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Mapping coordinates


3ds Max 2009 Beyond the Basics

with Steve Nelle

Video: Mapping coordinates

Once you have built a map into a material it's imperative that you have some way to control the position of that map as it travels along the surface of the object it's been applied to. 3ds Max provides that control by creating what are called mapping coordinates. It's those mapping coordinates that then help Max position the materials designed on the objects surface. Where to mapping coordinates come from. Typically from a special modifier known as the UVW Map Modifier, which would be the top like this video. Let's go check it out. To drive the importance of this subject home we are going to use a file that little straight what happens when the mapping coordinates on an object aren't set up correctly.
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  1. 6m 15s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. How to use this course
      2m 8s
    3. Essential preferences
      1m 23s
    4. Using the example files
      1m 41s
  2. 2h 30m
    1. What does it take to create a realistic material?
      3m 56s
    2. The Material Editor interface
      5m 56s
    3. Creating the main body color
      5m 7s
    4. Adding and controlling shine
      2m 52s
    5. Controlling transparency
      2m 24s
    6. Adding self-illumination
      1m 45s
    7. Applying materials
      7m 2s
    8. Retrieving a scene material
      4m 3s
    9. Building a complex material
      7m 42s
    10. Bump maps
      6m 37s
    11. Reflection maps
      2m 54s
    12. Opacity maps
      3m 57s
    13. Editing maps
      9m 52s
    14. Building a multi/sub-object material
      9m 8s
    15. Using material libraries
      8m 39s
    16. Mapping coordinates
      12m 33s
    17. Sub-object mapping
      9m 33s
    18. The Unwrap UVW modifier
      10m 58s
    19. Using Photoshop to edit maps
      8m 3s
    20. Project: Applying materials to a scene pt. 1
      12m 18s
    21. Project: Applying materials to a scene pt. 2
      14m 59s
  3. 1h 21m
    1. Comparing real-world and computer lights
      3m 2s
    2. Identifying the types of lights in 3ds Max
      8m 33s
    3. Omni lights
      7m 6s
    4. Spot lights
      7m 52s
    5. Shadow types
      8m 53s
    6. Preventing objects from casting shadows
      2m 44s
    7. Applying and adjusting attenuation
      8m 18s
    8. Excluding objects from light
      3m 56s
    9. Projector lights
      6m 53s
    10. Volume light
      4m 55s
    11. Global Illumination
      4m 48s
    12. Project: Lighting a scene pt. 1
      5m 26s
    13. Project: Lighting a scene pt. 2
      9m 26s
  4. 56m 42s
    1. Comparing real-world and computer cameras
      1m 43s
    2. Identifying the types of cameras in 3ds Max
      7m 56s
    3. Camera viewport navigation commands
      6m 39s
    4. Changing a camera's lens length
      4m 20s
    5. Controlling focus with depth of field
      4m 50s
    6. Applying motion blur
      8m 58s
    7. Clipping planes
      3m 43s
    8. Using Show Safe Frame
      3m 56s
    9. Creating a camera from a view
      2m 54s
    10. Putting a camera on a path
      7m 47s
    11. Using the Look At controller
      3m 56s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The principles of animation
      6m 39s
    2. Understanding the animation process
      3m 0s
    3. Animation controls in the interface
      4m 56s
    4. Using the Auto Key mode
      6m 7s
    5. Using the Set Key mode
      4m 19s
    6. Moving keyframes
      9m 52s
    7. Deleting keyframes
      3m 9s
    8. Copying keyframes
      3m 42s
    9. Using the Dope Sheet
      6m 26s
    10. Using the Curve Editor
      5m 7s
    11. Linking and unlinking
      8m 22s
    12. Animating a link
      3m 29s
    13. Animating a path
      7m 7s
    14. Animation display options
      3m 8s
    15. What can be animated in 3ds Max?
      8m 8s
    16. Project: Animating a scene
      11m 54s
  6. 44m 50s
    1. Rendering techniques
      9m 50s
    2. Using ActiveShade
      4m 22s
    3. Creating previews
      3m 40s
    4. Using the RAM Player
      3m 56s
    5. Saving a rendering
      5m 56s
    6. Loading background images in a render
      6m 14s
    7. Using mental ray
      10m 52s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Creating particle systems
      13m 57s
    2. Using Space Warps
      13m 42s
    3. Using Deflectors
      11m 47s
    4. Creating fire effects
      11m 10s
    5. Reactor: Rigid body simulations
      9m 52s
    6. Reactor: Fracture simulations
      6m 28s
  8. 47m 0s
    1. Introduction to Character Studio
      5m 13s
    2. What is IK?
      4m 30s
    3. Applying a physique modifier
      5m 40s
    4. Adjusting envelopes
      5m 50s
    5. Creating and editing footsteps
      7m 38s
    6. Free-form animation
      4m 55s
    7. Working with motion capture files
      4m 45s
    8. Creating bones and using solvers
      5m 38s
    9. Bones and the skin modifier
      2m 51s
  9. 26m 6s
    1. Compositing in 3ds Max
      7m 35s
    2. Using glows
      6m 11s
    3. Using lens flares
      5m 43s
    4. Combining multiple cameras in a scene
      6m 37s
  10. 7m 55s
    1. The Asset Browser
      3m 31s
    2. The Resource Collector
      2m 30s
    3. The Print Size wizard
      1m 54s
  11. 29s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course 3ds Max 2009 Beyond the Basics
9h 41m Intermediate Aug 04, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Picking up where 3ds Max 2009 Essential Training left off, 3ds Max 2009 Beyond the Basics thoroughly explores materials, lights and cameras, animation techniques, rendering, special FX, and more. Those new to 3D animation will gain the most by simply working through the chapters in sequence, while experienced users can jump directly to a particular subject of interest. Lessons are reinforced with projects that apply each new technique to a real-world scenario. Instructor Steve Nelle also shares valuable tips and insights gained during his years of working as a professional animator. As he says, "There's a lot more to becoming an animator than simply knowing which button to push!" Example files accompany the course.

