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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.
The first step in creating a sub- division service model is to create a box. You are always starting from a box with subds and if you forget this, you will end up having serious issues. So just to illustrate what the issues are, let's say I was thinking in some sort of logical fashion to say oh, okay, well this object that I am making is going to be roughly cylindrical, so why don't I start from a cylinder? That seems logical enough. Well, what would happen if you used a cylinder is that it would be a big mess. So here I have created a cylinder.
I am going to right-click to Exit Creation, and I am going to go to the Modify panel and apply the sub-division surface modifierm which is called Turbo Smooth, so I will just show you what this is going to look like by adding Turbo Smooth, and you can see it's ugly, and it's not smooth at all. It's actually really jagged and horrible, and I can play around with a number of iterations to increase the level of detail, but it's never going to be good, and it's always going to be a big mess. Specifically the reason is that, in our cylinder, we've got a lot of points meeting at the center here, and those are all triangles, and the sub-division surface algorithm does not like triangles.
Your ideal situation is that all the polygons on your mesh object are quadrilaterals, and that's what sub -division surfaces are built for. So I am going to delete this object, and I am going to create a box. Back out in my view here, to my Create panel and make a box, and I might as well turn on Snaps and make sure that I am snapping to grid points with the right-click button, and I will just drag this out, and the only thing that I really care about here that it's centered in the X axis, so I am just double checking that.
If I choose my Move tool, I will make sure that the X value is 0. That's important because I want to create a symmetrical model, and it's going to actually mirror across the X axis. So I've got the box, and I will turn the Snaps off again, move that up a little bit and just go to the Modify panel and basically change some of these parameters. Obviously my length and width are a bit too much, and I don't need to get exactly the right values here at this point in terms of length and width because I am going to change all that later, but I am just kind of roughly sort of guesstimating it.
I do want to center it on the other objects here too so it looks like I want to have Y value of 0 as well. So I will go down to my Transform Type and then give it a Y value of 0. Now, I am also going to set the level of detail here, just roughly. The problem that a lot of new users will have with sub-division surfaces is they will increase the number of segments on their box to be way too high. So if you did something like this and had all of these segments here, it would be way too much for you to manage. The idea behind subdivision surfaces is that you are using just a few control points in order to get a nice, smooth, interpolated surface, if you will, or sub-divided surface.
So the number of segments here should be the fewest that you can possibly get away with. The one thing that I do want to keep in mind is that the number of segments running in this direction here should be in even number, because I am going to end up chopping this in half, and I need to have a line running down the center. So let me go to the front view with Alt +W, hit the Z key to zoom in on that. There is no line running down the center here, because my segments are odd numbers. So the Width segments here, I am going to set this down to pretty low value here, 4 is probably enough.
The Height segments I am going to set that way down as well to something like 3 or 4, and then we have the Length segments, just to make it neat and clean, just try 3 and 3. I can always add or remove more edges later on, but I just want to just basically get a starting value for these. So I have got my box, and then before I go any further here, I am going to go ahead and convert this to editable poly, right-click and choose Convert to Editable Poly. Now it's not longer a box, but it's an Editable Poly object.
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