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3dsm Tips and Tricks

57 posts in this topic

Yeah, let me know.

Hope i can help you with this:

I need to know how to mix 2 kind of textures in one. It's for transition. I want the sandy road slowly go over in grass (for example).

Does it with layers in photoshop:

- Open both files

- Copy-past one into the other

- Now youve got two layers (see layer-options)

- Select eraser (gummetje) in toolbox

- Select front layer in layer-options

- Erase front layer till you like it

- In layer-options (tiny arrow) merge layers/flatten image

- Tada, there it is


- Check your erase options, and set your 'fade' (uitvloeien/kracht van gummetje) to a lower level

- You can erase also a selection. And set your feather (doezel) to more pixels

Hope this will do the trick.

Regards, BlueRose_76

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Tnx deleyt,

What about the Multi-res modifier ? It reduces poly's also, any good ?

And does 'terrain' also work with a displacement-map ?

- The multi-res modifier does work but probably is only usefull on a terrain that is meant to be smooth, since the modifier: smooth will fix the "jerks" left behind by Multi-res.

If there are any sections that have a distinct shape (with few polys) then it's best to leave the modifier:Multi-res out, since it will drop some of the polys which will deform your object.

EDIT: Multi-res is probably one of the best optimizers for poly's tho. Big advantage is that you can actually see the shapeshift of the object as you move the silders.

- Modifier:displace works on terrain but is probably not the effect you are looking for. Since Terrain has reduced it's polys to it's minimum already, a displacement map simply doesn't have anough vertices to move around. This means that some of the polys will get a very sharp edge.

Edited by |rsi|™deleyt

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I personally have found some really cool tools that I think you guys who are new should know about. So I thought I'd share them to save you guys the time that I wasted. Anyother modders feel free to post questions as to max use and tips and tricks.

One of my top tools is the boolean tool. I had some problems with this so heres my pointers. Always make sure your shape actually pass throught the model you want the hole to appear in. Check from all the views, dont get what I like to call 3dsm tunnel vision. Also before you do a boolean its a good idea to collapse the mesh that your going to work on. Also if you dont get the desired result try starting the boolean on what before you were using as the operand and play with all the options. In very complex shapes be prepared to have to redraw faces that have been lost.

My other fav tool which is handy for aircraft is the mirrior tool. Yes you can laugh, before if it was a shape that couldnt be rotated id re draw it the way I wanted it or remodel it. The mirrior tool is found top right and you can choose which axis you want the mirrior line to be on. Very handy this one.

Ever collasped a mesh and then wanted a piece out of it? End up reverting to an earlier stange to get it back. Belive it or not I used to do this till I realized that just do and edit mesh and select element and detach the bit you collasped that you didnt want.

These may seem like the simplest pointers but I used get all these problems and when I found out about these tool life was soooo much easier.

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im I the only one with any? Come on ppl help out!

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Right now yes, since I'm just learning the stuff myself :). I know where you're coming from, but right now I'm in the crawl-walk-run syndrome. Right now I'm crawling.

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hey, I found a good way to make caves. Draw a spline for the path of the cave

and then use a 2nd object like a circle to loft a cylinder that follows the path of the cave.

Then you can use the scale button under the loft rollout to have the tunnel taper down

towards the end.

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I can give some tips but they might seem a bit obvious.

1) Plan your object right from the start. Picture your object in your mind and figure out how to achieve the end result. This will train you to think about the modelling-process and the available tools. I like to make a small handdrawing on paper (doesn't need to be detailed) of the top-view and the side or sometimes even a quick sketch in 3D, jst as a reference. Try to disassemble the object in main parts and relate it back to 3DSM which objects and modifiers will suit best for that part.

2) When you start modeling an object, forget about texturing. The texture is not your object. It's merely a way to create the illusion of a material the part is made of. Don't even think about applying a texture before you are fully satisfied about the model itself. When you apply the texture after that, the object will be so much more realistic.

3) Try different approaches to get to the same result. 3DSM is so versatile that there are more ways then one to construct a model. For instance a glass of wine can be made in 5 ways (maybe more) and all have their advantage and disadvantages.