Special Note: Fundamental 3D modeling concepts and techniques, along with features such as transformations and modifiers, are covered in 3ds Max 2009 Essential Training.

Topics include:
  • Building simple, complex, and multi/sub-object materials
  • Using bitmaps to create realistic bumps, reflections, and transparency
  • Creating lights to effectively illuminate a 3D scene
  • Understanding camera types, lens lengths, and motion blur
  • Creating realistic movement with keyframing
  • Mastering traditional animation principles and practices
  • Applying ActiveShade, RAM Player, and other rendering techniques
  • Using particle systems, space warps, reactors, and other special effects
  • Getting to know Character Studio, Bones, and their associated "skinning" modifiers
  • Using compositing techniques and effects
3D + Animation
3ds Max
Steve Nelle

Mapping coordinates

Once you have built a map into a material it's imperative that you have some way to control the position of that map as it travels along the surface of the object it's been applied to. 3ds Max provides that control by creating what are called mapping coordinates. It's those mapping coordinates that then help Max position the materials designed on the objects surface. Where to mapping coordinates come from. Typically from a special modifier known as the UVW Map Modifier, which would be the top like this video. Let's go check it out. To drive the importance of this subject home we are going to use a file that little straight what happens when the mapping coordinates on an object aren't set up correctly.

This is a file named Mapping Problem, which can be found in the Chapter 01 folder in the Exercise files. Now to kick things off let's first select the object and check out its name. We will go to the Modify column and note the name of the object is Box Model. Now, we can go ahead and open up the Materials Editor and why don't we go and apply a material from one of our built-in libraries. We will do get material. We will browse from the Material Library and why don't we choose from the list Concrete_Tiles? Very good. I think close up my closer. Let's go and apply this material and we'll put on Show map in viewport.

Now let's take a closer look at the particular material. We will double click on the sample ball. Why don't we change this over to a sample cube to get a better look at it and now you can see what we are dealing with. Let's go and close that out and why don't we now go and see if we can find. Now if you look at the Perspective view is not a good sign. Let's go ahead and quick render and see what happens. What's the problem here? Max has absolutely no idea as to how to how to wrap the material on to the object. In an essence needs to set up wallpaper instructions if that make sense and it gives those instructions through the UVW Modifier I mentioned earlier.

So our warning message here says the following objects, there is the name Box Model requires mapping coordinates or may not render correctly. Well, let's keep our finger crossed and simply hit on Continue. Well, that warning was exactly right. That's not what I expected as the end result. So let's go and close our render. We would actually done for the time being in the Materials Editor. With the object selected, remember the wrapping instructions come from the UVW Map modifier. Let's jump in the Modifier List, go down to the views and simply apply the UVW Map.

That alone has now made this appear inside the window. Let's go on Render and look this one change that we made now has this rendering correctly. Let's take a closer look at this. If we close this out maybe make the Perspective view full screen. If we orbit around what a difference applying Mapping Coordinates made in this particular instance. Now a little example here was merely designed to give you a real quick overview of something you surely to run into more times than you think. What I would like to do now is break this thing down from the beginning to make sure that you have a real firm grasp of what exactly is going on.

