Session 1B – 3DS Max interface

This is an image of the basic functions of 3DS Max, all positioned across the top toolbar.Toolbarnew
There are a few basic functions in 3DS Max located in the top left of the software. These includes Select, which lets you select objects in the scene. Scene Objects, this lets you see and select any objects in the scene by showing you them in a list. Another function is Select Region, it lets you drag a box around objects in the scene to select them, next to that, is the Window Crossing tool. Moving to the next section, the first tool is Move, which lets you move an object in any direction without change of size. The next tool is called Rotate, it does exactly what it says- rotates an object that you select, without changing it’s form or position. The tool next to that is Scale’, which lets you increase or decrease an object in any direction. Beneath is an image of the tools I explained.


There a couple of other useful tools which are further along the top toolbar in 3Ds Max, such as Snap toggle, which lets you snap you curser to a point on the grid in the viewports. The other tool is called Angle Snap, it does the same sort of thing only on the aspects of rotating an object. Below is an image of what these tools look like.


Underneath is a picture of the Command Panel tabs, they are located on the right of the screen in 3DS Max. They include; Create, Modify, Hierarchy, Motion, Display and Utilities. The one that is used most is the ‘Create’ tab, it lets you create all different types of polygons and particle systems.


The viewports are the windows to your mesh. There are four of them in the default view and each one is a different view of the object in the scene. If you click the middle of all four viewports and drag, you can resize all of the viewports in one sweep. The top left viewport is aimed at the top of the object in the scene, the top right is aimed at the front of the scene and the bottom left is aimed at the left of the object in the scene. The final viewport is the bottom right, in it’s default view, it is set at a perspective whew which is aimed at the top, front and left sides of the object. Each one is movable and changeable to your liking by using the view cube. This is an image showing only the viewports in 3DS Max.


The view cube is the little white cube in the top right of each viewport. If you click and drag it you can orbit around the scene and if you click each side it will automatically aim at the object in that direction. Around the bottom of the view cube is a circle, this lets you rotate the object (or your position), but doesn’t change the height of the view. Although the view cube is the most straight-forward option for navigation, it isn’t necessarily the fastest to use. A faster option is by using the keyboard shortcuts and mouse buttons. You can use the Alt key and hold the middle mouse button you can navigate just like clicking and dragging the view cube. If you just click and hold the scroll wheel you can just pan the view without orbiting. This is the view cube.


A feature of the software I haven’t covered yet are the Gizmos, these appear when you have selected the ‘Scale’, ‘Move’, or ‘Rotate’ tools. Below is what they looks like, and they will appear in the centre of the object(s) you select.


The last thing I will mention is the use of Function keys, they help you get a greater understanding of your model by giving you an option of different types of view. F2 is the toggle for making the selection you make completely red, this could help with intricate models where objects overlap. Another function is F3, this lets you turn Wireframe on/off so that you can just focus on the vertices and edges, it completely removes the fill for any faces in the scene. F4 is the last function, this highlights the edges of any object in the scene. This may help when you want to keep an eye on the poly count in your scene.

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