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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.
Now, we are going to look at attaching parts together. So what I want to achieve here at the end is I want to have the base of my robot arm have an extruded cylindrical tower here that terminates in a spherical ball joint. So the easiest way for me to accomplish this is to create a sphere, attach the two parts together, and then sort of bridge the gap. So I'll start by creating a sphere. To make my life easier, I am going to turn on 3D Snaps, and I'll right-click on that Snap Tool to make sure that grid points is the only thing active.
I will go to my Create panel, and I'll create a sphere. I'll make it nice and big, bigger than it really needs to be, just so that it will be easier for me to move around, and I'll grab the Move Tool. And you'll see here that the Move Tool with Snaps turned on has a little extra circle in here, and this is an improvement to the snaps in 3ds Max 2011. The way it works is you click on the little circle, and you're actually snapping the pivot point in that object.
In this case I'm snapping the pivot point, or the center of the sphere, to these grid intersections. So I'll move it over here, so that it's centered on the other object. Cool! Then since that snapped in X and Y, I can go ahead and press the S key to turn Snaps off, and then move this up, and position it. Okay. So I want to change the parameters of the sphere, so that it will better match the object that I am going to attach and bridge it too.
So I'll go to the Modify panel. I'll play around with this Radius, and get that approximately where I want it to be, and I want to point out the number of segments here, and I move this back down so we can kind of see this, now getting closer with the Z key. You can see here that these edges aren't lining up very well and although the Bridge command that we are going to use later can compensate for this, it's not going to be pretty. So it's best if the two parts that we're going to join together have the same level of detail.
So in other words I need to make sure that these edges line up. So I made the cylinder earlier with 24 segments, so I know that my sphere needs to have 24 segments too. So go ahead and adjust that, set that to 24. I can move that around. So next I am going to attach the parts together. Now just to illustrate some of the quirks of the graphite interface, what I am going to do is I am actually going to go back to my Create panel, just so that you can see that the graphite interface has got a little bit of a quirk that we are going to need to work with here.
So if I select my base here, I can attach it to the sphere, or actually vice-versa. I am going to attach the sphere to the base. So I am going to open up my Graphite panel, and you'll notice that right now I don't see any of the tools. The reason is that I need to be in so- called Modify mode in order to see these tools. I am not in Modify mode right now. Now if I chose the Modify panel in my Command panels, then that would actually activate Modify mode, but I can also do that from within Graphite.
So this button here actually says Modify mode, and the irony here is that it doesn't really look like a button, but it is and also that this doesn't show us the current state. We're not in Modify mode right now, but once we click it, now we are in Modify mode. So that's just, again, one of the weirdnesses of the interface here. So now that I'm in Modify mode I have access to all of the Graphite tools. Okay.
So now I can attach the sphere. So I've got the Attach button here, and you'll notice that it's also present in the Modify panel, and that's in the Edit Geometry rollout. So either way I can click the Attach button and then click on the Sphere, and now it's attached. If I'm done attaching objects, I can right-click to exit the Attach Tool. So now this is a single monolithic object. If I move it you'll see they move together. However, since I haven't bridged them yet, they're actually two separate elements within this object.
So, one of the sub-object types within Editable Poly and Graphite is element. So if I activate Element Sub-object mode, you can see I can select the sphere or the base separately, because they haven't been bridged together yet. Now, you can see I'm moving this, I am trying to move it up, but it's changing size, and the reason is that actually I'm still in a Constraint mode from the last exercise. So I've got Constrain to Normal still on, and that was sticky. It remembered.
So I'll need to turn that off, Constrain to None, and then I can move this up and down, or in any dimension. Okay. So maybe I want to scale that a little bit. I'll hit the R key, and click in the center of the Scale Gizmo, just to scale that down a little bit. So now I have attached those two objects to a single polygon mesh, and I can play around with them in Element mode, and that is until I actually bridge them together, and at that point that will be a single element.
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