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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.
Since we've converted this object to Editable Poly, we now have access to its sub-objects or the constituent component parts of the model. There are two ways to get at these sub-object types: by name or by icon. So in the modifier stack you can click the plus sign to see the different sub-object types. So I could choose Vertex, which is just a fancy word for point. And you'll see that it's highlighted in yellow and also the icon is highlighted in yellow.
So it doesn't matter whether you click on this icon in the Selection rollout or whether you click on the name in the modifier stack, either way you've entered that sub-object mode. By the way, if you're in a sub-object mode, you can't select any other object in your scene. So remember if you need to select a different object you'll have exit out of sub-object mode first. So what are the most important sub-object types here? Well, they are Vertex, Edge, and Polygon, and those correspond to point, line, and plane, so you might be familiar with that from geometry class.
So basic Euclidean geometry, a vertex is a point. So these are vertices. Vertices is plural. Vertex is singular. Edge, so an Edge in 3ds Max is a line in the language of geometry, so it's a straight line and it connects two vertices together. We've also got Polygon, which are the individual faces here. So this flat area that's bounded by edges on all four sides is a polygon. In 3ds Max you get to choose whether you want to see selected polygons highlighted in bright solid red or not, and that's the F2 key.
So if you press F2 in any view, you'll toggle the display to show selected polygons has shaded red or not. So F2 is very useful. So you can see here in my Left view, it's a wireframe view, and we see the selected polygons shaded. But in my Front view they are not shaded. So I might right-click on that to activate the view without losing my selection and press F2. So there you go, Point, Line and Plane, Vertex, Edge and Polygon.
So what I want to do here is I just want to shape the base of my columns a little bit. So I am going to select by polygon. So I might want to get in a little bit closer here, middle mouse in the Front view and then Ctrl+Alt middle mouse to get in closer. And I am in Polygon sub-object mode, and I'll just drag a selection rectangle around those polygons at the base, and then I can scale these to change their size. So scaling at the sub-object mode doesn't incur any penalties that might happen if you're scaling at the object level.
So it's perfectly fine for me to go into component or sub-object mode here, select my polygons and choose the Scale tool. And the Scale tool as you'll see has got a lot going on in it. If you click in the center of this scale, it'll scale in all three axes equally. And take a look at that in the Front view. You'll see that those polygons are scaling up in the Z axis, the elevation, as well as the other two axes. Well, I don't actually want to do that in this case.
So I am going to press Ctrl+Z to undo. What I really want to do is I want to scale this equally in x and y, but not in z. So similarly to the Move Gizmo, the Scale Gizmo has these little brackets here. So if I hover my mouse over that I can scale in only X and Y, but not in Z. So I can just drag that out, and now I've scaled those two up a little bit. Now this is a purely destructive edit, and that means that there is no record of this being done and there is no convenient way for me to get this back to exactly where it was before.
So there are no parameters here. It's just pure freeform destructive editing. I'm basically stuck with it. I mean I could go back and scale it back down again and try to get it to more or less where it was, and probably it'd be good enough that no one would notice. But I just want to mention that scaling, moving, or rotating these sub-objects in 3ds Max, either in Editable Poly or in any editable object, is inherently a destructive act. Doesn't mean that you're losing data necessarily.
It just means that it's a nonreversible operation. So that's all I've got for you for creating this simple arch to illustrate the basics of modeling in 3ds Max.
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