Introducing 3ds Max 9
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Introducing
3ds Max 9
®
3D FOR BEGINNERS
DARIUSH DERAKHSHANI | RANDI MUNN
WITH JON McFARLAND
WILEY PUBLISHING, INC.
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Introducing
3ds Max 9
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Introducing
3ds Max 9
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3D FOR BEGINNERS
DARIUSH DERAKHSHANI | RANDI MUNN
WITH JON McFARLAND
WILEY PUBLISHING, INC.
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Acquisitions Editor: Mariann Barsolo
D e v e l o p m e n t E d i t o r : Stephanie Barton
T e c h n i c a l E d i t o r : Mark Gerhard
P r o d u c t i o n E d i t o r : Rachel Meyers
C o p y E d i t o r : Kathy Carlyle
P r o d u c t i o n M a n a g e r : Tim Tate
V i c e P r e s i d e n t a n d E x e c u t i v e G r o u p P u b l i s h e r : Richard Swadley
V i c e P r e s i d e n t a n d E x e c u t i v e P u b l i s h e r : Joseph B. Wikert
V i c e P r e s i d e n t a n d P u b l i s h e r : Neil Edde
M e d i a P r o j e c t S u p e r v i s o r : Laura Atkinson
M e d i a D e v e l o p m e n t S p e c i a l i s t : Kate Jenkins
M e d i a Q u a l i t y A s s u r a n c e : Kit Malone
B o o k D e s i g n e r : Caryl Gorska
C o m p o s i t o r : Kate Kaminski, Happenstance Type-O-Rama
P r o o f r e a d e r : Nancy Riddiough
I n d e x e r : Jack Lewis
A n n i v e r s a r y L o g o D e s i g n : Richard Pacifico
C o v e r D e s i g n e r : Ryan Sneed
C o v e r I m a g e s : Dariush Derakhshani and Jon McFarland; Dan Savage, Dan Figueroa, and
“Crude Awakenings” from The Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. Used with permission
Copyright © 2007 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana
Published simultaneously in Canada
ISBN: 978-0-4700-9761-8
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To Max Henry
Acknowledgments
We are thrilled to be bringing the successful Introducing 3ds Max format to
the powerful Autodesk 3ds Max audience. Education is an all-important goal in life and
should always be approached with eagerness and earnestness. We would like to thank our
teachers who inspired us; you can always remember the teachers who touched your life,
and to them we say thanks. We would also like to thank all of our students, who taught
us a lot during the course of our many combined academic years. Equally, we would like to
extend many thanks to the student artists who contributed to this book, many of whom
are our own students from The Art Institute of California at Los Angeles. Thanks to the AI
faculty for their help in gathering the inspiring work for the color insert and for their support in writing this book. ■ Having a good computer system is important with this type
of work, so a special thank you goes to Dell, for keeping us on the cutting edge of workstation hardware. Special thanks go to Mariann Barsolo, Rachel Meyers, Stephanie Barton,
and Kathy Carlyle, our editors at Wiley who have been professional, courteous, and ever
patient. Our appreciation also goes to technical editor Mark Gerhard, who worked hard
to make sure this book is of the utmost quality. ■ Tremendous gratitude goes to Jon
McFarland for his fantastic contributions to the book; we would not have been able to
finish the book without his help. Finally, thanks to our mother and brother for their love
and support, not to mention the life-saving babysitting services.
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About the Authors
Dariush Derakhshani is a Creative Director with Radium, a visual
effects boutique, and a writer and educator in Los Angeles, California. Dariush used
Autodesk’s AutoCAD software in his architectural days and migrated to using 3D programs
when his firm’s principal architects needed to show their clients design work on the computer. Dariush started using Alias PowerAnimator version 6 when he enrolled in USC
Film School’s Animation program, and he has been using Alias animation software for the
past 11 years. He received an M.F.A. in Film, Video, and Computer Animation from the
USC Film School in 1997. He also holds a B.A. in Architecture and Theatre from Lehigh
University in Pennsylvania. He worked at a New Jersey architectural firm before moving
to Los Angeles for film school and he has worked on feature films, music videos, and
countless commercials as a 3D animator, as a CG supervisor, and sometimes as a compositor. Dariush also serves as the editor in chief of HDRI3d, a professional computer graphics (CG) magazine from DMG Publishing.
Randi Lorene Munn is a staff instructor with The Art Institute of California
at Los Angeles. She began working with computer graphics in 1992, and she was hired by
her instructor to work at Sony Pictures Imageworks, where she developed her skills with
3ds Max and Shake, among many other programs. A teacher since 1999, Randi enjoys sharing her wisdom with young talent and watching them develop at The Art Institute, as well
as at the UCLA extension. Currently, she teaches a wide range of classes from Autodesk
3ds Max to compositing with Apple Shake and Adobe After Effects. Juggling her teaching
activities with caring for a little baby boy makes Randi a pretty busy lady.
Jon McFarland
manages the CAD department for a national owner/
developer/manager of retail, office, and residential mixed-use properties in Cleveland, Ohio.
He creates and supervises the creation of architectural drawings, 3D mock-ups, and 3D
animations using AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Photoshop, and an array of additional programs
and applications. Jon also teaches computer animation and AutoCAD at the Virginia
Marti College of Art and Design in Lakewood, Ohio. In addition to teaching, he has been
an author or contributing author of several books, including Master Visually 3ds Max 8
and Mastering Autodesk VIZ 2007. He has created instructor content and has been the
technical editor for several titles.
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CONTENTS AT A GLANCE
Introduction
■
xii
Chapter 1
■
Basic Concepts 1
Chapter 2
■
Your First Max Animation 31
Chapter 3
■
The 3ds Max Interface 61
Chapter 4
■
Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I 105
Chapter 5
■
Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II 179
Chapter 6
■
Organic Poly Modeling 225
Chapter 7
■
Materials and Mapping 275
Chapter 8
■
Introduction to Animation 325
Chapter 9
■
Character Studio and IK Animation 365
Chapter 10
■
3ds Max Lighting 405
Chapter 11
■
3ds Max Rendering 445
Chapter 12
■
Particles and Dynamics 479
Index
■
515
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Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1 ■ Basic Concepts
xii
1
How to Read This Book
2
What Is CGI?
2
Production Workflow
4
CG Workflow
8
CG Specialties
12
Core Concepts
14
Coordinate Systems
22
Basic Animation Concepts
23
Basic 3ds Max Terms and Concepts
27
Summary
30
Chapter 2 ■ Your First Max Animation
31
Getting Around in 3ds Max
32
Project and File Management Workflow
32
The 3ds Max Interface
35
Jumping Headlong into Animation
41
Setting Up the Hierarchy
52
Summary
59
Chapter 3 ■ The 3ds Max Interface
61
What Am I Looking At?
62
Managing Scene Objects
96
Summary
103
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Chapter 4 ■ Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I
105
Planning Your Model
106
Modeling Concepts
107
Look at the Mesh You Got Us Into!
119
Editable Poly Tools
129
Modeling a Chest of Drawers
137
Modeling a Hand
164
Summary
177
Chapter 5 ■ Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II
179
Setting Up the Scene
180
The Editable Poly Tools
184
Lofting the Barrel
206
Lathing the Wheels
215
Using Snapshot to Create the Tracks
217
Summary
223
Chapter 6 ■ Organic Poly Modeling
225
Setting Up the Scene
226
Creating the Basic Form
231
Adding Detail
254
Final Touches
271
Summary
273
Chapter 7 ■ Materials and Mapping
275
Materials
276
The Material Editor
278
Mapping a Pool Ball
294
Mapping, Just a Little Bit More
302
Maps
305
More Mapping Exercises
309
Mapping Coordinates
315
Summary
323
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Chapter 8 ■ Introduction to Animation
325
Hierarchy in Animation: The Mobile Redux
326
Using Dummy Objects
330
Bouncing Ball
333
Using the Track Editor–Curve Editor
335
Track View
350
Anticipation and Momentum in
Knife Throwing
354
Summary
364
Chapter 9 ■ Character Studio and IK Animation
365
Character Animation
366
Character Studio Workflow
366
Creating a Biped
368
Animating a Biped
376
Associating a Biped to a Character
391
Using Inverse Kinematics
399
Summary
404
Chapter 10 ■ 3ds Max Lighting
405
Basic Lighting Concepts
406
Three-Point Lighting
408
3ds Max Lights
411
Common Light Parameters
425
Ambient Light
432
Creating Shadows
432
Atmospheres and Effects
438
Light Lister
442
Summary
443
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Chapter 11 ■ 3ds Max Rendering
445
Rendering Setup
446
Motion Blur
455
Previewing with ActiveShade
457
Cameras
457
Safe Frame
462
Render Elements
463
Rendering Effects
466
Raytraced Reflections and Refractions
470
Summary
477
Chapter 12 ■ Particles and Dynamics
479
Understanding Particle Systems
480
Setting Up a Particle System
484
Particle Systems and Space Warps
499
Using Rigid Body Dynamics
504
Using Soft Body Dynamics
511
Summary
514
Index
515
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Introduction
Welcome to Introducing 3ds Max 9: 3D for Beginners. The world of Computer
Generated Imagery (CGI) is fun and ever-changing. Whether you are new to CGI in general or a CGI veteran new to 3ds Max, you’ll find this book the perfect primer. It introduces you to 3ds Max and shows how you can work with the program to create your art,
whether it is animated or static in design.
This book exposes you to all facets of 3ds Max by introducing and plainly explaining its
tools and functions to help you understand how the program operates—but it does not
stop there. This book also explains the use of the tools and the ever-critical concepts behind
the tools. You’ll find hands-on examples and tutorials that give you firsthand experience
with the toolsets. Working through these will develop your skills and the conceptual knowledge that will carry you to further study. These tutorials expose you to various ways to
accomplish tasks with this intricate and comprehensive artistic tool.
Finally, this book explains the 3ds Max workflow. It explains how specific tasks are
accomplished and why—that is, it explains how the tasks fit into the larger process of
producing 3D animation. By doing that, these chapters should give you the confidence
you need to venture deeper into 3ds Max’s feature set, either on your own or by using
any of 3ds Max’s other learning tools and books as a guide.
Learning to use a powerful tool such as 3ds Max can be frustrating. You need to
remember to pace yourself. The major complaints CG book readers have are that the
pace is too fast and that the steps are too complicated or overwhelming. Addressing
those complaints is a tough nut to crack, to be sure. No two readers are the same. However, this book offers the opportunity to run things at your own pace. The exercises and
steps may seem confusing at times, but keep in mind that the more you try and the more
you fail at some attempts, the more you will learn how to operate 3ds Max. Experience is
king when learning the workflow necessary for any software program, and with experience
comes failure and aggravation. But try and try again. You will find that further attempts
will always be easier and more fruitful.
Above all, however, this book aims to inspire you to use 3ds Max as a creative tool to
achieve and explore your own artistic vision.
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Introduction
What You Will Learn from This Book
You will learn how to work in CG with 3ds Max, but moreover, we hope that you will
learn how CG works and that you will be able to apply the basic techniques and concepts
to any software package to accomplish anything you need from modeling to animation.
The important thing to keep in mind is that this book is merely the beginning of your CG
education. With the confidence you will gain from the exercises in this book and the peace
of mind you can have by using this book as a reference, you can go on to create your own
increasingly complex CG projects.
Who Should Read This Book
Anyone who is interested in learning 3ds Max should start with this book. No other series
of books provides a better, more solid foundation than the Introducing series. Introducing
3ds Max will give you more than just the basics of software operation; it will also explain
how CG productions are accomplished.
If you are new to CG, or you are a veteran looking to pick up another program, Introducing 3ds Max will give you the core foundation you will need to progress further into
Autodesk’s 3ds Max software.
How to Use This Book
Introducing 3ds Max 9: 3D for Beginners approaches teaching CG by first giving you an
informal look into the core concepts that make up this art form. The book aims to create
a solid reference for you by showing you the commonly used toolsets and interfaces you
will need to navigate to accomplish your goal. By following up the concepts and reference,
Introducing 3ds Max gives you hands-on recitations in the form of exercises and tutorials,
letting you flex your muscles and giving you a chance to try for yourself.
The process can be a bit daunting when you begin to learn a CG program. In that light,
it’s best to explore the material in this book at your own pace, and allow yourself to digest
not just the nuts and bolts, but also the workflow and concepts behind how and why 3ds
Max artists work the way they do.
Once you have a firm grasp of the concepts introduced in this book, you will be ready
to tackle more advanced material in the form of an intermediate class or even another book.
Learning CG is a tough hurdle to get over, and you can rest easy knowing that this book is
targeted to give you the tools you need to begin a longer, deeper study of the craft.
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xiv ■ Introduction
How This Book Is Organized
Chapter 1, “Basic Concepts,” begins with an introduction to the basic concepts of CG
production as well as its terminology and general workflows and pipelines. This chapter gives you an overview of how CG is created and how 3ds Max relates to the overall
process.
Chapter 2, “Your First Max Animation,” creates a simple animation to introduce you
to 3ds Max’s workflow and give you a taste of how things work. By animating a simple mobile, you will learn the basic concepts of creating and animating in 3ds Max.
Chapter 3, “The 3ds Max Interface,” presents you with the entire 3ds Max interface
and shows you how to access all the tools you will need for a CG production. Beginning with a roadmap of the 3ds Max screen, this chapter gives you a rundown of the
icons and explains their uses. You can use this chapter as a reference to which you can
return for UI refreshers whenever they’re needed.
Chapter 4, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I,” is an introduction to modeling concepts
and workflows in general. It shows you how to model using 3ds Max tools with
polygonal meshes and modifiers to create various objects, including a human hand
and a bedroom dresser.
Chapter 5, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II,” takes your modeling lesson a step further
by showing you how to model a complex object. You will use and add to the tools
you learned in Chapter 4 to create a tank model. You will learn how to loft and lathe
objects, as well as how to use Booleans.
Chapter 6, “Organic Poly Modeling,” rounds out your modeling lessons by showing you how to use subdivision surfaces to create organic models such as an alien
character.
Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping,” shows you how to assign textures and materials
to your models. You will learn to texture various objects, such as a chess piece, as you
learn the basics of working with 3ds Max’s materials and UVW mapping.
Chapter 8, “Introduction to Animation,” covers the basics of animating a bouncing
ball using keyframes and moves on to creating more complex animation—throwing a
knife at a target. You will also learn how use the Track Editor to time, edit, and finesse
your animation.
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Introduction
Chapter 9, “3ds Max Animation II,” expands on Chapter 8 to show you how to use
Character Studio to create and edit a walk cycle. You will also learn how to use 3ds
Max’s IK system to rig the tank you created in Chapter 5.
Chapter 10, “3ds Max Lighting,” begins by showing you how to light a 3D scene with
the three-point lighting system, and then shows you how to use the tools to create and
edit 3ds Max lights for illumination, shadows, and special lighting effects.
Chapter 11, “3ds Max Rendering,” explains how to create image files from your 3ds
Max scene and how to achieve the best look for your animation by using proper cameras and rendering settings. You’ll also learn about different ways to implement raytracing, atmospheric effects, and motion blur.
Chapter 12, “Particles and Dynamics,” introduces you to 3ds Max’s particle systems
and space warps, as well as the reactor physics simulation system. You will animate
dynamic objects colliding with one another using rigid body dynamics, and you will
learn how to use soft body dynamics.
Hardware and Software Considerations
Hardware changes constantly, and it evolves faster than publications can keep up. Having
a good solid machine is important to a production, although simple home computers will
be able to run 3ds Max quite well. Any laptop (with discrete graphics) or desktop PC running Windows 2000 Pro or XP Professional with at least 512MB of RAM and an Intel Pentium IV or AMD Athlon XP or higher processor will work. Of course, having a good video
card will help; you can use any hardware-accelerated OpenGL or Direct3D video card. A
computer system will have at least a 3GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, a few GBs of hard
drive space available, and an Nvidia GeForceFX or ATI Radeon video card. Professionals
may want to opt for workstation graphics cards such as the ATI FireGL or the Nvidia
QuadroFX series of cards. The following systems would be good ones to use:
• Intel Pentium Core2Duo, 2GB RAM, nVidia Quadro FX1400, 400GB 7200 RPM
hard disk
• AMD Opteron 2x, 2GB RAM, ATI FireGL V5000, 400GB hard disk
You can check the list of system requirements at Autodesk’s website at http://usa
.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/index?siteID=123112&id=5659453.
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xvi ■ Introduction
The Book’s CD
The companion CD in the back of this book provides all the sample images, movies,
and files that you will need to work through the projects in Introducing 3ds Max 9: 3D for
Beginners.
The CD is organized into project folders for each major tutorial in the book. It has a
few chapter-specific folders for the shorter exercises. Each folder contains all the scene and
support files for that project. The folders are arranged as 3ds Max 9 projects, so you can
copy them to your hard drive and work directly from them.
You will also find a 30-day trial version of 3ds Max software on the CD.
Contact the Authors
You can contact the authors through Wiley or at koosh3d.com.
The Next Step
The next step is really up to you. Introducing 3ds Max 9 is meant to give you a kick-start
into learning CG. Your education beyond this primer can be from DVDs, classes, or more
books—all bundled with a good amount of playing around and creating your own 3d productions. There is no better way to learn CG than to create something for yourself. Use
these tools as a reference to help you get there.
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CHAPTER 1
Basic Concepts
There are several ways to learn a program such as Autodesk 3ds Max 9, or any
other computer graphics (CG) package. Ultimately, you’ll get the best education through
months or even years of working with the software in different capacities. Ask any successful student, and they will tell you one thing: there is no such thing as book smarts when it
comes to good CG production—it all comes down to what you can achieve.
Achievement comes only from practice. You can’t avoid the many pitfalls of production
work without falling into and climbing out of them. Some readers may find this idea frustrating, but it is an intractable truth. The more you work with 3ds Max, the better you will
become with it.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
How to Read This Book
■
What Is CGI?
■
Production Workflow
■
Core Concepts for Animation
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2 ■ chapter 1: Basic Concepts
How to Read This Book
First and foremost, you needn’t read this book cover to cover and front to back to get the
most from it. If you are the type who loves to jump right into the pool to learn to swim,
then skip all this and jump into Chapter 2, “Your First Max Animation to start with the
interface. If you already know how to get around 3ds Max, you can begin with any of the
other chapters. You can leave this chapter for bathroom reading when you’re bored or the
cable goes out.
If you like dipping your toe in first, then by all means sit back, put on your bifocals,
and have a long soak in this chapter. It will cover a lot of basic concepts and core topics
that you may or may not be familiar with already. It serves as a gentle ease into the powerful program that is Autodesk 3ds Max 9.
No matter how you choose to read this book, it is crucial that you approach the lessons
as a way to begin the learning process. This book aims to give you a solid foundation in
many aspects of 3ds Max, so that you can take this beginning and move on to more study.
In keeping with that ideal, you will need to understand that you will not necessarily
become proficient in any one aspect of 3ds Max just by reading this book. Instead, you’ll
gain an understanding of how it works and how you can work with the program to create
your animations and models.
Frequently, students are aggravated by tutorials that don’t seem to lead them to perfection in the first go-around. This is the case for all tutorials and indeed all books teaching
pretty much anything. The key is to use the lessons as a guideline not just once, but
repeatedly. Doing a lesson multiple times will help you understand the concepts better
and give you opportunities to try out a few different methods, stray a little from the dictated steps, and try your own ideas on for size. Ideally, you will obtain a stronger education, but doing so will perhaps be slower and require more patience from you the student.
However, a good education must always be afforded this dedication.
What Is CGI?
CG is an acronym for computer generated. You may have heard the term CGI (ComputerGenerated Imagery). They are indeed one and the same, and the terms refer to any image or
images that are created with the aid of a computer. In this day and age, you’d be hard pressed
to find anyone with any computer experience who hasn’t messed around with computer
images, from scanned pictures to digital photos. Learning a CG package such as 3ds Max is
just an extension of that simple concept of playing around with a digital photo. The obvious differences are that 3ds Max adds the dimension of depth as well as control over time.
With the preponderance of cheap hardware and much easier-to-get software these days,
CG is slowly becoming a more common toolset in the hands of the masses. Within the
next decade or so, 3D should become as ubiquitous as Photoshopping a photo is today.
The following sections break down the common concepts behind CG.
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what is cgi?
3d Space
With 3d space, the virtual canvas in which you create 3d objects, you have a simulation of
space that is divided into three axes, X,Y, and Z representing (in loose terms) left-right,
up-down, and in-out. Figure 1.1 shows 3d space in a Max window.
So what the heck do you with 3d space? In many ways, setting up a scene in CG is like
setting up a photo shoot. With a photo shoot, you begin by gathering your subjects and
posing them in your composition. You set up lights to illuminate however dramatically
you need them to look and then take snapshots with your camera, framing the composition as needed. You then develop and fine tune your photos or adjust them with tools
such as Photoshop before you print them. Finally comes the happy part of showing them
off and sharing your work with others.
CG production has much the same workflow, although with CG you create everything
from scratch (for the most part) in your 3d space. Instead of running out and hunting
down the perfect models off the street and all the props and settings you need for a
photo, you create them. You model everything in the beginning and then apply colors
and texture to the surfaces you just created. Once you lay out your scene with all the settings and props you need, you set up your CG lights to illuminate the models. Lighting
is perhaps the most important aspect of CG, as this stage in CG production really makes
or breaks a scene.
Once your lighting is ready, you render the scene; this is akin to taking the photos and
developing them. Knowing what the end result should be will dictate how you decide to
render. You can choose several settings for quality and output, for example, so you can
show off your scene to your friends—although hanging a QuickTime movie on the fridge
is a bit hard to do.
Figure 1.1
3d space never
looked so good!
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4 ■ chapter 1: Basic Concepts
Of course, with CG you also have control over time; you can animate your scene. This
workflow perhaps lends itself best to how films are produced. The next section briefly
describes a film production workflow and how it applies to CG production.
Production Workflow
There are three major stages to producing films: preproduction, production, and postproduction. In preproduction, the script is written, storyboards are drawn up to outline the
action, costumes and sets are designed and built, the actors are cast and prepared, and a
production crew is put together. During the production phase, the scenes are set up and
shot according to a production schedule that lays everything out in the most efficient
manner possible. Finally, in postproduction, everything else happens. That means the film
is printed and edited, a score and soundtrack are laid, any digital effects are added, and
scenes are colored to match an overall aesthetic. Upon completion, the film is distributed
for people to see.
Although the actual work is vastly different between CG and live action photography,
the framework is useful to understand.
Preproduction
Preproduction for a CG workflow requires that the artist or artists gather together all the
reference materials, motion tests, layout drawings, model sketches, and such to make the
actual CG production as uncomplicated as they can.
Because everything is essentially made from scratch, the CG artist must formulate a
strong plan of attack. You can’t simply run out with some actors into the park and begin
shooting. With CG, you have to make it all from nothing. (You could, of course, use
model libraries to help you set up a scene; however, someone still had to create those from
scratch.) The time spent in preproduction planning is vital to smooth production and
postproduction, and it helps the overall outcome of the project. Never underestimate how
much time and planning you should put into a CG project. You will seriously sandbag
your project if you don’t plan it effectively. This point can never be overstated, and
although I’m sure you may get sick of hearing it, it will always be true.
For the exercises in this book, you will work with sketches and other files supplied on
the accompanying CD as your preproduction. Additionally, you are more than encouraged to put together as much information as you possibly can about your intended project, no matter how short it may seem.
A poorly planned production will always fall short of its potential and give you many
headaches throughout your project.
Writing a Script
Whether a CG project has a ton of dialogue or doesn’t have a single spoken word, both the
project and you will benefit from having a script. Even abstract animations can benefit from
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a highly detailed explanation of timings and colors laid out in a script, whether highly polished or scribbled on a roll of toilet paper in the back of a jail cell.
A script serves as your intent. Without having a clear intention stated in your production that defines what you wish to say with your film, your production time may as well be
spent lying around with an ice tea in your hand; you will not get much done in either case.
Storyboards
A storyboard is an advanced definition of the script. It shows the timings and framing for
the camera, as well as the action and dialogue—if any. To create an effective storyboard,
you must first dissect your script into scenes, and then scenes into shots, with each shot
being a distinct view from the camera or a distinct cut of action. A storyboard panel
describes, shot-by-shot, what is happening in the script in a linear fashion to show you the
overall action of the project and how it should come together in editing.
Even simple boards scribbled on napkins with stick figures are important to have in
preproduction.
Concept Art
Conceptuals are the design elements that are needed for the CG production. If you don’t
have concept art, whether they’re your own drawings or a smattering of photos or images
grabbed from the Internet, you are seriously hosed. You must have an idea of how you
want your CG to look; otherwise, you are just flapping your gums and not saying anything.
If you have CG characters, create character sheets for each character where characters
are drawn into character sheets in three different neutral poses from the front, from the
side, and from an angle called a 3⁄4 view. You can even sculpt reference characters in clay
or Play-Doh if you need to have a better idea of how they should look in 3d space. In the
following graphic, you can see a character sheet generated for a student produced short at
The Art Institute of California at Los Angeles.
Sketch or download images of the
props and sets you need in your scene.
Essentially, map out the look for everything that you need to have in your
scene. When you are working on your
project, you won’t be limited to the
things you’ve already picked out; however, you will find that knowing how
things should look will help enormously
in getting you to your final product.
The better your concept art and research,
the smoother the production and the
better your end result will be.
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Production
Production is the meat of any project. Film production begins when you start filming your
project. In the case of CG, production begins when you start creating assets for your projects, such as models or textures based on well-researched reference materials. The production phase lasts until the rendering phase, where you actualize your scene into image files.
Animation, texturing, and lighting are performed between the modeling and rendering
phases. Later in this chapter, the CG production phase will be divided into more stages;
however, most of the techniques you’ll learn in this book are pretty much in the production phase.
Postproduction
Postproduction begins when your scene elements and animation are all set up and raring
to be completed. Postproduction for a CG project is very similar to postproduction for a
film. When you click the Render button, you’ll end up with several image files or movie
files that are then edited and essentially put together to make your project. You add sound,
correct color, combine elements, and add any finishing touches in postproduction. Here is
a quick rundown of the CG postproduction pipeline.
Rendering
All CG scenes need to be rendered to their final image or movie files. Again, this is the
process by which the computer calculates how everything in the scene should look and
displays it. Rendering places great processing demands on your computer. It usually
requires the full attention of your PC, and it can take a lot of time. As you’ll learn throughout this book, the decisions you make, such as how much detail you give the objects you
create for a scene, can make a big difference in the rest of the process and can affect the
rendering speed.
You can render one scene while another scene is in production, but working on a system that is rendering is not advisable unless you’re using a dual-processor machine with
plenty of memory. When everything is rendered properly, the final images are sorted and
the CG project assembly begins. Rendering is the subject of Chapter 11, “3ds Max Rendering.” Compositing, editing, and adding sound are advanced postproduction activities and
beyond the scope of this book. However, you will find a multitude of books on these topics for further study.
Compositing
CG is often rendered in different layers where segments need to be put back together. For
example, you could have multiple characters interacting in one scene and have each character rendered separately from the others and from the setting. Compositing is the process
of bringing together rendered elements to form the final scene, usually using compositing
software such as Adobe’s After Effects or Apple’s Shake.
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Compositing programs allow you to compose CG elements together, but they also give
you additional control over color, timing, and a host of other additions and alterations
you can make to a scene. Compositing can greatly affect the look of a CG project; professionals consider it an integral part of CG creation.
Students new to the CG process frequently assume that they need to generate a scene in one
fell swoop. CG has an inherent component nature, and you can render items separately and
composite them in the finishing stage and still make some changes in your project’s show.
Editing
During the editing process, rendered and composited CG footage is collected and edited
to fit the script and boards. This process is usually more straightforward for a CG film, as
long as the preproduction has output good storyboards to follow when assembling the finished film.
When you are working with live-action, you shoot much more footage than necessary
for the film. You do this to make sure you have enough material for all your scenes and to
leave extra room for creative editing. If your preproduction was done well, it’s just a matter of putting the shots together using an editing program such as Adobe’s Premiere or
even Apple’s Final Cut Pro. With a live action film, you have the added exhaustion of running through all the footage and choosing takes to cut down to the final.
Because CG footage is much more time-consuming to generate than most live action,
scenes and shots should be tightly arranged in preproduction boards. The entire production can be edited beforehand in storyboards, so the scenes that are built and animated
can match the story, almost down to the frame.
Sound
Sound design can add an entirely new dimension of reality or mood to any CG. The audience needs to associate visuals with audio. Even a basic soundtrack adds a boost to a simple animation by helping provide realism, mood, narrative, and so on. A good music
soundtrack and well-placed sound effects are very powerful.
Sounds effects, such as footsteps, can be added to match the action in the animation;
this type of sound effect is also known in film as foley sound. Just as with any film, adding
music to most animations can help with pacing as well as mood. In this case, music and
live action sound design are pretty similar. Once you combine everything, you assess the
sound needs. The one glaring difference is with dialogue.
When you shoot live action, you generally capture the sound and dialogue live as you
shoot. With CG any dialogue needs to be recorded and edited before CG production begins.
In CG, dialogue becomes a part of the preproduction and postproduction phases. In short,
animators need to hear dialogue spoken so they can animate to match the lips of the char-
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acters speaking; this is known as lip-sync. Recording the dialogue with actors can also help
you animate the CG characters; you can imitate the gestures and actions of the live actors
to help make your animation more real.
CG Workflow
Due to how CG comes together, a typical production pipeline or workflow generally
works best. You begin by modeling, texturing, animating, lighting, and then rendering.
You can texture after you animate, of course; however, for the most part, this workflow
works best. What is universally true, however, is that you will go back and forth between
these stages several times throughout the process. You may have to change some textures
once you see the lighting or change a model according to an unexpected animation need.
CG becomes a collaborative effort where the stages of CG production work hand in hand
to render your final images. The layout of this book and its exercises follow this overall
workflow.
Modeling
Modeling is the topic of Chapters 4 through 6 of this book. Modeling is usually the first
step in CG creation, and it can sometimes take the longest time. You probably already
know that modeling and modeling tutorials are popular on the Internet, where you will
find a generous amount of free and fee-based models. You might be able to find a lot of
the props and characters you need for your scene online. Unless you enjoy modeling, take
a look through Google and see what’s already available.
When you do model, of course, you’ll be faced with many choices about how to proceed. Most Max modeling is done using polygons; however, the specific tools you use will
depend on how you like to work. The process of modeling can be easier when you have a
good idea of your whole story via a storyboard and general reference. Identify your project
needs as fully as you can first, and you’ll be able to fulfill them more easily when you start
modeling or gathering models.
With forethought, you will know how detailed your models need to be. If that park
bench is shown in a wide shot from far away, there is no need for abundant detail or complicated surfacing. If you create a highly detailed model for that far-away shot, you will
have wasted your time and increase your rendering times. In many cases, you can add
detail to a model just through its textures.
However, when you have to show a park bench prominently in a close-up, it will need
as much detail as possible. In such cases, viewers will see more of the bench and have more
of an opportunity to question it. The more you use models in scenes, the better you will
develop your eye for knowing how exactly much detail to give a specific model. As you
begin with CG, however, it’s better to give more attention to detail than needed. The
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detailing process will teach you a majority of what you learn of modeling. This in turn will
benefit your overall speed and technique. With more experience, you will be able to discern
the level of detail you really need.
Here is a quick rundown of some different kinds of modeling.
Character Modeling
Character modeling includes the modeling of any characters in your scene, from humanoids
to animals to ordinary objects that are animated to life. Most characters are organic forms,
such as animals, humans, aliens, and so on. However, a talking cheese sandwich is just as
much a character as the person holding it. A good character modeler always keeps in mind
the animation needs of a character when modeling. It’s important to know what you need
from your shot way ahead of time, so you can model appropriately.
Traditional characters, like people, need to appear seamless once they’re modeled.
Character animation usually requires the model to deform in some way—bending and
warping at certain points such as at the elbows. The pieces that make up the model may
tear apart if the character is not built to properly account for deformation and movement.
Similar to the park bench analogy, your character must also be built to the level of detail
required by the scene. As a matter of fact, several models for a single character can be built
to account for any differences. Using different versions of the same character can help
keep the scene efficient and workable. A low-resolution (meaning it uses few polygonal
faces) model of a character can easily be placed in wide shots, and a more-detailed higher
resolution model can be used in close-ups.
Architectural and Environmental Modeling
3ds Max is a natural in this arena, where architectural and environmental modeling is used
to previsualize during building design. This type of modeling includes the generation of
backgrounds for sets and environments. For this, you model any buildings or interiors, as
well as mountains and other required scenery, such as trees, roads, lamp posts, post office
boxes, and so on.
Of course, you should keep in mind the level of detail you need to use. Do not create
overly detailed environments when they are far off in the background. The biggest common mistake that new CG professionals make is over-creating detail. Doing this adds
more geometry to a scene, creates inefficiency, and can crash a scene. The more geometry
that is used in a scene, the slower the computer will run and the more time the scene will
need to render.
You can create a good deal of the environment using clever textures on simple geometry. Detailed maps on bare surfaces are used frequently for game environments. The rule
of thumb for all kinds of CG is “use whatever works.”
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Because your computer stores everything in a scene as vector math, the term geometry refers
to all the surfaces and models in a scene.
Props Modeling
A prop is any object in a scene that is actively used by a character in his or her action.
Any objects not used by the characters as props are called scenics, as they are often used
to add realism to the set. Think about it. If your scene takes place in front of a desk, that
desk will need scenics such as pens, notebooks, papers, etc. to make it look more realistic. Just showing an empty desk may not be enough to make the scene believable. You
usually can find the props and scenics you need on the Internet, frequently in a format
for 3ds Max.
Props, on the other hand, are useful in the narrative of the story. They help the characters’ actions. A prop can be anything from a baseball bat that a character is swinging to a
purse that another character is carrying.
Texturing
Texturing is typically applied immediately after modeling. Once you create a model, you’ll
want to finish its look. You can apply materials to its surface(s) to make it look right,
whether it is supposed to look “real” or not. The process of texturing essentially applies
colors and tactile feeling to models. 3ds Max automatically assigns simple colored materials to objects as you create them.
Of course, once you create materials for your scene, they may look different when you
light and animate everything. You don’t need to finalize every texture, as you’ll be coming
back and making adjustments all the time.
You’ll learn more about texturing in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping.”
Animation
Animation puts your scene into action and adds life to your characters. In essence,
animation is change over time. Anything in a scene that needs to change from one second
to another will need to be animated to do so.
Everyone, in their own way, has a reflexive sense of how things move. This knowledge
is gleaned through years of perception and observation. Because of this, your audience
can be more critical of a CG scene’s motion than lighting or coloring or anything else. You
know when something doesn’t look right, and so will your audience.
Animation takes quite a lot of setup, sometimes beyond just modeling. For a character,
you will need to create a rig (such as a Character Studio Biped) to attach to the model and
then create controls to make animation easier to operate.
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It’s naturally very thrilling to see your hard work on a scene come to life with animation. On the flip side, it can also be extremely aggravating seeing your creation working
improperly. This is how you learn things, and your frustrations will ease over time.
Chapter 8, “Animation Part I: Introduction to Animation,” and Chapter 9 “Animation
Part II: Character Studio and IK,” cover animation techniques in 3ds Max.
Lighting
Lighting is often seen as the most important aspect of CG production. This area is where
you get to see your models and textures, as well as set the mood of the project. During the
lighting phase, you set up virtual lights in 3d space to illuminate the objects in your scene
when it comes time to render. Lighting can drastically change how your scene looks. Using
lighting wisely is a learned skill, and it takes tons of time to master. Not only are you dealing with the aesthetics of getting your shot to look great, but you are also dealing with
rendering issues and bottlenecks that could make rendering your shot a nightmare. These
issues come up with much larger scenes than what you will be using in the first years of
your CG education; however, it’s important to start learning how to use lighting efficiently
as well as aesthetically.
Lighting can really make or break all your hard work. You can use lighting to affect
the believability of your models and textures as well as to create the proper mood
and tone.
In this stage of the pipeline, the lighting workflow begins in part when you are texturing your objects. You will need to very generally light your scene to evaluate how your textures are progressing. However, the final lighting and look really happen after everything
else is done, and you are left to go back and forth with the render to check and recheck,
fix and refix issues that come up in the rendered images. You may even find, for example,
that a model you’ve built needs to be altered because a lighting scheme works for everything but that model. Therefore, a back and forth workflow with lighting does not just
apply to texturing.
As a matter of fact, the more experience you gain with lighting, the more you will start
to notice that lighting affects every stage of CG creation. Once you start mastering the subtleties of lighting and after years of modeling, you may change how you model to accommodate how you now light. Even your animation and texturing preferences may take a
back seat to how a scene needs to be lighted.
In short, CG is fundamentally all about light. Manipulating how light is created and
reflected is what you’re doing with CG. Without light, we would not see anything, so it
makes sense that simulating light is the most influential step in CG.
Luckily, in 3ds Max, lighting is set up to mimic the behavior of real lights used in live
action (at least in principle), making the lighting process easier to use. You will learn how
to light in 3ds Max in Chapter 10, “3ds Max Lighting.”
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Rendering
You’ve modeled it all, textured it, and lit your scene like a pro. Hundreds of hours and
several cases of Red Bull later, you are ready to render. Rendering is the stage where your
computer makes all the computations necessary to create images from your 3d objects.
Depending on how much stuff is in your scene, rendering may be super quick or dog slow.
The amount of geometry you used to model (the amount of polygons), the number and
types of lights, the size of texture images, and the effects in your scene all affect render
times. When time or resources are limited, you need to build your scene intelligently so
that you don’t spend hours rendering a single frame. The more efficient your scene is,
the faster the rendering will go.
Having said that, there is really no magic formula to figure out how long is too long for
a render. Some scenes require a magnificent amount of time to render, for whatever reason, and you are stuck with that—but most do not. Through time you’ll be able to ascertain for yourself how long is too long for your renders.
A good gauge for render times is to identify what computers you have to render with
and how much time you have before a project has to be completed. With a little simple
math, you can determine an acceptable render time for your scenes and adjust your quality and output settings, as well as your lighting setup, to fit within your constraints.
The general rule in production is: you’re always out of time. Therefore, the most efficient
pipeline will be your savior, because eventually your producer or boss will tire of hearing,
“But I’m still rendering….”
For now, go ahead and use as much geometry and lighting as you think is necessary.
With more experience, you’ll start pruning your scenes and getting more efficient renders.
Right now, knowing how a scene is put together is more important than knowing how
efficient it needs to be.
CG Specialties
As in most professions, CG professionals specialize in specific areas. Those areas coincide
with the stages of CG production preciously outlined.
Modelers create models for shows or projects. They need to have a keen eye for
detail, as well as a sense of how objects come together. Environment modelers create
settings, and character modelers specialize in creating organic surfaces for characters,
such as people. In all cases, professional modelers need to understand form and function and be experienced in lighting, rendering, and texturing to effectively model
professionally.
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Animators are artists who work directly with the animation of a project. Character
animators specialize in character movement, ranging from mimicking human movement
to outlandish cartoon animation. There are also animators who specialize in mechanical
objects. Frequently, good animators can span the divide between character animation
and other types of animation because they inherently understand motion and timing.
In some cases, great animators are also great riggers. Studios sometimes hire character
TDs (technical directors) who specialize in rigging characters for motion. This usually
includes creating skeleton structures, such as Bipeds or Bones, for the character as well as
skinning the model to such a system before handing it off to the animator(s). Character
TDs can also work with motion-capture systems to transfer motion to a character. They
use recorded data from a live action stage where actors are outfitted in special equipment
that records their movements.
Effects TDs are specialists who generally animate special effects such as tornadoes,
clouds, or explosions. These specialists generally rely on particles and dynamics, as well
as textures, lights, and rendering tricks to perform their effects. This specialty requires
a strong eye in all stages of CG production and a strong ability to troubleshoot and
come up with solutions that are frequently not standard techniques in a program such
as 3ds Max.
Lighters are used to light and render a scene once it is completed. Lighters specialize in
being able to final a shot; in other words, to complete a shot for final approval and output.
A good lighter needs to understand how models and textures behave in a scene and sometimes must remodel or retexture an object to make it work. More and more these days,
good lighters are also being asked to be good compositors, because so much of CG can be
broken into elements that later need to be put back together.
Compositing as a specialty requires much less knowledge of CG, although today’s
competitive compositors should know as much as they can cram in their brains about CG.
Compositors not only have to assemble and color time (make final color decisions) CG
shots, but they also have to work with live action footage that needs to be altered or affected.
For example, a compositor will need to remove a green screen from behind an actor and
effectively place that actor into a virtual rendered set. With color correction and other
tools at their disposal, the compositors must make sure everything looks like it belongs in
the shot. In many cases, the line between lighter and compositor is blurred, and the two
specialties become one.
Generalists are CG artists who can do everything. This is not to say they are the be-all
and end-all of all things CG. Many studios and boutiques have short term jobs that are
small in scale (as compared to a production of the DreamWorks film Madagascar, for
example). When a short turnaround is required, you need artists who can take a shot from
beginning to end—to model, texture, light, animate, and render a scene. Commercials, for
example, use generalists more than films.
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Core Concepts
CG touches many disciplines, and you will come across many different concepts as you
learn CG. There are issues to understand in physics, computer output, film, photography,
sculpting, painting, and so on. This section introduces several key concepts that will make
it easier for you to understand how CG is created. Again, if you’ve been around the block a
few times, you can skip large parts of this chapter. However, you never know when you
might come across a little tidbit that fills in an educational gap you never thought you had.
Computer Graphics Basics
Here are some general terminologies and methodologies used in computer graphics to help
you understand how 3ds Max works. First on our plate is the critical distinction between
raster (bitmap) and vector graphics and how this distinction affects you as a 3ds Max user.
Raster Images
Raster images (also known as bitmap images or bitmaps) make up the world of computer
images today. Colored pixels are arranged to display a raster image on a screen; these pixels come together to form the image like a tapestry. The same is true of printouts, where
dots of ink serve as pixels to form the printed image.
When you work in a program such as Photoshop, you are editing the pixels of an image
directly by adjusting existing settings such as color, size, and position for all or part of an
image. In this manner, you can bring a scanned photo or a digital picture of your house
into Photoshop and paint one wall red, just to see how it would look before you shell out
bucks for paint at the store.
Essentially, a raster or bitmap image is a mosaic of pixels, each pixel corresponding to a
mosaic tile. The resolution—fineness of detail—of an image is defined by the number of
pixels per inch (or other unit of measure) in the horizontal and vertical directions.
Because raster images are based on a fixed grid, these images do not scale larger very well.
The closer you zoom into a raster image (or the larger a raster image is scaled), the larger
the pixels seem, which makes the zoomed or enlarged image blocky, or pixilated. To use
larger raster images, you need to start with a higher resolution when the image is created.
The higher the resolution, the larger the file size. Figure 1.2 shows what happens when you
blow up a raster image.
So why are raster images even used if you can’t scale them well? Most common displays
and output methods such as television or computer screens, or even a printer, are actually
raster displays. The term raster originally referred to the display area of a television or computer monitor. To form an image, the electronics in these devices essentially paint it as a
grid of red, green, and blue pixels on a glowing screen. Every image generated by a computer, therefore, must either begin as a raster image or be rasterized as part of rendering
for display.
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Figure 1.2
A raster image does
not scale up very
well. Here is the
front of a stereo
receiver that is
blown up by several
hundred percent.
The pixels look
blocky.
Vector Images
So why does the interface for 3ds Max look so different from Photoshop’s interface? Where
is the original image to alter in 3ds Max? Autodesk 3ds Max and other 3d programs work
with vectors. Vectors are created using mathematical algorithms and geometric functions.
A vector program defines its images using coordinates and geometric formulas to plot
points that define areas, volumes, and shapes instead of defining the color of each and
every pixel in a grid of a raster image.
Popular vector-based image applications include Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia
Flash, as well as practically all computer-aided design (CAD) programs such as AutoCAD
and SolidWorks. These programs let you define shapes and volumes and add color and
texture to them through their toolsets.
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Vector files store the scene in 3d space using coordinates and equations of points in
space and the color values assigned through materials. Therefore, when a vector image is
scaled, the image does not suffer from the same blocky limitations as raster images. As you
can see in Figure 1.3, vectors can be scaled with no loss of quality; they will never pixelate
because they always redraw at the new scale.
Motion in a raster movie, such as a QuickTime movie, is stored in a long sequence of
image files that, when played back, show animation or movement. On the other hand,
motion in vector programs is stored in the changes in the coordinates of the geometry and
in the math that defines the shapes and volumes.
When a Flash cartoon is played on a web page you are visiting, for example, the information for that cartoon is downloaded into your computer in vector form. The data
contains the position, size, and shapes of all the elements of the animation. The vector
information is then converted into raster images (called rasterization) so you can view
the final image or animation. Your computer renders this information on-the-fly, in real
time, into a raster display that you can enjoy on your screen.
This is roughly how things are done with 3d programs such as 3ds Max. You begin
your work in Max’s 3d space in vectors. When you are ready to render, Max renders the
scene contents into raster images or movie files that you can display. You use the tools in
Figure 1.3
A vector image of a girl at its original size (left) and blown up to a few hundred percent (right) shows no loss in quality. The curves are
not stepped or pixilated.
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3ds Max to simply change the geometric information to change the scene, and then rerender to show the output. Changing a raster image, such as a digital photo, alters that original
file (assuming you do not have a backup file) once you save your work because it directly
affects the pixels of the image.
Image Output
When you’re done with all your CG, you will probably want as many people to see your
work as possible. As you well know, you will need to render the scene out to image files or
a movie file. These files can be output and saved in many different ways. The kind of file
output to use is determined by a combination of disk space, personal preference, project
needs, and output requirements.
COLOR DEPTH
An image file stores the color of each pixel as three values, representing red, green, and
blue. Image type depends on how much storage is allotted to each pixel (the color depth).
These are the color depths common to image files in CG production:
Grayscale The image is black and white with varying degrees of gray in-between, typically
256. Grayscale images are good for rendering out black-and-white subjects; no extraneous
color information is stored in the image file.
16-Bit Color Display or High Color 5-Bit Image File Each color channel (red, green, blue)
gets 5 bits of space to store its value, resulting in an image that can display a maximum of
32,768 colors. Each color channel has a limited range of shades, but still gives a nice color
image. You might notice the gradation in the different shades of each color that can result
in color banding in the image.
8-Bit Image File This format is commonly referred to as 24-bit color display or True Color.
Each color channel is given 8 bits for a range of 256 shades of each red, green, and blue
channel for a total of 16 million colors in the image. This color depth gives the best color
quality for an image and is widely used in most animation applications. The human eye
cannot see quite as many shades of color as there are in a True Color image. Most of your
renders from 3ds Max will probably be as 24-bit color files.
16-Bit Image File Used primarily in film work using such file types as TIFF16, this type of
image file holds 16 bits of information for each color channel, resulting in an astounding
number of color levels and range. Each file can exceed several megabytes even at low resolutions. These files are primarily used in the professional workplace and are standard for
film work because outputting CG to film can require high levels of color and brightness
range in the image.
Floating Point/32-Bit Image File Thirty-two–bit floating-point images are commonly used
in film production to give the utmost attention to color depth. Your PC is capable of rendering a huge range in tone and color, and 32-bit floating-point images capture that range
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effectively. These files (such as EXR) are not easy to work with and require a lot of tweaking in compositing to output properly. HDR (High Dynamic Range) images are in 32-bit
float format and are incredibly detailed in the range of contrast they store. You should not
worry about high dynamic ranges such as this until you have gained a considerable amount
of experience.
COLOR CHANNELS
As mentioned, each image file holds the color information in channels. All color images
have a red, green, and blue color channel. Each channel is a measurement of the amount
of red, green, or blue in areas of the image. A fourth channel, called the alpha channel, is
used as a transparency channel. This channel, also know as the matte channel, defines which
portions of the image are transparent or opaque. Not all image files have alpha channels.
FILE FORMATS
In addition to image types, several image file formats are available today. The most common perhaps is JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group), which is widely used on the
Internet.
The main difference between file formats is how the image is stored. Some formats
compress the file to reduce file size. However, the greater the compression, the poorer the
image’s color.
The popular formats to render into from 3ds Max are TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
and Targa (TGA). These file formats maintain a good 24-bit color depth using an 8-bit
image file, are either uncompressed or hardly compressed (lossless compression), and are
frequently used for broadcast or film work. These formats also have an alpha channel,
giving you better control when you later composite images together.
To see an animation rendered in a file sequence of TIFFs, for example, you will need to
play them back using a frame player, such as 3ds Max’s RAM Player, or compile them into
a movie file, such as a QuickTime file.
Your final image output format will depend on the project’s needs. If, for example, you
need to composite your CG together, you will need to output a format that can be used in
your compositing or editing program. TIFF files are perhaps the best format to use as they
are widely compatible, store uncompressed color, and have an alpha channel.
MOVIE FILES
Animations can also be output to movie files such as AVI or QuickTime. These usually
large files are self-contained and hold all the images necessary for the animation that they
play back as frames. Like image files, movie files can be compressed to keep their sizes to a
minimum, but they suffer from quality loss as well.
3ds Max can render directly to an AVI or QuickTime movie file. This may seem like it
saves you the hassle rendering out large sequences of TIFF files or such. In reality, you
shouldn’t render directly to a movie file at least for your final output. It is best to render a
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sequence of files in the end, because image sequences can easily be compiled into a movie
file later using a program such as Autodesk Combustion, Adobe After Effects, Premiere,
or even QuickTime Pro.
Rendering to images is less risky than rendering to a movie. In addition to having a
sequence you can easily manipulate, you do not have to worry about crashing and losing
rendering time. Sometimes, your render will crash or your machine will freeze. If you are
rendering to a movie file when that happens, you’ll need to restart rendering from the
beginning, because you can’t append to a half-rendered QuickTime. With a file sequence
render, you can simply pick up the render from the last good frame, when your PC crashed.
With a sequence, you also have the option of reordering the frames or easily adjusting a
few individual frames’ properties, such as hue or saturation, without affecting the entire
movie file.
Color
Color is how we perceive the differences in the frequency of light. The wide range of colors
that we see (the visible spectrum) result when any of three primary colors of light—red,
green, and blue—are “mixed” together. Color can be mixed in two ways, subtractive and
additive. These color definitions are most often displayed in color wheels, which place primary colors equally spaced around a ring and place the resultant colors when the primaries
are mixed in-between the appropriate primaries.
Understanding how color works will help you gain more from your CG’s color scheme
and help you design your shots with greater flexibility and better outcomes.
SUBTRACTIVE AND ADDITIVE COLOR
Subtractive color mixing is used when an image will be seen with an external light source.
It’s based on the way reflected light creates color. Light rays bounce off colored surfaces
and are tinted by the different pigments on the surface. These pigments absorb and reflect
only certain frequencies of the light hitting them, in essence subtracting certain colors
from the light before it gets to your eyes. Pile up enough different colors of paint and
you’ll get black; all the color is absorbed by the pigment and only black is reflected.
With subtractive color mixing for painting, the traditional color wheel’s primary colors
are red, blue, and yellow. These three pigments can be mixed together to form any other
color pigment. This is the basis for the color wheel most people are exposed to in art education. However, in the world of print production, a CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and
blacK) color wheel is used, which places cyan, yellow, and magenta ink colors as the primary colors used to mix all the other ink colors for print work.
Projected light, however, is mixed as additive color. Each light’s frequency adds upon
another’s to form color. The additive primary colors are red, green, and blue. These three
colors, when mixed in certain ratios, form the entire range of color. When all are equally
mixed together, they form a white light.
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A computer monitor uses only additive color, mixing each color with amounts of red,
green, and blue (RGB). Output for print is converted to a CMYK color model.
Warm colors are those in the magenta to red to yellow range, and cool colors are those in
the green to cyan to blue range of the additive color wheel. Warm colors seem to advance
from the frame, and cool colors seem to recede into the frame.
HOW A COMPUTER DEFINES COLOR
Computers represent all information, including color, as sets of numeric values made up
of binary 0s and 1s (bits). In a 24-bit depth RGB color image, each pixel is represented by
three 8-bit values corresponding to the red, green, and blue “channels” of the image. An
8-bit binary number can range from 0 to 255; therefore, you have 256 possible levels for
each primary color. With three channels, you have 256 × 256 × 256 (16.7 million) possible
combinations of each primary color mixed to form the final color.
Color value can also be set on the hue, saturation, and value (HSV) channels of a color.
Again, each channel holds a value from 0 to 255 (in a 24-bit image) that defines the final
color. The hue value defines the actual tint (from red to green to violet) of the color. The
saturation defines how much of that tint is present in the color. The higher the saturation
value, the deeper the color. Finally, value defines the brightness of the color, from black to
white. The higher the value, the brighter the color.
HSV and RGB give you different methods to control color, allowing you to use the
method you prefer. All the colors available in 3ds Max, from textures to lights, are defined
as either RGB or HSV values for the best flexibility. You can switch from HSV to RGB definition in 3ds Max at any time.
CMYK COLOR SPACE
A CMYK color wheel is used for print work, and this is referred to as the four-color process.
Color inkjet printers produce color printouts by mixing the appropriate levels of these
inks onto the paper.
All output from a computer, which is RGB based, to a printer goes through a CMYK
conversion as it’s printed. For professional print work, specially calibrated monitors are
used to better preview the CMYK color of an RGB image before it is printed. Fortunately,
only the print professionals need to worry about this conversion process because most of
it is handled by graphics software to a fairly accurate degree.
VIEWING COLOR
The broadcast standard for North America is called NTSC, as listed in the next section.
Jokingly, industry folks sometimes refer to the acronym as Never The Same Color, calling
attention to the fact that the color you see on one TV screen will inevitably differ on another
TV. The same is true for computer monitors, especially flat panel displays. Unless made to
do so, different screens are not calibrated to show the same color the same way, so what
you see on one screen will display differently on another screen. If it is paramount that the
color appear as you see it on a specific screen, it makes sense to finalize the work and show
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it on that screen. You can also download color bars from the Internet to display on monitors
in an attempt to calibrate them to your eye. This is not the best way to go, but at least it will
help a little, without exacting the costs and trouble of using color calibration equipment.
Resolution, Aspect Ratio, Frame Rate
Resolution denotes the size of an image in the number of horizontal and vertical pixels,
usually given as # × #, such as 640 × 480. The higher the resolution, the finer the image
detail.
You will adjust your final render size to suit the final medium for which you are creating the animation. The following are some standard resolutions:
640 × 480
Formerly, the standard computing resolution and
still a popular television resolution for tape output.
720 × 486
The standard resolution for broadcast television in
North America.
720 × 480
Close to the NTSC D1 resolution, this is the typical
resolution of digital video cameras.
PAL (Phase Alternation Line)
720 × 586
The standard broadcast resolution for most
European countries.
HDTV (High Definition TV)
1920 × 1080
The emerging television standard, sometimes also
referred to as 1080i.
1024 × 768
Typically, the lowest allowable resolution for film
production at Academy ratio. Because film is an
optical format (whereas TV is a raster format),
there is no real set defined resolution for film.
Suffice it to say, the higher the better.
2048 × 1556
Most studios output CG for film at this resolution,
which gives the best size-to-performance ratio.
4094 × 3072
A high resolution for film, used for highly detailed
shots.
VGA (Video Graphics Array)
NTSC D1 (National Television
System Committee)
NTSC DV
1K Academy (1K refers to
1000 pixels across)
2K Academy (2K refers to
2000 pixels across)
4K Academy (4K is 4000 pixels
across)
Any discussion of resolution must include the matter of aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is the
ratio of the screen’s width to its height, and of course, there are standards:
Academy Standard
1.33:1 or 4:3
The most common aspect ratio. The width is 1.33
times the length of the height. This is the NTSC
(National Television Standards Committee) television aspect ratio as well as the aspect ratio of
16mm films and some 35mm films, especially
classics such as Gone with the Wind.
Widescreen (aka, Academy Flat)
1.85:1 or 16:9
The most often used 35mm film aspect today.
When it’s displayed on a television, horizontal
black bars appear above and below the picture so
that the edges are not cropped off (letterbox).
Anamorphic Ratio
2.35:1
Using a lens (called an anamorphic lens), the
image captured to 35mm film is squeezed.
When played back with a projector with an
anamorphic lens, the image is projected with a
width at 2.35 times its height. On a standard TV,
the letterboxing would be more severe to avoid
cropping the sides.
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The number of frames that are played back per second determines the frame rate of an
animation. This is denoted as fps, or frames per second. The following shows the three
standard frame rates for media:
• NTSC: 30fps
• PAL: 25fps
• Film: 24fps
Knowing what your final output medium is going to be before you begin your project
is pretty important. It is not crucial by any means, but knowing what the screen will look
like (i.e., whether it is going to a small web window or a large television, for example) will
help you better compose your scenes. You can always change your frame rate and render
resolution at any time, but it is much simpler to begin with that already worked out.
Playing back a 24fps animation at 30fps will yield a slower-moving animation and will
either require repeating some frames to fill in the gaps or ending the animation early.
Conversely, playing a 30fps animation at 24fps will create a faster-moving animation that
will either skip some frames or end later than it should.
Games, on the other hand, do not typically have a set playback rate for animation. When
a scene is created for a game, the assets in the scene are rendered and played back on the
user’s computer system in real time; therefore, many factors contribute to the playback
speed of scenes created for games.
Coordinate Systems
Figure 1.4
The Object space of
the box aligns with
the World Space.
Coordinates are numerical representations of where an object is in 3d space. Every object in
3ds Max has a coordinate of where it exists. Without this coordinate, it would be gone—
poof into thin air! Max’s 3d space is organized with the Cartesian Coordinate System, which
uses a three-pronged axis to define width, height, and depth as X, Y, and Z, respectively.
The overall coordinate system in Max is called the World
Coordinate System. It is an absolute coordinate that is fixed
and unchangeable.
Objects in Max can have their own coordinate systems as
well. When an object is created, it has its own width, height, and
depth, again expressed as X, Y, and Z. Upon creation, the Local
Coordinate System (belonging to the created object) and the
World Coordinate System are aligned. However, when the
object is rotated, its Local Coordinate System rotates with it.
Because of this, an object created in a Front viewport (for
instance) will have a different Local axis than if it were created
in the Top viewport.
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In Figure 1.4, you see a box. The X-, Y-, and Z-axes of the box are displayed in the center of the box and align with the axes of the home grid (which shows the World Space axes)
displayed in the lower-left corner of the window.
However, when the box in the scene is rotated, instead of tossing out its own axes, Max
retains them as Local space. The X-axis of the box does not change. Now the Local axis
and the World Space axis are not aligned. This is not a bad thing, this is actually very good.
It allows you to manipulate the box based on its original Local axes.
Basic Animation Concepts
A litany of information regarding animation concepts and techniques is available on the
Internet. There are tons of books out there that also teach the basics of animation. In this
very brief section, you will be exposed to a few important concepts behind animation.
These concepts will help you better understand what you’re doing in 3ds Max.
Frames, Keyframes, In-Betweens
Animation is based on change over time, so naturally you need a measurement of time.
In animation, this is almost always expressed in frames. One frame is a single rendered
image in an animation, or a single drawing in a traditional animation. Frame also refers to
a single unit of time in your animation. The exact length of that time depends on the final
frame rate with which the animation will be played back. For example, at film rate (24fps),
a single frame will last 1⁄24 of a second. At NTSC video rate (30fps), that same frame will
last 1⁄30 of a second.
Keyframes (or keys) are key frames at which the animator creates a pose for a character
(or whatever is being animated). A keyframe in CG terms, is a frame in which a pose, a
position, or some other parameter’s value has been saved in time. Animation is when the
object travels or changes between the keyframes. These frames, as the change is happening
between keys, are called in-between frames. The computer extrapolates what needs to happen to get the object from its state in keyframe 1 to its state in keyframe 2. You will have
plenty to keyframe in the coming chapters of this book.
In 3ds Max, a keyframe can be set on almost any parameter of an object—its color,
position, size, and so on. In reality, you can set several keyframes on any one frame in CG
animation. Figure 1.5 illustrates a keyframe sequence.
Weight
Weight is an implied facet of design and animation. Weight denotes the heaviness or presence of an element in a design. The more weight an element has, the more power it has in
the composition. The weight of an object in a composition is affected by its color, the contrast, the background, position in the frame, and so on.
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Figure 1.5
In the first frame
of this sequence,
a keyframe is set
on the position,
rotation, and scale
of the cone. On
frame 30, the same
properties are again
keyframed. The
computer calculates
all the movement
in-between.
Keyframe at Frame 1
Frame 5
Frame 10
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basic animation concepts
Figure 1.5
continued
Frame 15
Frame 20
Frame 25
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Figure 1.5
continued
Keyframe at Frame 30
The weight of an object in animation roughly follows that idea, but more pragmatically
denotes the actual weight of the object as it relates to its environment. Giving an object a
good weight in animation is critical in the believability of the animation. You will have a
chance to animate an object and edit the animation to give it weight in Chapter 8’s Bouncing Ball and Knife exercises.
Weight in animation is a perception of mass. An object’s movement and how it reacts in
motion and to other objects need to be used to convey the feeling of weight. Otherwise,
the animation will look bogus, or as they say, “cartoonish.”
Over the years, animators have created a set of techniques they use to offer their subject
weight in animation. Manipulating these concepts correctly in your work will greatly help
your animations.
Squash and Stretch
Squash and Stretch is a cartoon concept that allows a character to physically squash down
when he is landing from a jump, or stretch out thin while he is jumping up. The overall
mass of an object should never really change. When you squash an object down, you should
also reduce its height to make it seem as if it’s squashing down. Similarly, when you stretch
an object up, you should also thin it. This technique will make a character seem to respond
to gravity. You will see how this applies in the Bouncing Ball exercise in Chapter 8.
Ease-In and Ease-Out
Things in the real world don’t immediately come to an abrupt stop. There is always a
slowing before a stoppage, no matter how fast the stop may be. This is called ease-out.
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Just as objects don’t suddenly stop, they don’t immediately start moving either. Pretty
much everything needs to gain speed, or accelerate, no matter how fast it begins moving.
This is called ease-in. You will have a chance to animate a bouncing ball that will teach
you the mechanics of ease-in and ease-out in Chapter 8.
Follow-Through and Anticipation
Exaggerating the weight of an object in animation is sometimes necessary. Objects ending
an action usually have some type of follow-through motion. For example, a pony tail on a
girl jumping down from a chair will continue to move about after she lands on the floor
and stops moving herself. There is a slight resting follow-through to her action, such as
bending slightly at the waist to center herself once she lands.
You can also create a small amount of movement before your action is in full swing.
Before committing to an action, a character can wind up even if the wind-up is slight.
Doing so will create a slight anticipation in the movement, like a hammer cocking back
slightly before it strikes down or a spring that coils in before it springs out. These concepts
are covered in Chapter 8.
Basic 3ds Max Terms and Concepts
Any 3d program has terms and concepts you need to nail down to become a good artist in
that tool. Most of these terms are fairly transcendent in concept, meaning they apply to
other packages in theory and general application as well—although you may find some of
the names are slightly different. Here are several terms and concepts you will encounter in
the world of CG as it relates to 3ds Max.
Object—Simply put, an element in your 3ds Max scene is called an object. An object
may be converted to a more easily editable mesh at any time. You will learn about this
concept in Chapter 4.
Primitives—Primitives are basic Max objects, such as spheres or boxes. Primitives
can be shaped and altered to suit the needs of the model.
Sub-Object—Objects themselves are made up of components such as polygons, faces,
vertices, etc. You can select and manipulate sub-objects in 3ds Max to alter the look
or function of an object. Kinds of sub-objects include vertices, faces, polygons, edges,
gizmos, centers, etc. The type of sub-object you are able to manipulate depends on
the type of object you are manipulating. See Chapter 4 for more on sub-objects. Not
all objects have sub-object components.
Normals—The face of a polygon has a direction in which it faces. A normal is a vector that defines which way a face points.
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Spinners—Spinners are a function of the User Interface (UI) in Max. Spinners
are the little arrows to the right of a value readout that allow you to adjust the
value by clicking up or down on them. A spinner for a sphere’s radius value is
shown here.
Flyouts—Another UI term, a flyout is the name given an icon in 3ds Max that is actually several icons in one. If you press and hold a flyout icon, the other icons “fly out”
and display themselves. Simply scroll to the icon you need and click to activate it. A
flyout icon has a black triangle in its lower-right hand corner as shown here. These
icons are further covered in Chapter 3, “The 3ds Max Interface.”
Home Grid—The Home Grid is a gray grid that displays the origin (0,0,0). It is useful
for grounding yourself in the viewports, and it helps with proportion and direction as
well. A Perspective viewport home grid is shown here.
Absolute/Relative—Absolute refers to an adjustment on an object that is based on a
fixed reference, such as world space. An absolute scale of 2 will scale the object to a
flat unit of 2. Relative refers to an adjustment made to an object that takes its current
state into account. Scaling with a relative value of 2 will make that object twice its current size.
Track—A track is a term in 3ds Max used for an animated object. When an object has
animation on several parameters, such as Translation X and Y, as well as Scale in X and
Z, it is said to have four tracks. One track defines one animation on one parameter of
that object on one axis.
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SUGGESTED READING
The more you know about all the arts that are used in CG, the more confident you’ll feel among your peers. To
get started, check out the following excellent resources.
Art and Design
These books provide valuable insights into the mechanics and art of design. The more you understand design
theory, the stronger your art will be.
Bowers, John. Introduction to Two-Dimensional Design: Understanding Form and Function. New York: John Wiley
& Sons, 1999.
Itten, Johannes. Design and Form: The Basic Course at the Bauhaus and Later. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975.
Ocvirk, Otto G., and others. Art Fundamentals: Theory and Practice. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Wong, Wucius. Principles of Form and Design. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1993.
CG
CG has an interesting history and is evolving at breakneck speeds. Acquiring a solid knowledge of this history
and evolution is as important as keeping up with current trends.
Kerlow, Isaac Victor. The Art of 3-D: Computer Animation and Imaging. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2000.
Dariush Derakhshani. Introducing Maya 8: 3D for Beginners. San Francisco: Sybex, 2006.
Kuperberg, Marcia. Guide to Computer Animation. Burlington: Focal Press, 2002.
Masson, Terrence. CG 101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference. Indianapolis: New Riders Publishing, 1999.
Periodicals
Computer Graphics World (free subscription for those who qualify)
cinefex
www.cinefex.com
HDRI3D
www.hdri3d.com
3D World
cgw.pennnet.com
www.3dworldmag.com
Websites
www.area.autodesk.com
www.animationartist.com
www.awn.com
www.highend3d.com
www.3dcafe.com
Film
Block, Bruce. The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV, and New Media. Burlington: Focal Press, 2001.
Must Read
Myers, Dale K. Computer Animation: Expert Advice on Breaking into the Business. Milford: Oak Cliff Press, 1999.
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Summary
In this chapter, you learned the basic concepts that drive the CG field. Starting with production workflow and moving into CG workflow, we discussed how productions are generally run. Then this chapter covered the different types of tasks used in CG production
and the specialties that have risen from them in the professional field. Then you learned
about core computer concepts, color space, and some output formats. Finally, you moved
on to some important 3ds Max terms and concepts in which you will be immersed in the
following chapters.
No matter how you take this chapter—or even if you skip it entirely to get right to the
action—there is a lot of background information that can be useful in your overall knowledge of CG production. Although it takes some extra time to develop a base foundation,
having one is always a good idea because a true understanding of a subject is fundamental
to its mastery. Having said this, take the rest of the book as it comes, enjoy the challenges
of the exercises, and remember that some frustration with an exercise will inevitably help
you learn the concepts better, so keep at it.
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CHAPTER 2
Your First Max Animation
This chapter gets your engine revving right away. It begins with an overview
of the User Interface (UI) and starts you off with an exercise that will expose you to quite
a few 3ds Max workflows and practices. The goal of the chapter is to put some concepts
from the previous chapter into production so you can get your feet wet quickly.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Getting Around in 3ds Max
■
Project and File Management Workflow
■
The 3ds Max Interface
■
Jumping Headlong into Animation
■
Setting Up the Hierarchy
■
Ready, Set, Animate
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Getting Around in 3ds Max
At this point, it’s important not to get caught up in the details of this great machine. Don’t
worry about the steps, buttons, menus, switches, and levers; just allow yourself to become
comfortable with the tools that you use to create your artwork. Creating art is never about
which button to press; it’s about what to create. Always remember that, and your studies
will be a great deal more successful.
Jumping straight into an exercise without knowing how to get around the interface might
seem a little weird. However, you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know, and then
some, in Chapter 3, “The 3ds Max Interface.” Learning is an experimental art, and there’s no
better way to learn than to start horsing around as soon as you can. The overall goal of this
chapter is to expose you to the UI and show you how to get some things done in Max. Then
you can proceed to the next chapter for a debriefing. You can, of course, skip ahead and
get a rundown of the UI first and then come back to this chapter for your first experience.
Project and File Management Workflow
Autodesk 3ds Max 9 provides several subfolders automatically grouped into projects for
you. Different kinds of files are saved in their own respective subfolders under the Project
folder. For example, scene files are saved in a Scenes subfolder and rendered images are
saved in a Render Output folder under the larger Project folder. The projects are set
according to what you are working on, so everything is neat and organized from the get go.
The conventions followed in this book and on the accompanying CD will follow this
project-based system so that you can grow accustomed to it and make it a part of your
own workflow. Files organization is extremely important for professional work. If you do
a lot of CG for fun or profit, it pays to be organized.
The exercises in this book are organized into specific projects, such as the one you will
tackle in this chapter, Mobile. The Mobile project will be in a folder on your hard drive,
and the subfolders for your scene files and rendered images will be in it. Once you copy
the appropriate project folders to your hard drive, you can tell 3ds Max which project to
work on by choosing File ➔ Set Project Folder. This will set the current project to that project folder. For example, when you save your scene, Max will automatically take you to the
Scenes subfolder of the current project.
Before we begin any project, we’ll briefly explain the naming conventions and suggest
a folder structure. Using these naming conventions and structures is a good habit to
develop—it really is.
Naming Conventions
Every studio and professional production company worth its salt has an established
naming convention for its files and folders. This is essentially a documented procedure that
dictates how to name files and usually where to store them. Most organizations have different conventions, but the point is to have a convention and stick to it.
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project and file management workflow
Students, in particular, tend to forgo any semblance of organization in their file-naming
procedures. A common mistake is to save files to the local disk on the school computer,
only to have the files erased by the support teams during the school’s weekly purge. Designating a specific place on your PC or server for all your project files is important.
In addition to finding a suitable place to store your files, you need to name the files
following some sort of convention. Your files will not only look neat when you’re browsing, but they’ll make sense months later when you try to figure out where that finished
scene file is that you need. Typically, you should name a scene file with a project name or
an abbreviation of such, then a brief description of what the file is, and a version number.
For example, if you are working on a project about a castle, begin by setting
a new project called Castle. Choose File ➔ Set Project Folder. On your hard
drive, create a new folder by clicking the Make New Folder button to create a
folder named Castle. 3ds Max will automatically create the project and its
subfolders.
Once you save a scene, one of your scene filenames should look like this:
Castle_GateModel_v05.max. This tells you right away it’s a scene from your
Castle project, and that it is a model of the gate. The version number tells
you that it’s the fifth iteration of the model and possibly the most recent
version. Following a naming convention will save you oodles of time and
aggravation.
Version Up!
The previous naming convention used a version number appended to the end of the
filename. After you’ve spent a significant amount of time working on your scene, or
after you’ve made a major change or big breakthrough in your work, you will want to
“version up.” This means you save your file using the same name, but you increase the
version number by one to tell yourself, or your colleagues, that there was a big change
since the last version. Version numbers are also useful for keeping track of your
progress.
Version numbers can also save your hide. If you start down a path on your scene, but
discover after hours of work (and saving your work as you go along, versioning up as you
went) that this was indeed the wrong way to go, you can simply close the scene and open
one of the previous versions before you started going in the wrong direction. This happens
a lot more than you might think.
Disk space is cheap and scene files, even huge ones, aren’t all that big in the face of
the hundreds of gigabytes you can buy for less than $100. Keep a notebook and a pen
next to your workstation so that you can take notes on your progress and record exactly
what you did during your work sessions. Professionals do this regularly. They can’t afford
to waste time trying to figure out what file they should load to access a particular chunk
of work.
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Basic Project Structure Used in This Book
Each exercise will be its own 3ds Max project. Pick a place on your hard drive and start
there. Create a folder called Max Projects on your C: drive (you can create one anywhere
you want, including your My Documents folder). Place all of your projects in this folder.
This will make it easy to find your files and back them up to CD or tape.
Let’s create the first project we’ll be working on, Mobile. Select File ➔ Set Project Folder
and navigate to your Max Projects folder (or My Documents folder), and then click Make
New Folder. Name the folder Mobile. 3ds Max will create the subfolders for the project, as
shown here.
That’s pretty much it. Having a naming convention is easy; sticking to it is not, especially
when you’re first starting out. Make sure you stick to it.
Saving Your Scenes in Max
Save your scene frequently to protect yourself from mistakes and from losing your work.
Choosing File ➔ Save updates the current scene by overwriting the last save of the scene. If
no scene was previously saved, this command opens the Save File As dialog box. Using it,
you can select where to save the scene and enter your scene’s name.
To “version up,” you can save by using File ➔ Save As and manually changing the version
number appended to the end of the filename. Max, however, allows you to do this easily
by using an increment feature in the Save As dialog box. Simply name your scene
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the 3ds max interface
file and click the Increment button (the + icon) to the right of the filename text, as
shown here.
Clicking the Increment button will append the filename with 01, then 02, then 03, and so
on as you keep saving your work using Save As and the Increment button. In the previous
example, the scene’s base filename was SceneName_v. Clicking the Increment button added
the two digit version number after the “_v.” Adding the “_v” is a personal preference, of
course, but it keeps with the naming convention set up in this book. It looks nicer, and you
can easily determine the version number for your file by reading the number after the “_v.”
The 3ds Max Interface
Here is a brief rundown of what you need to know about the UI and how to navigate in
Max’s 3d space. We will cover the interface in more detail in the next chapter, so feel free
to jump back and forth if you need to know more about the UI.
The Menu Bar running across the top of the UI gives you access to a ton of commands—from basic file operations, such as Save, to advanced tools you may need for a
scene. Immediately below the main Menu Bar is the main toolbar that contains several
icons for functions such as Undo and the three transform tools (Move, Rotate, and
Scale). You will use some of these icons for your exercise, and they are described in the
next chapter.
The Undo and Redo icons are important, and you should be familiar with them. If you
do something and then wish you hadn’t, simply click the Undo icon (the icon on the left)
or press Ctrl+Z. To redo a command or action that you just undid, click the Redo button
(the icon on the right) or press Ctrl+Y.
The Command Panel
The Command panel is a vertical column or panel on the right side of the Max UI. It is
segmented into tabs (as shown in Figure 2.1). Each tab displays the buttons and icons for
a particular part of your workflow, such as creating objects, modifying objects, animating
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objects, etc. In each tab, the functions are grouped under headings that can be expanded or
collapsed by clicking on the heading title. A plus next to the heading name means that you
can expand the heading’s view; a minus means that you can collapse the heading to save space.
If you move your mouse over the Command panel, the arrow pointer will change to a
hand pointer, as shown in Figure 2.1, when it is not on a button or icon. While the pointer
is a hand, you can click and drag to move the current panel up and down in the Command
panel to see more functions in that space. You can also click on the far right side of the panel
to scroll up and down if you don’t want to use the hand.
As shown in the graphic to the left, the viewport controls with icons for various options
for the 3d word windows (called viewports) are in the lower-right corner of the UI. These
functions allow you to navigate the windows and their 3d space. However, you may find it
easier to use hotkeys to invoke most of these viewport control functions to navigate 3d
space. We will cover navigating 3d space and the appropriate hotkeys next.
Viewports
You’ll be doing most of your work in the viewports. These windows represent 3d space
using a system based on Cartesian coordinates. That is basically the smarty pants way of
saying “space in X-, Y-, and Z-axes.” You can visualize X as left-right, Y as up-down, and Z
Figure 2.1
The Command panel
is segmented into
headings called
rollouts that group
similar functions
and icons.
Main Toolbar Icons
Command Panel Tabs
Panel Rollout
Function Buttons
Panel Rollout
Hand Pointer
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the 3ds max interface
as into and out of the screen. The coordinates are expressed as a set of three numbers such
as (0, 3, –7). These coordinates represent a point that is at 0 in the X-axis, three units up
in the Y-axis, and seven units back in the Z-axis. All CG programs, such as 3ds Max, are
based on this coordinate system.
Four Viewport Layout
3ds Max’s viewports are the windows into your scene (Figure 2.2). By default, there
are four main views: Front, Top, Left, and Perspective. The first three: Front, Top,
and Left are called Orthographic (2D) views. They are often referred to as modeling or
work windows. These windows are best at expressing exact dimensions and size relationships. It’s generally best to work in the orthographic windows when you are creating
objects.
The Perspective viewport displays objects in 3D space using a simulation of perspective. Notice in Figure 2.2 how the distant cubes seem to get smaller in the Perspective
view. In actuality, they are the same size—as you can see in the Orthographic views. The
Perspective view gives you the best representation of what your output will be.
To select a viewport, just use the cursor and click in some blank viewport space (not
on an object). If you do have something selected, it will be deselected when you click on
the blank space. You can also just right-click anywhere in an inactive viewport to activate
it. When active, the view will have a yellow highlight around it. If you right-click in an
already active viewport, you will get a pop-up context menu called the Quad menu. You
can use this shortcut menu to access some basic commands for a faster workflow. We will
cover these menus in the next chapter, so don’t fret just yet.
Figure 2.2
The 3ds Max
viewports
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Object and Axes Display in a Viewport
Viewports can display your scene objects in a few different ways. If you right-click on the
viewport’s name, you will see a context menu pop-up called the Right-Click Viewport
menu, as shown in the following graphic. The most common view modes are Wireframe
mode and Smooth + Highlights mode. Wireframe mode displays the outlines of the
object, and it is the fastest because it requires less computation on your video card. The
Smooth + Highlight mode is a shaded view where the objects in the scene appear solid.
You will get the chance to experiment with the different display modes in the upcoming
Mobile exercise.
Each viewport displays a ground plane grid (as shown in the Perspective viewport),
called the Home Grid. This is the basic 3d space reference system defined by three fixed
planes on the coordinate axes (X,Y,Z). The center of all three axes is called the origin,
where the coordinates are (0,0,0). The Home Grid is visible by default when you start the
software, but it can be turned off in the Right-Click Viewport menu. You can also toggle
the grid by pressing G.
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The Perspective viewport has a red, green, and blue axes marker, where the X-axis is
red, the Y-axis is green, and the Z-axis is blue. Max uses this red, green, and blue color
scheme to represent the X-, Y-, and Z-axes throughout the interface. As a matter of fact,
most other 3d packages also use red, green, and blue to represent X, Y, and Z, respectively.
Selecting Objects in a Viewport
Selecting objects in a viewport is as easy as clicking on them. If the object is displayed in
Wireframe mode, its wireframe will turn white while it is selected. If the object is displayed
in a Shaded mode, a white bracket will appear around the object as shown here.
To select multiple objects, simply hold the Ctrl key as you click on the additional objects
to add to your selection. If you Ctrl+click (i.e., press the Ctrl key and click) on an active
object, you will deselect it. You can clear all of your active selection by clicking anywhere
in the empty areas of the viewport.
Changing/Maximizing the Viewports
To change the view in any given viewport, say from a Perspective view to a Front view,
right-click on the current viewport’s name to bring up the Right-Click Viewport menu.
From this menu, select View and then select the view you want to have in this viewport,
as shown here.
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If you want to maximize the active viewport to a larger view from the default fourviewport layout, press the Maximize Viewport Toggle icon ( ) in the lower-right corner
of the Max window. You can also use the Alt+W keyboard shortcut to toggle between the
maximized and four-viewport view.
Viewport Navigation
To work effectively, you will need to navigate in 3d space. Max allows you to move around
its viewports by using either key/mouse combinations, which are highly preferred, or by
using the viewport controls found in the lower-right corner of the Max UI. A full explanation of the viewport controls is in the next chapter. To navigate in the views, you should
become familiar with the key/mouse combinations now.
Open a new, empty scene in Max. Experiment with the following controls to get
a feel for moving around in 3d space. If you are new to 3d, this may seem odd at first,
but it will become easier as you gain experience and should become second nature in
no time. If you are coming to 3ds Max from another 3d package, such as Maya, you
will notice several similarities that will definitely take a little getting used to. With
time and practice, you should be able to hop back and forth between packages with
little confusion.
• Pan—Panning a viewport will “slide” the view around the screen. Simply MM+
click in the viewport and drag the mouse to move the view.
• Zoom—Zooming will move your view in closer or farther away from your
objects. To zoom, press Ctrl+Alt and MM+click in your viewport, and then drag
the mouse up or down to zoom in or out, respectively. Zooming is sometimes
called a dolly in other packages. It is more common to use the scroll wheel to
zoom, however.
• Arc Rotate—Arc rotate will rotate your view around your objects. To arc rotate,
press Alt and MM+click and drag in the viewport. By default, Max will rotate (or
tumble as it’s called in some other CG programs) about the center of the viewport
to change your perspective.
The arc rotate move is used primarily in the Perspective views and not in the Orthographic
views. If you accidentally arc rotate in one of the Orthographic views, you will be given a new
User view. This view will be similar to a perspective; however, it will remain orthographic—
meaning that there will be no vanishing point or perspective shift in the view; it is not a real
camera view. You can reset the view back to your straight Orthogonal view by right-clicking
on the User viewport’s name and selecting your original view.
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Jumping Headlong into Animation
Talk is cheap—unless you’re calling long distance. Let’s get busy and dive right into 3ds
Max and create an animation. You may not understand the whats or whys for all the steps
you’re about to undergo, but you will get a quick trial by fire by getting into the program
and following us as we guide you through some of the basic workflows for Max.
For your first experience, we will create a simple mobile. This example will teach you
the basics of object creation, hierarchies, setting keyframes to create animation, and general workflow.
Plan of Attack for Making Objects
In production work, setting down a plan and having clear goals
for your animation is very important. Without a good idea of
where you need to go, you’ll end up floundering and losing out
on the whole experience. With that in mind, our goal in this
chapter is to create a finished mobile, like the ones that hang
over baby cribs. Because this is our first foray into Max, let’s
start with a simple object, so we won’t be bogged down with the
specifics of creating masterful models. Instead, we’ll use simple
objects easily created in Max.
Hierarchies
Once we model the mobile, we’ll set up the pieces for animation.
We will do this by creating proper hierarchies within the scene.
The concept of hierarchy is a common feature in almost all CG
packages. The hierarchy in a CG scene deals with how objects are
arranged in a scene in relation to each other. Parents in a hierarchy lead children. Simply put, where a parent goes, the children
follow. When you translate (move) or rotate or scale a parent
object, its children will move, turn, or scale along with it.
However, children retain the ability to move themselves under
their parent’s supervision. The Mobile exercise is a perfect way to
demonstrate the idea of hierarchies. Take a look at Figure 2.3,
which displays the completed mobile. The top bar, from which
the other bars hang, rotates and takes the lower bars with it. In
this exercise, we will also animate the lower bars to rotate individually, just as a real mobile would.
Figure 2.3
The completed
mobile object
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The dangling shapes on the lower bars are the children of their respective bars. Those
lower bars are children of the bars above them, and so on up to the top bar that controls
the rotation of the entire mobile. Once you begin working on it, it will make more sense.
As you can see now, hierarchy plays an important part in animation.
Don’t get hung up on all the steps and what they mean. This is a quick dip in the pond
to get your feet wet, and we will explain everything you do here in the next chapters. So
why do you need to read about hierarchies now before you’re finished with the model?
It’s always a good idea to go into something with a goal in mind. Knowing, even roughly,
where you are headed will make things much easier. We’ll go over this once we start to set
up the mobile after it’s been modeled.
Making the Mobile’s Bars
To begin, we’ll create the simple objects for the parts of the mobile. The mobile comprises
horizontal bars and shapes that hang from the ends of each bar. We will forgo the strings
used in an actual mobile and just make do with the bars and the shapes. To create the bars
for the mobile, follow these steps:
Figure 2.4
The Create panel
1. In the Command panel, activate the Create panel (as shown in Figure 2.4) by clicking on
the Create tab ( ). The Create panel is usually enabled by default. Click the Geometry
button ( ) to display the Geometry Object Types; it is usually enabled by default.
You will see a number of ways to create various objects. You will begin most, if not all,
of your Max models in this panel.
2. With Standard Primitives selected in the pull-down menu, as shown in Figure 2.4,
click the create Cylinder button. The Cylinder button will turn orange, and your cursor will turn from the obligatory arrow to a cross.
