Chapter 2 - The modeling - some basics (continued)
Question four: How did you model those parts of the gun? See PIC9
Alright... as you probably all know, the boolean operations in MAX are really, really bad. NEVER ever use boolean operations if you want a clean mesh! I actually use boolean operations sometimes if I want an old-looking, distorted shape and want to save time. I'm not joking! You see those belts around the hunters waist/hip? Those are simple boxes which have been created by the "intersection" - boolean operation together with a copy of the torso! They've been scaled and extruded afterwards. Looks really unregular, doesn't it?
Booleans in Max are crap. It's as simple as that. Unless you've got this expensive program called power-boolean, leave it.
So if you want circular-shaped holes in your model, you need to be creative...
You don't have too many possibilities! I know exactly three of them:
1. Go to editably-poly mode, select a square (!!!) poly, extrude it inwards, smooth it.
You'll end up with a circular-shaped hole.
2. Use the shape-merge compound-object, shape-merge a circle on your object and extrude this shape inwards.
DO NOT smooth afterwards!
3. Use shapes right from the start and extrude those shapes. That's how I did those holes here.
See the following pics for further explanation:
PIC10: Draw your basic shape, use splines.
PIC11: Chose one of those shapes, convert it to editably Spline.
Then attach all the other shapes. Go to the modeling-menu and chose the bevel-modifier. Chose values like shown in PIC11 or whatever values you need for your model! I sometimes get asked "how do you model 3D-letters in Max?" - That's the way to do it!
Just experiment with the bevel-modifier. Combine it with the symmetry-modifier and you'll get fantastic shapes!
Chapter 3 - The Materials
OK! Well.... I'm very lazy. I hate UV's, I hate mapping coordinates, I absolutely hate UVunwrap. I love simple mappings, I love procedural materials, I love everything that saves time.
So I always try to get as many procedural materials as possible. Procedural means: The materials consist of calculated maps which can be tweaked by paramters. You normally don't use any bitmap-textures for them.
So, what's the point in making those procedural mats if you can also draw your maps in Photoshop (or Painter, or whatever...)?
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.
If you use bitmaps, you have control over every single pixel. That means, you can basically create a lot more random looking maps, you can paint scratches, dirt, rust, paint etc. If you're good at drawing that might be the way of your choice. It also renders a lot faster.The disadvantage is, it's not half as dynamic as procedural materials! If you change the shape of your model you need to re-adjust your UV's and re-adjust your textures. By the way: If you need really good textures you're on the right web-site! Go and get those Texture-CD's from 3D-Total! They're excellent and contain tons of photoreal textures, including bump-maps...! I haven't found anything like it somewhere else.
If you use procedural materials, your main advantage is that you can quickly change the look of your whole model by tweaking one or two parameters. In this case, I built ALL those materials using procedurals. The rust, the dirt, the scratches - they're all controlled by a single parameter. That gives me the possibility to change the look of my model from brandnew to totally scratched, dirty and rusted by only changing one parameter.
By the way: I used the "supernoise"-map from blur-studios for it. Go and get Supernoise! it's a lot better than the normal noise-map that comes with max....
The disadvantage is: It renders longer and it takes a long time to create those materials (but you can use them for as many objects as you want afterwards without needing any UV's!). I'll show you how to do it in this tutorial.
Alright.. I'm not going to show you how to texture using UV's and Bitmaps. That might be part of a future-tutorial though.
I'm going to explain to you now the basics of creating blend-materials, using only procedural-materials.
We're going to start with a VERY simple Material. Just to give you some idea of the amount of materials used here: "The Hunter" consists of app. 40-50 procedural materials which are mixed together to about 10 blend-materials which are then cloned and tweaked afterwards.
A good tip for any beginner is: Go and get the simbiont-materials from Dark-Tree! They're available for free for almost all 3D-Programs and they're really good - as long as you don't use them plain! You need to mix them as well, then it starts to look great. I used those simbionts for quite a while until I understood how MAX-materials work. Then I tried to build my own ones... and learned a lot!
That's really a basic rule: If you want to make an old-looking material, don't try to get it done with a single material. Rather build 2,3,4,5...10 materials and mix them! Then you can create very random looking materials without too much effort.