision Surfaces
This model was made initially from a polygon
cube. It was manipulated on a face and vertex
level, and finally was converted to a Subdivision
NURBS Primitives
This model was created from a NURBS primitive
sphere that had several spans and sections in
both directions to have sufficient detail.
About Curve Networks
For more precise surfaces, a network of curves can be used to control the shape and parameterization
of the surface. Surfaces can be created from curves, trim edges or isoparms. For industrial type of
modeling, creating a network of curves is essential for smooth and precise surfaces.
Curve Network
The thumb was created by using a profile curve
for the base of the thumb attached to a motion
path. The curve was scaled and deformed at the
end of the path to the shape of a thumbnail.
Chapter 2: Modeling
About Symmetry
Most objects in life, whether they are organic or industrial, have symmetry. Modeling only half the
object and mirroring it offers an efficient method for completing the entire object. This technique is
widely used for industrial design, but can also be used for organic shapes such as heads and bodies.
A helpful tip to view a mirrored copy update interactively while you work on one half is to use an
Instance duplication with a negative scaling instead of a regular copy.
About Organic Modeling
When the surfacing tools are not sufficient to create the shape you are looking for, direct control point
manipulation sometimes is the only solution. Manipulating on such a fine level is an art in itself and
demands patience and skill. Selecting the points for manipulation can be the first challenge because
it is easy to accidentally select points on the back of the model. Being able to hide unselected CVs lets
you focus on the surface without the clutter, making it easier to change your selection. On NURBS
models, when hulls are on, they also offer a good visual clues as to where the CVs are in space.
Modeling Techniques
Patch Modeling
This method of modeling requires more planning than the others. This method creates a surface out
of many smaller NURBS surfaces that have surface continuity and typically the same number and
positioning of isoparms. The planning stage of patch modeling involves deciding where the cutlines
are to be positioned and what the parameterization of the surfaces will be.
About Rotoscoping
If the model needs to have exact proportions or is being developed from a sketch, you can import
reference images as backdrops and rotoscope (or trace) them. Most 3D applications have objects
called Image Planes that can display images or textures. Each image plane is attached to a specific
camera, and provides a background or environment for scenes seen through that camera.
Chapter 2: Modeling
Materials and Mapping
In this chapter, you explore material concepts in 3D environments as well as mapping types and
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Understand model shading.
Understand surface properties.
Understand shading types.
Understand texture maps.
Understand file textures and procedural textures.
Understand mapping coordinates.
Embellishing Your Models
While geometry defines the shape of a model, shading defines how the model’s surfaces react to light
and details such as color, transparency, and texture. Most 3D apps use Shading group nodes to tell the
renderer which materials, textures, and lights will affect the final look of a surface. Shading networks
are made up of nodes that define the final look of a rendered surface. Learning the proper role of each
of these nodes will ensure that you build shading networks that render successfully.
About Material Qualities
Before looking at complex shading networks, it is useful to consider the various material qualities that
you will be trying to achieve. A basic understanding of how an object is shaded can be translated into
attributes on shading network nodes in 3D.
Basic Shading
Shading shows you how the surface appears
when illuminated. As the light hits a surface, it
defines gradation from light to dark that
makes the surface’s 3D qualities apparent.
Highlights and Reflections
As a surface becomes shinier, it begins to show
highlights and reflections. Specular highlights
show the hotspots where the light sources
are reflected, while reflections simulate light
bounced from surrounding objects.
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
It is possible to see through transparent areas
such as glass on a jar, while opaque areas
such as the label, cap, and paint remain solid.
Transparent surfaces such as glass can also
bend light. This is called refraction and can
be achieved in 3D using Raytracing.
Surface Relief
Surface relief, such as bumps and scratches,
helps add realistic look to a surface. This
effect can be achieved with special textures
called bump, normal and displacement
Surface Properties
About Surface Properties
Materials in the real world react to light by absorbing or reflecting it. Polished surfaces are shiny
because they reflect light with strong highlights, while rough surfaces have a softer look because they
disperse light. A Material node is a mathematical shading model that simulates a natural reaction to
light. The material node contains a number of attributes that let you control how surfaces are shaded.
3D apps include several material types, such as Phong, Blinn, and Anisotropic that each define a
different shading model. The Material node acts as a focal point for shading and texturing information.
It is than fed into the Shading group node where it is combined with information about lights and the
geometry to be rendered.
Surface Properties
About Material Qualities
The behavior of light when it strikes a surface in real life is quite complex. Surface imperfections can
distort the angle at which light rays are reflected causing them to scatter and can also cause some light
to become trapped, or absorbed. This type of scattered reflected light appears soft and even and is
known as diffuse light. Very smooth surfaces have little or no surface imperfections so light is not
absorbed and reflected light is more coherent or focused. When this light reaches our eyes, we see
bright specular highlights. These real world behaviors are simulated in 3D with the diffuse and
specular attributes.
Ambient Color
This attribute creates the effect of even
illumination, without requiring a light source.
In this image the Ambient color has RGB values
of 0.25, 0.25, 0.25 (dark gray) on all objects.
Diffuse determines how much light is absorbed
and how much is scattered in all directions by
surface imperfections. Rougher surfaces tend to
have higher Diffuse values while smooth or
mirror like surfaces have Diffuse values that
approach 0.
Specular Highlight
Specular shading attributes determine the
amount of light that is reflected at a consistent
angle resulting in an intense bright region called
specular highlight. Perfectly smooth surfaces will
have very bright tiny highlights because there are
no surface imperfections to distort the reflection
angle. Rougher surfaces like brushed metals will
have a softer highlight.
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
Combined Effect
In real life the proportions of the specular and
diffuse components of the total reflected light
will vary depending on the characteristics of the
Shading Types
About Shading Types
Several different material types offer you distinct shading characteristics. The main difference
between them is how they handle specular highlights when rendered. In the illustrations below, three
of the most commonly used material types are compared. Texture maps on various attributes such
as color, bump, and specularity will also have an impact on the appearance of the material.
Many artists use this material type exclusively because it
offers high quality specular highlights using attributes such
as Eccentricity and Specular Roll off. This material type can
be edited to look like a Phong material, which has sharper
highlights, in cases where you need better anti-aliasing of
highlights during animation. This material is good for glass
and metals.
Shading Types
This material adds a sharp highlight to the Lambert material.
The size and intensity of the highlights are controlled by the
Cosine Power attribute. This material can also have reflections
from either an environment map or Raytraced reflections.
The Phong material is good for plastics.
This material type simulates surfaces which have micro-facet
grooves and the specular highlight tends to be perpendicular
to the direction of the grooves. Materials such as hair, satin,
and CVs all have anisotropic highlights.
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
Texture Maps
About Texture Maps
To add extra detail such as bumps, scratches and patterns to your models, you can use texture maps.
By applying textures, surface relief can be created using images instead of having to actually build a
complex model, and graphic elements such as logos and illustration can be mapped as labels.
About Mapping Attributes
Most attributes on materials, textures, utility nodes, and lights can be texture mapped. However, an
output such as outColor, is made up of three channels (RGB). To connect this three-channel output to
an input on another node, the input attribute must be a three channel input such as Color,
Transparency, or Incandescence. It is easy to see this in the Connection Editor because once you have
selected an output; the inputs that you cannot connect to are grayed out.
Color Map
Mapping color allows you to create detail on
your surfaces. Color maps can be used for labels
as well as natural materials such as wood
or brick.
Bump Map
A bump map is used to alter the direction of
surface Normals when the surface is rendered.
This creates the illusion of surface detail.
Specular Map
Mapping Specular Color allows you to vary the
highlights on the surface. Adding a stretched
noise like texture can produce the effect of a
scratched surface.
Transparency Map
When mapping the material’s transparency, the
white appears have a value of 0, which means
full opacity. The closer to black the value the
more transparent the object becomes.
Texture Maps
Displacement Map
A displacement map is similar to a bump map,
except that is applied to the geometry rather
than the shading. This creates sharper detail,
especially at the edges.
Reflectivity Map
Mapping Reflectivity lets you specify which
areas of a surface are reflective. This is different
from Reflected Color, which simulates a
reflected environment.
Normal Map
In 3D computer graphics, normal mapping is
an application of the technique known as bump
mapping. While bump mapping perturbs the
existing normal (the way the surface is facing)
of a model, normal mapping replaces the
normal entirely. Like bump mapping, it is used
to add details to shading without using more
polygons. But where a bump map is usually
calculated based on a single-channel
(interpreted as grayscale) image, the source
for the normals in normal mapping is usually a
multichannel image (that is, channels for “red”,
“green” and “blue” as opposed to just a single
color) derived from a set of more detailed
versions of the objects. The values of each
channel (color) usually represent the xyz
coordinates of the normal in the point
corresponding to that texel.
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
File Textures and Procedural Textures
About File Textures and Procedural textures
When you texture an attribute, you can choose either File Textures or Procedural Textures. File
textures are bitmaps scanned from photographs or painted in a 2D or 3D package. Procedural
Textures are 2D or 3D plots of mathematical functions where you adjust the attributes to create
different looks.
File Textures
A file texture is a bitmap image. These textures
can be very realistic if scanned from a photo.
File textures can be created as tillable images
where the opposing edges of the texture match
up. This disguises the fact that it is a repeating
texture. In the case of the brick surface, a single
texture is used for the whole wall.
Procedural Textures
Procedural texture nodes let you set up
attributes for different aspects of the texture.
With a grid texture node you can set attributes
for the size and color of the bricks. A separate
Crater texture gives the surface some detail.
The texture is then also mapped to the material
node as a mump map. The luminance of the
texture is used as the bump values.
File Textures and Procedural Textures
About Tileable Textures
While Procedural Textures are tileable by default, File Textures have to be carefully set up if you want
to use them as repeatable tiles. For a seamless look, you need to make sure that the edges match
properly and that there are no definite patterns created by darker areas of the texture. Using a
photograph taken of a brick wall, you can use an image editing program to create a tileable texture.
Step 1
A square section of the original photo was
cropped out. It was also color corrected to
create a lighter texture.
Step 2
The texture was tested in a repeating pattern.
You can see how even though the texture
appears ready for tiling a definite pattern is
Step 3
In Adobe® Photoshop®, the image was offset
by half its value. This put the seam in the
middle where you can see it.
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
Step 4
Using the Rubber Stamp tool the lighter bricks
were used to fix the darker areas where tiling
problems were most apparent.
Step 5
A test of this texture shows a repeating pattern
that works seamlessly. Only with close scrutiny
can you begin to see some repeating pattern in
the texture.
Mapping Coordinates
About Mapping Coordinates
Mapping coordinates specify the placement, orientation, and scale of a map on the geometry.
Coordinates are often specified in terms of U, V, and W, where U is the horizontal dimension, V is the
vertical dimension, and W is the optional third dimension, representing depth.
