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Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  xlv

Part I: Getting Started with 3ds Max 1


Quick Start: Landing a Space Vehicle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Spaceships and Ports—Planning the Production ........................................................................... 3
Setting Up the Scene ..................................................................................................................... 4
Tutorial: Gathering models................................................................................................. 4
Tutorial: Adding a ground plane ........................................................................................ 6
Adding Materials and Lights ......................................................................................................... 7
Tutorial: Adding materials .................................................................................................. 7
Tutorial: Adding a Sun & Sky system ................................................................................. 7
Tutorial: Rendering the scene ............................................................................................. 9
Animating the Spaceship ............................................................................................................ 10
Tutorial: Animating a spaceship landing ........................................................................... 10
Summary .................................................................................................................................... 11
Chapter 1: Exploring the Max Interface  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Learning the Interface Elements .................................................................................................. 14
Using the Menus......................................................................................................................... 16
Using the Toolbars ..................................................................................................................... 17
Docking and floating toolbars........................................................................................... 17
Using tooltips and flyouts ................................................................................................. 18
Using the Caption Bar ...................................................................................................... 19
Learning the main toolbar ................................................................................................ 19
Using the Ribbon ............................................................................................................. 22
Using the Viewports ................................................................................................................... 23
Using the Command Panel ......................................................................................................... 23
Working with rollouts ...................................................................................................... 24
Increasing the Command Panel’s width ............................................................................ 24
Tutorial: Rearranging the interface for lefties .................................................................... 26
Using the Lower Interface Bar Controls ...................................................................................... 27
Interacting with the Interface ...................................................................................................... 28
Gaining quick access with the right-click quadmenus ...................................................... 28
Understanding the button color cues................................................................................ 29
Using drag-and-drop features ........................................................................................... 29
Controlling spinners......................................................................................................... 29
Understanding modeless and persistent dialog boxes ....................................................... 30

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Contents

Getting Help ............................................................................................................................... 30


Using the InfoCenter toolbar ............................................................................................ 30
Viewing the Essential Skills Movies .................................................................................. 32
Using the browser-based reference guides ........................................................................ 32
Using the rest of the Help menu ....................................................................................... 33
Summary .................................................................................................................................... 34
Chapter 2: Controlling and Configuring the Viewports  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Understanding 3D Space ............................................................................................................ 35
Learning Axonometric versus Perspective ......................................................................... 36
Learning Orthographic and Isometric views ..................................................................... 36
Discovering the viewports in Max..................................................................................... 37
Using the Navigation Gizmos ..................................................................................................... 38
Working with the ViewCube ............................................................................................ 38
Using the SteeringWheels ................................................................................................. 39
Tutorial: Navigating the active viewport ........................................................................... 40
Controlling Viewports with a Scroll Wheel ................................................................................. 42
Using the Viewport Navigation Controls..................................................................................... 43
Zooming a view ................................................................................................................ 44
Panning a view ................................................................................................................. 44
Walking through a view ................................................................................................... 44
Rotating a view ................................................................................................................. 45
Maximizing the active viewport ........................................................................................ 46
Controlling camera and spotlight views ............................................................................ 47
Changing the Viewport Display .................................................................................................. 47
Undoing and saving viewport changes ............................................................................. 47
Disabling and refreshing viewports................................................................................... 48
Viewing materials in the viewports ................................................................................... 48
Displaying lights and shadows in the viewports................................................................ 48
Enabling Exposure Control and Ambient Occlusion......................................................... 50
Configuring viewport lighting and shadows ..................................................................... 50
Locating mesh problems with xView ................................................................................ 52
Configuring the Viewports.......................................................................................................... 53
Setting the viewport rendering method ............................................................................ 53
Altering the viewport layout ............................................................................................. 60
Using Safe Frames ............................................................................................................ 61
Understanding Adaptive Degradation ............................................................................... 63
Defining regions ............................................................................................................... 65
Viewing statistics .............................................................................................................. 67
Working with Viewport Backgrounds ......................................................................................... 68
Loading viewport background images .............................................................................. 69
Loading viewport background animations ........................................................................ 70
Tutorial: Loading reference images for modeling .............................................................. 70
Summary .................................................................................................................................... 71
Chapter 3: Working with Files, Importing, and Exporting. . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
Working with Max Scene Files ................................................................................................... 73
Using the Application Button ........................................................................................... 73
Starting new ..................................................................................................................... 74
Saving files ....................................................................................................................... 75

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Archiving files .................................................................................................................. 76


