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Basic Modelling Techniques in 3ds Max

By Michael Bauer
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Software used:
3ds Max

16. With this cylinder still selected, I want you to hold Ctrl and then select the dark grey cylinder in the above picture (the first unsmoothed cylinder). With them both selected, right-click > Hide Unselected (Fig.24).

Fig. 24

17. Switch to the Top View and move the small cylinder here (Fig.25).

Fig. 25

We are basically aligning this object to the face, like we did before.

18. Now turn on Affect Pivot Only (Hierarchy tab) and move the pivot of the smaller cylinder to the centre of the larger one by simply using the Move tool (Fig.26).

Fig. 26

Turn off Affect Pivot Only!

19. Now we are going to use our Rotate tool while holding Shift to make copies. If I count the number of faces left to have cylinders placed on them I get 11, so I know that I am going to need 11 copies. First, turn off our Angle Snap toggle (you should know where this is by now), hold Shift, and then rotate the cylinder, like so. Note that we are trying to place the next copy centred to the next face (Fig.27).

When asked, enter 11 for the number of copies.

So here is where we stand now (Fig.28).

Fig. 27
Fig. 28

Not quite aligned as we'd hoped! What happens is that Max is so particular about the offset that anything not perfectly lined up will create this uneven distribution.

FYI: What we should have done is made sure that our very first cylinder was perfectly aligned to the world (X axis = 0, Y axis = 0, Z axis = 0), then when we aligned our cylinder's pivot point we could have just positioned it at 0,0,0 and it would have been perfect and our distribution would have been perfect.

Good to know, huh?

Don't worry, just select each cylinder and rotate it as needed to centre them to the faces - you should end up with this (Fig.29).

Fig. 29

It shouldn't take more than 20 seconds to do this, you're just rotating.

Our rotations are made even easier because the pivot point of those cylinders is centred to the larger cylinder.

Here's what you should have when you go back to the Perspective view and then right-click > Unhide All (Fig.30).

Fig. 30

If you need to make any tweaks to the placement of our new cylinders, do it now.

Once you have this done we are now going to fix our little distribution problem so that our lives will be even easier.

20. Select everything in the scene (Ctrl + A) and then go up to Group > Group. The name doesn't matter. Then, down at the bottom of the screen (with the Move tool selected), set each axis to zero (Fig.31).

Fig. 31

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(ID: 233001, pid: 0) Jeong on Mon, 11 November 2013 5:37pm
Thx! Im Max beginner. Its Fun and very good tutorial for me! xD
(ID: 168777, pid: 0) Neylian on Mon, 26 November 2012 12:33am
Thank! I just started with 3d max and was looking step by step tutorial for beginners! Helped me a lot to learn and master more fundamental skills of modeling! Thank u 1000000 infinite times! :D
(ID: 168122, pid: 0) Patrick on Thu, 22 November 2012 12:22am
Ohh, you're my master. Thanks for this marvel job!
(ID: 114216, pid: 0) Nouzie on Fri, 04 May 2012 8:06pm
Thanks for this tutorial. It`s great!
(ID: 98087, pid: 0) Krs on Mon, 26 March 2012 5:26pm
Fantastic tutorial, loved it, thanks to this lone tutorial I've gotten into Maxscript and having a blast making ridiculous techno-tentacle shapes! :)
(ID: 95705, pid: 0) Mr Fidget on Sat, 17 March 2012 6:07pm
Thank you very much for this simple, yet powerful tutorial.
(ID: 88521, pid: 0) Patrick on Thu, 23 February 2012 4:03pm
wow. that was a very very good tutorial, i still cant believe you made that from one little shape :D thx a lot man :)