3D Studio MAX R3
Special thanks to the book team: Cheryl Applewood and Mariann Barsolo
at Sybex, patient and patient. Did I mention patient? Bernadette Mural,
Gary Davis, Clare McDonough, Melissa Atchley, Michele Matossian, and of
course my co-authors Alexander, Alex, and Cat.
To the behind-the-scenes folks, inspirers, and facilitators: JC, Mike
Bendele, Bill Marimon, Nate Selikoff, Jared Dufour, Dan Ramirez, Jim Selikoff,
Curtis Sponsler, Joan Davies, Swami, Bob Hichborn, my college professors
Downing Barnitz and James Rogers Ph.D., Gary Rackliff, Robert Olrich (Chagrin
Falls High School geometry teacher, the only math class I ever
liked), Steve Cameron Ph.D., and David Robinson. Especially my mom, Barbara.
To the Discreet Training Crew, it is a distinct honor to be counted among
you: Diane Duffey, Kim ONeal, Alexander Esppeschit Bicalho, Ted
Boardman, Hawkin Chan, Gary Davis, Kevin Gilson, Kim Lee, Pia Maffei,
Clare F.B. McDonough, Alex Monteiro, Jim Robb, Steven Schain, Amer Yassine,
Special thanks to Creative Television Communications for Royal Caribbean
Inter-nationalVoyager of the Seas, whose team created the Magic
City image used on the cover. The image was created using 3D Studio
MAX R3 with modeling and animation by Chris Murray, Mike Bendele, and
To foot-warmers Matisse, Monet, and MP; to heart-warmer Alicia, my one
For sharing with me their understanding of art, animation, cinematography,
and computer graphics, I would like to thank Alex Lindsay, Ben de Leeuw,
Ken Robertson, Jeff Abouaf, Jon Zax, Celia Pearce, Bert Monroy, Marc Abraham,
and Michele Matossian.
For pure inspiration, I thank Caroline Casey (Making the Gods Work
For You) and Tim Robbins (The Cradle Will Rock).
I thank everyone who worked on this book: Chris Murray, Alex Monteiro,
Alexander Bicalho, Gary Davis, Pete Gaughan, Scott Onstott, and Mariann
I would also like to offer a very personal and heartfelt thanks to Jerek
Carnelian, Becky Taber, and Leslie Walperthe people who made it
possible for me to pursue my goals in this field.
I would like to thank Borislav Petrov, Larry Minton, Ravi Karra, Simon
Feltman, and Luis Estrada for all their time and patience answering my
questions about scripting. Id also like to thank Cheryl, Mariann,
Pete, and Scott for helping me understand what I had written. Also thanks
to my family, girlfriend, and friends for their support. A special thanks
to Chris, who allowed me to be in this project and believed that I could
I would like to thank Chris Murray and Alexander Bicalho for their friendship
and support. In addition, I thank the Sybex Team for giving me the opportunity
to be part of this book and for creating a very enjoyable and helpful
atmosphere. To all my family and friends, thank you for your encouragement
throughout this process. Most importantly I would like to thank my wife
Dawn for her never-ending love, support and patience. Thank you for always
believing in me.
This book was especially designed for people who have played around with
3D Studio MAX, perhaps learned parts of the program in detail, but are
missing some of the basics and want to take themselves to the next level
in their progress towards true mastery. The book can also be used by beginners,
as it reviews the basic tools and concepts of MAX before moving onto more
advanced material. Beginners should give themselves a little extra time
to play around with the tools and get the feel of the program as they
work through the book.
This is not an exhaustive book on MAX. (I defy anyone to write a truly
exhaustive book on a program of this depth. Besides being a set of at
least a dozen encyclopedias, it would be obsolete within an hour when
the next plug-in was written.) Youre not going to read this book
in a matter of weeks and suddenly have mastered 3D Studio MAX,
ready to create a demo reel that will get you a job at Pixar. This book
is designed to raise the base level of understanding of developing MAX
users. It provides a solid foundation in the essential concepts of 3D
computer graphics and the many related fields, explores some of the more
complex subjects in detail to stretch you into unfamiliar territory, and
introduces a variety of other topics to offer an overview of the myriad
pathways available in the world of 3D Studio MAX.
Becoming a good animator in 3D computer graphics means learning the traditional
principles of drawing and painting, the principles of modeling in three
dimensions, and the principles of motion and animation. It means learning
the givens of computer graphics as well as the rich language of film.