Opening files .................................................................................................................... 77
Setting a Project Folder .................................................................................................... 78
Merging and replacing objects .......................................................................................... 78
Getting out ....................................................................................................................... 79
Setting File Preferences ............................................................................................................... 79
Handling files ................................................................................................................... 80
Backing up files ................................................................................................................ 81
Tutorial: Setting Up Auto Backup ..................................................................................... 82
Maintaining log files ......................................................................................................... 82
Importing and Exporting ............................................................................................................ 82
Importing supported formats ........................................................................................... 83
Import preference............................................................................................................. 84
Exporting supported formats ............................................................................................ 84
Exporting utilities ............................................................................................................. 89
Using the File Utilities ................................................................................................................ 92
Using the Asset Browser utility ......................................................................................... 93
Finding files with the Max File Finder utility .................................................................... 94
Collecting files with the Resource Collector utility............................................................ 95
Using the File Link Manager utility .................................................................................. 95
Using i-drop ..................................................................................................................... 95
Accessing File Information.......................................................................................................... 96
Displaying scene information ........................................................................................... 96
Viewing file properties...................................................................................................... 96
Viewing files ..................................................................................................................... 97
Summary .................................................................................................................................... 98
Chapter 4: Customizing the Max Interface and Setting Preferences . . . . . 99
Using the Customize User Interface Window.............................................................................. 99
Customizing keyboard shortcuts ...................................................................................... 99
Customizing toolbars ..................................................................................................... 101
Tutorial: Creating a custom toolbar ................................................................................ 102
Customizing quadmenus ................................................................................................ 103
Customizing menus........................................................................................................ 106
Tutorial: Adding a new menu ......................................................................................... 107
Customizing colors......................................................................................................... 107
Customizing Modify and Utility Panel Buttons ......................................................................... 108
Working with Custom Interfaces .............................................................................................. 109
Saving and loading a custom interface ............................................................................ 109
Locking the interface ...................................................................................................... 111
Reverting to the startup interface .................................................................................... 111
Switching between default and custom interfaces ........................................................... 112
Configuring Paths ..................................................................................................................... 113
Configuring user paths ................................................................................................... 113
Configuring system paths ............................................................................................... 114
Selecting System Units .............................................................................................................. 115
Using Custom and Generic units .................................................................................... 115
Handling mismatched units............................................................................................ 116
Rescaling world units ..................................................................................................... 117

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Setting Preferences.................................................................................................................... 117


General preferences ........................................................................................................ 117
Files panel preferences ................................................................................................... 120
Viewport preferences ...................................................................................................... 120
Gamma preferences ........................................................................................................ 125
Other preference panels ................................................................................................. 126
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 126

Part II: Working with Objects 127


Chapter 5: Creating and Editing Primitive Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Creating Primitive Objects ........................................................................................................ 129
Using the Create menu ................................................................................................... 129
Using the Create panel ................................................................................................... 130
Naming and renaming objects ........................................................................................ 131
Assigning colors ............................................................................................................. 132
Using the Color Clipboard ............................................................................................. 134
Using different creation methods .................................................................................... 135
Using the Keyboard Entry rollout for precise dimensions ............................................... 137
Altering object parameters .............................................................................................. 137
Recovering from mistakes and deleting objects............................................................... 138
Tutorial: Exploring the Platonic solids ............................................................................ 138
Exploring the Primitive Object Types ....................................................................................... 140
Starting with the Standard Primitives ............................................................................. 140
Extended Primitives ....................................................................................................... 144
Modifying object parameters .......................................................................................... 153
Tutorial: Filling a treasure chest with gems .................................................................... 153
Using Architecture Primitives ................................................................................................... 155
Using AEC Objects ......................................................................................................... 155
Tutorial: Adding stairs to a clock tower building ............................................................ 157
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 158
Chapter 6: Selecting Objects and Setting Object Properties  . . . . . . . . . 159
Selecting Objects ...................................................................................................................... 159
Selection filters ............................................................................................................... 160
Select buttons ................................................................................................................. 161
Selecting with the Edit menu .......................................................................................... 162
Selecting multiple objects ............................................................................................... 164
Using the Paint Selection Region tool ............................................................................. 165
Tutorial: Selecting objects............................................................................................... 166
Locking selection sets ..................................................................................................... 167
Using named selection sets ............................................................................................. 168
Editing named selections ................................................................................................ 169
Isolating the current selection......................................................................................... 169
Selecting objects in other interfaces ................................................................................ 170
Setting Object Properties .......................................................................................................... 170
Viewing object information ............................................................................................ 170
Setting display properties ............................................................................................... 171

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Setting rendering controls .............................................................................................. 173


