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In this chapter, we'll be looking at polygon modeling with the Graphite tools, which appeared in Max 2010 and are getting bigger and bolder with each new release of 3ds Max. Graphite is a feature that works with Editable Poly, and we're going to be building parts of this little robot arm with Graphite and Editable Poly. So this is what we're headed towards. I'm just going to reset the interface, reset the program, and start fresh here, just to illustrate to you that if your object is not an Editable Poly, then you can't use these advanced Graphite tools.
So, for example, if I create a teapot or any kind of primitive, give it a different color there, this does not give me access to any of the Graphite tools. You'll see the modeling ribbon up here at the top of the interface, just below the main toolbar. On the main toolbar, you have a switch to turn those Graphite tools on and off. But if your selected object is not an Editable Poly, then the Graphite icons won't show up. So, I can open up the ribbon here, and you'll see everything is kind of grayed out.
I don't have any icons here. I've just got a great, big, giant empty space. You'll also notice, by the way, when you hover your mouse over anything on the ribbon, you get these extended tooltips, which are pretty useful when you're learning the features, because there are, quite frankly, a lot of features. We're only going to be taking a look at a few of them here. But as you hover over your mouse over any one of these, you'll be able to see two levels of tooltips. It'll come out and show you a short summary of what it does and then a longer note that kind of gives you more detail.
If those are getting in your way, you can just right-click anywhere on the Graphite toolbar, and you can go into Ribbon Configuration down here and do things like turn off the tooltips if those are distracting to you. So anyway, we don't really see anything in here, because this object is not an Editable Poly. All I need to do is convert it, so I can right-click anywhere in the Viewport, Convert To > Convert to Editable Poly. Now, there you go.
We've got a bunch of new tools. So this is a basic introduction to Graphite tools and how they work with Editable Poly. You've got all the traditional Editable Poly tools available, and you've also got all kinds of new goodies up here in the ribbon.
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