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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.
Once we got something in our scene, we can now navigate in the viewports to change our point of view. The controls for this are found in the extreme lower right-hand corner of the 3ds Max interface. For example, there is a hand icon, which allows you to move left and right and up and down. Next to that is an Orbit tool. You can click on that. And then if you click in the center of this yellow circle, you can tumble around your scene or basically orbit around the world.
Be careful with the Orbit tool because you want to click in the center of this circle, not on the outside of the circle, because if you click on the outside of this circle, you are actually going to tilt your point of view relative to the horizon line. In film, that's called a Dutch tilt. We usually don't want that. This then brings up the fact that the 3ds Max viewports have a separate Undo buffer. In other words, if you just clicked Undo over here, that would not change your viewport command.
So this is for scene operations, for example, creating objects. So if I want to Undo this viewport navigation command, I need to click on the name of the viewport, in this case Perspective, and within there I have got an Undo command. You will notice that the hot key for that is Shift+Z. So that's the Orbit tool. Additionally, you will also see that there is a magnifying glass, which allows you to move forward and back in the viewport.
And this is actually moving my point of view, so I am actually dollying forward and back. Some of these names are a bit of misnomers. This is called Zoom. In film terminology a zoom is something quite different, in which we are changing the focal length of the lens. This is not technically a zoom. This is actually dollying forward and changing our position in the scene. There are some other controls within here. For example, a Zoom Extents. So if you click Zoom Extents, it's going to zoom the viewport to enclose all of the geometry in the view.
If I grab my Select Object tool and select an object, I can also show you there is another option here called Zoom Extents Selected. So this illustrates that many of the buttons in the 3ds Max interface are actually flyouts. So if you click and hold the button down, then you can choose a different option for that icon. And we have Zoom Extents Selected. So, for example, I can click on a box and click Zoom Extents Selected and my viewport will zoom to enclose that object.
I want to also mention in these orthographic views you do have to be careful that you don't accidentally orbit in the orthographic view. Because this is a Front view, we really want it to stay a Front view. If you use the Orbit tool in one of the orthographic views, this will convert it to what used to be called a user view. More technically, it's an axonometric view in which the lines of the grid never converge.
So this is a bit of a technical view that is not terribly useful and intuitive to new users. So I want to advise that you don't tumble or orbit in an orthographic view. And if you do, you can get back by undoing, and you can also choose the viewport. So I can actually go up here and choose a different view. I can just send it back to being a Front view, and now I am basically back where I started. So that's how to use the icons to navigate in the 3ds Max viewports.
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