3. Go to the Perspective view. On the Home Grid, right-click and drag the mouse in
any direction to begin the radius of the cylinder. Drag the mouse until it makes a
circle, as shown in the top left graphic, and release the right mouse button. As soon
as you release the button, you’ll notice that as you move the mouse up or down, Max
will pull the circle into a cylinder. Settle on a height for the cylinder and right-click
to create the cylinder, as shown in the bottom left graphic. Don’t worry about the size
of the tube; we will modify it in the following steps to turn this cylinder into the top
hanging bar for the mobile. Any size cylinder is fine for right now.
4. With the cylinder still selected in the Perspective panel, click the Modify tab ( ) in
the Command panel to bring up all the nifty tools you can use to modify objects in
Max. You will rename the cylinder and size it to be a bar for the mobile. At the top of
the panel, you’ll notice a text box with Cylinder01 and a colored square next to it, as
shown in Figure 2.5. The color swatch is the Object Color, and it helps you organize
your elements in a scene. The color is easily changed by clicking on the swatch and
simply choosing another color from the window that pops up (as seen in Figure 2.6).
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This color is not necessarily the color your object will render in the final output
of your animation (for more on rendering in Max, see Chapter 11, “3ds Max
Rendering”). We’re not too interested in the color of the bar right now, so
you can leave the cylinder the way it is, or you can change it—whatever floats
your boat.
5. You do need to change the name of the cylinder, however. Click in the text box and
change it from Cylinder01 to Main Parent. This name signifies that the cylinder will
be the top bar of the mobile and the top parent to the rest of the objects in the scene.
For more on hierarchies, see the “Hierarchies” section earlier in this chapter.
6. You need to size the cylinder (Main Parent) to make it a bar. Under
the Parameters heading in the Modify panel, you’ll notice a handful
of parameters for Main Parent, as shown in Figure 2.7. If you don’t
see anything there, make sure the cylinder is selected. The Modify
panel will display the parameters for the selected object only. To adjust
the parameters for the bar, you can type values directly into the
appropriate boxes. You can also use the Up and Down arrows on
the right either by clicking on the arrows or by clicking and dragging up or down on the arrows. Change the Radius to 1 unit, Height
to 100 units, and Height Segments to 1 (as shown in Figure 2.7).
Your cylinder should look like a bar, as shown here. For a quick
explanation of the other cylinder parameters, see the following note.
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Figure 2.5
The Modify panel
allows you to change
the name of the
selected object and
color it in the scene.
Figure 2.6
The Object Color helps you organize the scene
by letting you assign colors to your objects.
Figure 2.7
The parameters of a
selected object (in
this case the Main
Parent cylinder) can
be changed to suit
your needs.
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NAMING OBJECTS AND KEEPING THE SCENE ORGANIZED
In 3ds Max, and in any CG package, it is incredibly important to keep things organized and as
clean as possible. From personal experience, I hate to pick up a scene from a colleague and
waste tons of time trying to figure out exactly what is in their scene. Many professional studios have strict naming procedures and conventions to minimize the confusion their artists
may have when working in a pipeline—meaning that many artists will touch the same digital
files and assets through a production. Even if you are the only person who will ever see the
scene in Max, it is still an incredibly good idea to name and organize your objects. Get into
the habit of naming your objects and keeping a clean scene. You will waste a lot of time if
you don’t—not to mention the dirty looks you’ll get from other artists handling your cluttered scenes.
Every object in Max will have parameters that define it geometrically in the scene. The exact
parameters that are available for editing depend on the object that is being edited. For this
cylinder, for example, you’ve already seen what the Radius and Height parameters do. The
Height Segments, Cap Segments, and Sides parameters basically determine how many polygons are used to define the shape, and hence how smooth it appears. Because the bar will
not bend, you do not need extra polygons along the length. Therefore, the Height Segment
is changed from the default of 5 to 1.
Positioning the Bar
Now you need to position the first bar, and then create copies for the other bars of the
mobile, as shown in the following steps:
1. Click the Select and Rotate icon ( )—we’ll call it the Rotate tool from now on—in
the main toolbar running just below the Menu Bar. (You can also use the hotkey E
to enable Select and Rotate.) Click on the Main Parent cylinder to select it and enable
the Rotate tool. Notice the Rotate gizmo appears at the base of the cylinder.
2. You can click and drag on one of the axes to rotate the cylinder in that axis. For our
needs, click on the Y-axis rotate handle, which is the green circle, and drag the mouse
to rotate the cylinder to the right of the screen as shown in Figure 2.8. The green Y-axis
handle turns yellow when you select it. The active axis handle on any given gizmo is
yellow.
3. The bar needs to be rotated a perfect 90 degrees, and that is usually difficult to do by
hand using the gizmo. Look at the bottom left of the Max UI, and you will see the orientation of the bar in three text boxes called the Transform Type-In boxes. You can
enter a value of 90 in the Y-axis Transform Type-In box to set the bar to exactly 90
degrees, as shown in Figure 2.9.
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Figure 2.8
Figure 2.9
The Rotate gizmo allows you to rotate the selected object.
Set the rotation to exactly 90 degrees in the Y-axis in
the Transform Type-In box.
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Copying the Bar
In the next steps, you will copy the bar to make the other bars. Because the bar is already
the size and orientation we need, it’ll be much faster to copy three more bars and place
them. Copying objects in Max is actually quite easy; just follow these steps:
1. Click the Select and Move Tool icon ( )—we’ll call it the Move tool from now
on—and select the bar. You can also invoke the Move tool with the hotkey W.
2. With the bar selected, hold down the Shift key and move the bar down in the Z-axis.
A second copy of the bar will form: move it down in the Z-axis with your cursor. As
soon as you release the mouse button, the Clone Options window will ask you what
kind of copy you want to make (Figure 2.10). We will cover the different types of
copies and what they mean in Chapter 4, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I.” Can you
feel the anticipation?
3. In the Clone Options window (Figure 2.10), keep the Copy button checked, enter 3 for
the Number of Copies, and change the Name to Parent01. Click OK. Max will create
three copies for you and position them down in the Z-axis the same amount you moved
the original clone while you had the Shift key pressed. How’s that for swanky?
4. We’ll keep all the bars in the Z-axis for simplicity’s sake. After all, this is your first Max
animation; there’s plenty of time for confusion later. You’ll need to use the Move
tool to position the lower bars as shown in Figure 2.11; just don’t move the bars off
the Z-axis by moving any of them in the Y-axis.
Try to position the bars so that the second bar’s center lines up with the left end of the
top bar. The third bar’s center should be lined up with the top bar’s right end. The fourth
bar can line up with the top bar. Each level of the bars should be about five units down in
the Z-axis from the last bar. Now you’re ready to make the hanging objects.
Creating the Mobile’s Objects
What kind of mobile has only four sticks hanging on a string? You’ll have to make some
objects to hang from the ends of the bars. These objects will be simple shapes you can create with the following steps:
1. Activate the Front viewport by clicking inside it. Maximize that viewport with the
Maximize Viewport Toggle icon ( ) in the bottom-right corner of the Max UI.
Figure 2.10
The Clone Options
window asks you the
type and number of
copies to make.
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Figure 2.11
Position the bars for
the mobile.
2. In the Command panel, click the Create tab and then click the Shapes button ( ) to
display the creation options for various shapes. The Splines option should be shown
in the Object Type pull-down menu, as shown in Figure 2.12.
3. Let’s start with a circle. Click the Circle button. Your cursor will turn to a cross as it
did when you created the cylinder. This time, expand the Keyboard Entry rollout.
Enter a value of 20 for the Radius under the Keyboard Entry rollout in the Create
panel, as you can see in Figure 2.13. Click the Create button and a circle with radius
20 will appear at the origin. This is a way to make objects with precise dimensions,
as opposed to clicking and dragging as you did to create the cylinder.
VIEWPORT MODES
In Shaded mode, you see the objects in your scene as
solid objects. This is the default mode for all the max
Perspective viewports, but not for the Modeling viewports such as the Front view. To switch from one view
mode to another, right-click on the viewport name in
the upper-left corner of the viewport. A context
menu appear will appear, as shown here.
You can select the view mode for that viewport by
selecting it from the context menu. Other display
modes, aside from Smooth + Highlights and Wireframe,
are listed under the Other selection of the menu.
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4. The circle is created with the name Circle01, which is fine, so
there is no need to change its name. Use the Move tool to position it under the second bar, lining up its center with the left end
of the second bar as shown in Figure 2.14. Splines, as with the circle you just created, are not renderable shapes by default. This
means they will not render when you output your scene unless
you specify otherwise. The circle will be displayed as a wireframe,
even when the viewport is in Smooth + Highlights mode (aka
Shaded mode; i.e., when objects are shown as solid in the viewport). For more on display modes in viewports, see Chapter 2
and the following brief sidebar.
Spline shapes, such as our lovely circle, are just curves that first
need to be given a surface to be able to render as solid objects. To
make the circle solid, you will extrude it:
1. Select the Circle01 object (the circle) and click the Modify tab
( ) in the Command panel. Under the Circle01 name text
box, click on the Modifier List pull-down menu to access the
tons of modifiers you can add to the circle (Figure 2.15). Under
the Object-Space Modifiers heading, select Extrude.
Figure 2.12
Creating splinebased shapes
Figure 2.13
Under the Keyboard
Entry heading, you
can enter the exact
radius to use for the
circle.
2. In the box below the Modifier List pulldown menu, there is a new
entry called Extrude that sits above the existing Circle entry for
the selected Circle01 object. This box is called the Modifier Stack
and is shown in Figure 2.16. The Modifier Stack displays all the
modifiers that are contributing to the selected object, in this case
the circle. The Circle modifier entry holds the original parameters
of Circle01 while the new Extrude modifier entry holds the
parameters for the extrusion you just applied to the circle. The
circle now has a surface and is solid in the Perspective viewport
(Figure 2.17).
Figure 2.14
In 3ds Max 9, a flat object may display with one side black, whereas previous versions of 3ds
Max displayed flat objects properly. This is due to Backface Culling, which is a display optimization toggle that is now turned off by default in 3ds Max 9. If you notice that one side of
your flat object turns black, don’t fret. Simply select the object and go to the Display tab of
the Command panel (
) . Scroll down to the bottom of the panel under the Display Prop-
erties rollout and click to toggle on Backface Cull.
3. In the Modifier Stack, click the Extrude entry to bring up its parameters. Play with the
Amount parameter to give the circle extrusion some depth and make a cylinder.
Position the
circle under the
second bar.
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4. Let’s go off topic just for a second to learn something a bit more general about Max.
Go into Wireframe View mode in your Perspective window by right-clicking on the
Perspective viewport name in the upper-left corner and selecting Wireframe from the
context menu (you may also press F3). Make sure you right-click on the viewport
name; right-clicking elsewhere in the viewport will bring up the Quad menu (which
is explained in Chapter 3). Now that you see the wireframe of the extruded circle,
change the Segments of the Extrude modifier to see what happens. Figure 2.18 shows
the extruded circle with Segments of 1 on the left, and Segments of 4 on the right.
You’ll see that there are more geometry divisions (called subdivisions) which make
the object smoother lengthwise. Because you don’t need to bend this extruded cylinder, you do not need extra subdivisions along the length, so set the Segments back
down to 1.
Figure 2.15
Figure 2.16
Figure 2.17
The Modifier List
The Modifier Stack
shows off the
Extrude modifier
you just applied.
The circle is now a flat disc!
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Figure 2.18
The extruded cylinder with a Segments
value of 1 on the
left, and a Segments
of 4 on the right.
5. Back to the topic at hand, we need the circle to remain a flat disc, so set the Amount
to 0.01 and keep the Segments at 1 as in the previous step.
6. Set the Perspective viewport back to Smooth + Highlights by right-clicking the viewport name, which is Perspective, and selecting Smooth + Highlights from the menu.
You may also press F3 to toggle between the two display modes.
7. You should now see a flat solid disc as shown here.
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8. Create a hexagon for the second shape. Go back to the Front viewport. In the Command panel, click the NGon button as shown here. In the Parameters heading, set the
Sides to 6 for a hexagon. An NGon is a polygon with N number of sides. In this case,
N is 6 to make a hexagon. In the Front viewport, click and drag to create the hexagon
to a radius of about 20.
9. In the same way you created the disc using an Extrusion modifier on the circle, make
a hexagon into a solid shape by adding an Extrusion modifier to it. Select the hexagon
(named NGon01). In the Modifier panel, click the Modifier List pull-down menu
and select Extrude (as seen in Figure 2.16). The NGon01 object will now have its own
Extrude modifier in the Modifier Stack.
10. Use the Move tool ( ) to place the NGon01 hexagon below and lined up with the
other end of the second bar. Figure 2.19 shows the solid NGon01 surface in position.
11. Create four more shapes and place them to line up under the ends of the remaining
bars as shown in Figure 2.20. You will need to create and extrude the remaining four
shapes all at about the same size (radius of 20). The following table shows you the
remaining shapes and what Object Type button to use to create them and what their
names will be in the scene. It’s important to keep the naming as printed here to avoid
any confusion when we begin to set up the hierarchies for animation:
MOBILE OBJECT
Figure 2.19
The solid hexagon is
in place.
CREATION TYPE
OBJECT NAME
Square
Use the Create Rectangle button
Rectangle01
Star
Use the Create Star button
Star01
Triangle
Use the Create NGon button with three sides
Ngon02
Donut
Use the Create Donut button
Donut01
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Figure 2.20
The shapes are now
in position for the
mobile.
You should already have created these first two shapes:
MOBILE OBJECT
CREATION TYPE
OBJECT NAME
Circle
Used the Create Circle button
Circle01
Hexagon
Used the Create NGon button with six sides
NGon01
If you are clicking and dragging to try to create a shape in the Perspective viewport and nothing happens, you will need to switch to one of the Orthographic views. In this Mobile example, make sure to create all the shapes in the Front viewport for simplicity’s sake.
There you have it— a completed mobile model ready to set up and animate. The next
sections of the chapter will take you through setting these objects up for animation in
hierarchies so that when one bar rotates, its shapes and any bars beneath it also rotate with
it. Go put your feet up and watch something dumb on TV for a little while; you’ve earned
a break. It’s actually important to take a break at this point, and make sure what you’ve
gone through makes some sense. Feel free to go back and redo the exercise in part or in
whole. In the next section, we will tackle hierarchies and setting up the mobile objects to
animate properly.
Save your progress, making sure to version up so that you don’t overwrite any previous
scene files you might need later. You can check your work against the Mobile_v01.max
scene file in the Mobile\Scenes folder on the CD.
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Setting Up the Hierarchy
Before we continue with the next step in the Mobile exercise, let’s take a look at hierarchies in action. Here is a quick introduction to how hierarchies work.
Parent and Child Objects
In the following steps, we will create a hierarchy of a few boxes to see how the relationship
works when parents move, taking their children with them, and how children can move
independently under their parents.
1. In a new scene, in the Create panel, click Box to create a new box. Click and drag in
the Front viewport and draw out a box. Notice that when you drag the first time, a flat
box is created. When you are happy with the size of the rectangle, click once and drag
to “pull out” the third dimension of the box to give it depth. Click again when you are
happy with the 3D box, and Max will create it. Your cursor will still be active in the
Create Box tool. Click and drag to create two more boxes of approximately the same
size to the right of the first box, as shown in Figure 2.21.
2. You need to set up a hierarchy so that the box on the right is a child of the box in the
middle, which in turn is a child of the box on the left, like a row of ducks. In the main
toolbar across the top of the UI, click the Select and Link tool ( ). The Select and
Link tool works upward, meaning you select the bottom of the hierarchy and work
your way up. In either the Front or Perspective viewports, click the box on the right
Figure 2.21
Create three
lined-up boxes.
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and drag the mouse over to the box in the middle. A dashed line and a cursor will
change while you do this, as shown in the following graphic. When you release the
mouse button, the two boxes will flash a white outline. This indicates that the link
worked. The box on the right is now a child of the box in the middle.
3. Click on the Move tool ( ) and select the middle box. Move it around in the viewport, and the box on the right (the child) will now follow as shown in the following
graphic. Click on the child box on the right, and move it. Notice the child can move
independently of its parent (the box in the middle).
4. Click the Select and Link tool ( ) again. This time click on the box in the middle
and drag to the box on the left. Select and move the box on the left, and all the boxes
will follow. Now let’s set a few keyframes on these boxes to get our juices flowing.
Setting Keyframe
The Time slider is at the bottom of the screen, as shown in Figure 2.22. The Time slider is
used to change your position in time, counted in frames. As you read in the previous chapter, frames are the common increment for denoting time in an animation. You’ll read
more about the Time slider in the next chapter.
Figure 2.22
The Time slider allows
you to change your
position in time and
scrub your animation.
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You can click and drag the horizontal bar to change the frame in your animation on
the fly. This is called scrubbing animation. The bar displays the current frame/end frame
(it should read 0/100 before you click and drag it). Click and drag the slider to the left so
your current frame is 0. Now, in the lower-right corner of the UI, click the Auto Key button, as shown in the following graphic. Both the Auto Key button and the Time slider will
turn red. This means that any movement in the objects in your scene will be recorded as
animation. How exciting!
Move the Time slider to the right to frame 20. Select the box on the left (the top parent)
and move it across the Front viewport to the left along the X-axis. Next, click and move
the middle box down in the Y-axis in the viewport, as shown here.
Now scrub the timeline between 0 and 20, and you will see your animation. Even
though you did not set any keyframes on the box to the right, it follows along with both
the left box and the middle box, doing a combination of their moves. The middle box
goes with its parent, the left box, and its own animation, sliding down the viewport in
the Y-axis. This is a simple hierarchy showing you how the relationships between objects
build animation. You will use the same theory to build the animation for the Mobile
exercise.
Hierarchies for the Mobile
Let’s start with a simple hierarchy scheme much like the Boxes exercise. Start with your
own Mobile scene, or load up the Mobile_v01.max scene file in the Mobile\Scenes folder
on the CD. You will create the hierarchies for animation of the mobile using the following
steps:
1. Remember, the Select and Link tool works from
the children up the hierarchy to the top parent.
You will link the shapes to their respective bars
up the mobile. Click the Select and Link tool
( ) and then select the triangle. Drag the cursor to its bar, as shown here. The triangle is now
linked to the bar above it.
2. With the Select and Link tool still active, click
and drag from the donut shape to the bar above
it, as shown.
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setting up the hierarchy
3. With the Select and Link tool, click and drag from the bottom bar that holds the triangle and donut to the square
shape above it, as shown here. The bar is hanging from that
square as if this were a real mobile, so you would link it as
such. If you want to check your work, select and move the
square and the bar. The shapes beneath it will move with
the square. Just make sure to press Ctrl+Z to undo any
moves you made to check the linking.
4. Now you just need to use the same steps to link the rest of
the mobile:
a. Click and drag with the Select and Link tool from the
square to the bar above it.
b. Link from the star to its bar.
c. Link from the bar above the star and square to the top
bar, as shown.
d. Link from the hexagon to its bar.
e. Link from the circle to its bar.
f. Link from the bar above the circle and hexagon to the
top bar, as shown.
You can refer to Figure 2.23 for a diagram of the linking
order. It doesn’t matter in what order you link the pieces, as
long as you link from the bottom pieces up the chain.
Pivot Points
Now you’ve linked all the pieces of the mobile and created your first animation hierarchy. It’s time to rotate
parts of the mobile and test your handy work. This will
be the last step before you animate the mobile. To test
the mobile, select the bottom bar and rotate it on the
Z-axis in either direction. Figure 2.24 shows the rotation of the bottom bar. Notice that the Rotate gizmo is
at one end of the bar and not in the middle. You should
also notice how the bar (along with the triangle and
donut) is rotating around the end of the bar, although
it should rotate in the middle, where the string would
be hanging it from the square right above it.
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Figure 2.25
The Hierarchy panel
Figure 2.23
Figure 2.24
The linking order determines the hierarchy of the
mobile.
The bottom bar is rotating around one end
instead of the middle.
Your results might be slightly different from what is shown here. Your bar might not
rotate around the same end or it might rotate somewhere else along the cylinder. This is
perfectly normal. The important thing is where the pivot point of the object is—and that
pivot should be in the middle of the bar.
Simply put, the pivot point of an object in Max is the point about which it rotates. It is
also the point on the object that defines the point in coordinate space where the object
resides.
Because the pivot of the bottom bar is not in the middle of the bar, you will have to
move the pivot to the middle. To do so, follow these steps:
1. Use Ctrl+Z to undo any rotations you have already put on the bottom bar. Click the
Move tool ( ) or press the hotkey W for the Move tool, and select the bottom bar if
it is not currently selected. In the Command panel, switch to the Hierarchy panel, as
shown in Figure 2.25, by pressing the Hierarchy Panel tab ( ).
2. At the top of the Hierarchy panel, make sure
the Pivot button is active and then click the
Affect Pivot Only button to activate it (the
button will turn purple). This will tell Max to
move only the pivot point of the currently
selected object and not to move the entire
object. Your gizmo icon will change, as
shown here.
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3. Click on the X-axis Move handle (the small red arrow inside the
larger outline of an arrow) and move the pivot along the length of
the bar to the middle of the bar, as shown here.
4. In the Hierarchy panel, click the Affect Pivot Only button again to
turn it off. Your cursor will return to the normal Move Tool gizmo.
Select the Rotate tool from the main toolbar ( ) and rotate the
bottom bar again. It will now rotate around the middle of the bar
as it should, with the triangle and donut in tow, as shown in
Figure 2.26.
5. To make sure the pivot points are all in the middle of the respective
bars, check the other bars in the mobile. If not, use the previous
steps to relocate the pivots to their proper places.
You can check your work against the Mobile_v03.max scene file in
the Mobile\Scenes folder on the CD. Once the pivot points are all
placed properly on the mobile’s bars, you are ready to animate.
Grab a juice box; you deserve it!
Ready, Set, Animate!
In this animation, we’ll rotate only the bars of the mobile. Don’t worry
about rotating or animating the shapes for now. We will pick this
exercise back up in Chapter 8, “Introduction to Animation,” for
further study.
You can use your own file, or you can load the Mobile_v03.max scene file in the
Mobile\Scenes folder on the CD. In this file, the mobile is already linked properly for this
animation and all the pivots are placed at the middle of each bar. To animate the mobile,
follow these steps:
1. Scrub the Time slider to 0. Turn on the Auto Keyframe feature by clicking the Auto
Key button, which is shown here. Both the Auto Key button and the Time slider will
turn red.
2. Move the Time slider to frame 50. Click the Rotate tool (or press the hotkey E for the
Rotate tool), and select and rotate the bottom bar (which will also rotate the triangle
and donut shapes beneath it). You can rotate the bar in either direction on the Z-axis,
as shown in Figure 2.27. Give it a few full rotations all the way around. Don’t be shy.
3. You can scrub the animation to check it out. The bottom bar and its shapes should be
spinning. Make sure you go back to frame 50 in the Time slider. With the Rotate tool
still active, select the second bar from the bottom (the bar with the square and the star
shapes), and rotate it in either direction in the Z-axis. Figure 2.28 shows how the bottom bar follows along.
Figure 2.26
The bottom bar now
rotates properly.
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Figure 2.27
Figure 2.28
Rotate the bottom bar with gusto!
Rotate the second bar and the bottom
bar follows.
4. While still at frame 50, select the third bar from the bottom (the bar with the circle
and the hexagon) and rotate it in either direction on the Z-axis. The circle and hexagon rotate with the bar, as shown here.
5. With the Rotate tool, select the top bar
and rotate it in either direction on the
Z-axis. The entire mobile will rotate
along with it, because the top bar is
the top parent of this hierarchy
(Figure 2.29).
Scrub your animation, and you’ll see that the mobile is in full swing! The bars rotate
and carry with them the shapes and bars beneath them, according to the previously set
hierarchy. If your shapes or child bars are not rotating with their parent bars, check your
hierarchies or redo that portion of the exercise.
You may have noticed that this exercise asked you not to animate the rotation of the shapes
linked under the bars. If you animate the shapes under the bars to rotate, you will probably
get some strange results when you play back the animation. The shapes and some of the
bars linked below the animated shapes will not rotate properly. To avoid overloading you
with information, this stage of this exercise is specifically intended to animate only the bars.
We will revisit this exercise to learn how to properly animate the shapes and the bars in
Chapter 8.
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summary
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Figure 2.29
The whole mobile
rotates with the
top bar.
Summary
Understanding the underlying technique used here is important, so doing the exercise
more than once is not a bad idea. These things can be frustrating, so take it easy and when
you get confused or stuck, back up and try again.
In this chapter, you learned how project management and file workflow help you keep
things organized. You learned how to navigate the User Interface to create and manipulate
objects in the viewports. You learned about hierarchies and how to link objects together to
create a hierarchy useful for our mobile animation. Finally, you learned how pivot points
are used, and we also learned how to create animation using the Auto Key function.
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CHAPTER 3
The 3ds Max Interface
This chapter explains the interface and the commonly used windows and
panels. You already mucked about in the UI when you built your mobile in the previous
chapter. This chapter will go into more depth regarding some of the tasks you performed,
and it will give you a layout of where things are and what they do. Furthermore, we’ll take
a look at the commonly used windows and panels in Max and see how to operate them.
You can use this chapter as a reference as you work through the rest of this book. As
you progress, you might want to check back here to bone up on some of the information.
It’s important to be in front of your computer when you check out this chapter, so you
can try things out as we discuss them in the book.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Screen Layout
■
Command Panel
■
Controls at the Bottom of the UI
■
Navigation Controls
■
Layer Editor
■
Schematic View
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What Am I Looking At?
When you start up Max, you will be looking at a screen full of buttons, icons, menus, and
panels. Although it may seem that there is no end to the switches and levers in Max, you’ll
be able to master the UI with experience. The more you use Max to create, the more comfortable you’ll become with the UI and all of its nuances. Before you know it, the UI will
be a nonissue for you—just give it time.
As with many other 3d applications, any command or tool can be accessed using several different ways. For example, you can access some tools through the Command panel,
the Menu Bar, hotkeys, or context menus.
With so many different ways to perform any single function, how can you keep it all
straight? Have a function or tool in several different places may seem like overload, but
ultimately it gives users the most freedom to discover their preferred workflow. You may
prefer to work mostly through the Command panel; others may find the Menu Bar easier
to use. In either case, it’s important to first experience the most common way to use Max,
and then branch out and find your own. In this book, we will present the most obvious
way to access a function first and give you alternative ways (such as hotkeys) later when
you access that feature again and again.
Having said that, don’t get too hung up on all the information you’re about to be
loaded with in this chapter. It’s best to peruse this chapter at your own pace in front of
your PC. Don’t worry about memorizing all the information on all the buttons and panels. While you work on the exercises throughout this book, you’ll find short descriptions
of the UI elements you use when they first come up. You can always refer back to this
chapter for a more thorough explanation or to brush up whenever you need.
Your first read through of this chapter should be to become familiar with and gain a
sense of where everything is and how everything works. Experience and only experience
will really show you how the tools work best; this chapter just shows you where they are.
If you skipped the previous chapter, make sure to go back to Chapter 2, “Your First 3ds
Max Animation,” and read the “The Max Interface” section for a run-through of how to
work in Max’s UI. In this chapter, you will find a fairly comprehensive explanation of
Max’s UI to build on what you already learned in the last chapter.
Screen Layout
Let’s take a quick look at how the screen is laid out. Figure 3.1 shows the initial Max
screen.
The Menu Bar is across the top of the Max UI, just as with many other applications.
Here you can access tons of features to help you with your scene creation and manipulation. Right under the Menu Bar is the main toolbar, which contains the most often
accessed tool icons. Everything from Undo to Render is in the main toolbar for easy
access.
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what am i looking at?
Figure 3.1
The default Max
screen
Running down the right side of the Max UI is the Command panel. Object creation
and manipulation tools are gathered here for your access. The Command panel, as you
discovered in the previous chapter, is divided into tabs. Each tab has its own specific panel
of tools, ranging from Create to Utilities.
The meat of the UI is in the viewports. These ports give you access to Max’s 3d space
through orthographic and perspective views. These viewports are where you do the bulk
of your work, of course. By using mouse and key combinations, as you saw in the previous
chapter, you can navigate through 3d space and around your scenes quite easily.
Running across the bottom of the UI are the tools for changing time values (such as the
Time slider, which you experienced in the previous chapter), adjusting your panel views,
and animating.
Each of these UI sections is explained in more detail in the following pages with a
breakdown of the major components.
The Menu Bar
If you’ve ever played with a computer, you should be familiar with the layout of Menu Bars,
so let’s cut the chit chat. Here is a rundown of what to expect in each of the menus shown
in Figure 3.2. Feel free to click along with the text to see for yourself what is in each menu.
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Figure 3.2
The Menu Bar
File Menu—Here you will find the familiar commands for file management. Commands for creating, opening, and saving scenes; importing/exporting outside formats;
setting project folders; viewing images; displaying/changing scene properties; and
exiting.
Edit Menu—This contains the commands for editing and selecting objects in your
scene. This is one of the areas where you will find the Undo/Redo functions, as well as
easy selection methods (such as Select All). Under the Select By submenu heading in
the Edit menu, you can select objects in the scene using a certain criteria, such as by
their color or name.
Tools—This menu is where tools to manipulate your objects are located, such as Mirror or Align. Many of these tools and functions are found on the main toolbar and
also found in the Command panels. You’ll see how several of these tools operate in
the coming chapters.
Group—Grouping lets you combine two or more objects into a single grouped object.
Groups can be open/closed to access objects inside the group. You can also permanently break up the group by ungrouping or exploding (dissolves all nested groups).
Views—Options to set up and control viewports. From here, for example, you can
disable the view of your gizmos in the viewports or toggle your home grids on and off.
Create—This menu gives tools for creating objects and is very extensive with many
submenus. Everything that you would create for your 3d scene is found here. Some
of the objects you created in the previous chapter for your mobile can be created
through this menu as well as the Command panel’s Create panel, which you used.
All the main menus are broken up into 15 categories. The main ones we will be using
in this book are Standard Primitive, Extended Primitives, Shapes, Helpers, Lights,
Camera and Particles.
Modifiers—A modifier is a type of Max object that controls and changes the basic
structure of objects. Modifiers are used for modeling, animating, and adding special
effects to objects. Through the Modifier menu you can apply modifiers to selected
objects in the scene, though once applied, Modifiers are edited through the Modify
panel.
Reactor—This is a plug-in for Max and allows you to create complex dynamics such
as cloth and fluid simulation, and soft body dynamics. You will be introduced to reactor in Chapter 12, “Particles and Dynamics.”
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Animation—This menu has features for animation, constraints, controllers, and
Inverse Kinematics (IK). IK is used for character animation.
Graph Editors—These are floating windows for managing a scene, hierarchy, and
animation. Graph Editors give you access to scene components in graphical layout
for easy use. Everything from nodes (a node represents an object in Max) to animation curves are displayed. Animation curves are animation expressed in mathematical
graphs. It sounds harder than it is. You’ll see plenty of curves later in the book.
Rendering—These commands are for scene rendering, setting up an environment
and render effects, accessing video post for in-program compositing, and using a
RAM player.
Customize—This menu is for all things relating to user interface customization. This
book will, for the most part, use the default layout for the Max UI, as that is most universal for the readers. Once you get a feeling for Max and are more comfortable with
it, you’ll find yourself customizing the UI to your tastes.
MAXScript—These are commands for working with MaxScript, which is a scripting
language for 3ds Max. MaxScript allows you to automate certain functions and program parts of your scene as needed. MaxScript will not be covered in this book as it is
an advanced feature set.
Help—This provides access to online references, tutorials, and online support, and
perhaps the most important menu in the program.
Main Toolbar
The main toolbar contains the tools most commonly used in Max conveniently located at
the top of the interface. (Figure 3.3) The toolbar can be rearranged as a floating pallet or
docked on the bottom, left, or right side of the interface. To do this, place your cursor to
the far left side of the toolbar over the embossed vertical line. An icon of white boxes will
appear next to your cursor. Simply click and drag to create a floating toolbar, or drag it to
a side of the UI to dock it. You can also right-click on the embossed vertical line for a popup window, giving you options for docking and floating the toolbar, as seen in Figure 3.4.
All palettes and bars in the Max interface can be rearranged like this.
Coordinate
Systems
Linking/Hierarchy
Transform
Tools
Manipulator
Selection Set
Editor/Display
Mirror
Material Editor
Figure 3.3
The main toolbar
Undo/Redo
Selection Tools
Pivot Point
Snap Tools
Align Graph Editors Rendering
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If your screen does not show all the icons you see in Figure 3.3, don’t panic. Your display is probably set to a lower resolution than the width of the toolbar. In this case, you
can drag the toolbar left and right to expose the missing end of the toolbar. Place your
cursor over an empty part of the toolbar (not on an icon) and it will turn into a hand icon,
as seen on the right of the graphic here. Click and drag the toolbar as needed.
The icons for the main toolbar are as shown in the following tables. You should use this
as a reference while you use this book; you don’t need to memorize everything here. For
the most part, you will learn tools and functions in Max as you come across them in your
work, so trying to memorize all the icons and their functions will just drive you nutty.
Grab your mouse and click along with us to get a feel for the icons. Some icons, characterized by the small triangle in the lower-right corner have flyouts. Flyouts are additional
options for the tool that appear as a context menu of new icons when you click and hold
the icon, as shown here for the Scale tool.
Undo/Redo Icons
Undo and Redo are extremely useful in Max. You will find yourself painted into a corner
many times—especially when you are first starting out—and Undo will let you back out of
those corners. The icons are as follows:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Option+Undo
Reverses the effect of the last action. Right-clicking the Undo
button shows a list of the previous actions. You must select a
continuous selection; you cannot skip over any items in the list.
Option+Redo
Cancels the last Undo. Right-clicking the Redo button shows a
list of the previous actions. You must select a continuous selection; you cannot skip over any items in the list.
Figure 3.4
You can float Menu
Bars easily in
3ds Max.
Linking and Hierarchy Icons
Linking and Hierarchy Tools are used to parent objects for animation, as you saw with
the Mobile exercise in Chapter 2, “Your First 3ds Max Animation.” The icons are
listed here:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Select and Link
Allows you to create a hierarchical link of child and parent
between objects.
Select and UnLink
Allows you to remove the hierarchical link of child and parent
between objects.
Select and Bind to
Space Warp
Allows you to bind an object to a space warp effect (like gravity,
wind, or displace).
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Selection Tools Icons
Selection tools allow you to select objects in a scene using different methods. The icons are
listed here:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Selection Filter List
Allows you to screen out certain objects that can be selected.
For example, if you choose geometry from the list, you will not
be able to select anything other than geometry. This is particularly helpful when you have a very crowded scene. You can also
create combination filters such as cameras and lights together.
Select Object
Allows the selection of any objects in your 3d scene.
Select By Name
Allows you to select an object from a list within the Select Objects
dialog box, shown in Figure 3.5. The list contains objects currently in your scene and has filters for easy selection.
Select Region flyout
Gives you different ways to select objects by defining a region
by clicking and dragging in a viewport. The default is rectangle
selection. There are five region selection methods Rectangle,
Circular, Fence, Lasso, and Paint. These methods are similar to
Photoshop’s Marquee Selection tool and Lasso tool.
Window/Crossing
Selection toggle
This tool is probably one of the most overlooked and least used
tools, but it’s a very useful tool in the toolbar. It switches between
window and crossing modes when you select by region. If you
are in Window mode, it will select only objects that are entirely
inside the windows region. In the default Crossing mode, you
will also select objects that are touching the edge of the region.
This tool will also work when you are selecting polygons in
Sub-Object mode.
Transformation Tools Icons
As you saw in the previous chapter, transformation tools move, rotate, and scale your
objects. The icons are listed here:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Select and Move
Selects and moves objects. For all the transform tools (Move,
Rotate, and Scale), you can click-drag a region box around the
object or objects to select them. You can also invoke this tool
with the W hotkey.
Select and Rotate
Selects and rotates objects. Click-drag a region
box around the object or objects to select. You
can also invoke this tool with the E hotkey.
Select and Scale tool
This tool has a flyout with access to two other
scale tools. The default Scale tool is the Uniform
Scale tool (left icon), which allows you to scale
along all three axes evenly. The middle icon in
the flyout is the Non-uniform Scale tool, which
allows you to scale along the axis you choose.
The right icon is the Squash Scale tool, which is
a type of scale used mainly for the “squash and
stretch” style of animation found in cartoons.
When you are scaling down in one axis, it
scales up in the other two, and vice versa. You
can also invoke this tool with the R hotkey.
Figure 3.5
The Select Objects
by Name window
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Coordinate Systems, Center Pivots, and Manipulator Icons
As you saw in the first chapter, coordinate systems define the axes that you use. The icons
for this section of the main toolbar are listed here:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Reference
Coordinate System
This list allows you to choose which coordinate system you want
to use. Coordinate Systems are covered in depth at the end of
Chapter 1, “Basic Concepts.”
Use Center flyout
These tools allow you to determine the pivot point of an object
for its rotation and scale. By default, this is set to Use Pivot Point
Center and is perfectly adequate the vast majority of the time,
and it is used throughout this book as such. This icon has a flyout to give you options to relocate the center point of your
transformation tool. You can use it if you have multiple objects
selected.
Select and Manipulate This tool allows you to edit the parameters of certain objects,
modifiers, and controllers by dragging manipulators in viewports. Manipulators are similar to the gizmos you’ve already
used. We will not cover manipulators in this book because they
are an advanced way to edit and use objects in Max.
Snapping Icons
Snapping functions are for more accurate placement of objects in your scene. When you
enable a Snap function while you move an object, for example, Max will “snap” the object
to points on the home grid or to other geometry in the scene. Because you can snap to
specific locations during creation and transformation of objects or sub-objects, Snaps give
you control when you’re creating, moving, rotating, and scaling objects.
There are several different types of Snaps; you can snap to a grid, pivot, or vertex. You
can turn Snaps on and off by clicking their icons in the main toolbar or by pressing the S
key while you are in the middle of a transform for an object. We will be using Snaps in the
following chapters. Right-clicking on the Snap functions will open the Options window.
In it, you can select exactly how you want to snap. Figure 3.6 shows the options for the
Snaps toggle.
Figure 3.6
Figure 3.7
The options for the Snap functions allow you to set how you
want to snap your objects.
Right-clicking the Angle Snap
or Percent Snap tool will open
the Snap’s options.
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ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
2D, 2.5D, and 3D
Snap toggle/flyout:
The 2D Snap (the default top Icon) allows you to snap to the
home or construction grid or to any shapes or geometry on
the grid.
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The 2.5D Snap (middle Icon) allows you to snap to only vertices
or edges of an object.
The 3D Snap (bottom Icon) will snap to any geometry in 3D space.
Angle Snap toggle
Allows you to set the increment of rotation you want for rotating an object in a given axis.
Percent Snap toggle
Allows you to define a set increment of scaling when you are
scaling an object. To set the increment you want to snap to,
right-click the icon to open the options, as shown in Figure 3.7.
Spinner Snap toggle
Spinners are the number values you adjust with little arrows as
seen in the icon itself. You will run into spinners constantly in
Max. Use the Spinner Snap function to set the increment you
want to increase or decrease.
Named Selection Sets Icons
Selection sets are a way to easily select several objects at once. To create a selection set,
simply select the objects you want to select together during your workflow, and then type
a name for the set in the Named Selection Sets field. That name will be added to the dropdown menu so you can select all those objects in the set by simply selecting the name.
Later in this book, we will further explore selection sets.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Named Selection sets To create a named selection set, select the objects for your
selection set and enter a name for that set.
Named Selection
Sets dialog
This menu allows you to organize your selection sets and the
objects that are members of those sets. Click the plus (+) or
minus (–) to expand the object list for each set. The buttons
along the top allow you to create or delete sets as well as add
or remove objects. See Figure 3.8.
Figure 3.8
You can edit selection sets using this
window.
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Align and Mirror Icons
The Align and Mirror icons are next up in this main toolbar discussion. The Mirror function (Figure 3.9) allows you to mirror an object’s orientation. Click this button to bring
up the Mirror dialog box seen in Figure 3.9. In the dialog box, you can choose a mirror
axis and offset the mirror amount. You can either mirror the object or create a clone that
is mirrored by selecting the Copy option.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Mirror
Mirrors the selected object in the chosen axis. Can also copy a
mirror of the object.
Align
The Align flyout gives you access to all the Align functions discussed in the following table. This Align icon is displayed by
default.
The Align flyout has several options. In essence, these Align tools allow you to line up
your object as discussed in the following table. Simply select the object you want to align,
click the appropriate Align Tool icon in the flyout, and then click the target object to
which the object is to be aligned. You will have a chance to see the Align and Mirror functions in action in Chapter 4, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I,” as well as throughout the
book. Really, would we lie?
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Align
Once you click on the target object to align to, Max will open
the Align dialog box seen in Figure 3.10. From this window, you
can choose which axis to align your selected object as position,
rotation, or even scale.
Quick Align
This function lets you instantly align the position of the current
selection to that of a target object.
Normal Align
Align two objects based on the direction of the normal of a face
or selection on each object. A normal is an imaginary line that is
perpendicular to the surface of a geometry.
Place Highlight
Enables you to align a light or object to another object so that
its highlight or reflection can be precisely positioned
Align Camera
Lets you align a camera to a selected face normal. A normal is an
imaginary line that is perpendicular to the surface of a geometry.
Align to View
Lets you align an object with the current viewport.
Editing Window Icons
Layers, the Curve Editor, and the Schematic View are editing and organizational tools in
Max. We will cover each of them later in this chapter. Their icons are explained in this table:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Layer Manager
Used to manage sets of objects in layers. Very useful for large
scenes and complicated setups.
Curve Editor
Allows for the editing of animation by manipulating mathematical curves.
Schematic View
A node-based display of the objects in a scene allowing you to
edit parameters as well as hierarchies.
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Figure 3.9
Figure 3.10
The Mirror function
The Align options allow you to dictate
how your objects are to be aligned.
The Material and Rendering Editors give you access to materials for shading and texturing, as well as the options for rendering out your scene. These windows will be covered
later in this chapter, along with other commonly used windows and panels. Their icons
are as follows:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Material Editor
Accesses materials to add to scene objects to give them their
final look when rendered (also known as texturing or shading).
Render Scene
dialog box
Creates renderings and saves them to files. The Render Scene
dialog box has multiple panels.
Quick Render
(Production)
Lets you render the scene using the current production render
settings without displaying the Render Scene dialog box. This
icon has a flyout icon as shown below.
Quick Render
(Active Shader)
Creates an ActiveShade rendering in a floating window. This
icon is a flyout of the Quick Render (Production) icon above.
Whoa! Did Ya Get All That?
That was a lot to take in. You will be exposed to most of these tools in the next few chapters,
and before long, using them will be second nature to you. There is, again, no need to
memorize all this material; you will find the tool icons you need as you need them in this
book’s exercises. This part of the book is perfect as a reference guide, so bookmark these
pages for easy access later.
The Command Panel
As you saw in the previous chapter, the Command panel is divided into tabs according to
function. You easily access several commands and functions through the different panels
that make a quick workflow in Max. Everything you need to create, manipulate, and animate objects can be found here.
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You can easily scroll up and down a panel to access tools that are not visible on the
screen because the panel is too long vertically. When you encounter a panel with more to
show, Max will display a thin vertical scroll bar on the right side, as seen here. Your cursor
will also turn into a hand cursor when you can click and drag the panel up and down. Try
it. It’s fun!
You will be exposed to more panels as you progress through this book. However, here
is a rundown of the Command Panel panels and what they do.
The Command Panel tabs are the following:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Create panel
Create objects, lights, cameras, etc.
Modify panel
Apply and edit modifiers to objects
Hierarchy panel
Adjust hierarchy for objects, as well as adjust their pivots
Motion panel
Access animation tools and functions
Display panel
Access display options for scene objects
Utilities panel
Access several functions of Max from motion capture utilities
to the asset browser
The function or toolset you need to access will determine which panel you need to
click. The division of panel tabs is very instinctive and easy to decipher.
Create Panel
The first panel, the Create panel, is used primarily for creating various objects for your
scene. There are seven categories for the kinds of objects you can create. The panels under
the Create panel are listed here:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Geometry
Create renderable objects, such as primitives or parametric
objects
Shapes
Create 2D lines or splines in various shapes
Lights
Max lights simulate real-world lights to illuminate objects in
the scene
Camera
Create cameras to view and render your 3D scene
Helpers
Helper objects are aids to constructing a scene
Space Warp
Objects that deform the appearance of other objects
Systems
The catch-all area where you will find functions, such as Bones
and Biped Animation tools, as well as lighting systems to simulate sun and daylight
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GEOMETRY
The Geometry category in the Create panel is responsible for renderable objects, also
known as primitives or parametric objects (i.e., an object whose parameters may be changed
at any time to adjust its original shape or appearance). The default is Standard Primitives.
Click on the drop-down window to access more object types, such as extended primitives,
compound objects, and particles.
When you created the mobile in the previous chapter, you made several shapes and
modified them. You can access many of these creation objects through the Create menu as
well (Figure 3.11).
SHAPES
Figure 3.11
The Create Geometry category for the
Create panel
Shapes are 2D lines or splines that can be used as is. You can also create objects using
modifiers, such as Extrude, as you saw in the Mobile exercise. You can use stock shapes,
such as a circle or rectangle, or you can use the Line tool to create free-form shapes. Lines
are used as components to create other objects. You can use splines to create motion
paths, extrusions, lathes, lofts, and 3d objects. The drop-down menu will give you access
to NURBS and extended splines. Figure 3.12 shows the Shapes Creation option.
LIGHTS
Lights in Max, just like lights in the real world, are used to illuminate objects. You can create lights that simulate indoor lights (such as incandescent or florescent lights), outdoor
lights (such as the sun or street lights), or lights that don’t simulate anything but the look
you need for your scene. 3d lights are designed to simulate lights in the real world. Max
provides two types of lights you can use: Standard and Photometric. The different light
types are available in the drop-down menu. Standard lights simulate the basic light rigs
used in film and stage, and Photometric lights are used to simulate radiosity (bounced
light) within a 3d environment. You will use both kinds of lights later in this book when
you learn how to light and render your scenes (Figure 3.13).
Figure 3.12
Creating shapes in
the Create panel
CAMERA
Camera objects are designed to simulate real-world still and motion cameras. They are
used to record the action you animate, and they output through rendering. Just as with
real-world cameras, Max’s camera objects allow you to use a variety of lens types. There is
a standard camera and a camera that has a target to make it easier to follow an object or
action. You’ll get to use a camera a lot in Chapter 11, “3ds Max Rendering.” You can see
the Camera Creation category in Figure 3.14.
Figure 3.13
Creating lights
HELPERS
Helpers take care of the unglamorous and thankless jobs in Max. They help you construct
scenes, but they aren’t necessarily part of the scenes. Helpers help you position, measure,
and animate a scene’s renderable geometry. Figure 3.15 shows the various helpers you can
create.
Figure 3.14
Camera Creation
category in the
Creation panel
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SPACE WARP
Space warps are objects that deform or animate objects in your scene. They are known as
deformers in other animation packages, such as Maya. You can create ripples, waves, and
even blow up objects by applying Space Warp objects to them. In order for the space warp
to work, it must be bound to the object using “bind to space warp.” The drop-down menu
shown in Figure 3.16 lists the different space warps available.
Figure 3.15
Helpers help you
create your scene.
SYSTEMS
Systems category holds the typically advanced functions of Max. You can use them to set
up Sun and Daylight lighting systems or Bones systems to animate a character or object
rig. Figure 3.17 shows the various systems you can create.
Modify Panel
Figure 3.16
Creating space
warps
Figure 3.17
Systems creation
The Modify panel, as you saw with the Mobile project, houses all the modifiers you can
apply to an object. It also houses a selected object’s Modifier List (Modifier Stack). Using
this list, you can reorder or remove the modifiers for an object, which can be invaluable in
creating precisely the right object for your scene.
This panel also allows you to change the parameters for existing objects, such as the
radius or length of a cylinder, even after it has been created.
Modifiers are the bread and butter of editing objects in Max. This form of workflow is
terrific because you can stack modifiers on top of each other when creating an object and
you can go back and edit any of the modifiers in the stack (for the most part) to adjust the
object at any point in its creation. This sort of workflow is akin to a node-based editing
workflow, where any stage of the creation process can be adjusted at any time. Figure 3.18
shows the Modify panel for a selected Sphere object.
Almost all the parameters in the Modify panel can be animated. For example, you can
create a sphere and animate its radius. Then you can add a taper modifier and animate the
taper amount. You can also go into the sub-object level of a modifier, such as an FFD
(free-form deformation), select the Control Points, and animate the points on the lattice.
This can give you layer upon layer of animation. The downside of this is that editing the
animation can be a nightmare. For instance, with the FFD, each control point has its own
track in the Curve Editor. So, if you have a lattice with 4 × 4 × 4, you would have to edit 64
potential tracks. Yikes!
There are two types of modifiers. World Space modifiers attach to an object but use
world space instead of local space. Object Space modifiers affect an object’s geometry in
local space. Figure 3.19 shows a Bend modifier applied to a box. The Bend modifier does
what it says: it bends the geometry. It is an example of an Object Space modifier because it
affects the entire object as one piece.
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Hierarchy Panel
The Hierarchy panel is where you create and edit the hierarchies for your objects. As you
saw in the Mobile project, creating parent-child relationships through linking allowed you
to create complex animations—i.e., different rotations on different parts of the mobile.
The children objects—or nodes—travel with their parents, but retain the ability to have
their own motions once they inherit their parents’ motion(s).
PIVOT
In the Hierarchy panel, you can also adjust the position of an object’s pivot point. As you’ve
already seen, the pivot point plays a critical role in how an object moves, rotates, and
scales. Having control of the pivot is important to setting up the proper animation for any
given object. All objects have a pivot point, a center for all transforms. A pivot also defines
the transform relationship of a hierarchy, sets the center location of an added modifier,
and defines IK (Inverse Kinematics) joint locations.
In the Pivot category of the Hierarchy panel, you can adjust the pivot by moving it,
centering it, or aligning it to another object or the world space, as seen in Figure 3.20.
IK
Figure 3.18
The Modify panel for
a sphere
Inverse Kinematics (IK) is a method often used in character animation; it provides an easier way to move the parts of a character’s armature by using IK handles to place the limb’s
extremities, such as the feet. You simply animate the placement of the feet, and IK solves
all the necessary rotations of the leg bones and animates the legs into the proper placement
for the feet. The IK panel is shown in Figure 3.21. You will see how IK and bones work in
Chapter 9, “Animation Part II: Character Studio and IK.”
The IK category gives you all the tools you need for adjusting hierarchical linkage
between objects.
Figure 3.20
Figure 3.19
A Bend modifier is applied to a box through the Modify panel.
The Hierarchy panel’s
Pivot category is a
must for proper animation setup.
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LINK INFO
The Link Info section allows you to restrict the movement of objects in a hierarchy by limiting from which axes motion is inherited from parents.
Try this exercise:
1. In a new scene, create a box of any size and a Teapot object of similar size. You can
find one in the Create panel’s Geometry Standard Primitive category.
2. Link the teapot to the box so that the box is the parent of the teapot, as shown here:
3. Press the W hotkey for the Move tool. Select and move the teapot first in the X-axis,
then in the Y-axis, and then in the Z-axis. The teapot freely moves with the box
(assuming the link was created successfully).
4. Select and move the teapot in all three axes as you did the box. The teapot moves in
all directions.
Figure 3.21
The IK section of the
Hierarchy panel
5. Select the teapot and click on the Hierarchy panel. In the panel,
select the Link Info section. Under the Locks heading rollout,
check the box in the Move section for the X-axis. In the Inherit
heading rollout, uncheck the box for Move in the Y-axis, as
seen here.
6. Select and move the teapot separately in the three axes. You’ll
see that the teapot has been locked in the X-axis and will not
move at all in X. This is what a lock does to an object, no matter
where it is in a hierarchy.
7. Select the box and move it separately in all three axes. You’ll see
that the teapot, except the Y-axis, moves along with the box as
it should. The teapot is restricted from inheriting any motion in
the Y-axis from the box parent. This what an inheritance lock
does to a child under a moving parent.
Link Info is a great way to set limits for the motions of your objects.
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Motion Panel
The Motion panel houses all the tools for controlling animated objects using keyframes
editing and animation controllers. You will have a chance to dance with keyframes and
controllers in Chapter 8, “Animation Part I: Introduction to Animation.” The Parameters
option allows you to edit keyframes without using the Curve Editor, which is usually the
preferred and more powerful way to edit keyframes (Figure 3.22).
The Trajectories option in the Motion panel (Figure 3.23) allows you to display the
path that an object travels in its animation. This way you can actually see the movement
an object takes in its animation and adjust it visually to change its course.
Display Panel
The Display panel (Figure 3.24) allows you to choose how an object appears in your viewports. Use the Display panel to Hide/Unhide, Freeze/Unfreeze, and alter display characteristics of objects. This ability is extremely useful when you need to organize your scenes, no
matter what their size.
The Hide by Category heading rollout allows you to turn off types of objects in 3ds
Max to let you focus on certain objects. For example, if you have a scene replete with
objects, but all you only need to adjust your lights, you can easily turn off your geometry
and shapes to better see where your lights are in the scene.
Hiding objects is useful for getting parts of your scene out of the way temporarily. Hiding, as it implies, turns offs the display of the hidden object. Similarly, freezing objects
allows you to still see frozen objects, but not select or transform them. This feature is useful when you still need to reference a model but don’t want to move it accidentally. When
you freeze an object, its display in the viewports turns dark gray.
The larger and more complicated your scenes become, the more you can rely on the
Display panel to help you with your scene.
Figure 3.22
The Parameters in
the Motion panel
allow you to edit
keyframes of an
object’s animation.
You can also use the Layer toolbar, which is covered later in this chapter, to help you organize large scenes.
Utilities Panel
The Utilities panel (Figure 3.25) allows you to access different utility programs, or plugins, inside 3ds Max. Some plug-ins are already shipped with 3ds Max, and some are third
party from different software makers. One such utility is Motion Capture, which allows
you to import and work with animation data captured using external devices, such as a
joystick or midi device configured to mimic puppetry animation. These utilities are all
advanced and will not be covered in this book.
Figure 3.23
The Trajectories
option in the Motion
panel gives you a
visual display of your
animation’s path.
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Controls at the Bottom of the UI
Time controls, animation controls, playback controls, and viewport controls are aligned at
the bottom edge of the Max UI. This section covers the icons and functions.
Time Slider and Track Bar
Figure 3.24
The Display panel is
important to keeping your scene
organized.
Running across the bottom of the Max UI is the Time slider and the Track Bar, as seen in
Figure 3.26.
The Time slider allows you to move through any frame in your scene by scrubbing
(moving the slider back and forth). By scrubbing, you can also view your animation
playback in the viewports. You can move through your animation one frame at a
time by clicking on the arrows on either side of the Time slider or by pressing the <
and > keys.
You can also use the Time slider to animate objects by setting keyframes. A right-click
on the Time slider brings up a Create Key dialog box, which allows you to create transform keyframes for the selected object. Figure 3.27 shows the Create Key window.
The Track Bar is directly below the Time slider. The Track Bar is the timeline that
displays the timeline format for your scene. More often than not, this is displayed in
frames, with each tick mark representing frames. On the Track Bar, you can move and
edit your animation properties for the selected object. When a keyframe is present,
right-click it to reveal individual transform values; these values can be edited within the
dialog box. From this pop-up menu, you can delete keyframes and filter the Track Bar
display. You will have a chance to explore using these tools in the chapters on animation
in this book.
The icon to the left of the Track Bar is the Show Curves icon. This toggle displays a version of the Track View Curve Editor. The Curve Editor shows you your scene’s animation
as curves that you can edit.
The Status Bar
Figure 3.25
The Utilities panel
The Status Bar in 3ds Max gives you feedback and information as you work in your
scene. The Status Bar runs across about two-thirds of the bottom of the screen as shown
in Figure 3.28. Check it out, you’ll love it.
Current Frame
Active Time
Frames
Time Slider
Show Curves
Track Bar
Figure 3.26
Figure 3.27
The Time slider and Track Bar
The Create Key window lets you set
a keyframe for a selected object by
right-clicking the Time slider.
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Lock Selection
Transform Type-Ins
Status Line
Grid Settings
Figure 3.28
The Status Bar is
chock full of useful
information.
MAXScript Mini Listener
Prompt Line
Relative/Absolute Transform Toggle
Time Tag
The elements on the Status Bar are the following:
MAXScript Mini Listener—This is a command prompt used for entering and seeing feedback for MAXScript. MAXScript is the scripting language used in 3ds Max
to automate actions and customize functions. This line displays a single line of the
actual MAXScript Listener window, which gives you easier access in a window to
MAXScript.
Status Line—Displays the number and type of object selected in your scene.
Lock Selection—When your object is selected, use the selection lock to lock the
object so you won’t inadvertently deselect or select something else in your scene.
The button turns yellow when turned on. The keyboard shortcut for this tool is
the spacebar.
Relative/Absolute Transform Toggle—When you enter values in the Transform
Type-In boxes (as you did with the Mobile exercise in the previous chapter), Max
treats the values as absolute. If you set the toggle to relative, the values you enter will
be used to offset the selected object from its current state.
Transform Type-Ins—You can enter values in these boxes (delineated as X, Y, and Z
values as noted) to transform the selected object, whether it is moving, rotating, or
scaling. Transform Type-In boxes allow you to make exact values for transforms
instead of using the gizmo. When nothing is selected and you are moving the cursor
around in a viewport, the Transform Type-In area displays the coordinates of your
cursor.
Grid Settings—Shows the size of one grid square on the home grid in your viewport.
To edit the size of your grid squares, go to the Grid and Snap Settings dialog box. This
can be found by choosing Customize ➔ Grid and Snap Settings (or by right-clicking
the Snap Toggle tool) and clicking the Home Grid tab.
Prompt Line—This line in the Status Bar is similar to a guy standing behind you and
tapping you on the shoulder to tell you what you need to do next. Here, Max displays
instructions that prompt you for the next action in a function, such as “Click and
drag to select and move objects” when the Move tool is active. The Prompt Line gives
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you ongoing feedback as you work with a tool. It can be a good place to look when
you’re unsure of what to do next. In addition, Tool Tips are displayed here when you
mouse over icons and buttons. Mousing around and checking icon names is a good
way to become more familiar with the interface.
Time Tag—Time Tag is an animation assistant that allows you to set up tags at a certain point in your animation that you can easily jump to by selecting the tag’s name.
Animation Controls
The Animation controls are a selection of icons to the right of the Status Bar that are used
in animation. Figure 3.29 shows the icons.
Figure 3.29
Auto Key Mode
Selection List
The Animation
controls
Set Key
Key Filters
Set Key Mode In/Out Tangent for New Keys
The functions in the Animation controls are covered in Chapter 8. The rundown on
the icons is as follows:
Set Key—Sets a keyframe for the selected object(s) at the current frame for all tracks
of the object. A track is a specific translation type (move, rotate, and/or scale, or a
parameter) on a specific axis. The keyboard hotkey for Set Key is K.
Auto Key Animation Mode—Toggles the Keyframing mode on/off. The button turns
red when Auto Key Mode is on. Keyframes are automatically created when Auto Key
button is on and objects are transformed. You don’t need to set a key manually while
in the Auto Key mode.
Figure 3.30
The Set Key Filters
window allows
you to select the
keyframes for which
you want tracks set.
Set Key Animation Mode—You can create specific keyframes for a selected object by
placing the object as you like and then setting a keyframe manually. This animation
mode, along with the Key Filters (next), allows you to control exactly which tracks are
keyed while you animate. With Set Key mode off, any keys you set will set for all
tracks by default.
Key Filters—Clicking this button will open the Set Key Filters window shown in
Figure 3.30. This window is where you can pick the tracks and the desired axis or
axes) you want to be keyframed as you animate. This keeps your scene free of extra
keyframes you may not need.
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Selection List—Gives quick access to named selection sets and track sets while working with Set Key. Lets you easily swap between different selection sets and track sets.
In/Out Tangent for New Keys—Shortcut for setting up tangent types for keys on
curves for animation created with Set Key or Auto Key. This is only for new
keyframes. Curves and keyframes are covered in detail in Chapter 8.
Animation Playback Controls
The Animation Playback controls (Figure 3.31) are similar to the ones you would find on
a VCR (how old are you?) or DVD player.
Play/Stop
Previous Frame/Key
Next Frame/Key
Figure 3.31
Go to End
Go to Start
Time Configuration
Key Mode
The Animation Playback controls run
your playback.
Current Frame
Go to Start—Moves the Time slider to the first frame in the active time segments.
Previous Frame/Key—Moves the Time slider back one frame or one key, depending
on the Key Mode toggle.
Play/Stop—Plays your animation in the active viewport. The button is a flyout that
lets you access another icon (an outline of a play arrow instead of the filled black
arrow) to play only the animation of selected objects instead of the entire scene.
Figure 3.32
Stepping keys instead
of frames
Go to End—Moves the Time slider to the last frame in the active time segments.
Current Frame—Also called Go to Frame. This field displays the current frame. It
allows you to enter a frame number in the field to jump your Time slider to that
frame. There is also a spinner that you can click/drag to change the
frame number.
Key Mode—This tool allows you to jump from one keyframe to
another. In order for it to work, you must turn on the button and
then use the Previous and Next Key buttons to move from one frame
to the next. When active, the Key Mode button turns cyan, and the
Previous Key and Next Key buttons appear as shown in Figure 3.32.
Time Configuration—A dialog (Figure 3.33) that allows control over
frame rates, time display, playback, and animation. You can use this
to scale your animation length so it goes faster or slower, or to add
more frames to the start or end of your animation. This is covered as
well in Chapter 8.
Figure 3.33
The Time Configuration window
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Viewport Navigation Controls
Figure 3.34
The default Viewport Navigation
icons for a Perspective viewport
Figure 3.35
The default Viewport Navigation
icons for the Orthographic viewports
Figure 3.36
The default Viewport Navigation
icons for a light
The tools for viewport navigation are extensive and many of the icons have flyouts with
multiple tools nested therein. On top of that, the available tools change depending on the
viewport you have selected—orthographic, user (a 3D view that is created when an orthographic view is rotated), perspective, camera, and light views. But don’t let that freak you
out; it will become second nature to you in no time.
When the navigation tools are selected, they turn yellow and stay selected until you
choose another tool, right-click in a viewport, or press Esc.
Viewports are used for orthographic and perspective views, and also for views through
cameras and lights. By setting a viewport to a view from a camera or light, you can easily
position the camera or light exactly as you need it using the Viewport Navigation controls,
interactively as you watch the result in that viewport. We will experiment with cameras
and lights in later chapters in this book.
The Navigation controls, as they appear when the Perspective viewport is active, are as
shown in Figure 3.34. They’re shown as they appear while an Orthographic view is active
in Figure 3.35.
In the following tables, all of the navigation icons are laid out and briefly explained.
Don’t stare at this list of icons and cry. The Max screen has a lot of icons, but experience
will help you make sense of things very quickly. Take a look at these icons and click
around to get a feel for how they work.
Create a few objects to have something to look at in your viewports, or even load up the
Mobile exercise scene file. But definitely spend some time just ambling around the viewports looking at things. Use the Viewport Navigation controls and their key/mouse combinations to get used to navigating a bit more.
Figure 3.37
The default Viewport Navigation
icons for a camera
The key to getting good at navigating Max, or any other 3d package, is to work on projects
and get things done. You will gain the skills you need as you work toward a goal. As you will
see, the exercises in the rest of this book will let you flex your muscles and give you a chance
to become comfortable with Max.
As a reference for you, the individual icons are explained in the following tables. Match
the individual icons with Figures 3.34 through 3.37 to see their relative locations.
TOOLS AVAILABLE IN ALL VIEWPORTS
These Icons are available in all of the viewports in Figures 3.34 through 3.37. Keep in mind
that some of the following icons are nested icons beneath flyouts; to reveal them you will
need to click and hold the flyout icon. An example of a flyout for the Navigation controls
is shown here.
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ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Zoom Extends All
Like the Zoom Extend tool, but it zooms in your scene in all four
viewports. The keyboard shortcut for this tool is Z.
Zoom Extends All
Selected
Like Zoom Extends All, but for objects that are selected.
Min/Max Viewport
Toggles between Normal viewport size to Full Screen viewport.
The keyboard shortcut is Alt+W.
Pan View
Will move the selected viewport up, down, and side to side. The
shortcut is to click/drag the middle mouse button or Ctrl+P.
TOOLS AVAILABLE IN PERSPECTIVE AND ORTHOGRAPHIC VIEWPORTS
These Icons (Figures 3.34 and 3.35) are available in the Perspective and Orthographic
viewports. Keep in mind that some of the following icons are nested beneath flyouts.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Zoom
Zoom magnifies the objects in your viewport from big to small
by moving the view in and out of 3d space in the scene. Zoom
works the same in both the Perspective and Orthographic viewports. The keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+Alt+middle mouse button.
If you your mouse has a middle dial, you can use it as a Zoom
tool by centering your cursor in the selected viewport and
rolling the dial up to zoom in and down to zoom out.
Zoom All
Same as Zoom except it zooms all four viewports at once.
Zoom Extents
This flyout icon is nested with Zoom Extents Selected. You can
call this the “Fit to Window” because Zoom Extents zooms all
objects in your scene into the viewport. Works for only orthographic or perspective viewports.
Zoom Extents
Selected
This flyout icon is nested with Zoom Extents. Like the Zoom
Extends tool but for selected objects.
Field-of-View (FOV)
This Icon is a flyout icon nested with Zoom Region. This tool is
available in the Perspective or Camera viewport when active.
Field of View changes the amount of the scene that you can see
in the viewport by adjusting the filed of view effectively zooming in and out just like a camera lens. This is not the same as
Zoom, where the view is moved in and out of the scene.
Zoom Region
This flyout icon is nested with Field of View (see following).
Allows you to drag a rectangle marquee around a chosen area
to zoom in on. This tool is available only in Orthographic/User
and Perspective viewports.
Walkthrough
This flyout icon is nested with Pan View (the hand icon). This
very cool tool lets you move through a viewport by pressing the
arrow keys. It is similar to the Pan tool, but you use the arrow
key for navigation instead of the mouse. When you enter the
Walkthrough Navigation mode, the cursor changes to a hollow
circle that shows a directional arrow while you are pressing one
of the arrow keys. Walkthrough is available only for Perspective
and Camera viewports.
Arc Rotate
This flyout Icon is nested with Arc Rotate Selected and Arc
Rotate SubObject. Arc Rotate lets you rotate a viewport by clicking and dragging a series of handles on the gizmo (shown in
Figure 3.38). Uses the viewport center as the center for its rotation. The shortcuts are Alt+MMB and Ctrl+R.
continued
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continues
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Arc Rotate Selected
This flyout Icon is nested with Arc Rotate and Arc Rotate
SubObject. This icon has a white circle. Same as Arc Rotate but
uses the selected object as the center for rotation. The object
remains in the same position as the viewport rotates around
the object.
Arc Rotate SubObject This flyout Icon is nested with Arc Rotate and Arc Rotate
Selected. This icon has a yellow circle. Similar to the Arc Rotate
Selected, but it rotates about SubObject selection. This will be
discussed in more detail in the chapter on modeling in 3D.
CAMERA VIEWPORT CONTROLS
A camera view shows your scene through the lens of a virtual camera. These tools give
viewport control of your camera. Tools will change depending on whether you are using a
Free or Target camera. Cameras will be covered in Chapter 11.
Again, use this section as a reference, and click along with the descriptions. You don’t
need to memorize it all or understand everything at once. You can come back to this
chapter when you need to look up something.
To be able to access these navigation tools, you will need to create a camera and switch
a viewport to its view. To create a camera, follow these steps in a new scene or a current scene:
1. Choose Create ➔ Cameras ➔ Free Camera, and click in one of your viewports to place
the camera. You may also click in the Create panel under the Cameras category and
click the Free icon. Figure 3.38 shows a camera placed in the scene.
Figure 3.38
A camera
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2. Right-click a viewport name in the upper-left corner of the viewport, and
select Views ➔ Camera01, as seen in Figure 3.39. This will change the viewport to the camera’s view. You will now be able to access the Camera Viewport navigation tools shown in the following table.
Once you have created a Free Camera in your scene, as per the previous
steps, click the following icons as you explore to see how they’ll help you navigate in a Camera viewport. Some of these navigation icons apply to a Target
Camera only, and several of these icons are flyouts nested with other icons:
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Dolly Camera
Moves the camera object to and from the object at which it is
pointing.
Dolly Target
Moves the camera’s target to and from the object. This may not
show any changes unless you use other camera tools, such as
Orbit.
Dolly Camera + Target Moves the camera and target to and from the object at which it
is pointing. This is available only if the camera has a target.
Perspective
Adjusts Field Of View (FOV) and Dolly. Acts like a zoom camera
lens.
Roll
Rolls the camera around the line of sight for a Target Camera or
if it is a Free Camera around the local Z-axis
Truck
Moves the camera from side to side, parallel to your scene.
Orbit
Rotates the camera around the target object selected in the
scene. This is a flyout with the Pan Camera icon.
Pan Camera
Rotates the target around the camera. This is a flyout with the
Orbit icon.
LIGHT VIEWPORT CONTROLS
This set of tools shows your scene through the perspective of a light. This seems a bit
unusual, but it can be very useful for exact positioning of your lights. Some tools for the
light objects have the same name and are used the same as the Camera (Dolly, Roll, Truck,
Orbit and Pan) navigation tools. Therefore, their icons are not repeated. However, the
Light Viewport controls that are specific to lights are listed.
You will need to create a light in your scene just as you did for a previous camera in
order to access these icons in the Viewport Controls section of the UI. To make a light in
the scene, follow these steps:
1. Choose Create ➔ Lights ➔ Standard Lights ➔ Free Spotlight, and click in one of your
viewports to place the camera. You may also click the Create panel under the Lights
category, and click the Free Spot icon. Figure 3.40 shows a light placed in the scene.
2. Right-click a viewport name in the upper-left corner of the viewport, and select
Views ➔ Fspot01, as shown in Figure 3.41. This will change the viewport to the light’s
view. You will now be able top access the Camera Viewport navigation tools shown
in the following table.
Figure 3.39
Set your viewport to
the new camera.
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ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Light Hotspot
This tool allows you to adjust the angle of the light’s hotspot,
which is the brightest part of the circle of light.
Light Falloff
This tool allows you to adjust the angle of the light’s falloff,
which is the light fading to the back of the circle of light.
Light Viewport controls help you place your lights just the way you want them. You’ll
have plenty of hands-on experience with lights in Chapter 10, “3ds Max Lighting.”
Tired of icons yet? Ninety-five percent of your viewport navigation will be performed
using the keyboard shortcuts and the mouse buttons. This rich set of navigation tools
gives you many options in how to move around in 3d space, but you needn’t really worry
about any of them until you are comfortable just getting around—and by now this should
be coming easier to you.
Figure 3.40
A Free Spotlight
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Navigating Viewports
The easiest way to navigate the viewports is to use the keyboard/mouse button
combinations you used in the previous chapter while working on the Mobile
exercise. Here again is a rundown on these keyboard/mouse actions:
Pan—Panning a viewport will “slide” the view around the screen. Simply
MM click in the viewport and drag the mouse to move the view.
Zoom—Zooming will move your view in closer or farther away from your objects.
To zoom, use the middle wheel, or press Ctrl+Alt and MM click in your viewport,
then drag the mouse up or down to zoom in or out, respectively. Zooming is sometimes called a dolly in other packages, while their version of a zoom deals with the virtual camera’s lens itself.
Arc Rotate and Arc Rotate Selected—Arc Rotate and Arc Rotate Selected will rotate
your view around your objects. To use either of the two Arc Rotate tools, press Alt
and MM click and drag in the viewport. By default, Max will rotate (or tumble as it’s
called in some other CG programs) about the center of the viewport to change your
perspective. However, if an object is selected, 3ds Max will revert to Arc Rotate Selected,
which will rotate about the center of the selected object instead of the center of the
viewport. This way the object remains in the same position as the viewport rotates
around the object.
The Viewports
Finally! We get to the hot action of the viewports. This is where 3d space is simulated.
Viewports in 3ds Max are always set up in with four equally sized views when you first
start with a Top, Front, Left, and Perspective viewport. When you are looking at your four
views, you will notice one has a yellow highlighted border. This means that viewport is
the selected view. You can activate a view by working in it, or you can just right-click your
cursor in a view. Be careful about just clicking because if something is selected, it will be
deselected.
You can also resize your viewports. Just center your cursor over the splitter bars that
separate the views. Your cursor will change to a four-sided arrow, and you can click/drag
to the size desired. To switch the viewport layout back to the default, right-click over the
center splitter bars. A pop-up tag with “Reset Layout” will allow you to go back to the
default. Let’s not forget the Min/Max Viewport tool in the navigation area (or just press
Alt+W). This will change the equally sized views into one full-screen view of the active
viewport.
Figure 3.41
Set your viewport to
the new camera.
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Figure 3.42
The Viewport Configuration window
allows you to
quickly change your
viewport layouts.
One way to change the default look of your viewports is to use the Viewport
Configuration/Layout dialog box. You can find it by choosing Customize ➔ Viewport Configuration and clicking the desired layout, as seen in Figure 3.42.
In each of the viewports, the axes are displayed in the lower-left corner of the World
Space tripod. The axes are always displayed in red, green, and blue format to represent
the X-, Y-, and Z-axes respectively, as seen in the Perspective viewport. You have seen this
familiar color scheme at work in the gizmos as well.
You’ve undoubtedly noticed the Home Grid in your views by now. This grid is a
ground plane that centers around the Origin (0,0,0). The Home Grid is a helper for construction of objects. When you create a new object, it is placed on the grid. The Home
Grid’s defaults can be edited for more effective scene creation, and they can be turned on
and off easily by right-clicking the viewport name to access the pop-up menu. In that
menu, you will see Show Grid. Click the grid to toggle it on and off. To use the keyboard
shortcut to toggle the grid, press G.
The grid displays the units of your scene. The default is set up as Max Units where 1
unit equals 1 inch. Each grid division is 10 units. The best approach is to choose a grid
spacing that matches your unit of measurement. For
example, if you are using centimeters make 1 grid square
equal 1 centimeter. To access the Grid dialog box, choose
Customize ➔ Grid and Snap settings, and click the Home
Grid tab as shown here. With the Home Grid tab, you
can set the spacing of your home grid.
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Changing Viewport Views
As you saw earlier, the viewports are flexible and can be changed to different displays
by right-clicking on the viewport name and choosing the new viewport from the
menu (Figure 3.43).
This way you can change which view you have in a viewport. You can also use
keyboard shortcuts to access any of the viewports. In an active viewport, simply press
the hotkey for the view desired view, as indicated in the following table:
HOTKEY
VIEW
T
Top
B
Bottom
F
Front
L
Left
C
Camera
P
Perspective
U
User or Axonometric—a 3D view without perspective
Figure 3.43
Changing viewports
is easy.
These keys are extremely helpful when one viewport is maximized and you need to
access different views quickly. For scenes that have more than one camera, press the
C key to bring up a pop-up menu from which you can select the camera. With so many
ways to change viewport views, you’ll be able to find the way that works best for your
workflow.
Because the R shortcut enables the Select and Scale tool there is no keyboard shortcut for the
Right viewport.
Viewport Rendering Levels
In a viewport, you have the ability to view your scene in a few different ways. For example,
in the Mobile exercise you saw how you can switch between Wireframe and Smooth
Shaded views. How you view objects in a viewport is
referred to as viewport rendering. Again, you can
access the different viewport rendering methods by
right-clicking the viewport’s name, as shown in Figure 3.44. Depending on the size of your scene, your
viewport may be more responsive and have a lesstaxing rendering display level.
Figure 3.44
Selecting the viewport’s rendering
level
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The viewport rendering levels are explained in the following list:
Smooth+Highlights—Displays scene objects with smooth shading and specular
highlights from the scene lights. This gives the best feedback for your objects.
Smooth—Displays objects with no highlights and only smooth shading.
Facets+Highlights: Displays scene objects with flat shading and displays specular
highlights. This is a fast way to see your solid objects with highlights when Smooth+
Highlights is too taxing with heavy scenes.
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Facets—Displays polygons as flat surfaces that are shaded, but includes no smoothing
or scene highlights.
Flat—Displays each polygon in its raw diffuse color, disregarding any scene lighting
or light sources. This viewing method is useful when you need to see every polygon
rather than to see them shaded.
Hidden Line—A Wireframe mode that allows you to use the Wireframe mode without seeing through every object. In this display mode only, the wireframe color is
determined by choosing Customize ➔ Customize User Interface in the Colors tab
under Elements ➔ Viewports and selecting Hidden Line Unselected color, not the
object or material color.
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Lit Wireframes—Displays objects as their wireframes with a flat shading for a sense
of lighting.
Wireframe—Draws objects as wireframes only. This is the fastest viewing method
that still let’s you see an object’s shape.
Bounding Box—Displays objects as bounding boxes. Bounding boxes are approximations of the amount of volume a shape occupies. No shading is applied.
3ds Max will automatically display objects as bounding boxes when the geometry in a complex
scene is too much for the display to handle when the viewport is being moved. You probably
will not encounter this feature, called adaptive degradation, until you begin dealing with very
large scenes. You can disable Adaptive Degradation by pressing the keyboard shortcut O.
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Edged Faces—Edged Faces draws the wireframe of an object back onto its shape when
it is displayed in one of the shaded modes: Smooth, Smooth+Highlights, Facets+Highlights, or Facets. This way you can see the wireframe lines and faces of an object for
easier editing, while still seeing it shaded.
Setting the viewport rendering levels will help you with larger scenes. More often than
not, you will be able to view your scenes with the Smooth+Highlights mode, giving you
the best feedback. You consider changing the rendering level a notch or two lower to
improve your system’s responsiveness only when you notice that navigating inside a viewport is becoming slow.
Gizmos
As you saw in the Mobile exercise in the previous chapter, gizmos are ways of manipulating objects in your viewports interactively to transform them—i.e., translate (move),
rotate, and/or scale. The gizmos appear in the viewport on the selected object at their
pivot point as soon as you invoke one of the transformation tools.
When you invoke the Move tool by pressing W (or you access it through the toolbar),
your gizmo looks like this:
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The XYZ-axis gives you handles to move an object on one specific axis. You can also
click on the box between two axes as shown to move the object in that plane, which is
shown here as YZ:
Invoke the Rotate tool by pressing E. Your gizmo will turn into three circles as shown.
You can click on one of the circles to rotate the object on the axis only, or you can click
anywhere between the circles to freely rotate the selected object in all three axes.
Invoke the Scale tool by pressing the R key, and your gizmo will turn into a triangle, as
shown here:
Clicking and dragging anywhere inside the yellow triangle will scale the object uniformly in all three axes. By selecting the red, green, or blue handles for the appropriate
axis, you can scale along one axis only. You can also scale an object in a plane between two
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axes by selecting the side of the yellow triangle between two axes as shown here (along the
Y- and Z-axes):
Keep in mind that the gizmos appear at an object’s pivot point; therefore, if you have
an object where you have relocated the pivot point away from the object itself, the gizmo
will appear there and not on the object itself, as shown here where the rectangle’s pivot is
to the right of the object.
Using gizmos is a fast and effective way to transform your objects with interactive feedback. The Transforms Type-In boxes at the bottom of the screen display coordinate or
angular or percentage information on the position/rotation/scale of your object as you
transform it.
In the following graphic, a cube is being transformed in the Y-axis. The Transforms
Type-In box indicates how much it is being moved.
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Managing Scene Objects
Max has a few ways to organize and manage your scene elements to make working with
things easier. These tools include the Layer Manager, the Schematic View, the Material
Editor, and the Curve Editor/Dope Sheet. The Layer Editor works with objects to organize
them in layers. The Schematic View allows you to view, manage, and edit your scene’s
hierarchies. The Layer Editor and Schematic View windows are outlined for you here, and
they are used extensively throughout this book.
The Material Editor allows you to manage your scene’s materials and textures. The Material Editor is covered in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping.” The Curve Editor manages the
animation in your scene by giving you access to animation curves. The Dope Sheet manages the animation in your scene by giving you access to animation ranges or sets of keys.
The Curve Editor is covered in Chapter 8, and the Dope Sheet is covered in Chapter 9.
Layer Editor
The Layout Editor can be accessed through the main menu: Tools ➔ Layer Manager or
through the Main Toolbar icon
(Figure 3.45).
Layers can be used to group and organize scene objects. 3ds Max layers are organized
similarly to Photoshop layers; you can organize different elements of an image in separate
layers. Layers are mainly used for object visibility, default color control, and freezing and
hiding control. All of these functions help you organize your scene and make object management easier. You will use the Layer Manager in future exercises in this book. The icons
across the top of the Layer Manager are explained here:
Create New Layer—Creates a new layer when you have objects selected in your scene.
Delete Highlighted Empty Layers—Deletes selected layers if they are empty.
Select Highlighted Objects and Layers
Add Selected Objects to Highlighted Layer
Figure 3.45
Delete Highlighted Empty Layers
Highlight Selected Objects' Layers
Hide/Unhide All Layers
The Layer Manager
Freeze/Unfreeze All Layers
Create New Layer
Display Layer Properties
Display Object Properties
Current Layer Toggle
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Add Selected Objects to Highlighted Layer—Moves currently selected objects into
the selected layer.
Select Highlighted Objects and Layers—Selects all of highlighted objects, as well as
all objects contained in any highlighted layers.
Highlight Selected Objects’ Layers—Highlights layers containing the currently
selected objects and automatically scrolls so that highlighted layers are visible in the
layer manager.
Hide/Unhide All Layers—Toggles the display of all layers.
Freeze/Unfreeze All Layers—Toggles the frozen state of all layers.
The columns in the window are the following:
Layers—Displays the names of the layers/objects. To select or rename a layer, just
click on the name. To display object or layer properties, click the object icon to open
the Object Properties dialog box for all highlighted objects.
Current Layer Toggle—The unlabeled column to the right of the layer name indicates
the current layer. It lets you make a different layer current. The check mark next to a
layer means it is selected and current.
Hide—Hides and unhides layers. When a layer is hidden, it’s invisible.
Freeze—Freezes layers. Frozen layers can not be selected.
Render—When on, objects appear in the rendered scene. Nonrendering objects don’t
cast shadows or affect the visual component of the rendered scene.
Color—Changes the default color on highlighted objects.
Radiosity—When on, objects are included in the radiosity solution.
Using the Layer Editor
Let’s take a quick look at how the Layer Manager can help you with a scene. Just follow
these steps:
1. Open a new scene and create four new objects: a box, a sphere, a cone, and a torus as
shown here.
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2. Open the Layer Manager by choosing Tools ➔ Layer Manager or by clicking the Layer
Manager icon
in the main toolbar. Click the Create New Layer icon
to create
two new layers.
To select more than one object in a viewport, press the Ctrl key as you click on additional
objects to add to your selection. Many applications use the Shift key to add to a selection;
however, Max uses Ctrl.
3. In the viewport, select the box and the sphere and assign them to Layer01 by selecting Layer01 and clicking the Add Selected Objects to Highlighted Layer icon
in
the Layer Manager, as shown here.
4. As you did in Step 3, assign the cone to Layer02. Select Layer01 and turn on Freeze.
The sphere and box will turn gray in the viewport and will no longer be able to be
selected. Click Hide, and the box and sphere will disappear from the viewports.
Experiment with toggling Hide and Freeze for the objects or the layers so that you can
see how your scene reacts when they are on and off. You will quickly see how useful the
Layer Manager can be for organizing and managing your scene objects. You will use
the Layer Manager throughout the rest of this book.
Schematic View
The Schematic View is another way to organize and manage your scene, particularly object
hierarchies. This window displays the objects in your scene in a flowchart scheme, allowing
you to see how objects are linked or grouped together. Parents connect down the flowchart
to their children. This method of viewing hierarchies is powerful, because you get an immediate visualization of how the objects in your scene work and relate to each other.
While we’re talking about hierarchies, let’s return to the Mobile exercise from the previous chapter and see how the Schematic View depicts the scene. Figure 3.46 shows the
Mobile scene in the Schematic View.
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Free All
Arrange Selected
Free Selected
Arrange Children
Always Arrange
Move Children
Expand Selected
Reference Mode
Hierarchy Mode
Collapse Selected
Preferences
Delete Objects
Name Field
Unlink Selected
Bookmark
Figure 3.46
The Mobile scene
displayed in the
Schematic View
immediately tells
you how the objects
are organized.
Menu Bar
Display
Floater
Window
Select
Connect
Display
Floater
Nodes
Select Object Text Entry
Prompt Area
Navigation Tools
Zoom Selected Viewport Object
The Schematic View makes editing character rigs easier, allowing you to view, create,
and edit links between objects. A scene can become so complicated that trying to select
one object is impossible. The Schematic View can help you simplify the selection process.
It displays every object in the scene clearly as a box with the object’s name displayed in it.
