Making a Chair in 3ds max

Intro

In this tutorial I'm going to teach you how to create the model, materials and lighting of this render below in 3ds max 5:

In the chapters your're going to learn a lot of tecnics and tricks. I'm going to guide you step by step so any person I will be able to follow them. Hope you like it, lets begin!
 

Step 01 - Modeling the Wheel

1) Create a Sphere in Perspective viewport, from this object we are going to model all parts of the wheel. Press the F4 hotkey to make all edges visible.

2) Rotate it 90º, now we have the direction of edges favorable to our objectives.

3) Convert it to Editable Poly, now we are going to create some new polygons. In Polygon subobject, select all top center polygons

4) With Extrude tool, select Local Normal option at Extrusion Type group. Now specifie an Extrusion Height to create a superior layer.

5) From this layer, we are going to extrude new polygons, creating the conection between the wheel and the leg.

6) With a square selection of polygons, make a hole deleting them.

7) Adjuste the format of this hole to be similar to a circle.

8) Now in Border subobject, activate the Select and Move tool and select the hole. Hold Shift key and move it in Z axis, this is going to create new polygons.

9) After this, use Select and Uniform Scale tool to flatten those edges. Repeat the same process more 2 times.

10) If you find necessary, move the vertices of the corner between the layer and connector for a smooth result.

11) Now select this polygons in both sides:

12) Still inside the Polygon subobject, click one time in MSmooth tool and the polygons of your selection will be subdivided by a local Mesh Smooth. With this we are going to have a median-smooth transition from the layer to the conector.

13) If you wish, resize the polygons in the connector not affected by the local MSmooth to match the new size of the subdivided polygons.

14) The new polygons that we've created do not have an appropriate smoothing group. They aren't smooth as the others:

16) The base of the wheel is already completed, lets move to the last 2 details. Select the exterior polygons of both sides:

17) Make sure that Use Pivot Point Center option is selected and than use Select and Uniform Scale tool to flatten those polygons a little. With Use Pivot Point Center option 3ds max will use as reference the center of the two selection group to flatten them separately.



18) Now change to Use Selection Center option and do the same thing, the polygons will be moved to the center of the object breaking the ball looking of the wheel.



19) To finish the model, lets make a little detail in the center of the wheel. Select the middle vertice in the center of both sides.

20) With Chamfer tool, create a new circular group of vertices.



21) Back to Polygon subobject, select the two new polygons created and use Extrude Tool with a negative value to create a hole.

22) Select all polygons and use Auto Smooth again to ajust the smoothing groups and it's done. Since this wheel will not be in prominence, we will not need to worry about it details to deep.

Step 02 - Base elements of the chair

23) After creating the wheel, resize it and move it away for the center of the scene.

24) With a Chamfer Box, create que first leg, like the picture below.

25) Now we have to raise this polygons, creating a nice detail in the leg. When making the shaders, we are going to apply a metal material to the leg and a plastic material do this new detail.

26) With only the leg selected, use the hotkey ALT+Q to enter in the Isolation Mode. In this mode, everything is going to disappear but the selected object.

27) Convert it to Editable Poly, enter in Polygon subobject and select this polygon:

28) Then, use Grow tool and add to the selection the around polygons.

29) Apply to this selection an negative Extrude, with Local Normal option selected. Now the detail is created.

30) Press CTRL+I, this hotkey will invert the selection. Now we have the hole leg selected, but the detail.

31) Check if this selection have the Material ID 1, we are going to use the IDs to apply different materials to the leg like I sad before, one to the leg (metal - id 1) and one to the detail (plastic - id 2).

32) Ivert the selection again and apply ID 2 for this polygons.

33) Exit from the Isolation Mode. Now we are going to make 3 central cylinders.

34) In the Top Viewport, create a Cylinder, this is going to be the bigger one. Remeber to center the object in the center of the scene, is always nice to have object lined up.

35) This is it in the Perspective Viewport.

36) Now again, enter in the Isolation mode pressing the ALT+Q hotkey. Convert this object to Editable Poly, enter in the Edge subobject and select the upper edges.

37) Use Chamfer Tool to chamfer them two times. The first time:

38) And the second time:

39) Lets smooth this new polygons changing to the Polygon subobject, selecting all object polygons and pressing the Auto Smooth button.

40) Leaving the Isolation Mode, this is what we have:

41) Using the same steps above, create one more cylinder in the center of the scene.

42) Select this two cylinders and enter in the Isolation mode. Enter in the Polygon subobject of the bigger cylinder and than select this polygon:

43) Use Inset tool to create a new group of polygons. Try to keep them near to the second cylinder.

44) After using the Inset tool, 3ds max will keep your preview selection, bevel this selection with Bevel tool. Create a hole, aplying to it a negative Height. Don't forget to use Auto smooth button to smooth this new polygons.

45) Next step, the third cylinder, create it using the same steps explained above.

46) Now go to Isolation Mode with the last two cylinders.

40) Leaving the Isolation Mode, this is what we have:

Fig. 2_018

Fig. 2_018

41) Using the same steps above, create one more cylinder in the center of the scene.

