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Diving Deeper into 3ds max Modeling Techniques

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Ted Boardman helps you expand your modelling skills with explanations of Box modeling, PathDeform, Lofting, and Smoothing in 3ds max.
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

You have worked on an outdoor scene throughout this book so far, and now it's time to bring the focus to some interior exercises that will give you a little practice with techniques you have already learned and to introduce you to some powerful new modeling methods.

You might not have realized it, but the old boat from the mid-1800s that you created in Chapter 4, "Shipbuilding 101: The Making of a Boat," is operated from a high-tech command center located in the bow. This advanced center is made of reinforced honeycomb walls to resist the stress of battle and to protect from collisions with the ice of the artic.

Your task is to build these walls and some of the command and support systems that are the heart of the boat. In the process of constructing this scene, you learn new modeling techniques that offer options that give you more control than others you have already learned. Again, there is no right way or wrong way to model in 3ds max 6. What you need to do is learn many of the possibilities and choose the method that works best for you in any given situation.

Sometimes, one modeling method works best to a certain point, but then you need to modify it in a way that the original technique does not allow. The interior walls of the boat will be such an example, where box modeling works fine for the basic object, but you will then learn about a method that enables you to deform that wall system into many more forms. You will accomplish this with a World-space PathDeform modifier.

You then need some equipment in the command center that allows for changes later in the design process. Lofting is the answer to that challenge and enables you to closely control the density (that is, number of faces) in the mesh you build. You use lofting to create a control console and some air-handling ductwork.

Finally, you learn ways to create smooth surfaces while still retaining an efficient mesh. Anyone can build rounded edges and smooth surfaces that enhance the lighting and materials in the scene, but only a master modeler can do it with efficiency and productivity in mind.

Some of the techniques covered in this chapter include the following:

  • Box modeling—You learn to use box modeling techniques to create a complex honeycomb wall system.

  • PathDeform—PathDeform is a powerful tool that enables you to deform 3D mesh objects along a complex path.

  • Lofting—You learn to use one of the most powerful and flexible modeling methods that converts simple 2D shape to complex 3D objects.

  • Smoothing—You learn the methods of smoothing surfaces to control the "roundness" at shared edges of polygons.

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