3Ds Max - Part 2 - Modeling

Polygon modeling

Polygon modeling is more common with game design than any other modeling technique as the very specific control over individual polygons allows for extreme optimization. Usually, the modeller begins with one of the 3ds max primitives, and using such tools as bevel and extrude, adds detail to and refines the model. Versions 4 and up feature the Editable Polygon object, which simplifies most mesh editing operations, and provides subdivision smoothing at customizable levels.

NURBS or Nonuniform rational B-Spline

A more advanced alternative to polygons, it gives a smoothed out surface that eliminates the straight edges of a polygon model. NURBS is a mathematically exact representation of freeform surfaces like those used for car bodies and ship hulls, which can be exactly reproduced at any resolution whenever needed. With NURBS, a smooth sphere can be created with only one face.

The non-uniform property of NURBS brings up an important point. Because they are generated mathematically, NURBS objects have a parameter space in addition to the 3D geometric space in which they are displayed. Specifically, an array of values called knots specifies the extent of influence of each control vertex (CV) on the curve or surface. Knots are invisible in 3D space and you can't manipulate them directly, but occasionally their behavior affects the visible appearance of the NURBS object. This topic mentions those situations. Parameter space is one-dimensional for curves, which have only a single U dimension topologically, even though they exist geometrically in 3D space. Surfaces have two dimensions in parameter space, called U and V.

NURBS curves and surfaces have the important properties of not changing under the standard geometric affine transformations (Transforms), or under perspective projections. The CVs have local control of the object: moving a CV or changing its weight does not affect any part of the object beyond the neighboring CVs. (You can override this property by using the Soft Selection controls.) Also, the control lattice that connects CVs surrounds the surface. This is known as the convex hull property.

Surface tool/Editable patch object

Surface tool was originally a 3rd party plugin, but Kinetix acquired and included this feature since version 3.0. The surface tool is for creating common 3ds max's splines, and then applying a modifier called "surface." This modifier makes a surface from every 3 or 4 vertices in a grid. This is often seen as an alternative to 'Mesh' or 'Nurbs' modeling, as it enables a user to interpolate curved sections with straight geometry (for example a hole through a box shape). Although the surface tool is a useful way to generate parametrically accurate geometry, it lacks the 'surface properties' found in the similar Edit Patch modifier, which enables a user to maintain the original parametric geometry whilst being able to adjust "smoothing groups" between faces.

Predefined primitives

This is a basic method, in which one models something using only boxes, spheres, cones, cylinders and other predefined objects from the list of Predefined Standard Primitives or a list of Predefined Extended Primitives. One may also apply boolean operations, including subtract, cut and connect. For example, one can make two spheres which will work as blobs that will connect with each other. This is called metaballs.

Predefined Standard Primitives list

Box—box produces a rectangular prism. An alternative variation of box is available—entitled cube—which proportionally constrains the length, width and height of the box.
Cylinder—cylinder produces a cylinder.
Torus—torus produces a torus—or a ring—with a circular cross section, sometimes referred to as a doughnut.[citation needed]
Teapot—teapot produces the Utah teapot. Since the teapot is a parametric object, the user can choose which parts of the teapot to display after creation. These parts include the body, handle, spout and lid.
Cone—cone produces round cones—either upright or inverted.
Sphere—sphere produces a full sphere, hemisphere, or other portion of a sphere.
Tube—tube can produce both round and prismatic tubes. The tube is similar to the cylinder with a hole in it.
Pyramid—The pyramid primitive has a square or rectangular base and triangular sides.
Plane—The plane object is a special type of flat polygon mesh that can be enlarged by any amount at render time. The user can specify factors to magnify the size or number of segments, or both. Modifiers such as displace can be added to a plane to simulate a hilly terrain.
Geosphere—GeoSphere produces spheres and hemispheres based on three classes of regular polyhedrons.

Predefined Extended Primitives list

Hedra—produces objects from several families of polyhedra.
ChamferBox—creates a box with beveled or rounded edges.
OilTank—creates a cylinder with convex caps.
Spindle—creates a cylinder with conical caps.
Gengon—creates an extruded, regular-sided polygon with optionally filleted side edges.
Prism—Creates a three-sided prism with independently segmented sides.
Torus knot—creates a complex or knotted torus by drawing 2D curves in the normal planes around a 3D curve. The 3D curve (called the Base Curve) can be either a circle or a torus knot. It can be converted from a torus knot object to a NURBS surface.
ChamferCyl—creates a cylinder with beveled or rounded cap edges.
Capsule—creates a cylinder with hemispherical caps.
L-Ext—creates an extruded L-shaped object.
C-Ext—creates an extruded C-shaped object.
Hose—a flexible object, similar to a spring.

Final Rendered Scene

3Ds max living room render, rendered with V-Ray

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