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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.
When we initially created the loft, the option of Instance was enabled by default when we added the shapes. An instance is essentially something that's in more than one place at once and that's exactly the case here for the shape and the path. So what that means is I can edit the shape or the path, and that will be updated in the loft instantaneously. So if I select the circle, for example, I can change the Radius and as you can see, that's affecting the loft.
So Instancing is very powerful and you'll see it throughout 3ds Max and throughout 3D in general. On the star over here, because it's an editable spline, I have more control. I can go in and select vertices and edit them. Maybe I'll choose my Move tool and pull this out a little bit, so you can see that it has a live connection to the loft. Maybe if I want to change the shape of this more globally, I could go into Spline sub-object mode, and select the Spline and use the Scale tool.
So I can scale in just one axis if I want, so I can flatten that out or get different looks. So this is pretty powerful, because I can change the shape of the loft through the loft parameters, or I can change it through the original shape Objects, and as long as those shapes have not been deleted and as long as this loft has not been converted to any other object type, then the dependency will still be in effect. I can also change the shape of the path.
So I can select the path and I can choose Vertex, click on one of these, and we'll do this in the orthographic Front view. Alt+W. Go ahead and grab the Move tool. You can see I can change the shape of the path as well. Undo that with Ctrl+Z. But what if I wanted to have a more organic shape to this? Let's say I wanted the path itself to be curved. Well, then I would need more points to work with.
So that leads us over to the editable spline tools. So you will see, if I'm in Vertex sub-object mode, I have a Refine tool available to me. If I'm in object mode, that's going to be grayed out. So I'll need to be in a sub-object mode Vertex, and if I want to add more points all I have to do is activate the Refine tool and click to create a new point. So I'll click again to make another one.
Did you notice that when I did that it actually increased the level of detail on the loft? So if you have more points on the path or the shape, that's going to translate into greater detail on the loft. When I am finished making new points, I can right-click to exit the Refine tool. Now I can go back to translating sub-objects. So I can select this point and move or translate. Translate is just a fancy word for move. You can see that that's giving me an ugly corner, so I don't want corner points here.
I want either smooth or Bezier points in the center of the path. So why don't I try Smooth? So I'll select those and then right- click and convert those to Smooth. And that's pretty good. The points at the beginning and end of the path really should be corner points, or at least Bezier corner. They shouldn't be smooth and they shouldn't be Bezier, because what will tend to happen is the curve will stretch in funny ways and you won't be able to control the level of detail at the beginning and end of the loft.
So again, the first and last points should be corner or Bezier corner. You'll notice also as I'm moving this that it's adapting profile if you will. You'll notice how this is now getting tilted. We can choose to have that happen or not. So I can exit out of sub-object mode. Remember, I have to exit out of sub- object mode; otherwise I won't be able to select anything else. So I exit out of sub-object mode, select the loft, and the option is here.
It's called Contour. So if I turn Contour off, then we're going to get a flatter surface up here. There is also Banking here. That's not seeming to do anything this time. But that's just an option. You can have Contour on or off to get different results. So I am going to turn it off, and then I'll go back over to this object and once again go to Vertex mode and do my final adjustments to the shape.
So I've got my shape and paths set up, and next we'll look at manipulating the loft sub-objects to place those shapes at different locations.
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