Join Steve Nelle for an in-depth discussion in this video Copying and pasting materials and maps, part of Textures and Materials in 3ds Max.
Max offers quite a few options when it comes to copying and pasting both materials and maps. Let's see if we can pick up a few new techniques. I'm going to be using a file named Copy and Paste, although anything you might have on the screen that contains a few maps or materials will do just fine for this illustration. Okay, let's start by first talking about materials. Now I'm sure you're all aware of being able to copy a material from one sample slot to another.
And that comes in handy quite often as you test and retest the different looks and different skins in your scene. Now the advantage of creating a copy of the material before you go about making a bunch of changes is that if after all the tweaks and adjustments you end up warning to return to the look of the original skin, well it's easy. You just click back on the original material and drag and drop it back in place. Deciding not to make a copy eliminates the option of being able to go back. Now you got to be aware of something. Not all operations in the Material Editor are undoable.
So with our new copy, we'll assign it to the scene and then make a couple of changes. Now if after a couple of adjustments we decide we want to go back to our original material, oh that's easy. We'll simply drag and drop it back to our scene. Now as it pertains to getting a skin out of the Material/Map Browser, you've got a couple of different options, all depending on whether or not you think you're going to want to make a change or two to that material. Let's do this. We'll select the new sample sphere then open up the browser. For this example, let's go to the Browse From options on the upper left-hand corner, changing over to the Material Library.
Okay, you can copy a material to the Editor by simply dragging and dropping. Or if you'd instead choose to go directly to the scene, you can drag and drop there too. Let's select the two bells at the top of the clock and drag our brick material onto them. We'll choose Assign to Selection so we make contact with both bells. Now when it comes to working with any of the different material types in Max, which we'll be taking a look in the later chapter, you can actually copy a specific type of material from one slot in the Editor to another.
Let's do this. We're going to change our Yellow Brick material to a Top Bottom material type. In the Replace Material dialog we'll choose Keep old material as sub-material. Now as you see the Brick material has taken over on the Top Bottom material as the top material. Now watch this. We're going to take that material directly over to the sample slot, directly to the left. We'll do that by going to the top material, which reads Brick Material.
We'll right-click, choosing Copy. Now we can select the blue ball to the left, then right-click on the Standard button, choosing Paste. Now we've got that Brick material divided away from the Top Bottom material, ready to be assigned in our scene. So you've got some nice flexibility with your materials. Now as far as maps, let's drop down a row on our sample slots, we'll open up the Diffuse color branch, choosing a checker map. Now we'll go back to our parent and then copy the Diffuse color branch over to the specular level.
We can do that by right-clicking on the capital M to the right of the color swatch for Diffuse. We'll say Copy, we'll drop down to the Specular Level, right-click again, choosing Paste (Instance). The instancing will allow us to change one reference to the map, that then reflecting back on the other. Now you can also remove a map off a map box by simply right-clicking and choosing Clear. This time let's see if we can do it down on the Map section. We'll open that up, we'll right-click on Checker, choosing Copy, again selecting the Diffuse level branch, right clicking, saying Paste (Instance).
We could have also dragged and drop that copy into place. Let's do this. We'll take any of the none buttons in the Map section and we'll drag it on top of the Checker map for its specular level. That will remove that map. This time with the Checker map still stored in memory, we'll right-click on the Opacity channel, choosing Paste (Instance). Okay, with now having a level of transparency, we ought to return to the top of the parameters, turning on the 2-sided feature. Now, because we instance the map down to the opacity, if we open up the Opacity map, changing the tiling on the Checker to Form 4, you'll see it reflect not just in the holes, the transparent areas, but also on the diffuse color.
Let's do that. We'll jump on Opacity, changing tiling to Form 4. Now you can even copy a map from one material to another. This time we'll right-click directly on top of the Checker map button directly below the horizontal icons. We'll say copy again, then select a new sample ball. Here we'll open up the Map section, drop down to the Bump branch, right click, and say Paste (Copy). We can now lower the amount of that bump down to about 5. Why don't we also copy the Checker map up to the Specular Level branch? Now by the way, color swatches can also be copied and pasted.
Let's do this. Let's go back up to the top where we find our Ambient and Diffuse colors. Let's change the Diffuse color to royal blue. Now we can right click on that blue color swatch, choosing Copy, then paste it down the Specular color. Okay, now back on maps you could also copy maps to other areas of the program. In fact anywhere where you could load a map. So watch this. We'll go to the Rendering pulldown, choosing Environment. This is going to control the color of our rendered background.
On the long empty button below Environment map ,we'll right-click and choose Paste. Again, we still have the Checker copied in the memory. Let's go and render and we'll now see that checkerboard serving as a backdrop to our scene. So that will give you a bunch of different options when using Copy and Paste that you can throw in your toolbox.
- Creating surfaces and textures with maps
- Making 3D object surfaces look believable
- Mapping sub-object materials
- Layering images with composite maps
- Creating realistic glass and reflections
- Using mental ray Arch & Design and ProMaterials
- Exploring the Material Library