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Understanding 3D space

From: 3ds Max 2009 Essential Training

Video: Understanding 3D space

One of the most difficult things for someone new to the world of 3D is to come to grips with the fact that even though you are working on a flat two-dimensional computer monitor, you are in reality controlling a three-dimensional environment, an environment that doesn't just go up and down and left to right, but also in and out. So there is an additional dimension that one needs to look after and it's going to take little time to get the hang of looking and thinking of things in those terms. When you approach a 3D world on a 2D screen, it might help if you compared working in a three-dimensional environment to the way you drive a car.

Understanding 3D space

One of the most difficult things for someone new to the world of 3D is to come to grips with the fact that even though you are working on a flat two-dimensional computer monitor, you are in reality controlling a three-dimensional environment, an environment that doesn't just go up and down and left to right, but also in and out. So there is an additional dimension that one needs to look after and it's going to take little time to get the hang of looking and thinking of things in those terms. When you approach a 3D world on a 2D screen, it might help if you compared working in a three-dimensional environment to the way you drive a car.

When cruising down the road, one is going to do a much better job of navigating if they keep their eyes on all the windows, right? You don't limit yourself to simply looking at only the front glass or just to the review mirror. No, you take it all in, you constantly check your position all directions so you are not just down the road but also avoid running into something else. That makes sense, right? Well you are going to find 3ds Max works in large part the very same way. You see when you create something on the screen, the object will be displayed in a series of windows, windows that are referred to as viewports, a subject we will be covering in more detail in an upcoming video.

Those viewports are your windows into your 3D world, each pointing in a different direction and each offering vital information that you need and just like with the windows on your car, you get different information out of each window. So as you begin building your 3D scenes to avoid all the roadblocks and obstacles that might pop up, you have got to keep your eyes not just open, but continually moving from one window to another, taking it all in from all angles. That's going to be essential. Now later in the title, we will be discussing the fact that each direction in Max's 3D World has been assigned a letter. Those letters being X, Y and Z. Every 3D program uses the same kind of setup so it won't be long until you feel comfortable thinking and working with those letters in mind.

For now though, to keep things easy to understand, I will simply be identifying the three directions as up and down, left and right and in and out. Oh, I will be meaning X, Y and Z but I want to start by using something you are already comfortable with. Now once you are feeling a little more cozy and have your feet firmly on the ground, I will start using those official labels X, Y and Z, but to get us going, we will just keep things nice and simple. Now as you start moving things around, you are going to come across a very helpful little icon that's going to pop up directly on top of what you are working on.

It's called a gizmo or more specifically something Max refers to as the Transformation Gizmo. It's a little three-colored device that tells you that you are ready to move, rotate or scale your object. Let's take a look at that gizmo little closer. The gizmo is like a compass in that it shows you the direction that your X, Y and Z directions point. Once you feel comfortable in how you read it, you are going to find it extremely helpful in keeping your bearing straight. It's manipulating that gizmo that will make it easy for you to get your object to go up and down, in and out or left to right.

We will be going over all this in detail. So for now, I just need you to get the overall concept of what the gizmo is and what it's used for. The big thing you have to get a handle on right away is how important it is to keep your eyes focused in each direction of your 3D world and again just like you are looking through each and every window in your car. Now you might feel little confused or overwhelmed the first couple of times you take it all in, but those feelings fade pretty quick. Then you have got yourself up and running and that's when the real fun begins. Bottom line, when the compass points up, the gizmo in other words, take advantage of it. That's why it's there.

You learn how to read it, which isn't so tough to do, and it will work wonders to keep yourself pointing in the right direction. Now, in our next video, I would like to talk to you about the importance of lightening up your load as you work in Max. You know the more complex your scene, the more 3ds Max will have to struggle to make the needy calculations. There are things you can do to ease that burden and we will take a look at those in our next lesson.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 3ds Max 2009 Essential Training
3ds Max 2009 Essential Training

