3D Studio Max Interface & Basics Lesson 2
Firstly, we'll have a very quick introduction to Max's interface.
When you load up max for the first time you‟ll be presented with this screen. The main interface can be broken down into
1) Menu Bar- operates like any Windows program. Some have shortcut keys; others are available in the toolbars provided
2) Viewports: max allows you to see 3D Space in several Viewports at once, this allows for a better grasp of how to model something in 3D Space when you can see several views at once. The standard layout is a: Top b: Front c: Left d: Perspective. There is a way to see more/less views, and to change to say a Camera view (press c) if you have one in your „scene‟.
3) Control Panel: This is where you pick what object you want to create whether it‟s a SHAPE or a
PRIMITIVE. The Create command panel (the hand icon) is open with the 'geometry' (cylinder & sphere icon) button IN. The buttons for the standard primitives are shown in the Object Type "rollout" (a "rollout" is a collection of commands or options, it has a button at the top with a minus "-" on the left if the rollout is open or alternatively a plus "+" if its closed).
4) View Tools: Before we go any further, it's worth understanding how to change what the views are showing. Click on the "Zoom" icon (magnifying glass), then "drag" the cursor UP in one of the Viewports - the objects in that view will appear to get bigger. Drag DOWN to zoom out (which reduces the apparent size of the objects in the view). The second zoom command (Zoom All) operates like
Zoom except it zooms all the (non camera) views at once. "Zoom Extents" changes the current view to display all the objects in the scene. "Zoom Extents All" changes all the (non camera) view to display all the objects. "Region Zoom" is used to zoom in on a selected area of the view (2D views only). "Field of View" zooms perspective and camera views. "Pan" changes the view centre. "Arc Rotate" changes the viewing angle for the view. Finally, the "Min/Max Toggle" changes between seeing four views and one view.
You should be aware that the undo command does not undo zooming
5) Animation Tools: Not important yet, but has standard layout for playing/rewind/forward, frame time, etc…
6) Selection/Simple Editing Tools: This is where you find tools that enable you to move, rotate, scale, your objects.
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3D Studio Max Interface & Basics Lesson 2
Be aware that Max has several other toolbars, menu‟s shown and hiding away, the best way you can think of the Max interface is showing what you need to use first, with more complex tools/more detailed simpler tools are hidden within a sub-menu, under or around that tool.
Creating Your First Object.
We are now going to create a simple object, modify it, add a texture, and then render it. 1) Go to the Create Panel, Click on Box, left click on top viewport, drag & hold to make a square shape, let go when your happy, next move the mouse up/down to define height of your cube. 2) Go to material editor (press M) at the top of the window (next to file edit, tools toolbar). Click on a sphere. Click on Maps button->diffuse colour->none->double click bitmap->click on your texture/map name. This will add your texture to the object. Now back in the Material Editor Window, click on third icon, just above “diffuse colour”(assign material to selection), then click on „show map‟ (8th icon). Close the material editor. Now go to Rendering (Top toolbar) -> Render. Choose your Resolution, and your view (bottom). Press Enter, or go to „Render‟ (or press F9 to do an auto render) EX1
Congratulations! That‟s your first full 3d Model, it‟s not very complicated but you‟ve just taken your
first steps in understanding how to create more or less anything in Max.
Now repeat the steps above with a DIFFERENT PRIMITIVE, with different MAPS (Textures) make a small scene. Have fun and get to learn these steps so they become second nature.
Primitive Deformation+Face Extrusion=Low Poly Technique
An extremely important and well-known technique for creating objects/characters is face extrusion+Primitive deformation. From the exercise above you created an object from a predefined shape, how would you create more difficult/unusual objects in Max? Well the answer is face extrusion+Primitive Deformation. Think of a human being we are essentially on a basic level, a box (body) with 2 cylinders coming out from the bottom of the box, with 2 more cylinders sticking out from the side, with a sphere in the middle top of the box for a head…Simple but this is the best way to re-
create objects, but having a box with 4 bits sticking out isn‟t very realistic…What we do is to deform the primitive by moving vertices/editing faces around until we arrive at out approximate shape. How would I model a 3D Hand, well essentially a hand is a thin rectangular box with 5 longs square columns sticking out. EX2
Texture maps can be used to significantly enhance the appearance of surface, giving surfaces a realistic appearance without adding large amounts of geometric detail.
