3ds max tips & tricks

In this section, you will find small video clips that cover various tips and tricks in 3ds max. All clips are shorter that 10 minutes and if a subject needs more than 10 minutes, it will always be broken in smaller parts. You will find all levels of tips here and this is on purpose. From beginner to advance, the clips are all based on common questions asked after public demonstration, at pods on the show floor of various conventions or simply during personal discussions. I have tried to make these videos useful for everybody.

If you just want to watch the videos, you can click on the file name and it will start to play. If you want to download the video file, rigth click on the file name and choose "save target as".

If you want to receive a friendly email when new videos are posted here, just send an email to EmailMe_MaxTips@LouisMarcoux.com.

Note: this web site is for video tips & tricks only. I am trying to update it with examples that are based on your suggestions and questions. But, please, understand that I am not there to provide technical support on the challenges you may face. I am doing this on my own time (when i have some!!!) to help the community. If you need immediate answers for your production, please contact Autodesk Technical Support. They are an amazing group of specialists that will find what you are looking for.



Latest

All these videos and much more are available on my profile on Autodesk's The Area: http://area.autodesk.com/louis. Go and visit the site to find out!



December 11th 2008
Video Proxy MistyLights.wmv duration: 9:19
See how to create volume atmospheric lights to get fog and smoke in your light rays.

December 11th 2008
Video Proxy ParticlePaint.wmv duration: 11:27
Use the new Particle Paint operator in 3ds max 2009's Creativity Extension to paint particles in a scene. Animated or not.

December 11th 2008
Video Proxy SeeLight.wmv duration: 7:29
Learn how to turn on the light icon at render time so that the actual light source can be seen in the scene and in reflections.

December 11th 2008
Video Proxy STLCheck.wmv duration: 7:08
Use the STL Check modifier to see if a geometry can be used in Pro-Booleans or exported to a game engine without problems. STL Check can help you find open edges and more easily.

December 11th 2008
Video Proxy ViewportLOD.wmv duration: 9:41
Flight Studio is now part of 3ds max since version 2009. Use the Flight Studio's Level Of Detail functionality to interactively change a model's level or detail interactively in the viewport based on the distance between the object and the camera.


Archives

March 26th 2008
Video Proxy OrbitSelectSkin.wmv duration: 2:04
See how you can orbit around selected vertices in the skin modifier.

March 26th 2008
Video Proxy ExportImpProjCage.wmv duration: 4:15
See how you can export the projection cage of an object as an editable poly. Then, how to reimport it back as the final cage for the low polygon object.

March 26th 2008
Video Proxy VertexColorfromFG_AO.wmv duration: 9:19
Learn how to go through Render To Texture in order to save Mental Ray's Final Gather and Ambient Occlusion to the vertex color channel of an object.

March 26th 2008
Video Proxy BackgroundBlend.wmv duration: 10:00
See how to have the floor of a scene to blend smoothly into the background color. See how to do this using 2 methods. This allows a smooth transition between the scene and the background and also allows to capture shadows and reflections on the floor.

March 26th 2008
Video Proxy Substitute.wmv duration: 3:04
See how you can use the substitute modifier to replace a model by another at render time. Also see how you can use an Xref object as the substitute object. This simplfies the scene to be drawn in the viewport but keeps the details for the rendering.

January 21th 2008
Video Proxy UVWMapFromStack.wmv duration: 5:19
Learn how to retreive UV maps from collapsed objects in order to edit them in 3ds max 2008.

January 21th 2008
Video Proxy CloneElement.wmv duration: 3:04
Learn how to clone an element in place in sub-object mode, where the clone function doesn't work.

January 21th 2008
Video Proxy ArchDesignTraceDepth.wmv duration: 8:09
See why the trace depth is important in a scene where many objects are transparent. Learn where the trace depth can be adjusted globally and in the Arch & Design material. This is an important trick since you may encounter black spots in transparent objects and this is going to tell you why.

January 21th 2008
Video Proxy ArchDesignScript.wmv duration: 8:32
After you have realized what is described in the "ArchDesignTraceDepth.wmv" video, you need to change all materials in a scene and you don't know where to start. In this video, learn how to use max script to change a property of the Arch & Design material either it is used as a single material per object or inside a multi-sub material.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy MultiLayerTexture_1.wmv duration: 8:00
Learn how to create a multi-layered texture using a composite map. In this case, see how to place a number on a shirt without affecting the shirt's original texture.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy MultiLayerTexture_2.wmv duration: 8:00
Learn how to create a multi-layered texture like in part 1 but using a mix map instead of a composite map.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy MultiLayerTexture_3.wmv duration: 5:25
Learn how to have multi-layered continuous textures on top of a texture that is made of a multi sub-object material.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy Max2008_NF_EditPoly.wmv duration: 5:09
This video is just a quick overview of how the new features of Edit Poly work in 3ds Max 2008.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy Max2008_NF_WorkingPivot.wmv duration: 5:45
This video is just a quick overview of how the new Working Pivot feature works in 3ds Max 2008.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy Max2008_NF_MultiUVWUnwrap.wmv duration: 3:08
See how you can edit UVW maps for multiple objects at the same time, in the same UVW editor, using 3ds Max 2008.

