Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 Essentials: Autodesk Official Press
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More About This Title Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 Essentials: Autodesk Official Press


Great guide to the fundamentals of Autodesk 3ds Max 2014

This Autodesk Official Press guide is just what you need to learn the basics of Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 quickly and easily. Through a series of cool projects like designing an alarm clock, animating a thrown knife, or lighting a scene, you'll learn the essentials of modeling, rigging, animating, and rendering using the popular Autodesk 3ds Max 3D animation and effects software. It's a practical, hands-on approach allowing you to constantly reinforcing skills as you learn them.

Downloadable before-and-after project files let you to compare your work to that of 3ds Max professionals. Even if you already have experience with 3ds Max, this book is a great reference for renewing your skills. And, it will help all users review and prepare for the Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 certification exams.

  • Helps beginners and those migrating from other 3D animation and effects programs get up and running on Autodesk 3ds Max 2014
  • Features a realistic, task-based approach, so readers learn via a series of hands-on projects using downloadable files, all backed with ample instruction, explanation, and illustration
  • Covers modeling, rigging, animating, rendering, skinning, architectural visualization, and more
  • Written by Autodesk Authorized Authors and is an Autodesk Official Press book

Get firsthand experience with 3ds Max, as well as a good start on preparing for the Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 Certified Professional exam, with Autodesk 3ds Max 2014 Essentials.


Randi L. Derakhshani teaches 3D and visual effects at The Art Institute of California and has worked as a digital artist and technical director for games and movie projects with Gizmo Games, RJB Enterprises, and Sony. Dariush Derakhshani is an award-winning visual effects supervisor, author, and educator. He has worked on movies such as The Fantastic Four and Pan's Labyrinth, the South Park TV series, and numerous commercials and music videos. He teaches 3D animation and is the author of all of Sybex's Introducing Maya books. Dariush and Randi are also coauthors of all of Sybex's Introducing 3ds Max books, as well as Autodesk 3ds Max 2013 Essentials. Randi and Dariush are also Autodesk Certified Instructors.


