Join Scott Onstott for an in-depth discussion in this video Linking to AutoCAD or Revit files, part of 3ds Max: Design Visualization.
- In this video, we're going to explore file linking. You can link by going up to the Application menu and choosing Import, Link to Revit, FBX or AutoCAD. Another way to do this that is perhaps even more attractive is to go to the Design Standard workspace, and this will open up a custom ribbon. And here we have the File Link menu, and we see those same three options here. The advantage of this interface is we also have a Manage Links button next to it, which we'll explore in a little while.
So we can link to an FBX file, and that is a film box file that is common to many Autodesk applications. It is not generally a native format to any application, but it is a format that many programs can export to. There's also the native RVT file that you can link to in Revit, or the native DWG file in AutoCAD, and the older DXF file format is also supported. So in this video, let us go ahead and link to an AutoCAD file.
Go to the Exercise Files folder and select ApartmentPlan.dwg and open it. And here we have a number of presets we can select from, either a file, say, from AutoCAD or a DWG exported from Revit. Of course you can also choose that other option and get directly to an RVT file, but you have to go in and select it from this menu instead. And then there is also the option to link to a DWG, say, from AutoCAD Architecture.
In this case, the apartment plan was just drawn in regular AutoCAD. So we'll choose the first preset and click Attach this file. And then close the Manage Links dialog box, and you will see the two-dimensional plan here linked into 3ds Max. Let us explore how this is structured. Click on the Toggle Layer Explorer button to open up this dialog box. Here you see the individual layers that were set up in AutoCAD.
So for example, I can toggle off the doors and the furniture and so on. I'll turn them back on. But unlike AutoCAD, you can expand the layers and see what is on them. So here we have a node that says Block:Chair. Let's go over to the Modify tab on the Command Panel. And here we can see that this is a block or style parent. So this would correspond to the block definition in AutoCAD. It is like a container that holds the geometry.
The actual geometry representing that chair is one of these nodes below here. And I do not know which one. I can tell because of this symbol, which means shape in 3ds Max. So this one evidently is the sofa, this once is the desk, the lounge chair, and this node is the actual geometry that is inside the block definition. Over here it says Linked Geometry, and this distinction is going to become important, and you'll learn why in the next video.
But for now, let us go ahead and visualize this information in a different way. Open up this menu and choose Scene Explorer. So here, we have the same nodes but organized in a different way. So we have layers down below, you can toggle off the different fixtures or walls and stuff, just like we could before, but now we have nodes here for the individual block definitions. So we can turn off the chair and inside of that, you have the actual shape.
Turning off the parent doesn't really do anything here. It's interesting. But in this way, you can access the geometry in a more organized way because let us say you want to get the geometry for this chair, you would go in and open up the block and then you know it is that one. All right, now let us say we want to make a change to this drawing and we want to update that here in 3ds Max. So I have actually already opened up AutoCAD and I've opened up this drawing file. Let's just switch over it.
Here it is, and let us say I am going to make a change. I'm going to move this desk and chair over into this room, and I am going to rotate it and then move it again against the wall; and perhaps I will also move the sofa now into the other room and rotate that sofa and then move that over kind of centered on the window more or less. I'm just kind of eyeballing it. And let's say, okay, we're happy with that. Let's save.
Let's go back into 3ds Max, and nothing has changed. What you need to do is click on Manage Links and then go to the Files tab and click Reload. We have all these options, we're just going to say OK and accept the defaults. And look at that, now the sofa is over here and the desk and chair are over here. So we have updated our link into AutoCAD, and this is great because now, we can design the building in two dimensions in AutoCAD, which has great tools for that.
And then we can create a three-dimensional model here in Max, and the two programs will be synchronized. And this will also enable you to work in teams with other people so that there can be a specialist in AutoCAD and another specialist here in 3ds Max.
In this course, author Scott Onstott shows you how to build walls, doors, windows, stairs, railings, moldings, cloth, pottery, furniture, grass, trees, landscapes, and much more, using splines, modifiers, Booleans, and NURBS modeling. You'll also learn to texture-map objects, light them with both direct and indirect illumination, place virtual cameras, render, and animate scenes.
- Working with files and objects from other programs
- Creating parametric AEC objects
- Tracing splines
- Lathing a 2D profile
- Designing spline-based walls and windows
- Deforming objects with modifiers
- Attaching, grouping, and compounding
- Sculpting and painting landscapes
- Simulating fabric, grass, and foliage
- NURBS modeling
- Texture mapping and designing materials
- Placing virtual cameras
- Rendering images
- Animating a camera along a flight path