About Projection Map Types
There are several ways to place mapping coordinates on an object in order to put a 2D texture on its
surface. The more common ones are shown here being used to map a simple checker texture to a
common object for comparison. You would generally choose a projection type that matches the
shape of your objects. The design of your texture will also be affected by this choice.
Mapping Coordinates
This projection type maps the texture onto
objects using a single direction. It can cause
stretching where surface Normals are parallel
to the icon (gismo).
This projection type maps the texture from a
cylindrical shell. The texture will show a seam
at the back unless it’s tillable.
This projection type maps the texture from a
spherical shell. The texture pinches at the poles
of the icon and will show a seam at the back
unless it’s tillable.
This projection type maps the texture from the
center of a cubic shell in all its directions. The
texture will appear bigger on objects further
from the icon (gismo).
Chapter 3: Materials and Mapping
In this chapter, cameras are discussed in terms of their importance to tell a story. Also discussed
is CG lighting and its importance in 3D environments.
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Understand how camera moves.
Understand camera animating.
Understand how light works.
Understand light types.
Understand shadows.
Understand lighting setups.
Understand rendering scenes.
Understand optimization.
Understand rendering for compositing.
Camera Moves
About Camera Moves
The way you position your camera and set up your lens has a big effect on the composition of a shot.
Whether the camera is sitting still or being animated, you must understand the choices you can make
to enhance the cinematic qualities of the shot. By going beyond the default values, you can begin
working like a real-life cinematographer.
About Camera Moves
When you frame a shot, you must choose how far the camera is from the scene and which angle-ofview or Focal Length to use. These decisions will change how the objects in the foreground, midground, and background relate visually, which, in turn, affects the framing. Learning to use different
focal lengths is an important part of driving a CG camera to get the shot you need.
Normal Lens: 50mm length
This lens is closest to the human eye.
Using it as a starting point, you can explore
how changes in Focal Length and distance
create different relationships between
foreground and background elements.
Wide Angle Lens: 28mm focal length
The wide angle lens offers a stronger sense
of perspective. You can get close and still
see a wide area of the scene, which can be
helpful in an interior space. Moving objects
appear to move very fast.
Telephoto Lens: 100 mm focal length
This lens tightens the perspective. You see
less of the scene and can focus on a
particular area. Since the depth is
flattened, distance is harder to read.
Moving objects appear to move slowly.
Chapter 4: Rendering
Animating Cameras
About Animating Cameras
Animating the camera is a great way to add a sense of motion to your animation. This means that you
can use traditional camera moves such as tracks and dollys to focus on a character and enhance the
3D qualities of your scene, or your camera can fly around in a less controlled manner. In 3D you can
animate the camera using its Transform node, which is useful but not as intuitive as aiming the camera
at a locator or creating a two-node camera which lets you control the eye point and look at point of
the camera separately.
About Zooming and Dollying
When you want to animate the camera getting closer or farther away from the scene, you can choose
between zooming, by changing the camera’s Focal Length, or dollying the whole camera. These two
approaches yield quit different result and it is a good idea to explore each technique.
Changing the camera’s Focal Length creates a
zoom effect. All parts of the scene get bigger
equally, which results in a static relationship
between elements in the foreground, midground, and background. Our eyes cannot
make this kind of view change.
Changing the camera’s position with a dolly
gives you a stronger sense of the space. Objects
pass by the frame, creating a more dramatic
movement through space. This is the approach
used most often with real-life cameras. This is
how our eyes would get closer to an object.
Animating Cameras
About Cameras on Motion Paths
In cases where you know the path you want your camera to take, a path animation can be used. You
can choose to assign a one-, two-, or three-node camera to the path and you can use multiple paths
for even more control. If you want to have your camera go around a roller coaster loop, be sure to use
a three-node camera and send the Up-vector node down its own path that is offset from the eye’s
path. This will keep the camera from flipping at the top of the loop.
One Node
To place a one-node camera on a motion path,
you must make sure the Front Axis is Z and
Inverse Front is turned on. This will aim it
correctly down the path.
Two Nodes
With a two-node camera, you can have a three
eye point and look at point on different paths.
You can now control the camera’s tracking
using these two curves.
How Light Works
About The Way Light Works
Light affects the way in which we see the world around us. Light defines the shape and form of objects
and spaces, while at the same time, it works at am emotional level by setting mood and atmosphere.
Learning to control light is an important 3D skill. Cinematographers use light to illuminate the objects
in the scene while supporting the scene’s emotional context. The quality of the light in a digital shot
is equally important, although the rules are different.
About Real World vs. Digital World
In the real world, light bounces. Light starts from a light source such as the sun or a lamp and is either
bounced or absorbed by all surfaces. An object appears red because the green and blue light is
absorbed while the red light is reflected. A cinematographer sets up lights, and then measures the
light levels, which include both direct and indirect light. This information is used to adjust the
Chapter 4: Rendering
exposure settings of the camera. In 3D, surfaces are illuminated directly by lights. There is no bounced
light coming from other surfaces. This is because CG lighting doesn’t bounce. Here, film is not exposed
to light and camera controls don’t need to be adjusted. Light levels are therefore controlled using the
intensity settings of the lights themselves.
In The Real World
The films exposure to light is controlled by the
camera. Light is emitted from a source with a
controllable intensity. Direct light is hard, while
light bounced from another surface is softer.
Light Levels are measured using a light meter to
determine the proper exposure settings for the
camera. Camera controls such as F-stop, shutter
angle, exposure time, and film speed are set to
control how much light is exposed to the film.
In 3D
To simulate a bounced light in 3D, you would
need to use a secondary light such as an area
light or an ambient light.
How Light Works
Light Types
About The Way Light Works
There are several types of lights in 3D, each of which illuminates a scene differently. A typical scene
combines a number of different light types.
Spotlights emit light that radiates from a point
within a limited cone angle. You can use this cone
angle to limit the area receiving light.
Directional lights use parallel rays of light to
illuminate a scene. Shading is very uniform
without any hotspots. These rays are similar to
the light of the sun, which hits the earth with
parallel rays.
Point lights emit light in all directions, radiating
from a single point. This creates an effect similar
to a light bulb. This light creates subtle shading
effects with definite hot spots.
Chapter 4: Rendering
Area lights emit light using a two-dimensional
area. The area light’s icon can be used to help
define the light’s direction and intensity. A larger
area light has a stronger intensity.
Ambient lights emit light uniformly in all
directions. Bump maps are not visible with
ambient light alone.
About Shadows
One of the most dramatic aspects of lighting is in the area where there is no light. Shadows add drama
to your scene while helping to anchor characters and props top the ground. If your character leaps
into the air, you know what is happening because the shadow and the character no longer touch each
other. In 3D there are many factors that affect the look and quality of your shadows. You can choose
from Depth Map and Raytraced shadows which offer different levels of quality and speed. Sometimes
light attributes, such as cone Angle will affect your shadows and be taken into account. The more you
know about how shadows are cast, the easier it will be to adjust the appropriate attributes.
Default Renderings
Here are two shots of a scene. The first does not
use shadows and the second one does. You can
see how the scooter in the second image is
much more grounded, and it is easier to read
the scene’s depth. While shadows do require
extra work when you set up a scene, they are
well worth the effort.
About Depth Map Shadows
Depth map shadows are the more effective of the two shadow types. Depth Map shadows work by
recording the z-depth information from the light’s point of view, then using this information to
evaluate whether or not a point in your scene is in shadow. When rendering starts, a Depth Map is
created from the light’s POV that measures how far the various objects are from the light. White is used
to show surface points closest to the light, while the various shades of gray show a greater distance
from the light. When a point on a surface is being shaded during the rendering process, the distance
is measured between the point and the light source. This measurement is then compared to the depth
Chapter 4: Rendering
information stored in the Depth Map. If the points distance is greater than the distance stored in the
Depth Map the point is in shadow. If the point is in shadow the light’s illumination does not contribute
to the shading.
About Raytraced Shadows
To calculate Raytraced shadows, the 3D application that you are using sends a ray from the camera
and when this ray hits a surface, it spawns another ray towards the light. This shadow ray reports
whether or not it hits any shadow casting objects on its way to the light. If it does hit a shadow casting
object, then the original surface is in shadow. Raytraced shadows have the disadvantage of being
slower to render than Depth Map shadows. However, depending on the look you are interested in,
there are several reasons why you would use Raytraced shadows in your scene. These include
transparent shadows, colored transparent shadows and shadow attenuation.
Default Renderings
Using the default settings built into a spotlight,
the Raytrace rendering offers a sharper shadow
than the Depth Map shadows. Rendering time is
longer for the Raytraced scooter.
Soft Shadows
By tweaking the Depth Map shadows attributes
you can see much better results. Using Light
Radius and Shadow Rays to soften the Raytraced
shadows you can see how the rendering took
even longer.
Chapter 4: Rendering
About Transparent Shadows
When casting shadows from transparent objects, Depth Map shadows do not take in account the
transparent qualities of a surface, while Raytraced shadows do. This may be a deciding factor when it
comes to choosing which technique you will use to cast shadows.
Depth Map Shadows
When a Depth Map is generated at the start of a
render, it does not take transparency into
account. For this reason, the shadow generated
by a depth Map will appear solid.
Raytraced Shadows
Raytraced shadows are computed during the
rendering process. Therefore, the transparency of
the object is taken into account. As a result,
Raytraced shadows clearly represent the details
of a transparent or transparency mapped object.
About Shadow Attenuation
Be default, raytraced shadows look more accurate and crisp than Depth Map shadows. This can result
in an undesirable computer-generated look in most cases. To avoid this, the shadows can be softened
using a combination of non-zero Light Radius and Shadow Rays greater than 1. These controls are
found in the Raytrace Shadow Attributes section of the Attribute Editor for a light. The biggest
difference between a Raytraced soft shadow and a Depth Map shadow is that a Depth Map shadow is
evenly soft around its edges. By contrast a Raytraced shadow will dissipate or attenuate with distance
from the shadow casting object. This can be slow to render but often used to create beautiful looking
shadows in still renders.
Depth Map Soft Shadows
The light’s Dmap Filter value affects the softness
of a Depth Map shadow.
Raytraced Soft Shadows
Light Radius and Shadow Rays define the
softness of a Raytraced shadow.
Lighting Setups
About Lighting Setups
Setting up lighting involves a combination of several elements. The direction of the light, how many
lights you use, and the properties of each light all contribute to the illumination of a scene. In many
cases, you are attempting to create lighting that either mimics real-world lighting or studio/movie set
On the Importance of Light Placement
The way an object is shaded helps define its shape and form. This shading is dependent on the
placement and quality of the lighting. You can in fact use light to sculpt and object by controlling the
way its shading and shadows work together. First you must learn how to place lights so they enhance
the form of your objects. If you set up a single light, you can see how its placement affects the look of
an object. If you than add a second light, you can begin to set up more complex lighting.
