Boost Your Skills in 3ds Max

21 amaz­ing tips to help you speed up your work­flows and cre­ate bet­ter art

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

learn top tech­niques for light­ing your scene, ar­chi­tec­tural vi­su­al­i­sa­tion, im­prov­ing your work­flow and much more

3ds Max is a huge piece of soft­ware so it’s no sur­prise that it’s packed with lit­tle-known fea­tures that can re­ally im­prove your work­flow once you know about them. There are al­ways mul­ti­ple ways to achieve a given re­sult, and the next few pages will help you to ex­plore your op­tions and dis­cover tech­niques that are ef­fi­cient for you. Seven top CG artists re­veal some of their favourite tricks that will help you take your process to the next level. In ad­di­tion to gen­eral tips and tech­niques we have two more de­tailed ex­plo­rations of how to use 3ds Max for ar­chi­tec­tural vi­su­al­i­sa­tion. Cre­ative stu­dio Oxy­gen takes us through their light­ing process, ex­plain­ing how light­ing is cru­cial for creat­ing mood and emo­tion in an im­age and demon­strat­ing how this can be achieved us­ing real-world ref­er­ences.

Artist Mike John­son, also work­ing on a cityscape scene, shows us how he goes about deal­ing with per­spec­tive, work­ing up his com­po­si­tion and mod­el­ling build­ings.

01 QCLONE TRANS­FORM TOOL­BOX

There is a handy lit­tle tool that few users are aware of that is buried away in the Edit drop­down: the Trans­form Tool­box. This float­ing di­a­logue con­tains many use­ful fea­tures like the abil­ity to ‘get’ and ‘set’ an ob­jects di­men­sions, set and ob­jects pivot, and ro­tate an ob­ject by a an­gle based on pre­sets. But the most use­ful one – that can’t be achieved else­where in 3ds Max – is the Quick clone (Qclone) tool. It al­lows you to off­set-clone an ob­ject ex­actly to the bound­ing box based on screen space. Very use­ful for quickly ar­ray­ing meshes for var­i­ous mod­el­ling work­flows or ar­rang­ing mod­u­lar meshes with­out hav­ing to man­u­ally snap the pieces. Danny Mcgrath

02 SPLINE TOOLS MOD­EL­LING

The spline mod­el­ling tools in 3ds Max have al­ways been a very pow­er­ful and flex­i­ble op­tion. There are so many work­flows to boost your mod­el­ling ef­fi­ciency: Shape Booleans (much im­proved in 2019), Sweep mod­i­fier, fil­let/cham­fer verts, Lathe, Loft­ing, Bevel Pro­file, etc. The list is a long one. The real power is in the non-de­struc­tive as­pect; a good ex­am­ple is us­ing Sweep­ing or Loft­ing. By tweak­ing a few ver­tices of the base pro­file/path shapes, dras­tic changes can be eas­ily ap­plied to rather com­plex look­ing meshes. Danny Mcgrath

03 QUICK WORK­ING PIVOT

A great fea­ture in­tro­duced in re­cent ver­sions of 3ds Max is ‘Place Pivot Sur­face’. This can be quickly ac­cessed from the right-click quad menu. This tools al­lows you to align the pivot dy­nam­i­cally in the view­port. It will re­spect and fol­low the sur­face nor­mals. Left-click to set. You can also make use of the snap­ping op­tions for greater con­trol of place­ment. Note that this will au­to­mat­i­cally switch 3ds Max to the work­ing pivot co­or­di­nate sys­tem. Danny Mcgrath

04 CUS­TOM UI/HOTKEYS/ QUAD MENUS

One of the most valu­able pieces of ad­vice I can give is how im­per­a­tive it is to cus­tomise your work­flow by way of hotkeys/scripts/quad menus, for max­i­mum ef­fi­ciency. In re­cent months I have in­cor­po­rated the fan­tas­tic Key­hy­dra plugin (onikan­abo.com/key­hy­dra) into my work­flow and it has changed how I work. It is a suite of tools that works very well to­gether and is in­cor­po­rated into 3ds Max in a way that re­ally in­creases the ef­fec­tive­ness of its na­tive toolset. Danny Mcgrath

05 MAXSTART FILE

This may seem like an ob­vi­ous piece of ad­vice, but many Max users don’t know that the maxstart.max file can be lever­aged to great ad­van­tage. Ba­si­cally it is the de­fault scene that is loaded every time, in­clud­ing scene re­sets.