January 8th 2008
Video Proxy Max2008_NF_Biped.wmv duration: 6:33
Take a look at some of the improvements of Biped in 3ds Max 2008. Some very useful productivity tips in this video.

December 6th 2007
Video Proxy SurfaceFollow.wmv duration: 8:30
Learn how to have rigid objects follow the deformation of a surface without changing their shape.

December 6th 2007
Video Proxy SelectMissingUVs.wmv duration: 10:01
Learn how to create a max script that will automatically select all objects in a scene that don't have UV's defined. This can be useful prior to rendering or prior to export to a game engine in order to see which objects will cause problems because of missing UV's.

December 6th 2007
Video Proxy ShowLayerInSE.wmv duration: 3:06
Learn how to add custom read only properties in the Scene Explorer using max script. In this example, you will see how to display the layer of an object in the Scene Explorer.

December 6th 2007
Video Proxy ShowMissUVInSE.wmv duration: 5:52
Learn how to display if UV's have been defined for objects directly in the Scene Explorer. A special column will show if UV's have been done for all the objects listed. This example mixes the techniques discussed in the ShowLayerInSE.wmv and SelectMissingUVs.wmv videos.

September 13th 2007
Video Proxy WireFrameColor.wmv duration: 6:17
Using MaxScript, you'll learn how to assign random wireframe color to multiple objects. This is useful when you import geometry and all objects come in with the same color. Also, you will see how to remove a material from an object to go back to wireframe color.

September 13th 2007
Video Proxy DWF Publishing.wmv duration: 9:27
Learn how to publish to DWF format so that a 3ds max file with baked lighting can be viewed in full interactive 3D from any computer that doesn't have 3ds max installed. Using DWF and Design Review (free on www.autodesk.com!), you'll see how to anotate 3ds max models and provide feedback on projects.

September 13th 2007
Video Proxy ModifierSets.wmv duration: 7:21
Quick overview of the functionality of the modifier sets and some tips on how to copy them from one 3ds max installation to another.

June 5th 2007
Video Proxy Hidden Line Hotkey.wmv duration: 7:51
This video shows how to add the hidden line display view mode to a hotkey using a macro script. Hidden line view mode has been added to 3ds max 9 but no hotkey was assigned to it. Fix this in a few minutes.

June 5th 2007
Video Proxy Remove Background Image.wmv duration: 2:59
Sometimes, the viewport background image can't be remove from the scene without assigning a new image to the background. In this video, you'll see how to get rid of the missing error problem without having to add a new image in the background.

June 5th 2007
Video Proxy AssetCopy Script.wmv duration: 7:12
The Asset Tracking Window can have a "copy files" feature that can be used as a resource collector. A sample script on the 3ds max installation DVD can add that functionality in the Asset Tracking quad menus. Learn how to get the script from the DVD and add the "copy files" feature in Asset Tracking.

June 5th 2007
Video Proxy RFP Camera Movement.wmv duration: 9:19
Learn how to export the 3ds max camera movement with the .RPF file format when rendering an animation sequence. Then, use this camera movement and the z depth channel in Combustion to have automatic layer masking and tracking.

May 30th 2007
Video Proxy Render Elements Part 1.wmv duration: 9:58
In this video series, you will learn how to render elements from 3ds max and composite them in Combustion to get the same rendering as in 3ds max. In this first video, you'll see how to render the needed elements from 3ds max's rendering panel.

May 30th 2007
Video Proxy Render Elements Part 2.wmv duration: 5:20
In this second video, you'll learn how to use the material overide feature of Mental Ray to get an ambient occlusion element for compositing.

May 30th 2007
Video Proxy Render Elements Part 3.wmv duration: 9:58
The last video covers how to combine all the rendered elements in Combustion. You'll learn the different transfer modes needed to get the best results.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part1.wmv duration: 9:47
In this set of 8 videos, you will learn the workflow to create stereoscopic renderings using the anaglyph 3D technique. In part 1, you will learn how to create the 2 points of view needed to be able to create a stereoscopic image.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part2a.wmv duration: 8:46
In part 2, you will build a full camera rig for stereoscoic rendering. The rig will allow easier manipulation when animating the cameras. Section A focuses on the basic linking of the rig.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part2b.wmv duration: 5:23
In section B, you will learn how to improve the rig so that it can be animated like a regular target camera.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part2c.wmv duration: 9:14
In section C, you will learn how to wire different elements in the rig so that easy changes in the stereoscopic effect can be acheived.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part2d.wmv duration: 8:45
In section D, final esthetic adjustments are made on the rig to make it easier to understand when loaded in a new scene.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part3a.wmv duration: 8:44
In part 3, you will see the first technique to create a single anaglyph 3D image with 2 images. This technique is using a max script so it doesn't require any other application than 3ds max to combine the left and right eye into a single viewable 3D image.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part3b.wmv duration: 6:18
Section B is just the continuation of section A. So, you will continue to learn who to script the combination of 2 images into an anaglyph 3D image using max script.

