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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.
If you've followed all of the procedures for setting up Bitmap textures correctly then you shouldn't see any broken links we open a scene. However, even the best of us make errors sometimes, or maybe you're working with a colleague, or partner, or friend, maybe they sent you a scene. You open it up and the links to all the images are broken. Well, then you need to figure out how to fix it. So that's what we are going to do here now. I've created a scene that is broken, and we're going to open that up.
We're going to see the error messages, and then we're going to fix it. So I am going to go to the Open and in Chapter 11 and it's file number 09_sceneassets.max. When I click Open I get an error message, Missing External Files, and you'll see here I've linked to a file on a drive here, and that file isn't there any longer, and you may actually see a long, long list of stuff here, of missing files. Okay, so what do you do? What you don't do is browse to go try to find the files somewhere here, because that's not the way that you really want to do this.
What you want to do is you want to put the files in the correct location and then restore the links. So I am going to click Continue here, and you'll notice, by the way, also if I try to render I'll get that error message every time. I click Continue and so we're back at, and we don't have a texture here. Okay, so what can I do? Well, I can restore the links through a menu item called the Asset Tracker. This is in the Application menu, and it's found under Manage and here you go, Asset Tracking.
This is a very important dialog box because this could be the difference between life and death for a project. I'll click to open that. What we see here is a list of all of the assets needed in order to render the scene, for example, we've got the max file. Then below that you'll see I've got a JPEG file, and 3ds Max thinks that it's in the F Drive. I am going to expand this out a little bit, and it says here, Unknown Status, File Missing. I can re-path this. I can set the path to a different location.
So I'll select this, and I can either go to the Paths menu and choose Set Path, or I can actually right-click on it, and from the Quad menu choose Set Path. And what I want to see in here is sceneassets\images, so I can type this in. I can also browse using the Browse button here, but I am just going to type it in, sceneassets\images. Remember, that is the default location for all of your textures and so they should all be in there.
So when I click OK here, I've now repathed it, but do you see what's happened here is that the file is actually not in the folder. I moved it out in order to illustrate the problem here. So it's not good enough to simply have the path correct. The file has to also be in that location as well. So here's my file. It's on my Desktop. I am going to cut it, Ctrl+X, and I am going to place it into my current Exercise Files > sceneassets > images, so here's my current project, and I'll right-click and paste that in.
So all of the files that I use in this project, all my images need to be in this location. I've got another one here too. It's this Sky picture. I'll put that in there as well. Going back to 3ds Max, I can close the Asset Tracker and reopen it, and it'll Refresh. So go back to Manage > Asset Tracking, and it looks like it didn't refresh, so I'll try setting the path again, and there it goes. It's found it now.
So that's how you recover from a disastrous situation in which your files are not where they're supposed to be. So again, in review, here's what you have to do to make sure that this doesn't happen. You've got to have a Project Folder. You've got to set this Customize > Preferences > Files > Convert local file paths to Relative. You've got to place all your images in sceneassets\images, in the current project, and when you build your materials you're going to link only to files that are in that location subordinate to the current project root.
Finally, if all else fails, you can go into the Asset Tracking dialog and re-path the image, so it can be found, and that's how you build Asset Tracking in 3ds Max.
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