The light is hitting the objects directly from
above. The spherical shapes appear cut in half,
while the rectangular shapes are only defined
on one of their faces.
Chapter 4: Rendering
The light is hitting all the surfaces equally. The
rectangular objects are receiving equal
illumination on all faces. This makes it hard to
read the shape. The object’s shadow is also
The light is hitting each surface at a different
angle. Now the faces are clearly defined with
distinct levels of illumination. The drawer’s
shape is more clearly defined by this shading.
Lighting Setups
With multiple lights and different intensities,
you get a more subtle sculpting of the form.
Illumination appears less like stage lighting
with the addition of ambient lighting.
About Basic Lighting
In animation, basic character illumination can be accomplished with two or three lights. The key light
is the main light that illuminates the scene, emphasizes the character and helps establish mood.
Secondary lights are used to fill the dark areas. Sometimes, back lights are used to make sure a
character stands out from its surroundings. This basic lighting set up works well and, in most cases,
you only require extra lights from background objects.
Key Lighting
The key light is the most intense light aimed at
the character. In a complex scene there may be
several key lights focusing the audience on
different parts of the set. This light is the
hardest light in the scene and should have
strong shadows.
Chapter 4: Rendering
Fill Lighting
The fill light is designed to lighten the shadow
areas of the scene. This light is placed on the
opposite side of the character. It’s a soft light
that may or may not cast shadows. Ambient
and area lights work well as fill lights because
the offer a more even illumination.
Background and Special Lighting
To illuminate a set you often need to add lights
that illuminate the background surfaces, but
that do not take away from the main charter.
One approach is to use light linking to help
you design the character lighting and the set
lighting separately.
Lighting Setups
About Outdoor Lighting
For daytime outdoor lighting your key light is the sun. A directional light is a good choice for this light
because it has parallel rays. In a real outdoor scene, light will bounce, which illuminates all the surfaces
a little. Some low intensity directional lights pointing up from the ground can help create this effect.
Shadows are sharp and clear during sunny parts of the day, while cloudy or twilight portions of the day
create less pronounced shadows. On a cloudy day you have less definition in the shading as the light
is very diffuse.
Sunny Day
In this scene a strong directional light offers the
key lighting with several low intensity directional
lights pointing up from the ground to mimic
bounced light. Ambient light is also used to
simulate bounced, diffuse light.
Rendering Scenes
About Rendering Scenes
Rendering is where all of the work in setting up the model, textures, lights, cameras, and effects comes
together into a final sequence of images. In very simple terms, rendering is the creation of pixels that
are given different colors in order to form a complete image. A render involves a large number of
complex calculations that can keep your computer busy for quite a while. The key at this stage in the
animation process is to find a way of getting the best image quality and the fastest render times as
that you can meet your deadlines.
About Render Output
Based on your post-production requirements, your final rendered image or sequence of images will
need to suit the medium you are outputting it to. These image properties, such as size, format, and
frame padding, are set from the Render Global Window. The image Formats pop up list allows you to
specify the format you need your rendered frames to be in. The pop-up Camera list allows you to
choose which camera will be used in the Batch render. It is possible to render from more than one
camera in a Batch render. The render Resolution refers to the dimensions of a rendered frame in pixels.
About Animation Formats
Most 3D apps let you render directly to AVI or QuickTime movies. While this may be convenient, you
might also consider rendering in one of the other formats that creates separate images so that you
have more flexibility. Post production applications such as Adobe® After Effects® or Maya® Fusion
allow you to create a movie from the images after any adjustments have been made.
Chapter 4: Rendering
About Optimization
As you work on the shading, texturing, and lighting phases of your production, you will go through
many iterations and tests before ultimately rendering the final animation. Along the way there are
several things to keep in mind to achieve optimal render times. These optimizations can take a few
minutes to set up, but can save huge amounts of time in your final render. For example, consider that
10 minutes of video requires 18,000 rendered frames. Reducing your render time by 1 minute a frame
will amount to saving 300 hours of render time.
About Batch Rendering
To render your animation, you can use Batch renderers, which are typically launched inside the 3D
application’s interface or from a command line. Using Batch Render, you can generally specify the
camera, anti-aliasing quality, resolution, etc.
About Interactive Rendering
IPR stands for Interactive Photorealistic Rendering. It is an interactive multi-threaded tool for tuning
lights, shaders, textures, and 2D motion blur with immediate feedback in the Render View window. It
also lets you tune depth map shadows without having to re-render the entire image. IPR is designed
to help you quickly accomplish 90 percent of your tuning. It is no used for final render images because
it does not support Raytracing or production quality Anti-aliasing in order to keep the rendering
Rendering for Compositing
About Rendering for Compositing
Many 3D artists choose to render their productions in multiple layers and/or passes that are later
combined and finished through compositing. Compositing is the process of merging multiple images
into one image to create a final look. A common misconception is that compositing is only used by
large production houses where there are many 3D artists. However, smaller houses and individual
artists can also benefit from the flexibility and advantages offered by compositing. While it is true that
rendering scene elements separately may require more time initially, it is well worth the effort when
you consider that each layer can be manipulated with color corrections, blurs, and other effects as they
are brought together for compositing. You can also increase your creative possibilities by generating
effects that are faster and more flexible in 2D such as depth of field and glow or achieve effects that
are not possible with the renderer such as blurred reflections or shadows. Another key advantage of
compositing is that if the director suddenly asks for the stone to be a brick wall instead, you only need
to re-render the layer containing the wall. This flexibility can save significant amounts of time and
allow the director more freedom to finesse the final look of the production. Compositing offers even
more opportunities; you can add hardware rendered particle effects, combine 3d objects with liveaction footage, and save render time by only rendering a single background frame for scenes where
the camera does not move.
The Role of the Alpha Channel
The alpha channel, sometimes called a Mask or Matte channels,
contains information about the opacity of objects in an image.
The images to the right show the alpha channel for the helmet,
liner and goggles. You can see that where the helmet’s visor is
semi-transparent, the alpha channel is gray, and where the
goggles lenses are transparent, the alpha channel is black. The
opaque regions of the objects are white. These grayscale
values are used by the compositing application to combine
the image later.
Chapter 4: Rendering
About Matte Opacity for Black Holes
The images below show what the compositing stage will look like with the images of the helmet, liner,
and goggles. In the first example, the alpha channels for each image do not have any information
about the other objects in the scene. For this reason, the compositing application won’t know which
part of which object goes in front or behind the other objects. Generally, you can use the 3D
application’s matte Opacity features to resolve this. Careful planning and use result in images with
cutout regions that will composite correctly as shown in the middle image below. Sometimes it is also
possible to solve this type of problem using a z-depth channel in compositing applications with
depth-compositing capabilities.
About Rendering Reflections and Shadows
Many of today’s 3D applications provide a way to create custom reflections and shadow passes. This
involves the creation of render elements which act as shadow and/or reflection catchers. To create the
following image, various rgb and alpha render passes were created. In the compositing phase, the
alpha channels can be blurred, lightened, darkened, etc. to control the final look of the shadows. The
reflection pass shows the reflections in the RGB image and a white mask in the alpha channel. In some
Rendering for Compositing
cases, the alpha channel would not be used in the final composite because reflections are normally
added to the background image. However, if the background image is a light or white color, the Alpha
channel is needed.
Chapter 4: Rendering
In this chapter various animation concepts are discussed, from basic keyframing to more
advanced techniques.
After completing this chapter, you will be able to:
Understand the importance of time in animation.
Get familiarized with some animation techniques.
Learn the general concept of reactive animation.
Understand the concept of animation curves.
Understand hierarchical animation.
Understand deformations.
About Time in Animation
In the world of 3D animation, time is the fourth dimension. An object will appear animated if it moves,
rotates, or changes shape from one point in time to another. Therefore, learning how time works is
crucial to the animation process.
Both live action and animation use either film or video to capture motion. Both media formats use a
series of still images that appear animated when played back as a sequence. Film and video images
are often referred to as Frames and most animation is measured using frames as the main unit of time.
The relationship between these frames and real time differ depending on whether you are working
with video, film, or other digital media.
Frames per Second
Frames can be played back at different speeds that are measured in frames per second (FPS).
This is known as the Frame rate and it is used to set the timing of an animation. The frame rate
is required to output animation to film or video, and to synchronize that animation with sound
and live action footage. There is an option to set a frame rate in most 3D applications. 24 frames
per second is the most common frame rate used in film. If you have a background in animation,
confirm your time units to ensure you set keys properly. Because seconds are the base unit of
time, it is possible to set key at 24 FPS, than change your frame rate to 30 FPS. This will scale the
timing of your animation to match the timing as measured in seconds.
Game = 15 FPS
Film = 24 FPS
Video (PAL) = 25 FPS
Video (NTSC) = 30 FPS
Show = 48 FPS
Video (PAL) Field = 50 FPS
Video (NTSC) Field = 60 FPS
When you preview your animations, you will often use interactive playback. The playback speed will
depend on the settings you set up in your application. Simple scenes play back faster and complex
scenes play back slower. Real time playback is mostly used for game animations. Sometimes the
character or object you are animating might have a very complex rigging system which makes it very
hard to evaluate the motion in real time. When that happens, there are different possibilities offered
by the 3D applications in use. Things like simplified render sequences without any texturing or
lighting, or selective display of animated parts are some of the options that animators have at their
disposal in order to achieve the necessary quality of motion in their animations.
Chapter 5: Animation
How Objects Are Animated Using Keyframes
Keyframe animation is created by capturing values for attributes such as translation or rotation at key
points in time. An animation curve is than drawn between the keys that defines or interpolates where
the object attribute would be at all the in-between frames. Animation curves can be viewed as a graph
where time is mapped to one axis and the animated attribute is mapped to another. Virtually every
attribute can be animated in this manner. The way in which you set keys and control the in-between
motion determines the quality of an animation. As scenes become more complex, you will learn to
create control attributes that can drive the motion of different parts of your scene to help simplify the
process of setting keys.
Setting Keys
When you know that your object or character
needs to be at a certain place at a certain time,
you can create poses out of a number of keys
set for different parts of the character.
Mapping against Time
Two keyframes are mapped against time, than
an animation curve interpolates the motion
between keys. The shape of the curve
determines the quality of the animation.
The position of objects or different parts of a
character in between the two keyframes is
determined by the shape of the animation
Pivot Points
You animate objects based on a single point
called the pivot point. The pivot for the whole
character would lie on the ground at its feet,
while the pivot for the arm would be at its
shoulder. The position of the pivot sets the
center of the axes for rotating or scaling
objects in your scene.