You can use the MM button to pan around in the Schematic View, or you can use any of
the familiar navigation icons found in the lower right-hand corner of the window, as seen
in Figure 3.46.
When you select any object in the schematic, its parameter automatically appears in
the Modify panel for easy editing. Because objects can have different states of being, different conventions are used to indicate an object’s current state in the scene, with the more
important states listed here:
Red Border—The object is animated.
White Fill—The object is currently selected in the Schematic View window.
White Border—The object is currently selected in a viewport.
Up Arrow—To simplify a view, pressing the Up arrow collapses that node and its
dependent child nodes up to the next highest parent, collapsing them into one node
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for simpler display. This is useful for large characters and long hierarchy chains, so
you don’t have to see all the child nodes in a large scene. This does not remove the
hierarchy, it only affects the display of them.
Down Arrow—Conversely, to gain more information from a group of objects, clicking the down arrow expands the next child down from that node to show you its
immediate child node(s).
In the Mobile scene, you can see how the Main Parent node runs the show. This is the
top bar of the Mobile, and the second row of bars hangs from it as its children. The shapes
on the Mobile are below them.
The toolbar across the top of the Schematic View is used for editing hierarchies in your
scene. We will experiment with reordering the Mobile hierarchy in the Schematic View in
just a moment. First, here are the tools as called out in Figure 3.46:
Display Floater—This toggles the Display Floater window, which gives you access to
display toggles for certain object types in the Schematic View.
Select—This allows you to select objects in the Schematic View. When you select an
object in a viewport, its node in the Schematic View will be outlined in white. However,
it will not necessarily be selected in the Schematic View as well. If you want to be able
to select an object in either window just once and have it selected in both the Schematic
View and the viewports, choose Select ➔ Sync Selection in the Schematic View window.
Connect—Just as you created links between objects in the Mobile project, you can
create links in the Schematic View. Simply click on the child object and drag it to the
desired parent.
Unlink Selected—To break links between objects, simply click the child to unlink
and click this icon.
Delete Objects—Deletes the selected object(s) from the scene. If you make a mistake, you can press the Undo icon in the main toolbar or press Ctrl+Z to get the
object(s) back.
Hierarchy Mode—Lays out the Schematic View as an outline view, as seen here.
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References Mode—Lays out the view in the Schematic View, as shown here. This
view is good for viewing object relationships and materials.
Always Arrange—The Schematic View will keep the node display rigid. As you see in
the Reference Mode graphic, you will not be able to freely move nodes around. Turning this Always Arrange mode off allows you to arrange the nodes any way you want,
as shown here.
The next group of icons—Arrange Children, Arrange Selected, Free All, and Free
Selected—all have to do with automatically arranging nodes when you turn off Always
Arrange.
Move Children—When you click and drag a node, all of its child nodes will follow it
when this icon is toggled on.
Expand and Collapse Selected—This icon is used to reveals or hide the child nodes of
the node selected.
Preferences—This icon is used to toggle the Preferences window for the Schematic
View. You can filter certain object types (such as lights, cameras, objects, etc.) from
displaying in the schematic.
Schematic View Name Field—One very useful feature of the Schematic View is that
you can save certain views to recall later for easy access. When you have a heavy scene,
with tons of nodes to view, getting to the right place in a complicated hierarchy can
take some time. You can simply type a name for your current view into this text box
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and 3ds Max will save the view for you. To access that particular view again,
in the main Menu Bar, select Graph Editors ➔ Saved Schematic Views ➔
Schematic View Name. See Figure 3.47.
Bookmark Name Field—In this field, you can define a selection of nodes
in the Schematic View as a bookmark that you can later return to them
easily.
Figure 3.47
Accessing a saved
Schematic View
Using the Schematic View with the Mobile
Let’s take a look at the Schematic View in action, and have another whack at the Mobile
scene’s hierarchy.
You can start with your own Mobile scene file, or load the scene Mobile_v04.max from
the scenes folder in the Mobile project on the companion CD. Just follow these steps:
1. With your Mobile scene loaded, open the Schematic View by choosing Graph Editors ➔
New Schematic View or by clicking Schematic View (Open) icon
in the main
toolbar, as shown in Figure 3.48.
2. Unlink the Star object from the Mobile and relink it to the Circle object. To do this,
click the Connect button and then select the Star01 node and drag it to the Circle01
node, as shown in Figure 3.49.
3. When you release the mouse button, notice that the Star01 node is linked under the
Circle01 node, as shown in Figure 3.50. The Star was automatically unlinked from its
old parent.
Figure 3.48
The Schematic View
for the Mobile scene
Figure 3.49
Figure 3.50
Reconnecting the Star to the Circle
The Star is linked under the Circle.
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summary
You can see how easy it is to restructure your scene hierarchies using the Schematic
View. All the controls for viewing and arranging nodes might be a bit much for one window. You probably won’t need half those icons, but knowing how to use the Schematic
View is important. It is an important tool in organizing and setting up your scenes for
animation. You will continue to use the Schematic View throughout this book.
Summary
Wow! That was a lot of information. Reference this chapter as you work with Max on
the tutorials in this book and any other Max work you have. This chapter was less about
absorbing all that information than about giving you a single reference to use to look up
UI issues.
Nevertheless, you learned how to navigate the menus, toolbars, icons, panels, and windows in 3ds Max. This chapter outlined the icons and buttons you will come across most
often, and it attempted to show you everything on the main Max UI screen and briefly
describe what it does.
Complete understanding of how to use Max comes with time and experience. To
develop that understanding, you need to work on projects that further challenge you and
get you moving around inside the UI. This book begins that ride and tries to give you a
good push in the right direction. Take everything in this chapter with a grain of salt, and
head into the coming chapters.
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CHAPTER 4
Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I
Modeling in 3d programs is akin to sculpting or carpentry; you essentially
create objects out of shapes and forms. No matter how you look at it, even a complex
model is just an amalgam of simpler parts. The successful modeler can dissect a form
down to its components and translate them into surfaces and meshes.
3ds Max’s modeling tools are incredibly strong for polygonal modeling. The focus of
this book will be on polygonal modeling because the majority of 3ds Max models are
created with polygons. In addition, you will model organics here. You will get to model
an alien creature and use that model to animate a character, using SubDivision surfaces.
In this chapter, you will learn modeling concepts and how to use 3ds Max modeling
toolsets. You will also tackle two different models.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Planning Your Model
■
Modeling Concepts
■
Modifiers and the Modifier Stack
■
Modeling a Chest of Drawers
■
Modeling a Hand
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Planning Your Model
The most important thing to know before you begin to model is exactly what you are
going to model. That seems rather stupid to say, but it’s true. You need to think about
your model and gather as many references as you can. The best training you can hope to
gain is simply by observing the core elements and forms that make up objects in everyday
life. Learn how to dissect things around you into component shapes that you can picture
in a 3d window. When you look at a barbell, for example, you should see several cylinders
connected to each other. When you see an office chair, you should see a few boxes and
cylinders arranged and rounded at the edges. When you begin to see objects in this manner, the idea of modeling them may not seem quite as daunting.
“Yeah, but all my friends can sit down and model anything they want.” Be that as it
may, if you are a novice to 3d, surround yourself with references. Even if you are not new
to 3d or to modeling, you should surround yourself with as many references as you can.
Not having a clear picture in your head of where you need to go for your model will just
aggravate the process and give you a slack result.
Take pictures all around the proposed object. Get the dimensions, sizes, angles, and
slopes of the surfaces of your subject. You could even try to first re-create the object in a
different medium. Try sketching the subject, or grab some children’s Play-Doh or a plate
of mashed potatoes and make a rough sculpture. It may seem like a lot of effort to build
something trivial, but it will pay off in the long run.
But enough of that old lecture.
Your first question should be, “How detailed should I make the model?” As you may
have read in the first chapter, it’s always a good idea to match the level of detail for a
model to what is needed in the shot. If you are featuring the object up close and personal,
then you should take care to build it with extra detail, adding as many polygons as it takes
to make it look good and still render. If, however, the object is far away and half obscured,
detailing the heck out of it would be a waste of time. In Figure 4.1 on the left, you can see a
park bench in a far shot compared to a view of the bench up close on the right. It would be
a waste of effort and time to detail the bench to exacting levels when the bench will be seen
only in a far shot.
You should ask yourself what the model will be used for when you are deciding how
best to detail it. If you are not sure of how the model will be used in the end, it’s generally
best to create as much detail as you think necessary. You can always prune down the details
later if, for example, your scene ends up very large and will not render.
Here’s another thing to confuse you: you can always add detail to a model with texturing.
Textures, when applied well, can really turn an otherwise ho-hum model into a spectacular object when rendered. Such details as grooves, dents, and engravings can easily be
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Figure 4.1
added with certain texture maps called bump maps or displacement maps. You will learn
about them in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping.” Don’t worry about it, though. Most
people begin by modeling all the details they can into their model, and as they gain more
experience, they start to realize that some of the modeling work can be handed off to the
texturing phase.
Modeling Concepts
To get a foothold in modeling, you will need to understand a number of things. If you are
not new to CG, feel free to skip ahead and get your hands dirty modeling. However, you
still might want to peruse this section for some concepts and terms that may make things
easier for you in the coming exercises.
Polygons
A polygon is a surface created by connecting three or more points in 3d space. This flat
surface connects to other polygons to form more intricate surfaces. In Figure 4.2, you see a
sphere. The facets of the sphere are polygons, all connected at common edges at the correct
angles and in the proper arrangement to make a sphere.
The points that generate a polygon are called vertices. The lines that connect the points
are called edges. If the polygon has three vertices, its surface is called a face. Polygons are
made up of triangular faces by design. In the example of the
sphere in Figure 4.2, the polygon facets all have four vertices.
As you can see in the following graphic, the same sphere is
seen, although now a face is selected. See how the face is half
of the polygon, using three of its vertices.
The level of detail in
a model depends on
how much of the
model is seen.
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Figure 4.2
A sphere is made up
of polygons.
Bounding Box
Polygons
Edges
Vertices
The more polygons you have in a model, the more detailed it becomes. However,
greater numbers of polygons tax your system and take longer to render. This is where the
term low-poly modeling originates. In computer or console games, the machine renders
the scene on the fly, so its computation requirements are strict. The fewer the polygons in
the scene, the faster the game can play back. Games frequently use low-poly models to
maximize the effect in their game without sacrificing precious computational cycles.
Higher resolution models are typically used in television and film, because the scenes
are all rendered beforehand and then laid off to video tape or output to film. A computational ceiling is still dictated by the machines that are used in creating the TV or film animations, however, so it is always a good idea to be smart when creating models.
Primitives
Primitives are the basic 3D geometric shapes that are automatically generated by 3D modeling applications. As such, they do not need to be constructed from scratch. A considerable
amount of modeling (perhaps most) begins with primitives, which are then edited and
used with other primitives to create more complex objects. Use primitives as the core of
your object. For example, to sculpt an apple, you might start out with a sphere primitive.
As you can see in Figure 4.3, 3ds Max affords you plenty of primitives to choose from
for your original form. All of these primitives have their own parameters for customizing
the form to your liking. You have already seen how to create some of these objects in
Chapter 2’s Mobile exercise.
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Figure 4.3
Standard Primitives
box
ExtendedPrimitives
cone
Hedra
torusKnot
chamferBox
chamferCyl
sphere
geoSphere
oilTank
capsule
spindle
cylinder
tube
gengon
torus
pyramid
ringWave
teapot
L-Ext
plane
prism
C-Ext
hose
Objects such as the primitives would be useless in Max if you could not edit them to
suit your needs. For example, you could sculpt a sphere into the shape of an apple. To
sculpt a surface, you will need to convert your object (such as the sphere for the apple)
into an editable object, frequently called a mesh, to get to the object’s component level
where you can move points and reshape faces that make up the object or primitive. We
will look at that in the next section.
Meshes and Sub-Objects
Once you have chosen a primitive that will best work for your intended model, you begin
the modeling process by changing the primitive into a mesh object to access the components
of the object with which you will edit the model (such as vertices, faces, etc.).
In 3ds Max, mesh objects are defined by smaller component pieces that form the object
as a whole. The smaller components (called sub-objects) can be manipulated to adjust the
shape of the object or to form more complex models. Once you convert your object in 3ds
Max to an editable object such as a mesh, you can edit using the sub-objects available for
that object.
3ds Max standard
and extended
primitives
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For instance, mesh models break down your object into a number of individual flat
surfaces—polygons and faces. With meshes, you can select any of the sub-objects at different component levels such as the polygons, vertices, or faces of the mesh to make adjustments while sculpting your model.
In 3ds Max, there are two ways to create a mesh object: by applying a modifier to the
base object or primitive, or by converting the primitive to a mesh. Both methods give you
access to the sub-object level for editing. The one big difference, however, can be critical if
you need to edit the base object—for example, if you want to change the radius of a primitive sphere after you start editing it as a mesh. Instead of converting, you are better off using
the modifier method because it preserves the original primitive object intact and allows
you to modify the object’s original parameters (such as radius for a sphere) even after you
begin to edit the mesh.
In this exercise, you will create an object and turn it into a mesh in the following steps:
1. Create a sphere in a new scene using the Create panel. You will turn this object into a
mesh to check out the sub-objects at your disposal.
2. With the sphere selected, switch to the Modify panel. Figure 4.4 shows the newly created sphere. Notice the Sphere heading in the Modifier List on the right.
Figure 4.4
The newly created
sphere awaits your
command.
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3. With the sphere selected, choose Modifiers ➔ Mesh Editing ➔ Edit Mesh. This will
apply an Edit Mesh modifier to the sphere, giving you access to the sub-objects that a
mesh affords you.
4. The Modifier Stack will display a heading called Edit Mesh. Highlight Edit Mesh in
the Modifier Stack to see what is shown in Figure 4.5.
5. Under the Selection heading in the Modify panel, select the type of sub-object you
would like to begin editing. Choose the first icon
for Vertex.
6. As you can see in Figure 4.6, small dots appear on the sphere. They are the vertices
you can now select. Choose the Move tool and select one of the vertices on the sphere.
Click and drag to move the vertex anywhere to sculpt the surface of the sphere, as
shown in Figure 4.6.
7. Change your sub-object selection to polygons by choosing the Polygon icon
in
the Modify panel. The vertices will disappear from the viewport. Change to Edged
Faces display mode in the viewport either by right-clicking the viewport name or by
pressing the F4 shortcut.
Figure 4.5
You now have
access to the Edit
Mesh’s sub-objects.
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8. Click on a polygon to select it. Notice the polygon turns red in the viewport. Move the
selected polygon around to see how the surface of the sphere mesh changes (Figure 4.7).
9. Try selecting the other sub-object types and changing the shape of the sphere.
10. In the Modifier Stack, click on the original sphere entry. You will still have access to
changing the radius and other parameters of the original primitive. Changing any of
these parameters does not negate the Edit Mesh modifier.
Figure 4.6
Adjusting subobjects such as vertices allows you to
sculpt your model.
Figure 4.7
Selecting and playing around with a
polygon sub-object
on the sphere mesh
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As you can see, you have greater control over the shape of your model once you access
the sub-object levels of an Edit mesh. You’ll see quite a bit of mesh editing in the exercises
throughout this book. One exercise you can do now quickly is to try to sculpt a simple
cartoon head using nothing but sub-object manipulation on a base sphere.
In some 3d packages, you have inherent access to a model’s components (such as a
vertex or face). However, with Max you will need to either convert created objects into
meshes or add the appropriate modifier to create a mesh, as you did in the previous exercise, to manipulate the sub-objects. You will be modeling with meshes later in this chapter,
and you will learn other ways to access sub-objects on a model.
Modifiers
Modifiers, as you have already seen, are a way to edit your objects in 3ds Max. In almost
all cases, you can apply several modifiers to an object to get the desired result. In the
Modify panel’s Modifier Stack, you can access any of those modifiers to change any of its
parameters at any time in your modeling. This is perhaps one of the strongest aspects of
modeling in 3ds Max.
Max has tons of modifiers that accomplish any number of tasks. These tasks need not
be limited to editing models, though; many modifiers work well in animation and dynamics chores as well. In this section, we will cover a few modeling-specific modifiers and
more importantly, we will see how the Modifier Stack operates.
Applying Modifiers
Let’s take a quick look at how modifiers work on editing objects. In the following steps,
you will apply a few modifiers to an object.
1. In a new scene, create a tall box in the Perspective viewport, as shown here.
2. With the box selected, choose Modifiers ➔ Parametric
Deformers ➔ Twist. The box gains an orange outline and
Twist shows up in the Modifier Stack. Go to the Modify
panel to see the Modifier Stack, as shown in Figure 4.8.
Click Twist in the Modifier Stack to access its parameters.
3. Click the Angle spinner and drag the mouse to increase
the Angle to 240 or so. As you can see in Figure 4.9, the
box gets completely strange. You can see the box twist
pretty nicely at first, but the higher the Angle on the
Twist, the more shearing the box will undergo, to the
point where it no longer resembles what a twisted box
should look like.
Figure 4.8
The Twist modifier
is now applied to
the box. You can
still access the
original parameters
of the box.
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4. The box is suffering from a case of low definition, meaning the box does not have
enough segments to handle the twist deformation without turning inside out. You
will need to add more segments to the box for a smoother twist effect. In the Modifier
Stack, click the Box entry to access the parameters for the box, before the Twist
modifier.
5. To see the effect of adding more segments to the box better, enable Edged Faces in the
viewport (right-click Perspective, the viewport name) and select Edged Faces from the
context menu.
6. Click the Length Segs parameter spinner and increase the value to 4. Increase the
Width Segs to 4 and the Height Segs to 16. As you increase the segments in the original box, the Twist Modifier takes on a much nicer shape. Figure 4.10 shows the box
with more segments.
7. You can increase the segments as much you prefer; however, it’s best to use the least
number of segments in an object that will give you the desired result. Increasing the
segments essentially increases the polygons in the surface.
Figure 4.9
The box is twisted
out of shape.
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Figure 4.10
Adding more segments to the box
makes the deformation from the Twist
modifier smoother.
8. Now add another modifier to the box. Select the box and highlight the box entry in
the Modifier Stack. Choose Modifier ➔ Parametric Deformers ➔ Spherify. Your box
should look like a ball (Figure 4.11). Neat!
9. Play with the Spherify modifier’s only parameter (Percentage) to see how the twisted
box can turn into a sphere. Although this is kind of a neat trick, you don’t really need
this modifier, so go ahead and remove it from the stack. In the Modifier Stack, click
the Spherify entry and click the Trash Can icon
at the bottom of the Modifier List,
as shown here. This will remove the Spherify modifier without harming anything else,
and it will return the box to its twisted state.
Modifiers are powerful editing and animation tools. Take some time to play around in
a scene such as the one from this previous exercise, and apply different deformers to
objects and see what they do. It’s really best to learn by experience sometimes. The Parametric Deformer modifiers are especially fun to play with, as you can see. You have not
seen the last of modifiers in this book; they are an integral part of the 3ds Max workflow
and will be used all throughout this book. We will take a look at the Modifier Stack in the
next section, now that you have had some exposure to it already.
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Figure 4.11
Spherify the box.
Modifier Stack with a Side of Maple Syrup
The Modifier Stack displays the modifiers added to any objects. It gives you access to any
of the parameters for the modifiers applied to the object, as well as the original parameters of
the object itself. When working with the Modifier Stack, you have several options you can
in access through the icons below the stack itself, as shown in Figure 4.12.
Pin Stack If you want to freeze the display on the Modify panel controls on the currently
selected object, click this icon. Pin Stack locks the stack and all the controls in the panel
so that you can see that object’s stack even while you have other objects selected in the
scene.
Show End Result When on, it shows the effect of the entire stack on the selected object.
When off, it shows the effect of the stack only up to the currently highlighted modifier.
Make Unique With a certain type of object duplication (instancing), making any adjust-
ments to the instanced copy also reflects in the original object. Make Unique separates the
objects and disallows a shared adjustment, so if you apply a modifier to an instanced copy,
it will not reflect in the original object when Make Unique is applied.
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Object Name
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Object Color
Figure 4.12
The Modifier Stack’s
controls
Sub-Object Icon
Light Bulb Icon
Configure Modifier Sets
Pin Stack
Show End Result
Remove Modifier
Make Unique
Remove Modifier This deletes the current modifier from the stack, eliminating all changes
caused by that modifier.
Configure Modifier Sets This displays a menu that allows you to configure the display of
the Modify panel and choose which modifiers will be available to you directly from the
Modify panel, without having to access the drop-down list.
Sub-Object Icon The plus or minus icon to the right of the Modifier name signifies that
you have access to the sub-object (or sub-modifier) levels.
Light Bulb Icon This turns the effect of the modifier on and off. This is very useful for
troubleshooting and verifying the effect of a particular modifier in a stack.
Order in the Stack
Unless changed, the Modifier Stack contains a history of an object’s modifiers in the order
they were applied. The Stack is read and applied to the object from the bottom going up,
with the original object’s entry at the very bottom. As you can imagine, the order in which
you stack your modifiers is very important. You can get very different results from the
same objects with the same modifiers in a different order.
Fortunately, changing the order of modifiers in the stack is very easy. In the Modifier Stack, simply click the modifier you
want to move and drag it to its new position
in the stack. Once you release the mouse
button, a blue line will demarcate where in
the stack the modifier will be placed.
For example, you can start with a cylinder
and apply the Bend modifier (Modifiers ➔
Parametric Deformers ➔ Bend) to the cylinder first, as seen in Figure 4.13.
Figure 4.13
A cylinder with the
Bend modifier
applied
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Now if you want to pinch in, or taper the bent side of the cylinder, you can add a Taper
modifier (Modifiers ➔ Parametric Deformers ➔ Taper) to the stack. The results won’t look
the way you would expect, as you can see in Figure 4.14.
Figure 4.14
Trying to taper the
bent side of the
cylinder does not
work with the Taper
modifier—yet.
Now go to the Modifier Stack, click and drag the Taper modifier, and move it below the
Bend modifier (Figure 4.15). These are the results you want to see. You want to “Bend the
Taper” not “Taper the Bend.”
Figure 4.15
This is the way it’s
supposed to look.
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Look at the Mesh You Got Us Into!
As you saw earlier in this chapter, to access the sub-object level of objects, you will need to
turn them into a mesh. You’ve seen how you can add an Edit Mesh modifier to an object
so you can begin to sculpt the surface using vertices and faces. What if you were told there
are tons of editing tools that come with meshes? Yeah, it’s like that.
When you create a mesh from an object, you not only have access to the sub-objects of
that object but also a host of tools to allow you to edit the surface. How do you get to a
mesh? There are at least four different ways to get a mesh.
Convert Versus Modifier
You can add the Edit Mesh or Edit Poly modifiers to an object, or you can convert to an
Editable Mesh or Editable Poly. Converting to an Editable Mesh or adding an Edit Mesh
modifier is roughly the same; they both host the same toolset and allow you the same subobject levels for the mesh. However, adding a modifier allows you to edit the parameters
of the original object, as you may have seen earlier in the chapter.
To experiment with the modifiers, try this exercise:
1. Create two spheres in a new scene, and place them side by side, as seen here in
Figure 4.16.
Figure 4.16
Two spheres side
by side
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2. Select the sphere on the left and apply an Edit Mesh modifier to it (choose Modifiers ➔
Mesh Editing ➔ Edit Mesh).
3. Select the sphere on the right and convert it to an Editable Mesh by first rightclicking on the sphere’s entry in the Modifier Stack. From the context menu that
appears when you right-click, choose Editable Mesh under the Convert To: heading,
as seen here.
4. Take turns clicking back and forth between the two spheres. You should notice very
little difference in the toolsets in the Modify panel. Figure 4.17 shows the Modify
panel for the sphere with the Edit Mesh modifier, and Figure 4.18 shows the
Modify panel for the Editable Mesh sphere.
5. Notice, however, that the Editable Mesh sphere no longer has the same Modifier Stack
entries. This sphere now simply displays as Editable Mesh in the Modifier Stack. You
should also note that the Editable Mesh sphere also has a rollout at the bottom of the
Modifier panel called Surface Properties. Aside from those two issues, the modifier
and the conversion are exactly the same.
The Convert method has its own advantages, however. Converting to an Editable Mesh,
as opposed to applying the Edit Mesh modifier, saves memory and is more efficient because
it doesn’t have to save the base object’s parameter information. However, using the modifier gives you the little bit of comfort because you can always go back to the original object
and remove the Edit Mesh modifier at any time. You cannot reconvert an Editable Mesh
back to its original object.
Mesh Versus Poly
What about Edit Mesh versus Edit Poly modifier and Editable Mesh versus Editable Poly?
Which is better to use? Well, so far you have seen the Edit Mesh modifier and the Editable
Mesh. A more up-to-date toolset for sub-object tools is obtained through the Edit Poly
modifier or Editable Poly, and it is the preferred way to go for many 3ds Max artists. Then
why show the Edit Mesh modifier and Editable Mesh? They are all good to know, and you
should understand how they function relatively.
Having said that, we’ll concentrate on the Edit Poly modifier and Editable Poly for this
chapter’s exercises—so let’s take a look!
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Edit Poly Modifier/Editable Poly
The Edit Poly modifier gives you plenty of controls to edit an object, just like the Edit Mesh
modifier does. Figure 4.19 shows the Modify panel entries for the Edit Poly modifier on a
sphere.
Figure 4.17
Figure 4.18
Figure 4.19
The sphere with the
Edit Mesh modifier
The sphere
converted to an
editable mesh
has basically the
same toolset.
Edit Poly modifier
applied to a sphere
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Figure 4.20
Polygon
Polygon faces on
this box have three
edges or sides, making them triangular.
A Polygon on this
box has four edges,
or sides, making it a
square.
Inner Edge
Faces
The differences between Mesh and Poly are few. Editable Mesh gives you a sub-object
level called faces that are polygons with just three edges (they have three vertices). Figure 4.20
shows you faces on a box object.
When modeling with an Editable Mesh (or through the Edit Mesh modifier), having
faces gives you an inner edge where the faces meet along the center of the polygon. The
inner edge can cause all kinds of problems even when you are working in Poly mode.
An Editable Poly is similar to an Editable Mesh, but it gives you access to four-sided
polygons instead of faces. It also hosts a slew of other, more refined tools and selection
options.
In addition, the toolsets found in the Edit Poly/Editable Poly are more fleshed out
than Edit Mesh/Editable Mesh and have been updated more, so they will give you
slightly more options. The major difference between the toolsets in the Editable Poly
and the Edit Poly modifier is that you have inherent access to SubDivision modeling
on the Editable Poly.
In the next section, you will find the Edit Poly modifier and the Editable Poly.
Edit Poly/Editable Poly Tools
In this section, you will explore the actual toolsets in the Edit Poly/Editable Poly world.
Most of these toolsets will also apply to the toolsets you will find in the Edit Mesh/Editable
Mesh world as well, although some may be used slightly differently. In either case, using
an Edit Poly modifier or an Editable Poly is preferred.
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Similarly, the toolset in an Editable Poly is very similar to those found with the Edit
Poly modifier, so here is a rundown on the rollouts and toolsets you will find for the
Editable Poly (and many cross over for the Edit Poly as well).
When you convert a primitive to an Editable Poly, in the Modify panel interface, you
can see the controls for manipulating an object at sub-object levels. They are very similar
to the sub-objects you learned about earlier in the book with the Edit Mesh modifier. In
all, there are six rollouts (as shown here). The main ones are Selection, Edit Geometry,
and Subdivision Surface.
Selection Rollout
The Selection rollout contains tools used to access different levels of the object’s sub-objects
and their display in the viewport. You can also find information about the selected components in this rollout, as shown in Figure 4.21.
When you first create an Editable Poly and access the Modifier panel, you are in the
Object level, meaning you will select the object. By clicking the different sub-object level
icons at the top of this rollout (see Figure 4.22), you can access the different selection levels as well as their relevant tools. Clicking the icon off will return you to the Object selection level again.
You can also select the desired sub-object level by clicking the plus sign (+) next to the
Editable Poly entry in the Modifier Stack and selecting one of the entries, as shown here.
Here are the different sub-object levels for an Editable Poly:
Vertex Vertices define the structure of other sub-objects that make up the poly. They are
simply points in space. However, when a vertex is moved, the geometry that they form is
changed accordingly. While your Editable Poly is selected, you can use keyboard shortcut
1 to select the Vertex level.
Edge The line connecting two vertices together is an edge and, therefore, creates the side
of a polygon. Edges can be shared by only two polygons. You can use keyboard shortcut 2
to enter Edge level selection.
Figure 4.21
Border A border is the edge of a hole. A surface’s edge contains polygons that are not
The Selection rollout
for an Editable Poly
flanked by other polygons; in essence, they are on the edge of the surface. The row of
edges on the perimeter of that surface is the border. You may invoke Border-level selection by pressing 3.
Vertex
Border
Element
Polygon A polygon is a flat shape created by connecting three or more vertices, forming a
closed shape. Polygons are what actually render when you output your scene in rendering.
Press the 4 key to enter the Polygon level.
Edge
Polygon
Figure 4.22
The sub-object icons
for an Editable Poly
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Element An Element allows you to select all the polygons in an object. Press the 5 key to
enter the Element level.
Also, the Selection modifier has a few selection options that will help you quickly alter
your selection to suit your needs better. The following covers a few of the important selection options:
By Vertex When you click the check box, you can select sub-objects by selecting the vertex
they are near. This feature is grayed out when you are in Vertex mode.
Ignore Backfacing When you click the check box you can select only the sub-objects that
are facing you. With the default, which is off, you can select any sub-object(s) whether
they are facing you or even visible. Think of it like selecting a dot on an orange. With
Ignore Backfacing turned on, you can select a dot only on the side of the orange you can
see. With Ignore Backfacing off, you can select any dot—even if it is on the side of the
orange that’s away from you.
By Angle When you select a polygon with By Angle enabled, 3ds Max will also select the
neighboring polygons based on the value given for the angle in the text box next to this
check box. This value determines the maximum angle between neighboring polygons that
may be selected.
Shrink When you have made a sub-object selection, but you feel the selection is too wide,
use Shrink. Shrink will deselect the outermost sub-objects to shrink your selection.
Grow Conversely, you can make a small selection of sub-objects and use Grow to increase
the selection area outward in all available directions.
Loop Once you select an edge, you can propagate that selection to all the edges continu-
ously around the mesh object by clicking the Loop icon. In the image on the left, a single
edge is selected. The entire loop of edges is selected in the image on the right.
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Ring Similar to the Loop function, Ring propagates an edge selection to the ring of edges
perpendicular to the edge selected. In the following image on the left, there is a single edge
selection. In the image on the right, the edges are selected with the Ring function.
Soft Selection Rollout
As you already know, a regular selection simply selects what you pick in the viewport for
editing. You can, however, create a soft selection (shown in Figure 4.23), where a falloff
effect emanates from your selection area toward the unselected sub-objects. In this case,
the unselected sub-objects gain a partial selection value that is displayed in the viewports
as a color gradient on the vertices or faces. When you apply a transformation—for example, if you move the soft selection—the actual selection will transform at a 1:1 ratio, while
the falloff area of the “partial” selection will react at a lesser ratio according to the gradient
falloff. This is similar to picking up a tablecloth with two fingers. The cloth between the
two fingers is the full selection, while the cloth around the fingers falls off and does not lift
up off the table as high as your fingers.
You can adjust the amount of falloff using the Falloff, Pinch, and Bubble parameters.
In Figure 4.24, a sphere’s vertices are being pulled outward with a soft selection. The area
in the falloff, as you can see, is smoothly holding back as the main selection vertices are
Figure 4.23
The Soft Selection
rollout
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pulling out. The sphere in the back of the viewport in Figure 4.24 has a vertex pulled out
without the benefit of a soft selection.
Figure 4.24
Front sphere with
Soft Selection
enabled and back
sphere without Soft
Selection.
Edit (Sub-Object) Rollout
These rollouts provide specific tools for editing the sub-object of your poly object. There
are tools that are specific to the sub-object and ones that are the same for all sub-objects.
The rollout heading name changes to reflect the sub-object level you are currently in and
shows you the tools available for just that sub-object.
Try this exercise:
1. In a new scene, create a sphere. Convert the sphere to an Editable Poly.
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2. Select the poly sub-object level and select a single poly on the sphere, as shown here.
Make sure Soft Selection is not enabled.
3. In the Edit Polygons rollout, choose Extrude, as shown here.
4. Your cursor in the viewport will change. Click on the polygon you already have
selected, and drag the mouse up to extrude the polygon out from the sphere. If you
drag the mouse down, the polygon will extrude into the sphere, creating a square
tunnel. Pull the polygon out as shown and release the mouse button.
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5. Select another polygon and extrude the face inward by dragging down on the cursor,
as shown here.
6. Select a third polygon on the sphere, and this time select the Bevel tool in the Modifier
panel. Similar to an Extrude, Bevel allows you to taper the extruded polygon. Click
on the polygon, and drag the mouse to pull the polygon out. When you release the
mouse button, 3ds Max allows you to select the taper amount by simply moving the
mouse up or down. When you have the desired taper, as shown here, click once to
exit the tool and set the bevel as you see it.
Essentially, the Edit rollout tools give you access to functions such as Extrude and Bevel
to help you shape your model. The next section, “Editable Poly Tools,” will give you some
more experience with these toolsets. You will also use many of these tools in the Chest of
Drawers exercise in this chapter.
Edit Geometry Rollout
This rollout (Figure 4.25) is the same for all the sub-objects. These tools allow you to edit
your object. You will be using many of these tools in the upcoming Chest of Drawers and
Hand exercises in this chapter.
Figure 4.25
The Edit Geometry
rollout
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Subdivision Surface Rollout
You have probably heard of Subdivision surfaces and SubD modeling, as they’re called. A
SubD surface is a surface that has been divided to have more faces. However, the SubD
surface retains the original object’s general shape, which is sometimes called a cage. You
subdivide to add more detail to a model, but you can still edit the original cage of the
model to alter its overall shape and form.
The Subdivision Surface rollout lets you access tools specific to modeling with a subdivision surface, as seen in Figure 4.26.
You will be modeling with subdivision surfaces a little bit later in the Hand exercise in
this chapter and then again in Chapter 6, “Surface Tools and Modeling.”
Editable Poly Tools
Let’s experiment with some of the other Editable Poly tools. Roll up your sleeves and dive
right into the following exercises.
Figure 4.26
The Subdivision
Surface rollout
Extrude
When you extrude a vertex, 3ds Max moves it along a normal—that is, a line that is perpendicular to the surface in most cases. The extrusion creates new polygons that form the
sides of the extrusion that also connect the vertex to the object.
We will start by extruding a vertex on a sphere:
1. Create a sphere by going to the Create panel and selecting Sphere. Create the sphere
with about 20 units radius. Convert the sphere to an Editable Poly by right-clicking
on the sphere and choosing Editable Poly under the Convert To heading in the rightclick menu. Go to Vertex mode, or press 1 on your keyboard. The vertices will appear
as blue dots on your model.
2. Select a vertex on your sphere, and the vertex will turn red. Go to the Edit Vertices
rollout in the Modify panel, and press the Settings button next to Extrude to bring up
the dialog box in Figure 4.27. Set an exact extrusion height and base width, and click
Apply to create the extrusion. You can also click and drag to interactively pull out the
vertex. Figure 4.28 shows a single extruded vertex.
Extrude acts the same in any of the sub-object modes—Vertex, Edge, or Poly. Figure 4.29
shows an extruded edge, and you saw what an extruded polygon looks like earlier in the
chapter.
You will be able to work with more extrude options in the
Creating the Fingers exercise later in this chapter.
Figure 4:27
The Extrude Vertices
dialog box
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Figure 4.28
Figure 4.29
A single extruded vertex
A single extruded edge
Chamfer
In the following steps, you will use a different tool, called Chamfer, to create extra detail
on an Editable Poly:
1. Undo the vertex extrusion with Ctrl+Z, or start with a fresh sphere and select a vertex.
Hold down the Ctrl key and select two more vertices on either side of the one already
selected. Click the Chamfer Settings button in the Modify panel to open the Chamfer
Settings dialog box, shown here.
2. The new vertices are created around the ones you selected. You can dial in the exact
value for your chamfer in the Options window and click Apply or OK. You can also
simply click the Chamfer button (and not the Settings button), and click and drag in
the viewport to interactively set your chamfer distance.
When you chamfer a sub-object, 3ds Max creates new faces around the area you have
selected, complete with connecting edges, as you can see in Figure 4.30. Having been offset
from the original vertex location, the three vertices are split into four new vertices each
and arranged in a diamond formation. Chamfering, in this case, is good for creating some
extra area of detail in your mesh or poly.
You can also use Chamfer to cut a hole in your surface. If you click the Open option
box in the Chamfer Settings window, 3ds Max will cut a hole where the Chamfer exists, as
seen in Figure 4.31.
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editable poly tools
Figure 4.30
Figure 4.31
Chamfer three vertices right next to each other.
The Open option in the Chamfer Settings window will cut
holes in your model.
When you are in the Edge sub-object level, you can chamfer edges. In this case, the
chamfer splits an edge into more edges and offsets them from their original location. In
Figure 4.32, the corner edge of a box (shown on the right) is selected and chamfered
(shown on the left).
Use Chamfer with some caution, because you can create overlapping geometry without realizing it.
Figure 4.32
Chamfering
an Edge
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Weld
Welding vertices helps you combine vertices on a poly or mesh that should occupy the
same space. It helps simplify the model by taking out extra vertices that need not be there.
Welding also can help shape your model. The following steps show you how to weld vertices together:
1. Start with a new Editable Poly sphere, in a new scene if you wish. Remember,
to get an Editable Poly sphere, create a sphere and convert it to an Editable
Poly by right-clicking on the Sphere entry in the Modifier Stack and selecting
Editable Poly.
2. Select two vertices next to each other on the sphere. Select
the Weld Settings button to open the window seen here.
3. Use the Weld Threshold spinner in the Weld Settings
window to weld the two vertices together, as seen in Figure 4.33. The Weld tool combines selected vertices that
are within the threshold you set.
Weld is used a lot when detail is added to a model, such as with a chamfer, and some of
the points need to be pulled together and combined into a single point.
Bevel
As you saw earlier in the chapter, a Bevel command creates a
rounded edge for an extrusion. First, select the polygon, and
then click Bevel in the Modify panel under the Edit Polygon
rollout to create a bevel like the one shown in Figure 4.34.
You can also click the Settings button next to Bevel to open
the Bevel Settings window shown here.
Figure 4.33
Figure 4.34
Welding two vertices together
A pair of beveled polygons
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editable poly tools
Outline
The Outline function allows you to resize a polygon cleanly. Follow these steps to outline
a polygon:
1. With a new Editable Poly sphere, go into Polygon level and select a polygon on the
face of the sphere.
2. Select the Outline Settings button and set a desired Outline Amount value in
the Settings window, as shown here. Then click OK or Apply. The polygon will
change size, and the edges of the polygons around it will shift to accommodate
the newly outlined polygon, as seen in Figure 4.35.
Outline lets you increase or decrease the size of the edges of a polygon. Using Outline is
similar to selecting the polygon and scaling it with the Scale tool, but Outline is cleaner
and easier to control.
Clicking OK and clicking Apply in a dialog window are not the same. Clicking OK will perform
the respective function and close the Settings window. Clicking Apply will perform the action
but keep the window open.
Inset
Similar to the Outline function for a polygon, the Inset function creates a tapered
version of the original polygon that is inset from its original location. An inset is
similar to a bevel, but it doesn’t add any height to the polygon. Simply select a
polygon on your Editable Poly, and select Inset from the Modify panel’s Edit Polygons rollout. You can click and drag in the viewport to set the Inset size, or click
the Settings button next to the Inset button to open the Inset Settings window,
as seen here. Figure 4.36 shows an Inset polygon on a sphere.
Figure 4.35
Figure 4.36
An Outlined Polygon on the sphere
An Inset is similar to a beveled polygon, but without any height added to it.
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Hinge from Edge
Now let’s see some of the more involved tools in the Editable Poly toolset. The Hinge from
Edge tool creates a series of new polygons that rotate along an edge on the surface of an
existing poly, connecting it to the original object. You can think of it as an extrusion with
a rotation.
Follow these steps to see Hinge from Edge in action:
1. Create a new sphere in a new scene, and convert it to an Editable Poly. Enter into
Polygon-level selection.
2. Select a polygon and click the Hinge from Edge button, as shown here, to open the
Hinge Polygons from Edge Settings window in Figure 4.37.
3. Select the edge that will be the hinge, or the edge about which the polygons will
extrude and rotate. To select the hinge edge, click the Pick Hinge button in the dialog
box next to the Current Hinge parameter. Then, in the viewport, go to the selected
polygon and choose which edge you want to use.
4. Once you select the hinge, the polygon will hinge out, rotating about that selected
edge however many degrees are cited in the Angle parameter. You can use the spinner
to select or you can enter the desired angle value for the hinge. The model will interactively hinge the polygon as you set the Angle value. Figure 4.38 shows a small hinge.
Notice the hinge is flat, as it only has a Segments value of 1.
5. In the Settings window, change the Angle value to 90, and the Segments value to 5.
Press OK to complete the function. Figure 4.39 shows the results.
The Hinge from Edge tool is an interesting way to extrude, and it can be handy in many
instances, such as when you’re creating an awning or a curved overhang. Remember, the
smoother you need the hinge to be, the more segments you will need to add.
Figure 4.37
Figure 4.38
The Hinge Polygons from
Edge Settings window
A hinged polygon on the sphere,
but with only one segment
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Figure 4.39
A smoother hinge is
created when you
increase the segments parameter.
Cap
The Cap function creates a new polygon to fill a hole on a surface. For this function, you’ll
need to be in the Border-level selection. To see a cap in action, follow these steps:
1. Create a new sphere and convert it to an Editable Poly.
2. Select a few polys that are next to each other, side by side, and delete them by pressing
the Delete key. You should now have holes in your sphere, as shown.
3. You may be wondering why you did that. You need to have a hole in the polygon surface for a Cap function and to check out the Border sub-object. As you may recall, a
Border-level selection is the row of edges around a hole in a surface or on the edge of
a surface, where only one side of the edge has a polygon. In the case of this sphere, the
border is the line of edges surrounding the hole.
4. Now you need to cap the hole. Enter the Border level selection by pressing the Border
icon or pressing 3. Under the Edit Borders rollout, select Cap. The hole should be
filled with a single polygon, as shown in Figure 4.40.
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Figure 4.40
The Cap function
fills in a hole with a
single polygon.
This tool can be very convenient. If you have done something to a polygon but don’t
like it, you can delete that poly and use the Cap tool to create a new one. Keep in mind,
however, that cap will use a flat polygon to fill the hole, so a complex surface hole will
not be patched with the same surface contours as the original.
Extrude Along a Spline
The Extrude Along a Spline function works just as it sounds. It will extrude a polygon subobject along a spline path—that is a curve drawn in 3ds Max. Splines will be introduced
later in this chapter and covered more extensively in the following chapters.
To see the Extrude Along a Spline function in action, open the Path Extrude.max file
found in the Chapter 4 directory in its Scenes folder. This file has a sphere that has already
been converted to an Editable Poly and a spline that will act as the path of extrusion. To
continue, follow these steps:
1. Select the sphere and go into Poly mode (use shortcut 4, or select the Poly icon in the
Modify panel’s Selection rollout). Select a polygon; it doesn’t matter which one.
2. Click the Settings button next to Extrude Along
Spline to open the Settings window for the tool,
as seen here.
3. Click the Pick Spline button and click the spline
next to the sphere.
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Figure 4.41
A polygon on this
sphere is extruded
along a spline path.
4. Immediately, you will see an extruded element coming from the sphere. It probably
doesn’t look very good because you still need to work with the parameters.
5. Start by adding more segments; 15 to 20 should give you a good looking extrusion.
The extrusion in Figure 4.41 is the result of 11 Segments, –0.5 Taper Amount, and
2.0 Taper Curve.
Play around with some of the settings to get a good feel for what this tool can do. As a
matter of fact, it’s a really good idea to play around with all of the tool settings you have seen
here, and some of the ones you haven’t. This is a good way, if not somewhat frustrating, to
learn 3ds Max—or any 3d program for that matter. Use this sphere, or another Editable
Poly you create, to experiment with the different tools available in this rollout for all the
sub-object levels to get a basic idea of how things work. You can rely on the text in this
book, as well as 3ds Max’s User Guide, to help you along the way.
Modeling a Chest of Drawers
Let’s finally put some of your newfound knowledge into practice. If you skipped to this
section from the beginning of the chapter, or even from the beginning of the book, look at
the previous sections in this chapter after you finish this model. Doing so will help fill
some of the educational gaps and better explain how or why you’ve accomplished some of
this exercise’s topics.
In this section, you will model a chest of drawers (or dresser) to develop your Editable
Poly muscles. Why buy a chest of drawers when you can just make one in 3ds Max? Make
sure you make it large enough for all your socks.
Ready, Set, Reference!
You’re so close to modeling something! You’ll want to get some sort of reference for what
you’re modeling. Study the photo in Figure 4.42 for a look at the desired result.
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Figure 4.42
Modeling this chest
of drawers
There are plenty of reference photos, and you will access them throughout this exercise
to help build different parts of the chest. You may want to flip through the following pages
to see the various photos to get a better idea what you will be modeling.
Of course, if this were your chest of drawers, you could have captured tons of pictures
already, right?
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Ready, Set, Model!
Create a Project called Dresser, or copy the Dresser project from the companion CD directly
to your hard drive. It’s never a good idea to work from a CD. To learn how to create a new
project, see Chapter 2, “Your First 3ds Max Animation.”
Top of the Dresser
To begin the chest of drawers model, follow these steps:
1. Begin with a new scene (choose File ➔ New, and click New All in the pop-up window).
Select the Perspective viewport and enable Edged Faces mode in the view (right-click
the viewport name and toggle on Edged Faces from the menu). Go to the Create
panel. In the Geometry heading, click Box. You are going to create a box using the
Keyboard Entry rollout seen here.
2. Using the Keyboard Entry rollouts allows you to specify the exact size and location to
create an object in your scene. Leave the X, Y, and Z values at 0, but enter these values:
Length of 15, Width of 30, and Height of 40. Click Create to create a box aligned in
the center of the scene with the specified dimensions.
3. With the box still selected, go to the Modify panel. You can see the box’s parameters
here. You will need to add more height segments, so change the Height Segs parameter to 6. Your box should look like the box in Figure 4.43.
4. Convert the box to an Editable Poly by selecting the box and choosing Modifiers ➔
Mesh Editing ➔ Edit Poly. As seen in Figure 4.44, you can always go through the
Modifier Stack to convert the box to the Editable Poly instead of using the menus.
Figure 4.43
The box from which
a beautiful chest of
drawers will emerge.
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5. Press 4 on your keyboard to take you to the Polygon sub-object mode. Now select the
polygon on the top of the box. As you can see in the viewport, the polygon is shaded
red when it’s selected.
6. Now go to the Edit Polygons rollout in the Modify Panel and select the Settings button next to Bevel. We are going to bevel several times to create the lip on the crown of
the dresser seen in Figure 4.45.
7. Enter the following parameters: Height: 0.5 and Outline Amount: 1.3. Keep the Bevel
Type set to Group as shown. Bevel Type will be explained in the Hand Modeling exercise in the next section. For now, just know that when you bevel only one poly, the
Bevel Type is irrelevant; it is only for multiple polygons.
Click the Apply button (not the OK button), and Max
will apply the specified settings without closing the
window to give you results that should be similar to
Figure 4.46.
Figure 4.44
The lip of the dresser
8. After the first Bevel is applied, add more bevels to round out the crown. In the still
open Bevel Polygons window, input these parameters: Height: 0.1 and Outline Amount:
0.06. Click Apply (you want to keep the Bevel window open because you’ll need to
bevel several times). This will bevel a very slight bit up, as seen in Figure 4.47.
9. For the third bevel, input the following values: Height: 0.1 and Outline Amount: 0.03.
Click Apply. Next, input these values: Height: 0.1 and Outline Amount: 0. Click
Apply. This creates a slight curve in the crown. Again enter new values: Height: 0.3
and Outline Amount: 0. Click Apply. For the sixth bevel, change the values: Height:
0.1 and Outline Amount: –0.06. Click Apply. Finally, enter these values: Height: 0.1
and Outline Amount: –0.08. Click OK. Your dresser’s top should resemble Figure
4.48 and Figure 4.49.
Figure 4.45
The lip of the dresser
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Figure 4.46
The first bevel for
the crown of the
dresser
Figure 4.47
The second bevel is
hardly noticeable.
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Figure 4.48
The crown lip of the
dresser’s top
Figure 4.49
The dresser top is
ready.
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These bevel amounts are not necessarily set in stone. You can play around with the settings to get as close to the image as you can or to add your own design flair. You can load
the Dresser01.max scene file from the Scenes folder in the Dresser project on the companion CD.
Bottom of the Dresser
Now it is time for the bottom of the dresser. This dresser doesn’t have legs, but it has a
nice detail at the bottom nonetheless, as you can see in Figures 4.50 and 4.51. To create
this detail, you need to extrude a segment.
1. You should already be in Poly Sub-Object mode if you are continuing with your own
file, so select the poly on the bottom of the dresser as seen here.
2. Go to the Edit Poly rollout, select the Extrude Settings
button, change the Extrusion Height to 2.5, and click
OK. This will extrude a polygon out from the bottom
of the dresser, essentially adding a segment to the box
as seen in Figure 4.52.
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Figure 4.50
An angle view of the
dresser’s bottom
corner
Figure 4.51
A straight view of
the dresser’s bottom
corner
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Figure 4.52
Extrude the bottom
of the dresser.
3. The polygon will still be selected, so select the Inset button, change the Inset Amount
to 0.6, and click OK. This creates an inset poly, as seen here.
4. The poly is still selected, so select the Extrude Settings button, enter an Extrusion
Height of –2.0, and click OK. Figure 4.53 shows how the bottom of the dresser has
moved up into itself slightly.
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Figure 4.53
The dresser’s
bottom lip
Figure 4.54
A mock-up of how
the bottom lip needs
to be cut
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To create the detail to the bottom, you need to add more segments in the newly extruded
polygons. Figure 4.54 shows a mock-up of how the bottom lip should be cut. To do this,
you will use the Slice tool. The Slice tool works only when the polygons are selected. You
will start by slicing into the extruded polygons on the front and back of the bottom lip.
1. Select all the polygons that make up the front and back lip of the bottom. Make sure
you select the front, back, and bottom of the front and back lip as shown in the following
graphic. The selections are marked darker in the graphic. It is also a good idea to lock
your selection. The Lock icon
appears at the bottom of the interface. When that
icon is highlighted yellow, whatever you have selected will be locked and will not be
deselected until you disable the Selection Lock.
The keyboard shortcut for the Selection Lock toggle is the spacebar.
2. When all the necessary polygons are selected, go to the Edit Geometry rollout and
click the Slice Plane tool. When you select the Slice Plane tool, a yellow wire box will
surround the selected polygons; this is the Slice Plane gizmo. Position/rotate the
gizmo where you want to slice your polygon, as shown in Figure 4.55.
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3. Until now, when you selected a polygon, it turned solid red in the viewport. You can
change it to display as outline when a polygon is selected, and not as solid red. You will
need to do this so you can see the new edges you are creating. To turn off Shaded Edge
mode, press F2. Your selected polygons will now show red only around the edges.
4. With the Slice Plane tool still active, right-click in the viewport to bring up the Quad
menu. Go to the Transform menu and select Rotate. Figure 4.56 shows this shortcut
for the Transform tools.
Figure 4.55
The Slice Plane
gizmo
Figure 4.56
Rotate the Slice
Plane gizmo
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5. You need to rotate the Slice Plane gizmo 90-degrees along the Y-axis. Center the cursor over the Transform gizmo’s Y-axis (green wire), and click/drag until the Transform Type-in box at the bottom of the interface reads 90 in the Y-box, or you can
enter the rotation amount for Y and press Enter. As you rotate, you will see the slice
interactively displayed as a red line on the selected polygons.
6. Use the Move tool (W) to position the Slice Plane gizmo, where you want the first
slice. The movement will be along the X-axis or horizontal along the box. When the
Slice Plane gizmo is positioned as shown in Figure 4.57, go to the Edit Geometry rollout and click Slice. Don’t click Slice Plane because that will deactivate only the Slice
Plane tool. You must click the Slice button because it is like clicking an Apply button
for the Slice Plane tool. Once you click Slice, the polygon will have a new segment at
that location. The Slice Plane tool should still be active.
7. You need four slices at each end of the dresser bottom, as shown in Figure 4.58.
Keep in mind that the polygons are selected on the front and back so that the Slice
Plane tool will slice only polygons that are selected within the gizmo. Click the
Slice Plane button to deactivate the tool when you have placed four vertical slices
in all four corners of the front and back bottom lips of the dresser, as shown in
Figure 4.58.
Figure 4.57
Place a slice in the
corner for the foot of
the dresser.
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Figure 4.58
Place four vertical
slices at each corner.
8. Press the spacebar to unlock your selection. You are going to use a combination of moving edges and polygons to create the detail on the bottom of the dresser. Simply select
the relevant polygons, and use the Move tool to place them as shown in Figure 4.59.
Don’t worry if your adjustments don’t have a perfectly smooth curve. Unless the camera is right on top of the detail, it will look good from a distance. A perfect curve is not
necessary, especially for our purposes.
You can use the same techniques in the Steps 1 through 8 to create detail in the side
bottom lip of the dresser, as shown in Figure 4.60. Make sure you save your work.
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Figure 4.59
Move polygons to
create detail in the
dresser feet.
Figure 4.60
Use the same steps
to create the details
on the sides of the
bottom.
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Making the Drawers
In the beginning of this exercise, you created a box with six segments on its height. You
can use those segments to create the drawers. This is an example of thinking ahead and
planning your model before you start an object. This was by far the easiest way to go;
using the Slice Plane tool to add segments for the drawers after the box was made would
have been more laborious.
For simplicity’s sake, you will not create drawers that can open and shut in this exercise. If this dresser were to be used in an animation in which the drawers would be
opened, you would make them differently.
First, take a look at the drawers and see where you have to go. Figure 4.61 shows the
drawers and an important detail we need to consider. Luckily, you needn’t worry about
the junk on top of the dresser.
Figure 4.61
Checking out the
real dresser drawers
Gap Between Drawers and Dresser
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To model the drawers, begin with these steps:
1. Create a small gap around the edge of the box. This gap will represent the space
between the drawer and the main body of the dresser (Figure 4.61). Go to Polygon
mode (press 4), and select the six polygons on the front of the box that represent the
drawers. Remember to hold the Ctrl key while selecting the additional polygons; this
will allow you to make multiple polygon selections.
2. Go to the Edit Polygons rollout in the Modify panel,
and click the Inset Settings button. Set the Inset Amount
to 0.6 and keep the Inset Type to Group, as shown
here. Click OK. Figure 4.62 shows the result of the
Inset operation.
You can load the Dresser02.max scene file from the Scenes folder in the Dresser project
on the companion CD to check your work or to begin the next series of steps.
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Figure 4.62
The Inset creates the
detail needed to
make the drawers.
3. Keep those newly inset polygons selected, and go back to the Edit Polygons rollout to
select the Extrude Settings button. Change the Extrusion Height to –0.5, keep Extrusion
Type set to Group, and press OK. The faces will now extrude inward a little bit, as
shown here.
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4. In the original reference picture (Figure 4.42), the top drawer of the dresser is split
into two, so you need to slice that top drawer polygon vertically to create two drawers.
Make sure the selected polygons are displayed with the red outlines instead of the
solid red color (toggle with F2). Switch your viewport to a Front view.
5. Select the polygon that represents the top drawer, as shown in Figure 4.63. Select the
Slice Plane button in the Edit Geometry rollout. Rotate and move the Slice Plane
gizmo so that it is vertical and centered on the polygon as shown here, and click Slice.
Click the Slice Plane button to release the tool.
6. The polygons are still selected after the Slice operation, so go back to the Edit Polygons rollout and click the Inset Settings button. Set the Inset Amount to 0.25. This
time we are going to change the Inset Type from Group to By Polygon, as shown
below. This setting insets each polygon individually,
instead of it taking place across multiple, contiguous
polygons as does the Group option. Click OK to run
the Inset operation. Your polygons should resemble
the ones in Figure 4.64.
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Figure 4.63
Select the top
drawer polygon.
Figure 4.64
The drawers are
inset separately.
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7. Perform the same inset operation on the remaining drawer polygons on the front of
the box (as shown): Set the Inset Amount to .25, set the Inset Type to By Polygon.
This will inset the five lower wide drawers.
8. Select all of the “drawer” polygons. Go to the Edit Polygons rollout and click the Extrude
Settings button. Set the Extrude Amount to 0.7. You don’t need it to extrude very
much; you just want the drawers to extrude a bit more than the body of the dresser.
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Go grab yourself a frosty beverage! The dresser is finished. Go ahead and name the
dresser. You can even change the color of the dresser if you’d like. Go to the Name and
Color Type-In (shown in Figure 4.65), and change the name of the object to
Object Name Type-In Object Default Color
Dresser and pick a nice light color.
The finished dresser body should look like the dresser in Figure 4.66.
Remember to save this version of your file. You can also load the Dresser03.max
scene file from the Scenes folder in the Dresser project on the companion
CD to check your work or to skip to this part in the exercise.
Figure 4.65
Name the dresser
and pick a nice color.
Creating the Knobs
Now that the body of the dresser is done, it’s time to add the final bit of detail to make the
dresser complete: knobs. We will use Splines and a few surface creation tools new to your
workflow. Goose bumps, anyone? Take a look at the reference for the knobs in Figure 4.67.
You are going to create a profile of the knob and then rotate the profile around its axis to
form a surface. This technique is known as Lathe, not to be mistaken for latte, which is a
whole different deal and not really covered in this book.
Here’s a quick rundown of what a spline is: a spline is a group of vertices and connecting segments that form a line or curve. To create the knob profile, we are going to use the
Line Spline, shaped in the outline of—you guessed it—a knob. The Line tool allows you to
create a free-form spline.
Figure 4.66
The finished
dresser body
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Figure 4.67
Figure 4.68
Knobs
The intended profile curve for the knob
You can use your last file from the Dresser exercise, or you can load Dresser03.max
from the Scenes folder of the Dresser project on the companion CD. To build the knobs,
follow these steps:
1. Make sure you are in the Left viewport, so you can see which side of the dresser the
drawers are on. You are going to create a profile of half the knob, as shown in
Figure 4.68. Don’t worry about creating all the detail in the knob because detail
won’t be seen; a simple outline will be fine.
2. Go to the Create panel and choose Shapes
. Click the Line button. Use the current
default values in the Creation Method rollout, as shown here.
3. In the Left viewport, click once to lay down a vertex for this line, starting at the bottom of the intended profile for the knob. This is the starting point for the curve. When
you are creating a line, every click lays down the next vertex for the line. In essence,
the vertex controls the position of a point of the line. If you want to create a curve in
the line, click once and drag the mouse in any direction to give the vertex a curvature
of sorts. This curve vertex creates a curve in that part of the line. You will need to follow the rough outline of a knob, so click and drag where there is curvature in the line.
Once you have laid down your first vertex, continue to click and drag more vertices
for the line clockwise until you create the half-profile knob shape shown in Figure 4.68.
Figure 4.69 shows the profile line with the vertices numbered according to their
creation order.
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To create a straight line segment between two vertices, press and hold Shift to keep the next
vertex to be laid down orthogonal to the last vertex, either horizontally or vertically.
4. Once you lay down your last vertex at the top, finish the spline by either right-clicking
to release the Line tool or clicking on the first vertex you created to close the spline.
For this example, it really doesn’t matter which method you choose. Either an open
or closed spline will work: however, a closed spline is shown in Figure 4.69. Drawing
splines entails a bit of a learning curve, so it might be helpful to delete the one you did
first and try again for the practice. Once you get something resembling the spline in
Figure 4.69, you can edit it. Don’t drive yourself crazy; just get the spline as close as
you can.
When you are creating a line, click once to create a corner vertex for the line, but click and
drag to create a Bezier vertex to put a curve into the line.
5. With the spline selected, go to the Modify panel. In the Modifier Stack window, you
will see the entry Line with a plus sign in a black box next to it denoting that it has
Sub-Object modes. Click the plus to expand the list of sub-objects, as shown here.
Figure 4.69
The knob’s profile
line’s vertices are
numbered according to the order
in which they were
created.
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A LINE’S VERTEX TYPE
When you center your cursor over a line’s vertex and right-click to bring up the shortcut
menu, you will have access to several vertex controls. In that shortcut menu, under the menu
heading Tools1, you can choose a vertex type.
The vertex types are the following:
Smooth: A Smooth vertex creates a smooth continuous
curve. The actual curvature at a smooth vertex depends
on the spacing of the adjacent vertices. This is a nonadjustable vertex, meaning it has no handles with which
you can control the curvature directly.
Corner: A Corner vertex is nonadjustable and that creates sharp corners.
Bezier: A Bezier vertex is a vertex that has locked continuous handles that create a smooth curve. You can
directly adjust the curvature at a Bezier vertex by
manipulating its handles. Adjusting a handle on one
side of the vertex will also adjust the other side’s handle, as they are continuous.
Bezier Corner: A Bezier Corner vertex creates a sharp corner like the Corner vertex, but it
has discontinuous tangent handles with which you can control the curvature of the line
at that vertex. The handle on one side of the vertex will not affect the handle on the
other side.
In some ways, Line’s sub-objects are similar to the Editable Poly Sub-Object modes.
However, when you are working with a spline, you are working with a 2D nonrendering
object. A spline is made up of three sub-objects: a vertex, a segment, and a spline. As you
know, a vertex is a point in space. A segment is the line that connects two vertices. The
Spline mode allows you to select and/or transform a single or multiple splines within a
spline object. To continue with the project, follow with these steps:
6. Choose the vertex sub-object for the line. Make sure you are still working in the Left
viewport. When you’re working with 2D splines, it is always best to work in Orthographic view. Use the Move tool to click on one of the vertices. The vertex has a
Transform gizmo just like an object. Use the Move tool to edit the shape to better fit
the outline of the knob. Be sure to read the sidebar in this section titled “A Line’s
Vertex Type” to learn more about the types of vertices a line can have, and how it can
change the curvature of a line. If needed, you can change the vertex type of your line’s
vertices to control the curvature.
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Figure 4.70
Eeek! That isn’t a
knob at all.
To catch up to this point, you can load the Dresser04.max file from the Scenes folder of
the Dresser project on the companion CD.
7. The profile line is ready to turn into a 3D object. This is where the modifiers are
used. Get out of Sub-Object mode for your line. Choose Modifiers ➔ Patch/Spline
Editing ➔ Lathe (you could also go to the Modifier List and choose Lathe from the
alphabetical list of modifiers). When you first put the Lathe modifier on your
spline, it won’t look anything like the knob (see Figure 4.70)—but don’t panic!
You need to futz with the parameters to get it right (Figure 4.71). Basically, the
object is turned inside out.
8. Go to Parameters rollout and under the Align Heading, click the Max button. It’s a
knob! Now, that is more like it. You just had to change the alignment of the axis so
the lathe revolution would be correct.
If Step 8 does not work properly for you, try clicking the Min button instead of Max under the
Align heading. When you are creating a line, where you begin to create that line and in what
order you place the vertices, clockwise or counter-clockwise, are both important. This example drew the knob’s profile line in a clockwise direction.
9. Rotate the Perspective view so you can see the top of the knob. You should notice a
strange artifact. To correct this, check the Weld Core box under the Parameters rollout for the lathe.
Figure 4.71
The titillating
parameters for the
Lathe
That’s it! Check out Figure 4.72 for a look at the lathed knob. By using Splines and
Lathe, you can create all sorts of surfaces for your models. In the next section, you will
resize the knob, position it, and copy it to fit on the drawers.
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Copying the Knob
Now that you have a knob, you may need to adjust it and make it
the right size. If you still want to futz with the knob, go back
down the stack to the line to edit your spline. For example, you
may want to scale the knob a bit to better fit the drawer (refer to
the reference photo in Figure 4.67). Select the Scale tool, and click
and drag until the original line is about 40 percent smaller. The
Lathe modifier will re-create the surface to fit the new size. You
can also delete the knob and restart with another line for more
practice. In the following steps, you will copy and position the
knob for the drawers.
1. Position and rotate the knob to fit on to the front of a top drawer. Change its default
color (if you want) and change its name to Knob.
Figure 4.72
The lathe completes
the knob.
2. You’ll need a few copies of the original knob, one for each drawer. Choose Edit ➔
Clone (Figure 4.73). You are going to use the Instance command. An instance is a
copy, but an instance is still connected to the original. If you edit the original or an
instance, all of the instances change. Click OK to create an instance.
3. Simply position the instanced knob in the middle of the other top drawer.
4. Using more instances of the original knob, place knobs in the middle of all the
remaining drawers of your dresser, as seen in Figure 4.74.
As you saw with this exercise, there are plenty of tools for the Editable Poly object. Your
model doesn’t have to be all of the same type of modeling either. In this example, we created
the dresser using box modeling techniques, where you begin with a single box and extrude
your way into a model, and with surface creation techniques using splines.
You can compare your work to the scene file Dresser05.max from the Scenes folder of
the Dresser project on the companion CD.
Figure 4.73
Using an instance to
copy the knob
Figure 4.74
The dresser, knobs,
and all
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Modeling a Hand
Now that you’ve had some experience modeling in 3ds Max, you can tackle modeling a
simple hand. The goal is to acquire experience with some other tools Max has to offer.
Before you begin modeling, look at a reference. Luckily, you probably have one or two
hands at the ends of your arms.
Starting the Palm
There are several ways to model a hand, but you’ll start with the same modeling techniques you started with in the Dresser exercise. To begin box modeling the hand, follow
these steps:
1. Start a new 3ds Max file in a new project called Hand, or copy the Hand project from
the companion CD to your hard drive.
2. Make sure the Perspective viewport is active. Create a box on the home grid in the
Perspective viewport. You are going to use Keyboard Entry to create the box to certain specifications. In the Keyboard Entry rollout in the Create panel’s parameters for
the box, enter the following parameters: Length of 90, Width of 150, and Height of 30,
as shown in the following graphic. The X-, Y-, and Z-parameters in the Keyboard
Entry rollout are used to place the object in your scene by using the coordinate you
specify. Keep those values at 0 to create the box in the center of your scene. Choose
the Create button at the bottom of the rollout to create the box as defined.
3. Go to the Modify panel, and you will see the parameters for the box. You need to
subdivide the box so it has more polygons. Press F4 to toggle on Edged Face mode in
your viewport. In the Modify panel’s Parameters rollout, set the box Length Segs to 4,
Width Segs to 3, and Height Segs to 1, as you see here.
4. Look at the box and imagine that it is the palm of the hand. The polygons facing you
in Figure 4.75 are going to be the fingers. The poly farthest from you will be the pinky
finger, and the one nearest will be the index. This should help you get oriented.
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Top of Hand
Figure 4.75
Wrist
The box will be the
palm of the hand,
and the fingers will
be extruded from
the polygons
facing you.
Pinky Finger
Index Finger
Thumb
5. Convert the box into an Editable Polygon. You can reference the Dresser exercise in
this chapter if you have skipped to this section.
6. The fingers polygons will need to be slightly splayed out, so they will not all stick
together when you extrude them. Use the Edge Sub-Object mode to do this. In the
Modifier Stack, click the plus sign to reveal the sub-objects for the box.
7. Use the keyboard shortcut 2 to choose the Edge Sub-Object level. Select the
edge closest to you (which will be the outer edge of the index finger), as seen in
Figure 4.76.
Figure 4.76
Select the edge of
the index finger.
Select this edge.
8. Click the Lock Selection icon
or press the spacebar to lock this selection so you
don’t lose the selected edge. The Lock button will turn yellow, indicating it is in use.
9. Use the keyboard shortcut W to enable the Move tool. Move the edge along the X-axis.
You might find it easier to use the Top viewport for the move. Use the Transform
gizmo—center the cursor so that the X and the tail of the X-axis arrow are yellow.
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Yellow indicates that the axis is locked. This will confine the movement to the X-axis
and no other, as shown here.
10. Switch to the Top viewport and move the Edge, as shown here. Press the spacebar to
release the selection Lock.
11. Move the other Edges to create a slight arch where the top of the palm will be, as
shown in the following graphic. This will ensure that when you extrude the polygons
for the fingers, there will be space for the webbing in-between. If you don’t want the
fingers spread apart this much, make the arc less curved. This repositions the polygon
to a different angle so it won’t extrude out straight.
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Figure 4.77
Save!
Incremental Save
Now is a good time to save with File ➔ Save As. Make sure you use the plus sign (+)
instead of pressing the Save button, as this will add a number increment to the end of
your filename (for instance: hand01.max) as shown in Figure 4.77. To catch up to this point
or to check your own work, load the scene file Hand01.max from the Hand project on the
companion CD.
Creating the Fingers
Now it is time to extrude out the fingers.
1. With the box selected, select the Polygon Sub-Object mode or press 4 on your keyboard. Go to the Perspective view, Click on the polygon that represents the index finger (closest to you), as you see here.
2. Go to the Modify panel under the Edit Polygons rollout. Click the Extrude Settings
button
(the Settings button is directly to the right of the extrude button) to bring
up the Extrude Settings dialog box. See the sidebar titled “Extrusion Options” for
more about the parameters and options for the Extrude function.
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EXTRUDE OPTIONS
Using the palm model of the hand for reference, the options for an extrude operation will
behave as indicated here. All of the polygons on the front of the box are selected:
Group—The polygons are extruded out along their averaged normals, effectively
extending the palm out, as seen here.
Local Normal—The polygons are extruded straight out along their normal (usually perpendicular to the polygon’s face), creating a flare at the end of the palm.
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EXTRUDE OPTIONS
By Polygon—Each polygon is extruded individually along its own normal.
Extrusion Height—Specifies how much to extrude in scene units. As you’ve already
seen, positive values extrude out away from the object, and negative values extrude
into the object.
3. We are going to extrude the first finger so that it has three sections, so instead of
doing one extrude, we are going to do three back to back. This will give the finger
more segments with which to work. If you look at your own finger, you will notice the
lower joint is the biggest joint, getting smaller toward the tip of the finger. In the Settings dialog box, set the first Amount to 60 units. The Setting dialog box allows you to
interactively perform the functions, so you can see the extrude before you apply it.
The 60 unit extrude looks good, so click Apply. This keeps the Settings window open.
Go to the Extrusion Amount and enter 50; this will change the extruded segment to
50 units. Click Apply again for the second extrusion. Change the Extrude Amount to
40, and press OK for the last extrusion of the index finger. Figure 4.78 shows the first
finger.
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Figure 4.78
Figure 4.79
The index finger is extruded into place.
Fingers!
4. Using the same techniques and the following settings for the Extrusion Amounts,
extrude the rest of the fingers.
FINGER
FIRST EXTRUDE
SECOND EXTRUDE
THIRD EXTRUDE
Middle Finger
70
60
50
Ring Finger
60
50
40
Pinky
50
40
30
Figure 4.79 shows all the fingers extruded. You can use other values as long as you have
three segments in each finger. Use your own hand as a guide.
This is a good time to do another Save As; make sure you use the plus sign (+) instead
of pressing the Save button. To catch up to this point or to check your own work, load the
scene file Hand02.max from the Hand project on the companion CD.
Creating the Thumb
Now you will create the thumb, also using extrusions. Follow these steps:
1. Select the polygon in the middle of the side of the hand, as shown here. As with the
fingers, the thumb will have three segments. Select the Extrude Settings button and
enter an Extrude Amount of 30 units. Click Apply twice for two 30 unit extrusions,
and then click once more with an Extrude Amount of 20. Click OK.
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Figure 4.80
Figure 4.81
Extruding the thumb
Notice how the thumb extends from a hand.
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2. To shape the thumb, you will use a combination of adjusting
edge and poly locations. Figure 4.81 shows a picture of a hand;
notice how the thumb extrudes from the bottom of the hand.
Using Edge mode, rearrange the edges in the extruded thumb to
create a shape as shown in Figure 4.82.
Save an iteration of your scene. Now you should have the general
shape for the hand. It is still very rough, with no detail. To catch up
to this point or to check your own work, load the scene file
Hand03.max from the Hand project on the companion CD.
Figure 4.82
Subdivision Surfaces
You may be wondering how to take this boxy thing and turn it into something more
organic and realistic. By using Subdivision Surfaces, or SubDs, you can take a relatively
simple object with very few segments and subdivide the polygons. SubD makes a flat surface appear smoother.
Follow these steps to use Subdivision Surfaces for your hand:
Shape your thumb
to match by moving
and adjusting edges
and polygons.
1. To apply the SubD, with the hand selected, check the Use NURMS Subdivision box in
the Subdivision Surface rollout in the Modify panel. Figure 4.83 shows the hand
before and after you apply the NURMS Subdivision.
Figure 4.83
Check this box to
Apply the smoothing.
Using NURMS subdivision to smooth out
the hand
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2. Once the smoothing is applied, you will see an orange cage surrounding the hand if
you are in any Sub-Object mode. This allows you to work with this low-res cage while
the smoother version is updating at the same time.
3. You can control how much smoothing applies to the hand using the Iterations
parameter, which is by default set to 1. Be very careful how many Iterations you add.
The higher the number, the harder the computer has to work to process the information. You can leave Iterations set to 1 for the hand.
4. Uncheck Isoline Display in the Subdivision Surface rollout. When Isoline Display is
off, Max displays all the faces added by the smoothing, as shown on the right in Figure 4.84. The default of on shows only the objects original edges, as shown on the left
in Figure 4.84.
Figure 4.84
When Isoline Display
is turned off, all of
the faces added by
the smoothing operation are shown.
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5. Make sure you are in Polygon Sub-Object mode. Press F2 to
toggle the Shaded Face mode, so that when you select a poly, it
will be shaded in red and easier to see. Now, select a polygon on
the hand and right-click to access the shortcuts menu. Select
Transform ➔ Move. Move the polygon in any direction. The
polygon will pull the surrounding polygons with it, but the
selection is softer (Figure 4.85). This makes it possible to model
in a push and pull fashion, just as if molding clay.
You don’t want to save what you have done with the SubDs, so
either undo all the smoothing changes or reopen the last saved file.
It is actually easier to work with the boxy hand before the NURMS
smoothing. You can also just uncheck the Use NURMS Subdivision.
You will come back to this later.
Adding Detail to the Hand
You are going to begin adding some simple detail to the hand. One of the easiest ways to
do this is using the Cut tool, which is a part of the Cut and Slice Group. You will find the
Cut tool in the Edit Geometry rollout, which is shown here.
The Cut tool allows you to divide an edge at any point. You then divide a second edge
at any point, and the tool will create a new edge between the two points. To create more
edges for detail on the hand, follow these steps:
1. With the hand selected, click on the Cut Tool button. Now click on the first edge
(use Figure 4.86 as a reference) at the first knuckle on the index finger. A new vertex
is created where you clicked. A dotted line will track along with your cursor until you
click a second edge. Click on the opposite edge from your initial one to add a new
edge next to the first segment on the index finger. Right-click to exit the tool. Similarly, add new edges to the knuckle areas shown in Figure 4.86. You may want to
add the new edges in a Nonperspective viewport. Working with the Cut tool in a
Perspective view may be a bit difficult; the newly created edges may appear to jump
around the hand or won’t place correctly. In the Orthogonal views, it is simpler to
read where the Cut tool is placing edges. In addition, while working with the Cut
tool, turn on Ignore Backfacing in the Selection rollout to avoid selecting edges on
the back of the hand by accident.
With the Cut tool, you can cut across any number of faces. Also, if you simply double-click on
the first edge, 3ds Max will divide that edge at the point where you clicked by adding a vertex there. You need not click on a second edge if you double-click. Right-click to exit the tool.
Figure 4.85
You can mold the
hand by moving
polygons.
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Figure 4.86
Add new edges
where shown to
add detail to
the knuckles.
2. With all the new edges, use the Move tool to move those edges to create the
knuckles and the fleshy area on the bottom of the fingers. You can also rearrange
the edges at the tip of the finger to give the fingers a more tapered look. Click on
Use NURMS Subdivision to see how the knuckles and fingers look with smoothing,
as seen in Figure 4.87. You can see how the NURMS SubDs really smooth out the
detail, so don’t be afraid to exaggerate the detail so that it looks better when smoothed,
as you can see in Figure 4.87. Click off Use NURMS Subdivision to return to the
boxy hand.
Figure 4.87
See how the
smoothing will
affect the detail you
are adding to the
fingers.
Figure 4.88
The Tessellate Selection window
3. Let’s add some knuckles at the end of the fingers. You are going to use a tool for
adding detail that is another way of subdividing a polygon. Tessellate doesn’t give you
the control options the Cut tool does, but it can be more precise. The Tessellate button is under the Edit Geometry rollout in the Modify panel. Two Tessellate methods
are available: Edge and Face (Figure 4.88).
See the sidebar in this section titled “Tessellate Options” for more on Tessellate
before you use it in action in the following steps.
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TESSELLATE OPTIONS
Edge—Vertices are inserted in the middle of each edge of the selected polygon, and a
line is drawn connecting the new vertices to form new edges inside that polygon. The
number of new polygons will be equal to the number of sides on the original polygon.
Face—A vertex is inserted into the middle of the selected polygon, and edges are drawn
from the original vertices of the polygon to the new vertex. Again, the number of new
polygons will be equal to the number of sides on the original polygon.
Tension—This parameter controls the Edge tension value, which essentially pulls vertices inward or outward from the plane, creating a concave or rounding effect, respectively. You can see how the edge is concave in this graphic.
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Continue with these steps to add detail with the Tessellate function:
1. Before you Tessellate any of the polygons on the hand, edit the poly size. The polygons are too long and they should be squarer. Just select the lower edge of the polygons and move them closer to the base of the fingers, as you can see in Figure 4.89.
Figure 4.89
Move the edges to
make the knuckle
polygons squarer.
2. Select the polygons at the base of the fingers and hold the Ctrl key to allow you to
select all four polygons, as seen in Figure 4.90. Select the Tessellate Settings button
under the Edit Geometry rollout. You are going to use the Edge option with Tension
set to 0. Click OK, and your hand should tessellate as in Figure 4.91.
Figure 4.90
Select all four polygons where the fingers meet the hand.
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summary
3. Switch to Vertex mode and select the vertices in the center of
the subdivided polys. Right-click to access the shortcut menu
and choose Move. Move the vertices up away from the hand
along the Z-axis, as shown in Figure 4.92. Check the Use NURMS
Subdivision box to see the smoothing of the hand with the
raised knuckles (as shown in Figure 4.93). You may want to go
back to Vertex mode while in NURMS to use the SubDs cage to
refine the changes. Continue to edit until you are satisfied with
the look. Don’t forget to save another iteration.
Now that you have created the basic shape for the hand, you
should use the NURMS cage to refine and edit the look. Remember
you have to be in a Sub-Object mode for the cage to appear.
To check your work, load the scene file Hand04.max from the
Hand project on the companion CD.
Don’t bog yourself down trying to model small details such as
knuckle wrinkles or lines on the palm. Those details can be added
using materials in texturing.
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Figure 4.91
The polygons are
tessellated to give
you more detail.
Summary
In this chapter, you learned how to model with 3ds Max. Through
exploring the modeling toolsets to creating a dresser and a hand,
you saw firsthand how the primary modeling tools in Max operate.
You began by first examining how to best plan a model. Then
you learned some modeling concepts and how to use modifiers
and the Modifier Stack effectively. You moved on to learning the
differences between objects and meshes, and how to use sub-objects
to edit your surfaces before you began a series of short exercises
describing some of the poly editing tools. With that under your belt,
you learned how to put these tools to use by making a dresser and
finally modeling a hand.
Modeling is an artful craft. It is best to know where you are trying
to go in your mind’s eye, so you can effectively get there with your
models. Becoming a good modeler takes time and patience, so stick
with it.
Figure 4.92
Raise the knuckles.
Figure 4.93
Check the smoothing to make sure the
knuckles look good.
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CHAPTER 5
Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II
Building models in any 3D package comes down to creating and arranging vertices so that the appropriate polygonal shapes and organization of faces are sent to
the renderer. The difference between a mesh shaped like a box and one shaped like a
drum is how the vertices are organized. In recent releases of 3ds Max, the functionality
and stability of the Polygon Modeling tools have been some of the most addressed areas.
When using the Editable Poly toolset, or the Edit Poly modifier, the sub-objects of a
mesh can be finely controlled to create almost any mesh object conceivable.
In 3ds Max, you can directly affect geometry objects and you can transform twodimensional objects into three-dimensional geometry. Extruding, beveling, lofting, and
lathing are just some of the ways to create geometry from splines. In this chapter, the
Editable Poly toolset, the Lathe and Bevel modifiers, and the Loft compound object are
covered while creating a low-polygon tank. We will also examine the ShapeMerge compound object, the Snapshot tool for creating copies of animated objects, and the Boolean
Subtraction tool.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Setting Up the Scene
■
The Editable Poly Tools
■
Lofting the Barrel
■
Lathing the Wheels
■
Using Snapshot to Create the Tracks
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Setting Up the Scene
Using reference materials will help you efficiently create your 3D model and achieve a good
likeness in your end result. The temptation to just “wing it” and start building the objects
is often strong, especially when time is short. This temptation should always be suppressed
in deference to a well thought-out approach to the task. Sketches, photographs, and drawings can all be used as resources for the modeling process; you can place them in a scene as
backdrop images and model over them. Existing, similar models and even video clips or
screen captures can be added to a scene as background images.
Creating Planes and Adding Materials
There are two common approaches for adding backdrop images for modeling: using the
viewport’s Background Image feature and placing the reference images on crossing plane
objects or thin boxes. In this exercise, the crossing boxes technique is used as the starting
point to build a low-polygon tank.
1. Open or reset 3ds Max.
2. In the Top viewport create a tall, wide box running along the X-axis.
3. In the Parameters rollout of the Command panel, set the Length to 0.1, Width to 400,
and Height to 100.
4. With the box still selected, click the Move tool (
Transform type-ins at the bottom of the
user interface, move the box to the origin by entering 0 in all three axis fields.
) in the Main toolbar. Using the
Right-clicking on the spinner arrows to the right of an entry field immediately sets that field
to its lowest possible, non-negative value.
The box will move to the origin.
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Figure 5.1
The crossing boxes
setup
5. Create another box in the Top viewport. This one should run primarily along
the Y-axis.
6. Set the Length to 150, Width to 0.1, and Height to 100.
7. Move this box to the origin as well. The Perspective viewport should look similar to
Figure 5.1.
Adding Materials
Materials are covered in more depth in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping.” For this
exercise, you only need to know enough about the Material Editor to get the reference
images to appear on the faces of the boxes. For now, the image maps must be in the same
folder as the project file. Chapter 7 will show you how to assign paths where 3ds Max can
look for the required support files.
1. Click the Material Editor button (
Editor.
) in the Main toolbar to open the Material
WHY CHOOSE BOXES INSTEAD OF PLANES?
In this exercise, boxes are used instead of planes simply because the scene can be set up
slightly faster using boxes. The pivot point of a plane is at its center, and the pivot point of a
box is at the center of its base. Using the Transform Type-Ins, the boxes can quickly be centered at the origin.
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The top-left sample sphere has a white border. This is the sample slot where you will
make the first material. Your Material Editor might display fewer sample slots.
2. Expand the Maps rollout and click the Diffuse Color button currently labeled None.
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setting up the scene
3. Double-click Bitmap at the top of the Material/Map Browser that opens.
4. In the Select Bitmap Image File dialog box that opens, navigate to the
location of the Chapter 5 files from the companion CD and select the
Tank Front.jpg file. A thumbnail image of the file will display in the Preview window. Click the Open button to add the first tank image to the
material.
5. In the Material Editor’s horizontal toolbar, click the Show Map in Viewport
button. This causes the image map to be displayed in all viewports using the
Smooth + Highlights display.
6. With the shorter box selected, click the Assign Material to Selection button in
the Material Editor toolbar. The tank front image will display on the face of
of the box.
FREEZING AN OBJECT WITH REFERENCE IMAGES
When objects are used to hold reference images in a scene, you often will want to make sure they do not move.
Freezing the objects, so that they cannot be selected, is one solution. When objects are frozen, the default setting
has them displayed in gray and the background image is no longer visible. To maintain the visibility, but lose the
visual cue that an object is frozen, right-click on the object and choose Object Properties from the Quad menu to
open the Object Properties dialog box. In the Object Properties section, in the lower-left corner of the dialog box,
uncheck Show Frozen in Gray. When the selected object is in a frozen state, it will continue to display the reference
image. Be aware though, that the object must be unfrozen to be hidden or moved in the scene. Because background image objects are often hidden or moved, the exercises in this section do not freeze them.
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7. In the sample slot area, select the sample slot to the right of the current slot. Its
boundary turns white to indicate that it is the current material.
