Tutorial #1

Before we being, you should first familiarize yourself with what some of the basic areas of buttons are within 3DS MAX.

Above is a sample screen shot of what the interface will look like. We'll go on to explore more in-depth the various sections of the screen.

The Top Bar

The top bar of buttons that you see is divided into two sections. The first section includes buttons for Undo/Redo, and the basic Transformation buttons, move, rotate and scale. In addition, there is a set that allows you to restrict your movement in the view windows. If say you only want to be moving something in the X dimension, then you can restrict your movement with the button above. The Second set to the right is composed of a series of buttons that will let you bring up more complicated dial og windows. For the moment, just know that this is the section where you would go to fine tune your animation, or to assign that spiffy new circuitry mesh texture to the ball in your scene. The buttons for Rendering your scene are also located here.

The Side Tray

The side tray is where you will be accessing most of your commands/buttons while working in 3DS Max. You will notice that there are 6 'Tabs' at the top of the tray. These allow you to select which type of commands you want to access at any time.

Going from Left to Right, the command tabs are: Create, Modify, Hierarchy, Motion, Display and Utilities.

For today we're going to primarily concentrate upon the Create and Modify panels.

The Bottom Row

The bottom contains three sections of buttons, going from left to right, these sections include: The prompt line, which lets you lock objects and set snaps on or off. Time Controls, this VCR looking set of buttons is what you use when creating a simple animation, or to see how your animation will play out before rendering. View port Navigation, where you go when you need to adjust how you're looking at the scene you're working on. There you can zoom, rotate, or pan whichever view port you wish. You wil l use the view port Navigation buttons fairly frequently.

If you have any questions what a particular button looks like, please reference the button map handout. It includes just about every button that you can access in the main interface. I will try to at all times reference these buttons by the names used i n the reference sheet.

Creation of Objects:

Now that you are at least somewhat familiar with the layout of 3DS Max, let's go ahead and make some simple objects.

Step #1: First make sure that the Create tab is picked in the Side Tray. And that under that Geometry is selected.

Step #2: Select Sphere, and the move to any of the view ports. Click and hold the button down as you move the mouse. You should see a sphere shrink and grow in all view ports as you continue to move the mouse.

Step #3: Try selecting and creating a few other shapes. If the scene becomes crowded, click on the Zoom Extends All button. This should rescale all of your view ports so you can see what you're modifying.

Step #4: Now click on the Select and Move button. Try moving some of the elements that you're created around.

Step #5: Click on Select and Rotate. Try rotating a box or cylinder in different view ports. Notice how it will automatically rotate around different axes when in the left view port vs. the top view port.

Step #6: After you've become comfortable with how to rotate, and move some objects, try using the Pan, Zoom and Arc Rotate buttons to see how you can affect the view port.

Creating a Compound Object:

Since it's easy to make, and at least will remind you of something cool, we're going to try to make a very simplistic model of the ship from 2001.

Step #1: Create a sphere of of Radius 10. This will serve as the bridge, so rename the Sphere01 to Bridge01

Step #2: Now Create a box. Using the spinners, set the box to the following dimensions: Width 4, Height 4, Length 50. This will serve as the fuselage, so rename Box01 to Fuselage01.

Step #3: Activate Select and Move. While holding down the shift key, move the Sphere away. When you release, a pop up dialog box should appear asking what type you want. Make sure copy is selected and select okay.

Step #4: Move the new Bridge to one end of the fuselage, while positioning the other bridge at the other end. Be certain to leave a little bit of the fuselage sticking into both bridges. As a reminder, if at any time you are unable to see what you are w o rking on in all the view ports, simply click on Zoom Extends All.

Step #5: Now you are ready to make these objects into the same object. First, make certain that nothing is selected for the moment. Now select the Fuselage. Under the Create objects, there is a pull down, using that select compound objects from the l ist. One the new buttons have appeared, select Boolean.

Step #6: Scroll through the object creation panel for Boolean, you'll notice that you can create a boolean that's an intersection, Subtraction, or a Union. Make certain that Union is selected, and click on Pick Object B. Select either of the Bridge Sph eres.

Step #7: Once they have been joined, be certain to de-select the combined objects. Now, reselect the newly combined ship section. Click again on Select Object B, and now select the other Bridge. You should end up with a ship that roughly resembles the shape of the one in 2001.

Step #8: But, to add some detail to the object, let's make it look like it was built for space and not just a large clay or concrete mix. Go back to Geometric creation, and select Cylinder. Make a Cylinder that has a radius of 1.75 and a height of 6.

Step #9: Click off the cylinder, and then click on the Rotate Select button.

Step #10: Holding Shift, rotate the cylinder 90 degrees. Select Copy from the menu and select okay.

Step #11: Go back to complex objects and select boolean again. Now Union together the two Cylinders.

Step #12: Place the joined cylinders within the fuselage towards one end. Center it so that the cylinders extend through the top and sides.

Step #13: If the length of your ship is on the X axis, then select restrict X, otherwise restrict on whichever dimension your ships length is on.

Step #14: Using the Select and Move, while holding down the Shift key, begin to move the cylinders down the fuselage at regular intervals until you have about 10 or whatever you feels looks good.

Step #15: Now, beginning from one end of the fuselage, and moving towards the other end, follow this simple process:

  1. Make certain nothing is selected.
  2. Select the fuselage
  3. Under Boolean make certain that Subtract(A-B) is selected.
  4. Click on Pick B Operand
  5. Select a cylinder group.
  6. So long as everything appears okay, select off the fuselage and repeat the process.

You should end up with a fuselage with a whole series of cylinders taken out of it the whole length along. While not a huge improvement, it does provide quite a bit more detail than a simple box provides.

We will now go onto Tutorial 5-13 in the 3D Studio Max Tutorial Book, where we will learn how to create a jet plane using mesh extrusion.

Written by: Jonathan Tanner

Last Modified: 3/16/98