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Textures and Materials in 3ds Max with instructor Steve Nelle takes an in-depth look at the art of creating lifelike skins and textures for three-dimensional surfaces using 3ds Max, one of the world's most widely used 3D packages. This course covers popular material and shader types, including mental ray ProMaterials, methods for properly positioning maps, and some of the lesser-known advanced features of the Material Editor. Techniques are demonstrated using three practical project examples. Exercise files accompany the course.
Any time you apply a skin to an object that has a pattern or design built into it, you are going to need some kind of control as to how that pattern is going to ride or travel along the surface of the object it's been applied to. 3ds Max offers a couple of different ways to control design but you are going to find yourself using one of those techniques most often. It comes in the form of a modifier called UVW map. Now the way it works is the modifier holds the material, more specifically the pattern within the material. Carrying the design, the modifier then can be changed in ways that then controls how the pattern held within the material is going to be stamped or wrapped onto the surface it's been applied to.
Now that control gives you the flexibility of being able to place the material's design in the proper position, orientation and scale. That placement information is created by generating what are referred to as mapping coordinates. They are kind of like a set of wallpaper instruction in that they provide the necessary details on how the skin you created will drape onto or over an object's surface. So it's the mapping coordinates that control the maps or images in the material and it's the UVW map modifier that will be your usual weapon of choice to create those coordinates.
Now as we get to issuing our coordinate instructions, it's important to realize that each and every mapping style is unfortunately going to come equipped with its own set of problems. Positioning abnormalities, in other words, that you are just going to have to deal with. They will be streaking, stretching, smearing, even seams you will have to contend with. It's all just part of the game and if you think you can get away without having those mapping coordinates instructions when you have apply a material with a pattern, well hit the breaks, because Max just doesn't work that way. In fact, check it out. Here is what happens when those needed coordinates aren't provided.
This is a file named No Mapping Instructions. Using the H hotkey, let's open up the Select By Name list. So we've got two objects, a wooden frame named Chair and then something to sit on named Cushion. Now, the only material applied so far is the wood on the frame. We will see that if we render. Now the skin for the seat has already been built, and is sitting in the Material Editor, ready to be applied. Let's do that. Why don't we double-click on the sample ball real quick, so we can get a better view of our skin. As you can see, we've got a light brown leather texture.
Let's close the big window, then drag- and-drop the material onto the cushion in our scene. Okay, now the new triangles around the cushion sample slot is Max's way of telling us we have made a solid connection. Let's now activate the Show Map in Viewport option, so we can see the design in our shaded view. That's not good, the fact that we can't see the pattern on the leather. Let's go ahead and render and we will see how things turned out. Now this message box is an important one. Let's read what it says. It says the following object, and there is the name Cushion down below, the object is going to require mapping coordinates and may not render correctly.
Well, let's not take the message's word for it. Let's just simply click on the Continue button in the lower left corner of that window. Well our rendering not turning that correct is exactly what happened. You will notice on the cushion, we can't see the pebble texture or the changes in the tone of the leather. So we have got Max crying out for some instructions on what to do with our skin and that's where the UVW map modifier comes into the mix. Let's close the render, select the Cushion in our view, and head over the Modify column. Now in the Modifier list, we will head more toward the bottom, picking the UVW map modifier.
Well there is the pattern. That's all it took. Let's render again. So check that out. We have not got our texture in place with no warning message popping up on the screen. Simply slapping on that UVW map control gave Max the necessary instructions it was calling out for. Now with the next couple of videos, we will be learning a whole lot more about both the styles the mapping the modifier offers, in addition to a slew of different techniques you can use to best control a material's design.
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