All-In-One Basics Tutorial

Welcome! This Tutorial is for 3ds Max Users with little or no experience at all. Yet, I assume that you have a general knowledge of computers and common sense=). I am using 3ds Max R4. In this tutorial we will cover: Creating & Placing Polygons, Edit Meshes, Various Basic modifiers, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering. If there are any questions or problems, please direct them to. I also hope you have fiddled around with max before starting.  I have tried to incorporate all of the helpful hints I can. We are going to make a shelf or dresser that should look somewhat like this in the end.

I.  Manipulating the Perspective View

You need to know how to do this!

This is in the lower-right hand corner of the 3ds max window.
1. This is the zoom in button. Also can be achieved by using your mouse wheel.
2. This is the zoom extents button. It zoom all the way to the extent of how your scene.
3. This button pans about on the plane you are on.
4. This rotates your perspective view.

1.  Modeling - The Main Unit
First, load up 3ds max ad reset the view. (File -> Reset)

Press 2 to bring up this tabbar.

Now go to the Objects tab and click the box. (The first button on the row) Now go to your perspective view and make your box any size and shape because we are changing that soon.
With your box made you are going to want to find this properties bar. (It is normally on the right hand side.  If you cannot find it then press).
Select your box and do the following.

Once you get here click on this tab:

This is the modifier or properties tab.
Now you should be able to see this.
Change your values to meet these.

Now make sure you box is still selected and go press the select and move key.
Right click it and this comes up.  Change the values to meet these.

If you cannot see your box in the perspective view, then using your mouse wheel orthe magnifying glass in the lower right hand corner zoom in our out. Here is what mine looks like.

Note: Colors might be different! It has no effect on anything!

If you have this then congrats! If not, then read back and see if you have done anything wrong.  If
you are still stumped then email me at the link above.

Now we move on.

2. Modeling - The Top

Create another box and give it the properties and move it as shown below.

With that a success you should now have this.
Note: Colors might be different! It has no effect on anything!

With the small box on top selected, go to your menu - Modifiers -> Mesh Editing -> Edit MeshOn your Properties Box (

open up the Edit Mesh Subtree and select vertex. (Img Below)

Now go to your tool bar and select this button.

This is the Scale Button. I have placed an animated gif below to show you what we want to do with the vertices. 

And your final should look somewhat like this.  It does not have to be exact.

If you have made it here, congrats!  If not, again, double check and then e-mail me if you still have problems.

3. Modeling - The Drawers

Make another box and place as so and give it these properties.

Now clone (Edit -> Clone) the drawer and move it like this.

Now we have to model the drawer pull.  There is no easy way to tell you how to do this so I am just going to get you started and give you more graphics! On the tab bar, go to the shapes tab and select line. Now goto your top view and find a little empty space off to the side. Fool around wil making lines and try to make an object looking similar to this.

Now, if you have successfully done that goto Modifiers -> Patch/Spline Editing -> Lathe.  Now you can see that your line is a 3d Object. You might have to change some of the setting like the axis you are lathing on, or the Min, Center, or Max settings. You should come up with somthing like this.

Clone it and place it until you come up with something like this.

Congratulations!  You have finished with the modeling part of this tutorial!.

Last time we left off with this.

Now its time for... Part 2 - Texturing

1. Navigating the Material Browser

The material browser is at first a complicated matter, but with my graphic and some explanation, I'll get you on your feet in no time.

Pressing 'M' on your keyboard will bring the material browser up.I've labeled all the important buttons for now and will explain them below.

By clicking the button labeled 1, you bring up the window on the right. It is probably the one you will use the most in the beginning days.

'Assign Material to Selection'
The 2 button is that once you have a nice texture picked out and an object selected, then you can apply that material to the object you have selected.

'Put to library'
The 3 button saves the material you have into the material library.

'Show map in viewport'
The 4 button makes your material visible in your perspective view.

The 5 button switches the type of material you are using.
Such as: Standard, Raytrace, Shellac or Composite. We won't get in to this much in this tutorial but, I encourage you to fool with them on your own.

The 6 button adds a backround to the texture preview spheres for when you use tranparency.

Now on to business.

2.  Customizing Textures and Applying them to the Scene

Our Wood Texture

Note! If you did not install correctly then then below images and procedures will not work!

First, click the '5' button and switch to Raytrace. Now click on this button

Where it says 'Browse From:' select Mtl Library and scroll all the way down to the bottom. You should see this material

Double-Click it.

Click this up-arrow button to return to the main properties of the material.

Find this button and dbl-click

Goto mtl library and select

Your texture should look something like this:

Now go back to the scene and select: the main body, the top, and the 3 dressers by holding down Cntrl and clicking them.