8. Repeat Steps 2 through 5, this time choosing the Tank
Bitmap Image File dialog box.
Side.jpg file in the Select
9. Select the longer box, and then click the Assign Material to Selection button. Your
Perspective viewport should look like Figure 5.2. If the images do not appear in the
viewport, right-click on the viewport’s title and choose Smooth + Highlights from
the pop-up menu to change the viewport rendering mode.
10. Close the Material Editor.
Figure 5.2
The scene with the
reference images
applied to the boxes
The Editable Poly Tools
The Editable Poly toolset available in 3ds Max 9 is very comprehensive and offers almost
limitless potential for creating models. Using the proper tools and techniques, both lowpolygon models, suitable for games or background objects, and smooth organic-looking
objects are well within the capabilities of a skilled artist or modeler. In addition to moving
and rotating the editable poly sub-objects, you will often use the following tools in polygonal modeling; you also had the chance to experiment with these tools in Chapter 4.
Weld Vertices Two adjacent polygons can share a vertex or each have its own collocated
vertices. Welding combines any selected vertices, within the threshold distance apart, as a
single vertex.
Chamfer Edges or Vertices This creates a new surface between two or more adjacent poly-
gons. The angle of the new polygon is one-half the angle between the original polys. This
creates a smoother transition between the adjoining surfaces.
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the editable poly tools
Bridge Borders This builds polygons that span the distance between two borders on the
same editable poly object.
Cap Borders This closes the selected border by creating new polygons.
Extrude Polygons Polygons are moved along the axis of their normal, creating additional
vertices, edges, and polygons to connect them back to previously adjacent polys.
Bevel Polygons This is similar to Extrude, with the additional option to scale the relo-
cated poly.
Inset Polygons This creates a new polygon by creating a new set of edges inset from the
current polygon’s perimeter.
Hinge from Edge This pivots the selected polygons about a user chosen edge. New poly-
gons are created to span the gap.
Attach This attaches two or more editable polys to each other. The result is a single
editable poly consisting of multiple, noncontiguous elements.
Cut This creates a new edge on the surface of a polygon.
Connect Edges This connects the selected edges by subdividing them the inserting edges at
the newly created endpoints.
This chapter focuses on low-polygon modeling, and Chapter 6, “Organic Poly Modeling,” addresses the tools and techniques used in organic modeling. In this exercise, the
Vertex and Polygon sub-object levels are mainly used to form the tank’s body and turret.
In the later exercises in this chapter, lofting, the Lathe modifier, and the Snapshot tools are
used to complete the tank.
Building the Tank Body
To begin creating the body of the tank, follow these steps:
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Tank1.max file from the companion CD.
2. Right-click on the title of the Front viewport and change its Rendering mode to
Smooth + Highlights. Right-click on it again and choose Edged Faces to display the
scene objects’ edges as well as their surfaces. Do the same to the Left viewport and
turn on Edged Faces in the Perspective viewport; only the Top viewport should display the scene in wireframe.
To construct the tank, you need to build the tank’s body by making a box, converting
it to an editable poly and then editing its sub-objects.
3. Create the box in the Top viewport to represent the volume of the tank’s body
between the treads. The Length, Width, and Height values should be approximately
76, 310, and 33, respectively.
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4. Change the number of Length Segments to 3, Width Segments to 5, and Height Segments to 2. You want enough segmentation to account for the major changes in the
body’s structure, but not so much that manipulating the model becomes unwieldy.
5. Move the box into the proper location, as shown in Figure 5.3. Make any necessary
changes to the box’s parameters so that it matches the volume of the tank body.
One situation that must be addressed is the fact that the box obscures the view of the
background images. This is resolved by changing the box’s properties so that it is displayed in See-Through mode.
6. With the box selected, right-click in the viewport and choose Object Properties from
the Quad menu.
In the Object Properties dialog box that opens, check the See-Through option in the
Display Properties section and then click the OK button. The box becomes transparent in the viewports, and the edges remain visible, as shown in Figure 5.4. The keyboard shortcut for this feature is Alt+X.
7. Right-click again and choose Convert To ➔ Convert to Editable Poly. The box is no
longer a parametric object. It is now a collection of vertices, edges, and polygons, and
the Command panel automatically switches to the Modify tab.
8. In the Command panel, change the name of the box to Tank Body.
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Figure 5.3
The box moved into
the proper location
EDITABLE POLY OR EDIT POLY MODIFIER?
In addition to the editable poly object, 3ds Max has the Edit Poly modifier. The Edit Poly modifier has the same toolset as the editable poly object, but it is applied through the Modifier
Stack. The Edit Poly modifier has the advantage of allowing you to experiment with the subobjects and their configurations. If the modifications are acceptable, the Modifier Stack is collapsed to an editable poly object. If the modifications are not acceptable, the modifier is
deleted from the stack and the object reverts to its original configuration.
Converting an object directly to an editable poly or collapsing the Modifier Stack requires
fewer system resources than maintaining the Modifier Stack intact.
Making changes to the object at a level
below the Edit Poly modifier usually
adversely affects the model when they
are transferred up the stack to the modifier. This is why a warning appears whenever an entry in the Modifier Stack below
an Edit Poly modifier is selected.
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Figure 5.4
The See-Through
option makes the
box transparent.
Forming the Body
1. Maximize the Front viewport and zoom in to the front half of the tank.
2. In the Selection rollout, click the Vertex button (
level.
) to access the Vertex sub-object
3. Drag a selection region around the vertices. Instead of clicking directly on a vertex,
use a selection region because doing so will select all the vertices within the region and
not only the vertex that is clicked on directly.
4. Move the selected vertices until they are at the top of the leading edge of the tank.
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5. Select and move the two rows, one row at a time, to match the perimeter of the front
of the tank.
Figure 5.5
6. Continue forming the tank body by moving the vertices along the top of the tank. In
Figure 5.5 the box’s See-Through mode is turned off for clarity.
The vertices of the
front and top of the
tank have been
moved.
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7. Move the middle, horizontal row of vertices to follow the line at the top of the skirt that
covers the top of the track. Move the bottom row of vertices to follow the bottom of
the skirt. The vertical edges, when possible, should match the edges of the skirt panels.
Creating the Skirts and Refining the Model
The basic shape of the body has been roughed in. The next step is to extend the body to
encompass the track skirts. The polygons along the side of the model need to be extended
and the sloped top surface need to be created.
1. Continue from the previous exercise or open the Tank2.max file from the companion CD.
2. Select the tank body object if necessary and click the Polygon button (
Modify panel.
) in the
3. In the Perspective viewport, select all of the polygons on the right side of the tank.
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Several of the Editable Poly tools have two methods of implementing them: direct
manipulation and a dialog box. Clicking on most tool buttons allows the user to click
and drag on the selected sub-objects in order to manipulate them manually. Clicking
the box-shaped Settings button ( ) next to a tool button, when available, opens an
associated dialog box where the tool’s parameters can be set and previewed.
Clicking the Apply button in a Settings dialog box applies the dialog’s current values
to the selected sub-objects and then previews the same parameters applied to the
newly created and selected sub-objects. Clicking the OK button in a Settings dialog
box applies the dialog’s current values to the selected sub-objects and then exits the
dialog box.
4. In the Edit Polygons rollout, click the Settings button next to the Extrude button to
open the Extrude Polygons dialog box.
5. Extend the Extrusion Height value until the polygons reach the inside edge of the
skirt shown in the tank’s front reference image, and then click the OK button. (See
graphic on bottom left.)
6. Deselect the top row of polygons, and then click the Extrude Settings button again.
The selected polygons initially extrude to the same amount as the previous extrusion.
Reduce the Extrusion Height value until the polygons extend to the outside of the
skirt. (See graphic on bottom right.)
7. Render the scene, and you will see the shelf you just created that runs the length of
the tank as shown in Figure 5.6. This is the top of the skirt. The small vertical surface
above it needs to be collapsed to form the slope at the edges of the tank body’s top
surface. Vertical edges and their corresponding vertices must be added to the polygons to achieve an acceptable result.
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Figure 5.6
The second extrusion has created a
shelf along the
tank’s top surface.
You may find yourself turning See-Through mode on and off or hiding/unhiding the background images throughout the modeling process. Alt+X is the shortcut to toggle the SeeThrough mode.
8. Zoom in to the front-left edge of the model.
9. In the Edit Geometry rollout, click the Cut button.
The Cut tool places vertices on a model and creates the required edges to sub-divide
the polygons. You need to be aware of the Cut tool’s cursor appearance. A cursor that
looks like a square over a cross indicates that the vertex will be placed on the surface
of a polygon. A large cross indicates that it will be placed along an edge. A smaller
cross uses an existing vertex as the end point for the new edges.
10. Place the cursor at a vertex on the top or bottom of the shelf where there is no corresponding vertex on the opposite edge, as shown in the left image in Figure 5.7.
11. Click and then move the cursor away from the vertex, and you will see the new edges
forming as shown in the middle image in Figure 5.7.
12. Place the cursor over the edge in the middle of the shelf, as shown in the right image
in Figure 5.7, then click to create the new vertex and edges.
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Figure 5.7
Creating the
vertical edges
needed to slope
the top surface.
13. Continue moving back along the tank’s left side. Create vertical edges and corresponding vertices wherever the top surface of the tank changes shape, usually to accommodate the tapered edges of the vehicle where the top meets the side.
14. Switch back to the Vertex sub-object level and zoom into the front-left section of the
tank again.
15. In the Edit Vertices rollout, click the Target Weld button. Using Target Weld, a
selected vertex is moved and then welded to another specific vertex on the object.
16. Select a vertex along the top edge of the tank body. A rubber banding line connects
the vertex to the cursor.
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17. Move the cursor over the vertex directly below the currently selected vertex and click
to complete the weld.
18. Continue welding the vertices of the vertical edges down the length of the tank.
Creating the Track Well and Making the Model Symmetrical
The left side of the tank body is nearly finished. In this section, the bottom of the tank is
opened—using Booleans—so that the tracks and the model can be made symmetrical.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open Tank3.max from the companion CD.
2. Exit any sub-object mode if necessary.
3. Arc Rotate the Perspective viewport so that you can see the bottom of the tank.
4. In the Command panel, click Geometry ➔ Box and check the AutoGrid option at the
top of the Object Type rollout.
5. Make sure the 3D Snap Toggle ( ) is active and that only the Vertex snap is selected.
Snapping to a vertex is used so that long, thin faces are not created by subtracting a
box that does not lie directly along one of the tank’s edges.
6. Click the vertex where the skirt meets the first flat poly at the bottom of the tank, and
then click again on the vertex at the opposite corner of the last flat poly on the left at
the rear of the tank. Drag and click to give the box some height. The box should
project downward, from the bottom of the tank, equal to about half the tank body’s
height. Your scene should look similar to Figure 5.8.
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Figure 5.8
Make a box that will
be used to delete
part of the model
using the Boolean
functions.
7. Using the S shortcut key, turn off the 3D Snap Toggle. Then move and adjust the box
to completely envelop the volume that will be the track well, as shown here.
8. Select the tank body, and then choose Create ➔ Geometry ➔ Compound Objects ➔
ProBoolean, as shown here.
9. Select Subtraction in the Parameters rollout, and then click the Start Picking button
in the Pick Boolean rollout.
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10. Click the box object in the viewport. The box will be deleted, taking the shared volume of the tank with it. Click the Start Picking button to turn it off.
11. The object is now a Boolean. Convert it back to an editable poly using the Quad
menu; there is no need to maintain the data required to edit the object at the Boolean
sub-object level.
12. Select and extrude and move the vertices of the polygons on the underside of the tank
to match the front reference image.
13. Exit any sub-object mode.
The tank is a symmetrical object; however, rather than repeat the modeling process
on the opposite side of the object, we will instead apply the Symmetry modifier. The
Symmetry modifier maintains a symmetrical balance between both sides of an object.
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14. With the tank body object selected, choose Symmetry from the Modifier List dropdown list.
15. In the Symmetry modifier’s Parameters rollout, choose the mirror axis that the object
should mirror about. 3ds Max will choose the side of the object that is mirrored about
the Mirror axis. If it chooses the wrong side, check the Flip option.
Uncheck Slice Along Mirror; this will create a row of edges that
aren’t needed for this project. Your model should look similar to
Figure 5.9. In the figure, the backdrop images have been hidden
for clarity.
Making the Exhaust Vents
The last feature to add to the tank body is a series of exhaust vents at the rear of the vehicle. A simple box is created and then the Editable Poly tools are used to inset and isolate
the polygons that are then hinged from one edge.
1. Continue from the previous exercise or open the Tank4.max file from the
companion CD.
2. Zoom in to the back of the tank.
3. Select Create ➔ Geometry ➔ Standard Primitives ➔ Box, and check the AutoGrid
option if necessary.
4. Create a box centered on the rear faces of the tank with a Length, Width, and Height
of approximately 18, 70, and 7. Give the box 3 length segments, 4 width segments,
and 1 height segment.
Figure 5.9
Apply the Symmetry
modifier to model
the right side of
the tank.
5. Convert the box into an editable poly.
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6. Enter the Polygon sub-object level to select all twelve polygons on the rear surface
of the box.
7. Click the Settings button next to the Inset button in the Edit Polygons rollout.
8. Set the Inset Amount to 0.85, choose By Polygon in the Inset Type area, and then
click the OK button. By Polygon insets each polygon separately, rather than the
entire selection as a single object.
9. The exhaust vents need to pivot away from the tank as if they are hinged from the top
edge. Select the top row of inset polygons and then click the Settings button next to
the Hinge From Edge button in the Edit Polygons rollout.
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10. Enter an Angle value of 30. Click the Pick Hinge button in the Hinge Polygons From
Edge dialog box and then click any of the top edges of a selected polygon. All the
selected polygons are pivoted about the same axis as the edge you select.
11. Click the Apply button. Apply pivots the selected polygons about the chosen hinge
edge and leaves the dialog box open. However, the previous polygons are still selected
and have been hinged again.
12. Select all of the polygons in the next row. The previous polygons revert to their
hinged state before the Apply button was clicked while the newly selected polygons
hinge at too great an angle. They also hinge from the same edge as the previous hinge
operation.
13. Click the Current Hinge button, and then select an edge at the back of the middle
selected row of polygons.
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14. Repeat Steps 11 through 13 on the remaining row of polygons. Click the OK button
to close the dialog box and then exit the Polygon sub-object level.
The exhaust vent is currently a separate object and should be just another part of the
tank. The two objects are combined using the Attach feature of the Editable Poly
tools. Attach adds the components of one object to another, leaving a single object
with the combined features of both. Each object becomes an Element sub-object of
the newly formed entity. Exit the sub-object selection level by clicking at the top of
the Modifier Stack or using the 6 shortcut key.
15. Select the tank body object. In the Modifier Stack, click on the Editable Poly entry.
Changes made to the object below the Symmetry modifier are then passed up to the
modifier, maintaining the symmetrical balance of the model.
16. In the Edit Geometry rollout, click the Attach button.
If more than one object must be attached, or if the objects to attach are difficult to select in
the viewports, click the Settings button next to the Attach button. This opens the Attach List
dialog box where the objects to attach are selected by name.
17. Click on the exhaust vent. The vent will become part of the tank body object.
18. Click the Attach button again to turn it off. Click Symmetry in the Modifier Stack to
leave the Editable Poly level.
Modeling the Turret
The turret must be able to rotate independently of the body, so it needs to be modeled as a
separate object. We will start the modeling with a two-dimensional spline, convert it into
an editable poly, and then use the Editable Poly tools to form the turret.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Tank5.max file from the companion CD.
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2. In the Command panel, select Create ➔ Shapes ➔ Splines ➔ NGon and then drag in the
Top viewport to create the shape.
3. Set the Radius value to 35 and the number of Sides to 5.
4. Rotate the ngon so that the point faces forward and the flat edge is parallel to the rear
of the tank.
5. Move the shape up to the top of the tank body object and rename it to Tank Turret.
6. Convert the shape into an editable poly and then access the Polygon sub-object level.
7. In the Edit Polygons rollout, click the Settings button next to the Bevel button. Bevel
is similar to Extrude, but it has the additional capability to scale the selected polygon.
8. Set the Height to 2 and the Outline Amount to 21 to create the initial extrusion and
bevel, and then click the Apply button.
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9. A second application of the same Bevel settings is applied to the new, currently
selected polygon. Set the Height to 18 and the Outline Amount to –10 to create the
next level of the turret’s height. Click the OK button to apply the bevel and close
the dialog box.
9. The rear of the turret needs to be extended and raised so that it does not impact the
rear of the tank body when it rotates.
10. Select the polygon at the rear of the turret. Using the Move Transform gizmo, move
the polygon toward the rear of the tank and raise it slightly using the background
images as references. The edges of the adjacent polygons extend to maintain contact
with the poly being moved.
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The current sub-object level, or the top level, of an editable poly can quickly be accessed
from the tools 1 quadrant of the Quad menu or by using the number keys along the top row
of the keyboard as shortcut keys (not the keys in the numeric keypad). The shortcuts are 1 =
Vertex, 2 = Edge, 3 = Border, 4 = Polygon, 5 = Element, and 6 = Top Level.
11. Exit the Polygon sub-object level and use the Cut tool to add a horizontal edge dividing the rear polygon. Right-click to discontinue creating edges and then click the Cut
button to turn it off.
12. Switch to the Vertex sub-object level. In the Front viewport, use a selection region to
select each group of vertices at the rear of the turret and move them into place.
13. Switch to the Left viewport and then select the vertex at the leading point of the turret.
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14. In the Edit Vertices rollout, click the Chamfer button.
15. Click and drag in the Left viewport to chamfer the selected vertex and create an
additional polygon.
16. Use the Move tool to relocate the new vertices appropriately.
17. Exit the Vertex sub-object level.
Creating the Access Hatch
The tank’s crew needs to enter the tank from an access hatch on the top surface. This is
also where the vehicle commander will sit to examine the battlefield. To create this feature,
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the ShapeMerge compound object is used to project the edges of a two-dimensional shape
onto a three-dimensional surface, creating new edges and polygons on the 3D surface.
1. In the Top viewport, drag out a donut shape. Set the Radius 1 value to 10 and the
radius 2 value to 15.
2. Move the donut in the Z-axis above the turret, so that the shape’s edges will be projected onto the top of the turret.
3. Select the tank turret object, and then select Create ➔ Geometry ➔ Compound Objects ➔
ShapeMerge.
4. In the Pick Operand rollout, click the Pick Shape button and select the donut in the
viewport.
5. New edges appear on the top surface of the turret in the shape of the donut. Click the
Pick Shape button to turn it off and then convert the turret back into an editable poly.
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6. Select the donut shape and then delete it.
7. Select the outer ring of polygons and extrude them 1.5 units. Select the inner circle of
polygons and extrude them 0.75 units. Exit the sub-object level when you are done.
Save your work.
The main form of the low-poly tank model is now complete. The body has a sloped top
and exhaust vent, and the turret has the crew’s access hatch. In the next exercise, the Loft
compound object is used to model the tank’s barrel.
Lofting the Barrel
You can make a simple three-dimensional object by extruding a single two-dimensional
shape perpendicular to the shape’s orientation using the Extrude modifier. You can quickly
complete building boxes, tubes, and even simple 3D text can quickly using the Extrude
modifier. In contrast, the Loft compound object also builds 3D models by extruding one
2D spline along a second 2D spline. The first spline, called the shape object, becomes the
cross section of the new 3D as it follows the second, path object. Tunnels, roller coaster
tracks, fancy 3D text, and any object that needs to maintain a shape along a path are
excellent opportunities to use the Loft compound object.
The Loft compound object has many features and only a few restrictions. The shape
object can be complex, consisting of several noncontiguous splines and even nested splines.
A new shape object can be selected at any point along the path, and the cross section automatically transitions from one shape to the next. Any 2D shape can be used as the shape
object, but only shapes consisting of a single spline can be used as the path object.
Creating the Barrel Shapes and Path
To begin this exercise, several shapes are made to represent the different cross sections
found along the length of the barrel.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Tank6.max file from the companion CD.
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2. Hide all of the objects in the scene.
3. In the Top viewport, create three circles, each with a radius of 2.75. Create three more
circles, one with a radius of 3.75, one with 4.0, and one with 4.5.
4. From smallest to largest, rename the last three circles created to Barrel, Barrel Aim,
and Barrel Evacuator.
5. Align each of the smaller circles with one of the larger circles using the Align command. The X, Y, and Z Position check boxes should be checked, as well as the Center
option for both the current and target objects.
6. Select one of the larger circles, right-click and convert it to an editable spline from the
Quad menu.
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7. In the Geometry rollout, click the Attach button and select the corresponding inner
circle. The inner circle will be made a spline component of a two-spline, noncontiguous shape. Click the Attach button to turn it off.
8. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 for the remaining two pairs of circles.
9. Create an ellipse object overlapping the outer circle of the barrel aim object and then
attach this ellipse to the barrel aim object. Turn off the Attach tool when you are done.
10. Access the editable spline’s Spline sub-object level, and then select the outer circle.
10 Similar to the Boolean operation used earlier in this chapter, spline Booleans can
attach, subtract, or display the area of overlapping splines. With meshes, two separate
objects are combined to form a single compound object. When using shapes, two
separate spline sub-objects of the same shape are combined.
11. In the Geometry rollout, make sure the Union button is selected before clicking the
Boolean button.
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Figure 5.10
Combine the two
splines using the
Spline Boolean
tools.
12. Click the ellipse-shaped spline as shown in the left image in Figure 5.10. The two
splines are combined as a single spline as shown in the right image in Figure 5.10.
13. Exit the Spline sub-object level.
14. Unhide the box that shows the side view of the tank.
15. Click the Line tool in the Create ➔ Shapes panel and turn on AutoGrid mode at the
top of the Object Type rollout.
16. Click just inside the turret to place one end of the line.
17. Click again at the opposite side of the barrel and right-click to terminate the Line tool.
Lofting the Barrel
The shape or the path objects can be selected when the Loft tool is initiated. When the
shape is selected, an instance of the path is moved to the shape; when the path is selected,
an instance of the shape is moved to the path. The path is already located properly, so this
object is used as the base for the barrel loft operation.
1. With the line already selected, select Create ➔ Geometry ➔ Compound Objects ➔ Loft.
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2. In the Creation Method rollout, click the Get Shape button.
3. Place the cursor over the Barrel object—it changes when it is over a valid shape
object—and then click.
The shape is lofted along the path.
4. The Loft object is too dense for our needs; the barrel is not going to be bent or twisted,
so the number of segments is higher than necessary. Expand the Skin Parameters rollout. Decrease the Shape Steps value to 2 and the Path Steps value to 0. Shape Steps
defines the number of subdivisions between each vertex of the shape object, and Path
Steps defines the number of subdivisions between each vertex of the path.
Turn on See-Through mode for the barrel. Look closely to the right end of the path
in the Front viewport. You should see a yellow cross at the end of the line. The cross
indicates the location along the path at which the shape object is placed. The Path field
in the Path Parameters rollout sets the percentage or distance along the line where the
cross is located. Any shape object placed at the current location of the cross extends to
the end of the path unless another shape is placed farther along the path. Only one
shape can be placed at any one location along the path.
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5. Increase the Path value, in the Path Parameters rollout, until the yellow cross is even
with the first, wide portion of the barrel.
6. Click the Get Shape button and then click the Barrel Evacuator shape. The new shape
is applied to the path at the current location of the yellow cross, but the cross section
transitions from the start of the barrel rather than the immediate transition shown in
the reference image.
7. Change the Path value to 0.01 units lower than its current value. The Get Shape
button should still be active; if it is not, click it and then click the Barrel shape again.
There is a 0.01 transition distance between the cross section shapes, but this will not
be noticeable.
The Get Shape button stays active while the Path value is changed. You do not need to turn it
on and off while changing the cross sections of a loft.
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8. Increase the Path value to the end of the wider section of the barrel, as shown in the
following image, and then click on the Barrel Evacuator object.
9. Increase the Path value a small amount, and click the Barrel shape again. The evacuator cross section ends after only a short span, and the barrel’s standard diameter
begins again.
10. Increase the Path value until the yellow cross is near the end of the barrel, where the
aiming point is located. Click the Barrel shape.
11. Increase the Path value a small amount, and then click the barrel aim shape. The Aim
Point section of the barrel will appear, but it will be rotated improperly and there the
barrel will be twisted as shown in Figure 5.11. These will be fixed shortly.
Figure 5.11
The Barrel Aim cross
section is rotated
improperly.
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12. Increase the Path value until is approximately 98 percent along the path, and then
click the barrel aim object again.
13. Increase the Path value a little more, and then click the Barrel shape again. The barrel
will extend to the end of the path. Click the Get Shape button to turn it off.
Fixing the Rotation of the Shapes
Each spline has one vertex designated as the first vertex, which defines the direction of the
spline. Open splines can have the first vertex at either end point, but not in the middle.
Closed splines can have the first vertex at any vertex. Shapes that consist of several spline
sub-objects have a first vertex for each spline.
Each cross section of the barrel cleanly transitions to the next, except for the transitions
that include the barrel aim shape. To make the transitions, the designated first vertex is
matched on each spline used as a shape object in the Loft. This is done so that when the
circles are used exclusively, the first vertices will match well because all of the circles will
have four vertices and each of their first vertices will be in the same relative location. When
the Boolean operations were executed on the Barrel Aim object, the first vertex was relocated so that it no longer aligns with the other shapes.
The Shape and the Path components maintain a relationship with the Loft compound
objects. This ensures that any changes made to either are reflected in the Loft. In this section, you will refine the spline shapes so that their vertices match up better.
1. Select the Barrel Aim shape, and then access the Vertex sub-object level. The first
vertices are shown in yellow, and all others are shown in white.
If you do not see the vertices, choose Customize ➔ Preferences ➔ Viewports and uncheck
Show Vertices as Dots
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2. Select the vertex at the top of the ellipse—it turns red to indicate that it is selected—
and then click the Make First button in the Geometry rollout. Deselect any vertices,
and the top vertex will turn yellow, indicating that it is the new first vertex.
3. Exit the Vertex sub-object level, and then select the Barrel object and access its Vertex
sub-object level.
In addition to designating the top vertex as the first vertex, you will also add additional vertices to match the number found in the barrel aim object. Although this step
isn’t absolutely necessary when lofting, it adds to the result in this case.
4. Select the top vertex of the outer ring and make it the first vertex.
5. In the Geometry rollout, click the Refine button and click in two places—once on
each side of the first vertex to correspond to the extra vertices created when the ellipse
was added to the Barrel Aim outer circle. Turn off the Refine button and exit the Vertex sub-object mode.
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6. Select the barrel evacuator object and make the top vertex of its outer ring the first
vertex, similar to Steps 1 and 2.
7. Select the barrel loft object and rotate it 90 degrees counterclockwise, so the aim point
is at the top of the barrel.
8. Rename the Loft01 object to Barrel Loft.
Lathing the Wheels
In the previous chapter, you used the Lathe modifier to create knobs for a chest of drawers.
Here, you will use the Lathe modifier to create the wheels for the tank.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Tank7.max file from the companion
CD. Unhide all hidden objects.
2. In the Front viewport, create a box primitive with a Length and Width of 22 and a
Height of 17. Increase the Length and Height Segments to 2. In the Left viewport,
move the box over the track area of the background image. This is a temporary standin object that is the approximate size of the tank’s lower wheels.
3. Click the Line tool in the Create panel, and turn on the AutoGrid option. Draw a line
and then modify the vertices until the shape is similar to the line shown in Figure 5.12.
The shape should be open on the bottom.
4. Delete the reference box.
5. Select the spline and apply the Lathe modifier.
6. Choose X in the Direction section and Min in the Align section. These parameters
cause the line to be revolved around its X-axis and place the pivot point near the
bottom of the shape.
7. If necessary, check the Flip Normal option to expose the opposite side of the
object’s faces.
Figure 5.12
Draw the line to be
lathed to create the
wheel.
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8. Expand the Lathe modifier in the Modifier Stack and choose the Axis sub-object level.
9. In the Left viewport, drag the Y-axis handle of the Move Transform gizmo downward
to reposition the Lathe axis and expand the radius of the wheel. Be sure not to leave a
noticeable hole at the center of the wheel.
10. Exit the Axis sub-object level and rename the object to Wheel Lower.
11. Move the wheel to the front of the track. Make seven instanced clones of the wheel
and place them over the existing wheels in the background image.
The rear drive sprocket has a different design than the other wheels. Feel free to lathe a different shape to create that object.
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using snapshot to create the tracks
12. Select all of the wheels and click the Mirror tool (
) in the Main toolbar.
13. In the Mirror dialog box, choose Instance in the Clone Selection area. Decrease the
Offset amount until the instanced wheels reach the tracks on the opposite side of the
tank. Click the OK button to close the dialog box.
Using Snapshot to Create the Tracks
The tracks are a series of identical tread objects that are linked together to form a continuous belt. To quickly make all of the track treads, a single tread is made and then it is animated following the path that defines the path for all of the treads. The Snapshot tool is
then used to create instanced clones of the tread at a user-specified increment of time. You
don’t need to know the proper time increment; the value can be “walked-in” by undoing
and reapplying the Snapshot tool until the clones are made properly.
Creating the Tread and Path
In this section you will create a single tank tread, using splines and the editable poly’s
Extrude function. The tread is then copied many times to form a continuous belt of
treads.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Tank8.max file from the companion CD.
2. Hide all of the tank objects in the scene. Leave the background panels in place.
3. Zoom into one of the tracks in the Left viewport.
4. Use the Rectangle tool to make a rectangle that roughly follows the perimeter of
one of the treads. Use the Line tool to draw a spline that follows the perimeter of
the tread shoe. Make sure that the second spline is closed. You may need to move
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the Tank Front Reference image box back, behind the construction plane, to see
your new objects.
5. Convert one of the objects into an editable poly and then attach the other object to it.
6. Rename this object Tread.
7. Select both polygons and bevel them with a Height of 0.7 and an Outline Amount
of –0.4. Click OK to apply the bevel and close the dialog box.
8. Select the inner polygon and bevel it with the same settings as the previous bevel. Exit
the Polygon sub-object level.
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using snapshot to create the tracks
9. Mirror the tread to the other side of the track, choosing Copy in the Clone Selection
area. Attach the new editable poly to the tread object.
10. In the Front viewport, draw a line that represents the path that the treads follow.
Be sure to close the spline by placing the last vertex point over the first one and
clicking the Yes button in the Close Spline dialog box that opens. Edit the path
as necessary.
11. Rename the line to Tread Path.
Animating the Tread
The Tread must be animated following the path that you just drew. To do this, the Path
Constraint is applied to the tread and the path is assigned as the object to follow.
1. Select the Tread object.
2. Click the Motion tab (
) of the Command panel.
3. Expand the Assign Controller rollout and select the Position entry in the Controller
window.
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4. Click the Assign Controller button ( ). The Assign Position Controller dialog box
opens and displays a list of all the possible controllers that can dictate how and object
is positioned or moved in the scene.
5. Select Path Constraint from the list and click the OK button. The dialog box will
close, and the Path Constraint parameters will appear in the Motion panel.
6. In the Path Parameters rollout, click the Add Path button and then select the tread
path object in the viewport.
7. The path name will appear in the Target window. Check the Follow and Allow
Upside Down options in the Path Options section. The Follow option causes the
animated object to change its orientation to match the angle of the path segment
at its current location. The Allow Upside Down option prevents the tread from
flipping to maintain an upward orientation when the path returns the treads to
the starting point.
You can no longer move the Tread object using the Move Transform gizmo. The position of
the tread is now constrained to the location of the path.
8. Move the path to the right until the tread is centered on the treads in the background
image.
9. The tread is now animated so that it follows the path over the available length of animation. Drag the Time Slider, which runs along the bottom of the viewports, to the
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right until the tread is visible along the top section of the path. As you can see, the
tread is oriented improperly; it is rotated vertically instead of horizontally.
10. Select the tread and rotate it exactly 90 degrees to lay it flat along the path.
11. Drag the Time Slider back and forth and watch the tread object in the viewports;
it maintains a constant orientation match to the path as it follows it from start to
finish.
Creating Tread Clones with Snapshot
The Snapshot tool creates clones of selected objects at any designate interval of frames.
This section uses Snapshot to create many identical treads.
1. The Snapshot tool is located on the Extras toolbar. Right-click on a blank area
between any tools on a toolbar, and then click Extras on the context menu that
appears.
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2. With Tread selected, click and hold on the Array tool to display the flyout buttons.
Release the mouse over the Snapshot tool to open the Snapshot dialog box.
3. In the Snapshot section, choose Range and make sure the From
and To values are 0 and 100, respectively. Set Copies to 80, and
choose Instance in the Clone Method section. These settings
mean that over the course of the 100 frame animation, instance
clones of the tread are created every 1.25 frames for a total of
80 clones (100/80=1.25). Click OK.
4. The clones will be created and then the dialog box will close.
5. If the gap between the Tread clones is incorrect, Undo the Snapshot command and
then initiate it again. The last settings used in the Snapshot dialog box are retained
and just need to be tweaked.
6. Apply a Cap Holes modifier to any of the Tread clones. Cap Holes creates a surface at
the back of the tread objects. Without Cap Holes, the treads would not appear in a
rendered scene as they pass under the tank wheels. This is because, with no surface on
the under side of the treads, the normals of the visible faces would face the wrong
directions and would not be rendered.
7. Hide the tread and tread path objects, as well as the background image boxes; they are
no longer needed.
8. Unhide the tank body, tank turret, barrel loft, and wheel.
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summary
9. Copy the Tread clones, as instances, to the opposite side of the tank.
10. This completed low-poly tank project, with lights and a camera, can be opened as
Tank Complete.max from the companion CD.
Summary
This chapter explored many of the tools used to create models with lower polygon counts.
After setting up the scene with background images, some of the tools within the Editable
Poly toolset were used extensively. The Extrude and Bevel tools were used to add or change
the topology of polygons, and the Cut tool was used to add edges to surfaces. Booleans for
mesh objects and splines were both briefly used to display just a bit of their capabilities,
and the Symmetry modifier was used to maintain the model’s symmetrical form. The Loft
compound object displayed its abilities to extrude one shape along another’s and change
the cross section entirely at any point. Finally, the Snapshot tool was used to create many
instanced copies of a single animated object.
In the next chapter, we will continue exploring the Editable Poly tools while creating a
smooth, more organic model.
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CHAPTER 6
Organic Poly Modeling
Poly modeling generally takes one of two forms: low polygon-count modeling
and high polygon-count, or organic, modeling. Because they require less memory, can be
easier to animate, and can render quickly, low polygon-count models are useful in games.
They can contribute to more realistic scenes by filling in background areas with less-detailed
objects. An organic model’s elements flow together seamlessly. Take the human head as an
example; there may be no clear distinction between where the lower lip stops and the jaw
starts or where the top of the nose ends and the forehead begins. A basic knowledge of
anatomy and an understanding of balance and proportion are important when you’re
designing a character that is appealing and believable.
Realistic computer-generated (CG) characters are becoming very common in television
and films; they appear as stunt doubles, masses of individuals, and even main characters.
Using CG characters can often be safer and cheaper than using an actual actor or a stunt
person and, at one time or another, most 3D artists strive to create a character they can
call their own. This chapter focuses on using the Editable Poly toolset to create an organic
alien model suitable for character animation. With the exception of the alien’s eyes, the
model is a single object created from a very basic form.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Setting Up the Scene
■
Creating the Basic Form
■
Adding Detail
■
Final Touches
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Setting Up the Scene
As mentioned in the previous chapter, acquiring and utilizing good reference material is
essential for creating an adequate character in 3ds Max. At the minimum, sketches of the
character’s front and side features are necessary to use as background images. Additional
perspective sketches from several points of view and sketches of specific features, such as
headgear, weapons, or other devices should be near at hand during the modeling process
for quick reference.
Creating Planes and Adding Materials
Like the Tank exercise in Chapter 5, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II,” this exercise begins
by creating crossed boxes and applying the reference images to them.
1. Open or Reset 3ds Max.
2. In the Top viewport, create a tall, wide box running along the X-axis.
3. In the Parameters rollout of the Command panel, set the Length to 0.01, Width to 66,
and Height to 56.
4. Rename this box Alien Front Image.
5. With the box still selected, click the Move tool (
Transform Type-Ins at the bottom of the
user interface, move it to the origin by
entering 0 in all three axis fields.
) in the Main toolbar. In the
The box will move to the origin.
6. Create another box in the Top viewport. This one should run primarily along
the Y-axis.
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7. Set the Length to 20, Width to 0.01, and Height to 56
and then rename the box Alien Side Image.
8. Move this box to the origin as well. The Perspective
viewport should look similar to Figure 6.1.
Adding the Materials
The reference materials must be added to the boxes to
provide a visual cue during the modeling process. It’s
important to ensure that the significant features of the
character, which appear in both reference images, are at
the same height. For instance, the top of the head and the
shoulders should be at the same scene elevation to make
the modeling process easier, eliminating as much guess
work as possible.
1. Click the Material Editor button (
) in the Main toolbar to open the Material Editor.
2. Select the top-left sample sphere by clicking in it. This is the sample slot where you
will make the front material.
Figure 6.1
The crossing boxes
setup
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3. Expand the Maps rollout, and click the Diffuse Color button currently labeled None.
4. Double-click the Bitmap entry at the top of the Material/Map Browser that opens.
5. In the Select Bitmap Image File dialog box that opens, navigate to the Chapter 6 files
on the companion CD and select the Alien Front Sketch.jpg file. Click the Open button to add the first alien image to the material.
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setting up the scene
6. In the Material Editor’s horizontal toolbar, click the Show Map in Viewport
button. This causes the image map to be displayed in all viewports using the
Smooth + Highlights display after the material has been assigned to the scene
objects.
7. With the Alien Front Image box selected, click the Assign Material to Selection button
in the Material Editor toolbar. The alien’s front reference image will be displayed on
the face of the box.
Reference images should not be drawn on white paper before they are scanned to a digital
file. By default, white is the color of selected objects in 3ds Max. They can be visually lost on
a white background. If the drawings are on white background, use Photoshop, or another
image-editing package, to process the images so the background is gray.
8. In the sample slot area, select the sample slot to the right of the current slot. Its
boundary will turn white to indicate that it is the current material.
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SEEING QUALITY BITMAPS IN THE VIEWPORTS
The Show Map in Viewport toggle (
) in the Material
Editor determines whether the maps in a material are
displayed in all viewports set to the Smooth + Highlights display mode. In many cases, the quality of the
images displayed is high enough to align bitmap features to model features but not high enough to effectively use the images as reference elements. The quality
of the bitmap display is set in the Preference Settings
dialog box. The following steps and images explain the
method for changing the bitmap viewport quality
when using the DirectX video driver. The steps to follow when using the OpenGL or Software drivers are
similar.
1. From the Main menu, select Customize ➔
Preferences.
2. Click on the Viewports tab, and then click on the Configure Driver button
in the Display Drivers section.
3. In the Configure Direct3D dialog box that appears, select a resolution
in the Download Texture Size section or select the Match Bitmap
Size as Closely as Possible option to increase the displayed resolution
of any maps shown in the viewports. This does not affect the actual
size of the images used in the scene, only how they are shown in the
viewports.
4. If necessary, repeat Step 3 to increase the resolution of the background
image in the Background Texture Size section.
5. Click OK in both dialog boxes to accept the changes. You must close and
then reopen 3ds Max for the changes to take affect.
Be aware that increasing the displayed resolution can decrease viewport
performance and increase the system resources required to manage the
scene.
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Figure 6.2
The scene with the
reference images
applied to the boxes
9. Repeat Steps 2 through 5, this time choosing the Alien
Select Bitmap Image File dialog box.
Sketch Side.jpg file in the
10. Select the narrower box and click the Assign Material to Selection button. Your Perspective viewport should look like Figure 6.2. If the images do not appear in the viewport, right-click on the viewport’s title and choose Smooth + Highlights from the
pop-up menu to change the viewport rendering mode.
11. Close the Material Editor.
Creating the Basic Form
The alien character’s form is pretty common: one head, one neck, two arms, a torso, and
two legs. This is a frequently seen standard for bipedal, humanoid 3D characters. This
form can be further refined by adding facial features and modeling the arms and legs into
upper and lower segments with clearly defined fingers and toes, similar to the exercises in
Chapter 4, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I.”
When you create an organic character, you might be tempted to try to model one
piece of the final product, such as the head or hands, to completion before you begin modeling another piece. This is rarely a good method because the scale and balance of the
components must be built precisely from the beginning. A better practice is to block out
the basic form and focus on the size and crucial shapes of major elements and then add
detail for the finer features. The following exercises describe the steps required to block
out the alien’s major features.
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Blocking the Torso
The basic structure for the torso will begin with a simple box primitive. After converting
the box into an editable spline, you will add the Symmetry modifier to the object so that
any manipulations performed on one side are instantly performed on the other.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Alien1.max file on the companion CD.
2. Right-click on the name of each Smooth + Highlights–rendered viewport and choose
Edged Faces to display the rendered surfaces and the edges of each face.
3. In the Top viewport, create a box with two Length, Width, and Height segments.
Rename the box to Alien and change its color, if necessary, to a hue that contrasts
with the boxes that display the reference images.
4. Move the box upward until it is centered on the torso in the reference images
and modify its parameters to fit. It’s better if the box is slightly smaller than the
sketch so that the image is visible beyond the box similar to the box shown in
Figure 6.3.
5. Convert the box into an editable poly object.
Figure 6.3
Move and adjust the
box to match the
reference images.
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6. Access the Vertex sub-object level, and delete the left half of the box by dragging a
selection region around the left-most vertices and then pressing the Delete key.
7. Exit the Vertex sub-object level. It’s important that the next step occur at the object
level.
8. Switch to the Modify tab of the Command panels and apply the Symmetry modifier
to the box. The Symmetry modifier allows you to model only one side of the character while it automatically models the reciprocal side.
The box currently obscures the reference images and can make modeling more difficult. Turning on the See-Through mode in the object’s properties will reduce this
problem.
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9. With the Alien object selected, right-click in the viewport and choose Object Properties from the Quad menu.
10. In the Object Properties dialog box that opens, check the See-Through option in the
Display Properties section and then click the OK button. The object will become
transparent in the viewports and the edges will remain visible.
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Forming the Torso
You will begin forming the basic shape of the torso my moving the editable poly’s vertices
and extruding its polygons.
1. In the Modify panel, select the Editable Poly level of the Modifier Stack. The left side
of the object will disappear. This will allow you to select vertices, with a selection
region, in the Right viewport without selecting the vertices on the opposite side.
2. Access the Vertex sub-object level and start to form the torso by moving the vertices
in the Front viewport to match the background image, as shown in Figure 6.4. Use a
selection region to select both the front vertices and the vertices directly behind them.
3. Switch to the Right viewport and move the vertices to match the other reference
image.
Figure 6.4
Adjust the editable
poly’s vertices to
match the background image.
The alien’s back has two curves; a concave curve at the
lower part of the spine and a convex curve at his rear. The
alien’s front has a similar, more subtle compound curve.
The editable poly object, however, does not have enough
vertices to match the complexity of the image. The Chamfer
tool is generally used to refine or soften an edge by subdividing it into two colinear edges, with new polygons located
between them. The angle between the new polys and the
old polys is one-half the previous value. When the polys
on both sides of the edges are coplanar, no new angle is
introduced to the model, but a gap is created between
two new edges.
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4. In the Selection rollout, click the Edge button (
level.
) to switch to the Edge sub-object
5. Select the four edges that horizontally bisect the object. Switch viewports as necessary
to select them all.
6. In the Edit Edges rollout, click the Chamfer button.
7. Click and drag on any of the selected edges to chamfer all of them.
8. Release the mouse button. Click and drag again to add two more rings of edges and
further refine the mesh. Make sure that you do not drag so far that the new edges
overlap.
9. Switch back to the Vertex sub-object level and continue to move the vertices to match
both the front and side reference images.
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10. Switch to the Perspective viewport. Zoom and arc-rotate the view to see the top polygon in the model.
11. In the Polygon sub-object level, select the top polygons in the model and click on the
Extrude tool in the Edit Polygons rollout. Be sure to select both the front polygon and
the rear polygon hidden behind the box holding the front reference image.
12. Click and drag the top polygons to extrude them approximately one-third the distance
to the alien’s armpit. Release the mouse button and repeat the process two more times
until the top polygon is even with the top of the alien’s armpit.
13. Switch back to the Vertex sub-object level and move the new vertices to match the
reference images. The inner pair of vertices should be higher than the other pair,
causing the top edges to no longer be parallel to the others.
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Cleaning Up the Geometry
When you create models with the editable poly toolset, you will often generate unnecessary or unwanted polygons. In this section, you will eliminate some internal polygons that
the model doesn’t need.
1. Continue from the previous exercise. Select all of the polygons in the model, rightclick in the viewport, and choose Isolate Selection from the Quad menu. The two
boxes will disappear and the torso will remain.
2. Arc-rotate the viewport to look at the inner surfaces between the two halves of the
model. You will be able to see the six internal polygons created with the Extrude tool,
as shown in Figure 6.5. You might need to turn off the See-Through mode to see these
polygons clearly. These, and the six additional polygons created by the Symmetry
modifier, are undesirable because they make the model unnecessarily complex and
can affect later results when you use several of the Polygon Editing tools.
3. Select and delete the six internal polygons.
4. In Edge sub-object mode, select all the edges, front and back, from the alien’s shoulder to its hip and then chamfer these edges. The new polygons created by the Chamfer tool will become the curvature around the sides of the alien.
Figure 6.5
The internal polygons created with
the Extrude tool
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5. Exit the Edge sub-object level. Click the Symmetry entry in the Modifier Stack to see
the model of the torso thus far.
6. Exit Isolation mode.
Adding the Arms
The next step in roughing out the basic form is to add the alien’s shoulders, arms, and
hands. The arms will be partitioned into a shoulder/clavicle element and an upper and
lower arm. Modeling a character’s hands was covered in Chapter 4, so we will only skim
over it here.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Alien2.max file on the companion CD.
2. Select the Alien object, click the Editable Poly entry in the Modifier Stack, and access
the Polygon sub-object level.
3. Select the four top polygons at the alien’s shoulder area, including the chamfered
polys.
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4. In the Edit Polygons rollout, click the Settings button next to the Hinge From Edge
button to open the Hinge Polygons From Edge dialog box.
5. Click the Pick Hinge button and select either of the straight, horizontal edges near
the armpit. The selected polygons will be previewed in the target orientation in the
viewports.
6. Set the Angle value to about 17 and click the Apply button. The previewed orientation
will take affect. The selected polys will be previewed rotating another 17 degrees about
the selected edge. Click the OK button to accept the second hinge action and exit the
tool. Your model should look similar to Figure 6.6.
7. Switch to the Vertex sub-object level and adjust the vertices to define the clavicle and
shoulder area.
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Throughout the modeling process, you may find yourself turning the See-Through mode on
and off to hide and unhide the background images and to isolate the model. The images in
this chapter switch between these modes and practices as required. Press Alt+X to toggle
See-Through on and off easily. Alt+Q will get you into (but not out of) Isolation Mode.
Figure 6.6
The Chamfer tool in the Edit Vertices
rollout is similar to the same tool in the
Edit Edges rollout. Rather than subdividing an edge into two colinear edges,
it creates a new polygon by creating
new vertices, projecting into all the
polygons that share each selected vertex. If the arm were extruded now, it
would be very boxy and would require
the edges to be chamfered. By first
chamfering the vertices, the resultant
extrusion is more acceptable.
8. Zoom into the shoulder and select the four vertices at the corners of its perimeter.
Click the Settings button ( ), next to the Chamfer button in the Edit Vertices
rollout.
9. In the Chamfer Vertices dialog box that opens, increase the Chamfer Amount to
divide the angle between the perpendicular edges. Click the OK button when you
are done.
There is a vertical edge that bisects the polygons that will be extruded to make the
arm. If this remains, it will create undesired internal polygons. Selecting and deleting
Hinge the shoulder
area twice.
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the offending edge would also delete the polygons that it contributes to the perimeter,
and it would leave a hole in the model. The Remove tool, however, deletes the edge
and combines the adjacent polygons into a single polygon.
10. In Edge sub-object mode, select the edge and click the Remove button in the Edit
Edges rollout. The edge will be deleted and the perimeter will remain intact.
11. Select the polygon where the arm will be, and extrude it to about half the length of the
upper arm.
12. Move the vertices to straighten the arm, and then select and scale all end vertices
down slightly.
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13. Repeat Steps 11 and 12 two more times, scaling the vertices up at the elbow and then
down at the wrist.
14. Similar to the modeling procedure described in Chapter 4 and here in Chapter 6,
block out the basic form for the alien’s hand. When completed, the hand and fingers
should look similar to those shown in Figure 6.7.
Adding the Legs
To create the legs and feet, you’ll use methods similar to the ones you used to create the
arms and hands. Extrusions of polygons, chamfering of vertices and edges, and scaling
vertices and polygons are all mainstays of polygonal modeling. In this section, you will
also use the QuickSlice tool to add edges to polygons
where additional detail is necessary.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or
open the Alien3.max file from the companion CD.
2 Hide the Alien Front Image object or move it
behind the model so that it doesn’t obstruct the
view in the Perspective viewport.
3. Arc-rotate and zoom into the polygon that will be
extruded to create the leg at the bottom of the
model.
Figure 6.7
The modeled hand
and fingers
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4. Select the edge that bisects the bottom polygons. Use the Remove tool to delete
the edge.
5. Select the bottom polygon. In the Edit Geometry rollout, click the QuickSlice button.
The cursor will turn into an arrow.
6. The intent here is to add an additional polygon near the centerline of the model to
accommodate the detail around the crotch. Click on the edge in the front of the
model that runs from the center to the side, near the symmetry plane that divides
the model in half.
7. Move the cursor. A thin line that projects from the initial point through the tip of the
cursor to the edge of the selected polygon will be selected.
8. Click in a similar location on the opposite edge at the back of the model. A new
edge will appear, and the single selected polygon will be divided into two coplanar
polygons.
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9. Click the QuickSlice button to turn it off.
10. Select the larger polygon and extrude it about half the distance to the knee.
11. Select and then move and scale the vertices at the end of the leg to match the reference
images.
12. Repeat the leg extrusions at the alien’s knee, mid-calf, and ankle. Adjust the vertices
at each location.
13. Arc-rotate so that you can see the inner portion of the leg. These edges are not
chamfered like the edges on the outside of the leg. Select one inside-vertical edge at
the front of the model and another at the back of the model.
14. In the Selection rollout, click the Loop button. Loop expands the selection to include
all edges that meet, end to end, that are aligned with the selected edges.
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Instead of expanding the selection, you can use the spinner arrows, next to the Loop button,
to shift the edge selection to the next aligned edges. The Loop tools at the other sub-object
levels work in a similar fashion.
15. All of the inside edges, from the ankle to the crotch are selected. Use the Chamfer tool
or the Chamfer Settings tool to subdivide the edges.
Adding the Feet
Now that the alien has a leg to stand on, you need to give him a foot. You’ll continue using
the Extrude and Chamfer tools along with the Hinge Polygons From Edge dialog box, as
you did with the hand.
1. Continue from the previous exercise. Extrude the polygon at the base of the leg, until
it extends to the bottom of the foot.
2. Select the polygon at the back of the foot and use the Hinge Polygons From Edge dialog box to create the polygons that make up the heel portion of the foot. Pick the edge
at the top of the heel as the hinge. Click OK to close the dialog box.
3. Chamfer the edges of the polygons created with the Hinge From Edge tool, and then
adjust the vertices as required.
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4. Extrude the polygon, at the front of the ankle, twice to create the foot. The first extrusion is used to make the transition from the ankle to the foot and the second extends
the foot to the beginning of the toes.
5. If the foot is pivoted incorrectly, select all of the vertices from the ankle down and
rotate them until the foot points forward or slightly outward.
6. Continue to edit the vertices and edges of the feet to block out their basic forms.
7. Use the QuickSlice and Extrude tools, along with the transforms, to create the alien’s
toes and complete the leg.
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Modeling the Head
The last major component to add to the model is the alien’s head. In addition to the tools
that have already been covered, the Cut tool, the Soft Selection method, and the Shaded
Face Toggle option are added to your 3ds Max modeling toolset options.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Alien4.max file from the
companion CD.
2. Zoom into the top of the model, where the neck will be. Select the vertices at the base
of the neck, along the symmetry plane, and move them vertically as shown here.
3. Select the two polygons at the top of the neck and click the Z button, next to the
Make Planar button in the Edit Geometry rollout. This will rotate all of the selected
polygons until they are flush with the Z plane.
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4. Select the edge that divides the top polygons and delete it with the Remove tool.
5. You will want to refine the edges of the neck that will be extruded to create the neck
in the next step. The objective here is to reduce the angle of the intersecting edges at
the corners of the top polygon by adding additional edges. Instead of chamfering the
edges or vertices, click the Cut tool in the Edit Geometry rollout. Create a new edge
by clicking at each point where you want the new vertices to be. Right-click to begin
a new cut line. Click the Cut button when you are done.
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6. Extrude the neck polygon and adjust its vertices to match both of the reference
images. The alien’s chin will drop well below the top of the neck in the side image.
7. Using the Extrude tool, move the vertices as required to form the front and sides of
the head so it will be similar to the model shown in Figure 6.8.
8. Extrude the polygons at the back of the head about half the remaining distance to the
back of the head in the reference image, and then scale the vertices down a bit.
When sub-objects are moved, rotated, or scaled, the effect is applied explicitly and
fully only to the selected sub-objects. This can result in a blocky, uniform appearance
that is unappealing in an organic model. Soft selection lessens that effect by applying
the transforms fully to the selected sub-objects and then, to a lesser degree, to the subobjects that are in close proximity to the selection. The sub-objects that are closer to
selection are more affected by the transform, and those that are farther away are less
effective. When soft selection is used, 3ds Max color codes the selected sub-objects to
provide a visual cue regarding how much of an affect the transforms will have. The
colors range from red to orange to yellow to green to blue, with red sub-objects being
fully affected and blue being unaffected.
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Figure 6.8
The modeled
head after the
front and sides
are blocked out
9. In the Soft Selection rollout, check the Use Soft Selection option and click the Shaded
Face Toggle button.
10. Increase or decrease the Falloff value until the non-blue colors extend to polygons at
the side of the head.
11. Move and scale the end polygons to match the reference image.
Refining the Head
You can see that the head needs additional segmentation to match the reference image.
We’ll use the Connect tool to add that segmentation. The Connect tool adds edges to a
model by subdividing pairs of selected edges.
1. Continue from the previous exercise. Turn off Use Soft Selection and switch to the
Edge sub-object level.
2. Select any of the nearby horizontal edges on the side of the head that need to be
subdivided.
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3. In the Selection rollout, click the Ring button. Similar to the Loop tool, the Ring tool
selects all edges that are nearly parallel to the selected edge and lie along the same
plane. All the horizontal edges that need to be subdivided are selected, as shown in
Figure 6.9.
4. To open the Connect Edges dialog box, click the Settings button next to the Connect
button in the edit Edges rollout. Set the Segments value to 2 and click the OK button.
All of the selected edged are subdivided into three edges each.
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Figure 6.9
The modeled head
after the front and
sides are blocked
out
5. Turn Use Soft Selection back on and reduce the Falloff value until only two rings of
polygons, outside of the selected edges, show any colors other than blue.
6. Move the selected edges upward to match the reference image.
7. Continue shaping the head using the Connect option, Remove option, Soft Selection
option, and some transforms to block it as desired.
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8. Many polygons were created on what will become the internal area of the head. They
must be removed.
9. Access the Polygon sub-object level. In the Front viewport, use a window selection to
select all the unwanted polygons and then delete them.
The basic form of the alien model is complete. Anyone looking at it can clearly see a
humanoid character with a large head that slopes down in front and tapers in the back. In
the next section, we’ll cover adding details to the model, including a more-defined musculature, eyes, and a mouth.
Adding Detail
With the basic form blocked out, the alien needs to have detail added to define its appearance and make it unique among its peers. You’ll start by adding the TurboSmooth modifier to subdivide and smooth the mesh, and then you’ll continue the modeling process by
working on the legs, arms, torso, and finally the head. TurboSmooth creates a nonrendering framework around the mesh, with its own vertices that can be weighted to control the
localized deformation of the mesh.
The TurboSmooth modifier has two iteration options: Iterations and Render Iterations.
The Iterations option determines the amount of smoothing the model has in the viewports.
If Render Iterations is unchecked, Iterations also determines the amount of smoothing in
renderings. When Render Iterations is checked, the amount of smoothing in renderings
can be different, usually higher, than the smoothing shown in the viewports. This allows
very dense models to be rendered, while less dense models are worked on in the viewports.
The TurboSmooth Modifier
In this section, you’ll apply the TurboSmooth modifier to the alien model to smooth its
surfaces.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Alien5.max file on the companion CD.
2. Exit any sub-object level, if necessary, and then select the Symmetry modifier in the
Modifier Stack.
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3. Expand the Modifier List and click the TurboSmooth modifier. The modifier appears
at the top of the Modifier Stack.
To quickly locate a modifier in the Modifier List, repeatedly press the letter key that corresponds to the first letter in the modifier’s name. 3ds Max will select the first modifier that
starts with that letter and then cycle through the list, selecting the next modifier that starts
with that letter each time the key is pressed.
4. Set Iterations to 1 and make sure that Isoline Display is unchecked in the Main section of the TurboSmooth rollout. Isoline Display causes only the model’s original
edges to display, rather than all the edges in the newly subdivided mesh. When Iterations is set to a high value, this may be beneficial by reducing the complexity on the
model in the viewport.
Use caution when increasing the Iterations value. Dragging the Iterations spinner upward
quickly, or entering a high value in the Iterations field, can cause Max to generate an enormous number of polygons that may exceed the memory capacity of your system, resulting in
a crash. It is best to increase the Iterations value in increments of 1 until the minimum acceptable level of smoothing is obtained.
While remaining in the Editable Poly level of the Modifier Stack, you will need to see
the smoothed result of your character throughout the modeling process. This is quickly
accomplished by clicking the Show End Result On/Off Toggle button (
/
) just
below the Modifier Stack.
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Adding Detail to the Legs
The legs need more detail, especially around the knee, to allow them to deform properly
when they are animated.
1. Unhide any reference images and zoom into the area around the alien’s leg.
The knee is one area that needs additional detail to accommodate any deformations
caused by animating with bones or Character Studio.
2. Select all of the polygons directly above and below the knee, and then use the QuickSlice tool twice, once above and once below the knee, to add additional segmentation.
The angle of the slice plane should match the angle of the edges above or below the
new edges.
3. In Vertex sub-object level, select the vertices at the front of the knee. Turn on Use Soft
Selection, and then reduce the Falloff value until only the vertices near the front of the
knee are fully or partially selected.
4. Move the vertices forward to create the bulge of the knee cap.
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5. Turn off Use Soft Selection and then use the Connect tool to further subdivide the edges
in the calf area. Move the new edges so they are concentrated around the mid-calf area.
6. At the Vertex sub-object level, move and scale the vertices to sculpt the calf.
7. Do the same for the thigh area, making sure the vertices near the center do not cross
the centerline of the model.
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8. Use the tools discussed in this section to finish modeling the legs the way you want
them. Using the Cut tool and then using the Bevel Polygons tool is an excellent method
for modeling the calcaneus, the bone that protrudes from the side of the ankle. To
make sure the edits are effective and generating the correct result, toggle the Show
End Result button and render the scene frequently.
9. Zoom out and render the legs.
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Adding Detail to the Arms
To allow proper deformation, additional detail must be added to the elbow area, in a
manner similar to the way you detailed the legs. Additional musculature is also required
in the arms and at the shoulders. Be sure to toggle the Show End Result button back and
forth to see how the low-polygon modeling affects the final, smooth object.
1. Select the vertical edges in the arm, from the bicep to the wrist, and use the Connect
tool to add additional vertical edges to the arm, as shown here.
2. Move the new edges near the elbow, leaving one vertical loop of edges at the bicep
and the forearm.
3. With Use Soft Selection turned on, move and scale the elbow until it is slightly larger
than the arm.
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4. Select the edge that defines the bulge of the bicep. With the character’s hands oriented
with the palms face down, the bicep should bulge forward and not upward.
The character has long slender fingers that tend to look like tubes or tentacles when
the diameter of each segment is similar in size. To help define the individual finger
bones, you need to increase the size of the knuckles.
5. Select all of the edges located at the alien’s knuckles, including the thumb, and chamfer them twice. The second chamfer should concentrate two sets of edges closer to the
centerline of the knuckles.
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6. Select the inner pair of edges at each knuckle and scale the edges to increase their
diameter.
7. If the knuckles appear to change the fingers’ diameters too abruptly, turn on Use Soft
Selection and scale them again along the X-axis only.
8. The hand tapers too smoothly from the wrist to the fingers, and there is no clear
line of delineation between the forearm and the fingers. Use the QuickSlice tool to
add an additional edge across the hand, and then move and scale it to define the
hand better.
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9. The thumb is tucked under the hand in an unnatural position. Select and move the
vertices of the thumb and the inside heel of the palm forward and out from underneath the index finger.
10. Make any additional changes to the hand that you like. For instance, if the finger
tips are too boxy in a smooth rendered image, move the vertices, near the end of the
fingers, back a bit, or select and bevel the end polygons.
TARGET WELDING VERTICES
Having multiple vertices in close proximity can result in long thin faces that are difficult
to deform, unacceptable folds or creases in the surfaces, and undesirable results when
using the Bevel or Inset tools. These modeling problems are all common. They can be
reduced or eliminated by welding the vertices. Standard welding, which is covered later
in this chapter, replaces two or more selected vertices, within a specified distance from
each other, with a single vertex located at the averaged location of the original vertex
selection.
Target welding works somewhat differently. With the Target Weld button activated in
the Edit Vertices rollout, you click the vertex to be eliminated and then click the target vertex. The original vertex moves to the target vertex, adjusts its associated edges and polygons, and is welded to it. The original vertex and target vertex must be separated by only
a single edge.
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Refining the Shoulder
The shoulder is currently flat from the end of the arm to the neck. In this section you will
add the detail required to place a bulge at the top of the shoulder that tapers into the clavicle.
1. Continue from the previous exercise. Select and chamfer the loop of edges that runs
over the shoulder and under the arm pit.
2. Select the three edges that run along the clavicle and use the Connect tool to add two
more sets of perpendicular edges.
When Editable Poly sub-objects are moved in a viewport, they adhere to the same
transform coordinate system restrictions as any other object in a scene. Similar to
using the Local transform coordinate system, the Constraints option in the Edit
Geometry rollout, allows you to limit the movement of the sub-objects to be parallel
to the associated edges or polygons. This diminishes any unnecessary deformations
caused by moving a sub-object away from a surface of the model.
3. With the four new edges selected, expand the Constraints drop-down list in the Edit
Geometry rollout and choose Edge.
4. Move the edges closer to the shoulder. Note that they do not leave the plane in which
they lie.
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5. Change the Constraints option back to None.
6. Select the vertex at the top of the shoulder. Using Soft Selection, move it upward to
create the shoulder bulge.
7. Zoom out and render the modeled arm; it should look similar to Figure 6.10.
Figure 6.10
The model after
adding detail to the
arm, hand, and
shoulder
Adding Detail to the Torso
The shape of the alien’s torso is fairly plain, and decidedly not anatomically correct, so
the detail added will be subtle. You will need to add some bulges for the wider hips and
a belly button.
1. Continue from the previous exercise or open the Alien6.max file from the
companion CD.
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2. Zoom into the alien’s hips, and select the three bands of horizontal edges that
circle the alien at the waistline.
3. Chamfer the new edges. Using Edge Constraints, concentrate the edges around the
hip area.
4. Turn the Constraints off and turn Use Soft Selection on. Then move the hip vertices
into place.
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5. Use the Cut tool to create the perimeter of the belly button and remove any internal
edges that may occur.
6. Select the edges that encircle the belly button, omitting the edges along the center line
of the model, and chamfer them. The chamfer prevents the next step from affecting
the polygons and edges that are relatively distant from this small detail.
7. Select the polygon at the center of the belly button and move it into the alien’s
abdomen.
Adding Detail to the Head
Besides the overall shape of the head, the two main features that must be considered are
the eyes and the mouth. Without lips, a tongue, or teeth to consider, the mouth is the simpler of the two features to model; it consists of a mouth-shaped hole in the head. Rather
than deleting faces, the mouth will be extruded into the head to prevent the appearance
of a hollow skull.
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The areas surrounding the eyes are modeled using the Cut tool to define the shape and
then Chamfer and Extrude to create the raised perimeter. The eyes themselves are spheres
that are altered using the Hemisphere parameter.
Creating the Mouth
The mouth is going to be a simple extruded polygon, with the extrusion projecting into
the alien’s head. You’ll create the perimeter of the mouth using the Cut tool.
1. Zoom into the mouth area.
2. Use the Cut tool to draw the edges around the perimeter of the mouth.
3. Use the Bevel Polygons dialog box to extrude and scale the polygon into the alien’s
head. A negative Height value causes the bevel to recess the polygon, rather than
extrude it farther into the scene.
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4. Select the edge at the center line of the mouth and delete, rather than remove, it to
open that side of the mouth and eliminate any internal faces.
5. Start modeling the eye area by moving the vertices to cause the vertices to flow
around the edges of the raised eye ridge.
6. To subdivide an edge at a particular location, switch to the Edge sub-object level.
Click the Insert Vertex button in the Edit Edges rollout. Click on any edge to place
a new vertex.
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7. Continue to manipulate the vertices and edges until the eye area is a single, flat polygon. Select the eye polygon and use the Inset Polygons dialog box to create the ring of
faces that surrounds the eye.
8. Delete the central eye polygon and then select all of the polygons that surround the
new hole.
9. Bevel the selected polygons to create the eye ridge.
Creating the Eyes
Rather than creating the eyes as components of the alien model, you will make them as
separate objects that can be linked to the model. This method allows for greater flexibility
when apply materials to, or animating, the eyes.
1. Exit any sub-object level. Create a sphere with a Radius of approximately 3 in the
Front viewport.
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2. Decrease the Hemisphere value until the visible boundary of the sphere is slightly
larger than the eye hole.
3. Convert the eye to an editable poly. Rotate and move it to position it correctly in the
eye socket.
4. Make any necessary edits to the vertices or edges to hide any portions of the sphere
that protrude through the surface of the alien.
5. Exit any sub-object level. Rename the object Eye Left.
6. Click the Mirror tool ( ) in the Main toolbar to open the Mirror dialog box. Set the
axis to X and set Clone Selection to Copy. Increase the Offset amount until the new
eye appears correctly in the other eye socket.
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7. Rename the new object to Eye Right and make any changes required to make the eye
fit in the socket.
8. Select both eye objects and link them to the Alien object to cause them to follow the
alien’s transforms.
Final Touches
The major portion of the modeling is complete. The only remaining tasks are to weld
the seams, clean up any remaining areas with unwanted sharp corners, and add a few
asymmetrical features so that the model does not look quite so computer generated.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Alien7.max file from the
companion CD.
2. Hide the reference images if necessary.
Before you proceed with the next step, you should always save a copy of the model or the
entire scene, in case you need to edit it at the Symmetry or TurboSmooth level.
3. Select the alien and convert it to an editable poly.
4. Select all of the vertices that share the center line of the model or border an opening
at the center generated during the modeling process. Make sure you don’t select any
of the vertices from the eye ridges that are close to the center line.
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5. Click the Settings button, next to the Weld button in the Edit Vertices rollout, to
open the Weld Vertices dialog box.
6. The Weld Threshold is the maximum distance that selected vertices can be apart
before they are welded. Slowly increase the Weld Threshold value until the visible
gaps are closed.
7. Examine the model closely, especially around the mouth and eyes. Make any corrections you like.
3ds Max uses a paintbrush analogy to reduce the sharpness, or tension, between adjacent polygons. Adjust the size of the virtual brush and click and drag over the areas to
be smoothed.
8. In the Paint Deformation rollout, click the Relax button.
9. The brush will appear in the viewports as a circle with a line projecting from its center. The circle always remains parallel to the surface of the model. Reduce the Brush
Size value to about 1.0.
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summary
10. To reduce the angle between the adjacent polygons, click and drag the brush over the
areas to be smoothed.
Humans, animals, and many other living real-world creatures are basically, but not
perfectly, symmetrical. The asymmetrical imperfections are natural and should be reflected
in your models. The vertices around the eyes, the brow, and the mouth are areas to consider
altering. The changes should be subtle and should not call attention to the varied area,
unless that feature is significant to the character’s makeup.
Summary
This chapter explored and explained several tools used to create organic models. From a
simple box, a torso was formed to match the general shapes shown in the reference images.
The Symmetry modifier required you to model only half of the character while it generated
the reciprocal half. The legs, arms, and a head followed, all remaining in a simple boxy
configuration. The TurboSmooth modifier was added to the top of the Modifier Stack to
subdivide and smooth the polygons. Additional detail was added and then the model was
collapsed and fine-tuned.
Although we used an alien character here, this toolset can be utilized for any type of
organic model.
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CHAPTER 7
Materials and Mapping
Applying materials is the phrase used in 3ds Max to describe applying
colors and textures. Mapping is the term used to describe applying textures to materials
(for example, adding wood grain to a wooden object). After you create your objects, 3ds
Max assigns a simple color to them, as you’ve already seen. This allows them to render and
display properly in your viewports.
To put it simply, a material defines an object’s look—its color, tactile texture, transparency, luminescence, glow, and so on.
You define a material in 3ds Max by setting values for its parameters or by applying
textures or maps. These parameters define the way an object will look when rendered. As
you can imagine, much of an object’s appearance when rendered also depends on the lighting. Applying materials and lighting go hand in hand. In this chapter and in Chapter 10,
“3ds Max Lighting,” you will discover that materials and lights work closely together.
In essence, how you see an object in real life depends on how that object transmits
and/or reflects light back to you. Materials in 3ds Max simulate the natural physics of
how we see things by how objects reflect and or transmit light.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Materials
■
The Material Editor
■
Mapping a Pool Ball
■
Maps
■
Mapping Coordinates
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The first half of the chapter shows you the parameters and functions of the materials and the
Material Editor window. If you want to skip ahead to work on a mapping exercise, go to the
“Mapping a Pool Ball” section later in the chapter. Make sure you come back to skim over the
hows and whys in the first half of the chapter.
Materials
Materials are useful for making your objects appear more lifelike. If you model a table and
want it to look like polished wood, you can define a shiny material in 3ds Max and apply a
wooden texture, such as an image file of wood, to the color of that material.
Materials also come in handy when you want to add the appearance of detail to an object,
but without actually modeling it. For instance, if you want a brick wall to look like real
brick, but you don’t want to model the bricks in the wall, you could use a brick texture.
Using a texture would be a time-saving alternative. You can plainly see a brick wall in
Figure 7.1. However, in Figure 7.2, the wall shows the appearance of detail in each line of
bricks using a texture map (called bump mapping). This texture map renders the appearance of dimension for each brick and the inset grooves between each of them, without the
hassle of actually modeling the surface of the wall with that level of precision.
This shortcut is an easy trap to fall into. Using texture maps to accommodate too much
detail can make your scene look fake and primitive. Don’t depend on textures to do the
work for you. A model that is not detailed enough for a close-up shot more than likely will
not be saved by a detailed texture map. In the end, the level of detail that is needed boils
down to trial and error. You have to see how much texture trickery you can use to keep a
model’s detailing at bay before the model no longer works in the shot. In the beginning,
it’s safe to assume you should model and texture as much detail as you can. You can work
toward efficiency as you learn more about 3ds Max and CG.
Figure 7.1
A brick wall
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Just as a model needs to be as detailed as the scene calls for, the same applies to texture
maps. You will want to gauge the detail of your texturing based on the use of the object in
the scene. A far away object won’t need to have a massive texture map applied to its material. Textures mapped onto a material often add the final element of realism to a scene,
and it takes a lot of experience to determine how detailed to make any textures for mapping. So let’s start gaining some of that experience now.
Material Basics
What makes a material look the way it does? The primary force in a material is its color.
However, there are several ways to describe the color of a material. In 3ds Max, three main
parameters control the color of a material: ambient color, diffuse color, and specular color.
Ambient color is the color of a material when it is exposed to ambient light. This essentially means that an object will appear this color in indirect light or in shadow. Ambient
gives you the very base color of the object, upon which you add the diffuse and specular
colors.
Diffuse color is the color of a material when the object is exposed to direct light. Typically, the ambient and the diffuse colors are not too far apart.
Specular color is the color of a shiny object’s highlight. The specular highlight on an
object may be controlled by more than just its color—for example, its size and shape. The
color, however, sets the tone of the object and, in some cases, the degree and look of its
shine.
For example, in a new scene, open the Material Editor by choosing Rendering ➔ Material Editor (Figure 7.3). The spheres you see in the Material Editor represent the materials
in the scene. Each tile, or slot, represents one material that may be assigned to one or
more objects in the scene. As you click on each slot, the material’s parameters are displayed below. You edit the material through the settings you see in the Material Editor.
Select one of the material slots, and click it. Let’s change the color of the material.
Under the Blinn Basic parameters, click on the gray color swatch next to the Diffuse
parameter. This opens the Color Selector window, as shown here.
Figure 7.2
The same brick wall
from an angle. The
detail in the texture
mapping of the wall
was created with
texture mapping.
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Using the sliders on the right, you can set the Red, Green, and Blue values
for the color, or you can control the color using the Hue, Sat (Saturation), and
Value levels. For more on color and RGB/HSV values, see Chapter 1, “Basic
Concepts.”
You can also very easily select the desired color from the gradient on the
left by dragging your mouse over the colors until you find one you prefer.
It’s best to pick the general color you need from the swatch on the left and
then tweak the exact color by using either the RGB or the HSV controls on
the right. The Hue of a color represents the actual color itself. The Saturation
defines how saturated that color is. The Value sets how bright the color
will be.
Once you have a color you like, you simply close the Color Selector. If you
want to restart the color, press Reset to zero out any changes. You’ll notice that
the ambient color changed as well as the diffuse color. You will see why in the
next section on the Material Editor itself.
In addition, you can map textures to almost any of the parameters for
a material. Notice the blank square icon next to the Diffuse color swatch. Click
on that icon, and you will get the Material/Map Browser window,
as shown here. The Material/Map browser is used throughout the chapter.
The Material Editor
The Material Editor is the central place in 3ds Max where you do all of your material creation and editing. You create materials to assign to any single or group of objects in the
scene. You can also have different materials assigned to different parts of the same object.
In a full scene, it’s customary to have several different materials
It is wise to get to know how the Material Editor works first, and then get to know the
types of materials and shaders in 3ds Max. Open the Material Editor by choosing Rendering ➔ Material Editor or by pressing the keyboard shortcut M. Figure 7.3 shows the Material Editor and its major parts.
The following list describes the functions of the Material Editor:
Sample Window The sample window provides you with a quick preview of your material.
Each material is displayed on a sphere in one of the tiles (or slots) you see in the Material
Editor window. Right-clicking on any of the materials will give you a few more options,
including the ability to change how many sample tiles you can see in the Material Editor
(as shown here). The fewer samples, the quicker the Material Editor will load.
Get Material This button brings up the Material Library browser. The Material Library
stores a collection of saved materials that you can bring into the current scene. You can
use 3ds Max’s default materials or create your own and store them in your own custom
library.
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Figure 7.3
The Material Editor
Preview Type
Sample Window
Put to Library
Material Effects Channel
Reset Map/Mtl to Default Settings
Assign Material to Selection
Get Material
Pick Material from Object
Material Name
Show Map in Viewport
Go to Parent
Go Forward to Sibling
Material Type
Shader Type
Miscellaneous Settings
Ambient, Diffuse, and
Specular Color
Self-Illumination Maps
Locks
Opacity Maps
Diffuse and Specular Maps
Specular Level Maps
Glossiness Maps
Maps Rollout
Assign Material to Selection You can use this button to assign the material to the selected
object(s) in the scene. You can also apply materials by clicking and dragging the preview
from the Material Editor directly onto the object in the viewport; however, this can be less
accurate, especially if you have a lot of objects.
Reset Map/Mtl to Default Settings This function resets the values for the map or material
in the active sample slot.
Put to Library You can save your material to a library using this function. Building up a
library of useful materials can save time, especially when you’re trying to re-create complex materials. Once you’ve gotten a material just right, there’s no reason you shouldn’t
save it to your library by using this button.
Material Effects Channel Here you can assign an effect ID to the material. Effects are used
in the video post or Combustion for things such as glow, highlights, and so on. Some of
these effects will be covered in Chapter 11, “3ds Max Rendering.”
Show Map in Viewport This will display your material in the viewport. This means that
you won’t have to render every time you want to see how your material appears on a 3D
object. However, displaying your map in a viewport has limitations. The limitations are
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basically those of your graphics card and your chosen method of displaying 3D in the
viewport (Open GL, Direct 3D, or Software). The difference between viewing the map in
the viewport and in its final rendered state may be quite different. However, seeing a map
in the viewport is useful on many levels.
Go to Parent Just as you created objects that related to each other, materials in 3ds Max
may have several components to them (such as texture maps) that work in a hierarchy,
where information from one node is fed upstream into the parameter for the material.
When you are working with submaps, this option will take you back to the base material.
This makes it easier to navigate in the Material Editor when you are editing your materials.
Go Forward to Sibling This function is the reverse of Go to Parent. This option will take
you into the submaps levels.
Preview Type Sometimes the default sphere won’t give you an adequate preview of the
material. You can change the preview to a cube or a cylinder.
Pick Material from Object When you need to edit a material on an object, you can use this
button to select the material from an object in the scene. The material is placed in the
active sample slot.
Material Name This is a unique name for the material. 3ds Max will not allow any identi-
cally named materials, so make sure you provide a good descriptive name here.
Material Type Different materials have different uses. When called on to create a more
complex material, for example, you can change the material type to Blend. A Blend material will mix the results from two different materials together for a compound effect. The
default material type is Standard. Material types are explained in the next section.
Shader Type Shading types describe how the surface responds to light. How an object
looks depends on how its surface reacts to light, so the Shader type for a material is very
important. Shaders provide different options for specific materials. The default shader is
Blinn. Shader types are covered later in this chapter.
Miscellaneous Settings These are fairly
basic settings to change the appearance
of the material. Here are the two more
important settings:
Wire When you turn Wire on, the
object attached to this material will
render as a Wireframe object. This
simple setting is very powerful; it’s
used when you need to render line
art or Wireframe views.
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2-Sided This setting enables you to render both sides of a single surface. By default,
only one side of a surface will render, and that is typically all you need. Sometimes,
however, when you penetrate through a surface, you will have to see the other side. In
this example, a hemisphere is rendered without 2-Sided turned on, in the image on
the left, and with 2-Sided enabled in the image on the right. Notice the inside of the
hemisphere.
Locks Here you can lock the Ambient parameter to the Diffuse parameter and lock the
Diffuse to the Specular. Any changes made to one while the locks are enabled affect both.
Ambient, Diffuse and Specular Color Changing the ambient color will affect the way the
material appears for ambient light. Changing the diffuse color affects the overall color of
the material. Specular color changes the color of the highlighted light. You change the
color by clicking on the color swatch next to the parameter.
Diffuse and Specular Maps These buttons provide shortcuts to the maps for Diffuse and
Specular. A map applied in Diffuse (for example: bitmap; i.e., an image file) will affect the
base appearance of the material. A map applied to Specular will use the mapped image to
define the color of the shine. Mapping is covered in the Pool Ball exercise later in this
chapter.
Specular Level This setting determines how shiny the material appears. For something
such as a metallic surface, the setting will be up around 180 to 220. You can also map a
grayscale texture to determine which areas will appear as shiny and which will appear
as dull.
Glossiness This setting determines the spread of the specular shine. A higher value means
that it will look more plastic (high gloss across the surface of the model).
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Self Illumination This slot defines how the material is affected by light. The
more self illumination it is given, the less the material is affected by lighting,
but the more flat it will become.
Opacity A material’s opacity determines how transparent it appears. If it is set
to 100 (the default), then the material is 100 percent opaque—that is, it’s solid.
If it is set to 0, then it is completely invisible. You can apply a grayscale texture
map here to use a bitmap (or other map) to define which portions of the material are transparent. Areas of white on the map will be opaque, whereas the
black areas will render transparent; the intermediate values of gray will have
different levels of transparency.
Maps Maps allow you to apply bitmap textures, which are maps that help
define the material beyond simple color and opacity settings. Common maps
include bump maps (use grayscale values to simulate bumps and dents), displacement maps (use grayscale maps to mathematically calculate depth and
height and redefine the mesh accordingly), reflections, glossiness, and so on, as
shown in Figure 7.4.
Figure 7.4
Applying maps to
these parameters
further defines
the look of your
material.
Material Types
Different materials have different uses. The Standard
material is fine for most uses. However, when you
require a more complex material, you can change
the material type to one that will fit your needs. To
change a material type, click the Material Type button
called out in Figure 7.3. By default, it displays Standard
in the button. Once you click the button, the Material/Map Browser window opens (as shown here)
from which you can choose the material type.
Standard
Standard material is the default type for the materials
in the Material Editor. This material has values for
ambient, diffuse, and specular components. With it,
you can imitate just about any surface type you can
imagine. The more advanced surface types (see the
following discussions) combine elements of different
shaders for more complex effects.
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Blend
Just as it sounds, this material type blends two materials together. Figure 7.5 shows the
parameters for a Blend material type. Notice the controls for mixing two different materials. You assign the materials through the Material 1 and Material 2 parameters.
Composite
Similar to the Blend, a Composite material combines up to 10 materials, using additive
colors, subtractive colors, or opacity mixing (Figure 7.6).
Figure 7.5
Figure 7.6
The Blend material type allows you to
mix two different materials together.
The Composite material type allows you
to blend up to 10 materials.
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Double Sided
The Double Sided material type simply divides the material into two submaterials, one for
the outward face and one for the inner face. Figure 7.7 shows the parameters for the material. To set the Facing Material, you can click on the bar to create and edit a new material,
or you can click and drag an existing material from the Material Editor onto the Facing
Material bar. You set up the Back material in exactly the same way.
In the following graphic, you can see how you can assign one material to the outer face
of an object and another one to the back of the surface. Here, a bowl has a solid blue material mapped to the outside, and the inside face is a checkerboard pattern map.
Neither the facing nor the back material need to have 2-Sided enabled for the Double
Sided material to render both sides of the surface.
Ink ’n Paint
Ink ’n Paint is a powerful “Cartoon” material that creates outlines and flat cartoon shading for 3D objects based on Falloff parameters. Figure 7.8 shows the parameters for an
Ink ’n Paint material. Figure 7.9 shows you a sample render with the Cartoon shading
material applied to a bowl and a cone.
Matte/Shadow
Use Matte/Shadow material when you want to isolate the shadow. The material will
receive shadows, but remain transparent for everything else. It is useful for rendering
objects onto a photo or video background because it creates a separate shadow that you
can composite on top of the background. Rendering in separate passes, such as a separate
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shadow, is very useful because you can have total control of the image by compositing just
the right amount of any particular pass.
Multi/Sub-Object
Use this material when you need to apply different materials to portions of a 3D object
that have different material IDs. You can then assign different surface treatments to a single object. This keeps modeling simpler because you do not have to make separate objects
for everything that needs a different material.
Figure 7.7
Figure 7.8
A Double Sided material allows you to
assign two materials to either side of a
surface.
The Ink ’n Paint material’s parameters
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Figure 7.9
A Cartoon-shaded
render using the
Ink ’n Paint material
Raytrace
The Raytrace material is a powerful material that expands the available parameters to give
you more control over photo-real renderings. The material uses more system resources than
the Standard material at render time, but it can produce more accurate renders—especially
when true reflections and refractions are concerned. You will use this material in Chapter 11.
Shellac
The Shellac material superimposes one material on another using additive composition.
This allows you to create a material that is highly glossy, such as a finely varnished wood
surface (Figure 7.10).
Top/Bottom
Top/Bottom divides the material into a top material and bottom material with an adjustable
position (Figure 7.11). The material is in the first slot in the Material Editor in the figure.
This material is useful for creating an object that has two different materials on either side,
such as a cookie with chocolate on the top. Mmmm, cookie.
Most of your work will probably be with the Standard material type, unless you are working
with architectural files. You will need to change the material type only for special needs.
However, you will need to change the Shader type more often to achieve certain surface
qualities. You will explore Shader types next.
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Shader Types
The way light reflects from a surface defines that surface to your eye. In 3ds Max, you can
control what kind of surface you work with by changing the Shader type for a material.
This option will let you mimic different types of surfaces such as dull wood or shiny paint
or metal. The following descriptions outline the differences in how the Shader types react
to light.
