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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.
So after I've worked on this a little bit I've got the effect that I want. And you'll see I used the Crease Tool and adjusted this a little bit. And then I added a Smooth Modifier on top of that, and just a sort of smoothed the entire thing out, so I don't have those hard edges. So you can see with Auto Smooth turned on, with the Threshold turned up pretty high I've got a fairly smooth result there. And if I'm happy with this, I will probably want to save it in this stage, and then additionally I'm going to then convert this to Editable Poly, and essentially make the subdivisions permanent.
This is sometimes called Baking the model, and it's just the same as we saw when we were working with procedural models. Basically, we are taking all this complexity here and then just boiling it down to a simple shape. And that's going to future-proof our work so that it'll open reliably in future versions of the program. Baking your model is also a necessary step when you're exporting to another application, or a game engine, or what have you. So that's usually the final stage of modeling is exporting it out to a baked mesh.
Pretty simple and straightforward, all I have to do is convert it to Editable Poly. But before I do, since that's a destructive act, I want to just double-check my level of detail. So I am pressing F4 and looking at this. I can go into my TurboSmooth and say okay, well, would it be better if I have 3 Iterations, or 2, or 1? Because after I do this bake operation it'll be very difficult for me to change the level of detail afterwards, globally. So two, three - well, I'll tell you what, I am going to hit the 7 key in my keyboard and take a look.
So I'll need to go back into my Viewport Configuration, because I want to see the statistics for the selection as well. So this Bar Stool seat is currently 3500 polygons. Let's see what happens if I increase it to 3 Iterations, now it's 14,000 polygons. So the question we need to ask ourselves here is how close are we going to be to this object in our final rendering? If we are going to be pretty far away in this then we may not need that much detail.
The basic rule of thumb is you never want a polygon to be smaller than a pixel in your final rendering. If you have so many polygons that you have multiple polygons per pixel in your final rendering, then basically you are just wasting computer resources, and it's way too heavy of the model. So I'll hit the F4 key here and turn off those wires, and with the object selected I'll go back to my TurboSmooth and dial it up and down and see without those edges visible can I see any real change here? Okay, so let's turn on Show end result too while we are at it.
So with no Iterations it obviously looks pretty bad. 1 Iteration, I would say nay to that because it's still looking kind of blocky. 2 Iterations is good. 3 Iterations, I can barely tell the difference between 2 and 3. 4 Iterations, I can't see any difference. So basically I want to increase this up to a level of detail that looks good and no further. So I'll take it back down to 2. I think 2 is actually the sweet spot in this case. So I am happy with that, with 2 Iterations I've only got 3000 polygons.
This is going to be significant. Let's say I have a hundred bar stools in a bar or something. Polygon count is going to be a factor, if I have lots and lots of them. So I want to try to keep it down to something reasonable. So I think this is looking pretty good and all I need to bake it out is just convert it to Editable Poly, right- click to convert to Editable Poly. And now you'll see we no longer have a Modifier stack, and it's been baked out, and I would save this now to a new file.
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