Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

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Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Tutorial on Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:24 pm

category
Modelling

description
Learn the basic of 3D Studio Max.

keywords
models, modelling, newbie, 3D Studio Max, 3DS, max, studio, 3d.

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.

Getting Started:

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.

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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.
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Release the mouse button and pull upwards to make a nice box.
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Right click on your newly created box, scroll down to “Convert to Editable Poly”
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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.
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With this selected, you can move vertexes around. The “Select and Move” button is an important reference point and one worth remembering.
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F4
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Hold CTRL whilst selecting vertices. Now move your selection outwards.
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Next, fix up the smoothing. Select the POLYGON button. You should now be able to select faces.
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Hold CTRL whilst clicking on faces to retain your selection.
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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.
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The smoothing is now fixed!
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Using this same technique and workflow, you can add in all sorts of details to a model.


EXTRUDING
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.

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Now click on a face you would like to move.
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Click once more. Pull forwards/backwards on your mouse to chisel inwards/extrude outwards.
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Play around with it and you should be able to add in all sorts of bits.
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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!

- Saxon
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby wood250 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:04 pm

nice tutorial!
Just a shame I cant afford the $3000 for 3DSmax.....
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Saxon on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:11 pm

Thanks, also thanks to the mod who added this :D

There is a free alternative to 3DSMax called GMax, I'm not sure how many features they share but I seem to recall them being extremely similar.
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby fry_ on Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:34 pm

Very good beginning tutorial for familiarizing folks with Max - thought I'd toss in a tip though:

As a general rule, don't cut faces without good reason. Insert edge loops instead, or take care to create 3 / 4 sided shapes when splitting faces (Modeling in quads allows for easy triangulation later, and is a good habit to form anyhow). Watch out for floating vertices, as they'll produce some weird results on import to a lot of engines and are generally difficult to work with as you move down the pipeline (laying out UVs, texturing, zBrush/Mudbox, etc). Using edge loops avoids the messy geometry that results from only cutting a single face. It also prevents you from creating n-gons in your geo, which can wreak havoc with your model.

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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Wazanator on Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:12 am

wood250 wrote:nice tutorial!
Just a shame I cant afford the $3000 for 3DSmax.....


If your currently enrolled in a school you can get a 3 year student license for free. :)
http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/item?siteID=123112&id=14185424

@fry: How does one make an edge loop?
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Subdivision on Tue May 03, 2011 12:07 pm

Very nice tutorial, can't wait to see more (Waiting patiently for UV, feel free to bubble burst if it isn't coming)!
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Fearian on Tue May 03, 2011 8:09 pm

Well, its a start to learning some of the edit poly tools, but this tutorial is filled with bad modelling practice. fry_ hit the nail on the head here, but maybe not hard enough. Learning good workflow techniques are as important, if not more important than learning the tools themselves. Some key, really key, points I don't think this tutorial communicates are that firstly, It is not necessary for a model to be entirely one continuous mesh. It is perfectly fine to intersect geometry where necessary, or to 'float' elements. Knowing when to do this is a habit that will develop naturally over time.

Secondly, as fry_ addresses, it is not simply enough to connect ngons by vertecies. an ngon Is a polygon that has more than 4 sides ('n' sides). a 4 sided polygon is called a quad. A 3 sided polygon is a tri, or triangle. Very generally speaking, you want to avoid having ngons in your model - particularly ngons with a concave shape. It is much better practice to connect ngons into quads. This is particularly important as you learn subdivision modelling, but for now, its good to bear in mind that keeping your model in quads where possible is a good idea. Triangles are perfectly fine for game models. But while working they could be confusing or complicated to work with.

fry_ wrote:Very good beginning tutorial for familiarizing folks with Max - thought I'd toss in a tip though:

As a general rule, don't cut faces without good reason. Insert edge loops instead, or take care to create 3 / 4 sided shapes when splitting faces (Modeling in quads allows for easy triangulation later, and is a good habit to form anyhow). Watch out for floating vertices, as they'll produce some weird results on import to a lot of engines and are generally difficult to work with as you move down the pipeline (laying out UVs, texturing, zBrush/Mudbox, etc). Using edge loops avoids the messy geometry that results from only cutting a single face. It also prevents you from creating n-gons in your geo, which can wreak havoc with your model.

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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Garrador on Wed Nov 23, 2011 7:56 pm

more or less what they said.
Breaking a models topology like that without sufficient vertices to form a polygon is bad for any model that should have good smoothing and shading.

I would not even use the above techniques as a beginner, just because it will never come in handy for that kind of modelling, although this tutorial does introduce the functionality of the different tools.
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recompiled and relinked!
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Captain Terror on Mon May 14, 2012 8:05 am

just my 2 cents, but maybe you shouldn't be publishing tutorials for max if you are a beginner, since you still don't really know what is what.

Also without including simple materials mapping and how to export/compile your model for use in source, it's a bit incomplete imo =/
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Re: Newbies guide to modelling in 3DSMax

Postby Saxon on Mon May 14, 2012 9:24 am

Captain Terror wrote:just my 2 cents, but maybe you shouldn't be publishing tutorials for max if you are a beginner, since you still don't really know what is what.

It was just something I wrote up whilst I was learning the basics of Max, it's only really meant to serve as a guide to the key basic features so that people new to the program can break into it.

As for materials / UV mapping... whilst I have no problem with doing this myself I'm not sure I could really write up how to do it - such is the abstract nature of it. I would however recommend people look up youtube videos on Pelt Mapping which is by far the best method of UV mapping.
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