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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.
One of the great advantages of polygon modeling is the ability to add or remove detail very easily and in fact, that's one of the most common things that you'll want to do. You can't remove detail by deleting polygons, because if you do, you'll actually blast a hole in your model. So if I go into Polygon Selection mode and press the Delete key on my keyboard, I am actually going to punch a hole. In this case that's not a desirable outcome. So I'll hit Ctrl+Z. What I want to do here is I want to flatten out this area, so that it's not round. So to do this, I want to be in Edge Sub-object mode.
So you can see I have got some edges selected already. I can hold down the Ctrl key and select more edges. I can simply remove them without blasting a hole. There is a couple of ways I can do it. I can do it from the Modify panel here. I have got a Remove button. There is also a Remove button here in the Edges section of the Graphite tools. So if I click that Remove button, you'll see that the edges have been removed. But I haven't punched a hole in the model. But if you look closely, you'll notice that the detail hasn't really been altered. In fact, I still have a rounded shape here.
So what's going on here is that when you click the Remove Tool it removes the edges but not the associated vertices. They're still there. So if I go to Vertex mode, you'll see I've got a bunch of points there. I could go back in a second pass and select these vertices here, just Ctrl+Select these and hit Remove. But there is a lot more work than I really need to do, because with a simple keyboard shortcut, I can remove both edges and vertices in one fell swoop.
So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to hit Ctrl+Z and back up through my undo buffer a little bit, back to where I was. Go back to the Edge sub-object level, and all I need to do is hold down Ctrl when I click the Remove key and boom! I've removed the edges and all of the associated vertices. Very good! So the next thing I want to do is up here I want to actually remove these edges, and flatten this out too. So you can go around and select all of these, and this time I'll use the keyboard shortcut to remove these edges.
You can use the Backspace key to remove edges and leave the vertices, or you can hold down Ctrl and hit Backspace, and that will remove the edges and the vertices. So that's what I do all the time is Ctrl+Backspace, boom! Okay, so that's all right, but as you can see, the polygon here has got a funny shape. It's not really a legal polygon. This is one big polygon that's not flat. It's not planar. So what I really want is a planar polygon, and I need a new edge here.
So I can create new edges using the Cut Tool. To get to the Cut Tool, I am going to go back to Object mode. I'll bomb out of Sub-object mode, and you'll see Cut, and it looks like a little scissor. So if I activate the Cut Tool and I move my cursor around, you'll see that the icon changes depending upon what I'm hovering over. So if I clicked here now I would create a point in the middle of this polygon. That's not what I want here; I want to actually join these two vertices.
So if I move my cursor around, you'll see this is the icon indicating I am snapping to an edge, and this is the cursor indicating that I'm snapping to a vertex. and that's what we want here. I don't need to use the standard Snap tools from the main Toolbar because the Cut Tool has snaps built-into it. So I'll click once on that vertex, drag across, and click again to snap to that second vertex, and then I'll right- click to exit that particular cut operation, and then I'll right-click again to exit out of the Cut Tool.
So you see it's no longer active. So there you go. I've got a nice cut there. Now, as you can see, if I hit F4, there's still some smoothing issues here. So I can just select the entire model, and I can go up here to the Smoothing tools. I can click Smooth 30, and that's usually a pretty good setting. Basically, if two polygons have an angle of greater than 30 degrees, then we'll get a hard edge, but if they have an angle of less than 30 degrees, then we'll get a soft edge.
So I'll press F4 again so we can see that a little bit better. So I can continue that process, but I think you get the idea of how to add, and remove edges using the Remove Tool, and the Cut Tool.
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