Fig. 2_019

Fig. 2_019

42) Select this two cylinders and enter in the Isolation mode. Enter in the Polygon subobject of the bigger cylinder and than select this polygon:

43) Use Inset tool to create a new group of polygons. Try to keep them near to the second cylinder.

44) After using the Inset tool, 3ds max will keep your preview selection, bevel this selection with Bevel tool. Create a hole, aplying to it a negative Height. Don't forget to use Auto smooth button to smooth this new polygons.

45) Next step, the third cylinder, create it using the same steps explained above.

Fig. 2_023

Fig. 2_023

46) Now go to Isolation Mode with the last two cylinders.

47) Convert the lower one to Editable Poly and use Inset tool in the higher polygon of it, just like the other cylinder.

48) With the same selection, move it up in the Z axis.

49) Use Inset tool again:

50) And finish it with a negative bevel.

51) The base structure of this object is done, we just have to smooth some edges. Same process, select this edges:

52) And chamfer them:

53) Select this edges:

54) And chamfer them:

55) Auto smooth this new polygons and it's done.

56) What we have till now:

57) Spin the wheel about 60 degrees to give it a more natural position.

58) With the Select and Link tool, link the wheel to the leg.

59) Now this is very important because of the array we're going to create: select the Leg, go to the Hierarchy panel, click one time on the Affect Pivot Only button and move the Pivot Point to the center of the scene. After that, click one more time on the Affect Pivot Only.

60) Select the wheel and the leg, go to Tools > Array. Use these settings:

61) After this process, you're going to have 5 legs with 5 wheels.

62) Last step, aplying some new colors. Just for a better visualization.

63) In Viewport Top, create a Rectangle (shape). Remeber to make a square and align it to the center of the scene.



64) Go to its Modify panel and raise the Corner Radius parameter.

65) Establish the height to the Rectangle in Perspective Viewport (Z axis).

66) If you wish, enable the Display as Box option in the legs objects on Properties panel (right click). This will optimize the scene and improving your workflow if your system is slow.

67) Now create another rectangle in Left Viewport.

68) Convert it to Editable Spline, go to Vertex subobject and use Fillet tool to give the rectangle this form:

69) Now back to Perspective Viewport and select the Seat Rectangle (the first one), after this access Create > Geometry > Compound Objects > Loft. With loft tool we are going to create the Seat Border. Click on the Get Shape button and select the second rectangle we've created. At this point remember to select Instance option (under Get Shape button), with this any modification that the Shape suffer, Loft will automatically update the final format of the object.

70) I don't know If you noticed, but this border is with it's corners inversed. If this happen, go to Loft Modify Panel and inside Shape subobject rotate the gizmo.

72) Remeber the first rectangle that we used with the Loft tool? Select it and make a copy. We are going to create a cover for the botton of the seat.

73) Copy created, select and use Extrude modifier on it.

74) Now we have the border and the cover of the seat, let's now create the seat it self. To do this we are going to use a Box Primitive, create one and convert to Editable Poly.

75) Apply a MeshSmooth modifier with value 3 in Interations. Ok, we've broken the box looking but now we have a sphere looking.

76) To fix this, go back to Editable Poly root and create some aditional edges to sustain MeshSmooth interations.

77) Result:

Fig. 3_015

Fig. 3_015

78) Now it's up to you to resize the polygons of this seat to get close of the border boundary.

79) After a few tries, I got this shape below. You can do this with a ChamferBox Primitive, but I don't like it Smoothing groups.

80) With the Border, Cover and the Seat selected, enter in the Isolation Mode.

81) Select the Seat and apply an Editable Mesh modifier on it. Enter in the Polygon subobject, select these polygons and delete them. You problaby going to do this if you want to delete unecessary polygons or the botton of the Seat is overtaking the Cover boundary.

82) Great, now we are going to apply a FFD 4x4x4 modifier on the Seat to make some curvers.

83) Final curves:

84) Last step is change some colors and it's done for now.

Step 04 - Making the back support

Next step is create the back support of the chair. You are going to do almost the same steps used on the seat, that's why you are just going to see a slide show.

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Step 05 - Connecting the seat and back support

106) We are going to create two conections. One will connect the back support to the seat.

107) And the other will connect the seat to the center of the chair.

108) Let's start with this second object. In the Front Viewport create an Spline like this:

109) With Shift Key pressed, use Select and Rotate tool and rotate this shape making a copy of it (like Mirror).

110) Do not forget to Weld this central vertex with the Weld tool in the Vertex subobject.

111) After this you can delete this vertex pressing the Backspace on your keyboard. Now you have one single object. Select this four vertices.

112) And fillet them.

113) Go to the Spline subobject, select the hole spline and use the Outline tool like this:

114) Now apply an Extrude modifier to this shape.

115) You can alway back to the base of this object (Line) and edit it vertices and segments.

116) Next step is make a cylindrical rubber in this area.

117) So create a Cylinder primitive.