May 15th 2007
Video Proxy Stereoscopy_Part4.wmv duration: 3:47
In this video, you will learn how to use Combustion to combine 2 image sequences from a stereoscopic rendering into a single image sequence that can be viewed with anaglyph 3D glasses.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy LookAtOnTwoAxisOnly.wmv duration: 3:44
Tip on how to have an object point in the direction of another object that is moving in full 3D space but making sure that the object pointing towards the other stays flat on the ground.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy MatID_vs_MapChannel.wmv duration: 9:34
Introduction to Material ID's and Map Chanels. Those two concepts are often confusing for new users so, in this video, you will learn to clearly differenciate them from each other.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy MirorringInSpace.wmv duration: 4:07
Tip on how to mirror objects in 3D space from arbitrary reference points, not from the coordinate system's origin.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy MuscleObjects.wmv duration: 9:04
Learn how to create muscles for characters using regular max bones. Learn to use the squash & stretch property of the max bones in order to create the proper deformations of muscles so that you can skin to those muscles in a character rig.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy PartlyReflectiveMat.wmv duration: 8:05
Learn how to create materials that are not reflectie everywhere. Using a mask map, you can define areas of a surface that are more reflective than others. This video will explain how to achieve such an effect.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy ViewNavigation_Part1.wmv duration: 8:50
This set of 3 videos is made for the first time users of 3ds max. It is an overview of all the navigation tools of 3ds max. So after these 3 videos, you will be able to better navigate in max viewports and 3D space. This first video focuses on working with viewports and on the various ways to use the mouse to navigate.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy ViewNavigation_Part2.wmv duration: 9:42
In this second video, you will learn various tips on how to optimize your viewport navigation.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy ViewNavigation_Part3.wmv duration: 8:25
In this third video, you will discover more tips on viewport navigation and you will learn the difference between axonometric views and perspective views. You will also go through the various display mode.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy PopUpNotes.wmv duration: 3:41
Learn how to make a pop up note that will be shown when a 3ds max file is opened. Pop up notes can be useful to identify the author of a file or to give important information to an artist that will continue to work on a file after you.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy RadiosityVertexPaint.wmv duration: 9:44
Learn how to calculate a radiosity solution that you can retouch with the vertex paint modifier.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy Symmetrical Modeling Setup.wmv duration: 8:22
Learn a useful technique to start modeling a symmetrical object.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy VertexColorRender.wmv duration: 7:07
Learn how to see the different vertex color channels of an object at render time in both Scanline and Mental Ray renderers.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy VertexPaintHair.wmv duration: 6:22
Tip on how to use the vertex paint modifier to define hair properties, including cut length and color.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy StretchIK_Part1.wmv duration: 9:56
In this set of 2 videos, learn how to create an IK chain that is fully stretchable when extended beyond reach limit.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy StretchIK_Part2.wmv duration: 9:53
Second part of the lesson on how to create a stretchable IK chain.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy CustomSplineIK_P1.wmv duration: 9:06
In this set of 4 videos, you will learn how to create custom spline IK systems. In the first 2 videos you will see how to create a bone chain that can be stretched to match the shape and length of the spline. This technique can be useful for tentacles and sea creatures.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy CustomSplineIK_P2.wmv duration: 7:25
Second video of the custom spline lesson. This video focuses on creating control objects that can modify the shape of the spline.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy CustomSplineIK_P3.wmv duration: 9:28
Another video on custom spline IK that focuses on a different problem than the first 2. This time, you will learn how to create a basic spine system for a character.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy CustomSplineIK_P4.wmv duration: 7:40
Second portion of the lesson on the basic spine system for a character.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy Customize UI Part 1.wmv duration: 8:50
Different tools and techniques to customize the 3ds max user interface.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy Customize UI Part 2.wmv duration: 8:55
More tools and techniques to customize the 3ds max user interface.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy ExtractVertexColor.wmv duration: 1:54
Tip on how to extract vertex color information from a collapsed editable mesh or poly in order to be able to work with it in the vertex paint modifier.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy IK-FK_Blend_P1.wmv duration: 8:40
Set of 3 videos on how to create an IK and FK chain where the animator can blend between the IK controls and the FK controls for the chain. This type of setup is very useful for arms and legs of a character.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy IK-FK_Blend_P2.wmv duration: 9:36
Second video on the blending between IK and FK controls of a chain.

February 8th 2007
Video Proxy IK-FK_Blend_P3.wmv duration: 10:05
Conclusion of the lesson on blending between IK and FK controls of a chain.

February 7th 2007
Video Proxy Road And Terrain Part 1.wmv duration: 6:09
Tip on how to project a flat road on a terrain and keep its 3D thickness intact. First, you'll see how the conform compound object cannot succeed in this operation. Then, you'll see how to use the skin wrap modifier to keep the thickness of the road as it follows the terrain.

February 7th 2007
Video Proxy Road And Terrain Part 2.wmv duration: 4:28
Tip on how to use the morpher modifier and the "Road And Terrain Part 1.wmv" technique in order to use any terrain shape and match a 3D flat road on top of it.