It means learning lighting, sound design, camera work, editing, and special
effects. It means learning to storyboard an idea and direct it to completion.
Thats a lot of learning curves to broach at once. As anyone in these
fields can tell you, any one of these areas takes years, if not decades,
to master. Youre not going to learn them all overnight, and theyre
not all going to be covered in full detail in a single book.
If you are serious about wanting to master 3D Studio MAX, you have a
lot of further study ahead of you. You can start by accepting that the
goal of achieving mastery as a CG animator means a long-term commitment,
one that may take many years and still be refined for the rest of your
life. You need patiencewith yourself and with the process of reaching
for the next levelin order to continue your progress. You will hit
thresholds of frustration where you dont understand whats
wrong and feel completely stuck. And then you will get past them. Never
forget that you are learning a program that has a community of 100,000
users, many of whom are willing to share their knowledge and help solve
problems. The only thing that can entirely stop your progress is giving
||TIP The 3D Studio
MAX Web board is a wonderful resource for users. Go to http://support.ktx.com/~max.
While you are learning, give yourself time to just play with the program,
explore it, let things blow up on you, and learn from the experience.
There is no linear way to learn MAX, since everything affects everything
else and there are at least half a dozen ways to do most things. Have
fun with it. If it stops being fun, take a break from it.
Learning MAX is an endeavor that will involve both sides of your brain
to capacity. Be sure to feed each. Balance your technical education with
studies in drawing, sculpture, film, creative writing, and classic animation.
Also, to be blunt, know Photoshop. If there is one computer graphics program
to learn very well in addition to MAX, its Photoshop. Every other
computer graphics program uses the standards established by Photoshop.
Be sure, while educating the lobes of your brain, to take care of the
rest of your body as well. Nothing you create in CG is worth being debilitated
by severe eyestrain, tendonitis, or carpal tunnel syndrome. Get an ergonomic
setup that works for you. Drink lots of water. Take breaks to stretch,
change the focus of your eyes, and yes, even have a life.
Finally (and I really should have said this first), remember that the
purpose of creating CG images is to convey a message to an audience. So
have something to say. The cultural imagination has already been saturated
with animation and other art that is devoid of meaningful content. Blowing
up a jetfighter is not a story. Blowing up a jetfighter while Luke refuses
to give into hate, thus freeing his father from enslavement to hatrednow
that is a story.
|Visualization: The Second Computer
||Richard Mark Friedhoff and William Benzon
|Photoshop Channel Chops
||David Biedny, Bert Monroy, and Nathan
|Photoshop, Illustrator, Painter Side
|Bert Monroy: Photorealistic Techniques
in Photoshop and Illustrator
|Principles of Color Design: Designing
with Electronic Color
|Principles of Color
|The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
||Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
|The Art of the Storyboard
|Animating Facial Features and Expressions
||Ben de Leeuw
|Industrial Light and Magic: Into the
||Mark Cotta Vaz and Patricia Rose Duignan
Hardware and Software Considerations
This book will be a great resource to any MAX animation studio. Of course,
to get the most out of this book, it is recommended that you have a system
you can use to experiment with files contained on the CD.
3D Studio MAX does not come with this book, so you will need the following
to do the exercises:
- A current copy of 3D Studio MAX Release 3.0
- Pentium-class machine (or similar, PII or
- Windows 98/NT (NT preferred) operating system
- 1280×1024, 24-bit display (preferred;
1024× 768 will work)
- CD-ROM drive
- 4GB hard drive space (recommended)
For up-to-date system requirements, please refer to the manuals included
with your software.
Meeting these requirements will allow you to maximize the data contained
on the CD. Additionally, programs like Discreet paint* and effect*, though
not explicitly covered in this book, will enhance your capabilities with
MAX and provide greater options when using the program. These programs
are not required to use 3D Studio MAX or this book and CD.
If you ever get a message that says Missing Map Files when
you open up a .max file, the problem is that MAX doesnt
know where to look for your bitmap files. You will need to add a new bitmap
path to the files from this books CD.
Determine where the files are. If you followed the instructions on the
CD, the chapter files installed themselves in C:\Mast_3DStudioMAX.
You can also access the files by chapter on the CD, or drag them into
the \Maps folder in your MAX directory.
