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Explore the world of modeling and texturing game props and assets in Autodesk 3ds Max. Author Adam Crespi demonstrates how to create both small and large props, from tools to shipping containers. The course begins with cloning and instancing objects for ease of modeling and unwrapping, and segues into multiple methods of unwrapping and painting texture by hand in Adobe Photoshop. Adam looks at various plug-ins that assist with normal map generation as well as sculpting in Mudbox, a digital sculpting application that can add realism and detail to your models. Finally, the course shows how to add lights to a scene and preview the objects in-game.
Note: A familiarity of basic modeling and unwrapping techniques in 3ds Max and a working knowledge of Photoshop will help you get the most out of this course.
In this video, I'm going to add to my small props by modeling a ladder. We've got different kinds of ladders we can do; aluminum extension ladders, we can look at other ladders that are parts of scaffolds, and even site-built ladders like this wooden one. I'm going to make a single wooden ladder, so I can reuse some wood texture I'm going to use on the sledgehammer, and put in places to put a metal so it has some variable shine. Here in 3ds Max, I'm going to work in the same file I made my sledgehammer in. It's okay to do this and then export out things separately if you need.
First, I'll hold Ctrl and right-click and choose Box from my creation quad. I'm going to try to make this around 0, 0, although I can always move things later. I'll start out by making the sides of the ladder, clicking and dragging for a box and jumping to the Modifier panel to put in an exact size. I'm going to give this a width of 1, so it's fairly slim, and a length of 3. Finally, I'm going to make this an 8 foot ladder. I'll put the Height at 96. Notice I've got my Length, Width and Height segments down to 1, 1, and 1 as this box is straight, so I don't need to spend any extra polys.
I'll take this element and clone it. I'll press Ctrl+V to clone, and I'll clone it as an instance. I'll press W for move, and down in the Offset Transform type-in at the bottom on the X axis, I'm going to move this clone over by 16 inches. There are the sides of my ladder. Now I'll go in a Left View and press F3 to go to a wireframe and G to turn off the Grid so I can see what I'm doing easier, and I'm going to make the rungs. I'll zoom in on it so I can see what I'm doing, and in the Creation menu, choose Cylinder.
I'm going to make a cylinder. And actually the 6-sided cylinder I started out with will work very nicely. I'll go to the Modifier panel and give this a Radius of three-quarters-of-an-inch, 0.75. The Height I don't know about yet. The Height Segments, I'm going to leave at 1, and Sides at 6. I'm going to come back and deal with those in a minute. I'll zoom in, right-click, and convert this to an Editable Poly. Because this rung intersects the sides of the ladder, I don't actually need the end polys on it. I'll go into Polygon, select them, and delete them.
Now here's how we reduce the polygon even further and really make it look like a ladder. Climbing on the ladder with round rungs is doable but difficult. I'm going to flatten this out. I'll press 2 for Edge and pick one of these side edges. I'll scroll down to the Edit Edges rollout and there is Remove. Now Remove doesn't take out the vertices. I want to do what's called a clean remove by holding Ctrl and clicking Remove. The edge is gone and so are the vertices, and I've got now a 5-sided rung with a flat top.
I'll press E to rotate, right-click and choose Top-level and make sure my Angle Snap is on. I'll rotate it on the X axis by 90 degrees. And once I get the smoothing groups on, it will look round, but be flat on top and shine correctly. I'll go into a Front View, press W for move, and move this into the right place. I'm going to use my snapping tools; pressing S for Snap. I had already configured snap to work on vertices. I'll press Spacebar for Selection Lock, register the snap, and pull it over.
Now I'll press 1 for Vertex, release the Selection Lock by pressing Spacebar, select the vertices, press it again, and slide these over right on that X axis until that rung matches up. I can use the Align tool to get this in the right place. I'll click on the Align tool with the rung selected, and pick the box. It seems to jump out, and that's because I had my align on something else previously. What I want to do is make sure this is on the Y Position only from Center to Center, and the rung centers on the ladder.
I'll hit Apply, and now I'm going to position it on the bottom, going from on the Z Position, the Minimum to the Minimum. Now the rung is snapped to the bottom of the ladder, I can click OK, and move it up a precise distance as I want. I'm going to move this up on the Z by 12. Finally, I'll clone this out. I'm going to use my Shift+ Clone to start to clone this. And here's a neat technique. I've hit my Spacebar, so my Selection Lock is on. I'm going to make my snap 3D instead, and on the Z axis, I'm going to register, hold Shift, and click and drag up one rung spacing.
Because it's snapping only on the Z axis I can put my mouse anywhere. I'll let it go, make sure it's an instance, and give myself 7 copies. I'll click OK, and zoom out to see my handiwork. One rung, too many, I'll select it and delete it. Now what I've done is created my ladder and its rungs, ready for use. When I unwrap one or play with the smoothing groups on it, it will affect all of them. Likewise, on the boxes on the side, if I pick one and unwrap it, or deal with the smoothing, or model in some other way, the instance will reflect those changes as well.
I'm ready to refine, add detail, and unwrap in the next video.
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