I'm Guy BlueSummers, and this is my tutorial. The reason I made this was not just because I was bored at work one day (though that's how it started). I actually remember when I was starting out with 3DSMax and I realized there aren't enough tutorials out there that really walk you through every click, movement, and heartbeat of production. That's why I decided to model a toaster and document every process along the way. With any luck, if you follow this tutorial, you should end up with something that looks like my toaster here. Note that you should have some background with the interface to start off. You should know how to make a box, how to use your Gizmos, and basically be able to click a mouse. I show you where almost everything is and what your settings should be.
Let's get started!
The key to subdivision modeling for inorganic objects is to remember what kind of shape you're going for. By modeling a toaster, we'll be using simple boxy shapes and we'll work on getting familiar with the mechanics of how Subdivision works through practice. A lot of the time, the inorganic subdivision method is lost on people because they don't understand the kind of influence one vertex or edge has on it's adjacent ones. Hopefully by the end of this tutorial you'll have a real feel for how inorganic modeling works and you'll enjoy the process because it finishes with a toaster. And almost everyone likes toast.
To get started, create a box with the settings I've indicated on the right. We'll be starting with a box because, of course, toasters are kind of rectangular and so it makes logical sense to start here. There isn't much to say except that you'll always want to start with whatever the basic shape you're working with. For instance; working on a piston on a robot? Start with a cylinder!
For this frame, convert the box into an Editable polygon object by right clicking on it and selecting "Convert to Editable Poly". This puts it in a mode that will let you edit it with a very nice toolset. 3DSMax is famous for its Edit Poly tools.
Next, click on the "edge" sub-object mode which will allow you select all the edges along the length of the toaster. These are the longest edges parallel to the way toast would go into the toaster. We'll be grabbing all four edges. Be sure "Ignore Backfacing" is unchecked or you may not get the edge on the corner away from you!
Here I've connected the edges we selected together. I did this by clicking the button that says "Connect". You can find it under the "Edit Edges" rollout just below Target Weld. It's also outlined in the image to the right. It gives us some extra edges to work with in the box. The "connect" tool will be one of the most valuable tools we use in this inorganic sub-d modeling tutorial.
In this frame we're using the "chamfer" tool (pronounced Cham-fur). This can be found to the left of "Connect" which we used above. If you click the word "chamfer" you can use the tool in the viewport with your mouse. If you click the small box next to it you can open the dialog window that allows you to enter a value. I've done the latter to show the more exacting readers what values I used.