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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.
Over the course of the next two chapters we are going to look at the basics of modeling with splines in 3ds Max, and also creating a new object type called a Loft. So this is the end result at the end of these two chapters. I've designed this cute art glass vase, and it's made up of just these three curves. I got a star here, and if we go to the Modify panel we can see it's got some parameters. I've got a circle primitive, and I've got a freeform line, and these three objects go together to create this lofted shape.
So now that we've seen what we're headed towards, let's go ahead and go there. So I am going to reset 3ds Max. I'm not saving any changes and I'm resetting to a blank slate. The first thing I need to do is set up my units of measurement, as always. This object is only going to be a foot or two tall, so I want to set up my units and grid appropriately. I'll go to the Customize menu > Units Setup, Feet with Decimal Inches, except this time I'll choose Inches as my default.
So if I type in 18, 3ds Max will know that I mean 18 inches, not 18 feet. Click OK and then next, of course, I am going to go into the grid settings. So I'll right-click on any one of these Snap icons. And in the Grid and Snap Settings dialog, go to Home Grid. And here I want to choose different settings than the last time, because this object is going to be a lot smaller. So I want a grid line every 1 inches. So I'll type in a 1, press Tab, and I want a major grid line every 12 inches, so I'll put in 12 and press Tab.
So now I'll get a minor grid line every 1 inch and a major grid line every 12 inches or every 1 foot. And finally my Perspective view, I'll set that to be 24 inches from center to edge, pressing Tab, and that enters it, and I can go ahead and close the dialog. So now I have got my grid setup. But I do want to make sure I do a reality check here, a sanity check to make sure that my viewports are generally in the right size.
So this is my little trick I like to do is just make a box that's 1 foot on a side, 1, 1, 1. Whoops! I want to do 12 inches, so it's 12, 12, 12. There we go. And I just want to zoom in, in my views with the wheel to approximately the right scale. So now each one of these minor grid lines represents an inch, and the major grid lines represent feet. Okay, so now I've got that there and I'm zoomed in to the right scale, so I don't need my box anymore.
So I just go ahead and hit Delete to delete that. Now I am going to create a couple of spline primitives. So these are shapes in 3ds Max parlance. In the language of this program shapes are curves. So I am going to go to the Create menu and Shapes and the simplest is the Circle. I want to create this in the Top viewport and in 3ds Max it actually matters which viewport you create things in. So in order to make sure that everything lines up the way that I wanted to, I am going to create this circle in the Top viewport.
So I just click and drag. And you'll see I've got in my Create panel, I've got the Radius. As long as I haven't clicked off anything, I can still set the radius here. So I can set it to maybe like 2 inches and press Enter. If I have clicked off and I need to get back to that, of course I can go to the Modify panel and select it and I can change the Radius once again. Okay, so that's the circle and then second I am going to create a star primitive for the top of that flower design.
So here we go, star primitive. Now once again I am going to create it in the Top viewport. I am going to click and drag and that's going to define the first radius. And when I release the mouse I need to drag some more in order to define the second radius. When I've got that the way I want, I can click and I've completed the star. So let me do that for you again, just in case you miss it the first time. Click-and-drag to set the first radius, release and drag to set the second radius, and click and then I can right -click to exit out of star creation.
Once I've done it, I can go into the Modify panel and play around with its parameters like the radius. And also the number of points, let's give this 5 points. And I've also got a fillet here. So a fillet is a curve where two lines meet, or where two surfaces meet. So let me zoom in on this a little bit here in the Top view, middle mouse, and Ctrl+Alt+Middle mouse to zoom in so you can see it more clearly. Fillet Radius 1. Let me increase that and what that's doing is creating a rounded corner at the point of the star.
And then Fillet Radius 2 is a rounded corner inside the star. So that's what I've done. I've created a couple of shapes and adjusted their parameters. Next we'll make a line and we'll join those parts together using a loft.
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