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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.
I would like to just show you a little bit more about the toolbars in 3ds Max. So if you right-click on an empty spot of a toolbar, you will get a little pop-up menu that lets you choose display of different toolbars. The one that I want to point out to you right now is the one that's called Axis Constraints. This is a little bit old school, but it's very helpful because it tells us exactly which transforms we are operating in. If I select an object and grab the Move tool, you will note that my Axis Constraints is highlighting to indicate which axis I am currently moving in.
Currently it says Y, and you notice in the Perspective view that the Y axis is displayed in yellow. That means I am moving in Y. If I click on the Move Gizmo and choose the X axis, you will notice that Axis Constraints has changed to X and I can move in the X axis. I can do the same thing by clicking the Axis Constraints toolbar. Okay.
Also, I can move in more than one axis at a time. For example, I might want to move an object in X and Y but not change its elevation or its height. I can choose one of these three corner brackets of my Move Gizmo and manipulate the object in two axes at once and you notice as soon as I did that then XY is highlighted. So I am able to move in X and Y, but not in Z, and you can see that in the Front and Left views that my object is moving in X and Y but not in Z.
Finally, in 3ds Max, sometimes you might run into an issue where you accidentally lean on the X key. X hides the Transform Gizmo. So if you press X on your keyboard, your Transform Gizmo will disappear, but your Axis Constraints are still in effect. So right now if I click on this object and move it, just click anywhere on it, I am moving in X and Y. Choose the other object, and I am moving in X and Y.
If I press the X-key on my Keyboard again, I will get the Transform Gizmo back. So the Transform Gizmo actually is just a shortcut for choosing one of these Axis Constraints. So in the absence of the Transform Gizmo, if I press the X key, I can choose the axis that I want to move an object in through the toolbar. So I could choose X up here and move only in X. This is sometimes helpful because in fact the Transform Gizmo actually sometimes does get in your way, and it will be necessary for you to do this.
Finally, there are keyboard shortcuts for the Axis Constraints, and those are F5 through F8. F5 is X, F6 is Y, F7 is Z, and then F8 will toggle through those three brackets that we saw. That will let us move in two axes at once. There are a lot more toolbars in 3ds Max. The Axis Constraints is one of them that gives you some immediate feedback on what axis you are moving or rotating in. And so as such, it's probably one of the most important toolbars.
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