3ds Max 2011 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria ReƱdon

Creating NURBS curves


3ds Max 2011 Essential Training

with Aaron F. Ross

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Video: Creating NURBS curves

NURBS objects generally begin from a Curve, or a Spline. Now, you can create NURBS, Curves, and Splines directly, but you will find that most of the time you are going to get better results and more predictable results if you start from the traditional Bezier Spline Objects or Shapes and then convert them to NURBS. But I will show you how to make NURBS Curves directly, just quickly. In the Create panel, under Shapes, you will see there's the category of Splines, but there is also NURBS Curves.
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  1. 3m 19s
    1. Welcome
    2. Prerequisites
      1m 18s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 7m 33s
    1. Using the Custom UI and Defaults Switcher
      1m 35s
    2. Setting local file paths to relative
      1m 27s
    3. Using project folders
      4m 31s
  3. 36m 35s
    1. Getting familiar with the interface
      4m 5s
    2. Touring the command panels
      1m 44s
    3. Creating primitives
      3m 5s
    4. Navigating the viewports
      3m 57s
    5. Using hotkeys
      3m 18s
    6. Choosing shading modes
      3m 6s
    7. Configuring the viewports
      3m 29s
    8. Transforming objects
      4m 32s
    9. Using the toolbars
      3m 33s
    10. Using the Modify panel
      5m 46s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. Surveying different modeling methods
      5m 18s
    2. Setting units
      5m 8s
    3. Setting home grid dimensions
      3m 37s
    4. Understanding the Level of Detail utility
      3m 34s
    5. Working with the Modifier Stack
      3m 51s
    6. Understanding dependencies
      5m 9s
    7. Collapsing the Modifier Stack
      4m 53s
    8. Working with sub-objects
      4m 41s
  5. 18m 32s
    1. Creating shapes
      5m 17s
    2. Creating lines
      2m 56s
    3. Converting a shape to an editable spline
      2m 20s
    4. Transforming editable spline sub-objects
      4m 20s
    5. Using different types of vertices
      3m 39s
  6. 35m 30s
    1. Lofting a vase
      3m 59s
    2. Setting loft parameters
      3m 49s
    3. Editing the path and shapes
      5m 18s
    4. Manipulating loft sub-objects
      3m 55s
    5. Adding a scale deformation
      5m 47s
    6. Adding a shell modifier
      3m 50s
    7. Smoothing polygon edges
      8m 52s
  7. 26m 20s
    1. Setting up the project and scene layout
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a backdrop profile line
      1m 19s
    3. Using Editable Spline Fillet
      1m 24s
    4. Extruding shapes
      2m 36s
    5. Creating text
      1m 21s
    6. Applying a bevel modifier
      3m 57s
    7. Choosing bevel parameters
      2m 33s
    8. Using Display All Triangle Edges
      1m 56s
    9. Adjusting spline interpolation
      2m 22s
    10. Deforming beveled objects
      1m 17s
    11. Exporting paths from Adobe Illustrator
      2m 39s
    12. Importing Illustrator paths to 3ds Max
      2m 22s
  8. 55m 55s
    1. Setting up the scene
      2m 8s
    2. Creating chamfer boxes
      4m 44s
    3. Smoothing edges
      1m 16s
    4. Using the Array tool
      5m 31s
    5. Grouping objects
      10m 18s
    6. Modeling lines
      11m 17s
    7. Using the Sweep Modifier
      3m 0s
    8. Soft-selecting sub-objects with Volume Select
      5m 40s
    9. Removing polygons with Delete Mesh
      2m 37s
    10. Clearing a sub-object selection with Mesh Select
      3m 37s
    11. Adding randomness with the Noise Modifier
      5m 47s
  9. 33m 2s
    1. Understanding subdivision surfaces
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a box and converting to editable poly format
      3m 54s
    3. Using the Symmetry Modifier
      1m 44s
    4. Working with TurboSmooth
      3m 3s
    5. Extruding polygons
      1m 54s
    6. Editing edge loops
      8m 15s
    7. Shaping the model
      4m 57s
    8. Baking subdivisions
      3m 45s
    9. Optimizing polygon Level of Detail
      2m 44s
  10. 38m 45s
    1. Understanding the graphite tools within Editable Poly
      2m 40s
    2. Using the Graphite Ribbon interface
      3m 26s
    3. Using traditional editable poly tools within Graphite
      11m 30s
    4. Adjusting detail with Remove and Cut
      4m 44s
    5. Using SwitfLoop
      2m 46s