Introduction xv

Chapter 1 The 3ds Max Interface 1

The Workspace 1

User-Interface Elements 2

Viewports 4

ViewCube 6

Mouse Buttons 7

Quad Menus 7

Display of Objects in a Viewport 8

Viewport Navigation 10

Transforming Objects Using Gizmos 11

Graphite Modeling Tools Set 12

Command Panel 14

Object Parameters and Values 15

Modifier Stack 15

Objects and Sub-Objects 16

Time Slider and Track Bar 16

File Management 16

Setting a Project 17

Version Up! 18

The Essentials and Beyond 18

Chapter 2 Your First 3ds Max Project 19

Setting Up a Project Workflow 19

Ready, Set, Go…Set Project! 20

Ready, Set, Reference! 20

Time to Model a Clock! 25

Modeling in Sub-Object Mode 26

Bring on the Bevel 30

Chamfer Time 32

In Splines We Trust 38

One Lathe to Make a Whole 45

Introducing the Dynamic Duo: Extrude & Bevel 49

Bringing It All Together 54

The Essentials and Beyond 56

Chapter 3 Modeling in 3ds Max: Architectural Model Part I 57

Units Setup 58

Importing a CAD Drawing 59

Creating the Walls 61

Creating the Doors 64

Creating the Window 68

Adding a Floor and Ceiling 70

Creating Baseboard Moldings 72

The Essentials and Beyond 78

Chapter 4 Modeling in 3ds Max: Architectural Model Part II 79

Modeling the Couch 79

Blocking Out the Couch Model 80

Using NURMS to Add Softness 82

Adding Details to the Couch 85

The Chaise Lounge 89

Creating the Couch Feet 90

Modeling the Lounge Chair 93

Creating Image Planes 93

Adding the Materials 94

Building the Splines for the Chair Frame 95

Creating the Chair Cushion 101

Creating the Lounge Chair’s Base 103

Bringing It All Together 108

The Essentials and Beyond 110

Chapter 5 Introduction to Animation 111

Animating the Ball 112

Copying Keyframes 113

Using the Track View–Curve Editor 114

Reading Animation Curves 116

Refining the Animation 118

Editing Animation Curves 119

Squash and Stretch 121

Setting the Timing 123

Moving the Ball Forward 124

Using the XForm Modifier 127

Animating the XForm Modifier 128

The Essentials and Beyond 130

Chapter 6 Animation Principles 131

Anticipation and Momentum in Knife Throwing 131

Blocking Out the Animation 131

Trajectories 134

Adding Rotation 135

Adding Anticipation 137

Following Through 139

Transferring Momentum to the Target 140

The Essentials and Beyond 142

Chapter 7 Character Poly Modeling: Part I 143

Setting Up the Scene 143

Creating Image Planes 144

Adding the Material to the Image Plane 145

Beginning the Soldier Model 146

Forming the Torso 147

Creating the Arms 158

Creating the Legs 161

Fixing Up the Body 166

The Essentials and Beyond 168

Chapter 8 Character Poly Modeling: Part II 169

Completing the Main Body 169

Creating the Accessories 173

Utility Belt 173

Pouch 174

Vest 177

Leg Strap 178

Gun Holster 182

Putting on the Boots 183

Creating the Hands 188

The Essentials and Beyond 192

Chapter 9 Character Poly Modeling: Part III 193

Creating the Head 193

Outlining the Head 196

Rounding Out the Face 203

Creating the Back of the Head 205

Mirroring the Head 206

Merging and Attaching the Head’s Accessories 207

The Essentials and Beyond 208

Chapter 10 Introduction to Materials: Interiors and Furniture 209

The Slate Material Editor 210

Material Types 211

Standard Materials 211

mental ray Material Types 212

Shaders 212

Mapping the Couch and Chair 213

Creating a Standard Material 213

Applying the Material to the Couch 214

Adding a Bitmap 216

Introduction to Mapping Coordinates 218

Applying the Material to the Lounge Chair 223

Mapping the Window and Doors 228

Creating a Multi/Sub-Object Material 228

The Essentials and Beyond 233

Chapter 11 Textures and UV Workflow: The Soldier 235

UV Unwrapping 236

Pelting the Arms UVs 242

Unwrapping and Using Pelt for the Head 245

Seaming the Rest of the Body 249

Unfolding the Rest of the Body 250

Applying the Color Map 257

Applying the Bump Map 258

Applying the Specular Map 261

The Essentials and Beyond 262

Chapter 12 Character Studio: Rigging 263

Character Studio Workflow 263

General Workflow 264

Associating a Biped with the Soldier Model 266

Creating and Modifying the Biped 266

Adjusting the Torso and Arms 272

Adjusting the Neck and Head 274

Applying the Skin Modifier 275

Tweaking the Skin Modifier 278

Controlling the View 287

The Essentials and Beyond 290

Chapter 13 Character Studio: Animation 291

Animating the Soldier 291

Adding a Run-and-Jump Sequence 292

Adding Freeform Animation 294

Modifying Animation in the Dope Sheet 299

The Essentials and Beyond 304

Chapter 14 Introduction to Lighting: Interior Lighting 305

Three-Point Lighting 305

3ds Max Lights 306

Standard Lights 307

Target Spotlight 307

Target Direct Light 309

Free Spot or Free Direct Light 310

Omni Light 311

Lighting a Still Life in the Interior Space 312

Selecting a Shadow Type 319

Shadow Maps 320

raytraced Shadows 320

Atmospheres and Effects 321

Creating a Volumetric Light 321

Adding Shadows 323

Excluding an Object from a Light 324

Adding a Volumetric Effect 327

Volume Light Parameters 329

Light Lister 329

The Essentials and Beyond 330

Chapter 15 3ds Max Rendering 331

Rendering Setup 331

Common Tab 333

Choosing a Filename 334

Rendered Frame Window 334

Render Processing 334

Assign Renderer 336

Rendering the Bouncing Ball 336

Cameras 338

Creating a Camera 339

Using Cameras 339

Talk Is Cheap! 340

Animating a Camera 341

Clipping Planes 342

Safe Frames 343

Raytraced Reflections and Refractions 345

Raytrace Material 345

Raytrace Mapping 347

Refractions Using the Raytrace Material 348

Refractions Using Raytrace Mapping 351

Rendering the Interior and Furniture 353

Adding Raytraced Reflections 353

Outputting the Render 355

The Essentials and Beyond 356

Chapter 16 mental ray 357

mental ray Renderer 357

Enabling the mental ray Renderer 357

mental ray Sampling Quality 358

Final Gather with mental ray 360

Basic Group 361

Advanced Group 363

The mental ray Rendered Frame Window 364

mental ray Materials 364

Using Arch & Design Material Templates 366

Creating Arch & Design Materials 369

Multi/Sub-Object Material and Arch & Design 370

3ds Max Photometric Lights in mental ray Renderings 372

3ds Max Daylight System in mental ray Renderings 378

The Essentials and Beyond 384

Appendix Autodesk® 3ds Max® Certification 385

Index 389