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This object looks pretty good as it is. However, if I wanted to deform it, I would need to pay special attention to its level of detail. I'll select it and press the F4 key, so I can see the edged faces. I don't need to see those selection brackets right now, so I'll press the J key to hide those. As you can see here on the front faces here, there are no edges, and that means that if I try to bend this or twist it or do anything to it, it would not deform very well, and I would have some pretty serious issues.
I'd like to now enable an option so that I can see the full information about the level of detail. For each object, there are Object Properties and one of the Object Properties is whether we want to see all of the triangle edges or not. There are two ways to get to that Object Properties dialog: one would be to go to Edit > Object Properties, or you could select the object, and right-click and in the quad menu, just choose Object Properties.
Now, I've got the dialog open. And the important parameter here is Edges Only. When that's enabled, the triangle edges of this polygon object will be hidden. If I disable that option, and click OK, now I'm able to see all of the triangles. As you can see, some of these are looking a bit strange. This wouldn't work very well if I try to deform it with a bend or whatever. But I can control the behavior of the tessellation of the bevel through this Cap Type option here in the Bevel modifier.
If I choose Grid, then we're going to get a much more uniform structure to the triangulation or tessellation. That's going to help a lot if we want to deform the object. We've got enough polygon structure there that it can bend properly. However, that's only the caps. What about the rest here? I've also got the number of segments here, and I can increase that. You'll see that, that's increasing the number of polygons within each one of these levels in the Bevel Values section.
Okay, so that's pretty good. However, you'll notice that in the straight areas here, I'm not really getting any detail there. I've got six polygons for this entire surface here. What I really want to do is increase the number of polygon edges in these straight line areas. And that is actually controlled through the Spline Interpolation parameters, not the Bevel itself. I'll need to go back down the stack to the Editable Spline object, and I'll turn on Show End Results that we can see what we're doing.
This Interpolation section is quite important. Let me open that up. This lets me control the level of detail of a Spline object. You'll see that the default values are 6 with Optimize enabled. What Optimize does is, if there is a straight line segment, then 3ds Max is going to discard any detail on the spline in that area. If I disable Optimize, then what I will get between two points on the original Spline curve is the number of steps that I determined here, and if I increase that, we'll get greater detail.
You might think that that's a little bit heavy in terms of a model, but if I needed to bend this or deform it, this is the level of detail I would need. Finally, there's also an Adaptive option. I don't recommend that in this case, because what that's going to do is attempt to add steps to the spline wherever they are needed to maintain a smooth curvature, and when Adaptive is on, Optimize is always enabled. I don't recommend the Adaptive option in this case.
I'll just turn both Optimize and Adaptive off, and then set the number of Steps to, let's say 8. That's a pretty good level of detail for this object, and next, I will just play around with deforming it in the next movie.
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