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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 we looked at how to create materials that use bitmaps and how to track assets properly. What we need to do here now is to control the placement and size of images on a surface. And that can be done through the Coordinates rollout on a bitmap, so if you're not looking at the Bitmap Coordinates you might need to go down into -- in this case the Diffuse Color, and here I've got the Coordinates rollout. So I can change the tiling across this surface. I can say, Oh, well, give me 10 tiles in one direction instead of just one.
And so now you see it's stretching quite a lot. I could set that to 2 and 2, so now I am getting four repeats of this across the surface. That's fine as far as that goes, but that's going to affect all objects that have this material, and usually what you want to do is control the placement of a material or a map for each object individually and separately. So I am going to set my Tiling values back to 1 and 1, and I'm going to introduce you to the UVW Map Modifier. But before I do that, I do want to mention that if you go into the Extrude Modifier, you will see that there is a switch here that says Generate Mapping Coordinates, and that's on by default.
And what that does is it creates a nice, smooth UV space across this object. So the UV space or the UV Coordinates referred to the space of the image itself. So the U dimension is usually the width of the image and the V dimension is the height, and that's not the same as XYZ, by the way, because imagine a texture is a piece of paper with some picture on it. You can fold that paper, and you can crumple it up, and so it will take up less space in XYZ 3D space, but the image will still be the same size on the paper.
So that's how UV Mapping kind of works. So Extrude and many of the other primitives and modifiers, such as loft, have UV Mapping generated from within the Modifier. And so that's actually serving us very well here. What I'd like to do is show you how to use the UVW Map Modifier, so I am going to go up to the top level of my stack here, and add a UVW Map Modifier, not UV Mapping Add, not UVW Mapping Clear or Xform or Unwrap or any of that, just a straight up UVW map.
And when I add this I see an orange gizmo that indicates the position of the map and how it's projecting onto the surface. And by default, this is a planar map, so it's just flat. If I want this to project onto the surface properly I'll need to rotate the gizmo. Now I can also go down to these options here, and I can choose an alignment, so I can align it to the Y axis or the X axis, so that's an easy way to do this. But I could also rotate it. Just to illustrate I'll minimize the Material Editor, I've got Angle Snaps turned on, I want to go into select the Gizmo mode, there we go, and I'm rotating just the gizmo, not the object.
So you see this is causing the material and the map to stretch across the surface. So I am just going to restore that back to where it was. And I'll exit out of Gizmo mode. I've also got the ability to change the size by entering values here into Length and Width, and that's preferable to scaling the gizmo, because these values are absolute. If I start scaling the gizmo it's maybe more intuitive in the view, but then these numbers no longer have any relevance.
So I won't scale this, but I'll just type in values, Length of 20. Let's make it 20 feet. 20 feet, the Width of 20 feet as well, and now I've got a perfectly square mapping gizmo. Go back into Gizmo Sub-object mode and move that around to change the placement. You'll notice also that we're getting stretching down here, because what's happening is the mapping is applied orthogonally, or at right angles to this plane, and so here this surface is also at right angles to this plane.
So if you can imagine a pixel on the bottom of my image being projected onto this surface, and it's just stretching across that surface. So if I wanted to get rid of that I would have to actually rotate this, and there are other ways I could do this, I could use Unwrapping as well, but I could rotate this down and try to minimize that stretching. And that's okay as far as that goes. In fact, in this case to get cleaner UV Mapping it's actually better for me to use the implicit mapping that's generated from the Extrude Modifier.
So although I'm using this to illustrate to you how to apply UV Mapping manually, in this case it's actually going to give me better results if I use the Automatic method. So I am actually going to delete that UVW Mapping, and I'll go back down to the Extrude Modifier. You see I've got Generate Mapping Coordinates turned on. One last thing though is if I want to change the size here, I can do it through the Material Editor in a couple of different ways. Open that Material Editor back up again, and I've got those coordinates visible.
And one really nice thing about 3ds Max is the ability to enter real-world scale values for maps, so I could say I want this map to be exactly 10 feet X 10 feet, or what have you. In order to make that happen, I need to enable real-world in both the material and in the object. So whether I'm dealing with UV Coordinates generated by the Extrude Modifier, or by the UVW Modifier, or through any other method, I have the ability to enable real-world map size in the object, and also real-world scale in the material, and then I could enter in a size here.
So I can say give me 10 feet, Tab and then 10 feet and Tab, and don't be confused by the fact that you're seeing 9 feet 12 inches here. That's just a quirk of the program. It's actually 10 feet exactly, but for whatever reason is displaying out 9' 12". In any event, any particular tile on here is exactly 10 feet in size, and it's correctly flowing across the surface, and it's not stretching or doing anything strange.
So in this case this is actually my optimal method for setting UVs is to use the implicit UVs that are generated from the Extrude Modifier, turning on real-world map size in the object and in the material and entering the size here, so I could say let's make it 25' X 25'. I can additionally offset the position here. I have to drag and then release, and you can see it move.
So if I wanted to position it differently I could type in a value or adjust those spinners to make it move. So that's a basic introduction to UV Mapping in 3ds Max. It's a very deep subject, and if you are doing character modeling then you need to spend a lot more time on getting those maps lined up and unwrapping the character mash and all sorts of stuff. This is just a basic introduction to how it works in a simple scenario for motion graphics.
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