Animation Techniques
About Animation Techniques
When you animate, you bring to life otherwise static and motionless objects. You take aspects of the
object such as its position, size, shape, and color and change these over time. If these changes are set
properly, you create motion that instills character and life in the object. There is a number of ways to
animate an object in 3D. Using a bouncing ball as a common example, it is possible to explore the
different animation techniques available in various 3d applications. In a real project, you will most
often combine several of these techniques to achieve the best results.
About Setting Keys
Setting keys or keyframing is the most fundamental technique for animating in 3D on a computer. This
technique involves recording attribute values as keys for one or more objects at particular points in
time. As you set multiple keys, you can play back the scene to see your object animated. Setting key
gives you a great deal of control over timing. When you animate using keys, you generate animation
curves that plot the key values against time. These curves are great tools for analyzing and editing the
motion of an object. Other animation techniques are usually combined with some keyframing. Most
animation you do in 3D will involve some form of setting keys.
Keying Attributes
By setting keys on attributes at different times,
you define the motion of an object. For example,
Translate X is keyed at the beginning and end of
the bounce Translate Y is keyed with an up and
down motion that is fast near the ground and
slow near the peak of the bounce.
Secondary Motion
Rotate Z defines the rolling of the ball; scaling
of the ball is used to indicate its impact with the
Chapter 5: Animation
Path Animation
Path animation involves attaching the object to a curve where points on the path are used to
determine where the object will be at particular points in time. It is easy to understand the way an
object moves around in 3D space through a path, since its curve clearly depicts where the object is
going. When you animate with keyframes, you are focused on setting up poses for your objects at
different points in time. With path animation, you use a curve to control the motion of your object.
Using the curve’s shape as your guide, you can plan the path of your object. Your object can then be
animated along the curve using motion path features such as Follow and Bank to control the
object’s rotation.
Method 1
A curve is used to represent the path of a
bouncing ball. This method lets you describe the
path of the bounce by shaping the curve, but
timing the bounce requires the setting of several
motion path keys to lock down the motion.
Method 2
Here, a curve is used to replace the horizontal
translation of the ball while the vertical
translation, rotation, and scaling are keyed
normally. This method is ideal if you want to
animate the ball bouncing along a curved path,
which might suit a cartoon-style bounce.
Animation Techniques
About Motion Paths
To set up a path animation, start by drawing a curve. Next, depending on the specifics of the 3D
application in use, you will attach the object to the curve. This places the object on the curve and uses
position markers to indicate where the start and end of the motion will be. When you attach to a path,
there are attributes that get created that you can work with for added control. By default, your object
will simply move along the path. There are a number of options available for motion paths that let you
control rotation and timing along the curve.
Local Axis and Pivot Point
The local axis and pivot point of an object play an
important part in path animation. The pivot point
determines which point is placed directly on the
path and the local axis is used to determine the
object’s orientation relative to the path.
Path Curve
Paths are curves drawn in 3D space. The direction
of this curve determines the start and end of the
path animation.
Follow rotates the object around its axis
perpendicular to the path.
As an object turns corners, Bank sets how much it
will rotate around the curve in response to turns
in the curve.
Reactive Animation
About Reactive Animation
The term Reactive animation is not one that you will find in most 3D applications. It is used to describe
a number of different tools that all serve the same basic purpose. These tools all set up situations
where one or more objects react to the animation of other objects. This idea of cause and effect can
be seen every day. When you open up a refrigerator, its lights turn on, when the wheels of a car rotate
the car moves forward, or when you raise your arm, your clavicle bone rotates. By applying reactive
animation techniques, you can create these kinds of relationships.
Chapter 5: Animation
Direct Connections/Wiring
Depending on the software you use, you will have some type of graphs that represent the connection
between object attributes. In most cases, these connections get generated automatically, but you
may want to build your own, in order to support a specific animation.
Rotation Wiring
In this example, the vertical rotation of the front
tire is linked to the local rotation of the steering
wheel. As the steering wheel rotates, the front tire
turns accordingly.
Set Driven Keys
Set Driven Key is another reactive animation tool. It enables you to choose one object attribute to
drive the value of another. The driver attribute and the driven attributes are mapped to an animation
curve that can be shaped and refined in its appropriated editing menu. These curves limit the motion
and define the quality of the motion. Set Driven Key lets you build high-level control attributes. You
can add new attributes to the root node of an object, than use these to drive one or more attributes
lower down the object’s hierarchy, or even on other objects altogether. In the end, setting keys on the
driver object will result in a change on the driven object.
Step 2: Set a Key
After setting a key on the driver attribute (the first
bone on the index finger), the driver attribute and
the driven attribute (the next bone in line) are
now mapped together. Think of the driver as
replacing time in the animation curve.
Step 3: Set more Keys
Update the driver’s value first and then the driven
attributes values. Set another key. Repeat this for
as many driver values as you need to define your
Reactive Animation
Working with Constraints
Constraints offer a way of controlling transform attributes on objects. There are a number of constraint
types and each offers a different method of controlling an object. The key advantage of this technique
over a direct connection is that you can constrain an object to more than one target object. The
weighting of these targets can then be adjusted or animated to shift the constraint from one target to
another. This is a very powerful tool for controlling objects and characters.
Constrained Object
This is the object that you want to control. Since
some constraint types affect an object’s
orientation, be sure to check the local axes to
help you set aiming, or up axes in the constraint
Target Objects
It is possible to select one or more targets for your
object. You can choose to add all the targets at
once or you can add them later. Once a target is
set up, you can use its transformations to control
the constrained object.
Aim Constraint
Once the aim constraint is applied, the
constrained object is oriented to point at the
targets based on a defined aim axis. If there is
more than one target, than the object will
attempt to aim at all of them based on their
For some constraints, you must set vectors for the
up or aiming of your object. These should be
defined based on object’s local axes. To aim this
spotlight you would need to use its negative
Z axis.
Chapter 5: Animation
Weighted Constraints
The constraint creates a nod for each of the
targets. You can adjust or animate the target
weights to create different results. Be sure not to
set a targets weight to 0 unless another target is
Working with Expressions
In case where the connection you need between attributes must follow a more complex relationship,
an expression will often solve the problem. Using mathematical equations or embedded scripts,
expressions let you define the value of an attribute, or how two or more attributes work together.
Rotating Wheel
Here the rotation of the wheel is driven by an
expression that uses forward motion of a vehicle
and divides it by the circumference of the wheel.
The equation can be built from the fact that the
circumference is 2 x
x radius.
Rigid Body Dynamics
Using various 3D packages you can recreate the effect of real world forces using dynamic simulations.
These simulations are used to calculate an object’s transformations based on forces such as gravity
and turbulence. This approach can offer a more natural-looking motion than setting keys, and can
yield a few surprises that wouldn’t happen if you were controlling every aspect of an animation.
Another situation in which dynamic simulation is useful is when you have too many objects to animate
individually with conventional keyframing, especially when these objects collide.
Reactive Animation
Animating Rigid Bodies
To use dynamic simulations on objects, your objects must first become either active or passive rigid
bodies. This designation tells your 3D application to include the objects in a simulation. The motion of
a rigid body is defined by the various forces that are applied to it. Collisions can also play a key role in
the resulting simulation.
Dynamic Constraint
A dynamic constraint creates limits for your active
objects. For example, you could use a hinge so
that the object can only rotate around a single
axis at the hinge pivot.
A Field is a force that influences the motion of
your active rigid bodies. A Field must be assigned
to an active rigid body for it to have any effect.
Passive Rigid Bodies
A passive rigid body is not affected by forces and
will not react to collisions. Instead, active rigid
bodies can collide with it.
Active Rigid Bodies
An active rigid body is affected by forces and
reacts to collisions with other rigid bodies. These
are the objects you want to animate using the
Chapter 5: Animation
Always make sure your surface Normals are
pointing outward to tell the Dynamics solver
which part of a surface should be used for
Animation Curves
About Animation Curves
When attributes are keyed, their values are mapped against time. All the keys for a single attribute are
joined into an animation curve, or the value of attributes in between the keys. The slope of the curve
determines the attribute’s speed. Thus, to control the quality of the motion, you must tweak and edit
your curve.
Graph/Curve Editor
There is a tool available to you in most 3D packages for manipulating the shape and timing of
animation curves. It’s called the Curve Editor or the Graph Editor. You can edit the timing and basic
tangent types in the Time Slider or the Dope Sheet, but the Graph editor is the best place to view the
animation curve’s shape and use tangents to edit that shape. Once you have a better understanding
of how the curve shapes work, the Time Slider and the Dope Sheet will be easier to work with.
Loading Objects
By default, your selected objects are loaded into the Graph Editor. From the List menu, you can choose
to load objects manually. This makes it possible to keep an object loaded in this window even if is not
selected. Active characters are always displayed in this window.
Loaded objects are shown n the Graph Editor’s
Outliner. You can than expand the different
nodes to view the attributes that have been
Animation Curves
The values of each key can be viewed and edited
here. If you select multiple keys, editing the stats
will give all the keys the same time or value.
There are several different tangent types, and
each key on a curve can have its tangency set
individually. Tangents can also be broken,
allowing for different tangents in-to and out-of a
key. Tangents can be manipulated interactively
by the user through the use of Tangent Handles,
to refine the shape of the curve.
About Curve Tangents
While keys define the location of points and an animation curve, curve tangents define the curve’s
shape and determine what the curves look like between the keys. You can assign curve tangents to
the whole animation curve or you can set them on a key-by-key basis. You can also set the tangents
in-to and out-to key tangents by assigning different tangent types to each. You can assign tangent
types to your keys in the Graph Editor, Dope Sheet and Time line. The Graph Editor offers the best view
of the results. After you have used the other tangent options to set up the curve, you can use the Fixed
tangent setting, to ensure the tangents don’t change if you move the keys around.
With this tangent, the in and out tangents of the
keys are aligned to create a smooth transition
along the curve resulting in a more organic
This tangent has no tangency at the keys and the
motion is linear between keys. This results in a
very mechanical motion.
Chapter 5: Animation
This option uses linear tangents when the values
between keys are similar or the same, and Spline
tangents when the values between keys are
This tangent goes flat out from the key until it hits
the next key and which point it immediately
changes value. This results in a jerky motion.
It is used for on/off attributes.
This tangent is flat at the keys, but the curve is
smooth between them. It is useful for ease-in and
ease-out motion where an object accelerates into
motion than decelerates to a stop.
This type of tangent is particularly useful if you
want to cycle you animation. This repeating
animation will run no matter what the time
range is set to.
