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Importing a CAD file

From: Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

Video: Importing a CAD file

In this course, we're going to simulate a real production in which we receive Go ahead and select that and click Open.

Importing a CAD file

In this course, we're going to simulate a real production in which we receive a computer aided design or CAD model from a mechanical engineer or product designer. And what we have here is a watch that was designed by Gabriel Corbett in the program SolidWorks, for the course SolidWorks rendering with PhotoView 360. And Mr. Corbett was kind enough to convert this SolidWorks document into a file format that 3ds Max can load. So let's go ahead and open up 3ds Max, and import that model.

We'll go into the application menu and choose Import > Import. And it needs to be an import command because this is not a 3ds Max file, it's a non-native file. And we're taken directly to the exercise files folder, which is the current project. And the import folder within that. And you'll see this document with a step extension. Step stands for standard for the exchange of product model data, and it's a universal CAD format. Go ahead and select that and click Open.

3ds Max will take a moment to translate all of that data. It's actually preserving the procedural nature of that CAD model. And once that's finished, we can go ahead and close this dialog. And we can just take a look at the model using the standard 3ds Max viewport shortcuts. Remember, middle mouse is track or pan. Alt and middle mouse is orbit or arc rotate, also known as tumble. And we can dolly forward and back using Ctrl+Alt+Middle Mouse. Or just simply the mouse wheel. All right, let's take a look at the scene in the scene explorer so we can see the hierarchy.

Go into the Tools menu and choose New Scene Explorer. And you can see that there are a lot of helper objects. That's what all these tape measure icons are. And we don't really need all of that. This is pretty common. You will see this a lot when you open up a CAD document is that it is not structured in a convenient manner for a program like 3ds Max. There's a whole bunch of extra stuff in there that we don't need. So we can actually just delete all of that. We can select all of these helper objects, so I'll click to deselect everything. And then just dolly back a little bit and select all of these helpers.

And press the Delete key on the keyboard. And now we're left with just the models. This is going to be a lot easier for us to work with. Okay, so let's take a look at this in different viewport modes. If we press the F3 key on our keyboard, we will see the object in wire frame. But this is a special kind of model. This is not the ordinary type of polygon model that you're used to from 3ds Max. This is something called a 3ds Max body object. And it's a direct translation of the procedural solid model. And because of that, the display is different here.

And what we're seeing instead of the normal wire frames, are actually curves. If we select any one of these objects, it doesn't highlight, because it's actually a curve, and the default behavior of 3ds Max is that curves do not highlight. And what we need to do is we need to actually see the selections, and to do that we can go into the viewport configuration dialogue. Press the plus sign and go to Configure Viewports. And within here we want to enable selection brackets.

And that way when we select one of these curves we'll be able to know what we've selected. And there's a little bit of a quirk in 3ds Max, which is that we have to enable this switch that says Shade Selected Objects. If we don't, then the selection brackets won't work with the body objects. It's just a bit of a quirk. And you won't actually see shading in a wire frame view like we normally would with polygon objects. So the objects here will still display as wires, but we will get the selection bracket so we will know what we selected.

Go ahead and click OK. And now when I click on something here, we see the selection brackets as we expect. And now we know what we're going to get when we select something, we know what we selected. Additionally if we dolly forward and back we will notice that the viewport maybe clips off a little bit too easily. So I'll press F3 and go back to a shaded view, and go forward a little bit and you can see were getting some strong effects here when we get in really close on the model, and that's just because the viewport clipping plane is set. And we want to just adjust that, so we can go back into our Configure dialogue > Configure Viewports, and we want to also enable Viewport Clipping down here.

And now we have these two little arrows on the right side of the viewport. And this is the near clip plane, and that's the far clip plane here. So we just want to move that near clip plane lower on the viewport, and that way the clipping plane will be closer to the camera and we won't see the model get chopped off like that when we get in really close. Okay, so we've set up our display options so we can deal with this 3ds Max body object.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max
Creating Product Shots in 3ds Max

42 video lessons · 821 viewers

Aaron F. Ross

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 50s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. Using the exercise files
      4m 49s
  2. 32m 32s
    1. Setting the Customize UI and Defaults Switcher
      1m 43s
    2. Choosing units and grid options
      1m 13s
    3. Importing a CAD file
      5m 12s
    4. Managing the scene hierarchy
      7m 46s
    5. Managing display layers
      3m 52s
    6. Working with Body objects
      2m 53s
    7. Modeling an environment sphere
      4m 17s
    8. Creating a camera
      2m 44s
    9. Framing the shot
      2m 52s
  3. 16m 46s
    1. Creating mental ray area spot lights
      4m 31s
    2. Creating photometric spot lights
      5m 9s
    3. Setting exposure for studio lighting
      3m 9s
    4. Controlling Final Gather
      3m 57s
  4. 1h 1m
    1. Creating Arch & Design materials
      7m 26s
    2. Creating an environment material
      6m 14s
    3. Enabling self-illumination
      5m 33s
    4. Applying procedural textures
      7m 20s
    5. Working with reflectivity
      7m 10s
    6. Creating a metal material
      4m 33s
    7. Adjusting highlights
      5m 4s
    8. Varying highlights with a bump map
      6m 43s
    9. Working with transparency
      4m 44s
    10. Adding ambient-occlusion nodes
      6m 40s
  5. 37m 47s
    1. Understanding image-based lighting
      2m 42s
    2. Creating a skylight
      2m 10s
    3. Adding a spherical environment map
      2m 51s
    4. Controlling bitmap coordinates
      4m 5s
    5. Setting exposure for image-based lighting
      7m 36s
    6. Adjusting materials
      5m 38s
    7. Modeling environment geometry
      5m 42s
    8. Self-illuminated image-based lighting
      7m 3s
  6. 50m 6s
    1. Controlling mental ray Sampling Quality
      5m 18s
    2. Rendering to the high-dynamic-range EXR format
      5m 52s
    3. Defining After Effects color settings
      4m 0s
    4. Adjusting the image
      10m 4s
    5. Setting up render elements
      7m 51s
    6. Creating ambient-occlusion materials
      6m 9s
    7. Layering specularity and reflections
      3m 47s
    8. Adding all render-element layers
      7m 5s
  7. 49s
    1. Goodbye

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