So I’ve been blabbing about 3D for a while now so I think it might be time to pass on some of the fundamentals to anyone who’s interested. Ever wanted to learn 3D? Now’s as good a time as any to have a crack at it.
As with every other guide I’ve done, this is for absolute beginners. If you want to give 3D a try, hopefully this will make your first experience a bit easier. I’m going to be giving you the barebones of the interface, only what you need to get started.
I’m using 3DS-Max, specifically the 2009 version but trust me they haven’t changed anything important in about 10 years so this stuff should work no matter what version you’re using.
Alright, enough talk. Let’s get this shit rolling.
Don’t worry, it’s as complicated as it looks but we’re only going to be looking at a couple of buttons today.
Step 1 :Navigation
Those four windows are called viewports. Each viewport gives you a different view of the workspace from a different direction. You can see which direction each viewport is showing by looking in the top-left corner of it. The viewport with the yellow boarder around it is the active viewport so it is the one you’ll be working in. If you want to change the viewport you’re working in, just click one of the others.
Each of these buttons does something to help you get around the workspace but for this lesson, we’re only using the two at the bottom-right.
The first one which looks like a yellow cycle with arrows coming out of it is the orbit tool. Click it and a yellow cycle will pop up in the active viewport, like the one in the first image. Now you’re ready to move around a bit.
Hold down the left mouse button over the active viewport and the camera will spin round on the spot. If there’s an object in the scene and you’ve got it selected, the camera will orbit the object.
If you roll the scroll wheel in the middle of the mouse, the viewport will zoom in and out.
Finally, if you press down the scroll wheel, the viewport will move in the direction you drag the mouse.
If you ever move things around to the point where you’re not sure where you are, just hit the Z key and the window will either move back to the centre of the workspace or focus on a selected object.
The second symbol that looks like two boxes with an arrow is the Maximize Viewport Toggle. If you click it the active viewport expands to fill the screen. Press it again and you go back to the four windows.
Step 2: makin’ shapes
To put one of them in the workspace just click on something from the list, move over to the viewport and then drag the shape out.
Once you put a shape into the workspace, the column will change to give you options for what you’ve just created. You can get back to the shapes list by clicking the arrow at the top –left of the column.
Step 3: move it, spin it, stretch it, work it
You know how to make objects. You know how to move around them. Now it’s time to change them.
Fairly self explanatory. The Move Tool let’s you move things, the Rotate Tool let’s you rotate things and the Scale Tool lets you scale things. Once you select an object to move/rotate/scale, the tool will appear over the object so you can alter it in the viewport. If you want to make more precise changes to an object, just right click on the move/rotate/scale button and then you’ll be able to enter numbers for all 3 dimensions.
And that’s it! You’ve got everything you need to get started. Have a play with the controls and see if you can get a handle on the interface. Once you’re a bit more comfortable with the software, try building something.
If you have any questions or get stuck on anything just send me a message and I’ll get back to you forthwith.
See you next week!