Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax
I’ve spent the last two weeks teaching myself key things in 3DSMax, and I think I can safely say I can teach you guys the basics of modelling in a short space of time.
When you’re new to Max the interface can be extremely offputting, so let’s keep things simple.
You should see a tab next to one of your Viewports. This is where you’ll get basic shapes from for modelling – Hammer users should find this pretty obvious.
Making a Primitive
We’re going to use a BOX for this tutorial, since that’s nice and simple. Click the BOX tab.
Next, click and drag in the PERSPECTIVE viewport to make a simple rectangle shape.
Release the mouse button and pull upwards to make a nice box.
Right click on your newly created box, scroll down to “Convert to Editable Poly”
We can now start modifying the box! By default this should bring up the Modifier menu. This can also be rather offputting to the new user, but we’re going to keep things simple.
Click the VERTEX edit option.
With this selected, you can move vertexes around. The “Select and Move” button is an important reference point and one worth remembering.
It’s always worth remembering to press F4. This shows the vertices, quads and whatnot on the model which you’re making or editing. So yeah, press it.
The Cut Tool
An extremely useful tool for adding detail to primitive shapes is the Cut Tool. If you still have Vertex Editing open, you should see it under the list of modifiers.
Click the “Cut” button to begin using it.
The cut tool chops up a poly face as you see fit. Click all over a poly face to make a shape that you like.
Right click when you have a shape that you’re happy with.
If you start making irregular shapes, be sure to connect them up to other vertices. This can also be done with the cut tool, simply hover over a vertex *click* then drag the line over to the nearest vertex which is on a line.
See how I’ve connected Spongebob’s mouth, tie and outer eye to the nearest vertices on lines.
Let’s start making use of these segments. Firstly we can give Spongebob more 3D eye, so in one of your viewports click around the lines that have already been added.
Hold CTRL whilst selecting vertices. Now move your selection outwards.
Next, fix up the smoothing. Select the POLYGON button. You should now be able to select faces.
Hold CTRL whilst clicking on faces to retain your selection.
Once you have a selection, scroll through the list of Polygon modifiers until you reach smoothing groups. Click on a different number to assign your current selection to a different smoothing group.
The smoothing is now fixed!
Using this same technique and workflow, you can add in all sorts of details to a model.
Before I finish the tutorial I should mention is extruding, which on occasion may prove useful to the new modeller.
With POLYGON edit mode selected, you should see a button marked “Extrude”. Click this.
Now click on a face you would like to move.
Click once more. Pull forwards/backwards on your mouse to chisel inwards/extrude outwards.
Play around with it and you should be able to add in all sorts of bits.
That’s the end of this tutorial, I hope this proves useful to other people who are considering getting started in Max. Please note that this is not by any means the definitive methodology for modelling, have a look around on Youtube for more advanced methods once you feel more comfortable with Max.
I apologize for not including UV Mapping in this tutorial, I haven't yet learned how to do that in Max. But anyway, here you go - the sum of two weeks research boiled down to the key stuff for a beginner.
If there’s anything important I’ve left out please point that out!