Join Steve Nelle for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying materials, part of 3ds Max 2009 Beyond the Basics.
Now that we've learned a few things about building a material, let's take a look at how you go about applying it to something in your scene. So, let's go ahead and open up the Materials Editor, I'll use the keyboard shortcut M and I think in this instance, I'm going to re-build three different materials and use a different technique in each case to kind of give you some ideas. So, we'll start with the sample ball in the upper left-hand corner. Why don't we start by first building a red material? So, I'll jump up on the Diffuse color swatch and in this case, I'll grab the handle on the red ramp and rip it to the right and then add my saturation to make it a full red. Let's go ahead and say OK.
We'll select the next slot over. We're going to go for green this time. Let's open up the Diffuse color swatch and I think this go around, I'm going to use the Hue. So, we're going to go ahead and click directly in green on Hue and then I'll add my saturation and then I'll increase the value to brighten that up a little bit. Let's say OK there too. For the last one, we'll jump up on the color swatch and in choosing to make a blue color, let's choose the little rainbow chart on the left-hand side. In this case, I'll go ahead to the top and click on blue and then I'll grab the Whiteness slider on the right-hand side and crack that all the way to the top.
So that will give you a couple of different ways so you can actually go about building that main body color. Now, as far as applying the material that was seen, you got a couple of different choices there. The easiest, if you've got a clear shot on an object, is to merely drag and drop the material from the Editor directly into the viewport. So, let's try that. Let's select the red ball, we'll now hold our left mouse down and drag that directly inside the viewport. Now, notice the No sign that's kind of on the backside of the cursor. As you get on top of an object, the No sign will disappear and that basically access the stage for you to simply let go the mouse dropping that material in place, go ahead.
So again, that's very easy if you've got a clear shot of an object, but if indeed things are a little bit closer together, here's a second option; you can select the object in the scene, you can then highlight the sample ball and then dropdown to the horizontal icons below the sample balls and that use the third one in from the left, it's called the Assign Material to Selection. Let's click that. After doing so, I want you to notice the three materials that you've built inside the Editor. Notice, two of them have little triangles around their borders. Those triangles indicate to you that those materials have indeed been applied to the scene.
Now, if you look little closer, you'll notice the triangles around the red material have kind of gray middles to them, whereas the triangles around the green material are solid white. What do you think the differences there might be? If you check out the scene, you'll notice the green spheres what's been selected inside the viewports. So the white triangles indicate the material that has been applied to the currently selected object. Watch what happens when I instead select the red sphere. See, how now its triangles are white, where in which the green ones go back to the gray centers. Now, as we've seen in the previous video, if you'd ever like to take a material and copy it down to another sample sphere, it's very easy; you can simply drag and drop.
Let's go ahead and do that. Now, with two red balls in the Materials Editor, it brings up an important point. If I wish to now change the color of the material in the scene, I want to make sure that I'm working on what is referred to as the hot material. You see the currently selected red ball, the one at the bottom on the Materials Editor, is not currently applied. So, if I'll now go back and attempt to change the color of the ball in the scene to orange, let's say, I'll jump up on the Diffuse watch, I'll grab and take a little bit of the green over to the right and you'll notice the sample ball has changed color, but not the sphere within the scene.
And the reason being is this is not the currently applied material; the one directly above it is. So be very careful that if you decide to copy a material from one ball to the other, make sure you are always working on the one that has been applied. If I go to the top one, change it to orange, again now, you can see it being reflected directly into the scene. Now, it's also possible to apply the same material to more than one object at a time. If I select not just the orange ball in the viewport, but also the yellow one by holding on the Ctrl key, I can now grab the blue sample ball and drag and drop it on top of either of my selections.
Now, when doing so, I'm going to get a dialog box that comes up that ask me whether I want to assign it only to the object that I directly dropped that on or to the entire selection. In this case, we'll go ahead and say Selection and I'll say OK. You might be saying yourself, if dragging and dropping is so simple, why would I ever want to use the Assign the Material icon that I pointed to you a little bit earlier. Well, sometimes you don't have a clean shot that being able to apply by simply using the drag and drop technique. Let me show you an example of that. Let's go ahead and close the Materials Editor for the time being.
I'm going to select all the balls in my scene here and hit Delete. Now, from here, I'm going to make a teapot on the Top view. I'm going to give that a Radius somewhere maybe around 65 or so. I'm going to hit the Z key to center my action and from here, I'm going to go over to the Sphere command and I'm going to create a sphere on the front-view directly inside the teapot. Like we have a little bit smaller than the teapot itself and there we go. Well, I now go ahead and make a few wire frame color changes here. So I go to the Modify column, maybe I'll make the sphere a blue color and then I'll take the teapot and now I want to make that, let's say, bright green.
There we go. Now, getting to the teapot is no problem at all. If I go back and open up my Materials Editor, it was very easy for me for an example to take this orange color and drag and drop it directly on top of the teapot. You can see the triangles around the material sphere indicating that has now been applied to the scene. Now, the story is a little bit different here with that blue ball in the middle of the teapot. It'd be very easy for me in example to take the green color, let's say, and try my best to get it over there, but there is a good chance that I'm going to hit the teapot instead of the sphere.
So, in a situation like that, it's much, much more accurate to go ahead and select the object in the scene, activate the material you do indeed want to apply and then simply use the Assign Material to Selection button. Let's go ahead and do that. Now even though, I can't see the material in the shaded viewport, you'll notice that it has indeed been applied. Let's go to the Perspective view and move that ball up and bingo! We'd got good contact. So, that'll give you a couple of options as far as applying materials. One more thing I want to bring up, because we're going to be using it time and time again.
If you are around the sample balls and you'd like to basically go back to a default gray color, all you simply have to do is to select the ball and use this little icon here, Reset Map/Mtl to Default Settings. You'll click here, you'll say Yes and you'll clear that off and we are now ready to build a new scan. So there you go with being able to apply materials to a scene. Now, here's a situation for you. Let's say that you've got a material that you've applied to your scene, you've then gone and remove that material from the Editor to make a little room so you can build something else.
Now, after doing that, you suddenly realize that you want to go back and change that no longer in the Editor Material. Is that possible? Well, the answer is certainly yes, but in order to change the already in the scene material, you go to somehow get it back inside the Materials Editor. Our next video will show you how to retrieve a material from the scene. Let's go and check it out.
Special Note: Fundamental 3D modeling concepts and techniques, along with features such as transformations and modifiers, are covered in 3ds Max 2009 Essential Training.
- Building simple, complex, and multi/sub-object materials
- Using bitmaps to create realistic bumps, reflections, and transparency
- Creating lights to effectively illuminate a 3D scene
- Understanding camera types, lens lengths, and motion blur
- Creating realistic movement with keyframing
- Mastering traditional animation principles and practices
- Applying ActiveShade, RAM Player, and other rendering techniques
- Using particle systems, space warps, reactors, and other special effects
- Getting to know Character Studio, Bones, and their associated "skinning" modifiers
- Using compositing techniques and effects