Animation Curves
Hierarchical Animation
About Hierarchical Animation
When you models in 3D, they are often built of many pieces, each represented by its own Transform
node in the scene hierarchy. To help you organize these parts and for others to understand your
models, you can build up hierarchies using grouped Transform nodes. These hierarchies also play an
important part in how you animate. For example, if you were to group together all the parts of a door
(handle, hinges, wood) you could set the pivot point of the root node of the hierarchy at the location
of the door’s hinges. Then, you could animate the door opening and closing by rotating around this
pivot point. If this door is grouped or parented to an Airplane node, then as the plane flies in the sky,
the door will move without losing its ability to open and close.
Building a Hierarchy
To build up a hierarchy, you need parent and child relationships between different Transform nodes.
You can accomplish this by either parenting or grouping nodes.
Parenting makes one object the “child” of
another. The child inherits the motion of the
parent transform.
If you group two objects, you make them
children of a third node that has its own pivot
point. Transforming this node affects both
Chapter 5: Animation
Local Axis and Pivot Point
Each Transform node in a hierarchy has its own
pivot point and its own local axis. The pivot point
defines the center of rotating and scaling
animation, while the local axis defines the
orientation. By setting up different nodes in your
hierarchy with different pivot points and local
axes, you can establish very sophisticated
mechanics for the objects you animate.
Types of Deformations
About Deforming Objects
Many objects in our 3D world are able to change their shape—a soft chair gives as someone sits in it,
or a rubber ball squashes and stretches as it hits the ground, human skin bends as the elbow rotates.
To achieve these kinds of effects in 3D, surfaces have to be able to have their shape animated. This
means animating the positions of control points instead of simply translating and rotating the object.
About Types of Deformations
In 3D, there are a number of ways to change or deform the shape of an object. These deformers can
be used to help you model surfaces or animate organic forms. While there are a set of tools, called
deformers, there are other tools that change the shape of objects. By becoming familiar with all these
techniques, you can best decide which one can be used in your work.
Most 3D apps have a category of tools called
deformers that either perform a specific type of
surface deformation such as twist or bend, or
make the process of deforming an easier in
some way. For example a lattice is a cage-like
manipulator made of a small number of lattice
points. Each lattice point controls several
control points in a specified region of the
surface. Moving one lattice point can affect
many control points on the surface that would
be difficult to select and move individually.
Types of Deformations
Simulated Deformations
There are features in 3D for simulating
properties of clothing and soft dynamic
moving materials, like curtains, flames and
flags. A soft body is a geometry object
whose control points are controlled by
particles and dynamic fields such as
turbulence and gravity.
CV and Vertex Edits
The most rudimentary method of deforming
a curve or geometry is to select component
level control points and translate, rotate, or
scale them. This is useful when you need to
move a surface point to a specific location.
Chapter 5: Animation
Skeleton Chains
A skeleton chain consists of joint nodes that
are connected visually by bone icons. Skeleton
chains are a continuous hierarchy of joint nodes
that are parented to each other. You can group
or bind geometry (skin) to these join hierarchies.
You can than animate the joints (usually by
rotating them) and the geometry will be
animated. Binding geometry to a skeleton
causes the geometry to be deformed as the
skeleton is animated. For example you could
rotate a neck joint and the geometry around
the neck joint would rotate as well.
Morphing is commonly used for lip sync and
facial expression on a 3D character, but can be
used to change the shape of any 3D model.
On a mesh object, vertex count on the base
object and targets must be the same. On a
patch or NURBS object, the Morpher modifier
works on control points only. This means that
the resolution of patches or NURBS surfaces
can be increased on the base object to increase
detail at render time.
Types of Deformations
Chapter 5: Animation
Chapter Reviews
Review User Interface
By default, 3ds Max opens with four equal-sized
viewports displayed in the UI. You can change
this layout in:
❏ The Help menu
❏ The Viewport Configuration dialog
❏ The Preferences dialog
You cannot change the default 3ds Max four
equal-sized viewports displayed in the UI
(User Interface) with the Viewport Configuration
❏ True
❏ False
❏ You can’t change the layout in 3ds Max
Answer: False
Answer: The Viewport Configuration dialog
You can scroll a toolbar by positioning the
mouse cursor over an empty area of the toolbar.
The welcome screen gives you the opportunity
to review essential skills by playing back short
movie clips.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
To change a viewport display, you can choose
abbreviations: P for Perspective, L for Left, T for
Top and F for Front.
The size of the viewports can be easily adjusted
by clicking the line between the viewports, and
then dragging it to another point in the
viewport area.
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
❏ False
❏ True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
When you right-click a viewport label, a menu
appears. This menu contains a number of
commands for controlling the viewports.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Which of the following are options found in the
3D Geometry category?
❏ Standard primitives
❏ Extended primitives
❏ Compound primitives and AEC
(Architecture, Engineering, and
❏ All of the above
Which of the following is not a viewport shading
Answer: All of the above
❏ Smooth + Highlights
The Modify panel controls let you modify the
base parameters of objects or change them
using modifiers.
❏ Wireframe
❏ Hidden Line
❏ Ghost
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: Ghost
Answer: True
The command panels are organized in a
hierarchical fashion, with six panels, activated by
clicking tabs at the top of a panel.
❏ True
❏ False
The File Open and File Save dialogs look similar,
and have the ability to display thumbnails.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
Review User Interface
Time Slider, Track Bar, and Timeline are features
used for animations.
The playback area controls do not let you play
your animations live in the viewports.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Review File I/O
There is absolutely no difference between
File New and File Reset. You can use either
one equally well in any situation.
❏ True
❏ False
The File > Save function is the only save
command that doesn’t open a dialog box.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
The Open Recent list can have this many entries:
File > Merge only works with files with the
extension .max.
❏ 3
❏ True
❏ 9
❏ False
❏ 30
❏ 50
Answer: True
❏ 99
Answer: 50
When you need to save scene geometry to a
separate file, you use the Save Copy As function.
❏ True
You should use the Bind option as soon as you
have linked a DWG file to 3ds Max.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
❏ False
Answer: False
The File Link Manager always brings all the data
from the CAD file. You have no way of filtering
the data that you need.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Review File I/O
Review Getting Started
When you set a custom UI, it remains current
until you change it again through the Custom UI
& Defaults Switcher dialog.
The pivot point is the point
❏ which is unaffected by any operation
❏ about which an object’s transformations
❏ True
❏ False
❏ which can never be moved
❏ about which grid spacing appears
Answer: True
Answer: about which an object’s
transformations occur
The Grid Settings in 3ds Max are fixed and
cannot be changed.
When you create an object in 3ds Max, the initial
orientation of the object is determined by
❏ True
❏ False
❏ Z-axis always
Answer: False
❏ the viewport where the object is created
❏ by its pivot
❏ Grid Spacing
The location of a pivot point is usually not
chosen by default.
Answer: the viewport where the object is
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Grid spacing is the number of units between
grid lines.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
When you create an object in 3ds Max, a
standard practice is to switch from the Create
panel to the Modify panel before making
changes to the object’s parameters.
❏ True
❏ False
Holding down the Ctrl key while you drag a
selection region does not add all objects in the
selection region.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
If the face count of a geometry is too high
❏ lighting calculations take longer
❏ it takes more memory to open a scene or
render it
❏ it affects the smoothness of the game play
❏ all of the above
When the Selection Lock Toggle button is
turned on, no changes can be made to the
current selection until:
❏ other objects are locked
❏ any prior selection is cancelled
❏ you turn off the button to unlock the
❏ you drag a selection
Answer: all of the above
Answer: you turn off the button to unlock the
In 3ds Max, you can animate numeric values,
such as the Radius and Height of a cylinder.
❏ True
When the Select tool is active and you click an
object, you select that object. Any prior
selection is cancelled.
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
Review Getting Started
When you select an object and then choose
Isolate Selection from the Tools menu, only the
selected object remains visible in the viewport.
This feature enables you to work on an object or
group of objects for a period of time without
cluttering your viewport display with other
Creating a selection set enables you to select a
collection of objects quickly and easily.
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
When you attach objects,
Answer: True
❏ they become part of a different selection set
Hiding an object removes it temporarily
from the
❏ clipboard
❏ render scene
❏ selection window/crossing
❏ they become hidden
❏ they become part of a different file
❏ they lose their independence and become
part of a single object
Answer: they lose their independence and
become part of a single object
❏ viewport display
Answer: viewport display
When you choose one of the items in the
Selection Filter list, all other object types are
unavailable for selection in the viewports.
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
❏ False
A group is a single object that you select with a
single click. Objects within a closed group
behave as if they were one object.
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Review Transforming Objects
Review Transforming Objects
The results you obtain, when you rotate objects,
depend greatly on the location of the point you
rotate about and the axis of rotation.
The Transform Center flyout allows you to set
the mode for selection center and the transform
coordinate center.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
3ds Max provides the following command(s) for
scaling objects:
By default, scaling never uses the pivot point of
the object as a base point.
❏ Select and Uniform scale
❏ True
❏ Select and Non-uniform scale
❏ False
❏ Scale and Squash
❏ All of the above
Answer: False
Answer: All of the above
When using the Move tool, if you drag one of the
three axes in the gizmo, movement is
constrained to that direction.
The World coordinate system is based on the
XYZ axes in the 3ds Max workspace, where XY
plane is the ground plane and the Z axis is
perpendicular to this plane.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
The Local coordinate system is based on
It is impossible for Angle Snap to limit rotation
increments to a fixed number of degrees.
❏ the XY axes in the 3ds Max workspace
❏ the XYZ axes in the 3ds Max workspace
❏ True
❏ the coordinate system of the object being
❏ False
❏ none of the above
Answer: False
Answer: the coordinate system of the object
being transformed
If you turn on Vertex snapping, you can position
new geometry accurately
The Pick Coordinate System is so called because
it allows you to pick another object to use as a
transform center.
❏ using Grid Points
❏ True
❏ using faces of existing geometry
❏ False
❏ using Pivot point of existing geometry
Answer: True
Answer: the vertices of existing geometry in the
❏ the vertices of existing geometry in the
If Grid Points snapping is on when you create a
box, each point of the base lands on a grid
intersection, and height is restricted to the grid
The Align Tool lets you line up a selected object,
called the source object, with the position of a
target object.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
Review Transforming Objects
Quick Align works on the position of the two
objects’ pivot points.
Make Unique tool found on the Modify panel
❏ converts an instance or reference to a copy
❏ True
❏ highlights your geometry
❏ False
❏ creates reference objects
❏ creates a unique link between objects
Answer: True
Answer: converts an instance or reference
to a copy
When you use Align to reposition an object in
XYZ, you can use one of four different alignment
❏ Minimum, Maximum
When you choose to instance objects as you
clone them, all the objects are linked together.
Any change to one is reflected in the others.
❏ Center
❏ Pivot Point
❏ True
❏ Any of the above
❏ False
Answer: Any of the above
Answer: True
The behavior of cloned objects when modified
does not differ regardless of which clone option
is chosen.