Anisotropic
The Anisotropic shader (shown in the following graphic) is good for surfaces that are
deformed, such as foil wrappers or hair. Anisotropic is defined as having properties that
differ according to direction. This creates a specular highlight that is uneven across the
Figure 7.10
Figure 7.11
The Shellac material allows you to
superimpose a shiny layer on top of
another material
The Top/Bottom material type
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surface, changing according to the direction you specify on the surface. The other surface
types, as you will see in this section, typically create rounded specular highlights that
spread evenly across a surface. Figure 7.12 shows the Material Editor for an Anisotropic
material. Notice the extra controls for the specular highlights. These allow you to control
how the specular will fall across the surface.
Blinn
This is the default material in 3ds Max because it is a general-purpose, flexible shader.
The Blinn shader (shown here) creates a smooth surface with some shininess. If you set
the specular color to black, however, this shader will not display a specular and will lose
its shininess, making it perfect for regular dull surfaces, such as paper or an indoor wall.
Figure 7.13 shows the Blinn shader controls in the Material Editor.
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Because this is the most-often used shader, let’s take a look at its Material Editor controls. The ambient, color, and specular colors all work as you’ve seen earlier in this chapter. You simply set the color you want by clicking the color swatch, or you can map a
texture map to any of these parameters by clicking the Map button and choosing the
desired map from the Material/Map Browser window.
SPECULAR HIGHLIGHT CONTROLS
The parameters in the Specular Highlights section of the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout
are interesting for this shader. The specular color, which defaults to white, controls the
color of the highlight. Decreasing the brightness of that specular color, whatever the color
may be, will decrease the brightness of the specular highlight on the object, making it seem
less shiny. Changing the specular color to black will negate any surface shine.
Figure 7.12
Figure 7.12
Material Editor for the Anisotropic
material
Material Editor for the Anisotropic
material
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The surface shine is also regulated by the Specular Level parameter. The higher the
value, the hotter the specular highlight will render on the object. Figure 7.14 shows a
sphere with a Blinn with a Specular Level of 0 on the left, a Specular Level of 35 in the
middle, and a Specular Level of 100 on the right.
The Glossiness parameter controls the width of the specular highlight. With the same
sphere with a Specular Level of 35, Figure 7.15 shows you a Glossiness of 0 on the left
(which creates a broad specular), a Glossiness of 35 in the middle (which creates a fairly
tight, shiny specular highlight), and a Glossiness of 75 on the right (which creates a high
gloss pin point specular highlight). The higher the value, the glossier the surface will
appear.
Finally, the Soften parameter controls the softness of the specular highlight. Figure 7.16
shows a sphere with a Blinn material assigned with a Specular Level of 55, a Glossiness of
10, and with a Soften value of 0 on the left and a Soften value of 1 (the max) on the right.
Specular Level = 0
Specular Level = 35
Specular Level = 100
Figure 7.14
The Specular Level of a Blinn controls the amount of highlight on the surface.
Glossiness = 0
Glossiness = 35
Figure 7.15
The Glossiness parameter controls the width of the specular highlight.
Glossiness = 75
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Soften controls the specular breadth on specular highlights that are already broad—
that is, they have lower Glossiness values. You may want to look at these parameters at
work in a Max scene, as your monitor will display the specular highlights better than a
printed page.
You’ve probably noticed the graph (shown here) in the Material
Editor when you work with the Specular Level, Glossiness, and
Soften parameters. This graph shows you the falloff of the specular you are editing for the material. The shorter the graph, the
lower the level of specular highlight. The rounder the graph, the
broader and softer the specular highlight.
For shiny objects, you will need to use a fairly sharp specular. For extremely shiny
objects, such as polished metals, a pinpoint specular is best. Plastic objects will work best
with a broad, diminished specular. Matte objects, such as paper or cloth, work great without a specular highlight, or at least a very darkly colored one.
SELF-ILLUMINATION AND OPACITY
The Self-Illumination parameter adds incandescence to the material, as if the object is giving off its own light. The higher this value, the flatter the object will appear, because SelfIllumination will essentially negate any shadowing or ambient falloff on the material. The
specular highlights on the material will still show up on a material with Self-Illumination
turned all the way up to 1.0. You can also change the color of the Self-Illumination by clicking the Color check box and choosing a color in the swatch that appears when Color is
enabled. This allows you to have a different incandescence color than the color of the material itself. Figure 7.17 shows a Self-Illumination value of 0 on the left and a Self-Illumination
value of 1.0 on the right. Notice how the sphere flattens out as Self-Illumination helps keep
the shadow areas as bright as the diffuse.
Figure 7.16
The Soften parameter helps reign in
broad specular highlights by softening
their edges.
Soften = 0
Soften = 1.0
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Figure 7.17
The Self-Illumination value sets the
incandescence of a
material.
Self-Illumination = 0
Self-Illumination = 1.0
A Self-Illumination value does not emit a light in the default scanline renderer—that is, the
object will not illuminate other objects in the scene. For such an effect, you will need to use
more advanced rendering techniques with mental ray, for example.
Finally, the Opacity setting sets the transparency of an object, as you may have read
earlier in the chapter. The higher the Opacity value, the more solid it renders. The lower
the Opacity value, the more see-through the object will render.
Metal
The Metal shader is not too different from the Blinn shader. Metal creates a lustrous
metallic effect, with much the same controls as a Blinn shader, but without the effect of
any specular highlights. When you are first starting, it’s best to create most of your material looks with the Blinn shader, until you’re at a point where Blinn simply cannot do what
you need. The following graphic displays a sphere with a Metal shader with a Specular
Level of 120 and a Glossiness of 60.
The black areas of the shader may throw you off at first, but keep in mind that a metallic surface is ideally black when it has nothing to reflect. Metals are best seen when they
reflect the environment. As such, this shader requires a lot of reflection work to make the
metal look just right.
Multi-Layer
With some surfaces, you need complex highlights. In some cases, while an Anisotropic
might be useful, you may need further control in the complexity of your specular shape
and falloff. A Multi-Layer shader will stack two Anisotropic highlights together to give you
increased control over the highlights you can create.
Here you can see a Multi-Layer material assigned to a sphere. The two layered specular
highlights are created in such a way, as seen in Figure 7.18, to create an “X” formation for
the highlight.
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Oren-Nayar-Blinn
The Oren-Nayar-Blinn shader (shown here) generally creates good matte surfaces such as
cloth or clay. The shader has specular highlight controls very similar to those of the Blinn
shader.
Phong
By all accounts, the Phong shader (shown here) looks very similar to the Blinn shader, and
it has the same controls. Phong creates smooth surfaces with some amount of shininess,
just as Blinn does. However, Phong does not handle highlights as well as Blinn. This is
especially true for glancing highlights, where the edge of a surface catches the light. Phong
is good for creating plastic objects, as well as many other surfaces.
Figure 7.18
Figure 7.19
The Multi-Layer shader lets you create
complex highlights.
A Translucent shading material allows
light to scatter through the object.
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Phong is a legacy shader that was created before the introduction of the Blinn shading
model.
Strauss
The Strauss material (shown here) can create metallic and nonmetallic surfaces. Its main
controls are Color, Glossiness, Metalness, and Opacity. The specular highlights, for the
most part, are governed by the Glossiness of the material. The higher the Metalness value,
the darker the unlit portions of the surface become, again relying on reflections for the
metallic look.
Translucent
The Translucent shader (shown here) is very similar to the Blinn; however, this shader
adds a touch of translucency to the material. Translucence is where light is scattered as it
passes through the material—for example, a flashlight shining behind a parchment. You
can also simulate frosted and etched glass by using translucency. Figure 7.19 shows the
Material Editor for a Translucent shader material.
Mapping a Pool Ball
Let’s put some of that hard-earned knowledge to work and map an object. You will be creating and texturing a pool ball. Although this may not seem the most exotic thing to texture, you can learn a lot about surfaces, shading, and mapping techniques by texturing it.
You’ll be able to flex your mapping muscles even more in exercises later in the chapter.
If you have skipped to this section from the beginning of the chapter, have a run
through and get a good taste of texturing in 3ds Max. Feel free to reference the earlier
parts of the chapter to explain some of the hows and whys of what you will accomplish in
the next exercise. Otherwise, roll up your sleeves and follow along with these steps to texture a pool ball.
Starting the Pool Ball
You can begin with your own project, or you can copy the PoolBall project found on the
companion CD to your hard drive. It contains a texture image file you’ll need for this
exercise.
1. In a new scene, create a sphere. The size doesn’t matter here. How’s that for fast
modeling?
2. Open the Material Editor by pressing the keyboard shortcut M or clicking the Material Editor icon ( ) in the main toolbar.
3. In the Material Editor, select one of the sample slots. Go to the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout.
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4. The most logical thing to start with is the color. The base color of an object is defined
by the Diffuse parameter—although Ambient is also locked to Diffuse, which is
fine. The Diffuse parameter is shown here.
5. Click on the color swatch to the right of the Diffuse parameter to open the Color
Picker window. Pick any color at this point. Once you have chosen your color, click
the Close button, and you will see that the sphere in the sample slot has changed to
your color.
Choosing a Surface Type
The next step is to decide what the surface of your object is going to be. Will it be shiny or
matte? You will need a shiny surface, because real pool balls are glossy. We will have to
adjust the specular highlights using the Blinn’s controls.
1. Go to Specular Highlights under Blinn Basic Parameters. Set the Specular Level to 98
and the Glossiness to 85. Keep Soften at the default. The specular graph here is quite
sharp.
2. That is it for the basic material. Now apply it to the object by dragging the material
from the sample slot to your sphere in the viewport and release the mouse button.
The sphere will change to the color you chose for the diffuse, and in the sample slots
the corners will become outlined with white triangles as shown here.
The corner triangles on a sample slot in the Material Editor mean the material is “hot” or
applied. Before you apply the material, it is “cool” and there are no corners. This is the default.
When the corner triangles are solid white, the material is “hot” and the object it is applied to
is currently selected.
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The material is now linked to the material on the object. If you were to change any of
the parameters of the material, it would be instantly updated on the object. For the most
part, once a material is applied it cannot be deleted—it can only be replaced with another
material. You cannot go back to the default color of the original object.
Figure 7.20 shows you what the pool ball should look like, most noticeably its specular
highlight. However, viewing in the viewport isn’t the same as a rendered image. The viewport gives the lowest level of quality, and it should not be used to make final decisions on
the look of your material. Instead, it should be used as a point of reference. Figure 7.21
shows this pool ball rendered. Rendering combines the materials, lights, shadows, and
environments within a scene to create the final look. Rendering will be covered in detail in
Chapter 11. Notice how much more detailed the specular highlight is in the render. To
check your render, simply click the Quick Render icon ( ) in the main toolbar.
Figure 7.20
Figure 7.21
The pool ball in a viewport
The pool ball rendered
Mapping the Pool Ball
This simple material is only part of the story. You still need to add the markings of a real
pool ball, not just a solid color. Just creating a sphere and making it shiny and green doesn’t make a realistic ball. Figure 7.22 shows some real pool table balls. Pool balls have a
graphic strip or number in a circle. You can’t create this detail using the basic parameters
of the Standard material. What you need is a bitmap.
A bitmap replaces the diffuse color with an image. The image you use can be hand
drawn and scanned, created in a program such as Adobe Photoshop, or taken with your
digital camera. The image we are going to use was created in Photoshop (Figure 7.23). A
white circle with a “2” is in the middle and then one that is cut in half is on either side.
This has to do with texture placement. As you gain more experience, you’ll learn how to
prepare your texture images for your models.
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Figure 7.22
Pool balls
Figure 7.23
The proposed
bitmap texture for
the ball
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The theory behind this image is quite simple. Pool balls have the number on opposite
sides of the ball. In your texture map, you’ll need to make two 2s in the blue backdrop. The
two halves of the white circle and the 2 will simply tile together when the texture image
wraps around the sphere, much the way a wrapper wraps around a candy. Mmm…Candy.
This way you have two 2s on the ball, easy as pie. To apply this bitmap as a texture, follow
along here:
1. Go to the Material Editor and select the sample slot that is applied to the sphere. Go
to the Maps rollout and click on the bar to the right of Diffuse Color, which is currently
marked None. The Material/Map browser will appear.
2. Make sure the Browse From group is set to New. Select Bitmap and click OK, as
shown here. An Explore window (Figure 7.24) will appear. Navigate to the map PoolBallColorTexture.tif file in the Sceneassets\Images folder in the PoolBall project on
the CD (or the one copied to your hard drive).
3. The Material Editor has changed, and you are in a separate module from the Material
parameters. You are in the Bitmap parameter. There are several rollouts that we are
going to ignore for now. The most important rollouts in the Bitmap section are Bitmap
Parameter and Coordinates. The Bitmap Parameter rollout deals with the actual
bitmap image; the Coordinate rollout controls how the bitmap image moves relative
to the surface of the object. Leave all the settings at their default.
Figure 7.24
Figure 7.25
Selecting a bitmap image for the material
The Material Editor shows the parameters for your bitmap image.
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If you ever need to change a bitmap image in a texture already applied, simply go to the
bitmap’s Material Editor and under the Bitmap Parameter rollout, click on the bar with the
filename to the right of the Bitmap parameter. The file browser will reopen. Choose another
image file, and it will replace the current bitmap file.
4. You will be able to see the bitmap in the sample slot, but not in the viewport. To fix
this, click the Show Map in Viewport button ( ) on the Material Editor’s toolbar
(just below the sample slots).
Think of the Material Editor as a literary outline. The heading of the outline is the full material,
and its parameters when they are mapped (like Diffuse or the entries in the Maps rollout) are
like an outline’s subheadings that all fall under the main material.
5. Right now you can see only the Bitmap parameters. What if you want to go back and
adjust the specular on the material itself? The Go To Parent button ( ) is on the
Material Editor’s toolbar. The parent is the material. Clicking this icon will take you
back to the material’s own parameters, where you will find the Blinn Basic Parameters
again. Any map that is added to a material is known as a child to that material, much
the same way as the hierarchy worked in the Mobile project in Chapter 2, “Your First
3ds Max Animation.”
As a matter of fact, you can have an outline view of
your materials. Open the Material/Map Navigator
(Figure 7.26) with the Material/Map Navigator button
( ) located on the Material Editor’s toolbar.
The Material/Map Navigator is a floating palette;
you can use it to navigate through your material and
maps. This is very useful for complex materials that
use a lot of maps. It is a very simple dialog: the blue
sphere represents the material and its main parameters and the parallelogram is for the bitmap. The parallelogram is green by default and red when the Show
Map in Viewport has been activated. Just click on the
entry you need to show in the Material Editor to edit
its contents.
6. Now render the ball to check the map’s appearance.
With your Perspective viewport active, click the
Quick Render icon (the teapot). Figure 7.27
shows the pool ball with the mapping.
Figure 7.26
The Material/Map
Navigator window
displays your materials in an outline
format.
Figure 7.27
The ball with the
mapped image
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MAPPING COORDINATES
When you put a 2D image onto a 3D object, think of it as being “projected” onto the surface,
as if you had a white object and a slide projector were projecting a picture onto the white.
Mapping coordinates describe how the image is projected or wrapped around the surface.
Coordinates are spelled out in terms of U, V, and W. U is the horizontal dimension, V is the vertical dimension, and W is the optional depth. All primitives have mapping coordinates, including our sphere. That doesn’t necessarily mean the image will wrap itself correctly, although it
works fine for our pool ball exercise (imagine that!). Merely having the mapping coordinates
only means the map will show up. In order to edit the mapping coordinates, you need to use
the Coordinate rollout. You will learn more about mapping coordinates later in the chapter.
Adding a Finishing Touch—Reflection Mapping
With the image applied, the pool ball looks pretty good at this point (Figure 7.27)—but
it’s not perfect. The small nuances are what really make a render look good. One thing this
pool ball is missing is a reflection of its environment. Now, short of creating and texturing
a pool table and several other pool balls, we need to make a cheat.
There are two ways to create reflections: the “cheat” method by mapping and using
raytrace. Both methods require us to go to the Maps rollout in the Material Editor. We are
going to add a bitmap into the Reflections Map slot. We are going to use the “fake it” method.
Raytrace is a rendering methodology that traces rays between all the lights in the scene with
all the objects and the camera. It can provide true reflections of objects in the scene. Chapter 11
covers raytracing in more in depth.
To fake the reflection, you’ll need an image that looks like the “room” around the ball.
We are going to use a photograph taken for this occasion and saved as the image file
ReflectionMap.tif in the Sceneassets\Images folder of the PoolBall project on the companion CD (Figure 7.28).
This image has all the elements that you might see around a pool ball—specifically,
more pool balls! To add this image as a reflection for the ball, follow these steps:
1. Go to the Material Editor and make sure you are at the material’s parameters; use the
navigator or Go to Parent button if you are still in the diffuse bitmap area where you
applied the image file.
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Figure 7.28
The reflection map
used to “cheat” the
reflections on the
pool ball
Figure 7.29
The reflections
are a bit heavy. If
you could reduce
the amount of
reflection, they’d
be better.
2. Go to the Maps rollout and click on the bar currently
marked None next to the Reflections parameter. Select
Bitmap from the Material/Maps window, and then navigate to ReflectionMap.tif in the Sceneassets\Images
folder of the PoolBall project on the CD, or on your
hard drive if you’ve already copied it.
3. Do a quick test render with the Quick Render icon
(the teapot). The reflections are pretty strong
(Figure 7.29).
4. You need to adjust how much reflection is on the ball.
Click the Go to Parent button, and go to the Maps rollout. The type-in area next to the names lets you specify
the amount of map applied to the material. Change the
value next to Reflections from 100 to 10. Test render the
pool ball again. You should notice a much nicer level of
reflection (Figure 7.30). Voilà!
Figure 7.30
The reflections look
much better and
add a certain realism
to the pool ball.
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If you have lost the view of your pool ball somehow, or if you simply want to center it in the
Perspective viewport (or any other viewport), simply press the Z shortcut to focus the viewport on all the objects in the scene. In this case, it will center the pool ball.
Background Color
You may notice that the background in the renders in Figures 7.29 and 7.30 are white,
whereas your renders’ backgrounds are probably black. A simple setting change and there
are many reasons why you would want to control this option. You may want a specific
color to offset your scene (for example, blue to represent the sky) or you may want a
picture in your background.
To change the background of your renders, go to the main menu and choose Rendering ➔ Environment (shown here). The Background parameter is at the top of the dialog
box. Click on the color swatch and choose your color. That’s it!
To add an image to the background, click on the bar marked None to add a bitmap,
just as you did with the bitmaps on the pool ball. Once you do, the image will render
in the background with your scene. To change the image, click on that bar, which at
that point should list the path and filename of the current image, to take you to the
Material/Map browser where you can select a new bitmap and image.
Mapping, Just a Little Bit More
Now that you know how to add maps to a material, removing them is very simple. In the
Material Editor for the parent material’s parameters (not the map’s parameters), you can
right-click on the map name, as seen in Figure 7.31, to select Clear from the context menu.
If you don’t want to clear the map entirely, but just need to turn it off for a little while,
you can just uncheck the box to the left of the parameter name, as shown in Figure 7.32.
Check it back on to use that map again.
Figure 7.31
Figure 7.32
Removing a map from a parameter
Unchecking this box will temporarily
remove the map from the parameter.
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Seeing More Sample Slots
If you have a scene with several materials, and you need to see more sample slots than the
default in the Material Editor, simply right-click on any slot and select either 5 × 3 Sample
Windows or 6 × 4 Sample Windows from the context menu. This will help you navigate a
heavy scene that has tons of materials that you need to modify. In the following graphics,
you can see the sample slots multiply!
5×3 Sample Windows
6×4 Sample Windows
Figure 7.33
As you’ve seen, the sample slots for any given material in the
Material Editor constantly update to show you any changes
you’ve made to that material. However, if you want a larger
image than the relatively small sample slot, right-click on the
slot and select Magnify from the context menu, as shown in
Figure 7.33. 3ds Max will open a larger window (Figure 7.34),
which is resized by dragging the corners of the window, with a
sample of that material. It will by default update automatically
as you make changes to the material.
You’ve already noticed that there are only 24 sample slots in the
Material Editor. This does not limit the number of materials you can
use to 24. You should consider the Material Editor as a scratchpad of
sorts. You can create as many materials as you’d like in a 3ds Max
scene; however, at any one time, only 24 can be loaded in the Material
Editor window at the same time.
If you click the Get Material button in the Material Editor, you can
list all the materials that are used in the scene. When the Material/Map
browser is open, click the Scene radial button for the Browse From
parameter, and all of the materials assigned in the scene will be listed.
When an object’s material is not shown in a sample slot, it does not
mean it has been deleted. You can load it back into any sample slot for
editing at any time.
Magnify gives you a
larger view of your
material.
Figure 7.34
A larger view of your material sample
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Assigning Materials to Sub-Objects
You’ve seen several times how to assign a material to an object. You can, for instance, drag
the material from the Material Editor to the object in a viewport. You can also select an
object in the viewport, and then select a Sample Slot material and click the Assign Material
to Selection button ( ) in the Material Editor.
However, you may want to assign materials to sub-object polygons as well as whole
objects. One approach is to use the Multi/Sub-Object material type briefly discussed earlier in the chapter (the Multi/Sub-Object material will not be covered in this book, as it is
beyond the beginner scope).
There is a much easier way to assign materials to sub-objects, however. Just select the
appropriate polygons on the surface (the object must be an editable mesh or poly, or have
an Edit Mesh/Edit Poly modifier applied), and assign the material as you regularly would
(with the Assign Material to Selection button or drag the material to the selected polygons
in the viewport). A sphere with several polygons assigned to different materials is shown
in Figure 7.35.
Once you apply a material to a sub-object, a new Multi/Sub-Object material is
created in the scene automatically. You can load the new Multi/Sub-Object material
by using the eyedropper to click on the object in the viewport to load the material into
a sample slot.
Figure 7.35
Applying materials
to a mesh’s SubObject polygons
is easy.
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maps
Maps
By now you’ve noticed that the Material/Map browser has different maps you can access.
These maps are divided into categories.
Open the Material/Map browser. The categories are listed on the left. By default, All is
selected as shown here. You’ve already used the bitmap map a few times. Let’s take a look
at the rest of the maps by category.
The categories and their more important maps are explained in the following sections.
2D Maps
2D maps are two-dimensional images that are typically mapped onto the surface of geometric objects or used as environment maps to create a background for the scene. The
simplest 2D maps are bitmaps; other kinds of 2D maps are generated procedurally.
Procedural maps are generated entirely within 3ds Max and rely on a set of parameters
you set for their look. Images brought in the way the pool ball’s color and reflection maps
were brought in are not procedural. They are bitmaps—that is, raster image files. For more
on raster image files, see Chapter 1.
Click on the 2D Maps category in the Material/Map browser to see the available 2D maps.
Bitmap
As you’ve already seen, a bitmap is an image file that you load into 3ds Max. It can be a
photo, a scan, or any image that is readable by 3ds Max.
Checker
A procedural map, the checker map is a checkerboard pattern that is generated in 3ds
Max. Its parameters in the Material Editor, which are shown here, control the look of the
checkerboard. A sphere is also shown with a checker applied to its color.
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The Tiling values under the Coordinates rollout determine the number of checkers.
The higher the number, the more checkers. Color #1 and Color #2, of course, control the
two colors of the checkerboard; black and white are defaults. Click on the color swatch to
change the color, or you can click the Maps bars next to each color (labeled None until
you assign a map). Also, the Blur parameter allows you to blur the edges of the checkers,
and the Soften parameter under the Checker Parameters rollout blurs the checkers
together.
Gradient
A gradient is a procedural map (the parameters are shown here) that grades from one
color to a second color that grades to a third color. Here, a cylinder is shown grading from
black (top) to white (bottom).
In the Coordinates rollout, the parameters are much the same as they are for the
Checker map. These coordinates are pretty much the same for all procedural maps, as they
allow you to position the map as you need on the object by setting the options such as
Tiling and Offset.
The colors for the gradient are set by Color #1, Color #2, and Color #3. You can also
map these colors. The Color 2 Position parameter sets the relative location of the middle
color to the upper and lower colors—i.e., 0.5 is the middle because the other colors are at
0 and 1.0.
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maps
Gradient Ramp
Similar to the Gradient map, but much more powerful, the Gradient Ramp is a procedural
map that allows you to grade from and to any number of grayscale shades. Here, a gradient is shown in the Material Editor that is applied to a cube.
Use the sliders along the ramp in the Material Editor to set the position of the gray value.
Click in the ramp to create a new slider at that grayscale value. The Black and White sliders
at the very ends do not move. To delete a slider, right-click on it, and choose Delete from
the context menu that appears. Notice the value and position readout above the ramp.
Gradient Ramps are perfect for creating maps that fall off (for example, for opacity
affects where the opacity fades away).
3D Maps
Similar to 2D maps that are generated in two dimensions, 3D maps are patterns generated
procedurally in all three dimensions. For example, Marble has a grain that goes through
the assigned geometry in X, Y, and Z. If you cut away part of an object with Marble assigned
as its texture, the grain in the cutaway portion matches the grain on the object’s exterior.
When you create a 3D map, notice that the Coordinates rollout has Tiling and Offset
parameters in three axes, whereas the 2D maps only have X and Y.
Try using some of the 3D maps (such as Marble, Wave, Stucco, and Wood) to see how
they work on a simple object in your scene. They all have basically the same Coordinates
rollout; however, each has its own Parameters rollout to control the color and other settings.
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Marble
A Marble map creates veins of colors that run through an object. The 3D aspect of the
map allows it to spread across all three dimensions, creating a more realistic texture. Color
#1 and Color #2 control the two colors of a Marble map, while the third color is a grainy
blend of the two together.
The Marble map’s parameters are shown applied to a cube, which is also shown here.
Noise
Noise is a great way to easily add some randomness to a parameter or to add a bit of randomness to a surface’s color or specular highlight, for example. Its parameters and a
sample cylinder are shown here.
Used sparingly, noise can add great detail to highlights for any shiny object when
mapped to the specular color. In this case, just make sure the colors in the noise do not
contrast too much against each other, which would make the map faint.
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Wood
Wood is a quick way to add wood grain to a material. Its parameters and a sample cylinder
are shown here.
Just like the Marble map, you can set the color of the wood grain with Color #1 and
Color #2. Adding Radial Noise and Axial Noise will make the wood appear to have more burls.
Compositor and Color Modifier Maps
Compositors are meant specifically for compositing colors or maps together for some
advanced effects. In image processing, compositing images refers to superimposing two or
more images to combine them in a variety of ways.
Color Modifier maps alter the color of pixels in a material for some advanced effects.
Color modifiers and Compositor maps will not be covered in this book.
More Mapping Exercises
In a previous exercise, you turned a boring old sphere into a pool ball using Diffuse and
Reflection maps. Now let’s look at two important mapping techniques with the Material
Editor.
Making a Chess Piece
To begin, you will create a chess piece (Figure 7.36) to learn about bump mapping and
using reflections to create the illusion of shine and dents on the surface of the object. Just
follow these steps:
1. Open the Chess
Piece.max file in the Texture Scene Files folder on the companion CD.
2. In the Material Editor, create a Standard Blinn material that has a red Diffuse Color
with the these approximate values in the Color Picker window: Red: 200, Green: 15,
and Blue: 0.
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Figure 7.36
Hey, it’s a
chess piece!
3. Even though the Chess Piece model in the scene may look red in the file you loaded
from the CD, it does not have a material applied. That color is simply the color of
the object set through the Name and Color text box at the top of the Modify panel.
So, apply your Red material to the chess piece model. Click the Quick Render button, and you’ll be able to see that this doesn’t look anything close to a real chess
piece (Figure 7.37).
Figure 7.37
That’s not a chess
piece yet!
For an added treat, why don’t you try to model the pawn chess piece itself for this example.
You could also try to model different chess pieces, such as a rook or a knight.
Adding Shine
The next step to making this piece more realistic is to add shininess, which you will
accomplish in two actions.
1. Go back to the Material Editor. In the Material, change the Specular Level to 95 and
Glossiness to 90. Your sample material should have a nice specular, as shown here.
2. The second part to making the piece shinier is to add a touch of reflection. Go to
the Maps rollout and select the bar next to Reflection. You are going to add a
bitmap to fake a reflection, as you did with the pool ball earlier in the chapter. In
the Material/Map browser, select Bitmap.
3. In the File browser for the bitmap, navigate to the Texture Scene Files folder on the
CD and choose Reflect Map.tif, as shown in Figure 7.38.
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Figure 7.38
This bitmap will
serve as a reflection
for the chess piece.
4. Choose the Reflect Map.tif image. When you map a reflection, it is important to find
an image that will be believable in your scene. Ideally, it should be the room around
the object. In this case, you just want a little something to reflect faintly in the chess
piece.
5. Select the Go to Parent button (
). Go to the Maps rollout and change the
Amount of the Reflection from 100 to 15. Test render the chess piece (Figure 7.39).
It still doesn’t look very realistic, but don’t worry. We are going to fix it with a
bump map.
Applying a Bump
Bump mapping is very common in CG. It adds a level of detail to an object fairly easily by creating bumps and grooves in the surface and giving the object a tactile feel in its appearance.
Bump mapping takes the intensity values of an image or procedural map to simulate
bumpiness on the surface of the model, without changing the actual topology of the model
itself. You can create some surface tactile texture with a bump map; however, you will not
be able to create extreme depth in the model. For that, you may want to model the surface
depth manually or use displacement mapping. Displacement maps are not covered in this
book because they are a more advanced mapping technique.
Displacement mapping is used to change the topology of the model, whereas bump mapping uses light and dark in the colors of the render to trick the eye into seeing surface detail.
To apply a bump map to the chess piece, follow these steps:
1. While still in the Maps rollout for your chess piece material, click on the bar labeled
None next to the Bump. We are going to use another Dent map. Select Dent from the
Material/Map browser. Change the Size to 400 and change the Strength to 2.0. Do not
Figure 7.39
The chess piece
with a slight
reflection map
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change the colors because you want the map to be black and white. Bumps work best
when you are using high-contrast maps. Leave all the other parameters at their defaults.
Quick render your scene and your chess piece should look like Figure 7.40. You can
play around with the Size and Strength and Iterations to achieve different looks.
2. Click the Go to Parent icon to get back to the Material parameters and go to the Maps
rollout. You can play around with the Bump amount until you have an acceptable
result. Also, remember that the amount of bump you use will also depend on how close
the object is to camera. The farther away an object is, the less visible the bump will be.
To check your work, you can open the Chess Piece01.max file in the Texture Scene
Files folder on the CD. Because there is a lot of wiggle room in the values, you may achieve
a better material with slightly different numbers. Use the numbers given in this exercise as
a guideline at best. Always build your scene to your own liking. You will also discover that
the difference between a plastic chess piece, such as the one you worked on here, and a
richly painted and lacquered wooden piece is just a matter of settings for your material.
The artistry takes off in the little numbers.
Let’s try a slightly different look now using the following steps:
1. Go to the Material Editor. Select the red plastic material you created in the previous
exercise.
2. Click the Go to Parent button to get back to the Material parameters and go to the
Maps rollout.
3. Select the bar labeled None next to the Diffuse Color. Navigate to where the maps are
and select Wood1.jpg from the Texture Scene Files folder on the CD. This bitmap
image will replace the red diffuse color. You won’t see the change in the viewport
until you select the Show Map in Viewport icon ( )
4. Render and you will see that the wood image has wrapped itself around the chess
piece. You can edit the image through the Coordinate rollout (shown here) in the
Bitmap parameters. Offset U will move the image horizontally. Offset V will adjust it
vertically. Tiling scales the image, and Angle will rotate it across the surface.
Figure 7.40
Adding a bump
helps the chess
piece look more
realistic. You can
add a lot of character to an object
through its bump
mapping.
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Later in the chapter, you will learn a more efficient way to edit the image on the
object, known as UVW mapping.
Opacity Maps
Opacity mapping allows you to cut out parts of an object by making those parts invisible.
You can also create wonderful fading effects using Opacity maps. With opacity mapping,
you don’t have to model certain details, which can be a real time saver. In this example,
you will create a chain link fence. However, you will not model a fence. You will create it
entirely from mapping. To make a chain link fence, follow these steps:
Figure 7.41
The chain link
texture
1. Open the Chain Link Opacity Map.max file in the Texture Scene Files folder on the
companion CD. Open the Material Editor and select a sample slot. First, you are going
to add a bitmap to the diffuse color, so go to the Maps rollout. Select the bar next to
Diffuse Color. Pick Bitmap from the Material/Map browser and navigate to the Texture Scene Files folder on the CD. Choose Chain Link.tif (shown in Figure 7.41).
2. Go to the Coordinates rollout and change both the U and V Tiling parameters to 3.0.
This will scale down the image because the image repeats three times.
3. Apply the Material to the Plane geometry in the scene. Click the Show Map in Viewport button. Render and you will see something similar to Figure 7.42. As you can
see, the Chain Link image appears on the plane, but you can’t see the objects on the
other side.
Figure 7.42
The chain link fence
is rendered.
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4. Go to the Material Editor. Click the Go to Parent button to get to the Maps rollout for
the parent material. Click on the bar next to Opacity and select Bitmap from the
Material/Map browser. In the Explore window, navigate to the Texture Scene Files
folder on the CD and select Chain Link OP.tif (shown here).
5. The tiling values for the Opacity map must be the same as the diffuse map; otherwise
the transparency of the fence will not line up with the links of the fence. Go to the
Coordinates rollout, and change both the U and V Tiling to 3.0. Render to see the
results shown here.
You can see immediately how useful opacity mapping can be. 3ds Max uses the white
portions of the image map to display full opacity, whereas the black areas become transparent. If you did not have an opacity file such as the one in this exercise, you could easily
create one by painting a black-and-white matte of the color image that you are using for
the material.
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mapping coordinates
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Mapping Coordinates
An image map is a two-dimensional entity that has length and width but no depth, while
geometry in 3ds Max extends in all three axes. How is a material, which contains 2D image
maps, applied properly to a scene object? Are the maps projected in a single direction onto
the object’s surfaces or do they envelop the object cylindrically or spherically? The answer
depends on the type of mapping coordinates applied to the object. Mapping coordinates
define how and where image maps are projected onto an object’s surfaces and whether the
maps are repeated across those surfaces.
Mapping coordinates are applied to objects in several ways. When primitive objects are
created and the Generate Mapping Coords option is checked, at the bottom of the Parameters rollout, the appropriate mapping coordinates are created automatically. The Generate Mapping Coords option is on by default.
Loft objects, which are covered in Chapter 5, control mapping in the Mapping section
of the Surface Parameters rollout. The Length Repeat value determines how many times
the material’s maps are repeated along the length of the Path object, and the Width Repeat
value determines how many times the maps are repeated around the shape object. The
configuration of the shape or path object is irrelevant to the application of the mapping
coordinates; the loft object can create mapping coordinates for any loft object. Figure 7.43
shows a loft object with a simple checker pattern repeated five times along the object’s
length and three times around the perimeter of the shape.
Figure 7.43
A loft object controlling a checker map’s
repetition in the Surface Parameters
rollout
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Objects that have been collapsed or converted to editable polys, editable meshes, or editable
patches do not have inherent mapping coordinates. They must have the UVW Map modifier
applied to utilize mapped materials.
The UVW Map modifier is a common method for applying and controlling mapping
coordinates. You select the type of mapping projection, regardless of the shape of the
object, and then set the amount of tiling in the modifier’s parameters. The mapping coordinates applied through the UVW Map modifier override any other mapping coordinates
applied to an object, and the Tiling values set for the modifier are multiplied by the Tiling
value set in the assigned material.
Assign the UVW Map Modifier
Now let’s take a look at how to apply a UVW Map Modifier in a scene. The following
exercise examines the use of the UVW Map modifier:
1. Open the UVW.max file in the Texture Scene Files folder on the companion CD. This scene
consists of a wall object with a linked window and two significantly different boxes.
MAPPING COORDINATES AND BOOLEANS
Boolean compound objects handle mapping in their own unique ways. When only Operand A has a mapped material,
that material and its mapping coordinates are inherited by the resultant Boolean object. When only Operand B
has a mapped material, the option of applying that material and mapping
appears in the form of a dialog box. When both operands have mapped
materials, the Material Attach Options dialog box presents several options
to use or discard the materials and mapping.
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mapping coordinates
2. Open the Material Editor and then assign the Brick Wall material to the wall object.
The material appears on the object in the Camera01 viewport.
The problem is that the long wall is approximately 17 feet long and the short wall is
approximately 7 feet long, and the Brick map used in the material is only eight bricks
wide. The default mapping coordinates for a wall object applies the entire map to any
vertical surface of the wall, regardless of how long that wall is. The long wall has eight
bricks stretched along its length, just as the shorter wall does.
3. Select the wall. In the Modify panel, expand the Modifier List and then select the
UVW Map modifier.
The mapping changes and now appears to streak vertically, as shown in Figure 7.44.
This is because the default Planar mapping type projects the map onto the object parallel
to the plane-shaped gizmo. The vertical lines that appear are the same color as the brick
image’s pixels where the surface of the object intersects the gizmo. To fix the issue, continue with the following steps:
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UNDERSTANDING UVW MAPPING
The UVW Map modifier consists primarily of a yellow gizmo that determines how the image
maps are projected onto the surfaces of an object. The images are projected outward or
inward from the gizmo and extend through the assigned objects to all surfaces. The size and
orientation of the gizmos affect how the maps are projected onto the relevant objects. The
properties of the different mapping types are listed here:
•
Planar—Projects the image maps perpendicular to the perimeter of the rectangular
gizmo.
•
Cylindrical— Projects the maps outward from the center of a cylindrical gizmo as if the
map were wrapped around the object in two axes.
•
•
Cap—Projects the maps to the end caps of the cylindrical gizmo in a planar fashion.
Spherical—Projects the maps outward from the center of a spherical gizmo as if the
map were completely enveloping the object. The top and bottom of the image maps
are gathered at the poles of the gizmo and may cause some distortion.
•
Shrink Wrap—Similar to the Spherical method, except that the four corners of the
image map are gathered at a single location.
•
Box—Projects the image in six perpendicular planes from the center of the gizmo.
•
Face—Applies the image maps to each face of an object regardless of their size or
orientation.
•
XYZ to UVW—Used with procedural maps, such as Noise or Smoke, to control the
maps when the object changes size.
Figure 7.43
The rectangular Planar mapping gizmo
causes the map to
streak vertically.
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mapping coordinates
4. In the UVW Map modifier’s Parameters rollout, select the Box option. The mapping
changes to the same state that it was prior to applying the modifier in the first place,
indicating that the Box mapping method is the default type for wall objects.
5. In the Parameters rollout, increase the Width value until it is equal to the Length
value. This increases the size of the bricks on the shorter wall to match those on the
longer wall.
6. Change the U Tile value to 2.5 and the V Tile value to 1.5. This causes the Brick maps
to repeat two and a half times horizontally and one and a half times vertically.
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Acquire Mapping Coordinates
In many situations, a material needs to appear the same when applied to several different
objects. For example, two different sections of a roof may need to appear with identical mapping even though they are different sizes. The UVW Map modifier includes the Acquire tool
for matching one object’s mapping gizmo to another’s, as shown in the following exercise.
1. Select the BoxShort object.
2. Assign the Brick Wall material and then apply the UVW Map modifier to it. Choose
the Box mapping method in the Parameters rollout. The Brick material appears on the
box, showing all eight bricks on each side. The bricks are not the same size as those on
the wall; this may be more apparent in a rendered view.
3. In the Alignment section of the Parameters rollout, click the Acquire button and then
select the wall object.
4. In the Acquire UVW Mapping dialog box, make sure that Acquire Relative is selected
and then click OK. Acquire Relative uses the same settings as the target object’s gizmo,
but it places the gizmo around the current object. Acquire Absolute uses the same settings as the target object’s gizmo, and it co-locates the current gizmo with the target
object’s gizmo.
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mapping coordinates
5. The box’s UVW Map modifier’s gizmo Size and Tiling values change to match those
of the Wall object. Rendering the scene clearly shows the matched mapping between
the two objects.
The Fit option, in the Alignment section of the UVW Map modifier’s Parameters rollout,
shrinks or expands the gizmo to match the extents—or the overall size—of the objects.
Locating the Modifier in the Stack
As with any other modifier in the modifier stack, the UVW Map modifier is applied to the
result of the modifier or object below it in the stack. This must be considered when you
are locating the modifier or the preferred result may occur. For example, Box mapping has
a different result when it is applied to a box before it is bent than when it is applied after it
is bent.
1. Select the BoxTall object and clone it to the right. Be sure to make the clone a copy,
rather than an instance or a reference.
2. Apply the Checker1 material to both of the objects.
3. Select the original BoxTall and apply the UVW Map modifier. Choose the Box Mapping option.
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4. Apply a Bend modifier to the box. Set the Angle to 90 and the Direction to –270. The
checker pattern follows the curvature of the newly bent box.
5. Select the second box and apply the Bend modifier with the same settings used in Step 4.
6. Apply the UVW Map modifier and select the Box mapping type. The gizmo in this
case fits the extents of the bent box, and not the original box object, resulting in a different layout for the checker pattern.
As you can see, the location of the UVW Map modifier in the stack impacts the final
appearance of the objects.
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summary
Summary
Creating materials for your objects is the next step after modeling them. Creating materials can give you a sense of accomplishment because it is essentially the last step in making
the object look as you envisioned—aside from lighting and rendering, of course.
In this chapter, you learned the basics of materials, what kinds of materials are in 3ds
Max, and how to create and edit them in the Material Editors. Then, you learned how
choosing the right type of shader will make your surface look right, and then how to apply
your knowledge to mapping a pool ball, reflections and all. Next, you learned a few more
tricks of the Material Editor and all about the different kinds of maps available in 3ds Max.
With that, you created a bump map and an opacity map.
There are several ways to create materials, from simple colors to complex mappings on
distinct parameters. Finding the right combination of maps, Shader types, and Material
types can make a world of difference in the look of your scenes. It’s important to remember, like everything else in CG, texturing takes time, and gaining wisdom with your materials and maps will come with practice.
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CHAPTER 8
Introduction to Animation
The best way to learn how to animate is to jump right in and start animating.
You will begin this chapter by picking up the Mobile exercise from Chapter 2, “Your First
Max Animation,” and adding animation to the shapes of the mobile. You’ll take a good
look at 3ds Max’s animation tools so you can start editing animation and training your
timing skills.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Hierarchy in Animation
■
Using Dummy Objects
■
Bouncing a Ball Using the Track Editor
■
Track View
■
Anticipation and Momentum in Knife Throwing
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Hierarchy in Animation: The Mobile Redux
Do you remember way back when you were reading Chapter 2? Those were good times,
weren’t they? After setting up the mobile in that exercise, you animated only the bars to
rotate, but you left the rotation of the shapes for later. In this chapter, you’ll pick up where
you left off with the mobile from Chapter 2 and finish the animation using the hierarchies
that were set up in that exercise.
If you skipped the Mobile exercise in Chapter 2, you may want to try it now before you move
on with this animation exercise. Understanding hierarchies and how they work in animation
is extremely important.
You can begin this exercise by using your own Mobile file from Chapter 2, or you can
open Mobile_v05.max from the Scenes folder in the Mobile project on the companion CD.
This scene file is the same as the file you ended up with in Chapter 2 (Mobile_v04.max),
with the exception that this version takes the animation of the bars to frame 100 instead of
frame 50 as in version 4 of that file.
If you haven’t already done so from the previous Chapter 2 exercise, copy the Mobile
project from the companion CD to your hard drive. Set your Max project folder by choosing File ➔ Set Project Folder and selecting the Mobile project that you copied from the CD
to your hard drive.
Animating the Shapes
With the Mobile_v05.max scene open (or your own file), scrub through the animation to
become familiar with the scene. The intent here is to create a hierarchy in the mobile
and animate the bars. Now you will add rotation to the shapes hanging from the bars.
Figure 8.1 shows the mobile in mid-animation.
To add animation to the shapes under the bars, follow these steps:
1. Go to frame 1 of the animation, and click the Auto Key button (
tom of the UI.
) at the bot-
2. Select the triangle hanging from the bottom bar, and go to frame 50. Rotate the triangle
in the Z-axis in either direction at least a full turn of 360 degrees, if not a lot more, as
shown here. Don’t scrub your animation yet.
3. Still at frame 50, select the square on the bar above, and rotate that shape in the Z-axis
several hundred degrees in either direction. Figure 8.2 shows the rotation of the square.
The bottom bar goes along with the square’s rotation because this is how they were
linked in Chapter 2. Don’t scrub your animation yet.
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hierarchy in animation: the mobile redux
Figure 8.1
Figure 8.2
The mobile is back!
The square is rotated, and its child bar
goes along for the ride.
4. Still at frame 50, select the star and rotate it several hundred degrees on the Z-axis in
either direction, as shown here.
Now scrub your animation and check the results. In theory, all the bars should rotate
and so should the shapes hanging on the bars. When you scrub, however, you’ll see a big
issue crop up that doesn’t seem to make sense. The mobile will seem to have lost its mind.
The shapes will rotate completely off axis, as if you set rotation keyframes on the X- and Yaxes as well as the intended Z-axis. The same will occur with the lower bar. It will go off its
axis and rotate in an unpredictable manner. This behavior is explained in the next section,
with easy solutions to fix the issue.
Making a Mistake
Why would we pick an example to show you an incorrect workflow? Learning from
missteps is as important to learning CG as learning the correct steps. Being able to troubleshoot is essential to becoming good in CG, and the more trouble you get yourself into, the
better you will become at digging your way out.
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Figure 8.3
The Assign Controller rollout in the
Motion panel
This example of strangely rotating hierarchies is an isolated issue that is loosely called
gimbal lock in many CG circles. Different CG packages have different ways of interpreting
exactly how an object rotates when it is rotating along more than one axis. Imagine three
cars all staring each other down at a three-way intersection—with the traffic light out.
Who goes first in this situation is important to the flow of traffic at the intersection. When
a 3d package calculates rotations, it needs to know which axis to rotate first before tending
to the rotation of the other axes. In 3ds Max, the animation controller is the traffic light,
directing the animation. With gimbal lock, you have an incorrect interpretation of the
rotations, so the resulting animation seems off axis.
In this exercise, the multiple rotations inherited by the children shapes and bars from
their parents caused havoc with their own rotations, so the axes became confused and
everything looks just plain wrong. The easiest way to fix this issue is to reassign the animation controllers in charge of the rotations for those objects to one that will not lock up.
Animation Controllers
By default, 3ds Max assigns a Euler XYZ controller to the rotations of objects. This is by
far the best controller to use because it gives you the best bang for the buck, as it were. In
this example, however, it doesn’t quite work. To assign a different controller, follow
along here:
1. Select the square; you will start with that object. Switch to the Motion panel (click the
Motion Panel tab (
) in the Command panel, as you see in Figure 8.3. Open the
Assign Controller rollout. You’ll see that the Rotation controller for the square is set
to Euler XZY.
2. Select Euler XYZ from the list in the Motion panel, as shown in Figure 8.3. Click
the Assign Controller button (
) to open the Assign Rotation Controller window shown here. Choose TCB Rotation from the list. If you do not first select the
controller from the Controller List, the Assign Controller button will be grayed out
and unusable.
3. The square and the bar linked beneath it should snap back into axis. Scrub the animation, and you’ll see that the square and the bar beneath it are not behaving as
you would expect: they are rotating on the Z-axis only, as they should. Figure 8.4
shows the resulting animation. Notice that the star and triangle are still rotating
off axis.
4. Select the triangle and repeat Steps 2 and 3 to assign a TCB Rotation controller to
the triangle. Do the same for the star. Figure 8.5 shows the proper rotations of the
shapes and the bars—but looks are deceiving. We’re not done yet!
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hierarchy in animation: the mobile redux
Figure 8.4
Figure 8.5
You’ve fixed the rotation of the square and its children.
The mobile seems to rotate properly, but does it really?
If Euler XYZ caused such a ruckus, why isn’t TCB Rotation the default for rotating
objects? For one thing, the editing options you have with a Euler XYZ controller are head
and shoulders above what you get with TCB Rotation. With the Euler XYZ, 3ds Max splits
the X, Y, Z rotation animation into three separate tracks to give individual control over
each axis. This is ideal.
In addition, the TCB Rotation has taken the several hundred degrees of rotation you
have animated, and cut it down to within 180 degrees of rotation at most. The square, triangle, and star don’t seem to be rotating the several hundred degrees you intended.
It is not a good idea to change the default animation controllers solely based on your experience with this exercise. If you run into a gimbal lock situation in the future, you’ll have a good
idea what caused it, and you’ll be able to troubleshoot it quickly.
Editing the TCB Rotation Keyframes
To fix the fact that the objects do not rotate the several hundred degrees you want, you
will have to manually edit the controller to allow a greater degree of rotation:
1. Select the square and open the Key Info rollout, as shown here.
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2. The Key Info rollout shows you the properties of the animation on the selected object
on a key-by-key basis. If everything is grayed out, use the arrows at the top of the rollout to move through the keyframes. Go to the first keyframe at frame 0 (shown as
Time: 0 in the rollout.) The Angle displays the orientation of the square at the beginning of the animation: 120. Use the arrows again to move to keyframe #2 (Time: 50).
Figure 8.6
Adding more rotation to the square in
the Key Info rollout
3. The Angle parameter changes to a value of 117.643. The X parameter value reads –1.0.
The X, Y, and Z parameters represent the direction in the respective axes. The value –1
means the square is rotating backward. Don’t get confused because this value is now
in X and not Z. Remember, you gave up the individual controls for X, Y, and Z when
you changed from the Euler XYZ controller. While at this second keyframe, click on
Rotation Windup at the bottom of the rollout, and enter the value 500 for Angle. You
must first turn on Rotation Windup to enter 500 for the Angle (Figure 8.6).
4. Scrub your animation, and the square will rotate more, as you first intended. Repeat
Steps 2 and 3 for the triangle and star to fix their rotations with the TCB Rotation
controller.
Any parameter that is animated has a controller. A controller essentially deals with all
the animation functions in the scene for 3ds Max, such as storing keyframe values. Interpolating in-betweens is handled by the controllers. By default, the Position XYZ controller
is assigned to an animation on an object’s position and a Euler XYZ is assigned to its rotation. These controllers are the most useful as they split the X, Y, and Z into separate tracks
to give individual control over each axis. You will have the opportunity to work with and
edit individual tracks later in this chapter.
Using Dummy Objects
Another way to circumvent this particular issue of rotation confusion is by using helper
objects in 3ds Max called dummy objects. Changing the controller for an object is not
always the best solution—particularly if the range of movement will be changed. You saw
this problem when you changed to TCB Rotation before you had to fix it in Key Info to
add more rotation. Using dummy objects, you can insert a helper in the hierarchy that will
negate the gimbal lock issue and make it very clear to 3ds Max how the rotations should
proceed. As a matter of fact, it’s common for animators to make copious use of dummies
as controllers for their animation rigs. A rig is essentially any setup in the scene that helps
you animate objects in the scene.
Dummies are nonrendering objects that are used in several ways for several things. In
this case, they are used directly in the hierarchy to straighten out the rotation confusion.
In other CG packages, such as Maya, they are called null nodes. In our situation, dummies
are simply place holders that serve as parents to the mobile shapes that may come down
with rotation confusion or gimbal lock.
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Placing Dummies in the Mobile
You can begin this exercise by using your own Mobile file from Chapter 2, or by opening
Mobile_v05.max from the Scenes folder in the Mobile project on the CD or your hard drive.
To create dummy objects for the animation hierarchy, follow these steps:
1. Go to the Create panel. In the Helpers (
), click Dummy as shown here.
2. There are no Parameter rollouts or settings for the dummy. Move your cursor to the
Front viewport, center it over the circle, and then click and drag to create. Create a
dummy that is slightly larger than the shape (Figure 8.7).
Linking the Dummies
If you scrub the animation, you will notice that the circle moves along with the rotation of
its parent bar, as it did before. The dummy is not part of the hierarchy yet. You are going
to change the structure of the hierarchy in order to break the inheritance of the circle with
its parent object, and restructure to add the dummy between the bar and the circle. This is
done by relinking the new order.
3. Make sure the Time slider is at frame 0. Go to the main toolbar and click on the Select
and Link tool (
). Use the Select and Link tool to select the circle, and then click and
drag to the dummy object. Make sure you don’t let go until the cursor changes to the
icon to make the proper link, as shown here.
Figure 8.7
Create a dummy
object to fit over the
circle.
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To jump to the beginning of an animation, just press the Home key on your keyboard; this is
a shortcut to jump to the start. Likewise, pressing the End key will take you to the end of an
animation.
4. You’re not done yet. If you scrub the animation, the circle will no longer move with
its parent bar. You have to link the dummy to the bar. Select the dummy, and click
and drag to the Parent cylinder. This completes the new hierarchy. Now the circle is
the child of the dummy, and the dummy is the child of the parent bar above it. Play
the animation, and you will see the dummy moving along with the mobile, with the
circle in tow, as shown here.
5. Fantastic! Pat yourself on the back. Now it is time to animate the circle shape itself.
Move to the end of your timeline (frame 100, press the End key), and click the Auto
Key button at the bottom of the interface (you can also press the N key to toggle Auto
Key on and off). Select the circle, and rotate a few hundred degrees on the Z-axis in
either direction. Do not rotate the dummy, just the circle. Figure 8.8 shows how the
circle rotates within the dummy, which then follows with the bar’s rotation.
6. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 to create dummies for the other shapes in the mobile. Relink the
shapes to their dummies, as you did in Steps 3 and 4. Animate the shapes themselves
to your heart’s content. If you see funky rotation on the dummies and shapes, either
you have made an error in the linking order, or you have animated the dummies
rotating and not the shapes themselves.
Figure 8.8
Success! The circle
is now rotating
properly.
Play the animation. As you can see, the funky rotation is gone and now you have a perfectly normal rotation. The bar’s rotation moves the dummy below it, and the dummy
pulls the circle. Because the bar is not directly pulling
the circle, the circle is free to rotate without rotation
confusion. Feel free to go through this entire exercise
another time before moving on. Once you feel confident with how this exercise works, you should have a
pretty solid idea of how hierarchies work in animation,
and that’s a good thing.
Editing Dummies
When you place any of the mobile’s dummies, it isn’t necessary to have them aligned
perfectly with the shape for which the dummy is being used. However, it is a good idea
to match them up as best as you can to keep track of which dummy goes with which
shape.
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bouncing ball
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Let’s say you created a dummy and it is nowhere near the shape, however. The Align
tool can move the dummy so it is centered on the shape. To see how the Align tool works,
follow along with these steps:
1. Create a dummy any size and anywhere in the mobile scene, as shown here.
2. Make sure the dummy is selected. Go to the main toolbar and select the Align tool
(
). Move your cursor to the shape to which you want to align the dummy and
click on it. The Align Selection dialog window will open (Figure 8.9).
3. The Align Selection dialog gives you the choice of aligning an object along any axis,
orienting the object (this feature is for rotations), and aligning for the object’s scale.
Keep the checks in the X,Y,Z position, but change the Current and Target Object to
Center and then press OK. The dummy will match up with the shape as shown here.
Although it may seem like more work, using dummies is a great workflow for animation. It keeps the scene’s animation neater and better defined. As you gain more experience, you will begin to learn when you should use dummies in your hierarchy to make the
animation workflow smooth.
Figure 8.9
Bouncing Ball
The Align Selection
dialog window
A classic exercise for all animators is creating a bouncing ball.
As a matter of fact, you will find bouncing ball tutorials
almost everywhere you look. Although you will see it as a
straightforward exercise, there is so much you can do with a
bouncing ball to denote character that the possibilities are
almost limitless. Animating a bouncing ball is a good exercise
in physics, as well as cartoon movement. You’ll first create a
rubber ball, and then you’ll add cartoonish movement to
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accentuate some principles of the animation techniques discussed in Chapter 1, “Basic
Concepts.” Aspiring animators can come use this exercise for years and always find something new to learn about bouncing a ball.
In preparation, copy the BouncingBall project from the CD to your hard drive. Set
your 3ds Max project folder by choosing File ➔ Set Project Folder and selecting the BouncingBall project that you copied from the CD to your hard drive.
Animating the Ball
Your first step is to keyframe the positions of the ball. As introduced in Chapter 1, keyframing is the process—borrowed from traditional animation—of setting positions and values
at particular frames of the animation. The computer interpolates between these keyframes
to fill in the other frames to complete a smooth animation.
Open the Animation_Ball_00.max scene file from the BouncingBall folder now on your
hard drive.
You’ll start with the gross animation, or the overall movements. This is also widely known
as blocking. First, move the ball up and down to begin its choreography.
Follow these steps to animate the ball:
1. The first thing you need to do in this scene is to move the pivot point for the ball. Go
to the Hierarchy panel (
). Choose Pivot, and under the Adjust Pivot rollout, click
the Adjust Pivot Only button. Zoom in on the ball and move the pivot so that it is at
the bottom of the ball. Then click on the Affect Pivot Only button again to deactivate—but you already knew that.
2. Turn on the Auto Key button (keyboard shortcut N) and move the timeline to frame
10. Select the ball and move it along the Z-axis down to the ground plane. That will be
0 units in Z when you release the mouse button in the transform type-ins on the bottom of the interface. You can also just type-in the value and press Enter (Figure 8.10).
This has created two keyframes, one at frame 0 for the original position the ball was in,
and one at frame 10 for the new position to which you just moved the ball.
Figure 8.10
At frame 10, move
the ball to meet the
ground plane.
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Copying Keyframes
Now you want to move the ball down to the same position in the air as it was at frame 0.
Instead of trying to estimate where that was, you can just copy the keyframe at frame 0 to
frame 20.
You can see the keyframes you created in the timeline. They are red tick marks in the
timeline. Red keys represent Position keyframes, green keys represent Rotation, and Blue
keys represent Scale. When a keyframe in the timeline is selected, it
turns white. In Figure 8.11, the keyframe at frame 0 is selected and is
white.
3. Select the keyframe at frame 0; it should turn white when it is selected. Hold down the
Shift key on the keyboard (this is a shortcut for the Clone tool), and click and drag
the selected keyframe to move it to frame 20. This will create a keyframe with the
same animation parameters as the keyframe at frame 0.
4. Click and drag on the Time slider to scrub through the keyframes.
Using the Track Editor–Curve Editor
Right now the ball is going down, up, and down. To continue the animation for the
length of the timeline, you could continue to copy and paste keyframes—but that will
be very time-consuming. A better way is to loop or cycle through the keyframes you
already have. An animation cycle is a segment of animation that is repeatable in a loop.
The end state of the animation matches up to the beginning state, so there is no hiccup
at the loop point.
In 3ds Max, cycling animation is known as Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types. Yeah,
that is a mouthful, but it is a fancy way of creating loops and cycles with your animations
and specifying how your object will behave outside the range of the keys you have created.
This will bring us to the Track View, an animator’s best friend—aside from a Golden
Labrador and a handful of SweeTarts. You can go through the Track View’s UI in the
“Track View” section later in this chapter at any time, or you can hang tight and see how
you work with Track Editor first using the Bouncing Ball exercise. You will learn the
underlying concepts of the Track Editor throughout this exercise as well as its basic UI.
Feel free to reference the “Track View” section as you continue.
The Track View is a function of two animation editors, the Curve Editor and the Dope
Sheet Editor. The Curve Editor allows you to work with animation depicted as curves on
a graph that sets the value of a parameter against time. The Dope Sheet Editor displays
keyframes over time on a horizontal graph, without any curves. This graphical display
simplifies the process of adjusting animation timing because you can see all the keys at
once in a spreadsheet-like format. The Dope Sheet is similar to the traditional animation
exposure sheets or X Sheets.
Figure 8.11
Selected keys in the
timeline are white.
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Navigation inside a Track View–Curve Editor is pretty much the same as navigating in a viewport; the same keyboard/mouse combinations work for panning and zooming.
You will use the Track View–Curve Editor (or just Curve Editor for short) to loop your
animation in the following riveting steps:
1. With the ball selected, in the main menu, choose Graph Editor ➔ Track View ➔ Curve
Editor. In Figure 8.12, the Curve Editor displays the animation curves of the ball
so far.
2. A toolbar runs across the top of the Curve Editor under the Menu Bar. In that toolbar, click the Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types button (
) shown here.
3. This will open the Param Curve Out-of-Range Types dialog box shown here. Select
Loop from this window by clicking its thumbnail. The two little boxes beneath it will
turn orange. Click OK. To read up on the other Parameter Curve Out-of-Range
Types available, see the “Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types” sidebar later in this
chapter.
4. Once you set the curve to Loop, the Curve Editor displays your animation as shown
in Figure 8.13. The out-of-range animation is shown in a dashed line. Scrub your animation in a viewport and see how the ball bounces up and down throughout the
timeline range.
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Figure 8.12
The Curve Editor
shows the animation
curves of the ball.
Figure 8.13
The Curve Editor
shows the animation
loop.
Reading Animation Curves
As you can see, the Track View-Curve Editor gives you control over the animation in a
graph setting. Curves allow you to visualize the interpolation of the motion. Understanding what animation curves do in the Curve Editor is critical to getting your animation to
look right. Once you are used to reading animation curves, you can judge an object’s
direction, speed, acceleration, and timing at a mere glance.
The Curve Editor’s graph is a representation of an object’s parameter, such as position
(values shown vertically) over time (time shown horizontally). Every place on the curve
represents where the object is; a keyframe does not need to be on the curve. So, the shape
of the curve makes a big difference in the motion of the object. Here is a quick primer on
how to read a curve in the Curve Editor.
In Figure 8.14, an object’s Z Position parameter is being animated. At the beginning,
the curve quickly begins to move positively (that is, to the right) in the Z-axis. The object
shoots up and comes to an ease-out, where it decelerates to a stop, reaching its top height.
The ease-out stop is signified by the curving beginning to flatten out at around frame 70.
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PARAMETER CURVE OUT-OF-RANGE TYPES
There are several ways to interpret the curves of an animation when they are out-of-range,
meaning when they extend before your first keyframe and beyond your last keyframe. The
Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types is opened through the Curve Editor with this toolbar
button (
). The types are the following:
Constant—Used when you do not want any animation out-of-range. This curve type will
hold the value of the end and or beginning key of the range for all frames. Constant is the
default out-of-range type.
Cycle—Used when you need the animation to loop or cycle by repeating the same animation that is within the range. If the first keyframe does not line up with the last keyframe of the
curve range, there will be an abrupt “jump” from the last key to the first with every cycle. If the
start and end values do not need to match, and that hiccup in the cycle is desired, use Cycle.
Loop—Used when you need the animation to loop or cycle smoothly despite any differences in the start and end keyframe values. Loop repeats the same animation in the curve
range, but it also interpolates between the last and first keyframes in the range to create a
smooth loop in the cycle. Loop’s ability to create a smooth loop can only go so far before it
acts like a Cycle (e.g., when the key values at the start and end are too disparate).
Ping Pong—Used when you want your animation to oscillate back and forth. Ping Pong
repeats the same animation in the range, but it plays it front to back and then back to front,
and so forth, to alternate the playback, as shown here.
Linear—Used when you need your animation to continue at the same velocity as its
beginning or end. The animation curve is projected out from the range in a straight line, picking up the trajectory from the shape of the start or end of the curve, as shown here.
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PARAMETER CURVE OUT-OF-RANGE TYPES (continued)
Relative Repeat—Used when you need your animation to repeat as in a cycle and to continue building on itself as it cycles. Each repetition is offset by the value at the end of the
range, as shown here.
You can select any one of these types for either the before or after by clicking one of the
smaller boxes below the thumbnails. You can set both the before and after out-of-range type
by clicking the thumbnail of the type itself.
Figure 8.14
The object quickly
accelerates to an
ease-out stop.
In Figure 8.15, the object slowly accelerates in an ease-in in the positive Z direction
until it hits frame 75, where it suddenly stops.
Figure 8.15
The object eases in
to acceleration and
suddenly stops at its
fastest velocity.
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In Figure 8.16, the object eases in and travels to an ease-out where it decelerates starting
at around frame 69 to where it slowly stops at frame 75.
Figure 8.16
Ease-in and ease-out
Finally, in Figure 8.17, the object simply jumps from its Z Position in frame 74, to its
new position in frame 75.
Figure 8.17
Step interpolation
makes the object
“jump” suddenly
from one value to
the next.
Figure 8.18 shows the Track View–Curve Editor, with notes on its major aspects called
out for your information. See the “Track View” section later in this chapter for a more
thorough explanation of the UI and toolset for the Track View.
Toolbar
Figure 8.18
Tangent Handle
Keyframe
Menu Bar
Selected Keyframe
Timebar
The Curve Editor
Controller Window
Tracks
Key Status Tools
Navigation Tools
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Refining the Animation
Now that you’ve played back the gross animation of the bounce, how does it look? Not
like a ball bouncing, really, but the framework is getting there. Notice how the speed of the
ball is consistent. If this were a real ball, it would be dealing with gravity; the ball would
speed up as it gets closer to the ground and there would be “hang time” when the ball is in
the air on its way up as gravity takes over to pull it back down.
This means you have to edit the movement that happens in between the keyframes.
This is done by adjusting how the keyframes shape the curve itself using tangents. When
you select a keyframe, a light purple handle will appear, as shown in Figure 8.18 and
shown up close here.
This handle adjusts the tangency of the keyframe to change the curvature of the animation curve, which in turn changes the animation. There are different types of tangents,
depending on how you want to edit the motion. By default the Smooth tangent is applied
to all new keyframes. This is not what you want for the ball; though it is a perfect default
tangent type to have.
Editing Animation Curves
Let’s edit some tangencies to suit your animation better. The intent is to speed up the
curve as it hits the floor and slow it down as it crests its apex.
Instead of opening the Curve Editor through the Menu Bar,
this time you are going to use the shortcut. At the bottom of
Mini Curve Editor
the interface, click the Mini Curve Editor button shown here.
This Mini Curve Editor is almost exactly the same as the one you launch through the
main Menu Bar. A few tools are not included in the Mini Curve Editor toolbar, but you
can find them in the Menu Bar of the Mini Curve Editor. Figure 8.19 shows the Mini
Curve Editor open in the 3ds Max UI.
Figure 8.19
The Mini Curve
Editor
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To edit the curves, follow these steps:
1. Scroll down the List Controller window on the left of the Mini Curve Editor by dragging the Pan tool (the hand cursor) to find the Ball object/Position XYZ. Click on the
Z Position track. This will bring only those curves to the Key window that you want
to edit, as shown in Figure 8.19.
2. The Z Position curve is blue, as is almost everything relating to the Z-axis. The little
gray boxes on the curves are keyframes, as you saw in Figure 8.18. select the keyframe
at frame 10. You may need to scrub the Time Ruler out of the way if you are on
frame 10. The key will turn white when selected. Remember, if you need to zoom or
pan in the Curve Editor’s Key Editing window, you can use the same shortcuts you
would use navigate in the viewports. You will change this key’s tangency to make the
ball fall faster as it hits and bounces off the ground.
3. In the Mini Curve Editor toolbar, change the Tangent type for the selected keyframe
from the Auto default to Fast by selecting the Fast Tangent icon (
). When you do
this, you will see the Animation Curve change shape as shown here.
4. Select the Perspective view and play the animation. You can easily correlate how the
animation works with the curve’s shape as you see the timeline travel through the
Mini Curve Editor as the animation plays.
Finessing the Animation
Although the animation has improved, the ball has a distinct lack of weight. It still seems
too simple and without any character. In situations such as this, an animator can go wild
and try several different things as he or she sees fit. This is where creativity helps hone
your animation skills, whether you are new to animation or have been doing it for fifty
bejillion years.
Animation shows change over time. Good animation conveys the intent, the motivation for that change between the frames.
Squash and Stretch
The concept of squash and stretch has been an animation staple for as long as there has
been animation. It is a way to convey the weight of an object by deforming it to react
(usually in an exaggerated way) to gravity, impact, and motion.
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You can give the ball a lot of flare by adding squash and stretch to give your object
some personality. Follow along with these steps:
1. The Auto Key animation button should still be active. If it isn’t, press N to activate. In
the Mini Curve Editor, drag the blue double-line Time Bar (called the Track Bar Time
slider) to frame 10. (See the following graphic.) Click and hold the Scale tool to access
the flyout. Choose the Select and Squash tool (
). Center the Scale gizmo over the
Z-Axis of the Transform gizmo in the Perspective viewport. Click and drag down to
Squash down about 20 percent. This will scale down in the Z-axis and scale up in the
X- and Y-axes to compensate (Figure 8.20).
2. Move to frame 0. Click and drag up to stretch the ball up about 20 percent (so that
the ball’s scale in Z is about 120), as shown in Figure 8.21. When you scrub through
the animation, you will see that at frame 0 the ball stretched and then the ball squashes
and stays squashed for the rest of the time. You’ll fix that in the next step.
You need to copy the Scale key from frame 0 to frame 20 first, and then apply a Loop
for the Parameter Out-of-Range Type. Because the Mini Curve Editor is open, it obstructs
the timeline; therefore, you should copy the keys in the Mini Curve Editor. You can just as
easily do it in the regular Curve Editor in the same way:
3. In the Mini Curve Editor, scroll in the Controller window until you find the Scale
track for the ball. Highlight it to see the keyframes and animation curve. Click and
hold the Move Keys tool in the Curve Editor toolbar (
) to roll out and access the
Move Keys Horizontal tool, as shown here.
Figure 8.20
Use the Squash tool
to squash down the
ball on impact.
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Figure 8.21
Stretch the ball
when it is at its apex.
4. Click and drag a selection marquee around the two keyframes at frame 0 in the Scale
track to select. Hold the Shift key on the keyboard, and then click and drag the
keyframes at frame 0 to frame 20, as shown here.
5. In the Mini Curve Editor’s Menu Bar, select Controller ➔ Out-of-Range Types.
Choose Loop, and then press OK. Play the animation. The curves are shown here.
Setting the Timing
Well, you squashed and stretched the ball, but it still doesn’t look right. That is because
the ball should not begin to squash too long before it hits the ground. It needs to return to
100 percent scale and stay there for a few frames. Immediately before the ball hits the
ground, it can squash into the ground plane to heighten the sense of impact. The following steps are easier to perform in the regular Curve Editor rather than in the Mini Curve
Editor. Close the Mini Curve Editor by clicking the Close button, as shown here.
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Open the Curve Editor to fix the timing, and follow these steps as if they were law:
1. Move the Time slider to frame 8; Auto Key should still be active. In the Curve Editor, in the Controller window, select the ball’s Scale track so that only the scale
curves appear in the Editing window. In the Curve Editor’s toolbar, select the Add
Keys button ( ). Your cursor will change to an arrow with a white circle at its
lower right. Click on one of the Scale curves to add a keyframe on all the Scale
curves (X, Y, and Z).
2. Because they are selected, the keys will be white. In the Key Status tools, you will find
two text type-in boxes. The box on the left is the frame number, and the box on the
right is the selected key(s)’ value. Because more than one key with a different value is
selected, there is no number in that type-in box. Enter 100 (for 100 percent scale) in
the right type-in box, and 3ds Max will enter a value of 100 for the scale in X, Y, and Z
for the ball at frame 8, as shown here.
3. Move the Time slider to frame 12, and do the same thing in the Curve Editor. These
settings are bracketing the Squash so that the Squash only happens a few frames
before and a few frames after the ball hitting the ground, as shown here. Press N to
deactivate Auto Key.
Once you play back the animation, the ball will begin to look a lot more like a nice cartoonish one, with a little character. Experiment with changing some of the scale amounts
to have the ball squish a little more or less, or stretch it more or less to see how that affects
the animation. See if it adds a different personality to the ball. If you can master a bouncing ball, and evoke all sorts of emotion with your audience, you will be a great animator
indeed.
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Moving the Ball Forward
You can load the Animation_Ball_01.max scene file from the BouncingBall project folder
on your hard drive (or from the CD) to catch up to this point, or to check your work.
Now that you have worked out the bounce, it’s time to add movement to the ball so
that it moves across the screen as it bounces. Layering animation in this fashion, where
you settle on one movement before moving on to another, is common. That’s not to
say you won’t need to go back and forth and make adjustments through the whole
process, but it’s generally nicer to work out one layer of the animation before adding
another. The following steps will show you how:
1. Move the Time slider to frame 0. Select the ball with the Select and Move tool, and
move the ball in the Perspective viewport to the left so it is still within the camera’s
view. That would be about –30 units in the X-axis (Figure 8.22).
2. Move the Time slider to frame 100. Press N to activate the Auto Key again. Move the
ball to the right to about 30 units along the X-axis.
3. Don’t play the animation yet; it isn’t going to look right. Go to the Curve Editor,
scroll down in the Controller window, and select the X Position track for the ball
(Figure 8.23).
Figure 8.22
At frame 0, move the
ball to the left of the
viewport.
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When you created the keyframes for the up and down movement of the ball (which
was the Z-axis), 3ds Max automatically created keyframes for the X and Y Position tracks,
both with essentially no value. To fix it, keep following with these steps:
4. Select the keyframes on the X Position track at frame 10 and frame 20, and delete
them by pressing the Delete key on your keyboard.
5. Select the Parameter Curves Out-of-Range Types button (
), and select Constant.
This will remove the Loop from the X Position Track but won’t affect the Z Position
track for the ball’s bounce (Figure 8.24). Press N to deactivate Auto Key. Play the
animation.
6. There is still a little problem. Watch the horizontal movement. The ball is slow at the
beginning, speeds up in the middle, and then slows again at the end. It eases in and
eases out, as you can see in the curve in Figure 8.24. This is caused by the default
tangent, which automatically adds a slowdown as the object goes in and out of the
keyframe. In the Curve Editor, select both keys for the X Position and click on the
Linear Tangent (
) to create a straight line of movement so there is no speed
change in the ball’s movement left to right. Press N to deactivate the Auto Key.
Figure 8.25 shows the proper curve.
Figure 8.23
The X Position of the
ball does not look
right.
Figure 8.24
The X Position
curve for the ball’s
movement
Figure 8.25
The X Position curve
for the ball’s movement now has no
ease-in or ease-out.
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Adding a Roll
You need to add some rotation, but there are several problems with this. One, you
moved the pivot point to the bottom of the ball in the very first step of the exercise.
You did that so the squashing would work correctly, that is at the point of contact with
the ground. If you were to rotate the ball with the pivot at the bottom, it would look
like Figure 8.26.
Figure 8.26
The ball will not
rotate properly
because the pivot is
at the bottom.
Pivot rotates
around bottom.
It needs to rotate
around center.
Using the XForm Modifier
You need a pivot point at the center of the ball, but you can’t just move the existing pivot
from the bottom to the middle—it would throw off all the squash and stretch animation.
Unfortunately, an object can have only one pivot point. To solve the issue, you are going
to use a modifier called XForm. This modifier has many uses. You’re going to use it to add
another pivot to the ball in the following steps:
1. Turn off Auto Key if it isn’t already. Select the ball. From the main Menu Bar, select
Modifiers ➔ Parametric Deformers ➔ XForm. You may also select it from the Modifier
List from the Modify panel. XForm will be added to the ball in the Modifier Stack,
and an orange bounding box will appear over the ball in the viewport. XForm has no
parameters, but it does have sub-objects, as you can see here.
2. Expand the Modifier Stack by clicking on the black box with the plus sign next to
Xform. Then click Center. Make sure Auto Key is not active. You will use the Align
tool to center the XForm’s center point on the ball in the next step.
3. Click the Align tool, and then click on the ball. In the dialog
box, click Center under Target Object, and then press OK.
The XForm’s center will move, as shown here.
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Now to be clear, this isn’t a pivot point. This is the center point on the XForm modifier.
If you go to the Modifier Stack and click on the Sphere, the pivot point will still be at the
bottom, as shown here.
Now, the XForm modifier allows the ball to rotate, without Squash and Stretch getting
in the way. By separating the rotation animation for the ball’s roll into the modifier, the
animation on the sphere object is preserved.
Animating the XForm Modifier
To add the ball’s roll to the XForm modifier, follow along with these illuminating and
incredibly insightful steps:
1. Turn on Auto Key and select the Select and Rotate tool.
2. In the Modifier Stack, click on Gizmo for the sub-object of XForm. This is a very
important step because it tells the Modifier to use the XForm’s center instead of using
the pivot point of the ball.
3. Move the Time slider to frame 100 and rotate the Ball 360 degrees on the Y-axis (you
can use Angle Snap to make it easier to rotate exactly 360 degrees). Click on the
XForm to deactivate the Sub-Object mode. Play the animation.
The ball should be a rubbery cartoon ball at this point in the animation. Just for practice, let’s say you need to go back and edit the keyframes because you rotated in the wrong
direction and the ball’s rotation is going backward. Fixing this issue requires you to go
back into the Curve Editor as follows:
Open the Curve Editor (Mini or regular). Scroll down in the
Controller window until you see the Ball tracks. Below the
Ball’s Transform track is a new track called Modified Object.
Expand the track by clicking on the plus sign in the circle next
to the name. Go to the gizmo and select Y Rotation Track
(Figure 8.27).
You will see the Function curve in the Edit Key work area.
You want the keyframe at frame 0 to have the value 0 and the
keyframe at frame 100 to be 360 degrees. Select both keyframes
and change the Tangent to Linear, as shown in Figure 8.28.
Close the Curve Editor and play the animation. Play the
Bounce Ball.mov QuickTime movie file located in the RenderOutput folder of the BouncingBall project on your hard drive
(or on the CD) to see a render of the animation. You can also
load the Animation_Ball_02.max scene file from the BouncingBall project folder on your hard drive (or on the CD) to check
your work.
Figure 8.27
The XForm’s gizmo
selected in the Curve
Editor window
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Figure 8.28
Setting the rotation
of the ball
Bouncing Ball Summary
As you can see, working with the bouncing ball brought gave you quite a bit of experience
with the 3ds Max’s animation toolset. There are several ways to animate a bouncing ball in
3ds Max. It is definitely a good idea to try this exercise a few times at first, and then to come
back to it later—after you have learned other 3ds Max techniques.
Track View
As you have already seen, the Track View ➔ Curve Editor is a powerful tool for creating
and editing your animation scenes. In this section, the user interface for the Track View is
laid out and explained as a brief reference for you. Figure 8.29 shows the Track View ➔
Curve Editor.
The Curve Editor window can be a bit daunting at first. Now that you’ve had some
experience with it in this chapter, it should seem pretty straightforward. The left side of
the window (called the Controller window) displays the objects in the scene in an outline
format. These objects have subheadings under them called tracks when they are animated.
Each track will define animation on one axis of movement or rotation or scale, or one
parameter that is keyframed. When you click on a track, its animation information will
display in the graph area on the right. In the Curve Editor, you can access the curves and
keyframes to edit the animation. In the Dope Sheet version of the Track View, you can
access keys in a different manner, as discussed in the next chapter.
You can switch between the Curve Editor and the Dope Sheet by selecting the desired
window in the Modes menu in the main Menu Bar. Most of the tools discussed here are
also accessible through the Menu Bar and the toolbar. The toolbar is divided into function sets.
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Toolbar
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Tangent Handle
Key Tools
Tangency Tools
Curve Tools
Biped Tools
Figure 8.29
The Track View Curve Editor
Selected
Keyframe
Keyframe
Curve in Range
Track Selection Tools
Key Status Tools
Curve Out-of-Range
Navigation Tools
Controller Window
Key Tools Toolbar
The following table lists the tools used in editing keys in the Curve Editor window.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Filter
Filter the display in the Curve Editor to make viewing complicated scenes easier.
Move Keys
Select a keyframe and move it freely in the graph.
Move Keys Horizontal Select a keyframe and move it horizontally, to change its
timing only.
Move Keys Vertical
Select a keyframe and move it vertically, to change its
value only.
Slide Keys
Select keyframes and move the group and slide the adjacent
keys away as you move the group.
Scale Keys
Select keys and scale them to expand or compress the amount
of time between them.
Scale Values
Select keys and increase or decrease proportionally the values of
the keys without moving them in time.
Add Keys
Click on a curve to add keys to an existing animation.
Draw Curves
Draw new curves, or revise existing curves by drawing directly
on the animation curve graph.
Reduce Keys
Reduce keys when you have more keys than necessary on a
curve.
You already used a few of these tools when you were getting your bouncing ball animation up to snuff.
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Key Tangency Toolbar
As you saw with the bouncing ball, changing the tangency on a few keys can dramatically
alter the look of your animation. By default, new keys are set to Auto Tangents, which
generally keep the curve smooth. 3ds Max sets an appropriate tangency automatically;
however, you can easily change the tangency by manually moving the handles on the
keyframes. Once you select an Auto Tangent’s handle, 3ds Max will automatically shift the
handle to a Custom Handle, allowing you to move it. The following table lists the icons for
the tangency tools.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Set Tangents to Auto This rollout icon boasts three tools for controlling Auto
tangents. The top icon sets both handles to Auto, the middle
sets the In tangent, and the bottom icon sets the Out tangent
to Auto.
Set Tangents to
Custom
Custom tangents allow you to move the handles to form your
own curvature. If you hold the Shift key as you drag a tangent
handle, it will break continuity with the other handle, allowing
you to have a different In tangency than Out tangency.
Set Tangents to Fast
Sets the tangent to accelerate in or out of a keyframe quickly,
or both.
Set Tangents to Slow Sets the tangent to go slowly into or out of the keyframe,
or both.
Set Tangents to Step
Sets the tangent to “jump” from one value to the next in a single
frame. The animation will be frozen until the next keyframe
when it will jerk to that position or value.
Set Tangents to Linear Sets the tangency to a straight linear progression into or out of
the keyframe, or both.
Set Tangents to
Smooth
Attempts to keep the curve smooth across all values to achieve
a more realistic motion in many cases.
Curves Toolbar
The Curves tools act on the animation curves themselves, allowing you to easily make
changes to an animated track. You will run into some of these tools as you become more
experienced with Max. Don’t worry about memorizing all these functions.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Lock Selection
Locks the current selection so you don’t accidentally select
something else.
Snap Frames
Snaps keys to frames when you move them. When off, you can
move keys to sub-frames (i.e., in-between frames).
Parameter Out-ofRange Curves
Allows you to set the behavior of your animation before and
beyond the keyframed range.
Show Keyable Icons
Toggles an icon to tell you whether a track is keyable or not. Red
is keyable, black is not.
continued
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track view
continues
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Show Tangents
Toggles the display of tangent handles on individual curves.
Show All Tangents
Toggles the display of tangent handles on all curves in
the graph.
Lock Tangents
Locks a selection of tangent handles so you can adjust them all
at once. When off, however, you only have access to one tangent handle at a time.
Biped Toolbar
These new Curve Editor Biped tools make the process of using the Curve Editor for biped
animation much more streamlined than before. Biped tools will be covered in the next
chapter. The following table lists the icons and their names for your reference. The Biped
toolbar is only visible if you have a biped in your scene.
ICON
NAME
Show Biped Position Curves
Show Biped Rotation Curves
Show Biped X Curves
Show Biped Y Curves
Show Biped Z Curves
Navigation Toolbar
These tools are for Track View navigation. Tools such as Pan, Zoom, and Zoom Region
work the same as in the Viewport Navigation tools. Some of the tools are designed specifically for the Track View. A few often-used icons are listed in the following table.
ICON
NAME
FUNCTION
Pan
Use this tool to drag the key window. You can also use the middle mouse button.
Zoom Horizontal
Extents
Adjusts the display such that the entire active time segment is
shown.
Zoom Value Extents
Adjusts the display such that the full height of the curves are
visible.
Zoom
Zooms both time and value proportionally together. This is a
rollout with two other Zoom options nested.
Zoom Region
Drag a region to scale the display to fit.
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Anticipation and Momentum in Knife Throwing
This exercise will give you more experience animating in 3ds Max. In it, you’ll animate a
knife being thrown at a target. You will edit more in the Curve Editor and be introduced to
the concept of anticipation in animation, as well as momentum and secondary movement.
In preparation, copy the Knife project from the CD to your hard drive. Set your 3ds
Max project folder by choosing File ➔ Set Project Folder and selecting the Knife project
that you copied from the CD to your hard drive.
Blocking Out the Animation
To begin this exercise, open the Animation_Knife_00.max file in the Knife project and follow along here:
1. Move the Time slider to frame 30 and activate the Auto Key button.
2. Move the knife to the target object, as shown here.
3. Move the Time slider to frame 15, where the knife is halfway between its start and the
target, and move the knife slightly up in the Z-axis, so that the knife moves with a
slight arc.
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4. For now, change the frame range in the Time slider so you’re only working
between frame 0 and frame 30. Click the Time Configuration button ( )
at the bottom of the UI next to the navigation controls. Figure 8.30 shows the
Time Configuration window. In the Animation section, change the End Time
to 30 from 100. The Time slider will reflect this change immediately.
5. Scrub your animation, and you should see the knife move with a slight ease-in
and ease-out toward the target with a slight arc up in the middle. You want
the position of the knife to start at frame 10, so open the Curve Editor and
scroll down in the Controller window until you see the three X, Y, Z Position
tracks for the knife. Hold the Ctrl key and select all three tracks to display
their curves (Figure 8.31).
