Join Scott Onstott for an in-depth discussion in this video Touring the user interface and selecting workspaces, part of 3ds Max: Design Visualization.
- When you first launch 3ds Max, you'll be presented with a choice and it's my best guess that you've already answered that. So I want to show a trick to get you to force 3ds Max to give you the choice again. So I'm going to right click on the shortcut and then right click in the program itself and choose Properties. Here in this dialog box we see the target is what we're launching with the shortcut and that is the 3ds Max executable. I'm going to put the cursor right at the end there after the quote and type space -df.
It stands for design flag. I'll click OK. And then click the icon in the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. So that flag forced 3ds Max to give us this choice again. You can choose between Classic and Design. In the architecture, engineering, and construction market we should select Design because it's geared toward building things in real-world scale. If you're working with film or games you would probably select Classic.
It will set you up with standard lights and materials which are a bit easier, but they don't give you necessarily realistic results that we can get in the design choice. So I'm going to select that and say Apply New Defaults. And then the program will load. Now that I've made that choice I don't want to be presented with it every time so I'm going to come down here, right click right click, go to Properties, and just remove that little flag from the end there and click OK.
So the next time I launch 3ds Max it's not going to ask me. The next thing you're presented with is a choice of start-up templates. And you can actually learn a lot by studying these templates and we will talk about that later, in another video. But for now let's begin by opening up the original start-up which doesn't have a template, it doesn't bring in any scene, for example. So I'll click New Using Selected Template. So it just starts from scratch. And I'd like to give you a whirlwind user interface tour.
So in the upper left-hand corner we have the application menu and it contains some obvious items that allow you to open and save and import and export and so on. You can also get the options here that opens this massive dialog box with lots of different tabs and tons of information you can configure. Incidentally, you can get to that same place if you go to Customize, Preferences. The next item here is this dropdown menu that allows you to select a workspace and I'll do that in a minute.
Let's continue on. This is the quick access toolbar. It allows you to create a new scene, open an existing one or save what you're working on. You can undo and redo. You can set your project folder here. And this little menu here is important because it has a toggle right here to hide or show the menu bar. So, if for some reason you can't find the menu bar you're going to wonder, "How do I get that back?" It's right here. Choose Show Menu Bar.
The menu bar has lots of information arranged in cascading menus. And a lot of this corresponds to other ways you can access that same information in the interface. For example, the modifiers are available here on the modify tab of the command panel. This whole interface here is called the command panel and it's organized with tabs. Create, Modify, Hierarchy Motion, Display, and Utilities. This is the main toolbar here and below that we have the ribbon.
This is the standard ribbon. These items are unfunctional until you create the right type of object and then they'll be full of icons. Down below that we have this area which is the scene explorer. If I create an object, say if I create a teapot which is the mascot of computer graphics, by the way it will appear here in the scene explorer as a node. Then we have the viewport, where we're going to do all of our work. And you have these three different menus up here that you access by clicking on them with the left mouse button.
So I can change the way things are displayed, I can choose a different view, and over here I can have other choices. Let's go back to Perspective and I'm going to arc rotate by holding down the alt key and dragging the mouse wheel. I can rotate the mouse wheel to zoom in and out and drag the mouse wheel to pan. This is the view cube and it's an alternative navigation interface. You can click on things and go to different orthogonal views, here. So it's just another way that's standardized across Autodesk applications.
Down below here, if you've launched this program for the first time you might see the MAXScript listener down here which is for programming and you can make that bigger or smaller. I'm going to make it smaller. This is the status bar and information will show up down here when you're creating objects. Sometimes it's helpful to pay attention to what that says. This is the track bar, which is used in animation. These are the transform type-ins which are the coordinates of the move, rotate, and scale operations.
Over here we have animation controls playback controls and navigation controls. So I can click on zoom for example and drag up and down but I find it easier just to turn the mouse wheel. So that's the whirlwind tour. Let's change the workspace now to Design Standard. And when I do that you're going to see an entirely different ribbon here. You no longer have access to those original items on the ribbon so it's important to know that you need to change workspaces if you want to get back to that ribbon.
This is a new ribbon that has some general tools on it. You can also select the default layout with the enhanced menus. And that's an interesting choice because the enhanced menus have icons in them and this is nice because it kind of gives your right brain a chance to know where things are located based on the icons. And it has the same kind of controls that you'll find in the regular menu but here we have it with a black background and with icons.
So I'm going to go ahead and pull out this scene explorer by dragging from the border out and then I'll close it by clicking here. That gives me more room to work and if I want to see the scene explorer at any time I can just go over here and click on this button to toggle it back on and toggle it back off. So, there you have it. A whirlwind tour of the user interface and now you understand the names of the different elements that I'll be referring to in this course.
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