In the material editor click the 'Assign Material to Selection' button (#2),and the 'Show map in Viewport' button (#4). It should come out something like this. If it does not, then we still might be ok! Just e-mail me once you finish this part of the tutorial if it is still not working right!

3. Fitting Textures: UVW Map

Basically, UVW Map is just a fancy way of saying how your texture fits around your object.
It is pretty self-eplanatory and below are just the UVW Map properties of the objects in the scene.

Select the main box of the dresser and go to your modifier tab.

Fig.  d_tab2.gif

Fig. d_tab2.gif

In your modifier list scroll down to UVW Map and click it. This comes up. Change your values to meet these:

Fig 30 _uvwmapmbox.gif

Fig 30 _uvwmapmbox.gif

Dresser Box UVW Map Settings

Fig 31 _uvw-top.gif

Fig 31 _uvw-top.gif

Dresser Top UVW Map Settings
The drawers don't need any UVW settings so well just leave them be.

Our Drawer Pull Texture
Open up the material editor ('M') and click on a blank material slot.

Open the material browser up and goto the material library. Find Metal_Dark_Gold. Dbl-Click and go back the Material Editor. Open the maps rollout.

Uncheck the Reflection box. (You just turned off a 'layer' of the texture by taking away its reflective map.) Now go back up to the main rollout. Click on the color next to the word 'Diffuse:'. You can change the color to anything you want. I chose a nice white. Also, if you are feeling crazy then you can fool around with the glossiness and specular levels. (They determine the shiny-ness [theres a technical term for ya] of the material.)

With that done, select all of the drawer pulls and apply your material to them.

Last time we left off by familiarizing ourselves with moving about the perspective view.

Now its time for... Part 3 - Lighting

1. Familiarization with the Lights

First off I am not going to give you too many definite instructions on this part. I want you to learn from experimentation.

Now, there are 6 different types of lights. I am not going to be talking about the sunlight system. That will come at a different time.











Left to right: Target Spotlight, Free Spotlight, Omni, Target Directional, Free Directional

We will be using 2 Omni Lights in our scene. All of them are pretty self-explanatory! So lets get cracking on our scene!

2. Lights in our Scene

On the tabbar up top, goto the Lights & Cameras Tab and click on 'Omni'. We are using Omni because they provide a nice all-around light that is perfect for our scene. Place 2 lights somewhat like this.

Omni 1 is behind, above, and left of the dresser.
Omni 2 is in front, above and slightly left of the dresser.

The reason we placed Omni 1 as we did is to get a nice sheen off the dresser top. Yet, if we had not placed Omni 2 the front of the dresser would be all shadows.

Now lets take a look at the properties of Omni 1. I circled the things we changed.

Basically, going from top to bottom, the properties say this:

Our light is an Omni light.
It gives off white light.
It casts shadows.
Its light production is at 200% (or multiplied by 2).
Simple enough isn't it?

We changed the multiplier to get a better reflective sheen off of the dresser top.
We changed the casts shadows to true because we want the light to cast shadows!

Now Omni 2. The only property we change on omni 2 is the multiplier. It should be 0.5.

Here is what I have ended up with. If you have something different then thats fine!
As long as it is somewhat near this than you're fine.

But Wait!
Oohh! Ahh! Look at that sheen! Wanna know how to do that? It's all in Part 4...

Last time we finished with our lighting.

Now its time for... Part 4 - Rendering

1. Familiarization with the Render Scene Window

On the main toolbar, Find this button. (You may have to scroll over.)

You can also find it under the 'Rendering' tab on the tab bar.

Let's start with the Time Output Frame. The 3 options you will most likely be using are Single, Active Time Segment (ATS), and Range. Single would be used for anything not an animation. ATS would be used for the full animation you have made. Range is when you want just a small part of your animation to be rendered.

Output Size is the next frame and it simply asks you what size you want your animation or picture to be. Not too much explaining to do there.

The last thing we will deal with today is saving your file. All you need to do is click on the [Files...] button and specify a name and file extension.

Really there is not too much left for you to do in this section. All you need to do is position your dresser how you want in the perspective view. Make sure the perspective view is highlighted. Then click the render scene and specify a file to save to and a size. Now scroll to the bottom and click render. If all goes well you should get something like this. It will vary depending on your perspective positioning.

I really hope you have enjoyed and learned a lot from this tutorial.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to e-mail me!

Colin Barnette

Final Tip! Try venturing on your own and adding a mesh smooth modifier to the drawers and the dresser top. It will make a big difference in the final render! If you have come up with something cool please send me the pic. I would love to see it!

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