    6. Constraining sub-object transforms
      2m 23s
    7. Attaching polygon meshes to a single object
      5m 33s
    8. Bridging parts of a mesh
      5m 43s
  11. 25m 24s
    1. Understanding NURBS
      2m 35s
    2. Creating NURBS curves
      7m 27s
    3. Creating a U-loft surface
      5m 52s
    4. Editing curves and surfaces
      3m 9s
    5. Setting surface approximation
      6m 21s
  12. 1h 0m
    1. Using the Material Editor
      7m 8s
    2. Choosing a material type
      3m 3s
    3. Choosing a shader type
      2m 12s
    4. Adjusting specular parameters
      3m 6s
    5. Setting opacity
      3m 5s
    6. Understanding procedural Maps and bitmaps
      4m 11s
    7. Using bitmaps
      5m 21s
    8. Navigating shader trees
      2m 27s
    9. Tracking scene assets
      4m 40s
    10. Creating simple UVW mapping
      7m 52s
    11. Adding reflections with a Raytrace map
      4m 32s
    12. Creating an environment
      5m 27s
    13. Mapping a bump channel
      7m 13s
  13. 27m 4s
    1. Creating cameras
      4m 1s
    2. Understanding target and free cameras
      4m 39s
    3. Using Camera Pan, Truck, and Dolly
      4m 8s
    4. Adjusting the field of view
      4m 59s
    5. Understanding aspect ratio
      2m 6s
    6. Showing safe frames
      3m 12s
    7. Choosing render output size
      3m 59s
  14. 43m 36s
    1. Understanding CG lighting
      5m 56s
    2. Understanding standard and photometric lights
      1m 48s
    3. Creating a target spotlight
      2m 3s
    4. Enabling viewport hardware shading
      2m 10s
    5. Previewing renderings with ActiveShade
      3m 6s
    6. Adjusting intensity and color
      2m 27s
    7. Controlling contrast and highlights
      2m 52s
    8. Setting spotlight hotspot and falloff radius
      4m 59s
    9. Choosing a shadow type
      3m 56s
    10. Optimizing shadow maps
      5m 46s
    11. Using area shadows
      3m 57s
    12. Creating omni lights
      4m 36s
  15. 43m 33s
    1. Understanding keyframes
      1m 41s
    2. Setting time configuration
      3m 48s
    3. Choosing set key filters
      1m 27s
    4. Using Set Key mode
      2m 39s
    5. Editing keyframes in the Timeline
      2m 43s
    6. Using Auto Key mode
      5m 44s
    7. Creating animation in passes
      2m 40s
    8. Animating modifier parameters
      3m 53s
    9. Working in the dope sheet
      7m 47s
    10. Editing function curves
      5m 28s
    11. Looping animation
      5m 43s
  16. 43m 54s
    1. Understanding hierarchies
      3m 16s
    2. Understanding reference coordinate systems
      5m 51s
    3. Editing pivot points
      4m 40s
    4. Linking objects
      3m 20s
    5. Using the Schematic view
      1m 59s
    6. Preventing problems with scale
      7m 50s
    7. Animating a hierarchy
      10m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning the animation
      6m 47s
  17. 20m 53s
    1. Understanding controllers
      3m 55s
    2. Applying path constraints
      4m 55s
    3. Assigning a link constraint
      2m 27s
    4. Using the Motion panel
      2m 48s
    5. Animating constrained objects
      6m 48s
  18. 28m 29s
    1. Understanding particle systems
      2m 24s
    2. Emitting particles from an object with PArray
      2m 18s
    3. Adjusting particle parameters
      5m 33s
    4. Binding particles to a gravitational force
      2m 51s
    5. Colliding particles with a POmniFlector
      6m 4s
    6. Creating a particle material
      3m 23s
    7. Mapping opacity with a gradient
      2m 1s
    8. Assigning a material ID G-Buffer channel
    9. Creating a lens effect glow
      3m 9s
  19. 18m 50s
    1. Understanding image sequences
      5m 40s
    2. Setting render options
      7m 53s
    3. Compressing an image sequence to a movie
      5m 17s
  20. 27s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training
10h 4m Beginner May 26, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Getting familiar with the 3ds Max interface
  • Creating shapes and splines
  • Modeling Loft objects
  • Creating motion graphics
  • Modeling with polygons and subdivisions
  • Modeling with NURBS
  • Shading objects with materials and maps
  • Setting up camera and scene layout
  • Lighting basic scenes
  • Animating objects with keyframes
  • Editing keyframes in the Curve Editor
  • Constructing and animating hierarchies
  • Using animation Constraints
  • Animating particle systems
  • Rendering animations to disk
3D + Animation
3ds Max
Aaron F. Ross

