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Thinking Outside the Box:
3DS Tutorial #1: CyberGuy

Vol. 2, Issue 13 
February 23, 2000 


Before we load up Max however, let’s go over some basic file management ideas.  This tutorial is what you’d call a project.  Thinking of your modeling and animation endeavors as projects helps put you onto the path of organization.  Being organized, developing a system and sticking with it from project to project prevents you from losing track of files when you need them.  So go to whatever drive you want the project stored and make a directory called 3DSTUTS.  Go into that directory and create the following directories: MESHES, MAPS and IMAGES.  Now fire up Max.

Go up to FILE/CONFIGURE PATHS and click on it…

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

Click on the ‘Images’ line…

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Click to enlarge

 …click on ‘Modify’ and browse until you find the 3dstuts\images directory then click on the ‘Use Path’ button.  Do this for the ‘Scenes’ line as well, mapping that to the 3dstuts\meshes directory.  Thusly, your Configure Paths panel under ‘General’ should now look like this:

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

Next click on the ‘Bitmaps’ tab in the Configure Paths panel…

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

…and ‘Add’ 3dstuts\maps to your bitmap paths.  If you have other entries under bitmaps don’t worry about it.  Just be aware were you to render something in Max or try to see you textured model in-view, too many paths under Bitmaps increases your render time.

Cool!  So now we have our project set up correctly and know that each time we start Max and load a mesh, save a mesh, render an image or make a material using a bitmap we know what directories will be used.  Of course if you’ve developed your own system for naming conventions and project management use what works for you.  The key is to always be consistent.

Let's Get Started

Make sure you’ve downloaded cyberguy03.jpg and move him to your 3dstuts\maps directory.  Now keep in mind I’m not too concerned with how you work in Max and will always instruct you to do things the way I do them.  However, feel free to deviate from the ways I tell you if you’re more experienced or it makes more sense to you.  There’s always more than one way to skin a cat ;]

So, now that you’re in Max click in Front viewport and hit ‘w’ to re-size the window to fill your view.  I almost exclusively work in one window bouncing back and forth between the [P]erspective view and all the orthographic viewports: [T]op, [B]ottom, [F]ront, bac[K], [L]eft and [R]ight.  This is just the way I prefer to work using ‘z’ for zooming in and out and (ctrl) ‘r’ for rotating the view.

Go to the Create command panel, click the Shapes tab and click on Rectangle.  Click drag a rectangle approximately 100 x 100 units.  Don’t worry if it’s not exact.  After the rectangle is made then go over to the Length and Width values and simply enter 100 x 100.  Name it cyberguybuild.

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge

Making the 'Guide' Material

Move the rectangle so it’s centered with the bottom edge aligned with the construction plane.  Next bring up your materials editor so we can create the material that will be mapped onto the rectangle serving as a guide to build cyberguy.  Pick a material slot and rename it to ‘cyberguybuild’.  Knock Shininess and Shininess Strength down to 0 and increase Self-illumination to 100.

click to enlarge!

Click to enlarge



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Credits: Illustration © 2000 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 2000 Paul Steed. All other content is © 2000 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited, bitch.