The image used as a texture map should be of high quality to give a good surface effect, but while it is acceptable to use high resolution texture maps for 3D modelling to create pre-rendered animations, great care should be taken to restrict the size of the texture maps so as not to use up all of the graphic card's texture memory. Most modern graphics cards now have 16 to 32Mb of texture memory, while laptop computers often have only 4 or 8Mb available.
The most common way to make "realistic" texture maps is now to use a digital camera to photograph a surface and then to manipulate the image in a package like Adobe Photoshop. Packages such as Photoshop also have filters that can be used to create entirely artificial (computer generated) images that can also be used as texture maps. This technique added with proper tiling can help create textures you can apply to objects such as landscapes without „seams‟ showing through.
Once you have selected your perfect 256x256 texture, it's relatively easy to make it a seamless texture when no rotation is involved. To do this, load up the texture in Photoshop, then go to Filter>Other>Offset. Set the Horizontal and Vertical settings to 128 with the Undefined Area set to Wrap Around. The seam is visible, and you can then remove it using the Rubber Stamp tool. Try to keep from blurring the image too much, as it tends to make the end result look fuzzy. It's also a good idea to change the offsets to different settings such as 64 vertical, 64 horizontal and then check the seam again for visible anomalies.
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3D Studio Max Interface & Basics Lesson 2
Once you are done, check to see how it looks in a tiled environment. First, make a new Photoshop file, with the size set to 1024x768. Now open up the tiled texture you have just created and select all. Go to Edit>Define Pattern. This stores the texture as a repetitive pattern in the clipboard. Now switch to the 1024x768 image and click on the Paint Bucket tool. Go to the Paint Bucket Options panel and select Pattern from the Contents pull-down menu. Then, simply click anywhere in the image to fill the area with the pattern. (for 512x512 or any other size the offset should be 50% of the image size, so the seam is in the middle of the texture.
The appearance of a surface is defined by setting properties that define the material from which it is made
Diffuse colour: Colour of reflected light from diffuse reflection (light scattered randomly) Specular colour: Colour of reflected light from specular reflection (light reflected in a regular manner) Emissive colour: Colour of light emitted by a the surface
Ambient intensity: Amount of background light the surface reflects
Shininess: Amount of specular reflection (affects the size of the highlight)
Opacity/Transparency: Transparency of the surface
Texture: Image mapped onto the surface to enhance its appearance.
Bump: Also known as a Height map. A black pixel represents minimum height, white
pixels=maximum, and 256 shades of grey represent the differing levels in-between. Very useful for creating details without more polygons/actual 3d detail.
Reflection Determines how much light is reflected of the material
Refraction Determines how much light is refracted when light passes through the material Self-Illumination How much light comes from the material itself.
Lights and Cameras
Go to the Lights/Camera tab on the main toolbar. As soon as you create lights in a scene, it is rendered in darkness and the lights you assign are the only sources of light.
OMNI light is a point source light that shines in all directions. You can‟t focus it and it doesn‟t cast shadows. But you can assign it colours and use it for accents.
Spotlights provide an adjustable focused beam of light and can cast shadows. Creating a TARGET spotlight is similar to creating a camera. You can drag the mouse to create the spot and the target. You can get shadows to appear in the scene by clicking on the “cast shadows” box in the command
Once you set up your cameras (similar to that of creating spotlights), you can view the scene from that camera. Just go to the viewport label and choose “camera” under VIEW (or type “C”). You can change manipulate that view by changing the position and direction of the camera. The viewing (zoom/rotate) options change to camera viewing options. You can orbit the camera, dolly it (moving it toward or away from the target) or truck the camera (this locks the camera source and target so that you can move both together in the scene).
If you want to keep the camera view the way it was originally set up, just go back to the viewport label and choose “perspective” under VIEW. This will allow you to manipulate the view without changing
the position and direction of the camera.
Copyright Umran Ali 2002
3D B.S.c Computer & Video Games Graphics Forum
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