118) Reduce it Side parameter to 8 and Height Segments to 1. Now we have a low polygon object.

119) Convert this object do Editable Poly and delete this big face.

120) Same for this face, delete it.

121) From the Subdivision Surface menu, enable Use NURMS Subdivision options and raise Interations parameter to 2. This will give you a subdivided model feedback in real time.

122) Go to Border Subobject and select the first border. Active the Scale Tool and hold the Shift key from your keybord, than click and drag X and Y axis at the same time. This will create new polygons and we're starting to shape our rubber.

123) Now with Select and Move Tool, hold down shit key againd and move the border in Z axis creating a kind of border.

124) Use the same tecnique of Scale Tool with shift key in the botton border.

125) If you wish, go to other Subobjects and re-shape it.

126) Model of rubber done.

127) Now lets connect the back support to the seat. In the Left Viewport, create a Line like this:

128) In Front Viewport move it to one of the sides.

129) And than chamfer the vertex located in the corner.

130) In any viewport, go to Spline subobject, select the spline, hold down shift key and move this line to the other side creating a new copy of it.

131) Go to Back viewport and click at Snap Toggle to enable snaping. Right click on the same icon and just enable Vertex Snaping.

132) Now create a Arc Shape from one vertex to other (of the support).

133) Attach this new Arc to the other two Splines.

134) Access the Vertex Subobject and weld the vertices.

Fig. 5_029

Fig. 5_029

135) This is what we have so far.

Fig. 5_030

Fig. 5_030

136) Remeber the loft shapes? We have to create one more, start with a Rectangle.

Fig. 5_031

Fig. 5_031

137) Adjust it parameters:

138) Now make a loft with this shape from the base spline been the path.

139) This is what we got:

Step 06 - Creating details

140) Let's add some details to this chair creating a handle and some screws.

141) First of all we will make the screws. It can be easly done with a tube primitive. Remeber to reduce it's Sides parameter, otherwise it will not look like a screw.

142) Copy it to the other side of the chair.

143) Now let's create four screws in the central connection. It's easy too and can be done with a Cylinder primitive.

144) Make 4 copy of it:

145) Next step we're going to create the handle. Let's start with a Spline in Top Viewport. With Line command active, create an L shape from the center of the chair.

146) After you create this Spline, go to it's Modify panel and enable Renderable and Display Render Mesh options. This way the Spline will have volume. Adjust it's thickness in the Thickness parameters if you wish.

147) After this, access the Vertex Subobject and chamfer the vertex in the corner like this:

148) In Front Viewport, create a Spline like this in the tip of the handle. This will be a little rubber.

149) Apply a Lathe modifier, make some tweeks and it's done.

Step 07 - Adjustments

150) First off all, let's reduce the thickness of this border.

151) You can do this accessing the Shape subobject of the border, after this select the shape object and scale it down.

152) And than you will have to re ajust the seat position and scale.

153) Now start to move things up and down to make one part closer to the other and make them more proportional.

154) And ajustments are done.

Step 08 - Materials

160) Central base cylinder:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Anisotropic
Difuse color: Value 82
Specular Level: 78
Glossiness: 10
Anisotropy: 85

161) Chrome cylinder:
Choose a new slot and apply a Bitmap Map at the Reflection Channel. In this tutorial I've used the HONGKONG.JPG (you can find it at 3dsmax\maps\Backgrounds). Change the mapping type to Cylindrical Environment and reduce the map influence to 60.

162) Metal parts:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Blinn
Difuse color: Value 25
Specular Level: 157
Glossiness: 19

163) Screws:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Strauss
Difuse color: Value 119
Glossiness: 82
Metalness: 21

164) Covers:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Blinn
Difuse color: Value 69
Specular Level: 14
Glossiness: 0

165) Borders:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Blinn
Difuse color: Value 30
Specular Level: 159
Glossiness: 41

166) Seat:
Material type: Standard
Shader: Blinn
Difuse color: Apply a Falloff map to this channel and change the first color to R: 0; G: 74; B: 5; and the second R: 133; G: 190; B: 137;
Specular Level: 159
Glossiness: 41
Little gif for reference:

167) Change de background of your scene to this color: R=82; G=104; B=131

168) If you render, you will have something
like this:
 

Step 09 - Lighting

169) We are going to make a very simple light setup with the Light tracer. First off all create a floor.

170) After this, create a Target Spot from Top Viewport.

171) Move it in the Z axis lifting it up.

172) For this light use this configurations: turn Shadows on with Area Shadows type. Use a Multiplier of 0,6. Raise the Hotspot/Beam to 85,0.

173) Next step is create a Omni in this position with a Multiplier of 0,3 casting NO shadows.

174) Create then a Skylight (anywhere) with a Multiplier of 0,45.

175) Open Light Tracer panel and change Rays/Sample to 200, Filter Size to 1 and Cone Angle to something near to 42.

176) When you render, you'll have something like this. Great :)

Hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial. Sorry if you find any English errors, this isn't my native language. Bye!

Filipe M. Deschamps
Redpixel Team