Sunday, 12 February 2012


Last week we went over poly modelling in more detail.

Using Convert to Editable Poly on a primitive such as a box or cylinder (by right-clicking and finding it in the drop down menu as shown), we can make it so we can pull around all the individual vertices, edges and polygons of an object, which allows us a lot of control over what shapes we end up with.

However, at some point simply pulling around vertices isn't enough - luckily, 3DS has a bunch more tools to help you model, most of which we went over in creating a model of a quadruped.

The method we used is known as extrusion modelling or box modelling. You start off with a box:

 and then subdivide and extrude it to make legs, a head, tail etc.

I'm not going to detail the entire process here (you'll probably be able to find an internet tutorial that'll go through it step-by-step) - instead I'm going to quickly go through a few useful things you can do with Editable Polys.

With the object selected, the modify panel on the right hand side of the screen is now filled with lots of different buttons and values.

The main thing to remember here is the Selection panel at the top. This has 5 buttons underneath it, which allow you to select different elements of the object -

-   Vertices (points)
-   Edges (lines)
-   Borders (like lines but slightly different)
-   Polygons (flat faces)
-   Elements (selects a "chunk" of polygons within the object)

So, if you have a single point you want to move, make sure Vertices is selected. If you want to move whole faces, make sure Polygons is selected, etc etc.

Each selection method has different tools to help you in modelling. I'm going to go through them left to right, starting with...


  • MAKE PLANAR - this makes a selection of vertices line up in a plane. Pressing the "Make Planar" button makes 3DS sort of line them up arbitrarily. Pressing the "X", "Y", or "Z" buttons next to it will make the selected verts line up on that axis.
The selected vertices (highlighted in red) have been flattened and are now all on the same "plane"
  • RELAX - normalises the geometry a little bit. Can be good if you have some verts sticking out here and there, it'll smooth everything out a bit.


  • RING / LOOP - this will expand your current selection to include all the edges in a ring or a loop around the model.

  • CONNECT - this draws a new edge between two edges, like so:

This can be used on multiple pairs of edges at once. For instance, by using RING to expand your selection and then using connect will draw an edge through the entire ring.



"Borders" selection is mostly used to select "holes" in your model, or any continuous edge that opens out on the model.
  • CAP - Cap is pretty simple - select any border on the model and it will attempt to "fill" the whole with a single polygon. If your hole has lots and lots of sides to it this doesn't work so well - try only to use it to plug 4-sided holes.



  •  EXTRUDE - this is how we made all the extremities of the model - head/tail/legs etc. Extrude projects a plane out of the surface of the mesh, like so:

This is the best way to create extremities or protrusions - another way is just by dragging the polygon out from the surface but this will deform the surrounding geometry.

  • BEVEL - this does pretty much the same thing as extrude, except you can taper the protrusion so it's more like a spine, or a fin.


You generally want to click the little button to the right of most of these tools (with the little black window icon).


this opens up a dialogue box for each of the above where you can control the tools with some precision.

Also whenever you see these arrows, remember you can LEFT CLICK AND DRAG on these to make them go up and down. Also you can RIGHT CLICK them to set them to zero.


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