The Clone and Align tool lets you distribute
source objects to a selection of destination
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
The Array tool makes multiple clones of objects
in the X, Y, or Z direction.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
The Mirror transform takes an object and
❏ creates a reference of a geometry
❏ creates multiple objects along a spline
❏ makes multiple clones of objects in the
X, Y, or Z direction
❏ creates a symmetrical object along a mirror
Answer: creates a symmetrical object along a
mirror plane
Review Transforming Objects
Review Modifying Objects
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
3ds Max combines the modifiers, “stacking”
them one on top of the other.
❏ True
❏ False
When you want to change a modifier in the
modifier stack, you don’t need to return to that
level in the stack.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
As with objects, you can rename modifiers.
❏ True
Next to each modifier is a small light bulb icon
for controlling the visibility of the effect of a
modifier on an object in the viewport.
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
When you copy and paste modifiers through the
right-click menu, you can choose between:
❏ pasting a regular independent copy
❏ pasting an instanced duplicate of the
❏ pasting either a regular independent copy
or an instanced duplicate of the modifier
❏ changing the visibility icons for modifiers
If you find that a modifier is not in the proper
position, you can simply move it to the right
level by dragging it in the modifier stack.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: pasting either a regular independent
copy or an instanced duplicate of the modifier
Review Modifying Objects
Modifiers are added on top of each other, and
the current modifier acts on the result of all
evaluated modifiers before it.
In order to introduce irregularity to your
geometry, the following modifier should be
❏ True
❏ Bend
❏ False
❏ Noise
❏ Twist
Answer: True
❏ Shell
Answer: Noise
The Free Form Deformation (FFD) modifier
family lets you change object shapes to produce
organic forms.
To convert a geometric object to a base object
type, you can use the quad menu or the modifier
stack right-click menu.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
How many modifiers can be used to change and
animate geometry?
❏ It is impossible to use modifiers in order to
change and animate geometry
❏ Several
❏ Only two
❏ Not more than one
Editable Spline is the basic object type for Shape
elements, such as lines, circles, and rectangles.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: Several
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
The process of converting an object and all its
modifiers to a single object is called collapsing
the stack.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Review Modifying Objects
Review Modeling with 3D Geometry
3ds Max’s Wall object is interesting because it’s
parametric and you can also use it to easily
convert an existing 2D spline into a 3D wall
A Boolean union combines two or more
separate volumes, removes excess faces and
creates correct edges where the volumes
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
There are no advantages to using 3ds Max’s
doors & windows, you could just as easily import
them from a CAD application.
Which of the following operations are possible
when creating boolean objects?
❏ Subtraction, Intersection and Scatter
❏ True
❏ Subtraction, Intersection and Union
❏ False
❏ Lathe, Intersection, Union and Merge
Answer: False
❏ Subtraction, Deformation Grids, Union and
Answer: Subtraction, Intersection and Union
Foliage objects looked good when rendered but
one has to be careful with the amount of faces/
polygons they add to the scene.
When using Proboolean operations, once you
have chose an operand type, it cannot be
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: False
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
When you want to change the Proboolean
operation, you must select the operand in the
history list, change the operation type, and then
click the
❏ Multiple Selections button
❏ Left button on your mouse
❏ GeoSphere button
❏ Change Operation button
Answer: Change Operation button
Review Modeling with 3D Geometry
Review Modeling from Splines
A shape is typically a 2D linear object.
❏ True
The Interpolation rollout contains an Adaptive
check box, which:
❏ Removes shape steps where they’re
unnecessary, usually on curved segments.
❏ False
Answer: True
A vertex type can be made into any of the
❏ Bezier Corner, Segment, Corner, and
❏ Bezier Corner, Bezier, Corner, and Turbo
❏ Bezier Corner, Bezier, Corner, and Smooth
❏ Controls the distribution of shape steps.
It removes steps in linear segments and
distributes steps in curved segments based
on the angle of the curve.
❏ Converts a Line into polygonal geometry.
❏ Adds an Adaptive Modifier to a shape.
Answer: Controls the distribution of shape
steps. It removes steps in linear segments and
distributes steps in curved segments based on
the angle of the curve.
❏ Bezier is the only type applicable to a vertex
Answer: Bezier Corner, Bezier, Corner, and
Regardless of how you create a shape, you can
convert it to an editable spline at any time.
❏ True
When creating shapes with a Bezier vertex type,
straight segments are created.
❏ False
Answer: True
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
The Edit Spline Modifier, found in Modifier List,
enables you to edit the base object with ease,
using the same workflow as the editable spline
base object.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
A shape is a collection of one or more splines.
❏ True
❏ False
It is impossible to connect two vertices with the
Connect tool by clicking and dragging from one
open vertex to another.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
A spline must first be selected before you can
detach it from a shape.
❏ True
The Refine tool at the Segment or Vertex subobject level provides a quick way of adding
vertices to add detail to the shape.
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
Booleans let you create objects by combining
geometry in various ways, including Union,
Subtraction and Intersection methods.
❏ True
When you weld vertices, two or more vertices
are combined into a single vertex, reducing the
number of vertices.
❏ False
❏ True
Answer: True
❏ False
Answer: True
After selecting a shape and accessing the Spline
sub-object level, you can use the Mirror tool
found on the...
❏ Surface Properties rollout.
❏ Outline dialog.
❏ Detach menu.
❏ Geometry rollout.
On an open spline, the first vertex has to be in
the middle.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: Geometry rollout.
Review Modeling from Splines
An angular effect on a spline is produced by...
❏ it is impossible to produce an angular effect.
❏ detaching splines.
❏ filleting the vertices.
A Loft object is a compound object that uses
existing shapes to generate 3D geometry.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ chamfering the vertices.
Answer: True
Answer: chamfering the vertices.
A Loft can use only one shape along the path.
The Extrude modifier enables you to take an
open or closed 2D shape and create a 3D object
by providing a height to the shape.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
❏ False
Answer: True
The Skin Parameters rollout enables you to
The Lathe modifier uses exclusively the Z-axis for
its revolution.
❏ the number of faces used in the creation of
❏ the number of Pivot Points used in the
creation of Lofts.
❏ True
❏ the number of the First Vertexes used in the
creation of Lofts.
❏ False
❏ the quality of a Bezier vertex.
Answer: False
Answer: the number of faces used in the
creation of Lofts.
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Review Materials
The Material Editor dialog consists of the
following sections:
❏ The menu bar
❏ The sample slots, the toolbars
❏ The material type and name
When you assign a material to an object in a
scene, the material sample slot appears with
small triangles in each corner.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ All of the above
Answer: True
Answer: All of the above
The Standard material uses the Shader Basic
Parameters and Blinn Basic Parameters rollouts.
You can view additional slots in three ways:
❏ Pan the slots window
❏ Use the scroll bars at the side and bottom of
the sample windows
❏ Increase the number of visible windows
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
❏ Any of the above
Answer: Any of the above
Anistopic Shader creates a surface
❏ Designed for quick creation of wide variety
of surfaces
Commonly used options are shown on the
vertical toolbar to the right of the sample slots
❏ Sample Type flyout
❏ Can be used for a wide range of material
❏ That can have non-round specular highlight
❏ Similar to the Blinn shader but allows light to
pass through an object
❏ Background
❏ Options and Material/Map Navigator
❏ All of the above
Answer: That can have non-round specular
Answer: All of the above
Review Materials
Using Architectural material provides the
greatest amount of realism when rendering with
photometric lights and radiosity.
The Ink’n Paint Material can give a rendered
image a stylized, hand-drawn look.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Review Using Maps
A texture is the distinctive physical composition
of an element with respect to the appearance
and feel of its surface.
❏ True
❏ False
The Maps rollout does not provide access to all
map channels.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
What is a specular color map?
In 3ds Max, you can use image maps and
procedural maps in a material to create textures
for an object.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
To achieve a look of a realistic material, most of
the time is necessary to combine more than one
❏ A map that determines the visible surface of
an object.
❏ A map that creates illusion of sunken and
raised portions of a surface by setting a
positive or negative value in the amount
❏ A map that is used to create reflective
materials, such as mirrors, chrome, shiny
plastic, etc.
❏ A map that determines that color of the
specular highlight on a material.
Answer: A map that determines that color of
the specular highlight on a material.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Bump maps do not create the illusion of sunken
and raised portions of a surface by setting a
positive or negative value in the amount area.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Review Using Maps
The Opacity map determines the opacity or
transparency of a material based on the
grayscale values of the map.
When all Maps are activated, the scene is more
difficult to render, because processing slows
down based on the quality of the graphics card.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
To globally activate or deactivate all maps
simultaneously, you can find such options in
When all maps are deactivated, they are still
visible in the viewport, but invisible in a render
❏ the Views pull-down menu
❏ the Render window
❏ the Material / Map Browser
❏ True
❏ False
❏ the Material / Map Navigator
Answer: False
Answer: the Views pull-down menu
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Review Mapping Coordinates
You use the UVW Map modifier to control
mapping coordinates on objects.
Planar mapping applies the UVW coordinates as
a cylinder projected onto an object.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
Review Mapping Coordinates
Review Cameras
The Target camera has an associated object
called a target, which acts as a focal point to the
A two-point perspective has two vanishing
points and all vertical lines run vertical to one
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
A Free camera has an associated target and can
look only in one direction.
You have to right-click the camera to choose
Camera Correction Modifier from the quad
menu, in order to correct the perspective
distortion in a two-point perspective.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
The camera type you use in a given situation
depends largely on...
❏ the size of your focal point.
❏ the dependency between your Target
camera and Free Camera.
❏ the quality of your video card.
❏ the action taking place and the camera shot
you are trying to capture.
Answer: the action taking place and the camera
shot you are trying to capture.
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
A tracking camera remains in place as it rotates
to follow the action in the scene.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
You can create a push-pull effect with a Free
camera only.
Which camera shot should be used to shoot a
scene from an elevated position?
❏ True
❏ A crane shot.
❏ False
❏ A push-pull effect, when camera travels
towards or pulls away from the subject.
Answer: False
❏ A tracking camera.
❏ A panning camera.
Answer: A crane shot.
Review Cameras
Review Lights
The standard lights you use most often in 3ds
Max are the Omni, Spot, and Systems.
Photometric Lights always attenuate using the
Inverse Square format.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
Attenuation is a process of a light’s intensity
diminishing with distance.
mr Area Lights (Omni and Spot) are mental rayspecific only and are not compatible with the
scanline renderer.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
Which one of the following distribution
methods in NOT an option when using a point
You can turn off the area light calculations on
omni or spot mr lights to speed up render time.
❏ Isotropic
❏ True
❏ Diffuse
❏ False
❏ Spotlight
❏ Web
Answer: True
Answer: Diffuse
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Which Shadows are not very accurate and do
not take object’s transparency or translucency
into account?
