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20 More Tips and Tricks for 3ds Max

20 More Tips and Tricks for 3ds Max       

A few years ago I introduced 50 tips and tricks that help with producing content using 3ds Max®. In this issue of AUGIWorld, I’ll expand on those with 20 more.

1.  Use high-resolution textures and maps. At a minimum, these typically consist of at least a color (diffuse), specular, bump, and displacement map.  See Figure 1.

Figure 1: High-resoluytion textures

2.  The symmetry modifier gizmo can be rotated. We can apply the modifier multiple times and adjust the gizmo to create more interesting objects very quickly. See Figure 2.

Figure 2: Multiple Symmetry Modifier Stack

3.  Use the chamfer modifier with the limiter to quickly add loops along edges. See Figure 3.

Figure 3: Chamfer Modifier for additional loops along edges

4.  With OpenSubDiv and the CreaseSet modifier, we can smooth out hard surface edges non-destructively to present a very clean hard-surface mesh. See Figure 4.

Figure 4: OpenSubDiv with CreaseSet Modifier

5.  Check a mesh for non-quadrilateral polygons using the graphite modeling selection button labeled “Non-Quads.” See Figure 5.

Figure 5: Non-Quad selection tool

6.  Use the snap tool with the vertex option to create clean cuts. See Figure 6.

Figure 6: Snap tools for cutting

7.  Copy and paste (save and restore) selections using the selection tools. See Figure 7.

Figure 7: Save and restore selections

8.  Use the graphite modeling select similar tool to select similar faces in an object. See Figure 8.

Figure 8: The Graphite Modeling Select Similar tool

9.  Use soft selection to influence the shape of a mesh quickly. See Figure 9.

Figure 9: Soft Select tool

10. Use the proxy setting with the scatter tool to manage scenes. See Figure 10.

Figure 10: Scatter tool with Proxy setting

11. Use the Set Flow tool to clean up edge spacing. See Figure 11.

Figure 11: Edge spacing using Set Flow

12. Hold the key “I” down to have the view follow the cursor.

13. Adjust statistics to track how many objects you have selected.

14. Turn off caddy controls to get dialog boxes for extrusions, chamfers, and more.

15. Alternate selection modes with Q.

16 Use Configure Modifier Sets to add buttons on the modifier tab for quicker access.

17. Use Data channel modifiers for complicated tasks such as adding crease weights for OpenSubDiv to terrain construction and adding edge damage in textures.

18. Double-click edge to loop.

19. Use ActiveShade in the viewport to work on scenes. See Figure 12.

Figure 12: ActiveShade

20. Last but not least—work smarter, not harder. In many cases, we can accomplish our task without building anything from scratch. In Figure 13, for example, the dragon figure wrapped around the glowing orb was created using a texture with a displacement and opacity map, set to displace on both the front and back side; this gave it a three-dimensional appearance with no modeling required. 

Figure 13: Using texture with opacity and displacement maps

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