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3D Studio Max Tutorials

Poly Modeling

3D rendering of a metallic spoon

Picture 1. A rendering of a metallic spoon in 3D Studio MAX.

06.06.2008 Category: 3D (Modeling)
This tutorial is aimed for those who wish to learn to create 3D models of complicated objects. This is a tutorial for those who wish to practice a modeling technique before starting a more complicated project such as modeling of a human head.

In this tutorial we'll create a 3D model of a spoon like in picture 1. The spoon will be created by using a poly modeling and subdivision surface techniques. The modeling starts from a single polygon and the model is created by adding polygons to it with several different methods. The purpose of this tutorial is not to create the spoon as effectively as possible, but to familiarize you with poly modeling and the essential tools of Edit Poly modifier. This tutorial covers the use of the following tools:

Edit Poly Sub-Object Modes

In this poly modeling tutorial we'll work in the following sub-object modes of Edit Poly modifier:

vertex sub-object mode Vertex sub-object mode: selections and operations are applied to vertices.

edge sub-object mode Edge sub-object mode: selections and operations are applied to edges.

border sub-object mode Border sub-object mode: you can select all edges on the edge of the object at once.

polygon sub-object mode Polygon sub-object mode: selections and operations are applied to polygons.

When modeling with polygons, it's important to understand the meaning of different sub-object modes and to be able to switch between them when necessary. Keyboard shortcuts for the sub-object modes mentioned above are 1-4.

3DS Modifiers

As an addition to Edit Poly modifier this poly modeling tutorial covers the use of the following modifiers:

Symmetry - modifier can be used to mirror an object and therefore half of a symmetrical object can be created automatically.

Meshsmooth - modifier smoothens a 3D model. In practice it means that we can crate a coarse model and let the Meshmooth modifier to smoothen it by creating a subdivision surface out of it.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts in 3D Studio MAX

While creating a 3D model it's often helpful to switch between wireframe rendering and shaded rendering (Smooth+Highlights) and to make edges of the objects visible. Keyboard shortcuts for these functions are:

F3 - Smooth+Highlights rendering / Wireframe rendering

F4 - Make edges visible (only applies to shaded rendering)

1. Begin Poly Modeling

A single four-sided polygon in 3DS MAX

Picture 2. The poly modeling starts with a single four-sided polygon.

The modeling starts from the handle of the spoon.

2. Modeling With Edit Poly

Selected four-sided poly in 3DS MAX

Picture 3. New polygon is created by cloning an edge.

When a polygon is created by cloning an edge it's always four-sided. A polygon can also have three sides or more than four sides. As a rule of thumb one could say that in poly modeling it's wise to aim to create the model with four-sided polygons. With four-sided polygons one can create a surface that is flawless and deforms nicely when animated. This is especially important when modeling a character.

3. New Polys by Cloning Edges

Poly modeling in 3D Studio MAX

Picture 4. The 3D model is created poly by poly.

Select four edges and create new polygons by cloning them according to picture 4.

Page 2: Symmetry Modifier & Meshsmooth Modifier

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