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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.
In our next Polygon modeling exercise, we are going to build this fancy sofa, and it's made out of basically two different modeling methods. Number one, we have some chamfer boxes that have couple of bells and whistles applied to them to make them look more realistic. Specifically, we are using a Volume Select Modifier and a push in order to make these bubble outward a little bit, and we are also going to use a Noise Modifier to kind of randomize the surface to make it more believable. The frame is constructed from splines that have a Sweep Modifier applied to them, so we can get this uniform box shape constructed to that metal frame.
So without further ado, let's go ahead and reset the program. This is a European design, so it's actually in metric. So I want to set up my units of measurement for metric. I will go to the Customize menu > Units Setup, and I have already got it set to Metric here, and it's in Meters. I could also choose Centimeters. I might do that because it's probably going to make my life a little bit easier. It's a bit simpler and easier to understand when we are reading out in Centimeters in this case. So I will go ahead and click OK.
And I also want to go into the Snaps. Right-click on there so that I can get to my Home Grid options, and I want my grid to be spaced out, let's say one line every 10 centimeters, type in a 10, and then Major Grid Lines every 10 times 10, or 100 centimeters, or once every meter. And then for the Perspective View, let's give this a value of 20. Press Tab. So now what I have got is I have got a stage that's 200 centimeters from center to edge, because that's 20 times 10.
So in other words, I have got 2 meters from center to edge. So once again, minor lines every 10 centimeter, major lines every 10 times 10, or 100 centimeters or 1 meter, and the Perspective View Grid Extent, 10 times 20, or 200 centimeters, or 2 meters from center to edge. Remember, again that when you are working in 3ds Max that the grid is adaptive. So as you zoom in and out in the top or front or left, you can't really tell what scale you are at.
So I do like to construct a box as a point of reference. Interestingly, I have got a black box here, but I will fix that in a second. So I will just make this 100 centimeters on a side. So that's 1 meter, approximately 3 feet, and I will just go into the colors here, and I will choose a lighter color. Press OK. So now I know that when I am looking in my top view, or any of the other ortho views, that these grid lines represent, this is a meter.
Good. So I will move that out of the way. So it's not going to distract me. I will start by building the frame, and I will use a rectangle primitive to do that. To make it neat and clean, I want to snap to the grid. So I will go over and activate 3D Snaps, and I will right-click once again just to make sure that Grid Points is the only thing I am snapping to. I will maximize the top Viewport with Alt+W, and I am going to go to the Create panel to Shapes, and I have got a Rectangle primitive.
So I am going to draw this out. I know that the thickness of this frame is going to be about a meter, and then the width in this dimension is going to be about 2.5 or so meters. So I don't need to make those dimensions right now, but I do just want to make sure that my rectangle is aligned in the x axis. So I will just move this out until my gizmo in the center there snaps to the center in the x axis. I will release the mouse, and then immediately go to the Modify panel.
So I have got a length which is the depth or thickness here of a meter, and I have got a width currently of 260. It's actually going to need to be a little bit less than that, based upon the dimensions of the couch that I am trying to model. It's going to be more like around 236 or so, or maybe about let's give it to 232. So it's approximately the right proportion for the rectangle. You will notice that the Rectangle primitive also has a Corner Radius parameter.
I don't want a Corner Radius in this case, but I am just showing you that it exists. I don't need to fill it there, so I will set that Corner to 0, very good. So then I will go to Alt+W to my Perspective View, and kind of tumble around and look at this. So far so good. For the frame of this, I am going to need another rectangle that's elevated above this one a little bit. So I can make it duplicate. I will just hold down the Shift key and move that up. And you will notice that I am having a little bit of trouble with my Snaps here, and that is a common thing that will happen.
You may actually have to turn off Snaps while you are trying to move things. So I am going to turn off the Snaps and hold down Shift and move that up. And it only needs to move up by probably about 6-8 centimeters. I will make it an Instance, so if I need to change either one of them, they will both change. I will get a little bit closer here. So that's about 10 centimeters actually. So that's probably about right.
