3ds Max Getting Started – Lesson 14 – Spline Modeling

December 10, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


Now we are going to learn some great modeling tools by creating another type of lamp. This lamp design would be a challenge using traditional polygon modeling, so we are going to build it starting with splines. A spline is a collection of vertices and connecting segments that form a line or curve. You will find different splines in the Shapes tab of the Create panel. Start with the TrainStationLamp.max scene file. This file already has a side view image of the finished lamp loaded so that we can trace over it. Go to the Create panel, click Shapes, then click the Line button. Keep the creation method at the default, Corner. Click the start point on the right of the screen, at the end of the lamp arm. Click again at the first curve moving left, then moving up add two more vertices at the curve and a last vertex at the top of the lamp head. Right-click to finish. When we clicked with the Line tool, we created a corner vertex; but when you click and drag when placing a vertex, creates a Bezier vertex, which give you handles that you can edit the curve with. When we created the Line, we created corner vertices that are sharp, but we need Bezier vertices to create curves. Go to the Modify panel, in the stack, click on the arrow next to Line to open the sub object access, select Vertex. Use Ctrl+click to select the middle vertices of the line we made. Then right-click and from the quad menu in the Tools 1 section, choose Bezier to change those over. To adjust the Bezier handles you need to use the Move tool. It’s best to use the square formed by the plane handles so you can move the handle in both directions. You don’t need to get the line exactly the same as the picture; just follow the general shape. In the Modify panel go to the Rendering rollout and check both Enable in Renderer and Enable in Viewport; this makes the curve a renderable 3D object. In the radial section change the thickness to 40, and sides to 18. Now go to the Interpolation rollout and change the Steps to 12. The Interpolation controls set how 3ds Max generates a spline. All spline curves are divided into small straight lines that approximate the true curve. The number of divisions between each vertex on the spline is called steps. The more steps used, the smoother the curve appears. Select the Vertex button again to exit sub-object mode. Rename the object LampArm_001 Now for the lamp “shade”. Go to the Create panel>Shapes and select the Line tool again. First you will need to uncheck enable in Renderer and Enable in viewport, since they are still active from the last object. Also in the Interpolation rollout change the Steps to 6. Start by clicking at the top center of the lamp shade, move to the left and click to create 3 vertices on the first curve, move down and to the left to where a next curve begins and click to create another 3 at the top middle and bottom of the curve. Move to the left and create 3 more vertices at the top middle and bottom of this curve. Continue until you reach the bottom, then move to the right along the bottom of the shade and create a vertex in the middle, and then click on the first vertex you created. This will close the shape. Go to the Modify panel, in the stack, click on the arrow next to Line to open the sub-object access to the Line, then select Vertex. Now select all the vertices on the side of the shade. Right-click and from the Quad menu, choose Bezier, and edit the handles so you can follow the shape of the shade. We only created half of the shade’s outline because the next modeling tool we are using, Lathe, creates a 3D object by rotating a shape profile about an axis. Select Vertex to exit sub-object mode and with the line selected, add the Lathe modifier from the modifier list. In the parameters change the Align to Max and the Segments to 30 and check the Weld Core. This gives us the lamp’ shade object. Rename the object to LampShade_001. Switch to a Perspective viewport, you can do this by using the keyboard shortcut P. Right-click and from the quad menu choose Unfreeze All, then select the plane with the picture of the lamp and delete it. Select the shade again, and go to the Modeling ribbon>and in the polygon panel, select Convert to Poly. This collapses the Lathe modifier and creates an editable polygon. Turn on Edged Faces mode (F4) Enter Polygon mode and select all the polygons on the bottom of the shade. The easiest way to do this is to switch the Selection mode from Crossing to Window mode. Orbit the viewport so you are viewing the side of the shade, and drag a selection box around the bottom of the shade; then, delete those polygons. but make sure you check you’ve only selected the polygons on the bottom of the shade. Now we can see on the inside, and there is a weird set of polygons hanging doen from the top like a stalactite. It’s an easy fix but it’s hard to select those polygons. Back to the Side view. In the ribbon>Visibility panel, select Hide Selected. Select the bottom section of the shade. This will make the polygons easier to select. In the Main toolbar switch back to Crossing selection type. Select and delete the stalactite. In the ribbon>Visibility panel select Unhide All to get back the lamp shade. Exit Polygon mode using the shortcut. Polygons in 3ds Max are one sided so the inside of the lamp won’t render properly. So, go to the Modify panel and add a Shell modifier. Leave the modifier at the defaults. To finish the lamp, we will go back to the lamp arm, go to the ribbon and convert to poly. In Polygon mode, select the end polygon and delete it. In Border mode select the border edge. Turn on Edged Faces (F4) Switch to the Scale tool, hold shift, and scale up 200%. Switch to the Move tool and hold Shift and move the border edge out about 4 units. Now switch to Edge mode and double-click an edge to select the corner edge loop, go to the ribbon>Chamfer Settings, change the Amount to 3 and the Connect Edge Segments to 3, Ok the caddy. Save the file under the name TrainLamp_final. Open the last train scene we used (06_ModelingD_Train_001.max). Go to File>Import>Merge>TrainStationLamp_Final.max From the dialog choose both objects from the list and Ok the dialog. With the parts of the lamp still selected, go to the Main menu>Group and then choose Group. Name it TrainLamp001. When building the lamp, we didn’t focus on scale so the lamp is quite large. Select the scale tool and scale the lamp down to 5%. It is always best to model to the scale of your scene. Now move the Train Lamp so it shines down on the train station platform. The Move Transform type-in values are X: 650 Y: 365 Z: 270, also switch to the Rotate tool and in the transform type-ins, only change the Z to 90. Make a clone of the lamp using the Shift + Move method, and move it to the opposite side of the platform, use the Move transform type-ins X: 650 Y: -250 Z: 270. You can also clone one and put it over the Ticket Booth door. The move transform value is X: 832 Y: 335 Z: 270. Scale it down slightly to a value of 4%. Select all 3 lamps and change their color to a dark gray. Now in the Scene Explorer Select all the lamp parts and drag and drop them into the Lamps layer.