Model an image plane and apply a material.
- [Instructor] Chapter six is all about polygon modeling. And I've got an example, which is a loft apartment. And I've also got a floor plan, some artwork that we can trace over to build up the walls for this apartment. And you could actually load the floor plan or any artwork into a viewport background but the viewport background feature in 3ds Max has a lot of issues and you can't really control the size and placement. Therefore, you want to create an actual piece of plane or geometry and then map it with a material.
That's what we'll look at in this movie. Before we get started, we'll need to check in on our unit setup. Go to the Customize menu - Unit Setup. And in this case I want to work in US standard, but I want feet and inches. I'll choose feet with decimal inches. And the default units as feet. Meaning, for example, when I type in a seven, 3ds Max will interpret that as being seven feet. Click okay, also check in on the grid.
Right click on any one of these magnet icons, go to the Home Grid, let's set the Grid Spacing to one foot. Type in a one and then Major Grid Lines, we can leave at 10. We will get a major grid line every 10 feet. I'll extend the Perspective View out a bit, let's make that 50 feet from center to edge. Alright, got our grid set up, now let's make a plane here in the top view. In the Create panel, in Geometry Standard Primitives, we've got a plane.
Click on that and drag it out in the top view and release the mouse. And it's been created. Right click to exit that tool. And then go to the Modified panel. We need to set the length and width to be the same size as the artwork. That's not necessarily the same size as the actual floor plan. My building is not as large as the canvas upon which the picture of the building is placed. So you need to know what is the physical size of the artwork? As if it were a one to one scale representation.
So in other words, including the borders around the building, the artwork, is going to be in this case, 74 feet square. I'm going to type that in here. 74, press the tab key, and 74, and press enter, and now it's the right size. I also want to center it on the world. Grab the move tool, and then just type in zeros down here. Zero tab zero tab zero. And our plane is positioned at the origin and it's the correct size.
Now we want to add the artwork onto this, to do that we have to use the Material editor. We're jumping ahead a little bit here because we haven't talked about materials yet. There's a whole chapter on that later. But in order to trace over a piece of artwork, we have to create a material. Let's open up the Material Editor: it's found on the main toolbar up here. And the Material Editor is a little icon, it's kind of an abstract icon with a couple of checker balls on it. Or you could use the keyboard shortcut, which is M for materials.
I'm going to do that, press M. And the Slate Material Editor opens. Once again, we are going to go over this in a lot more detail later. But for now, we just want to get an image applied onto that surface. To start with, we need a material. Here on the left, we've got a browser, and at the top we've got a section for materials. There's a subsection there that says Scanline and Standard. Let's click and drag that over here into this view area. And we've created a Standard material. Scroll down a little bit into the Maps section, and we want to create a Bitmap.
And once again, click and drag that over. And as soon as you do that, you get a dialogue popping up to ask you where is your image file. And it should take you directly to your current project and then in a sub folder: Seen Assets. And a sub folder inside that called Images. This is where all of your bitmap images for your project need to live. Inside Current Projects, Seen Assets, Images. Here it is: it's called floor_plan_4k. Select it and click Open. And then if you double click on this bitmap node or box, then you will see all the parameters for that here in the Parameter Editor section.
Let's make this window a little bit bigger, so we can see that better. We got bitmap parameters here, we want to change a couple of things here because this is an image that has some transparency. So it will be sort of floating. Okay so let's change the Mono Channel Output to Alpha so that the transparency will be respected and also turn off Premultiplied Alpha so there's different types of alpha channels. This is a .png file and it does not use premultiplication. So that needs to be turned off.
Then we want to connect this bitmap to the material. Click on a little circle and hold the mouse button down for a second. You kind of have to be patient with it. If you move too fast, nothing will happen. So click and hold for a heartbeat, and then drag over to diffuse color. And that'll create that connection. We also want to connect it to the opacity, or transparency, so click and hold and then drag over and drop onto opacity. We've created the material. Double click on the material; it's parameters get loaded over here, and you can rename the material, and I'll call it floor plan.
Now we can assign that material onto the object. In order to see this, we want to be in our top view. We want to turn on Shaded, just press F3. And now we can see shading in that top view. And there are numerous ways to assign a material. One way is to drag and drop from this little output circle. So click and hold and drag over into the viewport until your cursor changes to an arrow and then release.
And the material has been assigned, and I know because this changed color. But we don't see the bitmap applied. We have to go back into the Material Editor, and with the material selected and outlined with this dotted line. We want to go up here to the Material toolbar, and there's a button that's labeled Show Shaded Material in Viewport. Click on that button, and now you can actually see the material in its full glory, with the texture.
Okay so we can close the Material Editor, we can maximize that top view with Alt + W. And take a look at what we've got. Because I've set this up in a particular way, you'll notice that the grid lines all match up with my existing floor plan. We do want to make sure that we don't accidentally move or otherwise manipulate that floor plan. If we start tracing over it and then we move it, we're going to have problems. So let's undo that with Ctrl + Z. We're going to lock the position here by freezing the object.
With that object selected, right click in the viewport. And in the Quad menu you can choose Freeze Selection. When an object is frozen, it's unselectable, you can't touch it or move it or anything. However, by default, a frozen object will be displayed in gray. We want to make sure that that is visible. So we want to turn off an option. So let's unfreeze it just for a second, right click, and chose Unfreeze All. Select the object, we want to go into its Object Properties, with it's selected, once again, right click in the viewport, and near the bottom of the Quad menu, choose Object Properties.
And in here on the left-hand side, under Display Properties disable Show Frozen in Gray, and we can also just freeze the object while we're here. Click Okay, and now we've got a floor plan that's exactly lined up with the grid. It's got a transparent material on it. And it's not selectable, it's a perfect template for us to then trace over it to create the lines of the floor plan.
Learn how to get around the 3ds Max interface and customize it to suit your production pipeline. Discover how to model different objects using splines, NURBS, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and tools such as Paint Deform. Then, find out how to construct hierarchies, add cameras and lights to a scene, and animate with keyframes. Author Aaron F. Ross also takes an in-depth look at materials and texture mapping as well as the rendering options, including an introduction to Arnold, the new production renderer.
- Customizing and configuring the interface
- Selecting, duplicating, and editing objects
- Working with sub-objects in the modifier stack
- Performing polygonal and subdivision surface modeling
- Freeform modeling and sculpting
- Modeling with splines and NURBS
- Linking objects in hierarchies
- Framing shots with cameras
- Creating and editing keyframes
- Controlling lights and shadows
- Building materials
- Mapping textures
- Rendering sequences