Getting started with Autodesk 3DS Max (version 2010)
What is 3DS Max?
In a nutshell, 3DS Max allows its user to create 3D models to be rendered for still images or animated movies. It’s extremely powerful and has been used in movies such as
- Alice in Wonderland
- Battlefield Earth
- Black Hawk Down
- Blade: Trinity
- Final Destination 2
- Iron Man
- Spider-Man 3
- Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
- The Matrix Reloaded
- X-Men 2
- X-Men: The Last Stand
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
(For full list visit - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...todesk_3ds_Max )
As you can see, there are some pretty big names in there, I’m not saying once you read this little guide you’ll be a 3D Guru (I don’t claim to be one myself obviously) But it’ll start you on the right tracks to becoming one. The good thing about 3D modelling / rendering / special effects etc. Is that you always learn something new, every time I open up 3DS I learn something new, a different way of doing something, a new modifier or a new technique.
So to summarize – 3DS Max lets you do 3D shit
Where can I get it?
Like everyone else on the internet, you can go and Search different websites which sell the software you want to use for money, but whatever you do, don’t use torrents.
The user interface
When you open 3DS you’ll probably shit your bed (or chair). Yes, it’s a lot to take in, it looks a bit daunting, but honestly out of these million functions and buttons, I use about 7 in the main toolbar on a regular basis, Can’t say I remember using the others, so lets take a look at the interface.
Like 99% of programs, 3DS also has its main toolbar, its fully customizable but I don’t see the point in changing anything because most the stuff you use is already there. Anyway this is what it looks like!
I’ve numbered 7 icons, the 7 ones I use daily when modeling, I don’t think you’ll ever really need to use many of the other icons when you’re just starting out.
1 - Select and move ( Hotkey = W )
This is probably the one tool I use more than any of the others. For the simple fact that when you’re making a 3D model, you need to move a lotta shit. When you click this icon you’ll see a X Y Z axis come up on your model or near to it anyway. For example if you wanted to move it along the X axis, you select the small arrow which is red and drag it as far as you like. You can also move it freely by selecting the square between each of the axis. Sadly if you’re unable to figure this out, you probably aren’t destined for 3D modeling!
2 - Select and rotate (Hotkey = E )
Much the same as the move tool, the rotate works in the same way, rather than arrows facing in which way you want to rotate it, you have different coloured rings, you can combine the rotate tool with Angle snaps (see #5) so you can rotate an object in increments of 5 degrees.
3 - Select and uniform scale ( Hotkey = R )
This little fella’ here is for when you want to scale an object, you can either do it along one of the axis’ or you can just scale it in a uniformed fashion by selecting the inner triangle and dragging outwards or inwards to scale up or down, simples.
4 - Snaps toggle ( Hotkey = S)
Not to be confused with angle snaps, this basically allows you to snap your cursor to specific points in a viewport, you can change these points by right clicking the tool and getting the following pop-up
As you can see, you are able to change the snap points to different things in your viewport, although you probably won’t need to use this for quite some time, I certainly find it a useful tool.
5 - Angle snap toggle ( Hotkey = A )
Now like I said before, you can combine this tool with the rotate tool, what it allows you to do is when rotating a model, it usually rotates it as in incriments of 0.10 of a degree, which obviously is going to be a nightmare if you’re trying to put something on an exact 90 degree angle, with this checked on you’re able to get them straight angles!
6 - Mirror
What happens when you look in a mirror? That’s right, you see a reflection of yourself, exactly what this tool does, you can mirror the image as a copy (or without a copy) on each of the X Y or Z axis’. Helpful if you put on a characters head the wrong way round or upside down :D
7 - Align ( Hotkey = Alt + A )
Very useful tool for aligning multiple objects to a single object, one thing to bare in mind when using this tool is the pivot position of an object, this basically means where the object rotates from, usually it’s in the centre of the object but sometimes can be in weird places, you’ll need to read about the hierarchy tab later on.
So, this is probably what most of you will be using when starting out in 3DS, creating boxes and pretty spheres, it’s all fun and well, as long as you know how to use it! >:(
Create tab – Geometry
So, say you want to make a box, simply select “Box” and in your viewport, click and drag to give it a base, once you let go of your click it’ll start to drag up to give it height, it feels a bit weird doing the 1st couple of times, you click 10 times and wonder why nothing is happening, but you get used to it.
As you can see in the screen shot there is an area to enter your different parameters, for example if you made it to wide, rather than bringing out the scale tool, edit it in this and it’ll be a-ok. But note, once you convert an object to a editable polygone or whatever else you convert it to, you can no longer access this panel. Bad times.
Create tab – Shapes
Although when you’re starting off I don’t think you’ll need to use the shape tab, because spline modeling is more of an advance technique I thought I’d throw this in anyway, It just allows you to create custom 2d shapes which you can then turn into 3D shapes, useful if you can’t be bothered or don’t know how to model the polygons into the shape you want.
Create tab – Lights
You can create the most amazing 3D model in the world, but without proper lighting, you might as well not have bothered, without correct lighting, all models look shit, ALL. In the tutorials I’ll be making after this I’ll mostly be using standard lights (see screenshot) these are ones which come default with 3DS and don’t really require most setting up, but you can play with lights fairly easy and get some decent results. I’ll make a tutorial on how to properly light a scene :)
The modify tab allows you to apply modifiers (kind of like effects) to objects which you select, they are extremely useful and I am yet to make a 3D model without using them and will definitely be using them in upcoming tutorials.
Modify tab – Modifier list
The modifier list is…well how can I put this…fucking huge. I don’t even know myself what half of them do, but the ones I do know how to use, they’re extremely useful and can do some awesome things, the modifier list you see in the screenshot is the modifier list you can add to a simple box, each object, spline etc best way to learn about these is to just have a play with them, make a box, stick one of these on it and see what happens :) I’ll be covering a few of them in some tutorials though
Modify tab – Mofifier
When you apply a modifier the effects will take place on the model you apply it to, you are then able to change each of the parameters to whatever you like to get the desired effect, below I’ve made a diagram of what you can do with a turbosmooth (one of the ones I use most of all)
As you can see, by just changing one of the parameters you are able to completely change how the model looks, a powerful tool!
I mentioned before that I’d touch upon this, basicially this allows you to change the pivot point of your model, along with some other stuff which I personally don’t find a use for. An example of using this would be, say you create a sphere but the pivot point isnt centres in it, for some reason (usually happens when you scale it) so when you try centre the object, what will happen is that, the model will go slightly off centre, because the pivot point itself isnt in the centre of the model. To get it in the centre all you have to do is click “Affect pivot only” > “Center to object” and you’re good! This is what the Hierarchy tab looks like.
And that’s it for now! Hope I’ve helped, make sure to keep your eyes out for more tutorials I’ll be releasing, just to get people used to 3DS :) Thanks for reading and I hope you learnt something!
All the contents of this tutorial has been written (not copied) 100% by Connorrr If you want to post it elsewhere please do give the appropriate credits.
Feel free to ask any questions
Note: More tutorials will be following this, probably video ones