Let's go and hit Reset. No reason to say. Why don't we begin by clicking on the Box Command changing it to Cube and now we'll quickly make the cube in the middle of the Perspective view. Now resize the work and then you can hit Z to center things up. Let's go and change our Perspective view to wire frame by hitting the F3 shortcut and why don't we also in the same view hide the grid by hitting G, really good. Let's go add our mapping. Go to the Modifier List and we'll choose the UVW Map Modifier. Now you see a little orange icon on top of the box that's the mapping coordinate gizmo.

The way this works is the gizmo holds the map. So wherever you move the gizmo the map goes along for the right. Now if you check out the Modify column, even though there is only one UVW Map Modifier there are several alternatives to way the things are wrapped and mapped. You can see you have a style called Planar, here is Cylindrical and notice the icon changing. We have Spherical, Shrink Wrap, Box and the couple of is down at the bottom. Each of these styles is designed to wrap or stamp the material in a slightly different way. Now by default Planar will always be what first shows up when you apply the Modifier.

Planar mapping projects the image flat on to the surface of the object making it perfect for anything flat. You can use it on a floor or wall or a picture on a wall or maybe even the scenery for a backdrop. Anything flat. Now when you go to the subobject on the UVW Map and activate its gizmo then you are now in control of repositioning your mapping. Let's do that. We will open up the + sign to the left of UVW Mapping and click on the word Gizmo. Notice how the Gizmo primarily turns yellow as it's selected. Now remember you move the gizmo and you are moving the map.

If you rotate the gizmo or the map goes along to the right spinning as the Gizmo spins. Same thing holds true for scaling. If you scale the gizmo make it bigger or smaller, the map follow suite. Now let's take the Perspective view full screen because I want to make sure you understand how this projection actually works. Even though it's positioned in the middle of the box, the mapping gizmo actually starts at the top and drives its way straight to the surface. Let's change this back to a shaded view and why don't we now go find a material we can use for example. We will go to the Materials Editor.

We will browse from the Material Library. Let's turn on Root Only and why don't we now choose the material called Bricks_Yellow? We can close the browser and we can go ahead and apply our material. Now if you close the Editor you are probably not too excited about the results here. Streaking, smearing scenes along the back end. Every mapping coordinate style it's going to come with its limitation. Problems that really they try to eliminate or more than likely simply attempt to hide. Remember when I was saying though about moving the gizmo around, watch this if we grab the transform gizmo, little of red, green and blue was sticks there and move it from side to side, look what's happening.

As the gizmo is moving so as the map inside the gizmo. Now you might noticed that it's actually fitting outside the gizmo that's simply a setting in the material on the map that you can adjust. Now we got a couple different Alignment commands at the bottom of the modifier area here that you need to be aware of. First of all notice how the gizmo has been positioned over to the side. If you click on the Fit command, it will take the gizmo and snap it directly back to the extents to the outer borders of the object. Once it's back in place, let's show you what happens when we scale the gizmo. If the gizmo gets bigger, the map gets bigger; as it gets smaller you can see the opposite happens.

Let's go and click on Fit and you can see it snaps back to the outer borders or extents of the object. Now because the projection on the planar gizmo only goes in one particular axis, you can change the direction by clicking on the Alignment Options. If we have to going in X, so now it's map properly on one side. Also the other is going to be looking pretty good. You can see the streaking here. We will go over to Y and then we'll go back to the Z. Now if you decide to rotate the gizmo, in essence rotating the map, here we have kind of a cockeyed angle maybe we'll go about both ways through.

You can always click on the Reset button to back it back at its original location and its original size. Now the one that comes in handy quite often is the Normal Align, which simply aligns the mapping directly to a side that you might have. You can see as I moving in around what's happening here. We put it back on the top and we'll say Fit. Now the proper way to actually map a box shaped object like this would be to use the Box Mapping. So let's go and change over to this and you could see we have a nice even pattern on each and every side. So Box Mapping would be ideal for box shaped objects like wooden crates, jewelry boxes, maybe a cereal or food snack container.

Anything that is square or box shaped, use the Box Mapping. Let's go and kick this guy down the road. Why don't we see what's happen dealing with cylindrically shaped objects. We will come in here and quickly make a cylinder. I'll hit Z to center the things up. You know we have been working with plenty of materials that had designs. How in the heck could we got and buy with that may need to worry about this mapping thing until now. Well, the reason for that is because each primitive object that you make in max comes completely with little option down at the bottom called Generate Mapping Coordinates. Now when as much as it's going to make a best guess as far as how to wrap or stamp your mapping, I would definitely not rely on this.

