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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.
Finally, in order to properly use the 3ds Max project folders I need to set my project folder to whatever project I'm currently working on. So 3ds Max has that series of folders with all those funny names like scenes and scene assets and so on. By default, the project folder is in the My Documents folder. But what I want to do is I want to point 3ds Max at the Exercise Files for the course. So, to set a project folder I can do this in a couple of ways.
One is from the Application menu here, and under Manage I've got Set Project Folder. I can also do this from the icon on this caption bar here. So the one in the far right is showing me the current path to my project folder, and you'll see it says, Users\ Aaron Ross\Documents\3dsMax. That's the default location is the current user's My Documents folder, and then there is a folder created there called 3ds Max.
So what I am going to do is I am going to reassign my current project to be the Exercise Files for this course. So I'll click on that button, and I'll navigate to my Desktop. And then I am looking for Exercise Files. Okay, so if I open that up you'll see that we've provided all of those subfolders for you already. So what you want to do is select Exercise Files. Make sure that you are not selecting any of these subfolders here. And this is important, because this Set Project Folder command is actually a two-in-one command.
It'll allow you to point to an existing project folder, which is what we are doing now. It will also allow you to create a new project folder from this same command. So if I chose one of these subfolders and clicked OK, what would happen is that a new project folder structure would be created inside this export folder. So I would then have, within export, I'd have another series of these curiously named folders, and that would be a nested project folder.
It would be a project folder inside another project folder, and that's really crazy-making. So you need to make sure that you are choosing the top level or the root of the project. And now I click OK. So that now once that's been done if I reset the program, that will kind of flush out anything that might be in memory and I go to the Open dialog. You'll see that it's taking me to Aaron Ross\Desktops\Exercise Files\scenes, and that's where all the scene files for the current course are located.
So, once again you can use the Set Project Folder command to point at an existing project folder. You can also use it to create a new project folder from scratch. So once you've completed this course, and you are ready to actually start doing your own work then you can use the same command to build new projects. And I recommend that you create a new project for each major operation you need to do. So, you are creating a model for a movie or whatever. I recommend that you make a project folder for that model and then save incremented numbered scene files on a regular basis.
Say every half hour, for example, save out to a new file name and keep those all within the same project folder, scenes. In that way, if you ever have any problems you'll be able to go back to an earlier version of your scene, and in fact, we all have problems. It's guaranteed that at some point in your career you are going to have a situation where you need a time machine and you need to go back to before you've completed some destructive command and if you've kept overwriting the same file over-and-over again then you will not be able to go back to that earlier version.
So, it's very critical that you have your head screwed on straight here with asset management. You always use a project folder and you always save out to incrementally numbered scene files as you see here. These are all numbered, so that I know what's what, and I can always go back to an earlier version if I have to. So, that's how you do some basic asset management in 3ds Max. We'll be talking a little bit more about this when we look at materials and maps.
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