Both the sunlight and the daylight systems are
based on a direct light and are not compatible
with any other light type.
❏ Mental ray shadow.
❏ True
❏ Shadow Maps.
❏ False
❏ Ray-Traced Shadows.
❏ Area shadows.
Answer: False
Answer: Shadow Maps.
The only way to simulate bouncing light in 3ds
Max is to use an advanced lighting system such
as radiosity or mental ray.
The Light Lister, found in the Tools menu, is a
dialog that lets you control a number of features
for each light.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
Color bleed is the color effect a surface has on
another nearby surface.
A sunlight system and a daylight system are
created exactly the same way in the viewport.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: True
Review Lights
Review Advanced Lighting
Dome Lighting is a process used mostly for
interior renderings.
❏ True
Ambient Occlusion can be calculated directly at
render time or can be created using a “renderpass” to be composited later.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
The only way to set up dome lighting is by way
of third-party scripts or plug-ins.
❏ True
Light Tracer is the most accurate solution for
advanced lighting that you can use in 3ds Max.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: False
Ambient Occlusion was originally developed by
Autodesk as a 3ds Max-only lighting tool.
❏ True
❏ False
In order to use Color Bleed, you usually need to
increase the number of bounces in the Light
Tracer parameters.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Radiosity is a Ray-Tracing process much like
Light Tracer.
Mental Ray is a rendering engine that was
specifically written for 3ds Max.
❏ True
❏ True
❏ False
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: False
In order for radiosity to work properly, you have
to manually subdivide the geometry using
modifiers like Subdivide or Tessalate.
Mental Ray’s Final Gather works very much like
Light Tracer does under the Scanline renderer.
However, mr Final Gather is of better quality and
much faster to calculate.
❏ True
❏ False
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Answer: True
Unlike Light Tracer, color bleed is controlled at
the material level, not in the Radiosity panel.
❏ True
❏ False
Even though the Arch & Design material is
optimized for mental ray, you can still use it with
the scanline renderer.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Answer: False
Review Advanced Lighting
Review Animation Basics
A Keyframe is a value recorded on an object at a
specific frame.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
A 3ds Max a key is displayed in the following
colored rectangles:
❏ Red is for position, blue is for rotation, and
green is for scale.
❏ Blue is for position, green is for rotation, and
red is for scale.
❏ Green is for position, red is for rotation, and
blue is for scale.
❏ Red is for position, green is for rotation, and
blue is for scale.
Answer: Red is for position, green is for rotation,
and blue is for scale.
The principle of ease in / ease out (also known as
cushioning), is the art of accelerating and
decelerating an object, so its motion does not
look too mechanical.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
There are two types of Track View: the Curve
Editor and the Dope Sheet.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Almost all motion in real life is linear.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
Review Animation Basics
Review Rendering
When you render a scene, you can output...
❏ to JPG format only.
❏ a still image or an animation.
❏ an animation but not a still image.
❏ a still image but not an animation.
Answer: a still image or an animation.
It is impossible to save your image if you render
a single frame.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
The Manage Scene States can be accessed by
right-clicking in the viewport and choosing
Manage Scene States from the quad menu.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
A fast way to save different scene conditions
with various lighting, etc. is to use the Scene
States function.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Batch render can be chosen from the Customize
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: False
With Batch Render, you can render your scene
from different points of view based on different
cameras in the scene.
❏ True
❏ False
Answer: True
Review Rendering
Appendix A: Chapter Reviews
Shrine Project
In this project you’ll create a detailed shrine. Although this could be completed in a variety
of ways you are encouraged to make extensive use of the ProBoolean tool and Bevel Profile modifier.
Project Submitted by: Autodesk M&E
The starting file includes most of the shapes required for the job. Typically you’ll be using Bevel Profile
to convert the shapes to geometry and then ProBoolean to join them into a single object. After
modeling you’ll create and apply a material, merge in extra scene elements, apply an environment
map and then render the scene.
Appendix B: Projects
Getting Familiar with the Starting File
Open Shrine.max. The file contains many shapes which form the basis for the model. Towards the right
side of the front viewport are the molding profiles. The location of the profiles is adjacent to where
that molding exists on the finished shrine.
Have a look in the Layer manager. The shapes are organized into layers whose names indicate the
element of shrine geometry they relate to. As you work through the project set the layer visibility to
help isolate the shapes you’re working with.
The first few steps of this project will be provided to get you started. As you work through repeat the
pattern of creating geometry from a shape, and then combining that geometry with ProBoolean.
Shrine Project
Starting the Shrine
Use the Extrude modifier to extrude the base rectangle 3.5 meters.
Creating the Vault
Use the Bevel profile modifier on the circle to define the shape of the vault.
Appendix B: Projects
Apply ProBoolean to the Shrine (the box shape), and then subtract the volume for the vault.
Creating the Triangular Panels
Create the triangular shapes near the top of the vault by making the triangular moldings and
subtracting them from the shrine.
Shrine Project
Creating the Vault Molding
To create the Vault Molding you’ll need an arc defined by the intersection of the spherical and
cylindrical portions of the vault. There are a few ways to obtain this, one is to apply a temporary edit
poly modifier to the shrine and extract the arc. The arc is shown out of position in the following image
for clarity.
When you obtain the arc outline it and use it as the basis for a Bevel Profile.
When you finish the Vault molding don’t forget to combine it to the main shrine.
Appendix B: Projects
Creating the Recessed Frame
In this section you’ll create the recessed frame that runs around the vault opening.
The recess can be made by forming a U shape that you can subtract from the vault.
You may have to change the order of ProBoolean operations so that the horizontal molding you
added earlier isn’t affected by the recessed frame.
Shrine Project
Creating the Columns
The column requires several steps to create. Remember to set layer visibility to isolate the shapes you’ll
be working with.
When the column is complete copy it to the other side and then union it with the Shrine.
Appendix B: Projects
Create Horizontal Moldings
Create the two Horizontal Moldings and union them to the Shrine.
Creating the Text
Create some text between the horizontal moldings by extruding text and subtracting it from the vault.
Shrine Project
Building the Roof
The roof is formed using the shapes on the roof layer.
Extrude the outer perimeter to the front molding line and the inner one about half that distance.
Create the molding around the roof.
Sweep the same profile along the front roof molding curve.
When the roof components are complete combine them to a single object, and then union it
to the Shrine.
Appendix B: Projects
Add Material and Extras
If necessary add a Smooth modifier to clean up the geometry and then apply a material to the
completed shrine.
Create a few extra objects around the shrine to add some interest. Also have a look in Extras.max.
It has several objects that you can readily merge into your shrine file.
Add an Environment Background
Add the image Sky-Sunset.jpg as an environment map. The image is designed for spherical mapping
with a V axis tiling value of 2 and offset of 0.25.
Render the scene to view the result.
Shrine Project
LakeHouse Project
In this project you’ll prepare and render a scene with a house situated on a lake. You’ll be starting with
a file containing the house along with some terrain. This house has been exported from AutoCAD®
Revit® as a .dwg file and then imported to 3ds Max. You’ll add a few materials and then supplement
the scene by creating some rocks along the edge of the lake and adjusting the terrain. Next you’ll add
a daylight system and animate the time of day. The scene will then be rendered to illustrate the
changing shadows through the day. Finally you’ll set up some lighting within the interior of the home
and render a night time scene.
Starting with a new file create a Geosphere about 400mm diameter. Use the Noise modifier and
squash transform to create a rock.
Appendix B: Projects
Create a new Arch & Design material using Rock.jpg as the diffuse color bitmap. Adjust the main
material parameters so that it looks similar to the following.
Save the file as Rock.max.
Adding a Material to the Roof
Open the file LakeHouse.max. The house has had most materials applied already but you need to add
a material to the roof.
Use the supplied bitmap GrayConcrete.jpg to create the roof material.
LakeHouse Project
Adjusting the Terrain
The Terrain is an Editable Poly object. A very useful feature of this object type is the built in Paint
Deformation, which is accessible in the Modifier panel. Use the Paint Deformation Push/Pull tool to
deform the terrain adjacent to the lake and give it a bit more interest.
Placing and Cloning the Rocks
Merge in the file Rock.max you created earlier. Position and copy it to several positions along the
water’s edge.
Make changes to the Geospheres and their modifiers to make them distinct from one another.
Appendix B: Projects
Adding Foliage
Use the AEC Extended Foliage tool to add a Scotch Pine to the area on the right side of the house.
Adding a Daylight System
Create a daylight system in the scene. Set the geographic location and north direction so that the sun
would follow a trajectory similar to that shown between the indicated times in the following plan view
of the home.
LakeHouse Project
Animate the Daylight system time from sunrise to sunset over a range of 300 frames.
Render the Animation
Create a camera directed toward the front of the house and render the 300 frame animation to
an .avi file.
Create a Night Scene
Create omni lights in each of the rooms adjacent to the balcony.
Adjust the Daylight system time to a point just beyond sunset and render the scene.
Appendix B: Projects
Ocean Project
In this project you will create a scene representing the ocean floor. You will use modeling and material
creation techniques that yield a natural look. You will also merge an existing lighting file to provide
volume light and caustic effects appropriate for this environment.
Project Submitted by: Autodesk M&E
Creating the Ocean Floor
Start with the file Ocean.max.
The bottom of the ocean can be created with a simple flat plane to which you add a noise modifier.
Remember to include enough divisions in the plane object so that it curves nicely. Also always
remember to give objects names that make sense, for example, Floor Or Ocean Floor.
Ocean Project
If you convert the object to an editable poly, you can tweak further more by using the
Paint Deformation tool.
Smooth the result with the TurboSmooth modifier.
Appendix B: Projects
Creating the Rocks
Create a rock starting with a geosphere, add a noise modifier, and then scale it on one axis. Name the
object Rock01.
Create a distribution of rocks over the ocean floor. You can achieve this by cloning the first rock and
adjusting one or more of the following: Sphere radius, Noise modifier seed and strength values, scale
transformation amount.
Create a selection set of the rock distribution when complete. This will be helpful when adding
materials later in the project.
Ocean Project
Add a Complex Rock Formation
Use a Torus with a FFD and Noise modifier to create a complex rock formation.
Name the object ComplexRock01, and then clone it to other positions on the ocean floor. Make a few
changes to the modifiers on the clones to help distinguish them from one other.
Appendix B: Projects
Merge the Lights
A lighting system has been created for this scene. Merge in all the lights from the file OceanLights.max.
Adding Materials
Create and apply a Blend material to the ocean floor. Use the Sand.jpg bitmap in the diffuse channel
of one sub material and Rock.jpg in the other.
Ocean Project
Apply a VertexPaint modifier to the ocean floor and use it to paint a random pattern.
Apply a Vertex Color map to the Blend materials Mask channel to define where the sand and rock
materials appear on the ocean floor.
