An introduction to 3Ds Max

Why 3Ds Max?

As part of this games design course, I have to learn to utilise 3D software that is more complex than SketchUp. One of the industry standard pieces of software is Autodesk 3Ds Max. This is a piece of software that I have never used before, but is vital for me to master in order to progress forwards. Although there are free pieces of software out there for 3D design, 3Ds Max is an industry standard piece of software, and the educational version of the software is free for students.


Building a simple crate:

Crates are a fairly ubiquitous piece of scenery in most games, from platformers to first person shooters, they can provide obstacles and cover for the player. Here is the simple crate that we made in 3Ds Max, and how it was created:

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The first stage to create the crate, was to create a 1 meter squared cube, using the ‘Basic Primitives’ tool.

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In order for us to be able to modify the cube, we had to convert the 3D object into an editable poly. We did this by right-clicking on the cube, and then going down to the ‘Convert to…’ tab, and selecting ‘ Convert to editable poly’

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Once our cube was an editable polygon, we selected all of the faces of the cube by going to the modify tab, selecting the polygon selection tool, and then dragging a box over all of the shape. Once this was done, all of the sides of the cube were tinted red.

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Once all of the sides were selected, we selected the black ‘settings’ icon, next to the ‘inset’ tool. This caused a settings menu to appear on top of the cube. We changed the inset by… option from ‘by group’, to ‘by polygon’, and adjusted the inset value from 1cm to 10cm. We closed the menu by clicking the green tick at the bottom of the menu.

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The final stage is to inset the centre of each polygon in order to make the edges of the crate look thick. I order to do this, we first clicked on the black ‘settings’ box next to the ‘extrude’ tool. We then changed the ‘extrude by’ option from ‘by group’ to ‘by polygon’, and the extrude value from 1cm, to -5cm, which indents the smaller faces that we made earlier.

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These are images of the final screen in 3Ds Max and the rendered crate.


A triangle-less Sphere

Our instructions from our tutor were to avoid using triangles in models wherever possible l, as using quads (polygons with four vertices) is more manageable. However, whenever 3Ds Max generates a sphere from the ‘Basic Primitives’ toolset, the sphere always contains triangles at the top and bottom. So, in order to use spheres in our models, we had to figure out how to create a sphere that didn’t contain any triangles. So, how did we do it?

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We began with a cube, a 1 meter square cube, as in the previous example.

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Again, we converted the cube into an editable poly by right-clicking on the cube, moving the mouse o e r the ‘Convert to…’ option, and selecting the ‘convert to editable poly’ option.

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After the cube has been converted, we went into the modifiers tab, and then into the modifiers list and applied the ‘Turbosmooth’ modifier.

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After the cube had had the turbosmooth modifier applied, we increased the number of iterations up from 1 to 3, to smooth the edges of the sphere.

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This is the final rendered triangle-less sphere.

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