6. Drag a selection marquee around the keyframe at frame 0. In the Curve Editor
toolbar, select and hold the Move tool ( ) to access the Flyout icons, and
select the Horizontal Move tool in the flyout ( ). Use this tool to move the
keyframes to frame 10.
7. This will compact the curve, as shown previously, so you will need to move the keys at
frame 15 to the new middle, frame 20, as shown here.
That’s it for the gross animation or blocking of the shot. Did you have fun?
Figure 8.30
Change the frame
range in the Time
Configuration
window.
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Figure 8.31
The Initial Curve Editor for the knife
Figure 8.32
Turning on trajectories for the knife
Trajectories
When it comes to animation, it is very helpful to be able to see the path your object is
taking over time. This is known as trajectories in Max. The easiest way to see the trajectories is to select the knife object, go to the Motion panel, and click Trajectories, as shown in
Figure 8.32. Your viewports will display a red curve to show you the path of the knife’s
motion as it arcs toward the target, as shown in Figure 8.33.
The trajectory will remain displayed until a moving object is selected.
The large hollow square points on the trajectory curve represent the
keyframes set on the knife so far. Let’s adjust the height of the arc using
the trajectory curve. Turn on the Sub-Object button at the top of the
Motion panel, as shown here.
Keys are your only sub-object choice in the pull-down menu to the
right of the button. Select the middle keyframe and move it up or down
to suit your tastes, as shown in Figure 8.34. Once you settle on a nice
arc for the path of the knife, turn off the Trajectories button.
As you can imagine, the Trajectories panel can be useful in many situations. It not only
gives you a view of your object’s path, but it also allows you to edit that path easily and in
a visual context, which can be so important.
Figure 8.33
Figure 8.34
The red curve shows the trajectory for the
knife’s motion.
Raise the arc of the knife by altering its trajectory.
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Adding Rotation
The next step is to add a bit of rotation to the knife. As an animator, you need to research
and gather as much information about your subject matter as you can. I don’t mean to
suggest that you throw knives at people, but I do suggest that you throw a pen or pencil at
something safe to see how it should best be animated. Almost invariably, you’ll find that
the knife will have to rotate once or twice before it hits its target. To add rotation to the
knife, follow allow with these steps:
1. Move to frame 30, and press E for the Select and Rotate tool. Auto Key should still be
active. Rotate in the Y-axis 443 degrees, as shown here.
2. Open the Curve Editor, scroll down to find the X, Y, and Z Rotation tracks, and select
them. Use the Horizontal Move tool to shift the keyframes at 0 to frame 10. Press N to
deactivate the Auto Key. Figure 8.35 shows the Curve Editor graph for the knife.
Figure 8.35
Move the first rotation keyframes to
frame 10.
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3. Play the animation, and you will see that the knife’s position and rotation eases in and
eases out. A real knife would not ease its rotations or movement. Its speed would be
roughly consistent throughout the animation.
4. Go back to the Curve Editor, select the X Position track, and then select all the keyframes
and switch the Tangent to Linear. Now select Z Position track; you’ll need to finesse
this one a bit more than the X Position. You are going to use the handles on the tangents that appear when you select a keyframe. These handles can be adjusted; just
center your cursor over the end and click and drag. Figure 8.36 illustrates how you
want the Z Position animation curve to look. This will give the trajectory a nice arc
and a good speed of travel.
Figure 8.36
Adjust the curve for
the knife’s arc
through the air.
5. Now it is time to edit the Rotation keys. In the Curve Editor scroll to find the X, Y,
and Z Rotation tracks. The first thing you can do is add a bit of drama to the knife to
make the action more exciting. To this end, you can say that the rotation on the knife
is too slow. Select the X Rotation track and select its keyframe at frame 30. In the
Key Stats, change the value to –52. The higher the value, the faster the knife will rotate.
This will add one full revolution to the animation and some more excitement to the
action.
6. Adjust the tangent handles to resemble the curve shown in Figure 8.37. The knife will
speed up just a little bit as it leaves the first rotate keyframe. The speed will be even as
it goes into the last keyframe.
With just a little bit of fast rotation as the knife leaves frame 10, you give the animation
more spice. A little change in the curve can make a big difference in an animation—every
little bit counts. The knife should now have a slightly weightier look than before when it
rotated with an ease-in and ease-out.
Figure 8.37
Match your curve to
this one.
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Adding Anticipation
Instead of making the knife just fly through the air toward the target, you should animate
it to move back first to create anticipation, as if an invisible hand holding the knife pulled
back just before throwing it to get more strength in the throw. This anticipation, although
small in the greater scheme, can add a nice nuance to the animation and lend a nicer
gestalt to the animation. Follow these steps:
1. Move the Time slider to frame 0. Go to the Curve Editor, scroll the Controller window, and select X Rotation track for the knife. In the Curve Editor toolbar, click the
Add Keys button ( ), bring your cursor to frame 0 of the curve, and click to create
a keyframe. This creates a key at frame 0 with the same parameters as the next
keyframe, as shown in Figure 8.38.
Figure 8.38
Adding a key to the
beginning to create
anticipation for the
knife’s throw
2. Select the Move tool and select the key at frame 10. In the Key Stats type-in, change
the value of that key to 240. If you play back the animation, it will look weird. The
knife will cock back really fast and kind of spin a bit. This is due to the big hump
between frames 0 and 10.
3. Keep the tangent at frame 0 the default, but change the tangent on the key at frame 10
to Linear. Play back the animation. You’ll have a slight bit of anticipation, but the
spice is lost and the knife looks less active and too mechanical.
4. To regain the weight you had in the knife, press Ctrl+Z to undo your change to the
tangency on frame 10 and set it back to what you had (just like Figure 8.38). You
may have to undo more than once. Now, select the Vertical Move tool and select
the In tangent for keyframe 0. This is the tangent handle on the left of the key, as
shown here.
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It’s very common to try something in the course of your work, and rely on Undo to get back
to the starting point. You can sometimes expect to Undo several times when you find yourself at a dead end.
5. Press Shift and drag the tangent handle down to create a curve that is similar to the
one shown in Figure 8.39. By pressing Shift as you dragged the tangent handle, you
broke the continuity between the In and Out handles, so that only the In handle was
affected. Play back the animation and it should look much better now.
Remember, the smallest tweaks in the Curve Editor can have a huge impact on your
animation, for good or for bad.
Follow-Through
The knife needs more weight. A great way to show that in animation is by adding followthrough. This is part of the animation concept of secondary movement that was mentioned in Chapter 1. The follow-through for the knife would be having the knife sink into
the target a little bit and push back the target as it transfers momentum to the target. For
more on momentum, see the sidebar later in this chapter.
Knife’s Follow-Through
To add follow-through to your animation, follow these steps:
1. You want to sink the knife into the target after it impacts. Select the Time Configuration button (shown in the following graphic), and change the End Time to 40 to
add 10 frames to your frame range. This will not affect the
animation; it will merely append 10 frames to the current
frame range.
2. Select the knife and go to frame 30, where it hits the target. In the Curve Editor, select
the X Position of the knife. Add a keyframe with the Add Keys tool at frame 35.
3. Note the value of the key in the type-in boxes at the bottom of the Curve Editor window (and not the type-in boxes at the bottom of the main UI). In this case, the value
in this scene is about –231. You will want to set the value for this key at frame 35 to
Figure 8.39
To create a believable anticipation for
the knife throw,
set your curve to
resemble this one.
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about –224 to sink it farther into the target. If your values are different, adjust accordingly so you don’t add too much movement. Also make sure the movement is into the
target and not back out of the target as if the knife were bouncing out.
4. Keep the tangent for this new key set to Auto. With these relative values, scrub the
animation between frames 30 and 35. You should see the knife’s slight move into
the target. The end of your curve should look like the curve seen here.
5. You still need to add a little bit of follow-through to the rotation of the knife to make
it sink into the target better. In the Curve Editor, select the X Rotation to display its
curve. Add a key to the curve at frame 35. The value of the key at frame 30 should
already be about –652. Set the value of the keyframe at frame 35 to be about –655, as
shown here. Keep the tangent set at Auto.
Be careful about how much the knife sinks into the target. Although it is important to
show the weight of the knife, it is also important to show the weight of the target; you do
not want the target to look too soft. Make sure your keys at frame 35 for the X Position
and X Rotation are not too much.
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Transferring Momentum to the Target
To make the momentum work even better for the Knife animation, you will have to push
back the target as the knife hits it. The trouble is, if you animate the target moving back,
the knife will float in the air. You have to animate the knife with the target. However, animating them separately in the hopes they will match up will frustrate you and will more
than likely look bad.
If you think that hierarchy has to be involved here, you are absolutely right. Basically,
the knife will have to be linked to the target so that when the target is animated, the knife
will follow precisely, because it is stuck in the target.
Won’t that mess up the animation of the knife? Because the knife will be the child
in the hierarchy and can have its own animation separate from the target, you can
link it after you are finished with the knife animation and have no issues. Just follow
these steps:
1. Go to frame 30, where the knife impacts. Select the Select and Link tool. Select the
knife and drag it to the target as shown. Nothing should change until you animate
the target object.
2. Move the Time slider to frame 34 and press N to activate the Auto Key tool. With
the Select and Rotate tool, select the target object and rotate it back about 5 degrees
as shown. The pivot of the target has already been placed properly, at the bottom
back edge.
3. Go to the Curve Editor, scroll to find the Y Rotation track for the target object, select
the keyframe at frame 0, and move it to frame 30. Then hold the Shift key and click
and drag the keyframe (which will make a copy of it) to frame 37. Your curve should
resemble the curve in Figure 8.40.
4. Change the Tangent at frame 0 to Fast and leave the other keyframe tangents alone.
Figure 8.40
The target will rock
back and forth on
impact.
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5. Add a little wobble to the target to make the animation even more interesting. This
can be done very easily in the Curve Editor. Select the Y Rotation of the target to
display just that curve. Use Add Key to add two keyframes at frames 40 and 44.
Using the Vertical Move tool, give the key at frame 40 a value of about 1.7. Your
curve should resemble the curve shown here.
6. Finally, add a little slide to the target. Get the Select and Move tool, move the Time
slider to frame 37, and move the target just a bit along the X-axis. Go to the Curve
Editor, scroll to the X Position of the target object, select the keyframe at frame 0, and
move it to frame 30 so the move starts when the knife hits the target. Change the tangent for frame 30 to Fast and leave the other tangent at Auto.
Done! Play back your animation. Experiment and change some of the final timings of
the target’s reaction to the impact, as well as some of the values, to see how small changes
can make big differences in how the weights of the knife and target look to the viewer.
You can see a sample render of the scene in the knife_animation.mov QuickTime file in
the RenderOutput folder of the Knife project on the CD (or copied onto your hard drive).
You can also load the Animation_Knife_01.max scene file from the Scenes folder of the
Knife project to check your work.
MOMENTUM
Understanding what momentum is and how it works is pretty important for an animator. When an object is in motion, it
has momentum. The amount of momentum is calculated by multiplying the mass of the object by its velocity. The heavier
something is, or the faster it is moving, the more momentum it has and the bigger the bruise it will leave if it hits you.
That’s why a tiny bullet can cause such a great impact on a piece of wood, for example. Its sheer speed greatly increases
its momentum. Likewise, a slow-moving garbage truck can bash your car, relying on its sheer mass for its tremendous
momentum.
Basically, when one moving object meets another object that is moving or not, momentum is transferred between them.
That means when something hits an object, that target is somehow moved if there is sufficient momentum transferred to it.
It follows that the more weight an object has, the more momentum will transfer to the target. Also, the more velocity an
object has, the more momentum will be transferred to the target on collision. You will be able to show the weight of an
object in animation by showing how much momentum it transfers when it impacts another object. This could be as simple
a as knife hitting a target and moving it back, as you animated in the exercise in this chapter, or as complicated as a heavyset man walking down the street. In the latter case, because the pavement can’t give way underneath the man, the momentum that is transferred is reflected back to the man and absorbed by his body. That makes his body bend and flex and his
big belly jiggle up and down with each step.
Impact is a perfect opportunity for an animator to show his subject’s weight in motion, and it is always intrinsic in good
animation.
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Summary
In this, the first of two chapters on animation in this book, you learned the basics of creating and editing animation. You learned how to fix hierarchy problems in animation and
how to use dummy objects to help you animate properly. You bounced a ball to learn timing issues and how to edit animation curves through the Curve Editor. You then learned
the ins and outs of the Track Editor–Curve Editor before moving on to a thrown knife to
learn about trajectories and the concepts behind using secondary movement to help give
your animation weight.
Animation can be a lot of fun, but it is also tedious and sometimes aggravating. A lot of
time, patience, and practice are required to become good at animation. It all boils down to
how the animation makes you think. Is there enough weight to the subjects in the animation? Do the movements make sense? How does nuance enhance the animation? These are
all questions you will begin to discover for yourself. This chapter merely introduced you to
how to make things move in 3ds Max. It gave you some of the basics of animation techniques to help you develop your eye for motion. Don’t stop here. Go back into the chapter
and redo some of the exercises. Try different variations on the same themes. Keep working.
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CHAPTER 9
Character Studio
and IK Animation
At one time or another, almost everyone in the 3D community will want to animate a character, and this chapter examines the 3ds Max toolset that aids the process of
character animation. In this chapter, you will learn about the two components that make
up Character Studio, the full-featured package for animating bipedal characters, including
humans, aliens, robots, and anything else that walks on two feet. Although Character
Studio (CS) creates an instant structure for a character, you will also work with Inverse
Kinematics (IK), which individually creates structures for animating linked objects.
Character animation is a broad and complex field that everyone would like to experiment with at some point. This chapter introduces you to the basics of using Character
Studio and Bones. Further investigation into these tools is a must if you want your character movements to be accurate and realistic.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Character Animation
■
Character Studio Workflow
■
Creating a Biped
■
Animating a Biped
■
Associating a Biped to a Character
■
Using Inverse Kinematics
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Character Animation
The character animation CG specialty is one of the easiest to learn, but one of the toughest
to master. It takes a special kind of eye and insight to become an amazing animator. In one
word, good character animation comes down to nuance. Because humans are animated
(i.e., we move around) and surrounded by other people who move, we are innately critical when a character is not animated well. That is because we are so used to seeing detail
and nuance in movement that it is a foregone conclusion to us. We never really think twice
when we see a real person lean in a special way when they limp. However, we notice when
that nuance is missing in an animation of a person limping. As observers, we may not
know exactly what is missing, but we instinctively know that something is wrong and it
looks funny.
When you character animate, you have to have a keen eye for detail and an understanding of how proportions move on a person’s body. Setting up a CG character to walk exactly
like a human being is amazingly complicated. You must account for muscles, bone
structures, and a host of other details that most 3D software does not begin to address.
However, good animation for a character is actually not that difficult right out of the
box. Character systems such as Character Studio make it a breeze to set up characters and
have them in a walk cycle very quickly. Don’t limit your character animation studies to
Character Studio. While learning and mastering how CS works and how to animate with
it, you mustn’t lose sight of the fact that you are trying to learn how to animate as opposed
to learning how to run a piece of software.
In other words, once you gain a solid grasp of how CS and other character tools work,
use them to learn how to really animate. Character Studio is just a means to an end.
You’re here to learn to animate, not to learn how to run CS. Now that we got that out of
the way, we can concentrate on getting you comfortable with CS. Have fun!
Character Studio Workflow
Character Studio is a system built into 3ds Max to help automate the creation and animation of a character, although not necessarily just a biped (two-footed creature). Character
Studio comprises three basic components: the Biped system, the Physique modifier, and
the Crowd system. Biped and Physique are used to pose and animate a single character,
and the Crowd utility is used to assign similar movements and behaviors to multiple objects
in your 3ds Max scene. This chapter covers the Biped and Physique features, but Crowd is
beyond the scope of this book.
The first step in the Character Studio workflow is to build or acquire a suitable character
model. The model should be bipedal, meaning it stands on two feet. In the future, however, you needn’t limit yourself to strictly humanoid models; CS is perfectly useful for animating anything from a human to a dinosaur to a bumble bee. If the model’s configuration
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character studio workflow
allows it, the model should be in the reference position or “da Vinci pose” with the feet
shoulder width apart and the arms extended to the sides with the palms down, as shown in
Figure 9.1. This allows the animator to observe all of the model’s features, unobstructed
by the model itself, in at least two viewports.
Again, the term bipedal refers to an animal or character with two feet. In 3ds Max, a
biped is a predefined, initially humanoid, structure used to define the movements of your
character. It is important to understand that you animate the biped that is associated
with your model and not the model itself. The biped structure drives the model, and using
the Physique modifier ensures that your model follows the biped animation. You will
work with attaching a model to a biped later in this chapter.
Physique versus Skin
3ds Max has two modifiers that essentially do the same thing. Physique and Skin can both
be used to transfer the movement of a skeletal system to a mesh, making the character move
with the skeleton rig. Of the two, Physique is the older modifier and Skin is the more current. Historically, Character Studio, which included Physique, was developed by Unreal
Pictures and was the first major plug-in for 3ds Max. Character Studio was sold as a separate program in the product’s first releases.
Over time, users requested a program similar to Physique be included as part of the
base 3ds Max package. Autodesk developed the Skin modifier to satisfy the customers’
need for this functionality. When CS was finally included free of charge with 3ds Max,
Physique was still bundled with it, and so there were two modifiers to do the same task.
Over time, Skin has had numerous improvements that add to its capabilities, while Physique
has more or less remained the same. You can choose which one you want to learn; they
both can accomplish the same work. Some users swear by Physique, others swear at it—
and the same goes for Skin. Physique is covered in this chapter.
The default biped, shown in Figure 9.2, consists of legs, feet, toes, arms, hands, fingers,
pelvis, spine, neck, and head. After your model is ready, you will create a biped and, using
its parameters and the Scale transform, fit the biped closely to the model. The better the
biped to model relationship, the easier the animation will be.
BONES AND SKIN
The Bones system and Skin modifier are similar to Character Studio. Bones is a series of
linked, hierarchical components that are used, in conjunction with the Skin modifier, to
control the displacement of a model similar to the Biped and Physique method. Many animators swear by Bones. They appreciate the finer control they are able to achieve over the
character’s motion and motion restrictions. Others prefer the easily created hierarchies of
the Biped system.
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Figure 9.1
Figure 9.2
A bipedal character in the reference position
The default biped
After the biped is fit snugly to the model, you will select all of the components of the
model, not the biped, and apply the Physique or Skin modifier in a process often referred
to as skinning. The Physique modifier dictates which object, the pelvis of the biped usually,
the model is applied to and it is the node where modifications to the skin are accessed. It
may take a while to properly test and refine the relationship between the model and the
biped to get it to an acceptable level.
The final step will be to animate your character. You can accomplish this by using a
combination of adding walk, run, and jump cycles to the biped, applying freeform animation, and refining the animation keys in the Dope Sheet. Don’t expect the default walk,
run, and jump cycles to create realistic motion. They are just a starting point and must be
tweaked to achieve acceptable movements. Character animation is about nuance and subtlety, and those artistic touches take a significant amount of time and effort to master.
The best way to start is to jump in and examine the tools available. In the next section,
you will work with a biped and adjust the parameters and components to modify it.
Creating a Biped
As stated previously, you should create your model first and then create and modify your
biped to fit the model. In this section, however, you are going to examine the procedure
for creating and modifying a biped first to provide an understanding of its capabilities.
Later in this chapter, we will revisit the methods for adjusting your biped specifically to
match a model.
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Placing a Biped in a Scene
Let’s create a Biped system for your scene to get a feel for how CS works. Unlike many
of the objects that you’ve created so far, Biped is located under the Systems category
the Create tab of the Command panel rather than the Geometry button.
Follow these steps to create and adjust a biped:
1. From the Command panel, select Create ➔ Systems ➔ Biped.
2. Click and drag in the Perspective viewport to create the biped.
Clicking sets the insertion point, and dragging defines the height
of the biped system and defines all of the components. All of the
biped’s components are sized relative to the biped’s Height parameter. Instead of making a single object, you created 30 visible and 5
hidden objects arranged in a linked hierarchy. All of the elements
on the left side of the biped’s body will be blue, and all of the elements
on the right side will be green. This is part of the Character Studio coloring scheme that is carried throughout 3ds Max.
3. Press the H key to see the list of visible objects created with the
default biped. All of the objects are indented from the edge of the
dialog box, indicating that they are subordinate to, or children
of, the objects above them in the list. Close the Select Objects
dialog box.
If your Select Objects dialog box does not display a hierarchy in an indented format as
shown, check the Display Subtree box near the bottom of the dialog.
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4. While the biped is still selected, scroll the Command panel to display the Create Biped
rollout.
This rollout is where changes to the biped’s structure are made. You can increase
the number of fingers and toes and the number of links in each to match your
model. You can even add a tail or ponytails by increasing the number of links for
these parameters, or you can discard the arms altogether. Adding neck links will
make your biped taller, but adding spine links will only subdivide the torso area for
more control in the midsection.
5. Change the parameters as you like. The biped in Figure 9.3 includes additional fingers
and toes, as well as a tail and a ponytail.
The root object of the hierarchy is named Bip01, for the first biped that you create in a scene,
and all the associated objects will have a Bip01 prefix. Changing the name of the object in the
Name and Color rollout changes only the name of the root object and does not cascade
throughout the hierarchy. Changing the name in the Root Name section of the Create Biped
rollout, however, affects all of the objects in the biped.
Figure 9.3
A biped with modified parameters
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Modifying a Biped
Bipeds are very generic in appearance, and you will rarely, if ever, use the default biped in
an actual animation. Biped’s have a complete set of tools available for modifying their
structure and their behavior to match a model. You will have to select an appropriate editing mode to access the appropriate tools to adjust your biped. This section covers the tools
used to adjust the size of a biped’s individual elements.
1. Clear your selection set by clicking the Select Object ( ) button in the main toolbar
and then clicking on any blank area of a viewport. Nothing in your scene should be
selected.
2. Click any part of your biped to select it. Bipeds react differently than other objects:
selecting any single component opens the entire object for editing.
3. Click the Modify tab of the Command panel. The purpose of a biped is to create
an animation. This is why all of the biped’s parameters, including those that control
animation and appearance, are consolidated under the Motion tab of the Command
panel.
4. Click the Motion tab of the Command panel to display the first level of rollouts to
control a biped.
5. In the Biped rollout, click the Figure Mode button to display
the rollouts that pertain to the biped’s configuration, but
not to its animation or footstep control. The Figure Mode
button turns blue to indicate the current mode that the
system is using.
6. Expand the Structure rollout to access the same parameters
that were used when you first created the biped to adjust its
basic configuration. Make any additional modifications that
you choose.
In the Body Type area at the bottom of the Structure rollout, you can change the overall
appearance of the biped from the default Skeleton to Male, Female, or Classic. The body
type has little to do with the biped’s capabilities and is more a matter of preference.
7. Select the biped’s left upper arm. In the main toolbar, click the Rotate transform button and set the reference coordinate system to Local. Most transforms that are applied
to a biped are applied in the Local coordinate system so
they are relative to the object, rather than the world or
the current viewport.
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8. Place your cursor over the green Y-axis ring of the Rotate Transform gizmo and drag
upward to rotate the upper arm upward, as shown in Figure 9.4. All of the pivot points
for the biped elements will be placed at the top of the objects. For example, the upper
arm pivots at the shoulder, the lower arm pivots at the elbow, and the hand pivots at
the wrist. This is one of Character Studio’s great time savers.
9. Click the Scale transform in the main toolbar. The reference coordinate system
automatically switches to Local and then grays out to indicate that the parameter
cannot be altered. All scale transforms applied to
biped components must be applied in the Local
reference coordinate system.
10. Click and drag on the X-, Y-, and Z-Axis handles of the Scale Transform gizmo individually. The Y and Z handles make the upper arm large or small, causing your biped
to get bulked up or thinned out. Dragging on the X handle changes the length of the
upper arm. You should observe the changes in all of the viewports while you’re
adjusting the scale.
11. Select and adjust the left lower arm, hand, and fingers to suit yourself. Don’t worry
about the right side yet; it will be covered shortly.
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Figure 9.4
Rotating a biped
component
12. Select each of the spine links and scale them to give your biped a nice, tapered torso.
Dragging the X handle upward will scale the links vertically and push the elements
above them upward, increasing the height of the biped. Scaling the top spine link in
the positive Z-direction will push the clavicles and all other arm components outward, as shown in Figure 9.5. The clavicles are linked to the middle of the top spine
link and can be protruded by that link. If necessary, scale the clavicle to extend
beyond the top spine link.
Figure 9.5
Scaling the top
spine link pushes
the arms outward.
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13. Select and scale the pelvis to spread the hips out further.
14. Similar to Steps 10 and 11, use the Scale transform to adjust the scale of the bipeds left
upper and lower leg and foot.
As you can see, creating a biped is fairly simple. You simply click and drag to place the
system and drag to set its height and proportionate size. You then adjust the parameters of
the structure in the Motion panel. Finally, you position and adjust the size of each of the
biped’s components using the transforms.
Copying and Pasting Postures
Most characters are basically symmetrical with some variation in their surface appearance
to make them look a bit less than perfect and a bit more natural. Character Studio allows
you to set the structure and form—called the posture—for elements on one side of a biped’s
body and then paste those features to the elements on the other side. For instance, when
the length, width, and pose of the left arm, hand, and fingers are tweaked as required, the
same dimensions and orientations can be pasted to the same components on the right
side. You don’t need to model the opposite side independently. There is no self-adjusting
relationship between the two sides, so any future changes to one side must be pasted again
to the other to maintain any symmetry.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open CSBiped1.max from the companion CD.
2. Select the biped and access Figure mode if necessary.
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3. Double-click on the left upper arm. Double-clicking on an object selects that object
and all the objects below it in the hierarchy—in this case, the lower arm, hand, and all
finger joints.
4. Open the Copy/Paste rollout.
5. Postures must be saved as collections prior to being pasted. Click the Create Collection
button and then rename the collection from the default Col01 to Left Arm.
6. Just below the blue Posture button, click the Copy Posture button to copy the selected
posture to the clipboard. A preview of the copied posture will appear in the Copied
Postures area of the Command panel.
7. Click the Paste Posture Opposite button. The size, scale,
and orientation of the selected objects will be applied to
the reciprocal objects on the opposite side of the biped,
as shown in Figure 9.6.
Copied postures are not limited to being pasted within a single biped; they can also be
pasted to other bipeds. Simply copy the posture, select any part of another biped, and then
click the Paste Posture button.
8. Repeat Steps 3 through 7 to copy the posture of the left leg to the right side of the
biped.
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Figure 9.6
Pasting a posture
to the other side
of a biped
As you’ve seen in this section, modifying a biped’s appearance and posture is simply
the process of selecting one of its components and using the Rotate and Scale transforms
to change its size and orientation as needed. In the “Associating a Biped to a Character”
section, later in this chapter, you will explore the procedures for fitting a biped to a specific model to ensure a smooth animation setup. Now is a good time to save your scene
before you proceed to the next section.
Animating a Biped
Bipeds can be animated in several ways, including footstep-driven animation and freeform
animation. Just as it sounds, footstep-driven animation is the process of adding visible footsteps to your scene and directing the biped to step onto those footsteps at a particular
point in time. Footsteps can be added individually or as a set of walk, run, or jump steps;
they can be moved or rotated to achieve the desired result. When using footstep-driven
animation, the legs and feet of the biped are not the only things animated; the hips, arms,
tails, and all other components are animated too. A short animation sequence can generate hundreds, or even thousands, of animation keys.
Footstep-driven animation is often a good starting point, but it is rarely the complete
solution to your animation needs. For example, there is no method for turning a biped’s
head or raising its arms using footsteps. Even when footsteps are used to create the initial
movement of a biped, freeform animation is used to augment and tweak it. Freeform animation is created using the procedures discussed in Chapter 8, “Introduction to Animation,”
which includes using the Auto Key method and the Track View in Curve Editor mode.
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The animation keys that are added to the selected objects appear in the Track Bar where
they can be moved, modified, or deleted to adjust the animation. Some character animators
forgo footstep-driven animation altogether and use freeform animation exclusively for the
control it gives by creating keys only where the animator chooses and not throughout the
biped. In this section, you will explore both the footstep-driven and freeform methods for
animating a biped.
Moving the Biped into Place
As a system, bipeds can’t simply be moved using the Move transform in the Main toolbar.
To position one correctly, you must select and move the root object using the Body Vertical and Body Horizontal buttons.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open CSBiped2.max from the companion CD.
If you open the CD file, select the biped and enter Figure mode if necessary.
In the previous exercise, when you scaled either of the leg elements along the X-axis,
the feet of the biped moved off the construction plane where new objects are created.
This plane is where the new footsteps will be placed, so you will want the biped’s feet
at that same elevation.
2. Maximize the Right viewport and zoom so that you can see the dark, horizontal line
indicating the construction plane, the feet, and the pelvis. The pelvis isn’t really
important at this point, but the root object located inside of it is.
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3. In the Track Selection rollout, click the Body Vertical button. This selects the diamondshaped Bip01 object, which is the root of the hierarchy, and activates the Move
transform.
4. Use the Move Transform gizmo to move the biped until the feet rest on the construction plane, as shown in Figure 9.7.
5. Switch back to a four-viewport display.
Adding Footsteps
Adding footsteps is as simple as adding a specified number of steps with a specific gait or
clicking the mouse button to place footsteps individually. First, you will place a series of
steps, and then you will place steps individually.
1. With the biped selected, click the Footstep Mode button in the Biped rollout. The
rollouts change to display the tools for adding and controlling a biped’s motion. The
Footstep mode and Figure mode are exclusive; you cannot be in both modes at the
same time.
2. In the Footstep Creation rollout, make sure that the Walk
gait is selected and then click the Create Multiple Footsteps button.
Figure 9.7
Moving the biped to the construction plane
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3. In the Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box that appears, assign the Footstep properties including the number of steps, the width and length of each step, and which foot
to step with first. Set the Number of Footsteps to 8 and leave the other parameters at
their default values, as shown in Figure 9.8. Click the OK button.
Figure 9.8
Creating multiple
footsteps
4. Zoom out in the Perspective viewport to see the footsteps that have been created.
Look at the Time slider, and note that the scene now ends at frame 123; that’s 23
more frames than the 100 frames the scene had at the beginning of this chapter. 3ds
Max recognized that it would take the biped 123 frames, just over 4 seconds, to move
through the eight steps that it was given.
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5. Click the Play Animation ( ) button in the Playback Controls area. Nothing will
happen. The biped must be told explicitly to create animation keys for the steps that
have been added to the scene.
6. Drag the Time slider back to frame 0.
In the Footstep Operations rollout, click the Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps
button.
The biped will drop its arms and prepare to walk through the footsteps that are now
associated with it.
8. Click the Play Animation button again. This time the biped will walk through the
footsteps with its arms swinging and its tail and ponytail swaying back and forth.
Controlling the View
Now the problem is that the biped walks off screen so you cannot see the end of the walk
cycle. Motion cycles can be very linear and difficult to track, so Character Studio contains
the In Place mode to follow a biped’s animation. While in the In Place mode, the biped
will appear to stay in place while the scene moves around it. The In Place mode cannot be
used in a Camera viewport.
1. In the Biped rollout, click the Modes and Display text with the plus sign to the left of
it. This is actually a small rollout located inside of another rollout that expands to display additional display-related tools.
2. In the Modes and Displays rollout, click the In Place Mode button.
3. Click the Play Animation button again. This time the biped will appear to be walking
in place while the footsteps move underneath it, as shown in Figure 9.9.
4. Stop the animation playback.
Using the In Place mode helps work out the way a character moves without having to
navigate throughout 3D space with your viewport. It is important to closely watch the
cycle movement and try to finesse parts to suit the character. The In Place mode is great
for this because the viewport moves with the character in 3D space and you can concentrate on how its body is moving.
WALK, RUN, OR JUMP?
What is the difference between a walk, run, or jump gait in 3ds Max? The difference is not
speed or length of stride; it’s the number of feet that the biped places on the ground at any
given moment. In a walk gait, the biped has either one foot or both feet on the ground at all
times. During a run sequence, the biped has either one foot on the ground or, in mid stride,
zero feet on the ground. When the biped is executing a jump sequence, it has either both
feet on the ground or zero feet on the ground while it is airborne.
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Figure 9.9
The biped does
not change position
in the viewport
when it is in the In
Place mode.
Adding a Run and Jump Sequence
Having created a footstep cycle doesn’t limit you to just those footsteps. Any extra footstep sequences can be added to a biped. These new footsteps are appended to any existing
footsteps. This, in turn, extends the length of the animation, if necessary, to accommodate
the additional footsteps. In the next exercise, you will add footsteps to the existing animation cycle.
Continue with the previous exercise or open CSBiped3.max from the companion CD,
select any biped component, and access Footstep mode from the Motion panel.
1. Click the Run button ( ) in the Footstep Creation rollout. This will apply a run gait
to any footsteps created in the Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box.
2. Click the Create Multiple Footsteps button to open the Create Multiple Footsteps
dialog box.
3. Change the Number of Footsteps to 10 and click the OK button.
4. In the Footstep Operations rollout, click the Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps button to associate the new footsteps with the biped.
5. Press the Play Animation button. The biped walks through the first eight steps and
then runs through the next ten. As you can see, the run sequence meets the definition
of a run, but it is far from realistic. You’ll learn later in this chapter how to add to or
modify a biped’s motion.
6. Click the Jump button in the Footstep Creation rollout, and then click the Create
Multiple Footsteps button.
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7. In the Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box, set the Number of Footsteps to 4 and
click the OK button. Because a jump is defined as a sequence with either two feet or
zero feet on the ground at a time, four jump steps will equal two actual jumps.
8. Click the Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps button to associate the new jump footsteps with the biped.
9. Press the Play Animation button. The biped will walk, run, and then end the sequence
with two jumps.
The Actual Stride Height parameter in the Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box determines
the height difference from one footstep to the next. For example, to animate your biped
walking up a flight of stairs, you would set the Actual Stride Height to the same value as the
rise of each stair.
Adding Freeform Animation
Good animation rarely comes from a first try. When you set your keys initially, you will
need to edit them to suit good timing and form, as well as fix any issues that may come up.
Character animation is relational: when one part of the body is in one movement, another
part of the body is in an accompanying or supportive or even opposite form of movement.
When you are walking and your right leg swings forward in a step, your right arm swings
back and your left arm swings out to compensate. With character work, you have to remain
cognizant of the entire body of the character and how it moves.
As with everything that is automated, the walk, run, and jump cycles that CS creates
definitely need some work before they will be acceptable as good animation; they definitely
lack the human touch, which is the earmark of good animation. For example, based on a
standard CS cycle, the biped’s head never turns, the torso is very stiff, and the arms swing
similarly regardless of the gait type selected. With animating using CS, you will need to add
the little nuances of movement that make animation interesting and personable. You will
need to add animation to the biped to gain personality. Luckily, you can easily add or modify the biped’s existing animation keys with freeform animation using the Auto Key button and the Dope Sheet. The following exercises contain examples of freeform animation.
Moving the Head
Any character’s head will move along while the character walks. The following steps will
guide you through the process of creating head movement for your biped. Continue with
the current project or open the CSBiped4.max file from the companion CD.
1. Select one of the biped’s components and, if necessary, exit the Footstep mode by
clicking the Footstep Mode button.
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2. Drag the Time slider to frame 50, approximately the point when the biped lifts its left
foot off of footstep number 2.
Footsteps are numbered, starting with the number 0 and initially alternating from the left to
the right side. They are also color-coded, corresponding to the biped, with blue footsteps on
the left and green footsteps on the right.
3. Select the biped’s head and note the animation keys that appear in the Track Bar, as
shown in Figure 9.10.
4. In the Track Bar, select the two keys on either side of the current frame and
delete them.
There seems to be an intermittent bug in release 9 of 3ds Max. If the selected keys for the
head will not delete, enter and exit the Footstep mode and then try again. They should disappear after the second try.
5. Click the Auto Key button (
) to turn it on.
Figure 9.10
Selecting a
component of
the biped reveals
all of that object’s
animation keys in
the Track Bar.
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6. Click the Rotate transform button and rotate the head to the left and up, as if it sees
somebody in a second floor window off screen. A new key will be created at frame 50,
recording the time and value of the head’s rotation.
7. Scrub the Time slider back and forth. Watch the head rotate from a neutral position
to the orientation that you created and then rotate back to the neutral position.
8. Select all the keys after frame 50 and before frame 100. Delete them by pressing the
Delete key. This will make room for the new key that you are about to create. If animation keys are too close together, the animation could appear jerky.
9. Select the key at frame 50, hold the Shift key down, and drag a copy of the key to
frame 90. Use the readout at the bottom of the 3ds Max window to drag the key with
precision. Copying the key will cause your biped to hold that neck pose for 40 frames
or about one and one-third seconds. Scrub the Time slider to review the animation.
10. Select the biped’s left upper arm.
11. In the Track Bar, select and delete all keys between frames 50 and 100. The animation
keys for the arms define their swing motion and the biped walks. If you scrub the Time
slider or play the animation, the biped will hold its arm unnaturally stiff for 60 frames
because you deleted the animation keys between two points where it holds its hand
forward. That’s OK; we’re just making room for some new keys.
12. Move the Time slider to frame 60. This is the location for the first new animation key.
Moving the Arms
Now it’s time to animate the arms, which are essential components in any walk cycle. To
do so, just follow these steps:
1. Rotate the upper arm upward, so that it points to the same location at which the head
is looking.
2. Continue adjusting the biped’s left arm, hand, and fingers until they appear to be
pointing at something, as shown in Figure 9.11.
3. Double-click on the left upper arm to select it and all of the components below it in
the hierarchy.
4. In the Track Bar, select the key at frame 60, hold the Shift key down, and drag it to
frame 85 to create a copy.
5. Drag the Time slider and watch the Perspective viewport. The biped will walk for bit,
notice something off-screen, point at it, and drop its arm while looking forward again
before breaking into a run and then a jump.
6. Click the Auto Key button to turn it off.
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Figure 9.11
Rotate the biped’s
arm, hand, and fingers to assume a
pointing posture.
Completing the Motion Sequence
The CSBiped5.max file on the companion CD contains the completed scene to this point.
For additional practice, add keys to the animation of the biped’s arms when it jogs
through the run cycle. For example, when the left foot is fully extended and the heel plants
on the ground, the right arm should be bent at the elbow and swung forward and slightly
in front of the biped’s body. As the right foot swings forward during the next step, the right
arm should swing backward and assume a nearly straight posture. Bend each of the spine
links and swing both arms backward to prepare the biped for each of the jumps. Use the
Body Vertical button in the Track Selection rollout to lower the pelvis into a prelaunch
position before the biped launches into its upward motion. Remember to make sure the
Auto Key button is turned on to record all the changes that you make as animation keys.
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Modifying Animation in the Dope Sheet
What if you need to change the animation that comes with CS? To that end, you will need
to edit the keyframes of the biped once you are happy with the base animation cycle. For
this, you need to use the Track View Dope Sheet.The Track View Curve Editor is used to
edit the function curves between animation keys; however, the Track View Dope Sheet
interface is cleaner and is used to edit the specific value and position of the keys. Access to
the footstep keys is available only in the Dope Sheet. In this exercise, you will add individual footsteps and modify the footstep timing in the Dope Sheet to make the biped dance
and jump.
Control of footstep animation is not available in the Track View Curve Editor. You can, however, convert footstep animation to freeform animation using the Convert button (
) in
the Biped rollout. All existing animation will be retained, but the footstep-driven feature will
be replaced by simple function curves that can be edited in the Curve Editor.
Adding Footsteps Manually
With the following steps, you will manually add footsteps to your biped character:
1. Create a new scene with a biped or open CSBiped6.max from the companion CD.
This is a biped with no footsteps applied.
2. Enter the Footstep mode.
3. In the Footstep Creation rollout, click the Walk Gait button and then the Create
Footsteps (at current frame) button.
4. In the Top viewport, click in several locations to place alternating left and right
footsteps.
5. Change the gait to Jump, and then click the Create Footsteps (Append) button to
create additional footsteps. Create about 12 footsteps in all.
6. When you are done, use the Move and Rotate transforms to adjust the footstep locations and orientations as desired. Your Top viewport should look similar to Figure 9.12.
7. In the Footstep Operations rollout, click the Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps button
and then play the animation.
8. Character Studio doesn’t have a collision-detection feature, so it is very possible that
limbs will pass through one another. If this happens, the footsteps must be modified
to eliminate these conditions.
9. If necessary, move any footsteps that cause collisions or other unwanted conditions
during the playback.
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Figure 9.12
Manually place the
footsteps in the Top
viewport.
Using the Dope Sheet
In Chapter 8, you experimented with the Track View Curve Editor and learned how to
adjust the values of animation keys while observing the inter-key values displayed as a
function curve. When the Track View is in Dope Sheet mode, frames are displayed as individual blocks of time that may or may not contain keys. Although you cannot see the flow
from key to key that the Curve Editor displays, the Dope Sheet mode has its advantages,
including the ability to add Visibility tracks to control the display of an object and Note
tracks for adding text information regarding the keys.
Using the Track View Dope Sheet, you can adjust the point in time when a foot plants
on or lifts off the ground, how long the foot is on the ground, and how long the foot is airborne. Rather than appearing as single frame blocks in the Dope Sheet, like other keys do,
footstep keys appear as multiframe rectangles that identify each foot’s impact time with
the footstep.
1. Exit the Footstep mode.
2. In the main toolbar, choose Graph Editors ➔ Track View – Dope Sheet. The Dope
Sheet will open.
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3. In the Navigation pane on the left, scroll down until you find the Bip01 entry. Expand
the Bip01 and Bip01 Footsteps entries. The footstep keys appear as rectangles in the
Key pane. As expected, the left keys are colored blue and the right keys are colored
green. If necessary, click the Zoom Region button ( ) in the lower-right corner of
the Dope Sheet window and drag a zoom window around the footstep keys. The
region will expand to fit the key pane.
4. Select a few Footstep keys in the Navigation pane.
The white dot on the left side of a selected key identifies the frame when the heel of the
biped’s foot first impacts the footstep. Similarly, the white dot on the right side of a selected
key identifies when the biped’s foot lifts off a footstep. A blue key overlapping a green key
indicates that both feet are on the ground. A vertical gray area with no footstep indicates
that the biped is airborne and neither foot is on the ground.
5. Select the first key (numbered 0), place the cursor over the right white dot and then
drag the dot to the right to extend the length of time that the biped’s foot is on the
ground.
You can’t move the end of one footstep key beyond the beginning of another one, and you
must maintain a one-frame gap between same-side footsteps. You can’t move a key to a
point in time beyond the active time segment nor can you modify keys for footsteps that
have been created, but not yet associated to the biped. In addition, footsteps must be at
least two frames long.
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6. The double vertical line in the Dope Sheet’s key pane is another Time slider that
allows you to scrub through the animation. Drag the Dope Sheet’s Time slider to a
point in time when the biped is airborne, as shown in Figure 9.13. Scrub the Time
slider, and the foot will remain planted on the ground and then quickly move to the
next footstep. The shorter the gap between footstep keys, the faster the movement
between them.
A biped’s airborne time is calculated using the standard physics values for acceleration due to gravity: 32 ft/s2 or 9.8 m/s2.The biped does not simply hover at a userdefined altitude by moving it in the Z-axis and setting a key, as you would do with
most other 3ds Max objects Therefore, increasing the airborne time by increasing the
gap between footsteps will boost the height to which the biped rises act against the
gravitational force pushing it downward.
7. Select the next-to-last Footstep key and drag it to the
right to create a gap approximately 30 frames wide
between any frames. This will cause the biped to be
airborne for about one second.
It is possible to move a footstep beyond the limits of the active time segment in the Dope
Sheet. For example, in a 100-frame animation, you can move the last footstep to start at
frame 105 and end at frame 123. When you play the animation, it will begin to loop at frame
100, and you will never see the animation created by the last keys. Use the Alt+R key combination to extend the active time segment to include all existing keys.
Figure 9.13
Drag the Time slider
until the biped is
airborne.
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8. Move the time slider to the frame when both feet are planted before the jump starts.
Turn on the Auto Key button.
9. To prepare the biped to leap, select the Bip01 object and move it downward, causing
the biped to bend its knees more. Rotate the spine links, neck, and head to bend the
torso forward and tuck the chin. Rotate both arms backward into a prejump posture.
Be sure to choose Local as the reference coordinate system for the Rotate transform.
10. Move the Time slider forward until the biped is at the apex of the jump. Rotate the
biped’s components into positions to your liking. Delete any animation keys that may
interfere with your desired motion.
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associating a biped to a character
The CSBiped7.max file on the companion CD contains the completed exercise.
As you saw in this section, there are several ways to animate a biped including the
footstep-driven method, the freeform method, and a combination of techniques. You can
also modify the animation in the Track Bar, with the Auto Key button, and with the Track
View Dope Sheet Editor. The next section addresses the methods for associating your
biped to a 3D model.
Associating a Biped to a Character
The purpose of a biped is to be the portal through which you add animation to your
model, rather than animating the model itself using direct vertex manipulation or
deforming modifiers. Any motion assigned to a biped is passed through it to the nearest
vertices of the associated model, essentially driving the surfaces of the model. For this
reason, it is important that the biped fit as closely as possible to the model.
Creating and Modifying the Biped
In the following steps, you’ll create and adjust a biped to fit to a character model:
1. Open the CSAlien.max file from the companion CD. It contains a completed alien
model in the reference position.
2. Select all of the model’s components, right-click in a viewport and choose Freeze
Selection. This will prevent you from inadvertently selecting the alien instead of
the biped.
3. Create a biped with a height about the same as the alien’s. This will size most of the
biped’s parts similar to those of the alien.
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VIEWING FROZEN OBJECTS
If your background color is similar to the default shade of gray that Max uses to depict frozen
objects, the model may seem to disappear against the background. There are several solutions
to this situation:
1. You can go to Object Properties, turn off Show Frozen as Gray, turn on See-through, and
set all viewports to Smooth + Highlights mode.
2. You can change the shaded color in the Customize User Interface dialog box (Customize ➔
Customize User Interface ➔ Colors).
3. You can change the viewport background color in the Customize User Interface dialog
box (Customize ➔ Customize User Interface ➔ Colors).
4. With the biped still selected, click the Motion tab of the Command panel and enter
Figure mode. Changes to the biped’s features or pose must be made in Figure mode
to be retained by the system.
5. Use the Body Vertical and Body Horizontal buttons in the Track Selection rollout and
the Move Transform gizmo to position the biped’s pelvis in the same location as the
model’s. With the pelvis located properly, scaling the legs or spine to match the model’s
proportions will be easier. Check to make sure the location is correct in all of the
viewports.
As you did in a previous exercise, you will modify one side of the biped to fit the
model and then paste that posture to the other side.
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6. In the Front viewport, select the pelvis and scale its width so that the biped’s legs fit
inside the alien’s legs. Scale the pelvis in the Right viewport so that it roughly encompasses the alien’s lower region.
7. Select the biped’s left upper leg then scale it along the X-axis until the knee aligns with
the alien’s knee. Scale it in the Y- and Z-axes until it is similar in size to the alien’s
thigh, as shown in Figure 9.14.
8. Select the biped’s left calf. In the Right viewport, rotate the calf to match the model
and then scale it in the X-axis until the biped’s ankle matches the alien’s ankle.
You may need to select the left foot and use the Move transform, in the Front
viewport, to orient the calf to the model. Scale the calf to match the proportions
of the alien’s calf.
Figure 9.14
Scale the length,
width, and depth of
the biped’s upper
leg to match the
alien’s thigh.
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Modifying a biped to match a model can be a time-consuming task that requires continual
tweaking and modification. Moving the foot as described in the previous step may require
that the upper leg’s proportions be readdressed. Don’t expect to perform this task quickly
without making any revisions to components on which you have previously worked. The better the biped matches the model now, the easier the animation will be later.
9. Continue working down the leg by scaling the biped’s foot to match the alien’s. Be
sure to check the orientation of the foot in the Top viewport. In the Structure rollout,
use the Ankle Attach parameter to move the biped’s ankle slightly backward, as shown
in Figure 9.15.
10. In the Structure rollout, change the number of Toes to 3 and Toe Links to 2.
11. Scale and move the biped’s toes to match the model’s. Be sure to select the first toe
link and use the Local Transform coordinate system to move the toes.
12. Double-click on the left upper leg to select it and all of the objects below it in the hierarchy. Create a collection and then copy/paste the posture of the left leg to the right as
you did in the Copy and Paste Postures section in this chapter. The model is not perfectly symmetrical; make any necessary changes to the right side of the biped.
Figure 9.15
Increasing the Ankle
Attach parameter to
move the ankle
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Adjusting the Torso and Arms
Similar to the method used to adjust the legs, you will use the Scale and Rotate transforms
to fit the biped to the model. The locations of the arms rely on the scale of the spine links.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open CSAlien2.max from the companion CD,
select the biped, and then access Figure mode.
2. Select each of the spine links in turn, and then rotate and scale them to fit the alien’s
torso. Only the lowest spine link can be moved, and this will move all of the links above
it as well. Each should be scaled down slightly in the X-axis to lower the biped’s clavicles to match the model’s.
3. Move, rotate, and scale the left clavicle as required to place the biped’s shoulder
socket in the proper location.
4. Scale and rotate the left upper arm and left forearm using the same techniques you
used to adjust the biped’s legs.
5. Scale and rotate the left hand as required.
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6. In the Structure rollout, increase the number of Fingers to 4 and Finger Links to 2.
Once the fingers have been adjusted, you can not go back and change the number of Fingers or Finger Links. If you do, all modifications to the fingers will be lost.
7. Adjust the biped’s fingers to match the models. This can be one of the more tedious
tasks in character animation, depending on the complexity and orientation of the
model’s fingers. Take your time and get it right.
Separate motion tracks, in the Track View, for each finger are new to 3ds Max 9. Previous versions combined all finger animation into a single track, making finger animation difficult to
edit or control.
8. When you are done, paste the posture to the right side of the biped and make any
required changes.
Adjusting the Neck and Head
The head and neck will seem easy to adjust when compared to the hands. You need to
make sure the neck links fill the alien’s neck area and scale the head to fit.
1. In the Structure rollout, increase the number of Neck Links to 2.
2. Move, scale, and rotate the neck links to match the proportions of the model’s neck.
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3. Move and scale the head to the approximate size of the alien’s head.
That’s it. The biped has been created and adjusted to fit the 3D model, and half the
battle is over. In the next section, you will tie the biped to the model and make adjustments to the skinning process. Now would be a good time to save your work.
Applying the Physique Modifier
The Physique modifier is the tool used to associate the 3D model to the biped so that all of
the biped’s animation is passed through to the model. It’s important to remember that the
modifier is applied to the model and not to the biped. Continue with the previous exercise
or open CSAlien3.max from the companion CD.
1. Right-click in any viewport and select Unfreeze All from the Quad menu to unfreeze
the alien model.
2. Select all three of the alien components: the body and both eyes.
3. In the Named Selection Sets field in the main toolbar, enter the name Alien to save
the alien meshes as a named selection set. By creating named selection sets, you can
quickly access all of the desired components by selecting the named selection set
from the drop-down list on the main toolbar. For reference, see Chapter 3, “The 3ds
Max Interface,” for the icons and functions of the
named selection sets.
4. Repeat the process with the biped by selecting all of its components and naming the
selection set Alien Biped.
5. Select the Alien selection set and click the Modify tab of the Command panel.
6. Expand the Modifier List and select the Physique modifier.
7. In the Physique rollout, click the Attach to Node ( ) button.
The button will turn yellow and wait for you to identify the
root object in the hierarchy that controls the mesh.
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8. Press the H key to open the Pick Object dialog box. This method will be easier than
trying to click on the object directly in a cluttered scene. Select the Bip01 Pelvis object
and click the Pick button, as shown in Figure 9.16.
9. In the Physique Initialization dialog box, accept the defaults and click the Initialize
button. The cursor will briefly turn into a coffee cup to indicate that the initialization
is in progress. It will return to normal when the process is complete.
Testing the Model
The most time-consuming part of the process is complete. You have created a biped,
adjusted all of its component parts to fit your model, and applied the Physique modifier
to link the model to the biped. The final step is to test the model by adding animation.
1. Select any element of the biped and click the Motion tab of the Command panel.
2. Enter Footstep mode.
3. Add a footstep sequence as you did in the Animating a Biped section of this chapter.
Don’t forget to create keys for the inactive footsteps. Exit the Footstep mode when
you are done.
4. Activate the In Place mode, and then zoom and pan the Perspective viewport to get a
good view of the action.
5. To select the entire biped, select the Alien Biped named-selection set from the dropdown list on the main toolbar.
6. Right-click in any viewport and choose Hide Selection from the Quad menu to hide
the biped and obtain an unobstructed view of the model.
7. Click the Play Animation button. Your alien will walk through the scene; it should
be similar to the rendered alien shown in Figure 9.17.
Figure 9.16
Use the Pick Object
dialog box to select
the root object in a
cluttered scene.
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Figure 9.17
The rendered alien
during a walk cycle
The completed Character Studio Alien exercise can be found in the CS Alien
Complete.max file on the companion CD.
As mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, Character Studio is a very complete
character animation package, and we’ve barely scratched the surface here. There are
tools for saving biped configurations and sequences of animation. You can mix animation
sequences from different files to create an entirely new motion. When the model does not
skin properly, you can use envelopes to refine the skinning process, define vertices to be
excluded from a specific biped object’s influence, or include bulge conditions to define
the model’s behavior depending on the angle between subsequent biped elements. The list
goes on, but the good news is that the CS tutorials and help system that ship with 3ds Max
are very thorough and you should find the information in those places to expand your
Character Studio skills once you have a solid footing with the basics of CS. It’s important
to realize that animation requires nuance, and the best animation with the simplest rig
and setup will beat a mediocre animation created with the more wonderful, complicated,
ingenious setup.
Using Inverse Kinematics
When a hierarchy is set up through linking, the result is a kinematic chain. As you saw in
Chapter 2, “Your First Max Animation,” transforms are passed from a parent object to all
of the children objects down the chain. Imagine your arm is a system of linked 3ds Max
objects; when you pivot your forearm (the parent) at the elbow, your hand (the child) and
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your fingers (the descendants) are also transformed to maintain the relationship between
the objects. This is known as Forward Kinematics (FK) and is the default method of passing transforms in a hierarchy.
When Inverse Kinematics (IK) is used, the child object is transformed while the parent
and ancestor objects maintain their relationships throughout the chain. Using the same arm
analogy, lifting a finger would raise the hand, which would raise the forearm, causing a
curl at the elbow. With IK, the end of the chain, the child, is positioned and the rest of the
chain upstream rotates and pivots to fit the new layout of the chain to achieve a possible
pose. IK setups require the use of an IK solver to determine how the parent objects react to
the child transforms and joint constraints to prevent unnecessary twists in the motion.
In the following exercise, we are headed back to the toys of war by linking a machine gun
that can be mounted on the tank you built in Chapter 5, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part II.”
Here, the goal is to arrange the IK setup so that the gun pivots vertically at the joints only
and then pivots at the turret.
Linking the Objects
The machine gun unit consists of the gun itself, two two-component pivot assemblies, two
shafts, and the turret ring. The gun is at the top of the hierarchy, and the turret is at the
bottom.
1. Open the IKGun1.max file from the companion CD.
2. Begin by linking the Gun object to the PivotTop object, the cylindrical object near the gun.
The PivotTop object will flash briefly to signify that is has been linked. If you are having
difficulty selecting the proper object directly,
press the H key to open the Select Parent
dialog box.
3. Continue the hierarchy by also linking the
PivotTopRing to PivotTop, PivotTop to
Shaft1, and Shaft 1 to PivotBottom.
4. Complete the setup by linking PivotBottomRing to PivotBottom, PivotBottom to Shaft2,
and Shaft2 to Turret. If you open the Select
Objects dialog box and make sure the Display Figure 9.18
Subtree is checked, you hierarchy will look like The Select Objects dialog box showing the
hierarchy
Figure 9.18.
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Creating Joint Constraints
The gun assembly should be able to be rotated only in certain ways. The gun itself should
only pivot perpendicular to the PivotTop object, for example. This is accomplished by
constraining the Rotate transform for the PivotTop object, the parent of the gun, to a single axis. The transforms are further restricted by limiting the range of motion an object
can rotate within an acceptable axis. This method is used to prevent the gun barrel from
rotating to the point where it disappears within the tank body. Both of these tasks are
accomplished under the Hierarchy tab of the Command panels.
1. In the Command panel, click the Hierarchy tab (
).
2. Click the IK button and then, in the Inverse Kinematics rollout, click the Interactive
IK Button. The IK button will turn yellow to signify which family of rollouts is displayed. The Interactive IK button will turn blue to indicate that this feature is active
and any transforms applied to objects in the hierarchy are applied in IK mode.
3. In the Perspective viewport, select and move the gun object along the X-axis. The
gun’s orientation changes and all of the hierarchy elements, including the turret,
change to maintain the connection, but they all rotate oddly. This is because the orientation at the joints is not constrained to a single axis or limit of degrees.
4. Undo any transforms that were applied.
5. Select the PivotTop object. In the Rotational Joints rollout, uncheck the X Axis and Z
Axis Active check boxes.
6. Check the Limited check box in the Y-axis section. Increase the From parameter to
approximately –65 by dragging the spinners. The Pivot and its children will rotate in
the viewport and then snap back to their original orientations when the mouse is
released. Drag the To spinner to approximately –40. Limiting the orientation restricts
how far the object can rotate in a particular axis, and dragging the spinners gives
visual feedback regarding the axis about which the object is rotating.
7. Select Shaft1 and uncheck the Active option the X-, Y-, and Z-axes in the Rotational
Joints rollout. Repeat the process for the Shaft2 and gun objects. None of these
objects needs to rotate on their own, they just need to follow their parent objects.
8. Select the PivotBottom object. Check the Active and Limited options in the Y-axis
area. Set the From value to –4 and the To value to 30. Uncheck the X axis and Z Axis
Active options.
9. Select the turret object. Only the Z Axis option should be checked so the turret can
only rotate laterally and not flip over. Do not check the Limited option; the Turret
should be able to rotate freely.
10. In the Object Parameters rollout, check the Terminator option to identify the Turret
as the top object in the IK structure.
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11. Select the Gun and then click the Link Info button at the top of the Hierarchy panel.
In the Rotate section of the Locks rollout, check the X option. The Gun should not
rotate in any axis except the local X-axis.
12. Select the Turret and check the X, Y, and Z options in the Move section. The Turret
should be fixed in place. In a complete 3ds Max scene, the Turret would be linked to a
larger structure to define its transforms.
13. Click the IK button at the top of the Hierarchy panel, and then click the Interactive
IK button again to turn it on if necessary. Test your IK chain by moving the gun.
As it moves, the other objects in the chain will reorient to maintain the proper relationships with their parent objects. Turn off the Interactive IK button when you
are done.
Applying the IK Solver
An IK solver calculates the controls required to position and orient the members of an
IK chain when one or more members is moved or rotated. The IK solver defines the
top of the chain and identifies the goal, or the base of the chain. The IK solver precludes
the need to activate the Interactive IK mode in the Hierarchy panel whenever IK is
required.
The two appropriate IK solvers for this situation are the HI (History Independent)
solver and the HD (History Dependent) solver. The HI solver is better suited for long animation sequences and character animation, and the HD solver is better suited for machine
animation. Because the final length of the animation for this setup is unknown, the HD
solver will be used here.
Continue with the previous exercise or open the IKGun2.max file from the companion CD.
1. Undo any transforms that were applied during the previous exercise if necessary.
Right-click the Undo button in the main toolbar to see a list of the recent changes to
the scene, with the most recent changes at the top of the list. Click on the entry in the
list that defines the last command that you want undone. That command and all of
the commands above it will highlight. Press the Enter key to undo all the selected
commands.
2. Choose Edit ➔ Hold from the main menu. A few IK operations, including applying an
IK solver, are not always undoable. If the result is not correct, choose Edit ➔ Fetch to
restore your scene to the point just before the Edit ➔ Hold was executed.
3. Turn off Interactive IK.
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4. Select the gun and choose Animation ➔ IK Solvers ➔ HD Solver. A rubber banding line
will stretch from the gun’s pivot point to the cursor. Place the cursor over the Shaft2
object and click to define it as the end of the IK chain. The IK chain should not be
bound to the object that has been designated as the Terminator.
When the cursor is moved over the other viewports while an IK solver is being assigned, the
view will update to show the rubber banding line projecting from the object to the cursor in
that particular viewport. The viewport does not have to be the active viewport for this viewport change to occur.
5. The End Effector acts as the pivot point of the Terminator object and can be used to
straighten out the chain without actually moving the child object. On the Motion
panel, in the IK Controller Parameters rollout, click the Link button in the End Effectors area and then click on the Turret. Turret appears in the End Effector Parent field.
6. Select the gun and use the Move Transform to test your IK setup. Moving the gun
forward, backward, up, or down will cause the two pivots to rotate within their limits.
The HD solver’s IK components are not listed in the Select Objects dialog box because
they act on behalf of the objects to which they are assigned. To modify any of its properties, select an object and open the Motion panel of the Command panels. The IK Controller Properties rollout contains the options for modifying the IK chain.
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Summary
This chapter introduced you to two powerful tools for reducing the time and effort required
to animate objects and characters. Character Studio is a fantastic tool that speeds up the
process of character animation. Using the Biped system, you can quickly create and adjust
the substructure that controls a 3D model. Once the Physique modifier associates the
model to the biped, character animation can be added using footstep-driven or freeform
animation.
IK is used throughout mechanical design and character animation, and it is another
3ds Max tool that you may find invaluable once its workflow becomes second nature. The
exercises in this chapter examined the basics of an IK setup and the use of an IK solver for
a mechanical animation of the tank. The IK setups can include several IK chains controlling the transforms for different components of the same model. Easily selected controls
can be placed in the scene for easy selection and manipulation of a complex model’s components. IK can also be used for organic character animation, because 3ds Max has different types of IK for character work as well (such as the HI IK or Limb Solver IK). This
chapter covered only one type of IK (using the HD solver).
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CHAPTER 10
3ds Max Lighting
Light is everything. By light we see, and by light we show. Light shapes the world
around us and defines shape, color, and texture. Computer graphics hang on every word
light has to whisper. Without faithful lighting, any good computer graphic will fall to its
knees and fail. Lighting is the most important aspect of CG, and it just simply cannot be
mastered at a snap of the fingers. The trick to correctly lighting a CG is understanding
how light works and seeing the visual nuances it has to offer.
In this chapter, you will study the various tools used to light in 3ds Max. This chapter
will serve as a primer to this most important aspect of CG. It will start you on the path by
showing you the tools available and a place to begin.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Basic Lighting Concepts
■
Three-Point Lighting
■
3ds Max Lights
■
Common Light Parameters
■
Ambient Light
■
Creating Shadows
■
Atmospheres and Effects
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Basic Lighting Concepts
On a conceptual level, the lighting in 3ds Max mimics the real-world direct-lighting techniques used in photography and filmmaking. Lights of various types are placed around a
scene to illuminate the subjects as they would for a still life or a portrait. Your scene and
what’s in it dictate, to some degree at least, which lights you put where. A number of considerations must be kept in mind when settling on a methodology and light types for CG,
but the overall concept of lighting is strikingly similar between a real-world set lighting
and CG.
At the basic level, you want your lights to illuminate the scene. Without lights, your
cameras have nothing to capture. Although it seems rather easy to throw your lights in,
turn them all on, and render the scene, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Lighting is the backbone of CG. Although it is technically easy to insert and configure
lights, it is how you light that will make or break your scene. That skill really only comes
with a good deal of experience and experimentation, and it requires a good eye and some
patience.
In this chapter, you will learn the basic procedures for lighting a scene in 3ds Max. No
single chapter could explain everything about lighting, and no beginner or intermediate
CG student should expect to quickly master the art of lighting CG. In short, lighting
touches every single aspect of the CG pipeline. A strong lighter understands modeling
form and is able to make adjustments to enable efficient lighting. Lighters understand
motion and how to light for it. They understand textures and materials, and they frequently are tasked with creating or adjusting materials to work perfectly with their lights.
Strong lighters are also rendering experts. When it’s time to render, they must know what
is and is not doable in a scene. They must diagnose problems and overcome obstacles to
make sure every frame is rendered faithfully and with artistic merit.
Develop Your Eye
To be an artist, you must learn to see. This is especially true when CG lighting. There are
so many nuances to the real-world lighting around us that we take them for granted. We
intuitively understand what we see and how it’s lit, and we infer a tremendous amount of
visual information without much consideration. With CG lighting, you must re-create
these nuances for your scene. That amounts to all the work of lighting.
The most valuable thing you can do to improve your lighting technique is to relearn
how you see your environment. Simply put, you must refuse to take for granted what you
see. If you question why things look the way they do, you’ll find that the answers almost
always come around to lighting.
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basic lighting concepts
Take note of the distinction between light and dark in the room you’re in now. Notice
the difference in the brightness of highlights and how they dissipate into diffused light
and then into shadow.
When you start understanding how real light affects objects, you’ll be much better
equipped to generate your own light. After all, the key to good lighting starts with the
desire to simply create an interesting image.
Your Scene and Its Needs
Your scene needs a careful balance of light and dark. Too much light will flatten your
image and lose details in form. This is the first mistake many beginners make; they tend
to over-light to make sure everything is lit. Figure 10.1 is a still life rendering that has too
many bright lights. The lighting only flattens the image and removes any sense of depth
and color.
On the other hand, under-lighting a scene will make it muddy and gray and pretty lifeless. Your details will end up covered in darkness, and everything will flatten out as well.
Figure 10.2 shows you the same still life that is under-lit. You hardly notice the details in
the mesh.
Your first job as a lighter is to find the balance between over-lighting and under-lighting.
It sounds simple, and it is—although it requires lighting a shot several times and test rendering it to check the outcome. Like a photographer, you want your image to have the
full range of exposure. You want the richest blacks to the brightest whites in your frame
to create a deep sense of detail. Figure 10.3 shows you a fairly well-balanced lighting for
the same still life. The light and shadow complement each other, and the lighting works
to show off the features of the objects in the scene.
Figure 10.1
Figure 10.2
An over-lit still life
An under-lit still life
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Figure 10.3
When the lighting is
balanced, the image
is more interesting.
Three-Point Lighting
Figure 10.4
A three-point lighting schematic
Three-point lighting is a traditional approach to lighting a television shot. After all these
years, the concepts still carry over to CG lighting. In this setup, three distinct roles are used
to light the subject of a shot. More than one light can be used for each of the three roles,
but the scene should in effect seem to have only one primary, or key, light, a softer light to
fill the scene, and a back light to make the subject pop out from the background.
This does not mean there are only three lights
Back Light
in the scene. Three-point lighting suggests that
there are three primary angles of light for your
shot, dependent on where the camera is located.
Three-point lighting ensures that your scene’s
main subject is well lit and has highlights and a
sense of lighting direction using shadow and tone.
Figure 10.4 shows you a plan view of the threeFill Light
point lighting layout. The subject is in the midKey Light
dle of the image.
Key Light
A key light is placed in front of the subject for the primary light. The key is placed off to
one side to give a sense of direction to the light, because one side will be brighter than the
other. Shadows will fall from this light to heighten the sense of direction and increase the
depth of the shot.
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Although it is possible for several lights to fulfill the role of key light in a scene—for
example, three ceiling lights overhead—one light should dominate, creating a definitive
direction. Figure 10.5 shows the subject being lit by a single key light.
Here, the key light produces a moody still life. It may be composed of more than one
3ds Max light, although the intent would be that all the lights that comprise the key should
come from the same angle, roughly.
Fill Light
A more diffused light than the key light, the fill light seems directionless and evenly spread
across the subject’s dark side. This fills the rest of the subject with light and decreases the
dark area caused by the key light.
The fill light shouldn’t necessarily cast any shadows onto the subject or the background.
In fact, the fill light is actually used to help bring up the darkness and soften the shadows
created by the key light. Figure 10.6 shows the same still life with an added fill light in the
scene. The fill light clearly softens the shadows and illuminates the dark areas that the key
light misses by design.
In most cases, you’ll need to place the fill light in front of the subject. The fill, however,
is aimed so that it shines from the reverse side of the key light. This angle intentionally targets the dark side of the subject. Even though the still life in Figure 10.6 is still a fairly
moody composition, much more is visible than with only the key light in Figure 10.5.
Back Light
The back, or rim, light is placed behind the subject to create a bit of a halo, which helps
makes the subject pop out in the shot. As a result, the subject has more presence against its
background. Figure 10.7 shows how helpful a back light can be.
The back light brings the fruit in this still life out from the background and adds some
highlights to the edges, giving the composition more focus on the fruit.
Figure 10.5
Figure 10.6
Key light only
A fill light is now included.
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Figure 10.7
A back light makes
the subject pop
right out.
Don’t confuse the back light with the background light, which lights the environment
behind the subject.
Three-Point Lighting in Action
The focus of the three-point lighting system is the primary subject of the shot. Of course,
this means the lighting is based on the position and angle of the subject to the camera. When
a camera is moved for a different shot, even within a scene of the same subject, a new
lighting setup is more than likely required. This makes three-point lighting shot-specific
and not scene-specific. Of course, once you have a shot set up with the lighting you like,
changing it slightly to suit a new camera angle is much easier than starting from scratch.
When the lighting is completed for the subject of a shot, the background will probably
need to be lit as well. For the background, you would typically use a directed primary light
source that matches the direction of the key light. This becomes your background’s main
light. Then you would use a softer fill light to light the rest of the background scene and to
soften the primary shadows.
Practical Lighting
Practical lighting is a theatrical term describing any lights in a scene that are cast from
lighting objects within the scene. For example, a shaded lamp on a night stand in the background of a scene set in a bedroom would need practical lighting when the light is turned
on. The practical lighting shouldn’t interfere with the main lighting of the scene. Although
if the scene’s lighting is explicitly coming from such a source, you will have to set up your
key light to match the direction and general mood of the practical light in the shot.
Each light-emitting object in your CG scene doesn’t automatically call for its own light
in 3ds Max. Rendering tricks such as glow often simulate the effect of an active scene light.
This way, you don’t need to actually use a 3ds Max light. Of course, if you need the practical light to illuminate something in the scene, you need to create a light for it.
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3ds Max Lights
3ds Max has two types of light objects: photometric and standard lights. Photometric
lights are lights that possess very specific features to enable a more accurate definition
of lighting, as you would see in the real world. Photometric lights have physically based
intensity values that more closely mimic the behavior of real light. They are rather advanced
and will not be covered in this book.
Standard lights are still extremely powerful and capable of realism, but they are more
straightforward to use than photometric lights and less taxing on the system at render time.
A still life arrangement of fruit is included on the companion CD. To practice the lighting
techniques as you read through this chapter, load the Still Life_Start.max file in the
Lighting Scene Files folder.
Default Light
What happens if you have no lights at all in your 3ds Max scene? In this case, the scene is
automatically lit by default lighting. When you add light objects, the default lighting is
replaced entirely by the new lights. There is very little you can do with the default lighting;
it is there for your convenience so you easily can view an object in Shaded mode and test
render without creating a light first.
One or Two Default Lights
When you use default lighting, there is only one light. However, you can customize the
configuration so that you can have two lights for default lighting.
To change to two default lights, in the main Menu Bar choose Customize ➔ Viewport
Configuration. In the Rendering Method tab, you can choose whether you want one light
or two lights in your default lights under the Rendering Options heading. Figure 10.8
shows the Viewport Configuration’s Rendering Method tab.
Figure 10.8
You can choose
one or two lights
for your default
lighting.
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In a single default light, you have a single key light. This light is linked to the viewport,
and it moves with the point of view. Setting up the default lighting to have two lights adds
a single fill light that is placed opposite the key light. The key is always placed in front of
the scene’s object being viewed, on its upper left side. The default fill light, if added, is
created behind the object and to the lower right. The link between the default light and the
viewport is broken when you have two default lights. In the following images, there is a
sphere on the left with a single default light. The same sphere is in the middle with two
default lights. In the image on the right, the two default lights are no longer connected to
the viewport.
In Figures 10.9 and 10.10, you can see how the second default fill light works in the still
life. Figure 10.9 has the single default light, and Figure 10.10 has two default lights. You
can see the addition of a second set of highlights on the fruit in Figure 10.10 due to the
added fill light.
Converting Default Lights
Remember that the default lights have no parameters and cannot be edited. You can, however, convert the default lighting into light objects that can be edited. You can do this only
if the 2 Lights default lighting option is selected in the Viewport Configuration.
Figure 10.9
Figure 10.10
A single default light provides a key light.
Two default lights provide a key light and a fill light.
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To add the default lighting to your scene, choose View ➔ Add Default Lights to
Scene. If you only have 1 Light default lighting, this menu option will be grayed
out. The following dialog box will open, giving you the option to add either one
or both default lights to the scene.
3ds Max will bring the default lights in as Omni lights (which you will learn
about soon). Once you add the default lights, you can edit them like any other
light. However, it’s always best to just begin lighting the scene with your own
lights created from scratch.
Using Default Lights
Once you add a light, any default lighting (that has not been added to the scene) will be
removed. Likewise, if you remove all the lights in a scene, 3ds Max will re-create the
default lighting. Figure 10.11 shows the two default lights inserted as Omni lights (the
diamond shapes) in the sphere’s scene.
Use default lighting as a temporary solution. It gives you an easy way to have a constant light that travels with the viewport’s point of view—provided it’s the single default
light. This helps you see the detail in your modeling, animation, and texturing without
having to worry about creating and placing lights, especially lights that would follow the
viewport.
Figure 10.11
Default lights are
created in the scene
as Omni lights.
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Standard Lights
Standard lights will be the staple of your lighting diet for some time to come. They are the
only lights covered in this book. The lights in 3ds Max try to mimic the way real lights
work. For example, a light bulb that emits light all around itself would be an Omni light in
3ds Max. A desk lamp that shines light in a specific direction in a cone shape would be a
spotlight. Each of the different Standard lights cast light differently. We will look at the
most commonly used lights.
3ds Max has a total of eight light types in its Standard Light collection. The following
lights are in the collection:
Target Spotlight
Free Spotlight
Target Direct Light
Free Direct Light
Omni Light
Skylight
mr Area Omni Light
mr Area Spotlight
The last two on this list have the prefix “mr” to signify that they are mental ray–specific
lights. Mental ray is an advanced renderer that is commonly used in production today. It
offers many sophisticated and frequently complex methods of lighting that enhance the
realism of a rendered scene. Because mental ray is fairly complex, it will not be covered in
this book, so its lights will not be covered in this chapter. After you read this chapter, you
should be familiar enough with lighting to get started and try new things without using
any advanced lighting and rendering methodologies. You will, however, get the chance to
light a radiosity effect in the next chapter.
Target Spotlight
A Target spotlight, as seen in Figure 10.12, is one of the most commonly used lights because
it is extremely versatile. A spotlight casts light in a focused beam, similar to a flashlight. This
type of lighting allows you to light specific areas of a scene without casting any unwanted
light on areas that may not need that light. You can control the size of the hotspot. This is
the size of the cast beam.
The light is created with two nodes, the light itself (light source) and the Target node at
which the light points at all times. This way you are able to animate the light following the
subject of the scene easily, as a spotlight would follow a singer on stage. Simply select the
target and move it as you would any other object in 3ds Max. The Target Spot will rotate
to follow the target. Similarly, you can animate the light source, and it will orient itself
accordingly to aim at the stationary target. You could of course animate both as well.
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Figure 10.12
A Target spotlight
Target Spotlight
Light Source
Target
Hotspot/Beam
Falloff /Field
CREATING A TARGET SPOT
Create a Target Spot by going to the Create panel and clicking the Lights button (
) to
access the light creation tools seen here.
Click the Target Spot button, and in the Top viewport, click and drag to create a Target
spotlight, as shown here.
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FALLOFF/FIELD
Select the light source of the Target Spot. Go to the Modify panel, and open the Spotlight
Parameters rollout as shown in the following graphic. The falloff is the area in which the
intensity of the beam falls off, or dissipates, creating a soft area around the Hotspot circle, as
seen in Figure 10.13. The falloff is represented in the viewport by the area between the inner
light-blue cone and the dark-blue outer cone. The light diminishes to 0 by the outer region.
SPOTLIGHT SHAPE
You can also change the shape of a spotlight from circular to rectangular by selecting either
Circle or Rectangle in the Spotlight Parameters rollout. In addition, using the Aspect value,
you can set the height-to-width ratio for the hotspot for either Circle or Rectangle spots.
Figure 10.14 shows a rectangular spot with an Aspect of 4.0.
Figure 10.13
The falloff of a
hotspot
Figure 10.14
A spotlight can also
be rectangular.
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When rendered, the rectangular spot looks like the image here.
SELECTING THE LIGHT
You can move (and animate) the entire light, including the light and the target, by selecting the light object in the viewport in the middle of its display, as shown in the following
graphic on the left. To access the parameters of the light, you have to select the light, as
shown on the right. The target does not list any parameters for the light.
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INTERACTIVE CONE SETTINGS
3ds Max has the ability to control the Hotspot/Beam and the Falloff/Field parameters in
the viewport. Follow these simple steps to interactively change a spotlight’s hotspot and
falloff:
1. Select the spotlight’s source.
2. Click the Select and Manipulate tool in the main toolbar (
).
3. Click and drag the green circles at the end of the spotlight cone to set the hotspot
and falloff ranges, as shown here.
Target Direct Light
A Target Direct light has Target and Light nodes to help you control the direction and animation of the light. It also has a hotspot and beam, as well as a falloff much like the Target
Spot. However, where the Target Spot emits light rays from a single point (the light source)
outward in a cone shape, the Target Direct light casts parallel rays of light within its beam
area. This helps simulate the lighting effect of the Sun, because its light rays (for all practical purposes on Earth) are parallel. Figure 10.15 shows a Target Direct light in a viewport.
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Figure 10.15
A Target Direct light
Target Direct
Light Source
Target
Hotspot/Beam
Falloff
Because the directional rays are parallel, the Target Direct lights have a beam in a straight
cylindrical or rectangular box shape instead of a cone.
You create a Target Direct light much the same way as a Target Spot. Select Target
Direct from the Create panel and click in an Orthographic window to set the light and
define the Target direction and length of the light by dragging.
Select the light for the Target Direct and open the Modify panel. In the Directional
Parameters rollout, you’ll find the same parameters for the Target Direct light that you
had for the Target Spot. The procedure to select the light is the same as for the Target Spot
as well. You can select the middle of the light for the whole object, or you can select either
the target or light. You have to select the light to bring up the parameters for the light
object.
Although the spotlight and the directional light don’t seem to be very different, the way
they light is strikingly different, as you can see in the following graphics. The image on the
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left is a Target Spot casting light and a shadow on a sphere and ground plane. The image
on the right is a Target Direct from the same angle, distance, and falloff casting a light on
the same sphere and ground plane.
The spotlight rays cast an entirely different hotspot and shadow than the directional
light, despite having the same values for those parameters.
It’s preferable to create lights in the Orthographic viewports because they give you a better
idea of size and direction than a Perspective or Camera viewport.
Free Spotlight
A Free Spot is virtually identical to a Target Spot, except that this light has no target object.
You can move and rotate the free spot however you want, relying on rotation instead of
the target to aim it in any direction. A Free spotlight is shown in Figure 10.16.
Figure 10.16
A Free spotlight
does not have
a target.
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To create a Free spotlight, simple choose Free Spot in the Create panel and click in a
viewport and drag to set its initial direction and length. The one other difference with a
Free Spot is that whereas the length of the Target spotlight is controlled by its target, a Free
Spot has a parameter in the General Parameters rollout of the Modify panel, as shown here.
You set the length by adjusting this unmarked value next to the Targeted check box. You
will study the General Parameters rollout in the next section.
Adjusting the length of a spotlight will not matter when the light is rendered; however,
seeing a longer light in the viewports can help you line up the light with objects in the
scene. Likewise, you can shorten the length of the light to clear some wireframe clutter
from your viewports.
Spotlights (including Target Spots) are great for key lighting because they are very easy
to control.
Free Direct Light
The Free Direct light is identical to the Target Direct light, but it doesn’t have the Target
node. Its parameters are the same as the Free Spot’s, and it is selected and moved in the
same way. Figure 10.17 shows a Free Directional light.
Directional lights (including Target Directs) are also great lights to use as key lights.
You can also use them for fill lights, although the beam size must be large to avoid seeing
the edges of the hotspot.
Directional lights are also used frequently to simulate sunlight, although their beams
must be quite wide to avoid any chance of seeing the hotspot or falloff area.
Figure 10.17
A Free Directional
light
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Omni Light
The Omni light in 3ds Max is a point light that emanates light from a single point in all
directions around it. Figure 10.18 shows an Omni light.
Unlike the Spot and Directional lights, the Omni light does not have a special rollout,
and its General Parameters rollout is much simpler, as shown here.
An Omni light is shown rendered in Figure 10.19. Notice how the ground plane is
brighter directly below where the light sits.
Omni lights are not very good for simulating sunlight, as Directional lights are. The
Omni light’s rays spread from a single point source, so by the time they reach their subjects, the light direction and shadows will be too disparate across a scene. In the following
graphic, an Omni light in the image on the left creates different shadow and lighting directions for all the objects in the scene, and the Directional light in the image on the right
creates a uniform direction for the light and shadow, as would the Sun here on Earth.
Figure 10.18
An Omni light is a
single-point source
light.
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Figure 10.19
An Omni light lights
the sphere and floor.
Try to avoid casting shadows with Omni lights because they will use a lot more memory than
a spotlight casting shadows.
Omni lights are good for fill lights as well as for simulating certain practical light sources
that have a brighter center and falloff evenly around that bright spot in all three axes. You
could even use Omni lights for all three points in your three-point lighting system, as seen
here on the fruit still life scene. The scene has a nice soft feel.
Skylight
Skylight is a special 3ds Max light used with a special rendering method to quickly generate
a scene rendered in a soft outdoor light. We will not be covering this more advanced lighting and rendering methodology; however, here is a quick introduction to the light itself.
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Figure 10.20 shows a skylight high above the scene with the three spheres. It is created
by simply selecting the Skylight button in the Create panel and clicking to place it in a
viewport. The skylight’s Skylight Parameters rollout is shown here.
The skylight is used to create a soft, global lighting to simulate light from the sky. This
look is often seen with renders using Global Illumination or Radiosity. In these lighting/
rendering solutions, the skylight creates a sky dome that sits around the objects in the
scene. Light is emitted, essentially, from the entire surface area of the dome to cast an even
light throughout the scene, much as a sky lights an outdoor area.
The rendering of a Skylight scene, as shown in Figure 10.21, is flat and bright. There is
no definition because shadows are not enabled. Turning on shadows gives you a beautiful
render, as seen in Figure 10.22, with soft shadows and contact shadows that really make
the spheres look as if they are sitting outside on an afternoon day.
Figure 10.20
A skylight placed over the spheres and
ground plane
Figure 10.21
Figure 10.22
The skylight flattens out the spheres and blows
them out.
Turning shadows on for the skylight dramatically
increases render times, but it gives a nice effect with
soft shadows mimicking a radiosity effect.
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The render time for this frame, however, is significantly longer than any of the other
renders so far in this chapter. Calculating soft light such as this is quite intensive, unless a
lighting plug-in such as Light Tracer is enabled in the render setup.
The Skylight light is not intended to be used without some other light source(s) in the
scene. It is designed to be used only with Radiosity, Light Tracer, or mental ray rendering
techniques. As these techniques are more advanced, they will not be covered in this book.
It is important to learn traditional lighting and rendering methods before moving into
advanced techniques.
Common Light Parameters
Most of the parameters for the Standard lights are the same for all the lights and will be
described in this section. You may want to create a spot or directional light so you can
follow along with the information about light parameters given here.
General Parameters Rollout
The General Parameters rollout for all the Standard lights (except for skylight) is shown in
Figure 10.23. In the Light Type section, you can change the type of light that is currently
selected. Simply choose the type (Spot, Directional, Omni) from the drop-down menu.
3ds Max will replace the light with the new light type; it won’t change its position or orientation. This can be immensely helpful when you are deciding which light will work best
for a scene. Otherwise, you would have to delete and re-create lights to find the solution
that best suited your scene best.
You can turn a Free Spot or Free Directional to a target of the same kind by simply
checking the Targeted check box. Of course, the On check box controls whether the light
is on or off in the scene.
In the Shadows section of the General Parameters rollout for these lights, you will find
the controls for the shadow casting properties of the selected light. Use the drop-down
menu to select the type of shadows to cast. The two most frequently used shadow types,
Shadow Map and Ray Traced, are discussed later in the chapter.