If there is no control it's just there. We can't move it or change it, it is just glued on and it's definitely not the way you typically want to go. It's going to like the lazy mans way of working and I promise you it's not always going to do the job. In fact watch how well that automatic way of mapping works on the cylinder. Let's go to the Materials Editor, this time around we'll go and build the material. I'll drag and drop up the gray ball down. We will jump on its Diffuse branch with a bitmap and for this example, why don't we choose the one called Multi Colored. We will show map in viewport and let's go and close out our Materials Editor.

Yikes, check out the top of the cylinder. In no way shape or form is that looking correct. So the automatic mapping in this case just doesn't cut the mustard. Now to do it right, let's go and apply the UVW Mapping. We have an option for Cylindrical and to take care of the top we'll also apply the Cap feature, which puts Planar mapping on the top and the bottom. Now Cylindrical Mapping wraps the image around the surface budding the ends of the map in the back which makes it ideally suited for any cylindrically shaped object like a bottle or a can or a vase, anything cylindrical.

Now if we orbit around and I'll do that by simply using the Alt+Middle mouse combination. Top looking good bottom but watch what happens when we get to the back end. Good gosh. Look at the scene that's been created. Now here is the limitation on your Cylindrical Mapping. So in this case there is no way we are going to be able to eliminate that what we can do if we can't rotate the object around is to merely select the gizmo and mapping. We will go to our Rotate command and we can now rotate that. So there is what's happening with cylindrically shaped objects. Let's take a look at what your options are for anything round shaped.

We will eighty-six this guy. We will go and create a sphere inside our view. Again you can see there is your Generate Mapping Coordinates button. No way about using that. Let's go apply our UVW Mapping. Again it always comes up with Planar, now let's go ahead and change it over to Spherical. With that emplace you probably have to go build a material here. Open up the Materials Editor. Let's drag and drop this guy over. We will jump up on its Diffuse branch with a bitmap and for this example let's choose this one called Jagged. We will apply that show map in viewport and it's looking awfully small.

Let's tile this puppy up a couple times. Why don't we go ahead and set that to let 3 and 3. Very good. Close the editor. Now spherical mapping is ideal for anything that's round shaped. So we are talking anything from a basketball to a planet, to even a character's head but where are the limitations with your Spherical mapping. They occur at the top and the bottom. You see we have a flat map that is going to have to kind of pinch at both the north and south pole to gather together. Let's take a look at that by orbiting our viewport. See the pinching at the top and you will also have the pinching at the bottom.

Now you do have an alternative to using Spherical mapping and that's an option called Shrink Wrap. Here is the difference. Shrink Wrap mapping is very similar to the way it wrap or would lay over a lollipop. You know how it kind of drapes over the top and then twist itself or bunches down at the bottom, that's the difference. You see Spherical Mapping would be more like a hard candy wrapper where you twisted both ends. In this case we'll do it up and down. Now let's change over the Shrink Wrap and see how the difference looks. So again, we have got the draping at the top and the pinching at the bottom. So they both have their limitations, so you just have to choose which one looks best for the material that you have got applied and one thing to always keep in mind is don't be boxing yourself any kind of experiment with the various styles.

You know sometimes you might want to try a spherical mapping on a cylinder. Shrink-wrap mapping on a box. In fact, look what the Face Mapping option does on the sphere. This actually applies that map to every given face on the object. So with that in mind it's actually the number of segments on the object that controls the size of the design. Watch this. I'll go down to the Sphere. I'll change the number of Segments to let's say 20 and notice how the design gets bigger. If I take the segments down farther. Well it's not quite so smooth but you can see the design doesn't get larger. So if you want to tight designing and you think Face mapping will work.

Well give it a try. Let's go back and crank that back up to 32 Segments. Now there are few more things I would like to add here. When exactly do the mapping coordinates get applied to the object, before you apply the material or afterwards? Well frankly, it really doesn't matter. Go either before or after. What does matter though was that they are in place before you start the rendering process. Also, one final thing and it should make sense. If your material doesn't include any maps then why would you need to map it, right? Why bother throwing mapping coordinates on something that doesn't have anything that's need controlling. So no map no mapping, make sense.

Now there is one more thing I would like to talk to you about as it pretends to mapping and that's how do you handle object that has multiple materials applied to it. Remember that Multi/Sub Object thing we did a couple videos back. How do you map a surface that has several designs built in to it? We will take a look at that in our next video. Let's get to it.

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