Appendix B: Projects
Create a second Blend material for the rocks. This material will use Moss.jpg for the second sub
material’s diffuse map, and a noise map for the blend Mask. The noise map will use its default black
and white colors to randomize the blending of the two textures.
Apply this new Blend material to all the rocks in the scene.
Ocean Project
Adding the Volume Lights
Some atmosphere effects have been added to the scene to simulate light reflecting off particles within
the water. These effects simply have to be associated with scene lights to take effect. Follow these
steps to activate the volume lighting.
1. Open the Environment dialog.
2. Highlight Volume Light Caustic in the Effects list.
Click Pick Light.
Press H to open the Select Dialog.
Select Direct Light 1, Direct Light 2, Direct Light 3 and click Pick.
Highlight Volume Light Back within the Effects list.
Click Pick Light.
Press H to open the Select Dialog.
Select Direct Light 4 and click Pick.
Render the Scene.
Appendix B: Projects
Chess Project
In this project you’ll animate the movement of a pawn, rook and chess timer. Before you get started
preview the video Chess.avi to get an idea of the animation timing.
Project Submitted by: Autodesk M&E
Animating the Pawn
Use the file Chess.max as the basis for your animation.
The pawn jumps between squares and stretches/shrinks on takeoff and landing. Use the combination
of the Stretch modifier and transform animation to create the animation.
The pawn, whose pivot is centered on its base, should follow a trajectory similar to that shown below.
Chess Project
In preparation for the first jump, the pawn squashes and expands. Note that this happens before the
pawn leaves the board.
Similarly when the pawn lands it squashes and expands for the next jump.
Animating the Rook
View the video Rook.avi. This has been slowed down by 10 times and shows the rook’s response to the
pawn in a detailed manner. First is recognition, then panic and finally flight. Stretch, twist and bend
modifiers can be used in conjunction with transform animation to obtain the motion.
Appendix B: Projects
Animating the Clock
Animate the Needle rotation on the right clock face. It should rotate approximately 10 degrees
every 5 frames.
Chess Project
Appendix B: Projects
Additional Support and Resources
A variety of resources are available to help you get the most from Autodesk® software:
Courseware from Autodesk (AOTC, AOCC, AATC)
Autodesk Services and Support
Autodesk Subscription
Autodesk Consulting
Autodesk Partners
Autodesk Authorized Training Centers (ATC®)
Autodesk Certification
Courseware from Autodesk
Autodesk publishes dozens of courseware titles every year designed to help users at all levels of
expertise improve their productivity with Autodesk software.
Courseware from Autodesk is the preferred classroom training material for Autodesk Authorized
Training Centers (ATC) and Resellers. The same training materials are also well-suited for self-paced,
standalone learning.
Autodesk offers three brands of Courseware:
Autodesk Official Training Courseware (AOTC) is developed by Autodesk for hands-on learning
covering the most important software features and functionality.
Autodesk Official Certification Courseware (AOCC) covers the knowledge and skills assessed on
the Certified User and Certified Expert examinations.
Autodesk Authorized Training Courseware (AATC) is created in cooperation with leading Autodesk
partners, and includes a growing number of local-language titles.
Experience Real-world, Hands-on Learning
Students simulate real-world projects and work through hands-on, job-related exercises. Most titles
include a trial version of the software.
Reaching All Levels
Autodesk has courseware titles to fit a wide range of skill levels. Beginners, advanced users, and those
looking for transitioning and migration materials will find a title that fits their needs:
Essentials titles teach the basics.
Transition titles help smooth the way of upgrades and migrations.
Advanced titles focus on advanced skills to improve productivity.
Solution Series apply a process-based approach to real-world projects.
Role-specific Learning Paths
Autodesk Courseware fits into a wide range of role-based Learning Paths so you can focus your
training on skills and certifications that are most important to your job – and career. Within each
Learning Path, you’ll find a series of courses that follow a natural progression and build on each other,
delivering a powerful synergy of both theory and practical skills. Like a roadmap, each Learning Path
provides you with a clear and effective route to your career destination.
To embark on your personal learning path, talk with your local Autodesk Authorized Training Center
www.autodesk.com/atc. An ATC instructor can lead you through the steps to improve your product
knowledge and map the way to gaining Autodesk Certification www.autodesk.com/certification.
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
Available for Most Autodesk Products
AutoCAD® Architecture (former Autodesk®
Architectural Desktop)
Autodesk® Productstream®
AutoCAD® MEP (former Autodesk®
Building Systems)
Autodesk® Vault
Revit® Architecture (former Autodesk®
Revit® Building)
Revit® MEP (former Autodesk®
Revit® Systems)
Revit® Structure (former Autodesk®
Revit® Structure)
Autodesk® VIZ
AutoCAD® Civil 3D® (former Autodesk®
Civil 3D®)
AutoCAD® Map 3D (former
Autodesk Map® 3D)
AutoCAD® Land Desktop (former Autodesk®
Land Desktop)
AutoCAD® Raster Design (former
Autodesk® Raster Design)
Autodesk® FMDesktop™
Autodesk® 3ds Max®
AutoCAD® Electrical
Autodesk® Combustion®
AutoCAD® Mechanical
Autodesk® Fire®
Autodesk® Inventor™ (not a stand-alone
Autodesk® Smoke®
Autodesk® Inventor™ Professional
Digital Site License
Delivering training for a large number of students? A Courseware Digital Site License enables you to
print courseware yourself to flexibly meet your training schedules and enrollment levels. Contact your
Autodesk Reseller or inquire directly with Autodesk for more information.
Finding Courseware
Courseware can be found in training classes offered by Autodesk Authorized Training Centers,
Autodesk Resellers, or may be purchased directly from the Autodesk eStore (North America only).
To find up-to-date information on the latest official Autodesk courseware titles, visit
www.autodesk.com/aotc and browse the Courseware Catalog for titles and topics.
Feedback Encouraged
If you have comments, suggestions for future titles, or general inquiries about Autodesk courseware,
please email AOTC.feedback@autodesk.com. We value your feedback!
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
Autodesk Services & Support
Accelerate return on investment and optimize productivity with innovative purchase methods,
companion products, consulting services, support, and training from Autodesk and Autodesk
authorized partners. Designed to get you up to speed and keep you ahead of the competition, these
tools help you make the most of your software purchase—no matter what industry you’re in. To learn
more, visit www.autodesk.com/servicesandsupport.
Knowledge Base
Search the support database for answers, hot fixes, tips, and service packs. Access the knowledge base
from the main Autodesk Services & Support page at www.autodesk.com/servicesandsupport.
Contact a Reseller
Get in touch with a reseller near you for information on product support programs that fit your needs.
Find a reseller near you with our reseller locator at www.autodesk.com/reseller.
Discussion Groups
Ask questions and share information in peer-to-peer forums. For more information visit the Discussion
Groups area at www.autodesk.com/discussion.
Autodesk Subscription
Ensure competitive advantage by keeping your design tools—and your design skills—up to date
easily and cost-effectively with Autodesk® Subscription.
Simplify your technology upgrades and boost your design productivity with the complete software,
support, and training package from Autodesk Subscription.
With Autodesk Subscription you get the latest releases of your Autodesk software, incremental
product enhancements, personalized web support direct from Autodesk technical experts, and
self-paced training (e-Learning) to help extend your skills. And with access to a range of exclusive
community resources and members-only privileges, you can use the power of your design tools to the
fullest and make the most of your technology investment. For more information visit
Autodesk Consulting
Make the most of your software investment with Autodesk Consulting. Get access to Autodesk
technical and project management professionals, a global network of technical experts. For more
details visit www.autodesk.com/consulting.
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
Autodesk Partners
Developer Center
The Developer Center was created for developers seeking proven tools and technologies to produce
superior design solutions. Whether you plan to customize existing Autodesk software or develop a
completely new application, Autodesk is committed to making technology that is accessible to you.
For more information visit www.autodesk.com/developer.
Autodesk Sparks
Sparks developers leverage Autodesk Media and Entertainment’s strong technical and market
expertise to deliver integrated, creative and workflow solutions to the post-production community.
For more information visit www.autodesk.com/sparks.
Reseller Center
Autodesk resellers understand your design processes and business requirements, and specialize in all
kinds of industries and applications. You can maximize your productivity with Autodesk software with
Reseller services, from implementation and customization to learning and training. To learn more and
find a reseller near you, visit www.autodesk.com/resellers.
Partner Products & Services
Autodesk works together with thousands of software development partners from around the world.
In the Partner Products & Services catalog, you can search for and find detailed information on
Autodesk partners around the world that further enhance our broad range of fully integrated and
interoperable solutions, for every design profession you can imagine. For more information visit
Autodesk Authorized Training Centers
Be more productive with Autodesk Software. Get trained at an Autodesk Authorized Training Center
(ATC®) with hands-on, instructor-led classes to help you get the most from your Autodesk Products.
Autodesk has a global network of Authorized Training Centers offering Autodesk-approved training
of the highest quality.
Every day, thousands of our customers are taught how to realize their ideas, faster, with Autodesk®
software. You can perform smarter and better with Autodesk software products when you turn to an
Authorized Training Center. ATCs are carefully selected and monitored to ensure you receive highquality, results-oriented learning.
An ATC® is your best source for Autodesk-authorized classes, tailored to meet the needs and
challenges facing today’s design professionals.
Find an Authorized Training Center
With nearly 2000 ATCs around the world, there is probably one close to you. Visit the ATC locator at
www.autodesk.com/atc to find an Autodesk Authorized Training Center near you.
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
Autodesk Certification
Gain a competitive edge with Autodesk Certification. Autodesk certifications validate that you have
the knowledge and skills required to use Autodesk products. Demonstrate your software skills to
prospective employers, advance your career opportunities, and enhance your credibility.
End-to-End Certification Solution
Each solution includes the necessary components to help you independently validate your
product skills.
Application Proficiency Examination measures your readiness for Certification. Assess your skills
on your schedule, anytime, using an on-line test to measure your knowledge of an Autodesk product.
Autodesk Official Certification Courseware (AOCC) covers the knowledge and skills assessed on
the Certified User and Certified Expert examinations.
Autodesk Certified User Examination validates your core knowledge of an Autodesk application.
Autodesk Certified Expert Examination validates that you can use the application to perform
complex tasks typically associated with a power user.
Certification Benefits
Immediate feedback on your certification status
An Electronic Certificate with a unique serial number
The right to use an official Autodesk end User Certification logo
The option to display your certification status in the Autodesk Certified User database
For more information:
Visit www.autodesk.com/certification to learn more and to take the next steps to get certified.
Useful Links
Discussion Groups:
Find a Reseller:
Find an Authorized Training Center:
Services & Support:
Student Community:
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
Appendix C: Additional Support and Resources
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