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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.
Having set up the units, we also need to change the grid settings because if we look under Customize > Unit Setup, it's still set to Feet with Decimal Inches, but the size and spacing of the grid is a totally different consideration. So I want to have a grid of my own creation here rather than just take whatever the defaults are. So to change the grid size and spacing, I can go up to the main toolbar and I've got the snaps up here. So all of these magnet icons are snaps.
I can right-click on any one of those and I've got the Grid and Snap Settings dialog. I want to go to the Home Grid tab here. You will see here this is the default home grid for 3ds Max. We've got a grid line every 10 inches and then a major grid line which is one of these darker lines every 10 times 10 or 100 inches. Well, that's not really good way of setting this up if I'm working in imperial units. I probably want to have a grid every 1 foot and then a major grid line every 1 times 10 feet.
So I'm going to set my Grid Spacing to 1 foot. So I just type in a 1 and press Tab, because I have Feet as my default units. So now I've got a minor grid line every foot and a major grid line every 10 feet. Additionally below this, you'll see Perspective View Grid Extent and that's the size of the grid in the Perspective viewport. So I can make that a little bit larger. Maybe we'll give it 20 feet from center to edge. So I'll type in a 20, press Tab, and I've just got a little bit larger stage to work with.
So I've got minor grid lines every 1 foot, major grid lines every one times 10 feet, and a Perspective view of 20 feet from center to edge. I also want to point out to you that the grid in 3ds Max is adaptive, which means if I zoom back in an ortho view like this Front view, I hold down Ctrl+Alt+Middle mouse and dolly back. If I go back enough, you'll see that those lines kind of disappear. And I go back a little bit more and they adapt to my zoom distance.
So those are going to disappear when I get out far enough. So this can be problematic, because if you're out here, you might think that one of these gridlines is a foot, but it's not anymore. This is no longer 1 foot in this view. This could be anything that's greater than a foot, because you've zoomed all the way out. So you will need to actually have an object in your scene as a point of reference. So what I do like to do is to create a box in the Perspective view and just give it a Length and Width and Height of 1 foot, 1, 1, 1, pressing the Tab key between each of those.
And that's my reference box. So I know that that's a foot on each side and I won't get confused and think that this is a foot. I'm going to zoom in closely and see what we're talking about here. So there are no numbers on the grid in 3ds Max. So that can be real confusing. Don't let that bite you. If you start building stuff and you're not paying attention to the scale, you may end up building something that's 50 times larger than it should be. And you really should model everything to real-world accurate scale.
In that way, all of your scenes will be compatible with other scenes and you won't have any problems with trying to match scales after the fact. So I've got my grid set up, and I've got a reference box so at least I know what I'm dealing with. And this is probably a good time to save because the grid settings are stored in the 3ds Max scene file.
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