By now you've been using 3ds Max 8 long enough to become familiar with the general layout of the user interface. With a little practice, using it will become second nature as you perform your daily tasks. However, a few of version 8's interface features aren't readily apparent to new users, but are critical if you want to be able to quickly navigate in 3D space. The goal of this chapter isn't to show you the nuts and bolts of the interface, but rather to introduce you to a few of these fundamental features that will enhance your productivity.
For instance, transforming objects by moving, rotating and aligning them in 3D space most likely occupies a significant portion of your day-to-day work using 3ds Max 8, so it's very important to master the tools that will make this a seamless process. In this chapter, we'll practice using the Align tool and Transform gizmos, in combination with some tips on choosing the best reference coordinate system, to fine-tune your productivity.
This chapter also shows you a few of the programmed shortcuts that are indispensable for routine operations. Rather than simply mention the shortcut buttons and what happens when you click them, the shortcut operations are integrated into the exercises themselves to give you an opportunity to learn how to use them in the context of a realistic production workflow.
- Gizmo— While the term gizmo can be found throughout 3ds Max 8's documentation, in this chapter gizmo refers to the control apparatus that lets you transform objects in specific axes.