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If you're new to the world of 3D, it might take a little time to get used to the fact that although you're working on a flat two-dimensional computer screen, you're actually living in and controlling a three-dimensional environment. And that means you'll be manipulating not just a world that goes up and down and left and right, but also an area that goes in and out. You have got a dimension of depth to deal with, in other words. And for many, that additional depth takes a little bit of time to get used to, both in the way you see things and in the way you think about going about your work. You know, looking at things in 3D might be a little easier if you approach your computer screen in the same way you approach driving a car.
You know how in driving your ability to navigate is made much easier if you keep your eyes looking out all the windows and not just the one directly in front of you. You look at the entire picture, right? From all angles? Well, working in 3D ought to be approached the same way. You see, when you create something on the screen, that object will be displayed in a series of windows, each window typically being referred to as a Viewport. Those Viewports represent the windows into your 3D world, each pointing in a different direction and just like with the windows in a car, each offering a different look or angle of the world you are living in.
So as you begin building your 3D scenes, in order to avoid both confusion and possibly an obstacle or two that might pop up, you got to keep your eyes not just open but continually moving from one window to another, in order to take it all in. To get all the angles, in other words, that's going to be essential. Now, as we get a little deeper into the title, I'll be talking about the fact that Max assigns each of those three directions on your screen a specific letter, those letters being X, Y and Z. It works pretty much the same in all 3D programs. And before you know it, you will be feeling pretty comfortable with thinking and working with those letters in mind.
For the time being though, we are going to keep things real easy. So until you get your feet a little more firmly on the ground, I will be identifying those three directions as simply up and down, left and right, and in and out, something you are a little more familiar with. We will be meeting X, Y and Z but we will keep those official labels off to the side until we have got things down a little bit better. Now when you start moving things around, you are going to find that Max gives you a very helpful little icon that will pop up on what you're working on. That icon is called a Transformation Gizmo or Gizmo for short. The Gizmo displays as a little three- color device that tells you that you're ready to move, scale, or rotate the object you are working on.
Let's take a closer look at what that Gizmo actually looks like. The Gizmo works kind of like a compass and that it shows you the three directions within your scene, the directions of your X, Y and Z, if you will. Once you get comfortable with how you read it, you'll find it indispensable when it comes to keeping your bearing straight as the Gizmo makes it easy for you to get your object to go up and down, in and out, and back and forth. We will be going over all of this in detail.
So for now I just want you to get the overall concept of what the Gizmo is and what it's used for. So, here's what's important to know as we get going. First, you got to think of your Viewports as like windows in a car, and just like when driving down the road, you'll be wanting to keep your eyes moving from one Viewport to another in order to ensure that you get the big picture, to see the entire scene, in other words. That's going to be vital if you want to keep your bearings straight. The other important thing to remember is that when you do start moving things around, you want to use the Transformation Gizmo to make your job a little easier.
You got to take advantage of that little sucker. That's why its there. I promise. You will come to really appreciate what it does. So you keep those two things straight, eyes on all windows and get to using the Gizmo, and you will be up and running. Yeah, it might take a couple of times to get the routine down, but once you got it, that's when the fun begins, as you start getting down to business and making things for your scene.
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