The Use Global Settings toggle can be very useful. When it is turned on, all of the
lights in your scene will be set to use the same Shadow Parameters of the light you have
selected and for which you have enabled Use Global Settings. This is useful in the event
you need the same type of shadows cast from all the lights in the scene. It can save you
the hassle of specifying the settings for all the lights. It does, however, limit you to the
same shadow settings for all the lights. While you are learning, you should leave Use
Global Settings off and set each light manually as needed. Again, shadows are covered a
little later in this chapter.
Figure 10.23
The General Parameters rollout for all
the Standard lights
is the same.
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Intensity/Color/Attenuation Rollout
The Intensity/Color/Attenuation rollout, shown in Figure 10.24, is used to adjust your
light’s brightness and color settings.
Light Intensity
The Multiplier parameter works like a dimmer switch for a light. The higher the value is,
the brighter the light will be. The Multiplier can go into negative values. A negative amount
will subtract light from your scene, allowing you to create dark areas within lit areas or to
remove excess light from a surface that has unwanted spill light.
Figure 10.24
The Intensity/
Color/Attenuation
rollout
Light Color
The Color Swatch next to the Multiplier is used to add color to your light. Simply click on
the color swatch to open the Color Selector. The darker the color, the darker the light.
Light Decay
Under the Decay section, you can set the way your light fades out across distance. This is
not the same as falloff with spots and directional lights, though. Falloff occurs on the sides
of a hotspot, whereas decay happens along the path of the light as it travels away from the
light. Figure 10.25 shows a light with no decay type set. Figure 10.26 shows the same light
with its decay Type set to Inverse Decay. Figure 10.27 shows the same light with decay
Type set to Inverse Square Decay. Notice the decay rate increases with each successive
figure.
If no decay is set for a light, its intensity remains at full strength from the light to infinity. An Inverse Decay diminishes the intensity of the illumination over distance traveled
according to some brainy formula. An Inverse Square Decay more closely resembles the
Figure 10.25
Figure 10.26
A light with no decay illuminates all the numbers evenly.
A light with Inverse Decay illuminates the back numbers less.
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decay of real world light, and it is a stronger rate of decay than Inverse Decay. Use this decay
rate to drop off the effect of a light quickly before it reaches too far into the scene; however,
you will need a stronger Multiplier value to increase your light’s intensity to compensate
for the much faster decay.
In Figure 10.28, you can quickly see and set the start of a decay in spot and directional
lights by changing the Start value in the Decay section of the rollout. In the following
images, you can see a decay start that is closer to the light and its effect on the render in
the top-left corner, while the start of the decay is moved closer to the spheres in the image
on the right.
Light Attenuation
Light attenuation is another way to diminish the intensity of a light over distance. With
attenuation, however, you have more implicit control on the start and end of the fade, and
you can specify an area where the light fades in and then fades out. You simply set the
Attenuation distances to the desired effect.
Decay Start Gizmo
Figure 10.27
Figure 10.28
A light with Inverse Square Decay illuminates the first two numbers and begins to lose the remaining three.
Seeing the start of a light’s decay helps you see how it
will illuminate your scene.
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NEAR ATTENUATION GROUP
The following values set the distances where the light fades into existence:
Start—The distance at which the light starts to fade in.
End—The distance at which the light reaches its full intensity.
Use—Toggles on/off the use of near attenuation for the light.
Figure 10.29 shows a render of near attenuation at work. The first numbers are darker,
the back number are brighter. Figure 10.30 shows a spotlight and the Attenuation display
in the viewport.
FAR ATTENUATION GROUP
The following values set the distances where the illumination fades out of existence:
Start—The distance at which the illumination starts to fade away.
End—The distance at which the illumination has faded to nothing.
Use—Toggles on/off the use of far attenuation for the illumination.
Figure 10.31 shows a render of the far attenuation on the same set of numbers, using
the same light as before. Now the lights fade into darkness the farther back they are in
the scene, which is similar to decay. Figure 10.32 shows the far attenuation display for the
spotlight. Figure 10.33 shows the attenuation display for an Omni light in a viewport.
You can always use both near and far attenuation to set a sliver of light in your scene, as
shown in Figure 10.34. As you can see, attenuation is a more precise way to set a diminishing light intensity over the Decay Type.
Light Target
Light Source
Far Attenuation
Start Gizmo
Far Attenuation End Gizmo
Figure 10.29
Figure 10.30
Near attenuation fades in the light.
The spotlight displays the attenuation distances.
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Light Target
Light Source
Far Attenuation
Start Gizmo
Far Attenuation End Gizmo
Figure 10.31
Figure 10.32
Far attenuation fades out the light.
The spotlight displays the attenuation distances.
Omni Light Source
Far Attenuation End
Figure 10.33
The attenuation display for an Omni light
Far Attenuation Start
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Figure 10.34
Using both near and
far attenuation gives
you a slice of light
where you need it.
Both decay and attenuation are important to use when the light needs to be realistic. Light
decays in real life; your renders will assume a higher fidelity when the lights in them decay.
The effect may be subtle, but it can make a large difference.
Advanced Effects Rollout
The Advanced Effects rollout (shown in the following graphic) enables you to control how
a light affects the surfaces it illuminates. You can increase or decrease the contrast and
softness of a light’s effect on a surface. You can also dictate which lighting component of
the light is rendered on the surface.
Contrast and Soften
By adjusting the Contrast and Soften Diffuse Edges values, you can alter the way the light
hits your surface. The following image on the left was rendered with default Contrast and
Soften Diffuse Edges values, and the image on the right was rendered with a Contrast of 25
and a Soften Diffuse Edges value of 50. The image on the right has deeper contrast, but
with slightly softer values leading from the diffuse color.
Contrast—Changes the contrast level between the diffuse and ambient areas of the
surface when lit.
Soften Diffuse Edge—Controls the softness of the edge between the diffuse and
ambient areas of the lit surface.
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Light Components
Light in a CG program is differentiated into an ambient, a diffuse, and a specular component. You may recall these components covered in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping.”
The ambient component of light is the general ambient light in a scene. There is no direction to ambient light, and the light itself is cast evenly across the extent of the scene. The
diffuse component of light is the way it illuminates an object by spreading across its surface. The specular component of light is how the light creates highlights on a surface, especially when that surface is glossy.
In the Affect Surfaces section of the Advanced Effects rollout, you can toggle the check
boxes that will render only those components of the light on the surfaces they illuminate.
This is a good way to separate your renders into lighting components that you can later
control in compositing, although it leads to a longer workflow.
Figure 10.35 is rendered with the diffuse component of the lights in the scene. Figure 10.36
shows only the specular highlights rendered. Figure 10.37 shows only the ambient light
rendered on the objects.
Figure 10.35
Only the diffuse component of the lights are rendered.
Figure 10.36
Figure 10.37
Only the specular component of the lights are rendered.
Only the ambient light in the scene is rendered.
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Ambient Light
Ambient light in 3ds Max is not a light per se, but rather it is a global setting in the render
environment. Ambient light, in short, is an even light with no direction or source. It is a
way to globally brighten the entire scene to add an even light to all objects. Using too
much ambient light will wash out your objects and give you flat renders.
To set an ambient light level in your scene, in the main Menu select Rendering ➔
Environment to open the Environment and Effects window shown in Figure 10.38.
To set an ambient light, click on the Ambient color swatch under the Global Lighting
section and pick an appropriate color. The brighter the color value, the brighter the
ambient light will be throughout the scene.
You can also create an ambient light in your scene by creating an Omni light and toggling on
the Ambient Only check box under the light’s Advanced Effects Parameters rollout.
Creating Shadows
Figure 10.38
The Environment
and Effects window
Don’t be too quick to smother your scene with light or too eager to show off your careful
modeling work and textures. Leaving objects in shadow and darkness is as important as
revealing them in light. You can say a lot visually by not showing parts of a whole and
leaving some interpretation to the audience.
A careful balance of light and dark is important for a composition. The
realism of a scene is greatly increased with the simple addition of well-placed
shadows. Don’t be afraid of the dark. Use it liberally, but in balance.
You can create the following types of shadows in 3ds Max:
Advanced Raytraced
mental ray Shadow Map
Area Shadow
Shadow Map
Raytraced Shadows
Each type of shadow has its benefits and its drawbacks. The two most
common types used are Shadow Maps and Raytraced Shadows.
When you use shadows, controls in the Shadow Parameters rollout
and the shadow type-specific rollouts are available when you select the
shadow type.
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Shadow Parameters Rollout
The settings in the Shadow Parameters rollout govern the common parameters for all
shadow types discussed here. In this rollout, you can adjust the color of your shadow as
well as its density (i.e., how dark it appears).
You should always check your light’s Multiplier values first to make sure your fill light
does not wash out your shadows before you adjust the shadow parameters themselves. For
instance, the fill light(s) generally have a lower intensity than the key light(s).
Click on the Color swatch to pick a color for your shadows. More often than not, you
will have your shadow colors at black, if not close to black. You can also control the density of the shadows by adjusting the Density value. As you can see in Figure 10.39, adjusting the density changes how much of the shadow is rendered. A Density of 0 will turn off
your shadows in essence.
Interestingly enough, you can also apply a map to your shadow by checking the Map
box and clicking on the button bar currently labeled None. From there, you can choose a
map. In Figure 10.40, a checker map was mapped to the shadow.
Density = 1.0
Density = 4.0
Density = 0.3
Figure 10.39
Shadow Density
Figure 10.40
You can map a texture to the shadow.
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Selecting a Shadow Type
For the most part, you will be more than happy with the results from a Shadow Map
shadow in your scenes. However, to get shadows to respond to transparencies, you will
need to use Ray Traced Shadows. Additionally, if you need to soften your shadows the
farther they are cast from the object, you will need to use Area Shadows. These shadow
types are discussed next.
Shadow Maps
Seeming to be the fastest way to cast a shadow, the Shadow Map shadow generates a
bitmap file during a pre-rendering pass of the scene. This map is used to place the shadows
in the final render. However, Shadow Map shadows do not show the color cast through
transparent or translucent objects. Once you select Shadow Maps in the General Parameters rollout for a light, the rollout appears. It is shown here.
Because this shadow type relies on maps, it is important to be able to control the resolution of the generated maps. When you are close to a shadow, the resolution needs to be
higher for the cast shadow than if it were farther from the camera in order to avoid jagged
edges around the shadow.
The following parameters are useful for Shadow Map creation:
Bias—The shadow is moved, according to the value set, closer or farther away from
the object casting the shadow. Figure 10.41 shows how the bias moves the shadow
away the higher the value is set.
Figure 10.41
The Bias offsets the
shadow from the
casting object.
Bias = 6.0
Size—Detailed shadows will need detailed Shadow Maps. Increase the Size value,
and 3ds Max will increase the number of subdivisions for the map which in turn
increases the detail of the shadow cast. Figure 10.42 compares Shadow Map sizes of
64 and 1024. Notice how the shadows on the left (Size = 64) are mushy and barely
Bias = 1.0 (normal)
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noticeable and the shadows on the right (Size = 1024) are crisp and clean. You don’t
want to set your Shadow Map Size too high, though. It will increase render time for
little to no effect. A range between 512 and 1024 is usually good for most cases.
In some scenes, you may discover that no shadow map size will give you good results (for
instance in large outdoor scenes). In these cases, you will have to revert to a different shadow
method, such as Ray Traced Shadows.
Sample Range—This creates and controls the softness of the edge of shadow-mapped
shadows. The higher the value, the softer the edges of the shadow. Figure 10.43 shows
you how a soft edge (on the left) can make the lighting seem less strong or farther
away from the subject than crisp shadows (on the right).
Size = 64
Size = 1024
Figure 10.42
The Shadow Map size affects the shadow detail.
Sample Range = 20.0
Figure 10.43
Soft edge shadows
Sample Range = 4.0
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Ray Traced Shadows
Raytracing involves tracing a ray of light from every light source in all directions and tracing the reflection to the camera lens. You can create more accurate shadows with raytracing.
However, the render takes significantly longer to calculate. Additionally, Ray Traced shadows are always hard edged, yet they are realistic for transparent and translucent objects.
Figure 10.44 shows the still life render with a plane casting a shadow over the fruit. The
plane has a checker mapped to its opacity, so it has alternating transparent and opaque
squares defining the checkerboard.
On the left side of the image, the light is casting Shadow Map shadows, while on the
right the light is casting Ray Traced Shadows.
Use Ray Traced shadows when you need highly accurate shadows or when Shadow Map
resolutions are just not high enough to get you the crisp edges you need. You can also use
Ray Traced Shadows to cast shadows from wireframe rendered objects.
The Ray Traced Shadow rollout, shown here, controls the shadow. The Ray Bias parameter is the same as the Shadow Map Bias in that it controls how far from the casting object
the shadow is cast.
Creating Soft Shadows Due to Distance
Figure 10.44
Ray Traced shadows
react to transparencies, and Shadow
Maps do not
Shadow Map Shadows
The only way you will be able to create a natural shadow that softens the farther it gets
from the casting object is to use Area Shadows. These types of shadows are natural. If you
notice a telephone pole’s shadow, the farther the shadow is from the pole, the softer the
shadow becomes. Adding such a shadow to a render can greatly increase the realism of
the scene.
To enable a soft shadow such as this, select Area Shadows as your shadow type. By
default, the Area Shadow will work for you. Figure 10.45 shows a regular Ray Traced
shadow. Figure 10.46 shows an Area shadow at the default settings.
Ray Traced Shadows
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Figure 10.45
Figure 10.46
A Ray Traced shadow is too hard-edged.
An Area shadow begins to soften at the ends.
Go to the Area Shadows rollout shown here. To adjust the softness of the shadows, you
will not want to increase the Sample Spread because that parameter, just like the Sample
Range of the Shadow Map shadow, softens the entire shadow. A true shadow is crisp where
it meets the casting object and softens as it casts away.
To further soften the ends of the shadows, in the Area Light rollout, set the Length to
80 and the Width to 60. This will increase the softness of the shadow in a realistic way,
while keeping the contact shadow crisp. However, the render, shown here, does not look
very good. The soft ends are very grainy.
You will need to increase the quality of the shadow, so set the Shadow Integrity to 6
and the Shadow Quality to 10. The render will take longer, but you will get a beautiful
shadow, as shown in Figure 10.47.
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Figure 10.47
Increase the shadow
quality to obtain a
very realistic
shadow.
Atmospheres and Effects
Creating atmospheric effects with lights, such as fog or volume lights, is accomplished
through the Atmospheres and Effects rollout, as shown here.
Using this rollout, you can assign and manage atmosphere effects and other rendering
effects that are associated with lights. In the following exercise, you will learn how to
create a volumetric light (similar to a flashlight shining through fog). You will also learn
how to exclude objects from a light, so that the light does not illuminate them. This is an
important trick to know.
Creating a Volumetric Light
Let’s create a fog light using the following steps:
1. Open the Still Life Volume.max scene file in the Lighting Scenes folder on the companion CD. Go to Create Panel ➔ Lights and click on the Target Direct Light. Move
your cursor to the Top viewport, click and drag from the top of the viewport down
toward the still life. As seen here.
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2. Now move to the Front viewport and move the light up along the Y-axis, and then
move the target so it is centered to point the light directly at the fruit, as shown here.
3. If you do a Quick Render, you will see that the scene is being lit from the direction of
the light (Figure 10.48). Now you need some shadows in the scene.
Adding Shadows
4. In the General Parameters rollout for the light, go to the Shadows section and check
the box to enable shadows. Select Shadow Map from the drop-down menu. This will
turn on Shadow Maps shadows for this light.
5. Go to the Shadow Map Parameters rollout and set the size to 1024; this will add some
sharpness to the shadow’s edge and make it more like a daylight shadow. If you do a
Quick Render, you won’t see any shadows (as shown in the following graphic). This is
because the window is blocking the light. The window glass object has a Material that
has the Opacity turned down to 0; however, Shadow Map shadows don’t recognize
transparency in materials. To solve this problem, you need to Exclude the Window
Glass object from the Light.
Figure 10.48
A test render of
the fruit
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Excluding Object from a Light
6. The Exclude button is in the General Parameters rollout for the light, just below the
Shadows. Click the Exclude button to bring up the Exclude/Include window shown in
Figure 10.49.
7. Click on the Glass object and press the right arrows in the middle of the window
(Figure 10.49) to add the Glass to the other side, excluding the object from receiving
light and casting light. Click OK.
8. Quick Render your scene to take a look. Now you can see shadows. We didn’t exclude
the whole window with its frame because the inside frame is a nice detail to cast
shadows. Figure 10.50 shows the render with the shadows.
Figure 10.49
The Exclude/Include
window allows you
to exclude certain
objects from being
lit by the light in
the scene.
Select Object in this Box
Click on Arrow
To Add It to this Side
Scene Objects
Excluded Objects
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Adding a Volumetric Effect
9. The whole point of this exercise is to add volume to the light. This will give this scene
some much needed atmosphere. Go to the Atmosphere and Effects rollout for the
light. Select Add from the rollout to open the Add Atmosphere or Effect window,
which is shown here.
10. In the window, select Volume Light and click OK to add the effect to the light.
11. Volume Light will be added to the rollout, as shown here. Render the scene. You
should see a render similar to Figure 10.51.
To adjust the volume light, select the Volume Light entry in the rollout and click the
Setup button. This will bring up the Environment and Effects dialog window. Scroll
down to Volume Light Parameters section to access the settings for the volume light, seen
in Figure 10.52. Experiment with different settings to see how the volume light renders.
The settings are described next.
Figure 10.50
Figure 10.51
Shadows!
Volume light!
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Volume Light Parameters
The default parameters for a Volume light will give you some nice volume in the light for
most scenes, right off the bat. However, to tweak or change the volume settings to your
liking, you will be editing these following parameters:
Figure 10.52
The Environment
and Effects window
displays the Volume
Light parameters.
Exponential—The density of the volume light will increase exponentially with distance. By default (Exponential is off), density will increase linearly with distance.
You will want to enable Exponential only when you need to render transparent
objects in volume fog.
Density—This value sets the fog’s density. The denser the fog is, the more light will
reflect off the fog inside the volume. The most realistic fogs can be rendered with
about 2 to 6 percent Density value.
Most of the parameters are for troubleshooting volume problems in your
scene if it is not rendering very well. Sometimes you just don’t know what that
problem is and you have to experiment with switches and buttons. The Noise
settings are another cool feature to add some randomness to your volume:
Noise On—This toggles the noise on and off. Render times will increase
slightly with Noise enabled for the volume.
Amount—This is the amount of noise that is applied to the fog. Of course a
value of 0 creates no noise. If the Amount is set to 1, the fog renders with
pure noise.
Size, Uniformity, Phase—These settings determine the look of the noise,
along with setting a Noise Type (Regular, Fractal, or Turbulence).
Adding atmosphere to a scene can heighten the sense of realism and
mood. Creating a little bit of a volume for some lights can go a long way to
improving the look of your renders. However, adding volume to lights can
slow your renders, so use it with care. Also be aware that adding too much
volume to a scene may look peculiar, so use volumetric light sparingly and
with good reason—that is, if it is called for in the scene and adds ambience
to the image.
Light Lister
If several lights are in your scene and you need to adjust all of them, selecting each light
and making one adjustment at a time can become tedious. This is where 3ds Max’s
Light Lister comes in way handy. Accessed through the main Menu Bar by choosing
Tools ➔ Light Lister, this floating palette gives you control over all of your scene lights,
as seen in Figure 10.53.
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Figure 10.53
The Light Lister
window
You can choose to view/edit all the lights in your scene or just ones that are selected.
Using this easy dialog window gives you instant access to pretty much all the important
light parameters in one place. When you adjust the values for any parameter in the Light
Lister window, the changes are reflected in the appropriate place in the Modify panel for
that changed light. This is the perfect tool to edit your lights once you have them set up
initially.
Summary
Lighting is no laughing matter. It is the aspect of CG that is arguably the most difficult to
master (alongside character animation perhaps), and it is the most easily criticized. People
in the CG industry can tell very quickly when lighting is done poorly.
In this chapter, you began by reviewing some key concepts in CG lighting, including
Three-Point lighting. Then you learned the different types of lights that 3ds Max has to
offer, from default lights to Target Spots, and how to use them. You dove into the common
light parameters to gauge how best to control the lights in your scene before you moved
on to creating all different types of shadows. The chapter finished with a quick exercise
on creating a volumetric light for a fog effect and a tour of the Light Lister window.
Several books are devoted to CG lighting. It is a craft that takes getting used to, and this
chapter serves to introduce you to the concepts and tools you need to begin. The onus is
on you to take the models you have created—and the ones you will create in the future—
texture them, and light scenes with them to develop an eye for the ins and outs of lighting.
There really is no quick way to learn how to light. It would be quite a disservice to pretend
that a chapter, or even an entire book, will give you everything you need to know. Take the
information and references in this chapter and apply them on your own. Working on your
own may not sound like fun, and it may not seem as easy as being guided step by step, but
it is honestly the best education you will get.
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CHAPTER 11
3ds Max Rendering
Rendering is the last step in creating your CG work, but it is the first step to
consider when you start to build a scene. During rendering, the computer calculates the
scene’s surface properties, lighting, shadows, and object movement and then it saves a
sequence of images. To get to the point where the computer takes over, you’ll need to set
up your camera and render settings so that you’ll get exactly what you need from your
scene.
This chapter will show you how to render your scene using 3ds Max’s scanline renderer
and how to create reflections and refractions using raytracing.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Rendering Setup
■
Motion Blur
■
Cameras
■
Previewing with Active Shade
■
Render Elements
■
Raytraced Reflections and Refractions
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Rendering Setup
In a manner of speaking, everything you do in CG can be considered setup for rendering.
More specifically, how you set up your render settings and what final decisions you make
about your 3ds Max scene ultimately determine how your work will look. In many ways,
you should be thinking about rendering all along—especially if you are creating 3d assets
for a game, where the 3d scenes are rendered in real time by the game engine. If you create
models and textures with the final image in mind and gear the lighting toward elegantly
showing off the scene, the final touches will be relatively easy to set up.
To set the proper settings, you begin with the Render Scene dialog box.
Render Scene Dialog Box
The Render Scene dialog box is where you define your render output for 3ds Max. You
can open this dialog box by clicking the Render Scene icon ( ) in the main toolbar,
by selecting Rendering ➔ Render, or by pressing F10. You’ve already seen how to Quick
Render ( ) a frame in your scene to check your work. The settings in the Render Scene
dialog box are used even when the Quick Render button is invoked, so it’s important to
understand how this dialog box works. Figure 11.1 shows the Common tab in the Render
Scene dialog box.
Common Tab
The Render Scene dialog box is divided into five tabs; each tab has settings grouped by
function. The Common tab stores the settings for the overall needs of the render—for
example, image size, frame range to render, and the type of renderer to use.
In the Common Parameters rollout, you will find the most necessary render settings.
They are described in the following sections.
TIME OUTPUT
In this section, you can set the frame range of your render output by selecting one of the
following options (shown here):
Single This option renders the current frame only. It is set to single by default.
Active Time Segment This option renders the frame range in the timeline.
Range This option renders the frame range specified in the text boxes.
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Frames This option renders the frames typed in the text box. You can enter frame numbers separated by commas or specified as ranges, such as 3-13, to render only the specified
frames.
Every Nth Frame This option is enabled when you are rendering more than one frame. It
allows you to render every nth frame, where n is a whole number, so you can specify how
many frames to skip.
Typically, you will be rendering single frames as you model, texture, and light the scene.
The closer you are to final rendering, especially for scenes with moving cameras or lights,
the more you will need to render a sequence of images to check the animation of the scene
and how the lighting works. This is where the Every Nth Frame function comes in very
handy. Using it, you can render every five frames, for example, to quickly see a render test
range of your scene without having to render the entire frame range.
You should always test render at least a few frames of an animation before
you render the entire frame range, because the smallest omission or error can
cost you hours of rendering and effectively bottleneck production flow and
get several people annoyed at you. This practice is a good habit to start.
Whenever you want to launch a render of the entire scene, render at least one
frame to check the output. If you have animated lights or cameras, use the
Every Nth Frame option to test a few frames.
OUTPUT SIZE
The image size of your render, which is set in the Output Size section (shown
here), will depend on your output format—that is, how you want to show
your render. Chapter 1, “Basic Concepts,” explains the popular resolutions
used in production.
By default, the dialog box is set to render images at a resolution of 640 ×
480 pixels, defined by the Width and Height parameters respectively. This
resolution has an image aspect of 1.333, meaning the ratio of the frame’s
width to its height. Changing the Image Aspect value will adjust the size of
your image along the Height to correspond with the existing Width to
accommodate the newly requested aspect ratio. Different displays have different aspect ratios. For example, regular television is 1.33:1 (simply called 1.33)
and a high definition television is a widescreen with a ratio of 1.78:1 (simply
called 1.78). The resolution of your output will define the screen ratio.
Figure 11.01
The Common tab in
the Render Scene
dialog box
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Pixel aspect affects the image because it actually changes the shape of the pixel from a
square to a rectangle. This is due to how TV screens are built (standard definition, not
HD). When output is displayed on a TV screen, the image will be squeezed slightly horizontally. Therefore, renders are created a bit wider so that when they are displayed on a
TV screen, they will appear normal. This is especially visible when you render a round
object as shown in the following graphic. On the left, the sphere is rendered with a pixel
aspect of 1.0 (i.e. 1:1 ratio). On the right, the sphere is rendered with a pixel aspect of 0.9
(i.e. 0.9:1 ratio). However, when the sphere on the right is displayed on a standard TV, it
will appear round and not stretched in this manner.
You hardly ever have to worry about Pixel Aspect ratios. They are mentioned only for
those who may be outputting directly to DV tape or DVD. Luckily, grouping the Output
Size section of the Render Scene window is a drop-down menu for choosing presets from
different film and video resolutions. Custom is the default, and it allows you to set your
own resolution. You can also select one of the Preset Resolution buttons. For DVD or TV
output, you should select the NTSC D-1 (video) preset. For output to a DV tape, you
should select the NTSC DV (video) preset. They both have a pixel aspect ratio of 0.9 to
account for the TV “squeeze.” Of course, if you are in Europe, you will need to select the
PAL equivalents of the aforementioned presets, because TV resolutions and frame rates
differ internationally. For more on aspect ratios and frame rates, see Chapter 1.
The higher the resolution, the longer the scene will take to render. Doubling the resolution might quadruple the render time. To save time when you’re working with large frame
sequences, you can render tests at half the resolution of the final output and render every
fifth frame or so.
The image quality of a render also affects how long a render will take. In addition to
turning down the resolution for a test, you can also use a lower-quality render and you
can turn off certain effects, such as Atmospherics (light fog). Quality settings are explained
in the following section.
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OPTIONS
The Options section (shown in the following graphic), lets you access several global toggles.
Three boxes are checked by default. You can toggle the rendering of specific elements in
your scene. For example, if you are using Atmospherics
(Volume light) or Effects (Lens Flare) and don’t want
them to render, you can uncheck the appropriate
box(es). This is a shortcut to turn off the Effect or
Atmosphere.
RENDER OUTPUT
What’s good does it do to render a scene if you don’t save
the files? When you are done setting up the dialog for
your image output, you need to tell 3ds Max where to
render the images and what file format to use. Use the
Render Output section shown here to indicate that the
file should be saved.
The Image Format can be selected to be a single image file or sequence of image files
that form a sequence or it can be a movie file such as a QuickTime. In fact, 3ds Max supports many image file formats. The most common movie format is arguably QuickTime.
A sequence of frames is typically rendered to Targa or TIFF files.
Choosing a Filename
To specify a location and file type to render to, click the Files button to open the Render
Output File dialog box shown in Figure 11.2. Simply select the folder to which you want to
render, and set the filename. You can set the file type using the Save As Type pull-down menu.
Figure 11.2
The Render Output
File dialog box
defines how the
render saves to disk.
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Proper file naming is very important when you render a scene, particularly when you
are rendering a sequence of images and have hundreds of frames. Saved images are usually
identified by a filename, a frame number, and an extension in the form filename_####.ext—
for example, stillife_0234.tif. This format is used in production facilities and accepted
by most compositing programs, such as Combustion or After Effects.
When you enter the filename for an image sequence, as shown here, you can include an
underscore (the _ character) after the filename and before the frame number to help differentiate the two. This is especially useful if you use version numbers in your scene names.
If you don’t use an underscore (or similar character) between the filename and frame number, your rendered image files can be confusing, as shown in the file list in Figure 11.3.
It’s a good idea to name your rendered images according to the scene’s filename. This way
you can always know from which scene file a rendered image was produced without rooting
through several files and/or guessing.
Figure 11.3
Image filenames
without a separator
between the filename and frame
number are confusing to look at and
might play out of
sequence.
The extension portion of the image filename is a three-letter abbreviation that corresponds to the type of file you are rendering. By specifying a file format in the Save As Type
drop-down menu, you automatically set the extension for the file in its filename. This way
you ensure that you can identify the file type.
Image File Type
You can save your images in a wide range of formats when you render with 3ds Max. The
format you choose depends on your own preference and your output needs. For example,
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) files may be great for the small file sizes preferred on the Internet, but their color compression and lack of alpha channel
(a feature discussed later in this chapter in the “Image Channels and the Rendered Frame Window” sidebar) make them undesirable for professional film
or television production work beyond test renders and dailies, a meeting where
the day’s (or week’s) work on a production is looked at and discussed for
direction.
Furthermore, it’s best to render a sequence of images rather than a movie
file for two reasons. First, you would want your renders to be their best quality
with little to no image compression. Second, if a render fails during a movie
render, you must rerender the entire sequence. With an image sequence, however, you can pick up where the last frame left off. The best file type format to
render to is Targa or TIFF (Tagged Image File Format). These file formats
enjoy universal support, have little to no image quality loss due to compression, and support an alpha channel. Almost all image-editing and compositing
packages can read Targa and TIFF formatted files, so either is a safe choice
most of the time. For more on image formats, see Chapter 1.
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IMAGE CHANNELS AND THE RENDERED FRAME WINDOW
Image files are composed of red, green, and blue channels. Each channel specifies the amount
of that primary additive color in the image. (See Chapter 1 for more on how computers
define color.) In addition, some file formats can also save a fourth channel, called the alpha
channel. This channel defines the transparency level of the image. Just as the red channel
defines how much red is in an area of the image, the alpha channel defines how transparent
the image is when layered or composited on another image. If the alpha channel is black, the
image is perfectly see-through. If the alpha channel is white, the image is opaque. The alpha
channel is also known as the matte. An object that has a transparency in its material will render with a gray alpha channel, as shown here.
The alpha channel is displayed in the Rendered Frame
window. You have seen this window display your test renders several times throughout this book. It is shown here.
To view an image’s alpha channel in the Rendered
Frame window, click the Display Alpha Channel icon. To
reset the view to RGB (full-color view), click the Display
Alpha Channel icon again. You can also see how much red,
green, or blue is present in the frame by clicking any one
of the red, green, and blue disc icons that are the Enable
RGB Channel icons.
To save an image you like in the Rendered Frame window, click the Save Bitmap button. The Clone Rendered
Frame button is quite useful in that it creates a copy of this
window for you so you can compare a newer render to an
older render without needing to save the images.
Save Bitmap
Clone Rendered Frame
Enable RGB Channel Icons
Display Alpha Channel
Clear
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Render Processing
When you click the Render button in the Render Scene dialog box, the
Render Processing dialog box pops up (Figure 11.4). This dialog box
shows the parameters being used and it displays a process bar indicating
the render’s progress. You can pause or cancel the render by clicking the
appropriate button. Rendering can consume most, if not all, of your system’s resources. Pausing a render will not let you access your scene in 3ds
Max, but it will stop the process on your system momentarily so that you
can tend to another PC task.
Assign Renderer
The Assign Renderer rollout displays which renderers are assigned to your
scene. Two types of renderers are available in 3ds Max by default (without
any additional plugins installed):
Default Scanline Renderer The scanline renderer renders the scene as a
series of horizontal lines.
mental ray Renderer A general-purpose renderer that can generate physi-
cally correct simulations of lighting effects.
Figure 11.4
The Render Processing dialog box
shows you everything you want to
know about your
current render.
mental ray is not covered in this book because it is an advanced renderer. All of the renders in this book are accomplished using the default
Scanline renderer.
Rendering the Bouncing Ball
Seeing is believing, but doing is understanding. In this exercise, you will render the bouncing ball animation from Chapter 8, “Introduction to Animation,” to get the feel for rendering an animation in 3ds Max. Just follow these steps:
1. Set your Project folder to the BouncingBall project that you copied to your hard drive
from the CD. Open the Animation_Ball_02.max file in the Scenes folder. Let’s render a
movie to see the animation.
2. Open the Render Scene dialog box. In the Time Output section, select Active Time
Segment: 0 to 100.
3. In the Output Size section, select the 320 × 240 preset button and leave Image/Pixel
Aspect as is.
4. Leave the Options group at the default, and skip down to the Render Output section. Click the Files button to open an Explorer window. Navigate to where you
want to save the output file. Name the file Bounce Ball, and click the drop-down
menu next to Save As Type to choose MOV Quick Time File (*.mov) for your render file type.
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By default, 3ds Max will render your file(s) to the RenderOutput folder in the current project.
Apple’s QuickTime movie file format gives you a multitude of options for compression and quality. The quality settings for the QuickTime file are not the same as the
render quality settings.
5. After you select MOV Quick Time File and click the Save button, the Compression
Settings window, shown in Figure 11.5, opens. Set the parameters for the QuickTime
as indicated:
Compression Type: Photo-JPEG
Frames per second: 30
Compressor Depth: Color
Quality: Best
Click OK.
If you are concerned about the file size of your renders, you can slide the Quality to a lower
quality setting for the compressor. The Photo-JPEG compressor makes fairly good images
with small file sizes. However, you’ll want to deliver your renders at the highest quality you
can muster. To improve quality, use a different Compressor Type. For example, Animation is
lossless and makes big files, but those big files look much better!
6. Skip down to the bottom of the Render Scene dialog box, and verify that Production
is selected. Select the viewport you want to render in the Viewport drop-down menu.
You need to render Camera01.
7. Click Render. The Rendered Frame window will show you a preview of the render as
it goes through the frames, and the Rendering Process dialog box will appear.
After the render is complete, use a file browser
to navigate to your render location (by default it is
set to the RenderOutput folder for the BouncingBall project). Double-click the QuickTime file to
see your movie, and enjoy a latte.
Renderer Tab Basics
The Renderer tab, found in the Render Scene dialog box, has options that determine the look and
quality of the render. The options that are displayed in this tab depend on which renderer you
assigned to render your scene. We are going to
Figure 11.5
QuickTime compression settings affect
the quality of the
rendered QuickTime
video file.
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cover the Default Scanline only. This rollout sets the parameters for the Default Scanline
renderer.
Most of the features in Options (shown here) are used to make rendering a
scene more efficient. If you want to do a quick render of an animation, for
example, turn off Mapping and Shadows. You will still see the movement, but
the processing will go faster.
Antialiasing
Aliasing is the staircase effect you see in an image just at the edge of a line or area of color,
particularly when that edge is at an angle, as shown in Figure 11.6. Antialiasing can smooth
this stepped effect on diagonal or curved lines. It blurs and mixes the color values of pixels
adjacent to the jagged line or curve, as shown in Figure 11.7. Turning this feature off will
speed up your renders, but the quality loss will be noticeable.
Figure 11.6
Aliasing is the
stepped effect on
diagonal and curved
lines. Notice the top
ridges of the fruit
and its stem.
Figure 11.7
Antialiasing helps
smooth jagged
diagonal and
curved lines.
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Filters
Filters are the last step in antialiasing. You can use them to access different methods of
calculating the antialiasing at the subpixel level in order to sharpen or soften your final
output. You don’t need to worry about which filter to use until you have much more rendering experience under your belt. The Area filter, the default filter, will work great.
If you are curious about the different filter types, select a filter. A short description of it
will appear in the box below the Filter Maps check box.
Motion Blur
With motion blur, a renderer can simulate how the eye or a camera sees an object in motion.
When an object moves relatively fast, your eye (or a camera) perceives a blur on the object.
Using motion blur for an animation can greatly enhance the fidelity of your render,
although it adds more processing time. Use motion blur sparingly in most scenes. It takes
a careful eye to choose the right blur amount for an object.
The Renderer tab in the Render Scene dialog box has two sections used for setting the
type of motion blur you need.
Object Motion Blur
The Object Motion Blur section (shown here) lets you access the motion blur
settings.
The Object Motion Blur settings are as follows:
Duration (Frames) The higher the Duration number, the more blur you get. You can see
the difference in the motion blur for the ball in Figure 11.8.
Samples This setting determines how many duration subdivision copies are sampled. The
higher the Samples number, the better the motion blur quality.
Duration Subdivisions This setting determines how many copies of each object are ren-
dered within the duration. The higher the Subdivisions number, the smoother the motion
blur will look.
Duration Set to 0.5
Duration Set to 1.0
Duration Set to 2.0
Figure 11.8
Different durations
give different
motion blur lengths.
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Setting the Duration very high and the Samples and Duration Subdivisions low will give you a ghosting effect that will kill the look of the
motion blur. You will need to find the right balance to achieve a believable blur. Remember that more is less. Just a touch of motion blur may
be all a scene needs.
Image Motion Blur
Figure 11.9
Choose the type of
motion blur for an
object using its
Object Properties
window.
As you’ll notice in the Render Scene dialog box, Object Motion Blur is
turned on by default. However, you still need to enable motion blur on a
per object basis; this means you have to toggle motion blur on for any
object that you want to render with blur.
To turn on motion blur, select the object and right-click on it in a
viewport. From the context menu, choose Object Properties. Select the
type of Motion Blur (shown in Figure 11.9) you want, and then adjust
the parameters in the Renderer tab.
The difference between Object and Image motion blur types can be
seen in Figure 11.10. The bouncing ball on the left is rendered with
Object motion blur, and the one on the right is rendered with Image
motion blur. Both are rendered with the same Duration. The Image motion blur renders
smoother, although it may not be as accurate because it is a smearing effect created after
the object is rendered into the image. The Object blur renders the blur during the scanline
rendering process itself.
For now, you only need to be concerned with the Duration parameter for an Image motion
blur. This setting, as with the Object motion blur, sets the amount (and therefore the length)
of the blur. Remember not to go overboard with motion blur. A little goes a long way.
Figure 11.10
Different motion blur types give you different results. The one on the left is Object motion blur, and the one on the right is Image
motion blur.
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previewing with activeshade
Previewing with ActiveShade
ActiveShade is a fantastic 3ds Max feature that lets you interactively preview a render as
you make changes in the scene. This is particularly helpful for texturing and lighting
because the floating ActiveShade window updates whenever you make a light or material
change in the scene.
To enable ActiveShade, open the Render Scene dialog box ( ). At the bottom of the
window, click to toggle on the ActiveShade rendering, as shown in the following graphic.
Pick your viewport, and either click the ActiveShade button in the Render Scene dialog
box or click the Quick Render button in the main toolbar. The icon in the
main toolbar changes ( ) as you switch from Production rendering to
ActiveShade rendering. ActiveShade doesn’t render Atmospheric effects.
You can have only one ActiveShade window open at a time. If you try to open another window, an alert will ask whether you want to close the other window.
You can also turn a viewport into an ActiveShade window. Select the view where you
want to enable ActiveShade, and right-click the viewport’s name. Select Views ➔ ActiveShade
from the context menu as shown here.
That viewport will then become an ActiveShade window and will update a render every
time you make changes to the scene. This helps keep the clutter of open windows to a
minimum.
Cameras
Cameras in 3ds Max, as shown in a viewport in Figure 11.11, capture and output all the
fun in your scene. In theory, the cameras in 3ds Max work as much like real cameras as
possible. Hence, the more you know about photography, the easier these concepts are to
understand.
The camera, in essence, creates a perspective through which you can see and render
your scene. You can have as many cameras in the scene as you want. However, it’s a good
idea to place and keep the camera you’re planning to use to render positioned in the shot
as you wish for your final framing. You can use the Perspective viewport to move around
your scene as you work, leaving the render camera alone.
Creating a Camera
There are two types of cameras in 3ds Max: Target and Free. A Target camera, much like a
Target spotlight, has a Target node that allows it to look at a spot defined by where the target is placed (or animated). A Target camera is easier to aim than a Free camera because
you simply position the target object at the center of interest, and the camera will always
aim there.
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Figure 11.11
A camera as seen in
a viewport
On the other hand, Free cameras have only one node, so they must be rotated to aim at
the subject, much as a Free spotlight. When your scene requires the camera to follow an
action, you will be better off with a Target camera.
You can create a camera by clicking on the Cameras icon ( ) in the Create panel and
selecting either of the two camera types, as shown here.
To create a Target camera, click in a viewport to lay down the Camera node, and then
drag to pull out and place the Target node. To create a Free camera, simply click in a viewport to place it.
Using Cameras
Figure 11.12
Stock lenses make it
easy to pick the right
lens for a scene.
A camera’s main feature is the lens, which sets the focal length in millimeters and the FOV
(Field of View), which determines how wide an area the camera sees. By default, a 3ds Max
camera lens is 43.456mm with an FOV of 45 degrees. This default lens will most likely
meet all your camera needs, but in case you need to change the lens, you can use the Lens
or FOV parameters to create a new lens using the spinner or by entering a value. The 3ds
Max Lens and FOV are tied together. One drives the other because the focal length of a
real lens sets the field of view. To change a lens, you can also pick from the stock lenses
available for a camera in its Modify panel parameters, as shown in Figure 11.12.
The most interactive way to adjust a camera is to use the Viewport Navigation tools.
You can then place the camera while you see its field of view in that viewport. The Camera
viewport must be selected for the viewport camera tools to be available to you in the lowerright corner of the UI. You can move the camera or change the Lens or FOV. Chapter 3,
“The 3ds Max Interface,” has a complete list of the tools in the “Viewport Navigation
Controls” subsection. You can also change a camera by just selecting the camera object
and moving and rotating it just as you would any other object.
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Talk Is Cheap!
The best way to explain how to use a camera is to create one, as in the following steps:
1. Open the Camera Create.max scene file in the Rendering Scene Files folder on the CD.
This is the fruit still life from the lighting chapter, but without a camera. Creating a
camera is the same as creating a light. It’s easier to create a camera in the Top viewport, so you can easily orient it in reference to your scene objects. Figure 11.13
shows the intended position of a camera for this scene.
2. In the Create panel, click the Cameras icon ( ). Select the Target camera and go to
the Top viewport. Click from the bottom of the viewport and drag to the still life as
shown in Figure 11.14. The first click creates the camera object. The mouse drag and
release sets the location of the target.
3. The camera was created along the ground plane. You need to move the entire camera
up using the Front viewport. The easiest way to do this is to select the camera and target using the line that connects the camera and target. That will select both the target
and camera so you can move them as a unit. Use the Move tool to relocate the camera
higher in the scene to place it at the level of the fruits.
4. To see the Camera viewport, select a viewport and press the
C key. This changes the viewport to whatever camera is currently selected. If there are multiple cameras in your scene
and none are selected, when you press C, you will get a dialog that gives a list of the cameras in the scene from which
you can choose, as shown here.
5. Now Quick Render the scene through the camera you just
created and positioned. Find a good framing for the still life
and set your camera.
Figure 11.13
The camera would
go here.
Back Drop
Still Life
Camera Position
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Figure 11.14
Create a camera to
look at the still life
When the camera is set up, take some time to move it around and see the changes in
the viewport. Moving a camera from side to side is known as a truck. Moving a camera in
and out is called a dolly. Rotating a camera is called a roll. Also change the Lens and FOV
settings to see the results.
Zooming a lens (changing the Lens parameter) is not the same as a dolly in or dolly out. The
field of view changes when you zoom, and it stays constant when you dolly. They will both
yield different framings.
Animating a Camera
Now that the camera is in the scene, let’s add some animation to the camera. Camera animation is done in the same way you would animate any object. You can animate the camera
or the target or both. You can also animate the camera parameters such as the lens or FOV.
In the previous scene, select the camera, move the Time slider to frame 30. Press N to
activate Auto Key, or click its icon. Use the Move tool to move the camera farther away
from the still life. The idea is to create a dolly out of the still life.
Now scrub through the animation and make any edit you desire.
If you are comfortable using the Perspective viewport, you can convert it to a Camera view
by pressing Ctrl+C. Cool trick!
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Clipping Planes
You can limit what your camera sees in a scene. For example, in a huge scene, you can
exclude or clip the geometry that is beyond a certain distance by using clipping planes.
This helps keep the amount of geometry that needs to be calculated at a minimum. Each
camera has a clipping plane for distance (far) and foreground (near), as shown in Figures 11.15 and 11.16 respectively. The near clipping plane will clip geometry within the
distance designated from the camera lens.
You can also use clipping planes to create a cutaway look for a model. Simply set your
near clipping plane to a distance into the object, and the object will render as if it were
sliced, giving you a perfect cutaway look.
Figure 11.15
A far clipping plane
cuts off the distant
extents of a scene.
Figure 11.16
A near clipping
plane cuts off the
extents directly in
front of a camera.
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Likewise, if you find a model or scene you have imported looks odd or is cut off, check
to make sure your clipping planes are adjusted to fit the extents of the scene, especially
with imported models.
To enable clipping planes, click the Clip Manually check box and set
the distances needed, as shown here.
Once you turn on manual clipping planes, the camera will display
the near and far extents in the viewports with a red plane marker, as
shown in Figure 11.17.
Figure 11.17
A camera will display its manual clipping planes in a
viewport when Clip
Manually is enabled.
Clipping Planes
Near Clip
Far Clip
Safe Frame
Because every TV is different, what you see on one screen may look somewhat different on
a different screen. To help make sure the action of your scene is contained within a safe
area on all TV screens, you can enable the Safe Frame view in any viewport. This will, as
shown in Figure 11.18, show you a set of three boundaries in your viewport.
Figure 11.18
Safe Frame gives
you a suggested
boundary for
the action of
your framing.
Live Area
Action Safe
Title Safe
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render elements
The Live area is the extent of what will be rendered. The Action Safe area is the boundary where you should be assured that the action in the scene will display on most if not all
TV screens. Most TVs will display somewhere between the Action Safe and the Live areas.
Finally, the Title Safe boundary is where you can feel comfortable rendering text in your
frame. Because some TVs distort the image slightly at the edges, any text that falls outside
the Title Safe area may not be readable. Although they are based on TV technology from
years ago, these conventions hold true in professional production to this day. The Safe
Frame areas are still good guidelines to use when framing your shot.
To view Show Safe Frame in the chosen viewport, right-click on the name in the viewport to access the context menu, and then choose Safe Frame from the list.
Render Elements
The Render Elements tab is another tab in the Rendering Scene dialog box. You might not
need this feature as a beginner, but you will be surprised at the control you get when you
render your scene into separate passes to composite later. As a beginner, you should concentrate on becoming familiar with rendering and lighting. As the months pass and you
feel more comfortable rendering, you should discover that most CG is layered.
This means that separate passes are rendered outside of 3ds Max and layered or composited together with finer control in a program such as Photoshop for still images, and
Combustion, After Effects, or Shake for image sequences. The ability to layer is another
reason why rendering to image files is preferred over rendering to movie files.
However, you will need to understand compositing to be able to control and layer the
elements back together.
Shadows and reflections are the main elements that you might consider rendering separately, especially when you are first learning. When these elements are separate, you gain
a greater degree of control in compositing because you can affect the shadows or reflections
any way you want (soften, color, transparency, etc.) as you composite them back on top of
the image. For example, if you render a scene of a tree casting a shadow across a lawn, you
will have to render the entire scene again if you decide to lighten the shadow color. If you
have the shadow as a separate pass, you can very easily and interactively change the darkness of the shadow as you composite it in Shake, for instance.
Follow along with these steps:
1. Select the Render Elements tab in the Rendering Scene window, click the Add button,
and select the element you want to render. The following list describes common
elements to render:
Alpha Renders a black and white matte to be used in compositing. This is especially
helpful when you need different mattes for different objects in your scene. The fruit
still life is shown rendered Alpha only in Figure 11.19.
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Figure 11.19
The Alpha element
Reflection Renders only the reflections so you can composite them separately. Fig-
ure 11.20 shows the fruit still life’s reflections in the pedestal rendered as an element.
Figure 11.20
The Reflection
element
Refraction Renders only refracting elements in transparent or translucent objects so
they may be layered in the composite at a later time.
Self-Illumination Renders the incandescence of an object’s material separately so its
intensity may be controlled in composite.
Shadow Renders only the shadows cast in the scene into the Alpha channel of the
image. Figure 11.21 shows the fruit still life’s shadow element. Keep in mind that you
will have to render to an image format that has an Alpha channel, such as TIFF.
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Figure 11.21
The Shadows
element as shown
in the Alpha channel
of the image
Specular Renders only the highlights on an object’s glossy material. Figure 11.22
shows the specular highlights on the fruit.
Figure 11.22
The Specular
element
Z-Depth Renders a grayscale image that responds to the depth of a scene. The closer
an object or a part of an object is, the whiter it renders. The farther from the camera
an object or its parts are, the darker the render. This pass is then used in a compositing program, such as After Effects, to create a sense of haze or blur to add a
depth of field to the image. Figure 11.23 shows a Z-Depth pass generated for the
still life scene.
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Figure 11.23
The Z-Depth
element
2. Once you select a render element, it will be added to the Element Rendering List. Then
you’ll need to go down to the Selected Element parameters to input where you will
save the bitmap elements, as shown here. The dialog box will name the element automatically.
However, when you go into the Explorer window
to save it, you should name it again.
3. If you want each element to be rendered in its own
Rendered Frame window, check the Display Elements box. If it is unchecked, the program will
render the elements to a file and the Render Frame
window will not show you the progress of each
element.
4. Click the Render button to begin a render. 3ds
Max will render the entire scene, and then output
the elements as needed.
Rendering Effects
Rendering Effects offers a variety of special effects such as lens effects, film grain, and blur
to add to your render. Rendering Effects allows you to create effects without having to
render to see the results. They are rendered after your scene is rendered, and they are
added to the rendered image automatically.
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Lens Effects: Glow
You will add a glow effect to a light bulb hanging over the fruit still life in a scene. For this
scene, you can glow the light or the light bulb object. You will glow the light bulb object in
the following steps:
1. Load the Still Life_Glow.max scene file from the Rendering Scene Files folder on the
companion CD.
2. Right-click on the light bulb object. From the context menu, select Object Properties,
as shown here.
3. In the dialog box, go to the G-Buffer section and assign 2 as the Object ID number
for the glow effect, as shown in Figure 11.24. This tells 3ds Max which object gets
the glow. The number you assign doesn’t matter unless you want different glows
on different objects. In that case, each glow object would receive its own Object ID
number.
Another way you can assign glow is through the object’s material. Go to the Material
Editor, and in the toolbar, click and hold on the Material ID channel. The benefit of
using the material for the glow is that you can glow any object that has the material
applied.
You can also glow a light; this property can only be set through Object Properties.
4. In the Menu Bar, choose Rendering ➔ Effects to open the Environment and
Effects window. Click the Add button. Then pick Lens Effects from the
Add Effect dialog box. Figure 11.25 shows that the Lens Effects have been
added.
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Using the Preview in the Environment and Effects window (in the Effects tab) provides a
much easier way to view the Effects than rendering a frame does. You can select whether you
want to preview all of the effects (All) in the scene or just the one you are working on (Current). Toggling Interactive updates the preview when you change the Effects parameters by
opening a Render window and updating it as you make changes. Enabling Interactive may
cause your computer to slow down, so leave it unchecked and use the Update Effect button
when you want to see an update.
5. Scroll down to Lens Effects Parameters and select Glow to add to the box on the right,
as shown here.
Figure 11.24
Figure 11.25
Set a unique number for the Object ID.
Adding the Lens Effects to the Environment and Effects window
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rendering effects
6. While still in the Environment and Effects window, scroll down to Glow
Element. This is where you create the settings for the Glow Effect. There are
two tabs:
Parameters This tab is where you set the size and color of the glow, as
shown here.
Options This tab is where you can assign the glow to the object desired.
Under Image Sources, you have to choose how the glow will be applied to
the object, through the material or object properties.
7. Click the Options tab. Because you are creating the light bulb’s glow through
the light bulb object’s Object ID, set the Object ID parameter to 2, as shown
here. Leave the other parameters at their default values.
8. Click over to the Parameters tab to set the glow’s size. Setting the size for the
glow can be a bit tricky because the size of the glow depends on the size of
your object. Set the Size value to 5. Leave the Intensity set at the default;
once you render the effect, you can adjust the Intensity.
9. To add color to the glow, you can use two methods: You can set the Use
Source Color parameter to set the glow color to a percentage of the object’s
material color. You also can use the Radial Color parameter to set the colors
for the inside of the glow (color swatch on the left) and the outside of the
glow (color swatch on the right). In this case, set the Use Source Color to 65
because the light bulb has a yellow material applied. If you have Interactive
Preview enabled (see the note earlier), you can see how the glow looks. Otherwise, run a Quick Render to check the look.
10. The default intensity looks okay, but it could be brighter. Change the Intensity to 165. Render. Okay, it looks good. See Figure 11.26.
Figure 11.26
Glow!
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Raytraced Reflections and Refractions
In this section, you will learn how to create realistic reflections and refractions in your
renders. As you saw in Chapter 7, “Materials and Mapping,” you can apply an image map
to an object material’s Reflection parameter to add a fake reflection to the object. To get a
true reflection of the other objects in the scene, you will need to use raytracing methodology. There are essentially two ways to create raytraced reflections in a scene: by using a
Raytrace map or by using a Raytrace material.
The Raytrace material is a more detailed solution; however, it can take twice as much
time as using a Raytrace map, because the Raytrace material requires more calculation.
As you learned in Chapter 4, “Modeling in 3ds Max: Part I,” determining the level of
detail you need for a reflective surface is important. There is no reason to use the Raytrace
material for a reflection unless your camera is right up on the object. In many cases, the Raytrace map looks great and saves tons of rendering time. Keep in mind though, the amount of
control you will have with a Raytrace map is significantly less than with the Raytrace material.
First, you will try using the Raytrace material.
Raytrace Material
In the following steps, you will learn how to use the Raytrace material to create reflections
in a scene.
Creating the Raytrace Material
1. Open the Still Life_Raytrace.max file found in the Render Scene Files folder on the
companion CD. Change the Camera view to Camera01 in one of the viewports.
2. Open the Material Editor and select a sample slot. Click the Get Material button
(shown here) and select the Raytrace material (materials have a blue sphere icon on
the left) from the Material selections, as shown in Figure 11.27.
3. The parameters to create reflections are available through the Raytrace Basic Parameters rollout, as shown here. Leave most of these parameters at their default values, but
change the Reflect color swatch to white from black.
This will set the reflection of the material all the way
to the maximum reflectivity.
4. Change the Diffuse Color swatch to black to turn
the column black. This will make the column appear
as a reflective black glass material in the render.
5. Apply the Raytrace material to the Column in the
scene. Render. Figure 11.28 shows the result.
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Tweaking the Render
The render will show the Raytrace material on the column reflecting like a flat mirror. It
looks very convincing, but you may notice the jagged edges or artifacts around the reflected
objects. This is aliasing in the reflections. The antialiasing filters set by default may not be
enough. When the defaults aren’t enough, it is time for the big guns: SuperSampling.
SuperSampling is an extra pass of antialiasing. By default, 3ds Max applies a single SuperSample over all the materials in the scene.
However, if a specific material needs more antialiasing, you can apply a separate
SuperSample method to that material.
In the current Still Life scene, select the material slot
for the column’s Raytrace material. Go to the SuperSampling rollout and uncheck Use Global Settings.
Check Enable Local Supersampler. In the pull-down
menu, choose Adaptive Halton, as shown here.
The Adaptive Halton method performs well in this case. However, always try the regular patterns first; they tend to render faster. Quick Render the scene, and you will notice a
marked improvement in the quality of the reflections (Figure 11.29).
Figure 11.27
Select the Raytrace
material.
Figure 11.28
The Raytrace material renders reflections.
Figure 11.29
Reflections with the
Raytrace material
with SuperSampling
enabled
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Raytrace Mapping
You can apply raytracing only to a specific map, as opposed to the entire material. Because
raytracing typically takes longer to render, this can save time. In this case, you will assign a
Raytrace map to the Reflection map of a material to get true reflections in the scene, at a
faster render time than using the material as you just did. Follow these steps:
1. In the same scene, open the Material Editor and select an unassigned sample slot.
Keep the Material set to Standard Material.
2. In the Maps rollout, click the mapping bar labeled None next to Reflections. Choose
from the Raytrace map in the Material/Map browser, as shown here. Leave the Raytrace Map parameters at the default, as shown in Figure 11.30.
3. Click the Go to Parent button (
to the material’s parameters.
) in the Raytrace Map Parameters view to return
4. Go to the Blinn Basic parameters and change the diffuse color to black to match the
black column from the previous render.
5. In the Specular Highlights section, change the Specular Level to 98, and Glossiness to 90, as shown here.
6. Apply the material to the column object in the scene
and Quick Render.
7. You will notice the same aliasing in the reflections
as in the previous example. Set the SuperSampling as
you did with the prior example, and render again.
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Take a look at both the images created with reflections created using the Raytrace
material and the Standard material with Raytrace map applied to Reflections. They look
almost the same. This is good to know because it takes about half the time to
render the Raytrace map. However, you will notice slightly better detail in the
reflections created with the Raytrace material. You and the requirements of
your scene will determine which reflection method works best in a particular
situation. However, it’s good always start with the Raytrace map to see if it
creates enough detail without too much bother.
Refractions Using the Raytrace Material
Creating raytraced refractions in glass can be accomplished using the same
two workflows as raytraced reflections. The same conditions apply here. The
Raytrace material renders nicer, but it takes longer than using a Raytrace
map for the Refraction map in a material.
Keep in mind that render times are much slower with refractions, especially
if you add SuperSample to the mix—so don’t freak out. Next you will create
refractions using the Raytrace material:
1. In the same scene, change the Camera01 viewport to Camera02. This gives you a better view of the wine glass through which we will refract, as shown here.
2. In the Material Editor, select an unassigned sample slot and click the Get Material
button. This material will be for the wine glass.
3. Choose the Raytrace material from the Material/Map browser.
4. Go to the Raytrace Basic Parameters rollout, and change the color swatch for Transparency to white from black. Black is opaque and white is fully transparent.
Figure 11.30
The Raytrace Map
parameters
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5. Uncheck the box next to Reflect and change that spinner to 20. This sets a
slight reflection for the material.
6. Take a look at the Index of Refr parameter. This value sets the Index of
Refraction (IOR) value that determines how much the material should
refract its background. For more on IOR, see the Refraction sidebar in this
chapter. The value is already set to 1.55. Leave it at that value.
7. Go to the Extended Parameters rollout (Figure 11.31). The Reflections
section of the parameters is at the bottom. Select Additive and change Gain
to 0.7. This gives a bit of reflection brightness for the clear wine glass.
Figure 11.31
The Extended
Parameters rollout
for the Raytrace
material
8. Go to the SuperSampling rollout and uncheck Use Global Setting. Enable Local
SuperSampler and keep it set to Max 2.5 Star.
9. In the Specular Highlights group, change the
Specular Level to 98, and Glossiness to 90 as
shown here.
10. Apply the material to the wine glass. The glass
will turn transparent in the viewport. Quick Render. Figure 11.32 shows the result.
You will notice a very nice wine glass render, with
the bell pepper refracting through it slightly. Change the
Index of Refr parameter on the material to 8.0 and
you will see a much greater refraction, as shown in Figure 11.33. That may work better
for a nice heavy bottle, but it is too much for the glass. An Index of Refr parameter between
1.5 and 2.5 works pretty well for the wine glass, particularly at the bottom of the glass where
it rounds down to meet the stem.
Figure 11.32
The wine glass
refraction is rendered with the Raytrace material.
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Figure 11.33
A much more pronounced refraction
is rendered with an
IOR of 8.0.
Refractions Using Raytrace Mapping
Just as you did with the reflections, you will now use a Raytrace map on the Refraction
parameter for the wine glass material. In the following steps, you will create another
refraction render for the wine glass:
1. While still in the same scene, open the Material Editor and select an unassigned
sample slot. You are going to keep the material asset to Standard.
2. Go to the Maps rollout and click the bar labeled None, which is next to Refraction.
Choose the Raytrace map from the Material/Map Browser. The material in the
sample slot will turn transparent.
3. Click the Go to Parent button to return to the material’s parameters.
4. Go to the Maps rollout and click the bar labeled None next to Reflection. Choose the
Raytrace map from the Material/Map Browser. Be warned that this setting will take a
long time to render the image. If you have a slower computer or perhaps are in a rush,
uncheck the Reflection map box to turn off the reflection entirely.
5. Click the Go to Parent button to return to the material’s parameters.
6. Go to the Maps rollout and change the amount of the Reflection to 6. This will reduce
the amount of reflection.
7. Go to the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout and change the Opacity value to 0.
8. Go to the SuperSampling rollout and uncheck Use Global Setting. Enable Local
SuperSampler and keep it as Max 2.5 Star.
9. In the Specular Highlights group, change the Specular Level to 98, and Glossiness to 90.
10. Apply the material to the column object in the scene and render (Figure 11.34).
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Figure 11.34
Use Raytrace map
on the Refraction
parameter to create
a refraction in the
wine glass.
You can control the IOR through the material’s parameters in the Extended Parameters
rollout, in the Advanced Transparency section, shown here. Set the IOR to different numbers to see how the render compares to the Raytrace Material renders.
The render will take quite some time to finish. The raytracing reflections and
refractions slow down the render quite a bit. You can leave out the reflections if
you’d like, but that will reduce the believability of the wine glass. You can also
map a reflection as you did with the pool ball in Chapter 7; however, having
true reflections will make the wine glass look much more realistic. When you
raytrace both the reflection and the refraction, using the Raytrace material
seems to be the better way to go.
REFRACTIONS
Refraction is the bending of light that creates a distortion of an image seen through a transparent or translucent
object, such as glass. How light passes through from one medium, such as air, and into another medium, such as
glass, determines how much light is bent and therefore how much refraction is seen. This phenomenon is simulated
in a material using the Index of Refraction parameter (IOR). When there is no refraction, the IOR is set to 1; that is,
there is no difference in the medium into and out of which the light is traveling. With an IOR higher than 1, the background distorts inside the object, such as when viewing a table through a crystal ball. With an IOR lower than 1, the
refraction occurs at the edge of the transparent object, such as an air bubble in water.
The typical IOR value for glass is about 1.5. Because IOR relates to an object’s density, you may need to adjust the
IOR to get the best possible result for different types of glass, for instance. The denser the object, the higher the IOR
needs to be set. Of course, refractions require that an object be semitransparent so that you can see through it to the
object(s) behind it that are being refracted.
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summary
Summary
Rendering is the way you get to show your finished result to the world. It enables the
vector scene to be displayed in bitmap images or movie files. Getting to this point in your
scene takes quite a bit of work, but once you see the results playing back on your screen, it
all seems worth it. Nothing is more fulfilling than seeing your creation come to life, and
that’s what rendering is all about. However, don’t consider the rendering process merely
the last thing to do. Rendering may be the last step of the process, but you should travel the
entire journey with rendering in mind, from design to models to animation to lighting.
Always allow enough time to ensure that your animations render properly and at their
best quality. Most beginners seriously underestimate the time needed to properly complete this step in CG production.
In this chapter, you learned the basics of rendering with Autodesk 3ds Max 9. You
first began by learning about render output and the types of files to which you can render.
You rendered the Bouncing Ball exercise from Chapter 8 and then enabled motion blur.
Then you learned about cameras and rendering separate passes with Render Elements.
Finally, you learned how to render glows and how to use raytracing to render true reflections and refractions in a scene.
After you have rendered many scenes, you’ll have a much better understanding of how
to set up your scene from the very beginning to efficiently achieve a great result. It won’t
hurt to go over the examples in this chapter more than once and try to render your own
scenes in different ways.
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CHAPTER 12
Particles and Dynamics
Animating large numbers of similar objects frequently can be a timeconsuming and arduous task. With hundreds, if not thousands, of individual objects and
their animated parameters and transforms to consider, this is a task that, one object at a
time, could quickly become overwhelming. 3ds Max has several tools for animating large
numbers of objects in a scene including instanced objects, externally referencing objects,
instanced modifiers, the Crowd utility for characters, and particle systems for controlling
any number of particles. Particles are usually small objects, often in large numbers, that
can represent rain, snow, a swarm of insects, a barrage of bullets, or anything else that
requires a large quantity of objects that follow a similar path.
Another method of creating animations for several objects simultaneously is through
the use of reactor, the physics engine contained within 3ds Max. Using reactor, you can
calculate the interactions between many rigid and soft body objects or simulate fluids or
rope dynamics.
Topics in this chapter include:
■
Understanding Particle Systems
■
Setting Up a Particle System
■
Particle Systems and Space Warps
■
Using Rigid Body Dynamics
■
Using Soft Body Dynamics
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Understanding Particle Systems
Particle systems are a means to manage the infinite possibilities that can be encountered
when controlling thousands of seemingly random objects in a scene. The particles can follow a tight stream or emanate in all directions from the surface of an object. The particles
themselves can be pixel-sized elements on the screen or instanced geometry from an object
in the scene. Particles can react to space warps, such as wind and gravity, and bounce off
objects called deflectors to give them a natural flow through a scene. Particles can even
spawn new particles upon collision.
All particle systems have two common components: the emitter and the particles. The
emitter, as you would guess, is the object from which the particles originate. The location
and, to a lesser extent, the orientation of the emitter are vital to the particles’ origination
point in the scene. Emitters are nonrendering objects, making their size and color unimportant. The particles themselves are the elements that spew from the emitter. The number of particles can range from a few (to simulate a burst from a gun) to thousands (to
simulate smoke from a burning building). The number of particles visible in a viewport
can adversely affect the viewport refresh speed and your ability to quickly navigate within
the viewports. By default, far fewer particles are shown in the viewports than actually render in the scene. This helps maintain a reasonable system performance level.
Particle System Types
Two types of particle systems are available in 3ds Max: event-driven and non-event-driven
particle systems.
Event-Driven Particle Systems
Event-driven particle systems use a series of tests and operators grouped into components
called events. An operator affects the appearance and action of the individual particles and
can, among many other abilities, change the shape or rotation of the particles, add a material or external force, or even delete the particles on a per-particle basis. Tests check for
conditions such as a particle’s age, its speed, and whether it has collided with a deflector.
Particles move down the list of operators and tests in an event and, if the particles pass the
requirements of a test they encounter, they can leave the current event and move to the
next. If they do not pass the test, the particles continue down the list in the current event.
Particles that do not pass any test in an event commonly are deleted or recycled through
the event until they do pass a test. Events are wired together in a flowchart style to clearly
display the path, from event to event, that the particles follow.
Particle Flow is the event-driven particle system in 3ds Max, and it is a very comprehensive solution to most particle system requirements. The upper-left pane in the Particle
View window in Figure 12.1 shows a partial layout of the events in a Particle Flow setup.
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Figure 12.1
The Particle View
window and a
Particle Flow emitter
Events are the named boxes, operators are the gray boxes, and tests appear as yellow diamonds. To the right of the Particle View window is a common example of one of the
several emitter types that a Particle Flow can utilize. Using Particle Flow, you can create
almost any particle-based effect, including rain, snow, mist, a flurry of arrows and spears,
and objects assembling and disassembling in a blast of particles. Unfortunately, an in-depth
examination of Particle Flow is beyond the scope of this book.
Non-Event-Driven Particle Systems
Non-event-driven particle systems rely on the parameters set in the Modify panel to
control the appearance and content of the particles. All particles are treated identically by
the system’s parameters, and there are no tests to modify the behavior for certain particles.
Non-event-driven particle systems have been around for a long time; they are stable, easy
to learn, and an acceptable solution for many particle requirements. Non-event-driven
particle systems are the focus of this chapter. These particles can be bound to space warps
to control their apparent reactions to scene events, and they can be instructed to follow
a path.
Six different non-event-driven particle systems are available in 3ds Max; each has its
own strengths. They all have similar setups and, after you understand one type, the others
are easy to master.
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The Super Spray particle system is the most commonly used non-event-driven particle
system in Max. It features a spherical emitter with a directional arrow to indicate the initial direction of the particles. It has eight rollouts containing the parameters that control
the appearance and performance of the particles. The particles can emerge over a specified
range of time or throughout the length of the scene’s duration. When rendered, they can
appear as one of several 2D or 3D shapes, instanced scene geometry, or as interconnecting
blobs that ebb and flow as they near each other. The particles can even spawn additional
particles when they collide and load a predesigned series of parameters called a preset. The
Super Spray particle system essentially replaced the older, less-comprehensive Spray particle system, and it will be the main focus of this chapter.
Rather than being the emitter, the Particle Array particle system that is created in a
viewport is only a visual link to the particle system emitter itself. The PArray uses a scene
object as the emitter for the particles. While the parameters are adjusted with the PArray
selected, the particles are emitted from the vertices, edges, or faces of the designated object.
When used in conjunction with the PBomb space warp and the Object Fragments setting,
acceptable object explosions can be created.
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understanding particle systems
The Particle Cloud particle system contains particles within a volume defined by the
emitter or by selecting a 3D object in the scene to act as the constraining volume. When
instanced geometry is used as the particle type, an array of space cruisers or a school of
fish can be represented by the PCloud system. The PCloud object does not render, and
any object used to constrain the particles can be hidden to give the illusion that the particles are not held in place by an external force.
Instanced geometry takes instanced copies of an object and assigns one instance to the particles in a scene. You can animate a school of fish, for example, by assigning an instanced fish
model to particle locations, and then animating the particles to school together and swim
along.
The Blizzard particle system is similar to the Super Spray particle system in its toolset
and capabilities. The presets that ship with Blizzard are designed to simulate the particle
motion of rain, snow, or mist. The Blizzard particle system has replaced the less-capable
Snow particle system.
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The Spray and Snow particle systems are the original particle systems that shipped
with the initial release of 3D Studio Max, the first Windows release after four DOS-based
versions of 3D Studio. At the time, they were cutting edge and beneficial, but they have
not been improved significantly since their implementation. Spray and Snow do not offer
primitive or instanced geometry as particles, presets, or particle spawning. The concepts
used with these two systems are similar to the other more-advanced systems, but they are
seldom used anymore.
Setting Up a Particle System
Particles are renderable objects in Max, so a particle system is created in the Geometry tab
of the Command panel. Like most other objects in 3ds Max, the particle system’s parameters can be changed immediately in the Create panel, but they must be changed in the
Modify panel after the object is selected at a later point in time. To set up a particle system,
follow these steps.
1. Click Create ➔ Geometry ➔ Particle Systems from the Command panel and then click
on the Super Spray button in the Object Type rollout. The particle system’s parameters appear in the Command panel.
2. Click and drag in the Perspective viewport to create the Super Spray emitter. The
emitters do not render, so the size does not matter; the arrow will point in the positive
Z direction, as shown in Figure 12.2.
3. Drag the time slider to the right until the particles extend beyond the limits of the
viewport. Frame number 10 should be sufficient.
The Basic Parameters rollout controls how the particles spread as they exit the emitter, the size of the emitter, and how they display in the viewports.
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4. In the Basic Parameters rollout, set both Spread values to 30 to spread the particles
out 30 degrees in both the local X- and local Y-axes of the emitter. The Off Axis
parameter rocks the emission direction along the X axis and the Off Plane parameter rotates the angle of emission around the Z-axis. Both of these should remain
at zero.
5. In the Viewport Display area, make sure Ticks is selected and the Percentage of
Particles is set to 10. This ensures that the particles appear as small crosses in the
viewports, regardless of the type of particle used, and that only 10 percent of the
particles that are actually emitted are displayed in the viewport. Both of these
parameters are used to ensure a minimal loss of performance in the viewport
when using particles.
6. Click the Quick Render button ( ) in the main toolbar. The particles appear as
small dots in the Rendered Frame window. If you cannot see them, try changing the
object color in the Name and Color
rollout. In the next section, you will
increase the size of the particles in the
Rendered Frame Window by increasing
the particle’s Size parameter. More
particles are visible in the rendering
than in the viewport because the Percentage of Particles value affects only
the viewports and not the renderings.
Figure 12.2
The Super Spray
emitter created in
the Perspective
viewport
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The Particle Generation Parameters
The parameters in the Particle Generation rollout control the emission of the particles
including the quantity, speed, size, and life span. If you can’t see any particles in your
scene, the first place to look should be the Particle Generation rollout.
1. Expand the Particle Generation rollout. In the Particle Quantity area, the Use
Rate value determines the number of particles emitted at each frame and the Use
Total value determines how many particles are emitted over the active life of the
system. Only one of these options can be active at a time. Increase the Use Rate
value to 12.
2. Increase the Speed value to 15 to increase the velocity of the particles.
3. In the Playback Controls area, click the Play Animation button ( ). The particles
spew from the emitter briefly and then stop. The particles have a distinct beginning
and ending time that controls when the emitter can eject any particles.
4. In the Particle Timing section of the Particle Generation rollout, change the Emit Start
value to 10 and the Emit Stop value to 100 and then click the Play Animation button
again. The particle system will pause for 10 frames at the beginning of the active
time segment and then emit 12 particles every frame for the remaining 90 frames.
5. Drag the Time slider to frame 50 or so and then zoom out in the Perspective viewport
until the limits of the particles extents are visible. Play the animation again. The particles increase their distance from the emitter until frame 45 and then travel no farther.
There are several parameters that determine when a particle is visible. The Emit Start
and Emit Stop parameters mentioned earlier bracket the frames when the particles
are emitted. The Display Until parameter in the Particle Timing area defines the last
frame when any particle is visible. Regardless of whether this frame falls within the
Start and Stop values, when the Display Until frame is reached, no further particles
appear in the viewports or in any renderings. Another parameter that controls the
display of particles is the Life value. The Life value determines how long each particle
exists in a scene from when it is emitted until it disappears. Currently, the Life value is
set to 30 so that at frame 45, which is 30 frames after the emission begins at frame 15,
the particles disappear. Particles that are emitted after frame 10 also live for 30 frames,
moving the same distance from the emitter before dying.
6. Change the Life value to 40, allowing the particles to travel one-third farther from the
emitter, and change the Variation to 20, adding randomness to the particle’s lifespan.
7. Play the animation. The particles now travel farther from the emitter and die between
32 and 48 frames after being emitted.
8. In the Particle Size area, change the Size value to 10 and then render one frame of the
scene at some point after frame 30. The result should look similar to Figure 12.3.
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Figure 12.3
The Super Spray
particle system
rendered in the
Perspective
viewport
Notice that the particles are smaller very near the emitter and also very far away from
the emitter. By default, the Grow For value causes the particles to grow from a size of
zero to full size over the first 10 frames of their lives. The Fade For parameter causes
those same particles to shrink from full size to zero size during the last 10 frames of
their lives.
9. Change the Fade For value to 0, so the particles retain their size at the end of their
lives, and leave Grow For at its default.
10. Render the Perspective viewport again and notice how the particles grow, but never
shrink.
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VARIATION
In many situations utilizing particle systems, the particles are intended to appear as many similar but random
objects. When the particles all have identical parameters (such as speed, life span, or rotation), the illusion of randomness disappears, which can greatly detract from its sense of reality. To alleviate this situation, in many of the
parameter areas of the Super Spray particle system’s rollouts, you will find a Variation parameter. The Variation
settings modify their related parameters on a per-particle basis to add seeming randomness to the system. For
example, changing the Variation parameter (below the Speed parameter) to 20 assigned a velocity to each particle
within 20 percent of the Speed value. When the Speed parameter is set to 10 and Variation is set to 20, each
particle is assigned to a random speed between 8 and 12—20 percent on either side of 10.
Putting It Together
Now that you have a basic understanding of particle systems, you will continue to work
with them by creating a system that represents the bullets fired from a gun and the brass
expelled from the ejection port. This will require two particle systems, one for each type of
object leaving the gun. We will also examine the different particle types that can be emitted.
Creating the Particle Systems
The basic process of creating a particle system is fairly simple; you place the emitter in the
scene, fine tune its location and orientation, and then adjust the system’s parameters. The
third item mentioned is the one that will take the most experimentation to perfect.
1. Open the Particle Gun.max file from the companion CD. This file is similar to the
completed IK gun file created in Chapter 9, “Character Studio and IK Animation,”
with a target, floor, materials, lights, and a camera added. The lights and camera have
been hidden for clarity.
2. In the Top viewport, create a Super Spray particle system. Move and rotate it so that
the emitter is recessed slightly into the barrel of the gun, similar to Figure 12.4. Turn
on the Angle Snap Toggle ( ) to rotate the system precisely 90 degrees.
Figure 12.4
The Top and
Right viewports
showing the proper
placement of the
Super Spray particle
emitter
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3. Click the Select and Link button (
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) in the main toolbar.
4. Click on the particle system; a rubber
banding line stretches from the emitter to the cursor. Place the cursor over
the gun barrel and then click again.
The gun flashes white to indicate that
the linking is complete. Any changes
in the gun’s orientation or position
are now passed down to the particle
system, keeping it colocated and oriented with the gun.
5. Rename this particle system to Super Spray Bullets.
6. Create a second Super Spray particle system and place it on the right side of the gun
body. Orient the emitter so that the particles are ejected upward and away from the
gun, as shown in Figure 12.5. In the figure, the target and its supports have been hidden for clarity.
You may see a random particle or two already emitted by the particle systems. These are
caused by the Emit Start time being set to the initial frame of the scene. This anomaly is corrected in the next section.
7. Link this particle system to the gun, just as you did with the other in Steps 3 and 4.
8. Rename this system to Super Spray Brass.
Configuring the Particle System Timing
The amount of particles emitted over time defines the density of the particles in the
scene. The speed of the particles also factors into the proximity of the particles.
1. In the Time Controls area, click the Time Configuration button (
)
Figure 12.5
The Top and Front
viewports showing
the proper placement of the second
Super Spray particle
emitter
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2. In the Time Configuration dialog box, change the Length value to 300 and
then click the OK button. At 30 frames per second (fps), the scene is now 10
seconds long.
3. Select Super Spray Bullets and then click the Modify tab of the Command
panel.
4. In the Particle Generation rollout, set the Use Rate to 10, the Speed to 10.0,
the Emit Start value to 45, and the Emit Stop value to 255. After a one-and-ahalf second pause, the gun will fire 10 rounds per frame continuously for
seven seconds.
5. Change the Display Until value to 300 so that the particles appear in the scene
for the entire active time segment. Set the Life value to 255 (the scene length
minus the frames prior to the first particle emission) so the particles do not
die out in the scene.
6. In the Particle Size section, change the Size value to 4. Drag the Time slider to approximately frame 80 and then render the Camera viewport. The scene should look similar to Figure 12.6.
The particles appear as triangles that grow as they travel away from the emitter. This is not
the look that you want for the particles when you are creating a traditional gun; the rounds
should all appear the same size for the life of the particles. The particle type is covered in the
next section and in the “Particle Systems and Space Warps” section later in this chapter.
The conditions that allow the particles to pass through the target object are also addressed.
Figure 12.6
The rendered camera viewport showing the particles
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Selecting the Particle Type
There are several types of particles that can be emitted by a particle system. Standard
particles consist of eight different 2D and 3D particles including cubes, spheres, and
six-pointed stars. The Facing Standard particle type is a square, 2D particle that maintains
a continuous orientation perpendicular to the viewport. Using opacity mapped materials
in conjunction with Facing particles can give the illusion of smoke or steam without using
a massive number of particles.
MetaParticles use what is known as metaball technology where each particle appears as
a blob with a sphere of influence surrounding it. Whenever the two spheres of influence
from two particles in close proximity overlap, the particles meld together in an organic
manner similar to mercury or the wax in a lava lamp. Using MetaParticles can be computationally intensive, so caution should be a priority when that is the selected particle type.
Start with a quantity of particles fewer than you would expect to use and then increase the
amount, as required, after test rendering the scene.
Geometry that exists in the scene can also be substituted for the particles at render time.
Using instanced geometry, a particle system can emit any objects from jet fighters to fire
fighters, or nearly any other geometry in the scene, using the material from the object that
is instanced. The original scene object can be hidden so as not to appear in the render of
the scene, while still being instanced by the particle system.
1. With the Super Spray Bullets particle system selected, expand the Particle Type rollout.
2. In the Particle Types section, select MetaParticles.
3. From the Menu Bar, choose Edit ➔ Hold to temporarily save the scene. If rendering
the scene causes a system crash, it can be restored to this point using Edit ➔ Fetch.
3ds Max is a stable program, but rendering MetaParticles can significantly task a
computer system.
4. Render the scene. The particles that are near to each other combine to form blobs of
meshes.
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5. In the MetaParticle Parameters section, decrease the Tension to 0.1. Tension controls
a particle’s effort to maintain a spherical shape while in proximity to another particle.
Lowering the Tension increases the amount of inter-particle combining.
6. Render the scene again to see the effect of the lower Tension value.
7. MetaParticles would be the solution if this were a plasma rifle, rather than a conventional machine gun. In this case, instanced geometry is the appropriate particle
choice.
8. Right-click on a blank area of the Active viewport and choose Unhide by Name from
the Quad menu. Select the bullet and brass objects from the list in the Unhide Objects
dialog box and then click the Unhide button. Two small objects, a bullet and a brass
casing, appear below the gun.
9. At the top of the Particle Type rollout, select Instanced Geometry as the particle type.
In the Instancing Parameters section, click the Pick Object button.
10. Select the Bullet object in the scene. If necessary, press the H key to open the Pick
Object dialog box to select the object by name. The bullet flashes white briefly to indicate that the selection is successful and the object name is now identified in the
Instancing Parameters section as the instanced geometry object.
11. Render the Camera viewport. There are still a few problems that need to be corrected.
The particles are growing as they leave the emitter, the particles grow to be too large
for the gun barrel, and the bullets rotate in several axes, rather than maintaining a
forward orientation. The bullets also display their object color, the color used by the
particles system, rather than the material applied to the Bullet object.
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12. In the Particle Size section of the Particle Generation rollout, set the Grow For and
Fade For parameters to 0. This will cause the particles to maintain a constant size
throughout their life spans.
13. When using standard or metaparticles, the Size parameter defines the size of the particle. When using instanced geometry, it becomes a multiplier of the object’s actual
size. With the current Size value set to 4, the bullets are scaled to four times their
modeled size. Set the Size value to 1.
14. Expand the Rotation and Collision rollout. In the Spin Axis Controls section, select
Direction of Travel/Mblur to make each bullet’s orientation follow its direction of
travel.
15. At the bottom of the Particle Type rollout, make sure that the Instanced Geometry
radio button is selected and then click the Get Material From button.
16. Render the camera viewport again. All of the particles are now oriented properly.
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Setting Up the Other Particle System
We have a particle system set up to emit the bullets, and now we need one that ejects
the brass casings. In many cases, the same parameters must be maintained among the
two systems so these parameters will be wired together, ensuring a common value
between them.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Particle
companion CD.
Gun1.max file from the
2. Select the Super Spray Brass particle system.
3. In the Particle Generation rollout, set the Size to 1 and set both the Grow For and
Fade For values to 0. Set Emit Start to 45, Emit Stop to 255, and Life to 300.
4. In the Particle Motion section, reduce the Speed value to 5. The rate of particles emitted is still set to 10; the Speed value just determines the velocity of the particles as they
leave the emitter.
5. In the Particle Type rollout, choose Instanced Geometry in the Particle Types section
and then click the Pick Object button. Select the brass object as the geometry to be
instanced.
6. Select the Instanced Geometry option in the Mat’l Mapping and Source section at the
bottom of the Particle Type rollout, and then click the Get Material From button to
define the material applied to the particles.
7. In the Rotation and Collision rollout, select the Direction of Travel/Mblur option.
8. Select the bullet and brass objects and hide them.
9. Drag the time slider. The Super Spray Brass particle system emits particles for 30 frames
and then stops before the Super Spray Bullets particle system begins. This disconnect
is addressed in the next section.
Wiring the Parameters Together
The values that define the parameters unique to each particle system in the scene have
been set properly. Several values, such as the Use Rate, must maintain the same value for
both particle systems so that, for example, the amount of brass ejected matches the number of bullets fired. These parameters can always be adjusted manually; however, the
Parameter Wiring tool forces one object’s parameters to drive another’s. In the following
exercise, the parameter values of the Super Spray Bullets particle system are used to define
the parameter values of the Super Spray Brass particle system.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or load the Particle
companion CD.
Gun2.max file from the
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2. Select the Super Spray Bullets particle system. Right-click in the viewport and choose
Wire Parameters from the Quad menu.
3. From the small pop-up menu that appears, choose Object (SuperSpray) and then
Birth Rate from the cascading menu. A rubber banding line connects the particle
system to the cursor. At this point, the object to be wired to the Super Spray Bullet’s
Birth Rate parameter must be selected.
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4. Press the H key to open the Pick Object dialog box, select Super Spray Brass, and then
click the Pick button.
5. From the small pop-up menu that appears, choose Object (SuperSpray) and then
Birth Rate from the cascading menu.