In MAX, go to Customize Ø Configure
Paths and click the Bitmaps tab. Click the Add button and browse through
your drives and folders to add a new bitmap path to the folder with the
Now reopen your .max file, and this time the program will
automatically find the bitmaps used in the scene.
Whats Covered in
Part I: MAX
The introductory chapters are the foundation for the rest of the book.
We as a team tried to portray the chapters as a clean and easy way to
understand the fundamentals that the reader will need to rely on throughout
This part introduces you to the vital basics you need to know to get
to know and use 3D Studio MAX R3 effectively.
Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of the terms, descriptive concepts,
and methods behind creating 3D graphics. This chapter will give you a
starting point if you have never used a 3D program before, introducing
you to vertices, faces, edges, and other items that make up 3D.
Chapter 2 describes the basic concepts of creating, manipulating, animating,
and rendering objects in 3D space and time.
Chapter 3 will familiarize you with the 3D Studio MAX R3 interface and
explain how to negotiate itwhere to locate the modeling tools, modify
objects, navigate scenes, apply textures and render, adjust animation,
and customize the interfaceeverything youll need to move on
to the rest of the book.
Part II: Modeling
The Modeling section will take you through the basics, as well as some
more intricate features of modeling in 3D Studio MAX.
Youll start by getting an overview in Chapter 4, where you begin
with the actual process of creating objects for use in MAX. This chapter
will provide you with a guide to frequently used objects, modifiers, sub-object
tools, and their functions.
Chapter 5 takes modeling a step further to bring you closer to the main
organic modeling options in MAX: patch modeling, NURBS modeling, and subdivision
surface modeling. You will explore the different methods and use MAX Surface
Tools to create a model. This chapter will describe the different tools
and approaches available to each type of model and give you important
pointers for successful modeling.
Although animation can be very complex, we take the mystery out of it
for you by breaking it down in Chapter 6 and exploring it in more detail
in Chapter 7.
Chapter 6 introduces you to basic animation principles and gives you
the knowledge to apply them. Youll also gain insight for creating
a wide variety of animations using simple animation methods, as well as
some mechanics of the important animation controllers.
Chapter 7 blazes on to give you more powerful animating knowledge. You
will become familiar with concepts essential to developing your ability
to analyze a motion and translate it into mouse clicks in MAX. Youll
hone the Track View, dummy objects, and simple hierarchies. Youll
also get a glimpse of forward and inverse kinematics, MAX Bones, and Character
Part IV: Materials
Before you can render anything, you need to ensure that your materials
are realistic-looking and that you have created applicable lighting to
Chapter 8 gives you examples and guidance in creating common material
types through mastering the Material Editor, understanding material types,
and how to recognize and apply maps.
Chapter 9 brings you useful ways to shade surfaces with the more specialized
types of materials, including Raytrace, Matte/Shadow, and five Compound
Chapter 10 unearths the use of color and lighting and their implications
in the final render of your MAX scene. You will learn how to use the various
settings for each type of light in MAX, as well as different approaches
to setting up the lights of your scene.
Part V: Rendering
When all the modeling and animating is done, and you have applied your
materials and adjusted your lighting dozens of times, youre ready
(or maybe youre not) to render your scene and then take it to post-production.
Chapter 11 takes you to the world or rendering, where you explore the
Environment dialog window and learn how to create atmospheric effects
like fog and combustion. Youll learn about file resolution and output
options, as well as more advanced concepts like anti-aliasing filters,
supersampling, and motion blur. Once you have learned the power of rendering,
you will apply all the skills youve learned so far in the
book to a full project.
In Chapter 12, you will learn about compositing concepts and the post-production
capabilities available within MAX. This includes applying post-process
effects filters, editing, and compositing within the Video Post dialog
Since MAX R2, weve had the chance to automate tasks in MAX without
having to learn C++ and the art of the plug-in, just by using
MAXScript. MAX R3 brought a whole new concept to MAXScript and expanded
its functionality. Through exercises and practical examples, you will
step through MAXScript and realize that, instead of being a monster, its
a great tool and a time saver.
Chapter 13 introduces you to the basics and gives you a foundation for
understanding the way MAXScript works.
In Chapter 14, you start writing some scripts. Here you will learn about
MAXScript tools for manipulating scenes and working with objects.
Chapter 15 teaches you how to create a user interface to make your scripts
easier to use and understand.
Chapter 16 will show you how MAXScript can be used to edit and adjust
animation parameters. You will also use scripts to develop animation controllers,
control rendering, and manipulate bitmap files.