Enabling Motion Blur ..................................................................................................... 174
Using the Advanced Lighting and mental ray panels....................................................... 175
Using the User-Defined panel ......................................................................................... 175
Hiding and Freezing Objects .................................................................................................... 175
Using the Display Floater dialog box .............................................................................. 176
Using the Display panel .................................................................................................. 177
Tutorial: Hidden toothbrushes ....................................................................................... 178
Using Layers ............................................................................................................................. 179
Using the Layer Manager ................................................................................................ 179
Using the layer list .......................................................................................................... 182
Tutorial: Dividing a scene into layers .............................................................................. 182
Using the Scene Explorer .......................................................................................................... 183
Selecting and filtering objects ......................................................................................... 185
Finding objects............................................................................................................... 185
Editing in the Scene Explorer ......................................................................................... 187
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 188
Chapter 7: Transforming Objects, Pivoting, Aligning, and Snapping . . . 189
Translating, Rotating, and Scaling Objects ................................................................................ 189
Translating objects ......................................................................................................... 189
Rotating objects .............................................................................................................. 190
Scaling objects ................................................................................................................ 190
Using the transform buttons ........................................................................................... 191
Working with the Transform Gizmos ............................................................................. 191
Using the Transform Toolbox ......................................................................................... 194
Using the Transform Type-In dialog box ........................................................................ 195
Using the status bar Type-In fields ................................................................................. 196
Understanding the Transform Managers ......................................................................... 196
Tutorial: Landing a spaceship in port ............................................................................. 201
Using Pivot Points .................................................................................................................... 202
Positioning pivot points.................................................................................................. 203
Aligning pivot points ...................................................................................................... 203
Using the Working Pivot ................................................................................................ 203
Transform adjustments................................................................................................... 204
Using the Reset XForm utility ......................................................................................... 205
Tutorial: A bee buzzing about a flower ........................................................................... 205
Using the Align Commands ...................................................................................................... 206
Aligning objects.............................................................................................................. 207
Using the Quick Align tool ............................................................................................. 207
Aligning normals ............................................................................................................ 207
Tutorial: Aligning a kissing couple ................................................................................. 208
Aligning to a view........................................................................................................... 209
Using Grids .............................................................................................................................. 210
The Home Grid .............................................................................................................. 210
Creating and activating new grids................................................................................... 210
Using AutoGrid .............................................................................................................. 211
Tutorial: Creating a spyglass ........................................................................................... 211

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Using Snap Options .................................................................................................................. 212


Tutorial: Creating a 2D outline of an object .................................................................... 213
Setting snap points ......................................................................................................... 214
Setting snap options ....................................................................................................... 215
Using the Snaps toolbar.................................................................................................. 216
Tutorial: Creating a lattice for a methane molecule ......................................................... 216
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 217
Chapter 8: Cloning Objects and Creating Object Arrays  . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
Cloning Objects ........................................................................................................................ 219
Using the Clone command ............................................................................................. 219
Using the Shift-clone method ......................................................................................... 220
Tutorial: Cloning dinosaurs ............................................................................................ 220
Using Quick Clone ......................................................................................................... 221
Understanding Cloning Options ............................................................................................... 222
Working with copies, instances, and references.............................................................. 222
Tutorial: Creating instanced doughnuts.......................................................................... 222
Tutorial: Working with referenced apples ...................................................................... 224
Mirroring Objects ..................................................................................................................... 225
Using the Mirror command ............................................................................................ 225
Tutorial: Mirroring a robot’s leg...................................................................................... 226
Cloning over Time .................................................................................................................... 227
Using the Snapshot command ........................................................................................ 227
Tutorial: Creating a path through a maze ....................................................................... 228
Spacing Cloned Objects ............................................................................................................ 229
Using the Spacing tool.................................................................................................... 229
Tutorial: Stacking a row of dominoes ............................................................................. 231
Using the Clone and Align Tool ................................................................................................ 232
Aligning source objects to destination objects................................................................. 232
Tutorial: Cloning and aligning trees on a beach .............................................................. 233
Creating Arrays of Objects ........................................................................................................ 234
Linear arrays................................................................................................................... 234
Tutorial: Building a white picket fence ........................................................................... 235
Circular arrays ................................................................................................................ 235
Tutorial: Building a Ferris wheel .................................................................................... 235
Working with a ring array .............................................................................................. 237
Tutorial: Using Ring Array to create a carousel ............................................................... 238
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 238
Chapter 9: Grouping, Linking, and Using Containers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Working with Groups............................................................................................................... 241
Creating groups .............................................................................................................. 241
Ungrouping objects ........................................................................................................ 242
Opening and closing groups ........................................................................................... 242
Attaching and detaching objects ..................................................................................... 242
Tutorial: Grouping a plane’s parts together..................................................................... 242
Building Assemblies ....................................................................................................... 243
Understanding Parent, Child, and Root Relationships............................................................... 244

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Building Links between Objects................................................................................................ 245