If I need to put it at an exact elevation, of course, I can just, with the Move Tool active, I can just type in a value. Let's make it 10 centimeters, cool! So Alt+W to zoom out again, and I have got 2 rectangles, and they are identical, and I can make any final adjustments to the dimensions and because they are instances, they will both change. I think I was fine with what I had so I am going to hit Ctrl+Z to undo that, and what I want to do here is I want to apply a Sweep Modifier, but first I need to attach the parts together and join up the frames so that it's actually solid.
So to attach splines together, what you need to do is select one or the other of them, I will select the bottom one in this case, and convert it to editable spline. So I will right-click and get my Quad menu > Convert To: > Convert to Editable Spline. Once it's been converted to Editable, then I can attach other splines to it, so it will be a single object. So you will see, in the Geometry Rollout of Editable Spline, an Attach button. Click Attach, and then click on the other object in the scene, and then I can right-click to exit the Attach Tool.
So now this is a single Editable Spline object. It was originally two separate rectangles, but now it's a single monolithic spline. To make it a little bit easier to see, once again I am going to press that J key to hide those selection rectangles, or I can also hit F3, which is going to display in wireframe. So I think I will do F3 this time, and what I need to do is I need to make a couple of support braces here at the corners and a couple here in the center. This is done by creating a new line within the existing line.
So I have got Editable Spline active, and you will see I have got a Create Line Tool. Well, to do it most effectively, I want to snap to the existing points, and the existing vertices. So I will go back into my Snap tools, select 3D Snap and then right-click, and what I want to do is turn off Grid Points, and turn on Vertex so that now when I snap, I will be snapping to points on an object rather than grid intersections. So there you go, snap to Vertex.
And I will choose Create Line, and you will see when I get close to one of these corner points, my yellow Snap Tool lights up. So all I need to do is click, and click, and then right-click to complete that. Remember, with drawing out splines, you don't want to, in this case, draw a curved line. So don't hold down the mouse when you are drawing. Just do single clicks. Click, click, and right-click. Click, click, and right-click.
Click, click, and right-click. And that looks like a box, but it's actually a spline. I will right-click to exit Create Line just so that I can show you. If I hit F3 again, that's a spline. It's not a solid object. Cool! Now I do need to make a couple of other splines here for the support braces here. I don't have anything to snap to here. If you go to Vertex mode, you will see there is no Vertex here. There are no points, no Vertices to snap to.
So what I will do is I will just duplicate this new line that I have created. So I can duplicate sub-objects as well as objects, and it's done in the same manner, by Shift+Dragging. So I will go back to F3, which is wireframe, and I want to select By Segment or By Spline. Either one is fine here because these happen to be both. That's a segment and a spline, or more precisely, it's a spline sub-object that has exactly one segment to it.
To be more precise, I am going to do this in the Front View. So I will hit Alt+W, go to the Front View, Alt+W again, position my view, and all I need to do is Shift+Drag to make a duplicate of this sub-object. Now I don't need to snap anymore so I am going to turn off Snapping, holding down Shift and dragging this out and releasing the mouse, and I have just made a duplicate. And I don't get promoted for anything.
I want to double-check that that's actually good, so I'll hit Alt+W again, and you will see I've got a new spline, very good! So I will make another one, Alt+W, hold down Shift and drag that out, and now I have got two splines in the front. I will repeat that process in the back. Alt+W, select the spline in the back, and I can't really see it here because it's hiding behind the front line.
Hold down Shift and drag, line that you up, release the mouse, Alt+W to check my work again, looks good. Right-click in the Front View so I don't lose my selection, hold down Shift once again and move that fourth spline out. There you go. I have made the frame. I can exit out of Editable Spline. And next we will add some thickness to this with the Sweep Modifier.
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