Chapter 17 explores some advanced scripting, with scene management tools,
Xrefs, and callbacks.
Chapter 18 introduces plug-in scripts and their seamless integration
to the UI. You will learn to create scripts that extend familiar objects
Appendix A is a reference list of the shortcut keys programmed into MAX.
Appendix B provides you with some good advice on how to render your work
to get professional, large-format prints.
Whats on the CD-ROM?
The CD-ROM for Mastering 3D Studio MAX R3has some helpful information
that will compliment the knowledge you will gain from the text. It contains
all the MAX and support files you will need to complete the exercises
in the book, as well as the scripts for the MAXScript section of the book.
There are places in the book where you will be directed to access files
from the CD, including animations that play the final results of projects.
The CD also contains additional materials to enhance your work in MAX,
as well as to inspire your creativity.
Here is what you will find on the CD:
- Color Schemes
- Color Section
- Digimation Plug-ins
- Marlin Studios
- Sample Movies
- Texture Kit Classic Ornament
- HTML Links
- QuickTime 4
Here youll find software that gives you that creative burst of
energy you need to design the best computer graphics, from Eni Oken and
Gregg Patton of Can You Imagine Software, Inc.
You can view examples from the color section either in TIFF or bitmap
format. To use and view the files, go to the color_section
folder, and then double-click the .bmp or .tif
file of your choice.
Code and Book Files
If you plan to build any of the projects in the book, you can access
all the files referred to in the chapters on the CD. You will find material
libraries, MAX files, textures to complete MAX scenes, plus all the MAXScripts
developed in Part VIeverything you need to make your copy of Mastering
3D Studio MAX completely interactive. To install the code, go to the BookFiles
folder, and double-click bookfiles.exe. The files will
unzip to C:\Mast_3DStudioMAX.
You get a collection of animation software plug-ins from Digimation to
help deepen your knowledge of 3D Studio MAX R3, including:
Amapi3D 4.1 3D modeling software from France that allows you to
create models that have a natural look.
B3D Max This plug-in enables you to post your 3D Studio MAX projects
on the Web.
Cycore Link to the Cult 3D Designer Web site, where you can pick
up this animation software for free or view a useful presentation on computer
Deep Paint 3D This software allows you to add a myriad of colors
to your 3D Studio MAX projects.
Design 4 Magazine You get an e-copy of Design 4 magazine, which
is developed just for the 3D Studio MAX user.
FreeTextures.com Link to FreeTextures.com, an interactive animation
Web site for avid 3D Studio MAX fans.
Ultimate MAX/VIZ Internet Guide The Ultimate MAX/VIZ Internet
Guide is a fantastic way to find Internet resources for 3D Studio MAX.
NeMo Player NT The Nemo Player plug-in lets you create sound files
and interact with the files you create.
Rhino A 3D modeling program for Windows.
Textures from Tom Marlin of Marlin Studios will help you create realistic
3D Studio MAX designs.
Here youll find a sampling of movies created in 3D Studio MAX.
Watch an asteroid explode or a ghost shape shift before your very eyes
and more. To view the movies, go to the Sample_Movies folder
and double-click on the .avi file of your choice. Note:
You must have QuickTime installed to view the .avi files.
Texture Kit Classic Ornament
Here youll find demos of useful textures from Eni Oken to enhance
your 3D Studio MAX skills.
Scripts and HTML Links to Scripts
In addition to the script files on the CD, you also get links to the
ever-expanding availability of scripts on the Web.
If you dont already have QuickTime to view the animations, just
go to the root directory of the CD-ROM, copy it over to your hard disk,
The CD is designed to run on Windows 95, 98, 2000, and Windows NT Work-station
4.x. It uses the Sybex CLICKME interface as an easy way for you
to install the programs you want from the CD. You can also access any
of the files through the Windows Explorer. You may want to copy animation
and project files to your hard disk to improve their performance. You
will need QuickTime 4 to run the .avi files. All the MAX
files on the CD can be used with 3D Studio MAX R3.
How to Reach the Authors
You can reach Chris Murray at chris@learn3Dstudiomax.com,
or visit www.learn3D-studiomax.com.
You may contact Cat Woods at email@example.com. Be sure
to include the words 3D Studio MAX in the subject line of
your email, or she will not receive it.
Alexander Bicalho can be reached at www.origamy.com.br.
Alex Monteiro may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or