Linking objects ............................................................................................................... 245
Unlinking objects ........................................................................................................... 245
Tutorial: Linking a family of ducks ................................................................................. 245
Displaying Links and Hierarchies ............................................................................................. 247
Displaying links in the viewport ..................................................................................... 247
Viewing hierarchies ........................................................................................................ 247
Working with Linked Objects................................................................................................... 248
Locking inheriting transformations................................................................................. 248
Using the Link Inheritance utility ................................................................................... 249
Selecting hierarchies ....................................................................................................... 249
Linking to dummies ....................................................................................................... 249
Tutorial: Circling the globe............................................................................................. 249
Working with Containers ......................................................................................................... 251
Creating and filling containers ........................................................................................ 251
Closing and saving containers ........................................................................................ 253
Updating and reloading containers ................................................................................. 253
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 253

Part III: Modeling Basics 255


Chapter 10: Accessing Subobjects and Using Modeling Helpers . . . . . . 257
Exploring the Model Types ....................................................................................................... 257
Parametric objects versus editable objects....................................................................... 257
Converting to editable objects ........................................................................................ 259
Understanding Normals............................................................................................................ 260
Viewing normals ............................................................................................................ 260
Tutorial: Cleaning up imported meshes .......................................................................... 260
Working with Subobjects ......................................................................................................... 262
Using Soft Selection........................................................................................................ 263
Tutorial: Soft selecting a heart shape from a plane .......................................................... 264
Applying modifiers to subobject selections ..................................................................... 265
Using Modeling Helpers ........................................................................................................... 266
Using Dummy and Point objects .................................................................................... 266
Measuring coordinate distances ...................................................................................... 267
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 269
Chapter 11: Introducing Modifiers and Using the Modifier Stack  . . . . . 271
Exploring the Modifier Stack .................................................................................................... 271
Understanding Base Objects ........................................................................................... 271
Applying modifiers ......................................................................................................... 272
Other Modifier Stack entities .......................................................................................... 272
Using the Modifier Stack ................................................................................................ 272
Reordering the Stack ...................................................................................................... 275
Tutorial: Creating a molecular chain............................................................................... 275
Holding and fetching a scene.......................................................................................... 276
Collapsing the Stack ....................................................................................................... 277
Using the Collapse utility ............................................................................................... 277

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Using gizmo subobjects .................................................................................................. 278


Tutorial: Squeezing a plastic bottle ................................................................................. 278
Modifying subobjects ..................................................................................................... 279
Topology dependency .................................................................................................... 279
Exploring Modifier Types ......................................................................................................... 280
Object-Space versus World-Space modifiers................................................................... 281
Selection modifiers ......................................................................................................... 281
Parametric Deformer modifiers ....................................................................................... 282
Free Form Deformer modifiers ....................................................................................... 299
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 301
Chapter 12: Drawing and Editing 2D Splines and Shapes . . . . . . . . . . . . 303
Drawing in 2D .......................................................................................................................... 303
Working with shape primitives ...................................................................................... 304
Tutorial: Drawing a company logo ................................................................................. 314
Tutorial: Viewing the interior of a heart .......................................................................... 316
Editing Splines ......................................................................................................................... 317
Editable Splines versus the Edit Spline modifier ............................................................. 317
Making splines renderable .............................................................................................. 318
Selecting spline subobjects ............................................................................................. 319
Controlling spline geometry ........................................................................................... 321
Editing vertices............................................................................................................... 324
Editing segments ............................................................................................................ 330
Editing Spline subobjects ............................................................................................... 333
Using Spline Modifiers.............................................................................................................. 338
Spline-specific modifiers ................................................................................................ 338
Moving splines to 3D ..................................................................................................... 342
Summary .................................................................................................................................. 346
Chapter 13: Modeling with Polygons and Using the Graphite
Modeling Tools. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 347
Understanding Poly Objects ..................................................................................................... 347
Creating Editable Poly Objects.................................................................................................. 349
Converting objects ......................................................................................................... 349
Collapsing to a mesh object ............................................................................................ 349
Applying the Edit Poly modifier ..................................................................................... 349
Editing Poly Objects ................................................................................................................. 350
Using the Ribbon ........................................................................................................... 350
Editable Poly subobject modes ....................................................................................... 351
Subobject selection ......................................................................................................... 352
Tutorial: Modeling a clown head .................................................................................... 355
Editing geometry ............................................................................................................ 356
Editing Vertex subobjects ............................................................................................... 365
Editing Edge subobjects ................................................................................................. 369
Editing Border subobjects............................................................................................... 371
Editing Polygon and Element subobjects ........................................................................ 372
Surface properties........................................................................................................... 376
Tutorial: Modeling a tooth.............................................................................................. 379

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