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6. The Parameter Wiring dialog box opens, as shown in Figure 12.7. The Birth Rate
parameters are highlighted in both the left and right windows. The left side of the
dialog box displays the Super Spray Bullets particle system’s parameter, and the right
side displays the parameters for the Super Spray Brass particle system.
Figure 12.7
The Parameter
Wiring dialog
box with the Birth
Rate parameters
highlighted
7. The control direction, defining which parameter controls the other, can be set so
that either one of the parameters controls the other, or bidirectional control can be
set so that either parameter can change the other. In this case, the bullet rate is used
to control the brass rate. Click the right arrow between the two parameter windows.
8. Complete the wiring process by clicking the Connect button. The parameters in each
window will turn red to indicate that they are wired.
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9. Select the Super Spray Bullets particle system and change the Use Rate to 12.
10. Select the Super Spray Brass particle system and examine its Use Rate. It is now set
to 12 as well.
You can try to change the Use Rate for the Super Spray Brass particle system, but it won’t
work. The related spinners simply do not work, and they shouldn’t because the particle system’s Use Rate is defined by the Use Rate of the Super Spray Brass particle system. You can
highlight and change the value manually; however, nothing will really happen. When you
deselect the system and then select it again, the Use Rate reverts to the value set by the
other system.
11. Select the Life parameter in both windows; click the right arrow and then the Connect
button. The Life parameters are now wired together as well.
Unfortunately, the Emit Start, Emit Stop, and Display Until parameters are not exposed to
the Parameter Wiring dialog box. These values must be changed for each particle system
individually.
12. Close the Parameter Wiring dialog box.
13. Drag the time Slider. The two particle systems emit equal numbers of particles at the
same time. The brass ejects in a straight line from the gun body; this is corrected in
the next section.
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particle systems and space warps
The particle systems have been created and linked to the gun so that they maintain the
proper position and orientation when the gun moves or rotates. The systems have been
adjusted to fire bullets from the barrel and eject brass from the side at an equal and wired
rate. In the next section, the processes of adding space warps to interject gravity into the
scene and to cause the particles to collide with scene objects are covered.
Particle Systems and Space Warps
Space warps are nonrendering objects that can modify or manipulate the objects in a
scene. Modifier-based space warps, for example, deform objects based on the object’s
proximity to the space warp. In this section, the focus is on the Forces and Deflectors
categories of space warps; the space warps that affect particle systems.
The Forces space warps affect particle systems by altering the trajectory of the particles
as they move through the scene. Each space warp displays as an icon in the viewports that
must be bound to each object that it is designated to affect. The bindings appear as wide
gray lines at the top of the Modifier Stack.
The Forces space warps are listed here:
Motor Applies a directional spin to the particles, creating a circular movement. The ori-
entation of the Space Warp icon defines the direction of the rotation.
Vortex Similar to the Motor space warp, Vortex causes the particles to move in a circular
motion but also decreases the radius of the motion over distance, creating a funnelshaped motion.
Path Follow Requires the particles to follow a spline path. The particle timing is controlled
by the Path Follow’s parameters.
Displace Changes the particle trajectory by pushing them based on the space warp’s
Strength and Decay values. Image maps can also be used to define the amount of
displacement.
Wind Adds a directional force to the particles based on the space warp’s orientation.
Randomness can be added to increase the realism of the simulation.
Push Applies a constant, directional force to the particles.
Drag Rather than changing the direction of the particles, Drag slows the speed of the
particles as they pass through its influence.
PBomb Disperses particles with a linear or spherical force. This can be effective when
used with the Particle Array particle system.
Gravity Applies a constant acceleration used to simulate the affect of gravity on the
particles. Gravity can be applied in a linear fashion
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Adding Gravity to a Scene
When looking at the particle systems in the previous exercises, especially the Super Spray
Brass system, it’s evident that the motion of the particles is not realistic. The particles are
emitted at approximately a 45-degree angle up and away from the gun body. The particles
maintain a perfectly straight trajectory and never fall to the earth as they should. In this
exercise, gravity is added to both particle systems to cause the bullets and brass to drop.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or load the Particle
panion CD.
Gun3.max file from the com-
2. Drag the Time slider to frame 100.
3. Click Create ➔ Space Warps. Choose Forces from the drop-down menu if necessary,
and then click the Gravity button.
4. Click and drag in the Top viewport to place and size the Gravity Space Warp icon.
The size and the location are unimportant, but the orientation of the icon defines the
direction of the gravitational force.
5. Select the Super Spray Brass particle system. Click the Bind to Space Warp button
( ) in the main toolbar.
Figure 12.8
After the Gravity is
bound to the particle system, the particles drop through
the floor.
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6. Click on the Particle System emitter or the particles themselves and drag the cursor
toward the Gravity. A rubber banding line connects the particle system to the cursor.
7. Place the cursor over the Gravity space warp, the cursor’s appearance changes to
identify it as a valid object for binding, and then release the mouse button. The space
warp flashes briefly to indicate a successful binding and the particles now drop
through the floor as shown in Figure 12.8.
8. Select the Super Spray Bullets space warp and bind it to the Gravity space warp as well.
9. Play the animation. The particles from both systems are affected by the gravity, but
the bullets drop too far for their distance from the gun to the target. Reducing the
amount of gravity isn’t appropriate because the brass would fall too slowly and the
gravitational force should be consistent throughout the scene. This situation is fixed
by increasing the velocity of the bullets as they leave the barrel.
10. The Bind to Space Warp button is still active. Click the Select Object button, and then
select the Super Spray Bullets particle system.
11. Make sure the Time slider is at a frame well into the animation so that changes to the
system are reflected in the viewports.
12. In the Modify panel, click the SuperSpray entry in the Modifier Stack to expose the
particle system’s parameters.
13. In the Particle Generation rollout, increase the Speed value to 50. The visible trajectories of the particles will flatten out.
At the bottom of the Rotation and Collision rollout, you will find the Interparticle Collisions
section. Enabling this parameter causes Max to calculate and determine the result of any situation where two particles impact each other. This can add a measure of realism to the way
the particles react, but it can also consume a significant amount of system resources. Use this
feature with caution and always Hold the scene prior to enabling or testing the feature.
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Controlling the Particles with Deflectors
As you can see in the previous exercises, particles travel through a scene, guided by
space warps but unaffected by geometry. Deflectors are a type of space warp that causes
the particles that impact it to bounce as if they have collided with an unmovable surface.
The amount of Bounce assigned to a deflector is a multiplier that defines the velocity
of a particle after it impacts the space warp. A Bounce value of 0.5 results in the particle’s
speed being reduced to 50 percent of the speed it was when it hit the deflector. Most
deflectors have Time On and Time Off parameters that control when the deflector is
active.
Deflecting the Brass at the Floor
To get the spent casings to collide with the ground, follow these steps:
1. Continue with the previous exercise or load the Particle
companion CD.
Gun4.max file from the
2. Drag the Time slider to frame 100.
3. Click Create ➔ Space Warps. Choose Deflectors from the drop-down menu and
then click the POmniFlect button.
4. In the Top viewport, click and drag to define the two opposite corners of the
deflector. The deflector should be similar in size to the floor object in the scene.
Unlike the Forces space warps, deflectors must be positioned in the stream of
the particles.
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UNDERSTANDING DEFLECTOR NAMES
The names assigned to the different deflectors distinguish the shapes and properties of
those deflectors. Understanding the deflector naming convention is key to selecting the correct deflector for the task at hand.
•
If the deflector name begins with a P or an S, the deflector is Planar or Spherical in shape.
•
If the deflector name begins with a U, this is a universal deflector and any scene geometry can be assigned as a deflector, instead of the Deflector icon itself.
•
If the deflector name ends with “OmniFlect,” this deflector affects all particles that
impact it. The OmniFlect deflectors are more advanced than the simpler space warps
that end with “Deflector.”
•
If the deflector name ends with “DynaFlect,” this deflector affects all particles that
impact it and, when used with dynamic simulations, can affect other objects in the
scene.
5. Move the deflector 0.3 units in the positive Z direction. The impact point is based on
the particle location. When using instanced geometry, the particle location is defined
by the center point of the geometry. The bullets and brass are about 0.3 units in radius,
so moving the deflector up 0.3 units prevents the particles from sinking into the floor.
6. Select the Super Spray Brass particle system and then click the Bind to Space Warp
button in the Main toolbar. Click on the particle system, or particles, drag to the
perimeter of the deflector, and then release to bind the deflector to the particle system.
7. Activate the camera viewport and then play the animation. The particles initially
bounce equal in height to their highest point after being ejected, but they discontinue shortly afterward.
8. Select the deflector object in the viewport, not the deflector binding in the Modifier
Stack.
9. In the Timing section of the Parameters rollout, set the Time Off value to 300 to leave
the deflector on during the entire active time segment.
10. In the Reflection section, set the Bounce value to 0.25 and the Variation to 10 percent.
Increase Chaos to 50 percent so the particles’ directions are not constrained to a
straight line.
11. In the Common section, increase the Friction value to 4.0 to prevent the particles
from spreading too far along the deflector’s surface.
12. Play the animation. The brass is ejected from the side of the gun, falls to the floor, and
spreads a bit from the point of impact.
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Deflecting the Bullets at the Target
The brass is handled, and now the bullet collisions need to be addressed equally as well.
1. Click Create ➔ Space Warps and then click the UOmniFlect button.
2. In the Top viewport, click and drag to place and size the universal deflector. The size
and position do not matter. This is just a visible icon. A scene object will be selected
to act as the deflector.
3. Select the Super Spray Bullets particle system, and bind it to the UOmniflect icon, not
the Target object. Bind the particle system to the POmniFlect deflector as well.
4. Click the Select Object button and then select the UOmniFlect icon.
5. Click the Pick Object button and then select the target object in the scene.
6. In the Timing section, set the Time Off value to 300.
7. In the reflection section, set Bounce to 0.01, Variation to 10, and Chaos to 4.
8. Play the animation. The particles hit the target, fall to the floor, and then spread out a bit.
As you can see, the proper use of Force and Deflector space warps, in conjunction with
particle systems, can successfully animate thousands of small objects within the constraints
of a scene. The completed scene can be examined using the Particle Gun Complete.max
and Particle Gun.avi files on the companion CD. In the remaining sections in this chapter,
we will look at the implementation of rigid and soft body dynamics in physics simulations.
Using Rigid Body Dynamics
Part of the core package of 3ds Max is the physics engine known as reactor. With reactor,
complex physical conditions are accurately animated showing the interaction of the scene
objects with each other and with external forces such as wind or gravity. Objects are
assigned mass, elasticity, and friction properties and designated as movable or immovable
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objects. Rigid body dynamics, soft body dynamics, rope, and cloth simulations are all
within the limits of reactor’s toolset. The Real Time Preview window displays a lower resolution, unrendered example of the animation to be created. Reactor calculates the animation, but the standard practice of creating keyframes is the final output of the simulations.
These keyframes can be edited and manipulated; however, the integrity of the simulation
could be compromised.
Creating the Simulation Objects
In this exercise, a series of primitive objects are dropped onto a complex inclined object to
examine the interaction of the scene objects. Although this is a simple example of the use
of the physics simulator, reactor can be used to simulate the interactions of very complex
scenes with many colliding objects and external forces.
1. Open the Rigid.max file from the
companion CD. This consists of an
inclined box with additional boxes,
cylinders, and a hemisphere placed
on its surface to make the simulation
more complex.
2. Create two rows of spheres above the
objects. Make sure they are all over the
top edge of the large box and fit
between the two angled boxes.
3. Create a row of small boxes between
the rows of spheres, and rotate them
each about all three axes.
4. From the Extended Primitives category of geometry objects, create a
Star2 hedra and position it near the
other objects. The scene should look
similar to Figure 12.9.
5. Open the Material Editor and then
apply the Checker material to all of the
objects you created. The Checker Diffuse Color map helps discern the rotation of each object in the simulation.
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Figure 12.9
The scene after creating additional
objects for the
simulation
Assigning the Physical Properties
Each object in the scene must be assigned the correct properties to define their reactions
during the simulation. Objects that are to be stable and immovable are assigned a Mass
value of 0.
1. Select all of the objects that existed in the scene when the file was first opened.
2. From the reactor toolbar, click the Open Property Editor button ( ) to open the
Rigid Body Properties dialog box. If the reactor toolbar is not visible, right-click on a
blank area of any toolbar and then choose reactor from the pop-up menu.
3. Make sure Mass is set to 0 in the Physical Properties rollout and Mesh Convex Hull is
selected in the Simulation Geometry rollout.
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THE SIMULATION GEOMETRY ROLLOUT
•
The Simulation Geometry rollout defines how reactor defines the surfaces of an object during the simulation. The Bounding Box and Bounding Sphere options place the extents of the objects, as far as the simulation is concerned, at the limits of the smallest possible box or sphere that could encompass them.
•
Mesh Convex Hull closely follows the extents of the object, with all vertices included within the simulation
volume, while spanning any concave areas. Complicated meshes can increase the calculation time when
using Mesh Convex Hull, so the Proxy Convex Hull options allow a less dense substitution object to be used
to define the simulation parameters.
•
When Concave Mesh is used, the actual surface of the geometry is used. This can drastically increase the calculation time and should only be used when necessary. Using the Proxy Concave Mesh option can reduce
the simulation time when using a complicated object.
•
3ds Max assigns the Not Shared option to the selected geometry when multiple objects are selected that do
not utilize the same Simulation Geometry setting.
4. Select all of the spheres that you created. Set their Mass value to 1.0 and choose Bounding Sphere in the Simulation Geometry rollout. When using a spherical object,
Bounding Sphere is more accurate and calculates faster than Mesh Convex Hull.
Most 3D geometry works as expected during a reactor simulation. Reactor, however, contains its own plane object for use whenever flat, 2D surfaces are required. When a 3ds Max
plane is used instead of a reactor plane, Concave Mesh must be chosen as the Simulation
Geometry type.
5. Select all of the boxes that you created, assign a Mass value of 1.0, and choose the
Bounding Box option.
6. Select the hedra. Increase its Mass to 1.0 and select Mesh Convex Hull for the simulation.
Creating the Collection
Scene objects must be members of a collection to be included in any simulations. The collections appear as simple icons in the viewports that are selected to access the simulation’s
parameters, including editing the list of included objects.
1. Continue with the previous exercise or open the Rigid1.max file from the companion CD.
2. Click the Create Rigid Body Collection button (
) in the reactor toolbar.
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3. Click in any viewport to place the Rigid Body Collection icon. The location does not
matter.
4. In the Command panel, click the Add button at the bottom of the RB Collection
Properties rollout.
5. In the Select Rigid Bodies dialog box that opens, select all of the objects in the scene
except for the collection itself and then click the Select button. The object names will
appear in the Rigid Bodies field in the Command panel.
In most cases, no objects in a scene are required to be in a simulation. They should be
omitted if their impact to the simulation is not required. For example, in a scene where
marbles spill across a table and onto a floor, the marbles, table, and floor must be included,
but the nearby lamp or the ceiling should be omitted.
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Testing the Simulation
Reactor provides the Real-Time Preview window where you can view the simulation.
Materials and lighting are not considered for this preview; therefore it is much faster, but
less accurate, than rendering the animation.
1. Click the Preview Animation button ( ) in the reactor toolbar. Reactor analyzes
the simulation and then opens the reactor Real-Time Preview window shown in
Figure 12.10.
Figure 12.10
The reactor RealTime Preview window showing the
scene
2. Press the P key to begin the preview, and then press P again to stop it.
3. After the preview runs its course, choose Simulation ➔ Reset to place the objects at
their starting points and review the animation.
You can click and drag in the Preview window to arc-rotate around the simulation objects.
4. The hedra is large for the scene and may cause a bottleneck. Close the Preview
window.
5. Select the hedra and reduce its Radius value.
6. Select all of the objects that existed when the scene was first opened, and then open
the Rigid Body Properties dialog box.
7. Set the Friction property to 0.1.
8. Select the remaining objects in the scene, and set the friction to 0.1 as well.
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9. Rearrange the objects to change the simulation.
10. Continue to preview the animation and rearrange the objects until the simulation
meets your liking.
Creating the Animation
The Preview window showed what the animation will be like, but the animation keys have
not been created. The next exercise creates keys for all the objects in the collection. Creating the keys is not undoable, so it is recommended that an Edit ➔ Hold be performed prior
to creating the animation.
1. In the Time Configuration dialog box, increase the length of the scene’s animation to
200 frames.
2. Click Edit ➔ Hold from the Main menu.
3. Click the Create Animation button (
) from the reactor toolbar.
4. Click OK in the reactor dialog box that opens and warns you that the action cannot
be undone.
5. Max creates keys at every frame for every object in the simulation.
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The process of creating keys with reactor cannot be undone, but the objects can be selected
and their keys can be deleted in the Track Bar, the Dope Sheet, or the Function Curve dialog
boxes.
6. Play the animation. The scene animates through frame 100 and then stops. The
default value for all simulations is 100 frames.
7. To restore the scene to its state before Max created the animation, click Edit ➔ Fetch
from the main menu and then click the Yes button in the dialog box that opens.
8. Click the Utilities tab (
) of the Command panel.
9. Click the reactor button in the Utilities rollout.
In reactor, solvers provide the algorithms that determine each object’s reactions in the simulation. The two available solver options in 3ds Max 9 are Havok 1 and Havok 3. The Havok 1
solver has more functionality and can handle all types of simulation objects. Havok 3 is faster
and more accurate, but it can solve only for rigid body objects. If only rigid body objects are
used in a simulation, Havok 3 is usually the better choice.
10. In the About rollout, select Havok 3 from the Choose Solver drop-down menu.
Havok 3 is the better choice when using only rigid body objects.
11. Expand the Preview & Animation rollout and change the End Frame value to 200.
12. Click Edit ➔ Hold again, and then click the Create Animation button.
13. 3ds Max creates the simulation. You can fetch the scene and rearrange the objects as
you want to change the simulation parameters. Remember to hold the scene before
creating the animation each time.
The completed exercise is available as the Rigid Complete.max file in the Dynamics
Scene Files folder on the companion CD and the final rendering as Rigid Complete.avi.
Using Soft Body Dynamics
Soft body objects differ from rigid body objects in that they can deform upon impact with
other objects in the scene. To be included in a simulation as soft body objects, scene objects
must have the Soft Body modifier applied and be members of a soft body collection. Soft
body objects can interact with rigid body objects in the same simulation. Physical properties
are assigned to soft body objects in the same manner that they are assigned to their rigid
counterparts.
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Creating the Collections
Before you can simulate the reactions between soft body objects, all objects considered in
the simulation must be contained in a collection.
1. Open the Soft.max file from the Dynamics Scene Files folder on the companion CD.
This is a simpler version of the project used in the previous exercises with the Mass
and Simulation Geometry options already selected.
2. Select all of the base objects, and then click the Create Rigid Body Collection button
in the reactor toolbar. The icon is placed at the center of the selection, and the
selected objects are added to the collection.
3. Select the spheres and boxes with the Checker material applied.
4. Click the Apply Soft Body Modifier button (
) in the reactor toolbar.
In 3ds Max 9, the Soft Body modifier is applied incorrectly when it is applied to instanced
objects. It is applied to each instance for the total number of instances selected. For example,
if you have eight instanced objects and apply the Soft Body modifier to them, each object will
have the modifier applied to it eight times. For this exercise, the objects used are not instances.
5. With the objects still selected, click the Create Soft Body Collection button ( ) in
the reactor toolbar. The dropping objects are automatically added to the soft body
collection.
6. Move the Collection icons away from the scene geometry. Your Perspective viewport
should look similar to Figure 12.11.
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Creating the Animation
In the previous exercise, the Havok 3 solver was selected because of
its capabilities when using rigid body objects exclusively. With the
combination of both soft and rigid objects in this exercise, the
Havok 1 solver is the better choice.
1. In the Utilities panel, click the reactor
button and then choose Havok 1 from
the drop-down menu in the About
rollout.
2. Click the Preview Animation button in
the reactor toolbar. Play the animation
in the reactor Real-Time Preview window. The animation plays slower than
the rigid body preview due to the more
complex animation required by the
deforming meshes.
In a complex scene, or on a slower computer, the reactor Real-Time Preview may display
the scene at a rate that is too slow to easily determine the effectiveness of the simulation. In
these cases, you need to create the animation and then, if revisions are required, delete all
of the simulation objects’ animation keys before making any changes and re-creating the
animation.
Figure 12.11
The Perspective
viewport with the
rigid and soft body
collections
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3. Close the Preview window.
4. Select one of the spheres and then, in the Modify panel, change its Mass to 2, Stiffness
to 4, and Friction to 0.1. Repeat this step with one more sphere and one of the boxes.
The parameters of individual objects can be set in the reactor SoftBody Modifiers settings. The larger mass value will cause the object to impact with a greater force.
5. Test the animation again. Continue to make changes and then, when you are satisfied, Hold the scene.
6. Click the Create Animation button in the reactor toolbar to create the animation
using the properties assigned to the objects.
The completed exercise can be found on the companion CD as Soft
Soft Compete.avi.
Complete.max and
Summary
This chapter introduced you to both Max’s non-event-driven particle systems and the
reactor physics simulation engine. Using particles, thousands of seemingly random or
purposeful objects can be animated by effectively manipulating the particle system’s
parameters. Particles can appear as primitive shapes, interconnecting blobs, or any
instanced geometry object from the scene. Particle systems can be affected by external
forces, such as gravity, wind, or vortex, and they can bounce off many types of deflectors
positioned within the flow of particles.
The reactor component of Max is a powerful tool for creating accurate animations
based on the interactions of scene objects. Rigid or soft body objects in collections can
impact each other and deform, bounce, or slide away based on the objects’ physical
properties. Animations can be previewed and then thousands of animation keys can be
created quickly to fulfill a scene’s physics-based animation requirements.
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Index
Note to the Reader: Throughout this index boldfaced page numbers indicate primary discussions of a topic. Italicized page numbers
indicate illustrations.
A
About rollout, 511, 511
absolute values, 28
Academy Flat aspect ratio, 21
Academy Standard aspect ratio, 21
access hatch, tank, 204–206, 205–206
Acquire Absolute option, 320
Acquire Relative option, 320
Acquire UVW Mapping dialog box,
320, 320
Action Safe area, 463
Active Time Segment option, 446
ActiveShade window, 457, 457
Actual Stride Height parameter, 382
adaptive degradation, 92
Adaptive Halton method, 471
Add Atmosphere or Effect window, 441,
441
Add Default Lights to Scene dialog box,
413, 413
Add Effect dialog box, 467
Add Keys tool, 351
Add Selected Objects to Highlighted
Layer icon, 97–98
additive color, 19–20
Advanced Effects rollout, 430–431,
430–431
Affect Surfaces section, 431, 431
airborne time, footsteps, 389, 389
aliasing
purpose, 454, 454
Raytrace material, 471, 471
alien character
arms
details, 259–262, 259–262
modeling, 239–243, 239–243
eyes
area, 268–269, 268–269
creating, 269–271, 270
feet, 246–247, 246–247
final touches, 271–273, 271–273
form, 231
head
detail, 266–271, 267–271
modeling, 248–254, 248–254
legs
detail, 256–258, 256–258
modeling, 243–246, 243–246
mouth, 267–268, 267–268
planes for, 226–227, 226–227
reference materials, 227–231,
227–231
scene setup, 226
shoulder
modeling, 239–240, 239–241
refining, 263–264, 263–264
smoothing, 254–255, 255
torso
blocking, 232–234, 232–234
cleaning up, 238–239, 238–239
detail, 264–266, 265–266
forming, 235–237, 235–237
Align icon, 70, 70
Align Selection dialog box, 333, 333
Allow Upside Down option, 220
alpha channel, 18, 450–451, 451
Alpha element, rendering, 463, 464
Always Arrange tool, 101, 101
ambient color and light, 277–278
contrast levels, 430
function, 431, 431
pool ball, 295
setting, 281, 289, 432, 432
Amount parameter, volumetric lights,
442
Anamorphic Ratio standard, 21
Angle parameter, 330
Angle Snap option, 488
animation, 23, 325
bouncing ball. See bouncing ball
cameras, 460
character animation. See character
animation; Character Studio
controllers, 328–329, 328–329
controls, 80–81, 80–81
dummy objects, 330–333, 331–333
ease-in and ease-out, 26–27
follow-through and anticipation, 27
frames, keyframes, and in-between
frames, 23, 24–26
hierarchies, 326–330, 326–330
knife throwing. See knife throwing
Mobile project, 57–58, 58–59
rigid body dynamics, 510–511,
510–511
soft body dynamics, 513–514,
513–514
squash and stretch, 26
tank treads, 219–223, 220–223
weight in, 23, 26
in workflow, 10–11
animation cycles, 335
Animation menu, 65
animators, 13
Anisotropic shader, 287–288, 288–289
ankles
alien, 245–247, 245–247
biped, 393–394, 394
calcaneus, 258
antialiasing
purpose, 454, 454
Raytrace material, 471, 471
anticipation, 27, 359–360, 359
Arc Rotate tool, 40, 83, 87
Arc Rotate Selected tool, 84, 87
Arc Rotate Subobject tool, 84
architectural modeling, 9
Area Shadows feature, 436–437, 436–438
Area Shadows rollout, 437, 437
areas in vector images, 15
arms
alien character
details, 259–262, 259–262
modeling, 239–243, 239–243
bipeds
associating to models, 395, 395
Dope Sheet for, 390, 390
in walking, 384, 385
Aspect parameter, 416
aspect ratio
output size settings, 447–448
spotlights, 416
standards, 21
Assign Material to Selection button,
183–184, 279
Assign Renderer rollout, 452
Assign Rotation Controller window,
328, 328
associating biped to characters, 391–399,
391–399
Atmospheric & Effects rollout, 438,
438, 441
atmospheric effects, 438–442, 438–442
Attach tool, 185
attenuation, lighting, 427–430, 427–430
Auto Key Animation Mode icon, 54, 80
Auto Keyframe feature, 57
Auto Tangents setting, 352
AVI files, 18
axes in viewports, 38–39, 38
B
back lights, 409–410, 410
Backface Culling, 47
background color, 302, 302
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Background Image feature, 180–184,
180–184
balls
bouncing. See bouncing ball
pool. See pool ball
barrel, tank
creating, 206–209, 207–209
lofting, 209–213, 209–213
shapes, 213–215, 214
bars, Mobile project
animating, 57–58, 57–59, 326–330,
326–330
copying, 45, 46
creating, 42–44, 42–43
positioning, 44–45, 45
Basic Parameters rollout, 484–485
belly button, alien character, 266, 266
Bend modifier, 74–75, 75, 117–118, 117
Bevel Polygons tool, 185
Bevel Settings window, 132, 132
Bevel tool, 128, 132, 132
bevels, dresser, 140–143, 140–142
Bezier vertex, 161
Bezier Corner vertex, 161
Bias parameter, 434, 434
Bind to Space Warp option, 501, 503
biped animation. See Character Studio
Biped rollout, 371, 371
Biped system, 366
Biped toolbar, 353
Birth Rate parameter, 495–496, 497
bitmap images, 14, 15
in mapping, 296–300, 297–298, 305
in viewports, 230, 230
Bitmap parameter, 298–299
Bitmap Parameter rollout, 298–299
Blend material, 283, 283
Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, 289, 475
Blinn shader, 288–289, 288–289
Opacity setting, 292
Self-Illumination parameter,
291–292, 291–292
Specular Highlights section, 289–291,
290–291
Blizzard particle system, 483, 483
blocking, 334
alien torso, 232–234, 232–234
knife throwing, 354–355, 354–356
blur, 455–456, 455–456
bodies
rigid. See rigid body dynamics
soft body dynamics, 511
animating, 513–514, 513–514
collections, 512, 512
tank, 185–190, 185–190
Body Horizontal button, 377
Body Type rollout, 371
Body Vertical button, 377–378
Bones system, 367
Bookmark Name Field, 102
Boolean objects
creating, 195–196
and mapping coordinates, 316
splines, 208–209, 209
borders
Editable Polys, 123, 135
object state, 99
spanning, 185
Bounce parameter, 502–504
bouncing ball, 333–334
animating, 334–335, 334–335
cycling, 335–340, 336–340
forward motion, 346–347, 346–347
refining, 341–342, 341–342
rendering, 452–453
motion blur, 455–456, 455–456
Renderer tab, 453–455, 454
roll, 348–350, 348–350
squash and stretch, 342–344,
343–344
summary, 350
timing, 344–345, 345
Bounding Box option, 507
bounding boxes
rendering level, 92, 92
rigid bodies, 507
Bounding Sphere option, 507
box modeling techniques, 163
Box property in mapping, 318
boxes for scene setup
alien character, 226–227, 226–227
tank, 180–181, 180–181
brick wall
mapping, 317, 317, 319–321, 319–321
texturing, 276, 276
Bridge Borders tool, 185
brightness of specular color, 289
Bubble parameter, 125
bullets. See gun and bullets simulation
bump mapping, 107
brick wall, 276
chess piece, 309, 311–312, 312
By Angle option, 124
By Polygon option, 169, 169
By Vertex option, 124
C
calcaneus, alien character, 258
calf area
alien character, 257, 257
bipeds, 393, 393
cameras, 457, 457
animating, 460
clipping planes, 461–462, 461
controls, 84–85, 84–85
creating, 72–73, 73, 457–460,
459–460
navigation for, 82, 82
working with, 458, 458
Cap Borders tool, 185
Cap Holes modifier, 222
Cap mapping property, 318
Cap Segments parameter, 44
Cap tool, 135–136, 135–136
Cartesian coordinates, 22, 36–37
Cartoon material, 284, 285–286
center pivot icons, 68
center points, XForm, 348–349
CGI. See Computer-Generated Imagery
(CGI)
chain link fence, 313–314, 313–314
Chamfer Edges or Vertices tool, 184
Chamfer Settings dialog box, 130, 131
Chamfer tool
alien arms, 241
Editable Polys, 130–131, 130–131
Chamfer Vertices dialog box, 241, 241
channels, 18, 451, 451
character animation, 365–366
Character Studio. See Character
Studio
Inverse Kinematics, 399–403,
400–403
character animators, 13, 366
character modeling, 9
character sheets, 5
Character Studio, 365
bipeds
animating, 376–377
associating, 391–399, 391–399
creating, 368–370, 369–370
Dope Sheet, 386–391, 388–390
footsteps, 378–380, 378–381
freeform animation, 382–385,
383–385
modifying, 371–374, 371–374
positioning, 377–378, 377–378
postures, 374–376, 375–376
run and jump sequence,
381–382, 382
Physique and Skin modifiers,
367–368
workflow, 366–367, 368
checker maps, 305–306, 305
Checker Parameters rollout, 306
chess piece
bump mapping, 311–312, 312
creating, 309–310, 310
shininess, 310–311, 311
chest of drawers, 137
bottom, 143–150, 143–151
drawers, 152–158, 152–158
knobs, 158–163, 158–163
references for, 137–138, 138
top, 139–143, 139–142
children objects
in hierarchies, 41–42, 52–55, 52–56
Inverse Kinematics for, 399–400
materials, 299
chin, alien character, 250, 250
circles
creating, 46–50, 46–50
extruding, 47–48, 48
circular Target spotlights, 416
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clavicles–display subtree option
clavicles
alien character, 263
biped, 373
Clip Manually option, 462
clipping planes, 461–462, 461
Clone Options window, 45, 45
Clone Rendered Frame button, 451
cloning tank treads, 221–223, 221–223
CMYK color, 19–20
Collapse Selected icon, 101
collections
hard body dynamics, 507–508, 508
soft body dynamics, 512, 512
collisions, 480, 501
color, 19
background, 302, 302
changing, 42–43, 43
channels, 18, 451, 451
computer representation, 20
depth, 17–18
glow, 469
gradient, 278, 306, 306
highlight, 289
layers, 97
lighting, 426
mapping, 309
Marble maps, 308
materials, 277, 277
particles, 485, 492
shadows, 433
Strauss material, 294
subtractive and additive, 19–20
viewing, 20–21
color banding, 17
Color Modifier maps, 309
Color Selector window, 277, 277
color wheels, 19
coloring time, 13
Command panel, 35–36, 36, 71–72, 72
Create panel, 72–74, 72–74
Display panel, 77, 78
Hierarchy panel, 75–76, 75–76
Modify panel, 74, 75
Motion panel, 77, 77
Utilities panel, 77, 78
Common Parameters rollout, 446
Common tab, 446–449, 447
Composite material, 283, 283
compositing
images, 309
in postproduction phase, 6–7
Compositors maps, 309
Compression Settings window, 453, 453
computer basics
aspect ratio, 21
color, 19–21
frame rate, 22
image output, 17–19
raster images, 14, 15
resolution, 21
vector images, 15–17, 16
Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI), 2
animation concepts, 23–27, 24–26
computer basics. See computer basics
coordinate systems, 22–23, 22
production phases, 4–8, 5
specialties, 12–13
workflow, 8–12
Concave Mesh parameter, 507
concept art, 5
cone spotlight settings, 418, 418
Configure Direct3d dialog box, 230, 230
Configure Modifier Sets option, 117
Connect Edges dialog box, 252, 252
Connect tool, 100
Connect Edges tool, 185
Constant out-of-range type, 338
constraints
alien character, 263–265, 265
joint, 401–402, 401–402
Contrast setting, 430, 430
control direction in parameter wiring,
497, 497
converting
default lights, 412–413, 413
vs. modifiers, 119–120, 119–120
primitives to meshes, 110–113,
110–112
cool colors, 20
coordinates and coordinate systems
bitmap mapping, 298, 300
gradient mapping, 306
overview, 22–23, 22
vector images, 16
Coordinates rollout
bitmap images, 298, 300
checker maps, 306
gradient maps, 306
tools, 68, 68
copying
keyframes, 335, 335
objects, 45, 163, 163
postures, 374–376, 375–376
corner triangles for materials, 295
Corner vertex, 161
Create Biped rollout, 370
Create Key dialog box, 78, 78
Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps
button, 381, 386
Create menu, 64
Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box,
378–379, 379, 381–382
Create New Layer icon, 96, 98
Create panel, 42, 42, 72–74, 72–74
Create Rigid Body Collection button, 507
Create Soft Body Collection button, 512
crossing boxes setup
alien character, 226–227, 226–227
tank, 180–181, 180–181
Crowd system, 366
Current Frame control, 81
Current Layer Toggle column, 97
current sub-object access, 203
Curve Editor, 335–336, 336, 350
animation curves
editing, 341–342, 341–342
reading, 337–340, 337–340
forward motion, 346–347, 346–347
knife throwing. See knife throwing
roll, 348–350, 348–350
squash and stretch, 342–344,
343–344
timing, 344–345, 345
toolbars, 351, 351
Biped, 353
Curves, 352–353
Key Tangency, 352
Navigation, 353
Curve Editor icon, 70
Customize menu, 65
Cut tool, 173, 185
Cycle out-of-range type, 338
cycles
animation, 335
bouncing ball, 335–340, 336–340
footstep, 378–380, 378–381
cylinders, 42–43, 42–43
Cylindrical mapping property, 318
D
da Vinci pose, 367, 368
dailies, 450
decay, lighting, 426–427, 426–427
default lighting, 411–413, 411–413
Default Scanline Renderer, 292, 452, 454
deflectors, 480, 502–504, 502–504
deformers, 74
Delete Highlighted Empty Layers icon, 96
Delete Objects tool, 100
Density parameter
shadows, 433, 433
volumetric lights, 442
Dent maps, 311
diffuse color and lighting, 277–278
contrast levels, 430
function, 431, 431
in mapping, 296
pool ball, 295
Raytrace material, 470
setting, 281
Diffuse Color button, 182, 228
Direction of Travel/Mblur option,
493–494
directional lights, 419–421, 419–421
Directional Parameters rollout, 419
Displace space warp, 499
displacement maps, 107, 311
Display Alpha Channel icon, 451
Display Floater tool, 100
Display panel, 72, 77, 78
Display Subtree option, 369
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Display Until parameter
particle systems, 486, 490
wiring, 498
dividing edges, 173–174, 174
dollies, 40, 460
Dolly Camera icon, 85
Dolly Camera + Target icon, 85
Dolly Target icon, 85
Dope Sheet, 350, 386–391, 388–390
Dope Sheet Editor, 335
Double Sided material, 284, 284–285
Down Arrow state, 100
Drag space warp, 499
Draw Curves tool, 351
drawers, 152–158, 152–158
dresser. See chest of drawers
dummy objects, 330–333, 331–333
Duration (Frames) setting, 455–456, 455
Duration Subdivisions setting, 455–456
DynaFlect deflectors, 503
dynamics
rigid body. See rigid body dynamics
soft body, 511
animating, 513–514, 513–514
collections, 512, 512
E
ease-in
animation, 27
curves, 339–340, 339–340
ease-out
animation, 26–27
curves, 337, 339–340, 340
Edge option, 174–176, 175
Edge Settings window, 134
Edged Faces rendering level, 93, 93
edges
chamfering, 131, 131
dividing, 173–174, 174
Editable Polys, 123
polygon, 107
shadow maps, 435, 435
tessellation, 174–176, 175
Edit Borders rollout, 135
Edit Geometry Rollout, 128, 128
Edit menu, 64
Edit Mesh modifier, 119
Edit Poly modifier, 119–121, 121, 187
Edit Poly tools, 122–129, 123–129
Edit Polygons rollout, 127
Edit (Sub-Object) rollout, 126–128,
127–128
Edit Vertices rollout, 241
Editable Poly tools, 122–129, 123–129,
184–185
Bevel, 132, 132
Cap, 135–136, 135–136
Chamfer, 130–131, 130–131
Extrude, 129, 129–130
Extrude Along a Spline, 136–137,
136–137
Hinge from Edge, 134, 134–135
Inset, 133, 133
Outline, 133, 133
for tank. See tank
Weld, 132, 132
editing
animation curves, 341–342, 341–342
dummy objects, 332–333, 333
postproduction phase, 7
8-bit image files, 17
effects
atmospheric, 438–442, 438–442
rendering, 466–469, 467–469
Effects tab, 468
effects TDs, 13
elbow area, alien character, 259, 259
elements, Editable Polys, 124
Emit Start parameter
particle systems, 486, 490
wiring, 498
Emit Stop parameter
particle systems, 486, 490
wiring, 498
emitters. See particles and particle
systems
Enable Local Supersampler option, 471,
474
End Effector, 403
End light attenuation setting, 428
Environment and Effects window
ambient light, 432, 432
glow effect, 467–469, 468
volumetric lights, 441–442, 442
environmental modeling, 9
Euler XYZ controller, 328–329
event-driven particle systems, 480–481,
481
Every Nth Frame option, 447
Exclude/Include window, 440, 440
exhaust vents, tank, 197–200, 197–200
Expand icon, 101
explosions, 482
Exponential parameter, 442
Extended Parameters rollout, 474, 474
extensions, filename, 450
Extrude Along a Spline tool, 136–137,
136–137
Extrude Polygons tool, 185
Extrude Settings dialog box, 167–169
Extrude tool, 129, 129–130
Extrude Vertices dialog box, 129, 129
extruding
circles, 47–48, 48
fingers, 167–170, 167–170
along splines, 136–137, 136–137
thumb, 170–171, 170–171
vertices, 129, 129–130
Extrusion Height option, 169
eyes, alien character
area, 268–269, 268–269
creating, 269–271, 270
F
Face option, 174–175, 175
Face property, 318
faces
mesh, 122
polygon, 107
tessellation, 174–175, 175
UVW mapping, 318
Facets rendering level, 91, 91
Facets+Highlights rendering level, 90, 90
Facing Standard particle type, 491
Fade For parameter, 487, 493–494
falloff
cartoon shading, 284
selection, 125
Target spotlights, 415, 415
far clipping planes, 461, 461
far light attenuation, 428, 429–430
feet
alien character, 246–247, 246–247
associating to models, 394, 394
biped, 374
FFD (free-form deformation), 74
Field of View (FOV), 458
Figure mode, 392
File menu, 64
files
formats, 18, 450
names, 449–450, 449–450
workflow management, 32–35, 33–35
fill lights, 409, 409, 412, 412
film frame rates, 22
film production, 6
Filter tool, 351
filters
antialiasing, 455
Curve Editor, 351
fingers
alien character, 243, 243, 260, 260
associating to models, 396, 396
creating, 167–170, 167–170
modeling, 165, 165
Fit option, 321
FK (Forward Kinematics), 400
Flat rendering level, 91, 91
floating point image files, 17–18
floating toolbars, 65, 66
flyouts, 28, 66
focal length, 458
fog lights, 438–442, 438–442
foley sound, 7
Follow option, 220
follow-through, 27, 360–363, 360–363
Footstep Creation rollout, 378, 381, 386
footstep-driven animation, 376
Footstep Mode button, 378
Footstep Operations rollout, 381, 386
footsteps
adding, 378–380, 378–381
Dope Sheet for, 387–391, 388–390
manual process, 386, 386–387
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forces space warps–hsv (hue, saturation, and value) channels
Forces space warps, 499
formats, file, 18, 450
forward bouncing ball motion, 346–347,
346–347
Forward Kinematics (FK), 400
4K Academy resolution, 21
FOV (Field of View), 458
fps (frames per second), 22
frame range options, 446–447
frame rate, 22
frames
overview, 23, 24–26
on Time slider, 53–54, 53
frames per second (fps), 22
Free cameras, 84–85, 457–458
Free Direct lights, 421
free-form deformation (FFD), 74
Free Spotlight icon, 85
Free spotlights, 420–421, 420–421
freeform animation, 382–385, 383–385
Freeze column, 97
Freeze/Unfreeze All Layers icon, 97
freezing objects, 77, 183
Friction parameter, 503
Front view, 37, 37, 87
frozen objects, 392
fruit arrangement
cameras, 459–460, 459–460
lighting, 411
components, 431, 431
contrast and edges, 430, 430
default, 412, 412
Omni lights, 423
volumetric, 439–441, 439–441
Raytrace material, 471, 471, 473–474,
473–475
safe areas, 462, 462
shadows
density, 433, 433
Ray Traced Shadows, 436, 436
shadow maps, 433–435, 433–435
G
G-Buffer section, 467
General Parameters rollout
lighting, 425, 425
spotlights, 421
volumetric lights, 439–440
generalists, 13
Generate Mapping Coords option, 315
geometry, instanced, 483, 493–494
Geometry category, 72–73, 73
Get Material From option, 493
Get Material function, 278
Get Shape button, 210–211
gimbal lock, 328
Gizmos rendering level, 93–95, 93–95
Glossiness parameter, 281
Blinn shader, 290–291, 290
Metal shader, 292
Strauss material, 294
glow effects, 466–469, 467–469
Go Forward to Sibling control,
function, 280
Go to End control, 81
Go to Frame control, 81
Go to Parent control, 280
Go to Start control, 81
gradient color, 278, 306–307, 306–307
Gradient Ramp maps, 307, 307
Graph Editors menu, 65
gravity
footsteps, 389
space warp, 499–501, 500–501
grayscale images, 17
Grid dialog box, 88
grids
Home Grid, 28, 28, 38, 38, 88
Status Bar settings, 79
units, 88, 88
gross animation, 334
Group extrusions option, 168, 168
Group menu, 64
Grow For parameter, 487, 493–494
Grow option, 124
gun and bullets simulation
IK for, 400–403, 400–403
particle systems, 488–489, 488–489,
494
particle types, 491–493, 491–493
space warps, 499
deflectors, 502–504, 502–504
gravity, 500–501, 500–501
timing, 489–490, 490
wiring parameters together, 494–499,
495–498
H
handles, rotate, 44
hands, 164
alien character, 243, 243
associating to models, 395, 395
detail, 173–177, 174–177
fingers
alien character, 243, 243, 260, 260
associating to models, 396, 396
creating, 167–170, 167–170
modeling, 165, 165
palm, 164–167, 164–167
Subdivision Surfaces, 171–173,
171–173
thumb, 170–171, 170–171
hatch, tank, 204–206, 205–206
Havok 1 solver, 511, 513
Havok 3 solver, 511
HD (History Dependent) solver, 402–403
HDTV (High Definition TV)
resolution, 21
head
alien character
detail, 266–271, 267–271
modeling, 248–254, 248–254
associating to models, 396–397,
396–397
movement in walking, 382–384,
383–384
height
aspect ratio, 21
cylinders, 43
extrusions, 169
output size settings, 447
Height Segments parameter, 44
Help menu, 65
helper objects, 330–333, 331–333
Helpers category, 72–73, 74
hexagons, 50
HI (History Independent) solver, 402
Hidden Line rendering level, 91, 91
Hide by Category rollout, 77
Hide column, 97
Hide/Unhide All Layers icon, 97
hiding objects, 77
hierarchies
Mobile project, 41–42, 41, 326–330,
326–330
parent-child relationships, 52–55,
52–56
Hierarchy Mode tool, 100
Hierarchy panel
pivot points, 56–57, 56
sections, 75–76, 75–76
Hierarchy panel icon, 72
Hierarchy tool icons, 66, 66
high color 5-bit image files, 17
High Definition TV (HDTV)
resolution, 21
high polygon-count modeling. See alien
character
Highlight Selected Objects’ Layers icon, 97
Hinge from Edge tool, 134, 134–135, 185
Hinge Polygons from Edge dialog box
arms, 240–241, 240–241
legs, 246
hip area, alien character, 265
History Dependent (HD) solver, 402–403
History Independent (HI) solver, 402
Home Grid, 28, 28, 38, 38, 88
horizontal bars, Mobile project
animating, 57–58, 57–59, 326–330,
326–330
copying, 45, 46
creating, 42–44, 42–43
positioning, 44–45, 45
hot materials, 295
hotkeys, 89
hotspots, Target spotlights, 414
HSV (hue, saturation, and value)
channels, 20, 278
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520 ■ ignore backfacing option–main toolbar tools
I
Ignore Backfacing option, 124
IK (Inverse Kinematics), 399–400
IK solver, 402–403, 403
joint constraints, 401–402, 401–402
Image Aspect parameter, 447
Image Format setting, 449
image maps, 315
Image motion blur, 456, 456
images, 17
background, 180–184, 180–184
channels, 18, 451, 451
color depth, 17–18
file formats, 18, 450
filenames, 449–450, 449–450
in mapping, 296
movie files, 18–19
raster, 14, 15
vector, 15–17, 16
impact, knife throwing, 362
in-between frames, 23–25
In/Out Tangent for New Keys button, 81
In Place mode, 380
incandescence, 291
incremental saves, 34–35
Index of Refraction (IOR), 474, 476
Ink ‘n Paint material, 284, 285–286
Inset tool, 133, 133
Inset Polygons tool, 185
instanced geometry, 483, 493–494
instances, objects, 163, 163
intensity
glow, 469
lighting, 426
Intensity/Color/Attenuation rollout,
426–430, 426–430
intent
animation, 342
scripts for, 5
interface. See user interface (UI)
interparticle collisions, 501
Inverse Decay option, 426
Inverse Kinematics (IK), 399–400
IK solver, 402–403, 403
joint constraints, 401–402, 401–402
Inverse Kinematics (IK) category, 75, 75
Inverse Kinematics rollout, 401, 401
Inverse Square Decay option,
426–427, 427
IOR (Index of Refraction), 474, 476
Isoline Display option, 172, 172, 255
Iterations parameter
Subdivision Surfaces, 172
TurboSmooth, 254–255, 255
K
Key Filters icon, 80
Key Info rollout, 329–330, 329
key lights
default, 412, 412
three-point lighting, 408–409, 409
Key Mode control, 81
Key Status tools, 345
Key Tangency toolbar, 352
Keyboard Entry rollout, 46, 47
keyboard shortcuts, 89
keyframes, 23, 24, 26
copying, 335, 335
purpose, 334
setting, 53–54, 53
knees
alien character, 256, 256
associating to models, 393
knife throwing
anticipation, 359–360, 359
blocking out, 354–355, 354–356
follow-through, 360–363, 360–363
rotation, 357–358, 357–358
targets, 362–363, 362–363
trajectories, 356, 356
knobs, 158–163, 158–163
knuckles
alien character, 260–261, 260–261
modeling, 174, 174
L
J
jagged lines, antialiasing
purpose, 454, 454
Raytrace material, 471, 471
joint constraints, 401–402, 401–402
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts
Group) format, 18
jump gait, 380
jumping
Dope Sheet for, 390, 390
jump sequence, 381–382, 382
Lathe modifier
knobs, 158, 162, 162
tank wheels, 215–217, 215–217
Layer Manager, 70, 96, 96
layout
screen, 62–63, 63
viewports, 37
Layout Editor, 96–98, 96–98
leaping action, 390, 390
Left view, 37, 37, 87
legs
alien character
detail, 256–258, 256–258
modeling, 243–246, 243–246
associating to models, 393–394,
393–394
Length parameter, 490
lens effect, 466–469, 467–469
lenses
overview, 458–459, 458
zooming, 460
Life parameter, 486, 498
Light Bulb icon, 117
Light Lister, 442–443, 443
lighters, 13
lighting, 3, 405
Advanced Effects rollout, 430–431,
430–431
ambient, 431–432, 432
attenuation, 427–430, 427–430
concepts, 406–407, 407–408
controls, 85–86, 86
decay, 426–427, 426–427
default, 411–413, 411–413
General Parameters rollout, 425, 425
Intensity/Color/Attenuation rollout,
426–430, 426–430
Light Lister, 442–443, 443
navigation for, 82, 82
practical, 410
shaders. See shaders
shadows. See shadows
standard. See standard lights
three-point, 408–410, 408–410
volumetric. See volumetric lights
in workflow, 11
Lights category, 72–73, 73
Line tool, 158
Linear out-of-range type, 338
lines, vertex type, 161
Link Info category, 76, 76
linking objects
dummy, 331–332, 331–332
machine gun unit, 400, 400
tools, 66, 66
lip-sync, 8
Lit Wireframes rendering level, 92, 92
Live area, 463
Local Coordinate System, 22
Local Normal extrusion option, 168, 168
Lock Selection tool, 79, 352
Lock Tangents tool, 353
Locks function, 281
Loft objects
compound, 206
mapping, 315
lofting tank barrel, 209–213, 209–213
Loop out-of-range type, 338
loops
animation, 335
edges, 124
lossless compression, 18
low-poly modeling, 108
M
machine gun unit. See gun and bullets
simulation
main toolbar tools, 65–66, 65–66
Align and Mirror, 70, 70
coordinate system, 68, 68
editing window, 70–71, 70–71
Linking and Hierarchy, 66, 66
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make unique option–near light attenuation
named selection set, 69, 69
Selection, 67, 67
snapping, 68–69, 68–69
transformation, 67
Undo/Redo, 66, 66
Make Unique option, 116
manipulators, 68
maps and mapping, 275, 305
2D, 305–307, 305–307
3D, 307–309, 308–309
chess piece
bump mapping, 311–312, 312
creating, 309–310, 310
shininess, 310–311, 311
coordinates, 300, 315–319, 315–319
acquiring, 320–321, 320–321
modifier stack location,
321–322, 322
materials, 282
Opacity, 313–314, 313–314
pool ball. See pool ball
reflections, 300–301, 301
removing, 302, 302
shadows. See shadows
Maps rollout
alien character, 228, 228
materials, 182, 182
Raytrace maps, 472
reflections, 300
refractions, 475
Marble maps, 308, 308
mass
in momentum, 363
rigid body dynamics, 506–507
weight for, 26
Match Bitmap Sizes as Closely as Possible
option, 230
Material Attach Options dialog box, 316,
316
Material Effects Channel function, 279
Material ID channel, 467
Material/Map Navigator, 299, 299
Material Name function, 280
materials and Material Editor, 184, 277
alien character, 227–231, 227–231
background images, 181–184,
182–184
basics, 277–278, 277–278
functions, 278–282, 279–282
glow effect, 467
icon, 71
mapping. See maps and mapping
overview, 276–277, 276
Raytrace, 286, 470
creating, 470, 470
mapping, 472, 475
refractions, 473–474, 473–475
tweaking, 471, 471
sample slots, 303, 303
shaders. See shaders
sub-objects, 304, 304
tank, 181–184, 182–184
types, 282–286, 282–286
matte, 451
Matte/Shadow material, 284–285
Max Units setting, 88
maximizing viewports, 40
MaxLens parameter, 458
MAXScript menu, 65
MAXScript Mini Listener button, 79
mental ray Renderer, 452
Menu Bar, 35, 63–65, 64
Mesh Convex Hull parameter, 506–507
meshes
modeling, 109–113, 110–112
vs. polygons, 120–122, 121–122
metaball technology, 491
Metal shader, 292
Metalness parameter, 294
MetaParticles, 491–493
Min/Max Viewport tool, 87
Mini Curve Editor, 341–344, 341, 344
Mirror dialog box, 70, 71
Mirror icon, 70, 70
miscellaneous material settings, 280
missteps, learning from, 327–328
Mobile project, 32, 41
dummy objects, 330–333, 331–333
hierarchies, 41–42, 41, 54–55, 54–55,
326–330, 326–330
horizontal bars
animating, 57–58, 57–59,
326–330, 326–330
copying, 45, 46
creating, 42–44, 42–43
positioning, 44–45, 45
objects for, 45–51, 46–51
pivot points, 55–57, 56–57
planning, 41
Schematic View, 98–102, 99–102
modelers, 12
modeling, 105
alien. See alien character
chest of drawers. See chest of drawers
converting vs. modifiers, 119–120,
119–120
Edit Poly tools, 122–129, 123–129
Editable Poly tools, 122–129,
123–129, 184–185
Bevel, 132, 132
Cap, 135–136, 135–136
Chamfer, 130–131, 130–131
Extrude, 129, 129–130
Extrude Along a Spline, 136–137,
136–137
Hinge from Edge, 134, 134–135
Inset, 133, 133
Outline, 133, 133
Weld, 132, 132
hand. See hands
meshes and sub-objects, 109–113,
110–112
meshes vs. polygons, 120–122,
121–122
modifier application, 113–118,
113–118
organic. See alien character
planning, 105–108, 106, 108
primitives, 108–109, 109
in workflow, 8–10
modeling windows, 37
modes, viewport, 46, 46, 380, 380
Modes and Display rollout, 380, 380
Modifier List, 47, 48
Modifier Stack, 47, 48, 113–118
modifiers, 47, 74
applying, 113–118, 113–118
vs. converting, 119–120, 119–120
for spheres, 110–113, 110–112
Modifiers menu, 64
Modify panel, 42–43, 43, 72, 74, 75
Modify tab, 371
momentum
knife throwing, 362–363, 362
overview, 363
motion blur, 455–456, 455–456
Motion Capture utility, 77
motion in vector programs, 16
Motion panel, 72, 77, 77
Motion tab, 371
Motor space warp, 499
mouth, alien character, 267–268,
267–268
Move Children icon, 101
Move Keys tool, 351
Move Keys Horizontal tool, 351
Move Keys Vertical tool, 351
movie files, 18–19
Multi-Layer shader, 292, 293
Multi/Sub-Object material, 285, 304
Multiplier parameter
lighting, 426–427
shadows, 433
N
Name and Color rollout, 370
Name and Color Type-In, 158, 158
named selection sets, 69, 69
names
conventions, 32–33
deflectors, 503
filenames, 449–450, 449–450
objects, 44
National Television System Committee
(NTSC) standard
color, 20–21
frame rates, 22
resolution, 21
navigating viewports, 40, 82–87, 82–87
Navigation toolbar, 353
near clipping planes, 461, 461
near light attenuation, 428, 428, 430
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522 ■ neck–pipelines
neck
alien character, 248–250, 248–250
associating to models, 396–397,
396–397
Next Key button, 81
NGons, 50
node-based editing workflow, 74
nodes
hierarchy, 75
null, 350
Noise maps, 308, 308
Noise parameter, 442
non-event-driven particle systems,
481–484, 482–484
Normal Align icon, 70
normals
defined, 27
extruding along, 129
Not Shared option, 507
NTSC (National Television System
Committee) standard
color, 20–21
frame rates, 22
resolution, 21
NTSC DV standard
pixel aspect, 448, 448
resolution, 21
nuance, 366
null nodes, 330
Number of Footsteps parameter, 382
O
Object Color dialog box, 42–43, 43
Object Fragments setting, 482
Object Motion Blur settings, 455–456, 455
Object Properties dialog box
glow effect, 467–468, 468
tank body, 186, 186
Object Space modifiers, 74
Object Type rollout, 484
objects, 27
copying, 45, 163, 163
creating, 45–51, 46–51
dummy, 330–333, 331–333
freezing, 77, 183
frozen, 392
hierarchies
Mobile project, 41–42, 41,
326–330, 326–330
parent-child relationships, 52–55,
52–56
linking, 400, 400
names, 44
particle systems, 484–485
rotating, 44, 45
in viewports, 38–39, 38
Off Axis parameter, 485
Off Plane parameter, 485
Offset parameter
3D maps, 307
gradient maps, 306
Offset U parameter, 312
Offset V parameter, 312
Omni lights, 422–423, 422–423
attenuation, 428, 429
as default lights, 413, 413
OmniFlect deflectors, 503
1K Academy resolution, 21
opacity
Blinn shader, 292
mapping, 313–314, 313–314
materials, 282
Strauss material, 294
Options section
glow effect, 469, 469
Render Scene dialog box, 449, 449
Orbit icon, 85
order, Modifier Stack, 117–118, 117–118
Oren-Nayar-Blinn shader, 293, 293
organic modeling. See alien character
organizing objects, 44
origins, 38, 88
Orthographic viewports
navigation in, 82, 82
rotating in, 40
tools in, 83–84, 83–84
out-of-range types, 336–339, 336,
338–339
Outline tool, 133, 133
output, 17
channels, 18
color depth, 17–18
file formats, 18
movie files, 18–19
raster, 14, 15
size settings, 447–448, 447–448
time settings, 446–447, 446–447
vector, 15–17, 16
over-lighting, 407, 407
P
PAL (Phase Alternation Line) standard
frame rates, 22
resolution, 21
palm, 164–167, 164–167
Pan Camera icon, 85
Pan tool, 353
panning, 40, 87
Param Curve Out-of-Range Types dialog
box, 336–339, 336, 338–339
Parameter Curve Out-of-Range Types
animation, 335
Parameter Out-of-Range Curves
tool, 352
Parameter Wiring dialog box,
497–498, 497
Parameter Wiring tool, 494
parameters
object, 44
wiring, 494–499, 495–498
parametric objects, 73
parent objects
in hierarchies, 41–42, 52–55, 52–56
Inverse Kinematics for, 399–400
Particle Array particle system, 482, 482
Particle Cloud particle system, 483, 483
Particle Flow emitter, 481, 481
Particle Generation rollout, 486–487,
486–487, 490, 493–494
Particle Motion section, 494, 494
Particle Quantity area, 486
Particle Size area, 486
Particle Type rollout, 491–494, 492
Particle View window, 480–481, 481
particles and particle systems, 479
event-driven, 480–481, 481
gun and bullets. See gun and bullets
simulation
non-event-driven, 481–484, 482–484
overview, 480
Particle Generation rollout, 486–487,
486–487
selecting, 491–493, 491–493
setting up, 484–485, 484–485
space warps, 499
deflectors, 502–504, 502–504
gravity, 500–501, 500–501
pasting postures, 374–376, 375–376
Path Follow space warp, 499
Path Parameters rollout, 210–211
paths
barrel, 206, 209–213, 210–213
tank treads, 219–221, 220–221
PBomb space warp, 482, 499
PCloud object, 483
pelvis
associating to models, 392–393,
392–393
biped, 374
per object motion blur, 456
Percentage of Particles parameter, 485
Perspective icon, 85
Perspective viewports, 37, 37, 39, 87
navigation in, 82, 82
tools in, 83–84, 83–84
Phase Alternation Line (PAL) standard
frame rates, 22
resolution, 21
Phase parameter, 442
Phong shader, 293–294
photometric lights, 73, 411
Physical Properties rollout, 506
Physique Initialization dialog box, 398
Physique modifier, 366–367
for associating biped to models,
397–399, 397–398
vs. skin, 367–368
Pick Material from Object function, 280
Pick Object dialog box, 398, 398, 492
Pin Stack option, 116
Pinch parameter, 125
Ping Pong type, 338, 338
pipelines, 44
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pivot category–resolution
Pivot category, 75, 75
pivot points, 75
bouncing ball, 348, 348
setting, 55–57, 56–57
pixel aspect, 448, 448
pixilated images, 14
Place Highlight icon, 70
Planar deflectors, 503
Planar mapping property, 318
planes
alien character, 226–227, 226–227
tank, 180–181, 180–181
planning
Mobile project, 41
models, 105–108, 106, 108
Play/Stop control, 81
playback controls, 81, 81
plugins, 77
polygons, 8, 107–108, 108
Editable Polys. See Editable Poly tools
vs. meshes, 120–122, 121–122
organic. See alien character
pool ball, 294
background color, 302, 302
mapping, 296–300, 297–300
reflections, 300–301, 301
starting, 294–295, 295
surfaces, 295–296, 295–296
Position XYZ controller, 330
postproduction phase, 6–8
postures, copying and pasting, 374–376,
375–376
practical lighting, 410
Preferences icon, 101
prejump position, 390, 390
preproduction phase, 4–5, 5
presets
resolution, 448
Super Spray particle system, 482–484
Preview & Animation rollout, 511
Preview Type function, 280
previewing
material, 280
rendering, 457, 457
rigid body dynamics, 509
Previous Frame/Key control, 81
primary colors, 19
primitives, 27
meshes from, 110–113, 110–112
overview, 108–109, 109
procedural maps, 305
production phases, 4–8, 5
projects
creating, 34
saving, 34–35, 35
workflow, 32–35, 33–35
Prompt Line, 79–80
props modeling, 10
Proxy Convex Hull parameter, 507
Push space warp, 499
Put to Library function, 279
Q
Quad menu, 37
Quick Align icon, 70
Quick Render icon, 71
QuickTime files
Compression Settings window,
453, 453
output to, 18–19
R
Radial Color parameter, 469
radiosity, 73, 97
radius
circles, 47, 47
cylinders, 42–44
spheres, 28
random particles, 488
Range option, 446
raster images, 14, 15
rasterization, 16
Ray Bias parameter, 436
Ray Traced Shadows, 434, 436, 436
Raytrace Basic Parameters rollout, 470,
470, 473
Raytrace material, 286, 470
creating, 470, 470
mapping, 472–473, 472–473
refractions, 473–476, 473–476
tweaking, 471, 471
raytracing
reflection mapping, 300
shadows, 432
RB Collection Properties rollout, 508, 508
Reactor menu, 64
reactors. See rigid body dynamics
reading animation curves, 337–340,
337–340
Real-Time Preview window
rigid body dynamics, 509, 509
soft body dynamics, 513
rectangular Target spotlights, 416,
416–417
Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) color,
20, 278
Red Border state, 99
Redo icon, 35, 66, 66
Reduce Keys tool, 351
reference materials, 106
alien character, 227–231, 227–231
background images, 181–184,
182–184
chest of drawers, 137–138, 138
da Vinci pose, 367, 368
freezing images, 183
References Mode tool, 101, 101
reflections
deflectors, 503
mapping, 300–301, 301
raytraced, 470–476, 470–476
rendering, 463–464, 464
shaders for. See shaders
Reflections parameter, 301
refractions
raytraced, 470–476, 470–476
rendering, 464
Relative/Absolute Transform button, 79
Relative Repeat type, 339, 339
relative values, 28
Remove Modifier option, 117
removing maps, 302, 302
Render column, 97
Render Elements tab, 463–466, 464–466
Render Iterations option, 254, 255
Render Output File dialog box,
449–450, 449
Render Output section, 449, 449
Render Processing dialog box, 452, 452
Render Scene dialog box, 71, 446,
452–453
ActiveShade feature, 457
Options section, 449, 449
output size settings, 447–448,
447–448
Render Elements tab, 463–466,
464–466
Render Output section, 449, 449
Renderer tab, 453–455, 454
time output settings, 446–447,
446–447
Rendered Frame window, 451
Renderer tab, 453–455, 454
rendering, 3, 445
bouncing ball animation, 452–453
motion blur, 455–456, 455–456
Renderer tab, 453–455, 454
cameras. See cameras
effects, 466–469, 467–469
filenames in, 449–450, 449–450
image formats in, 450
to movies, 19
in postproduction phase, 6
previewing, 457, 457
process, 452, 452
raytraced reflections and refractions,
470–476, 470–476
renderer assignment, 452
safe areas, 462–463, 462
setup. See Render Scene dialog box
vector images, 16
viewport, 89–95, 89–95, 411, 411
in workflow, 12
Rendering menu, 65
Rendering Method tab, 411, 411
Reset Map/Mtl to Default Settings
function, 279
resizing
polygons, 133
viewports, 87
resolution
output size settings, 447
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524 ■ rgb (red, green, and blue) color–slide keys tool
raster images, 14
standards, 21
RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) color,
20, 278
riggers, 13
rigid body dynamics, 504–505
animating, 510–511, 510–511
collections, 507–508, 508
objects, 505, 505–506
properties, 506–507, 506–507
testing, 509–510, 509–510
Rigid Body Properties dialog box, 506,
506, 509
rigs, 10, 330
rim lights, 409–410, 410
Ring option, 125
roll
bouncing ball, 348–350, 348–350
camera, 460
Roll icon, 85
rotate handles, 44
Rotate tool, 94
Rotate Transform gizmo, 372, 373
Rotation and Collision rollout,
493–494, 493
Rotation Windup option, 330
Rotational Joints rollout, 401, 401
rotations
bipeds, 372, 373
controllers, 328–330, 329
knife throwing, 357–358, 357–358
Mobile project, 57–58, 58–59
objects, 44, 45
run and jump sequence, 381–382, 382
run gait, 380
S
safe areas, 462–463, 462
Safe Frame view, 462–463, 462
Sample Range parameter, 435, 435
Sample Window function, 278
Samples
Material Editor, 278, 303, 303
Object Motion Blur, 455–456
Raytrace maps, 472, 475
Raytrace material, 471, 471, 473–474
shadows, 435, 435
Save File As dialog box, 34–35, 35
saving projects, 34–35, 35
Scale tool, 94
Scale Keys tool, 351
Scale Transform gizmo, 372, 373
Scale Values tool, 351
scaling
keys, 351
raster images, 14, 15
vector images, 16, 16
scenes, 96
Layout Editor, 96–98, 96–98
Schematic View, 98–103, 99–102
setting up, 180–184, 180–184
storyboard, 5
scenics, 10
Schematic View, 98–103, 99–102
Schematic View icon, 70
Schematic View Name Field,
101–102, 102
screen layout, 62–63, 63
scripts, 4–5
scrubbing animation, 54, 78
See-Through mode, 186, 189, 189
alien arms, 241
frozen objects, 392
shortcut, 192
segments
adding, 114
lines, 161
Select and Link tool
dummy objects, 331
hierarchy, 52–55
Select Bitmap Image File dialog box,
183–184, 183, 228, 228
Select Camera dialog box, 459, 459
Select Highlighted Objects and Layers
icon, 97
Select Objects dialog box, 400, 400, 403
Select Objects by Name dialog box, 67, 67
Select Rigid Bodies dialog box, 508, 508
Select tool, 100
selecting
particles, 491–493, 491–493
viewport objects, 39, 39
viewports, 37
Selection icons, 67, 67
Selection List icon, 81
Selection rollout, 123–125, 123–125
selection sets icons, 69, 69
Self-Illumination parameter
Blinn shader, 291–292, 291–292
materials, 282
rendering, 464
Set Key Animation Mode icon, 80
Set Key Filters window, 80, 80
Set Key icon, 80
Shaded mode, 46
Shader Type function, 280
shaders, 287
Anisotropic, 287–288, 288–289
Blinn, 288–289, 288–289
Opacity setting, 292
Self-Illumination parameter,
291–292, 291–292
Specular Highlights section,
289–291, 290–291
Metal, 292
Multi-Layer, 292, 293
Oren-Nayar-Blinn, 293, 293
Phong, 293–294
Translucent, 293, 294
Shadow Integrity parameter, 437
Shadow Map Parameters rollout, 439
shadow maps, 432, 434–435, 434–435
Shadow Parameters rollout, 433, 433
Shadow Quality parameter, 437
Shadow Spread parameter, 437
shadows
area, 436–437, 436–438
creating, 432
General Parameters rollout, 425
Matte/Shadow material, 284–285
Omni lights, 423
Ray Traced Shadows, 434, 436, 436
rendering, 463–464, 465
shadow maps, 434–435, 434–435
Shadow Parameters rollout, 433, 433
skylights, 424, 424
volumetric lights, 439–440, 439–440
ShapeMerge compound object, 205
shapes and shape objects
tank barrel
creating, 206–209, 207–209
rotation, 213–215, 214
Target spotlights, 415–416, 415–416
vector images, 15
Shapes category, 72–73, 73
Shellac material, 286, 287
shininess, 310–311, 311
shiny objects, specular highlight for, 291
shots, storyboard, 5
shoulders, alien character
modeling, 239–240, 239–241
refining, 263–264, 263–264
Show All Tangents tool, 353
Show End Result option, 116
Show Frozen as Gray option, 183, 392
Show Keyable Icons tool, 352
Show Map in Viewport button option,
183, 229–230, 279–280, 299
Show Safe Frame option, 463
Show Tangents tool, 353
Shrink option, 124
Shrink Wrap property, 318
Sides parameter, 44
Simulation Geometry rollout, 506–507
Single frame range option, 446
16-bit color display, 17
size
output settings, 447–448, 447–448
particles, 486, 490, 493
polygons, 133
shadow maps, 434–435, 435
UVW Map modifier, 321
viewports, 87
volumetric lights, 442
Skin modifier, 367–368
Skin Parameters rollout, 210
skinning, 368
skirts, tank, 190–194, 190–194
Skylight Parameters rollout, 424
skylights, 423–425, 424
Slice Plane tool, 147–152, 148–151
Slide Keys tool, 351
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smoke–tiff (tagged image file format)
smoke, 491
Smooth rendering level, 90, 90
Smooth + Highlights rendering level, 90,
90, 183–184, 230–231
Smooth vertex, 161
smoothing
alien character, 254–255, 255
Subdivision Surfaces, 172
Snap Frames tool, 352
snapping icons, 68–69, 68–69
Snapshot tool, 221–223, 221–223
Snow particle system, 483–484, 484
soft body dynamics, 511
animating, 513–514, 513–514
collections, 512, 512
Soft Body modifier, 512
Soft Selection rollout, 125–126, 125–126
soft shadows, 436–437, 436–438
Soften Diffuse Edge setting, 430, 430
Soften parameter, 290–291, 291
softness, shadow maps, 435, 435
solvers
IK, 402–403, 403
rigid body dynamics, 511
sound in postproduction phase, 7–8
Space Warp category, 72, 74, 74
space warps, 480
creating, 72, 74, 74
deflectors, 502–504, 502–504
Forces, 499
gravity, 500–501, 500–501
special effects
atmospheric, 438–442, 438–442
rendering, 466–469, 467–469
specular element
lighting, 431, 431
materials, 277, 281
rendering, 465, 465
Specular Highlights group
Blinn shader, 289–291, 290–291
Raytrace maps, 475
Raytrace material, 474
Specular Level parameter
Blinn shader, 290–291, 290
materials, 281
Metal shader, 292
Specular Maps function, 281
speed
in momentum, 363
particles, 486–490, 490, 494
spheres, modifying, 110–113, 110–112
Spherical deflectors, 503
Spherical mapping property, 318
Spin Axis Controls section, 493
spinners, 28
splines, 47
Boolean objects, 208–209, 209
components, 161
extruding polygons along, 136–137,
136–137
spotlights
attenuation, 428, 429
Free, 420–421, 420–421
Target, 414–418, 415–418
Spray particle system, 484, 484
Spread parameter, 485
squash and stretch, 26, 342–344, 343–344
standard lights, 73, 411, 414
Free Direct, 421
Free spotlights, 420–421, 420–421
Omni, 422–423, 422–423
skylights, 423–425, 424
Target Direct, 418–420, 419–420
Target spotlights, 414–418, 415–418
Standard material, 282
standard welding, 262
Status Bar, 78–80, 79
Status Line, 79
steam, 491
still life arrangement. See fruit
arrangement
stock lenses, 458, 458
storyboards, 5
Strauss material, 294, 294
stretch and squash, 73, 342–344, 343–344
Structure rollout, 371
Sub-Object icon, 117
sub-objects, 27
accessing, 203
Editable Polys, 123, 123
materials for, 304, 304
meshes, 109–113, 110–112
Subdivision Surface rollout, 129, 129,
171–172, 171
Subdivision Surfaces (SubDs), 171–173,
171–173
subdivisions, 48
subtractive color, 19–20
Sun lighting, 418
Super Spray emitters, 484, 485
Super Spray particle systems, 482, 482
creating, 488–489, 488–489
Particle Generation rollout, 486–487,
486–487
SuperSampling
Raytrace maps, 472, 475
Raytrace material, 471, 471, 473–474
surface shine, 290, 290
surfaces
pool ball, 295–296, 295–296
subdivision, 171–173, 171–173
Systems category, 72, 74, 74
T
Tagged Image File Format (TIFF), 18, 450
tangency, key, 352
tank
access hatch, 204–206, 205–206
barrel
creating, 206–209, 207–209
lofting, 209–213, 209–213
shapes, 213–215, 214
body, 185–190, 185–190
exhaust vents, 197–200, 197–200
materials for, 181–184, 182–184
planes for, 180–181, 180–181
track skirts, 190–194, 190–194
track well, 194–197, 195–197
tracks
animating, 219–221, 220–221
creating, 217–219, 218–219,
221–223, 221–223
turret, 200–204, 201–204
wheels, 215–217, 215–217
Taper modifier, 118, 118
tapered polygons, 133
Targa (TGA) format, 18, 450
Target cameras, 84, 457–458
Target Direct lights, 418–420, 419–420
Target spotlights, 414, 415
cone settings, 418, 418
creating, 415, 415
falloff, 415, 415
selecting, 417, 417
shape, 415–416, 415–416
target welding, 262
targets, knife throwing, 362–363,
362–363
TCB Rotation controller, 328–330, 329
teapot object, 76, 76
technical directors (TDs), 13
television properties
aspect ratio, 447
color, 20–21
frame rates, 22
pixel aspect, 448, 448
resolution, 21
Tension parameter
MetaParticles, 492
tessellation, 175–176, 175
Tessellate Selection window, 174, 174
Tessellate tool, 174–176, 174–176
testing
biped model, 398, 399
rigid body dynamics, 509–510,
509–510
texture maps, 277
texturing. See also materials and Material
Editor
brick wall, 276, 276
for detail, 106
in workflow, 10
thigh area
alien character, 257, 257
associating to models, 393, 393
three-point lighting, 408–410, 408–410
3D maps, 307–309, 308–309
3d space, 3–4, 3
32-bit image files, 17–18
throwing. See knife throwing
thumb
alien character, 262
creating, 170–171, 170–171
TIFF (Tagged Image File Format), 18, 450
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526 ■ tiling parameter–warm colors
Tiling parameter
3D maps, 307
checker maps, 306
gradient maps, 306
UVW Map modifier, 321
time and timing
bouncing ball, 344–345, 345
deflectors, 503
output settings, 446–447, 446–447
particle systems, 486, 489–490,
490, 510
Time Configuration dialog box
particles, 489–490, 490, 510
purpose, 81, 81
Time Off parameter, 502–504
Time On parameter, 502–503
Time slider
for keyframes, 53–54, 53
overview, 78, 78
Time Tag button, 80
Title Safe area, 463
toes
alien character, 247, 247
associating to models, 394, 394
toolbars
Curve Editor, 351, 351
Biped, 353
Curves, 352–353
Key Tangency, 352
Navigation, 353
main. See main toolbar tools
Tools menu, 64
Top/Bottom material, 286, 287
top level sub-object access, 203
Top view, 37, 37, 87
torso
alien character
blocking, 232–234, 232–234
cleaning up, 238–239, 238–239
detail, 264–266, 265–266
forming, 235–237, 235–237
associating to models, 395
biped, 373
Track Bar, 78, 78
track skirts, tank, 190–194, 190–194
Track View-Curve Editor, 335–336,
336, 350
Curve Editor. See Curve Editor
Dope Sheet version, 350, 386–391,
388–390
navigation tools, 353
track well, tank, 194–197, 195–197
tracks
object, 28, 350
tank
animating, 219–221, 220–221
creating, 217–219, 218–219,
221–223, 221–223
trajectories
knife throwing, 356, 356
Motion panel, 77, 77
Trajectories option, 77, 77
Transform Type-Ins button, 79
translating parent objects, 41
translucence, 294
Translucent shader, 293, 294
transparency
alpha channel, 18, 450–451, 451
opacity. See opacity
Raytrace maps, 475–476, 475–476
Raytrace material, 473–474, 474–475
See-Through mode, 186, 189, 189
alien arms, 241
frozen objects, 392
treads, tank
animating, 219–223, 220–223
creating, 217–219, 218–219
Truck icon, 85
trucks, 460
tumbling, 40, 87
TurboSmooth modifier, 254–255, 255
TurboSmooth rollout, 255, 255
turret, tank, 200–204, 201–204
Twist modifier, 113–114, 113–114
2-Sided material, 281, 281
2D maps, 305–307, 305–307
2K Academy resolution, 21
UVW Map modifier, 316–322
UVW mapping, 313
V
U
U mapping coordinates, 300
U Tiling parameter, 313–314
under-lighting, 407, 407
Undo tool, 35, 66, 66, 360
Unhide Objects dialog box, 492
Uniformity parameter, 442
Union button, 208
units, 88
universal deflector, 503
Unlink Selected tool, 100
Up Arrow state, 99–100
Use Global Settings option, 425
Use light attenuation settings, 428
Use Rate parameter, 486, 490, 498
Use Source Color parameter, 469
Use Total parameter, 486
user interface (UI), 32, 61–62
animation controls, 80–81, 80–81
Command panel. See Command
panel
main toolbar. See main toolbar tools
Menu Bar, 63–65, 64
project and file management
workflow, 32–35, 33–35
scenes, 96
Layout Editor, 96–98, 96–98
Schematic View, 98–103, 99–102
screen layout, 62–63, 63
Status Bar, 78–80, 79
Time slider and Track Bar, 78, 78
viewports. See viewports
Utilities panel, 72, 77, 78
V mapping coordinates, 300
V Tiling parameter, 313–314
Variation parameter, 488
vector images, 15–17, 16
velocity in momentum, 363
vents, exhaust, 197–200, 197–200
version numbers
filename, 450
projects, 33
vertices
chamfering, 130–131, 130–131
Editable Polys, 123
extruding, 129, 129–130
lines, 161
polygon, 107
welding, 132, 132
Video Graphics Array (VGA) resolution,
21
Viewport Configuration dialog box, 88,
88, 411, 411
Viewport Display area, 485
Viewport Navigation tools, 458
viewports, 36–37
bitmaps in, 230, 230
changing views, 39, 39, 89, 89
layout, 37
maximizing, 40
modes, 46, 46
navigating, 40, 82–87, 82–87
object selection in, 39, 39
objects and axes in, 38–39, 38
overview, 87–88, 88
rendering levels, 89–95, 89–95
Views menu, 64
volumes for vector images, 15
volumetric lights
creating, 438–439, 438–439
parameters, 442, 442
shadows, 439–440, 439–440
volumetric effect, 441, 441
Vortex space warp, 499
W
W mapping coordinates, 300
walk gait, 378–380
Walk Gait button, 386
walking
footsteps, 378–380, 378–381
freeform animation, 382–385,
383–385
wall
mapping, 317, 317, 319–321, 319–321
texturing, 276, 276
warm colors, 20
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weight–zooming
weight
in animation, 23, 26
in momentum, 363
squash and stretch for, 342
Weld tool, 132, 132
Weld Vertices tool, 184
Weld Vertices window, 132, 132
welding target, 262
wheels, tank, 215–217, 215–217
White Border state, 99
White Fill state, 99
Widescreen aspect ratio, 21, 447
width
aspect ratio, 21
output size settings, 447
specular highlight, 290
Wind space warp, 499
wine glass, 473–476, 474–476
Wire material, 280
Wireframe rendering level, 92, 92
Wireframe View mode, 48
wiring parameters, 494–499, 495–498
wobble, 363
Wood maps, 309, 309
work windows, 37
workflow, 8
animation, 10–11
Character Studio, 366–367, 368
lighting, 11
modeling, 8–10
project and file management, 32–35,
33–35
rendering, 12
texturing, 10
World Coordinate System, 22, 22
World Space modifiers, 74
wrists, alien character, 259, 261, 261
XYZ-axis, 94
XYZ to UVW property, 318
Y
Y axes, 3, 23, 36
Y coordinates, 22
Y rotation parameter, 330
Z
X
X axes, 3, 23, 36
X coordinates, 22
X Position track, 358
X rotation parameter, 330
XForm modifier, 348–350, 349
Z axes, 3, 23, 36
Z coordinates, 22
Z-Depth element, 465, 466
Z Position curve, 342
Z Position parameter, 337, 339
Z Position track, 358
Z rotation parameter, 330
Zoom tool, 353
zooming
Curve Editor, 353
lenses, 460
viewports, 40, 87
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Wiley Publishing, Inc.
End-User License Agreement
READ THIS. You should carefully read these terms and conditions before opening the software packet(s) included with this book “Book”. This is a license
agreement “Agreement” between you and Wiley Publishing, Inc. “WPI”. By opening the accompanying software packet(s), you acknowledge that you have read
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1.
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5.
Limited Warranty.
6.
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WPI warrants that the Software and Software Media are free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use for a period of sixty
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GALLERY
Beginners’ Gallery
On the following pages, you will find several examples of what student
artists can do with Autodesk 3ds Max and some hard work.
Some of these artists have been using 3ds Max for only a short period of time, and
already they’ve been able to use the tools and techniques they’ve learned to channel
their artistic eye and creativity into some beautiful and interesting imagery.
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These images are from “Crude Awakenings,” a student-produced short created at The
Art Institute of California, Los Angeles. The Shooting Stars Production team used 3ds
Max to create the title character Al, a homeless man who dreams of the good life. The
entire production had a core of 15 dedicated students at the heart of the 35 or so students
who worked on the project that spanned several semesters.
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This image was created by Dan Savage to replicate his kitchen.
This exercise focused primarily on texturing. The use of real-world texture samples taken from photographs enhanced the look of the image.
B E L O W : Javier Araiza modeled and rendered this house in 3ds Max for a
modeling class at The Art Institute. It was rendered with a radiosity lighting to generate soft shadows. Javier modeled some details, such as the cornices and window panes, into the house. An eye for detail is a big plus in
modeling.
ABOVE:
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A B O V E : Jordan Walker of Piedmont Community College textured this AR-15 rifle
model. His goal was to create a very-low-polygon-count model and use textures to
create detail in the rifle. The ability to work with low poly counts and the aptitude to
create well-done textures are great skills for game artists to have. B E L O W : Jordan
Walker created this Ferrari model using surface patches. Patches allow for smooth
curved surfaces, which are perfect for car chassis such as this. Jordan’s work in models and textures earned him his first job with a game company.
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A B O V E : Khalil Harper-Bowers created the model of this castle for her class at
The Art Institute. Here you can see how simple shapes can be used to create a
complex model. Khalil’s use of secondary models, such as the catapults, adds a
lot of ambience to the setting. B E L O W : Dan Figueroa (of The Art Institute)
modeled this train and rendered it without textures to show off his modeling.
Notice the detail put into the cables and pipes that run the length of the train
engine. Details such as these go a long way in making a solid model.
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When he was a graduating senior at The Art Institute, Miguel Guerrero created these alien head models using 3ds Max and Zbrush. He started with a cube and then modeled them into basic head shapes,
between 500 and 800 polys. Once the basic model was done, he exported an Obj into ZBrush and
began sculpting using the “Simple Brush,” pushing and pulling the mesh to manipulate the desired
proportions. He continued to refine the mesh using a higher subdivision level and added the fine detail
with Projection Master along with “Alpha Brushes.” He then exported the displacement map to 3ds
Max and applied it to the low-res mesh. After some tweaking, he created color, bump, and specular
maps in Photoshop and Zbrush. He rendered in Max using mental ray.
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A B O V E : Ramiro Trevino’s The Art Institute class was asked to replicate a picture of
a room in their houses. Ramiro used the corner of his bathroom to model, texture,
and light. Ramiro used textures from the actual bathroom products to help create
the scene for this introductory lighting and texturing class. B E L O W : Dan Figueroa
used detailed textures to make this simple window model look photo-realistic. Notice
the use of weathered wood grain images for the color as well as bump maps. Also
note the added layer of dirt on the window frame.
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A B O V E : This living room model was created by Denise Abtey for a lighting
and texturing class at The Art Institute. The volumetric light rays coming
from the skylights add atmosphere to her image, and the background image
places the living room in a viable setting. B E L O W : Mike Pugh created this
house model for a beginner class in 3ds Max at The Art Institute. The plants
and stonework in the garden add a nice touch to the house, helping make an
interesting image.
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