90 video lessons · 10490 viewers

Steve Nelle
Author

 
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  1. 3m 52s
    1. Welcome
      2m 38s
    2. Using the example files
      1m 14s
  2. 17m 8s
    1. Understanding the production process
      3m 54s
    2. The importance of traditional art concepts and principles
      2m 5s
    3. Using reference materials
      1m 46s
    4. Understanding 3D space
      3m 48s
    5. Improving your workflow
      3m 48s
    6. Getting help
      1m 47s
  3. 23m 33s
    1. Understanding the interface
      4m 40s
    2. Working in the viewports
      6m 4s
    3. Changing the measurement system
      1m 52s
    4. Using snaps
      2m 20s
    5. Using grids
      2m 21s
    6. Customizing the interface
      3m 39s
    7. Right-click features
      2m 37s
  4. 22m 13s
    1. Starting a new project
      3m 38s
    2. Importing and opening files
      4m 46s
    3. Saving and exporting files
      6m 33s
    4. Holding and Fetching
      4m 0s
    5. Summary info and object properties
      3m 16s
  5. 1h 18m
    1. Selection techniques
      9m 50s
    2. Naming objects
      2m 37s
    3. Reading the Transform Gizmo
      4m 44s
    4. Moving objects
      10m 17s
    5. Rotating objects
      2m 43s
    6. Scaling objects
      5m 12s
    7. Understanding coordinate systems
      10m 23s
    8. Introducing pivot points
      4m 11s
    9. Working in Pivot mode
      3m 39s
    10. Hiding and freezing objects
      5m 32s
    11. Cloning objects
      13m 20s
    12. Grouping objects
      5m 37s
  6. 1h 27m
    1. Creating standard primitive objects
      13m 48s
    2. Creating extended primitive objects
      10m 56s
    3. Creating shapes
      19m 35s
    4. Creating compound objects
      8m 31s
    5. Creating architectural objects pt. 1: Walls
      3m 0s
    6. Creating architectural objects pt. 2: Doors and Windows
      5m 2s
    7. Creating architectural objects pt. 3: Railings
      3m 18s
    8. Creating architectural objects pt. 4: Stairs
      2m 58s
    9. Creating architectural objects pt. 5: Foliage
      3m 14s
    10. Project: Creating a video camera
      16m 44s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Extruding objects
      5m 28s
    2. Lathing objects
      6m 11s
    3. Changing the lathe axis
      6m 56s
    4. Lofting objects
      7m 10s
    5. Common lofting errors
      3m 36s
    6. Loft deformations
      3m 43s
    7. The Boolean command
      4m 27s
    8. The Pro Boolean command
      4m 47s
    9. Box modeling
      10m 25s
    10. Building a plane with box modeling
      8m 38s
    11. Paint deformations
      4m 40s
    12. Patch modeling
      6m 58s
    13. NURBS modeling
      4m 8s
    14. The NURBS Fillet command
      2m 51s
    15. Surface normals
      7m 34s
  8. 48m 11s
    1. Building a floor and walls
      8m 35s
    2. Building a table with legs
      7m 45s
    3. Building a lamp with a shade
      10m 59s
    4. Building a door
      4m 15s
    5. Building a doorknob
      3m 6s
    6. Building curtains
      7m 40s
    7. Adding plants
      5m 51s
  9. 1h 0m
    1. Sub-object types
      3m 50s
    2. Sub-object selection
      6m 26s
    3. Converting vs. using a modifier
      4m 10s
    4. Sub-object transformations
      9m 16s
    5. 2D sub-object modeling commands
      6m 55s
    6. 3D sub-object modeling commands
      12m 39s
    7. Ignore Backfacing
      4m 10s
    8. Soft Selection
      3m 28s
    9. Project: Building a low polygon flying saucer
      9m 40s
  10. 1h 17m
    1. What is the modifier stack?
      3m 50s
    2. Important things to know
      5m 34s
    3. Copying and pasting modifiers
      4m 2s
    4. Understanding the importance of modifier order
      3m 8s
    5. Applying modifiers in the middle of the stack
      6m 49s
    6. Collapsing the stack...how and why
      8m 44s
    7. Using the Displace Modifier
      3m 53s
    8. The Flex modifier
      2m 45s
    9. The Morpher modifier
      6m 43s
    10. The Noise modifier
      7m 5s
    11. The Slice modifier
      3m 18s
    12. The Symmetry modifier
      3m 41s
    13. Using the Symmetry modifier for character modeling
      2m 41s
    14. The TurboSmooth modifier
      3m 42s
    15. The Hair and Fur modifier
      5m 30s
    16. Applying modifiers at the sub-object level
      6m 31s
  11. 26s
    1. Goodbye
      26s

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