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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
We've got a basic shape to this loft object, but there's one thing that's pretty serious that we need to attend to and that is that this is an infinitely thin polygon shell. In other words, it has no thickness. So if I get in closer in this, you will see quite clearly that this is a single polygon sort of like a curtain here with no thickness. Well, we need to have some thickness for a couple of different reasons. One is that if we wanted to render this with lighting and a nice transparent material, we would want it to have some thickness so it would properly refract light.
But 3ds Max makes it really easy for you to add thickness to a polygon shell object. So this is done through a modifier called Shell. So I am going to click on the Modifier List up here and look for Shell. Here it is, Shell, and you'll notice that I've got a nice clean shape here. Yours is probably not as nice because it's probably got an amount more like an inch, so you do have to be careful about this.
You don't want to see something like this where it's actually crashing through itself. You've got an Inner Amount and an Outer Amount. So I could set the Inner to 0 and increase the Outer Amount. So you could see that's causing it to grow outwards. What I really want here is what I had originally, which was an Inner Amount on the order of 0.1 inches or so. Maybe a little bit more than that, 0.1 inches and there we go, and that looks pretty good. I think I can make a couple of minor adjustments to my shapes so that I can get a better look to this because it's looking pretty top-heavy to me.
So as you remember, I can go into the shape and adjust the radius and that's going to flow through from this to the loft and then the loft is then having a shell placed on it. So basically, we can adjust all of these parameters live in real-time to get the result that we want and it's completely nondestructive to adjust this radius. I can go back to my star object and I want to point out to you that, once again, the transforms of these shapes is not important for the loft.
So in other words, Position doesn't affect the loft, Rotation doesn't affect the loft, Ctrl+Z to undo, and Scale does not affect the loft. But if I go into sub-object mode and do transforms then that will affect the loft. So I can go into Spline sub-object mode and scale this up or down to change the loft shape. I can also go back to the loft itself and do one last pass on that scale deformation.
So I am going to Loft > Scale Deform and maybe increase the thickness at the bottom here by moving these points up. Maybe I just want it to, this guy here, here we go. So that's looking a little bit more realistic where it's actually going to stand up and not topple over it, under its own weight. Cool! And you know, I can turn the Scale on and off by the way, so you can see the effect that it's having.
So it's really helping in terms of making this believable. So that's how we can add a shell to add thickness and also make some final adjustments to the form.
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