Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Exercise files, part of 3ds Max: Tips, Tricks & Techniques.
- [Instructor] If you have access to the exercise files that I've provided with this weekly series, then go ahead and download those, extract them, and put them in a convenient location. I've got them here on my Desktop. If you don't have access to the exercise files, you can still complete the demos in this weekly series using your own assets. If you're on a mobile device, or 3ds Max is not installed on your workstation, or you simply just don't have it in front of you at the time, you can still learn simply by watching the videos.
Let's talk about what's in the exercise files here. This is a standard 3ds Max project folder and depending upon which quarter of the weekly series you've downloaded, you may see different things inside the exercise files. For this one that I've got, the very first one, I've got not just the 3ds Max project folders, but I've also hot-rodded it a little bit with a couple of extra folders. There's an After Effects folder with a couple of After Effects projects.
There's also a Photoshop folder with a Photoshop document in there. Additionally, this time, I've got, in the Downloads, some files that were provided by Autodesk, and these are the max creation graph 2018 sample files. So, those are the sort of extras, but with any version of the exercise files, you'll always see there's going to be something in the Scenes folder, and those are, of course, the 3ds Max scene files that hold the geometry and animation.
Some of those scene files may refer to other scene files that are external references. And those xrefs will be in a subfolder inside of Scenes. And I use xrefs in order to save disc space. Because a master scene file may have multiple versions of it and we don't want to duplicate the geometry data in each one. So, once again, to save disc space, I'm using external references. For each movie, there's usually a single .max scene file.
The version that does not have the word Finished on it is, of course, the beginning state for that movie. And, naturally, the one that's labeled Finished is the end state for that movie. Additionally, inside Scene Assets, you'll find, for example, Images, which are the bitmap images that are required for loading the scene files. And there may be sounds, in this case, we've got a couple of sound files. Additionally, I like to include the algorithmic substance files, which are procedural textures.
These are included with the 3ds Max installation, but I have placed them here just to future proof all of my projects in case the installation files change in the future. Finally, in Render Output, you'll see some finished examples. The Render Output folder itself is empty, so that you can store things in there. But I've also included some finished examples of what the image should look like when it's completed.
So, for example, I've got some mp4 movies in here and I've also got a couple of PNG images, such as this one here. Cool, so that's what you can expect in the exercise files. Let's talk about setting the 3ds Max project folder. If you don't have the exercise files, you want to create a folder to hold your assets. I'll do that by just right clicking on the desktop here and I'll choose New, Folder.
I'll call it 3ds Max TTT. And that's an empty folder and it's important that you create an empty folder before you create a 3ds Max project. So, I'll jump over into 3ds Max. To create a new project, go to the File menu and choose Set Project Folder. It's defaulted to point to the current user's Documents, 3ds Max. I'll go to the Desktop here and I can choose 3ds Max TTT.
Since that's an empty folder, when I click OK, 3ds Max creates all the subfolders and also sets 3ds Max to point at that project. Let's check in on that. I'll minimize 3ds Max. If we open up 3ds Max TTT, it's now an empty project folder. Okay, cool, so I'll go back to 3ds Max. If you do have the exercise files, then you'll want to point to the folder that you have extracted and use the same command to point to or set a project.
Go to the File menu and choose Set Project Folder and select the Exercise Files. Be careful not to select one of the subfolders, because if you do, 3ds Max will create a new project folder inside that subfolder. So, just be careful that you're selecting the root of the exercise files or project. Click OK and now 3ds Max is pointed at that project folder. If you go to the File menu and choose Open, you should be taken directly to the current project's scenes folder and, once again, here are all the scene files for the course.
And that's how to use the exercise files for 3ds Max Tips, Tricks, and Techniques weekly series.