You can set up the per­fect work­ing en­vi­ron­ment to suit your work­flow and dive right into creat­ing with­out the time wasted on repet­i­tive tasks at every boot.

For ex­am­ple, you can pop­u­late your ma­te­rial edi­tor with cus­tom ma­te­ri­als. Set your ren­derer, your scene units, your view­port lay­out, etc. This can be changed and stored at any time by sim­ple over­writ­ing the maxstart.max file. The file is lo­cated in: Users/xxx/doc­u­ments/ 3ds­max/scenes. Danny Mcgrath

06 CON­STRAIN­ING A MESH TO A SPLINE

A tech­nique that I use quite of­ten es­pe­cially for jew­ellery is to con­strain a mesh to a spline us­ing An­i­ma­tion>con­straints>path Con­straint and then us­ing the Tools>snap­shot. I can make as many copies of the mesh along the spline as I need. They can even be keyed in an­i­ma­tion, so I can ori­ent them the way I want. borislav Kechashki

07 CUS­TOMISE THE MOD­EL­LING QUAD MENU

If you use a prim­i­tive, let’s say a cylin­der, quite of­ten, you can add it to the mod­el­ling quad menu, ac­cessed with Ctrl+right mouse but­ton, so you can cre­ate it faster. From Cus­tomise>cus­tomise User In­ter­face>quads. Prim­i­tives are lo­cated in the Main UI group un­der the Ob­ject Prim­i­tives Cat­e­gory, from where you can di­rectly drag and the drop the prim­i­tive you need in the quad menu you want it to be. borislav Kechashki

08 FASTER FLOW CON­NECT

When adding new loops to the ge­om­e­try us­ing the Swift Loop tool, found in the mod­el­ling tab of the Rib­bon, you can press and hold the Shift key so the newly added loop fol­lows the over­all form of the ge­om­e­try be­neath. It’s a bit faster ver­sion of the Flow Con­nect tool of the rib­bon. borislav Kechashki

09 MIR­ROR PART OF A MESH WITH­OUT DE­TACH­ING

If you want to mir­ror only a part of a mesh, you don’t have to de­tach it and then mir­ror and at­tach it again, but in­stead you can se­lect the poly­gons you want to be mir­rored and with the se­lec­tion ac­tive add a Mir­ror mod­i­fier atop with

Copy se­lected and then po­si­tion the mir­rored poly­gons with Mir­ror Cen­tre. borislav Kechashki

12 BET­TER OB­JECT ORIENTING

Some­thing I find very help­ful when there is a strangely ori­ented ob­ject in the scene that I want to prop­erly ori­ent to the world axis is the Nor­mal Align tool, which can be found in the Align drop-down list. You need to have a prop­erly ori­ented ob­ject in the scene that will serve as a ref­er­ence, then se­lect the ob­ject you want to re­ori­ent, choose the Nor­mal Align tool, click a poly­gon on the first mesh and then click on a poly­gon on the ref­er­ence mesh from which you want the first one to adopt the ori­en­ta­tion. borislav Kechashki

13 USE THE POLY­GON MOD­EL­LING RIB­BON

While some of the same mod­el­ling tools can be found in the Edit Poly­gon com­mand panel, the Poly­gon mod­el­ling Rib­bon is a tool­bar with pow­er­ful fea­tures and tools you can’t find any­where else in the soft­ware.