Creating NURBS curves

NURBS objects generally begin from a Curve, or a Spline. Now, you can create NURBS, Curves, and Splines directly, but you will find that most of the time you are going to get better results and more predictable results if you start from the traditional Bezier Spline Objects or Shapes and then convert them to NURBS. But I will show you how to make NURBS Curves directly, just quickly. In the Create panel, under Shapes, you will see there's the category of Splines, but there is also NURBS Curves.

And within the 3ds Max implementation of NURBS, you have two different flavors of NURBS objects, a so- called Point Curve or CV Curve. So a Point Curve has points that lie on the curve. So I am just clicking here to create them. Right-click to exit. So with the Point Curve, if we go into the Modify panel and open up the Sub-Object Types, you will see Points. And I have got my Snaps turned on, so I will turn those off. And you can see the Point lies on the curve.

And it's unlike the standard Bezier Splines, because we don't have any adjustable tangent handles. Now, I don't really use these Point Curves that much, because as you see, as I move this around, it's actually having an undue effect on the entire curve in this case. So when I move this one point around, it's actually changing everything. Now, I can convert a Point Curve to a CV Curve, but that process is kind of problematic, because it's actually going to change the shape of the curve. So I would advice actually using the CV Curve Creation Tool instead.

Right-click to complete that curve, and the when I go into the Modify panel, you will see we have CVs. And the Control Vertex usually lies off the curve. And this is a little bit easier for me to control. So this is how I can create these NURBS Curves from scratch, by just drawing them out. But if you wanted to create something like that cocktail table we saw, then you would want to start from a Bezier Spline and convert it. So I am going to do that. I am going to work in Metric units, so I will go to my Customize menu and to Units Setup, and I will choose Metric with Centimeters.

And then right-click on my Snaps to go to the Home Grid, and I will set a Grid Spacing of 10.0cm, with Major Grid Lines every 100, and then a Perspective View Grid Extent of 200 centimeters. Remembering that this is multiplication here, I am getting a Minor Grid Line every 10 centimeters, a Major Grid Line every 10x10, or 1 meter, and then I have got a Perspective View of 20x10, or 200 centimeters, or 2 meters from center to edge.

So I am going to create my cocktail table in the Top View, the base of the cocktail table. And what I will do is I will go to the Create panel. So I will create standard Bezier Splines and then convert them to Bezier. Cool! So what can I do here? I can make a line, and I will Snap. Make a straight line. Right-click to exit that. I can make a arc, and why don't I Snap to Points? Let me maximize this with Alt+W. I will right-click on my Grid and Snap Settings, and instead of Snapping to Grid Points, I can Snap to Vertex.

So that when I position my cursor here, I can Snap that arc exactly to that location. So I am going to go over here, select a point here, release the mouse, and then drag out to create that arc. Click to create the arc. And then I want a smaller arc over here. Release the mouse and drag out to set that other arc. Click to create the arc. And then I also want to create a line from here to here.

So I go to Line, and I still have Snap to Vertex turned on. Click once. Click twice, and then right-click to exit. So I am just going to clean this up by attaching all these parts together. Go to the Modify panel, go to Attach, and click the different pieces to attach them all to one. And then I just want to adjust this a little bit. I want to weld these two points together, clean that up, weld all the parts together. So I will select by Vertex.

I have got two vertices here. Turn of the Attach Tool. And then I will just weld those together. So I have got a Weld Tool here and a Threshold. If those two points are closer together than this value, then they will be welded. So that one is welded. This one here, I might need to actually Snap that over. Select those two and weld them as well. Up here too, I just need to seal everything up tight, because I want this to be a single unbroken Spline.

So looks like that's all one piece here now, and I can verify that by going into Spline mode and click here and see, is that one piece? Yes, it is. Go back to Vertex mode and turn off my Snaps, and I just want to move this around a little bit. Just shape this up a little bit better. You will see that this is a Bezier Corner Vertex. I just want to right-click and convert that to a Bezier, not Bezier Corner. That's important, because the NURBS object, when I convert this to NURBS, if it sees a Bezier Corner, then it's actually going to split it into two different parts.

So I need to make sure that these are all Bezier and not Bezier Corner. So I am actually going to draw a big rectangle around all those and then right-click and choose Bezier and do any final cleanup necessary to just straighten this out. So now I have got a single unbroken Spline that's made out of all Bezier Points and no Bezier Corners. And that's important, because if I have Bezier Corner Points, then when I try to build my NURBS objects, it's actually going to be split into parts here.

So I have got the basic shape, and then I am going to convert this to a NURBS Curve. Just right-click and choose Convert To > Convert to NURBS, and now it's a NURBS Surface. You will see it says NURBS Surface. But ironically, it's not a surface yet. It's actually still a Spline Curve. But the way that NURBS work in 3ds Max is that a NURBS object can contain curves and/or surfaces. And the name up here. It may say NURBS Surface.

It may say NURBS Curve at the top level, but that's not an indicator of what's really going on inside the object. So you will see it's a NURBS Surface, but the only Sub-Object Types within it are Curve CV and Curve. So don't let that confuse you. There's only one type of NURBS object in 3ds Max, and it might be called a NURBS Surface. It might be called a NURBS Curve. That's not relevant. All that matters is what types of Sub-Objects do we have inside it? And currently I have a Curve but no Surfaces just yet.

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