It con­tains tools for fast topol­ogy mod­i­fi­ca­tion, se­lec­tion op­tions, re­topol­ogy and gen­er­a­tive topol­ogy cre­ation. John Mal­colm

14 MAKE USE OF FREE PLUGINS

Learn to in­stall and use free Maxscripts and plugins in your work­flow. Most tu­to­ri­als do not em­ploy scripts or plugins in their process, and right­fully so for be­gin­ners. Once you have a good un­der­stand­ing of the de­fault tools, ex­plore the mas­sive free re­sources of scripts and plugins sup­ported by 3ds Max. John Mal­colm

15 MAX CRE­ATION GRAPH RE­SOURCES

Be sure to take ad­van­tage of the mas­sive free Max Cre­ation Graph re­sources avail­able out there to help speed up your work­flow and ex­pand the de­fault ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the soft­ware. MCG tools are eas­ily pack­aged and shared, and could of­fer in­creased func­tion­al­ity and more unique mod­i­fiers to your 3ds Max tool­box. John Mal­colm

16 EX­PER­I­MENT WITH MOD­I­FIERS

Think out­side the box. The mod­i­fier stack is a very para­met­ric tool that can un­lock new strate­gies. Some­times there are al­ter­na­tive meth­ods to cre­ate a shape that are not ex­plored in the av­er­age tu­to­rial. Ex­per­i­ment with mod­i­fiers and play around with tools to un­lock po­ten­tial and faster work­flows. John Mal­colm

17 THE MESHSMOOTH MOD­I­FIER

The old Meshsmooth mod­i­fier is widely con­sid­ered ob­so­lete these days, but it can still come in handy for gen­er­at­ing unique edge flow on a model. Change the sub­di­vi­sion method to Clas­sic and it can sim­u­late a Doo-sabin style re-mesh­ing. This could be handy when mod­el­ling ab­stract shapes for 3D print­ing. John Mal­colm

18 EX­PLORE YOUR OP­TIONS

Re­mem­ber that there are lots of ways to ac­com­plish any given task, and it’s use­ful to ex­plore them all. For ex­am­ple, you can use the 2D Pan Zoom tool for matte paint­ing, which I rec­om­mend be­cause it can help you with mod­el­ling ge­om­e­try. You can sig­nif­i­cantly speed up your mod­el­ling us­ing the Rib­bon panel and its tools, such as Swift Loop, Sim­i­lar, Dot Loop and Freeform. Peter Er­mo­laev

19 KEEP IT OR­GAN­ISED

Keep your scene well-or­gan­ised so that it can be handed over to another artist smoothly and they won’t have to waste their time try­ing to un­der­stand where on the scene the spe­cific ob­jects are. It’s a good form to:

1. Name your ob­jects, be­cause you don’t want to have 100 ob­jects on the scene with such names as Box001,box002 and so on.

2. Sep­a­rate one-type ob­jects to the var­i­ous lay­ers us­ing Layer Ex­plorer.

3. Com­bine small static ob­jects into one mesh. Peter Er­mo­laev

20 SAVE SPACE AND TIME WITH PROXY REN­DER

Use Proxy to ren­der more ge­om­e­try, oth­er­wise your scene will take a lot of space on your hard drive and take a long time to open.

If you use V-ray ren­der­ing, keep in mind that V-ray proxy al­lows you to save the an­i­ma­tion and to open Alem­bic. Peter Er­mo­laev

21 USE THE RAILCLONE PLUGIN

Railclone is a para­met­ric mod­el­ling plugin for 3ds Max. It works by creat­ing source ob­jects such as windows, rail­ings, kerbs or what­ever you can imag­ine and ar­rays them on a spline or sur­face of your choos­ing. In my city sky­line project I used Railclone to cre­ate the windows for cer­tain build­ings. I cre­ated a bunch of dif­fer­ent stylised win­dow frames, plugged them into the Railclone Ar­ray 2S gen­er­a­tor, then chose the spline for them to be gen­er­ated around, and lastly told Railclone how high I wanted the windows to be. Mike John­son

The One Ring by luis Gar­cia

Kuker by Borislav kechashki

Road­war­rior 666 by danny mcgrath

Wa­ter­fall by Peter Er­mo­laev

Chromium Beat by John mal­colm

Giant no­mad by luis Gar­cia

Alien Ma­rine by luis Gar­cia

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.