4) I usually try to keep my objects parametric as long as possible. I also like to keep the stack intact (not collapsed).

The biggest advantages are that you are able to step back in object-history if you ever need to change the object from it's basic shape.

Remember that making changes on subobject-level (vertices, line, polygons) is kind of like collapsing the stack although the stack is still intact. With this I mean that it can mess up your model when you go back into history and change basic parameters (for instance adding more sections on a box that has been altered on sub-object level. It will probably give some unexpected results).

5) Always keep an eye on your polygons-count. There is a counter-progam in 3DSM that keeps track of that. Simply go to the Utilities-tab and select the "more" button. you will get a dialogbox where the polygon-counter is listed.

3DSM has some very usefull tools that can pull down the poly-count without losing too much detail.

My advice: use MultiRes or Optimize to minimize the poly-count.

6) A tool I use very frequently is the ALIGN tool. It will enable you "stick" objects exactly on other objects/faces. It will save you a lot of hasttle trying to align two objects by hand and you can be certain that there is no gap between them (which is absolutly necessary when making maps for GR)

7) Also a usefull tool I use a lot is GRID (in conjuction with ALIGN). It will enable you to draw objects on different planes (and axis) other then 3DSM's world-axis-system. You can activate it at any time so it's easier and faster to add or edit objects that use the same plane.

8) Use the HIDE and FREEZE tools as much as you can. It will make your work in general much faster (less rendertime), more accurate and less interveining objects (especially when the workspace is crammed with it).

9) Always check any modelchanges in full 3D. Rotate around the objects or sometimes even into it to see if there the adjustments made are correct and no other elements are adjusted in the proces. This may seem very obvious but it 's a damn shame to discover you have made this excellent model only to find the back completely distorted because you picked one little vertice that wasn't supposed to be picked.

10) Use the AUTOSAVE-feature in 3DSM! You can find it in the CUSTOMIZE>PREFERENCES menu. Enable it by ticking the box and set the savetime to 5 minutes or so. You never know when a crash occurs so this will save at least most of your work. During modeling you won't notice that 3DSM is saving.

In case a crash does happen, then simply go to your root-3DSM folder and locate the folder called AUTOBACK. Your backup will be found there.

I hope this makes life a bit more easy for you guys that just started using 3DSM.



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can somebody explain where I find the polygon counter??? (newbie in 3dsm) :unsure::unsure:

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can somebody explain where I find the polygon counter??? (newbie in 3dsm) :unsure::unsure:

Utilities panel > Utilities rollout > More button > Utilities dialog > Polygon Counter

The Polygon Counter dialog shows the number of faces in the current scene, as well as the number of faces in the current selection set. Use the spinners on this dialog to set a budget for both of these values. A bar graph changes from green to yellow to red as you approach and exceed the allocated budget.


To use the Polygon Counter:

On the Utilities panel > Utilities rollout, click the More button and choose the Polygon Counter.

Set the spinner on All Objects to create the polygon budget for the entire scene.

Select any individual object and set the polygon budget for the individual object.

When you exceed your limit the graph line will display its end in red.

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you can also get a quick count on selected objects by pressing "Q".

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Sorry guyz, I know it was already answered, but I felt like trying to throw a visual together. Maybe it will help the next guy.

Here is a basically default 3ds Max 5 screen.


If you click that tab, you should see the block on the left of the following picture. Follow the steps in the picture and then select okay to close out. The polygon counter should be on your buttons under that tab from then on.


Edited by LetsReason

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another question, hehe :devil:

can somebody explain me step by step how to put a texture on an object?? :huh::-" :-"

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another question, hehe :devil:

can somebody explain me step by step how to put a texture on an object?? :huh::-" :-"

Look in the Help folder of your Max installation directory. Max ships with many great tutorials, from the most basic all the way up to advanced modeling/animation lessons.

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This isn't a tip or trick, but more of a warning. I updated my windows 2000, not knowing that one of the updates will corrupt max files so they are unusable. It seems you can open and edit a file and save it, but I guess it gets messed up on the save so you can't open it again. I managed to lose a couple weeks' worth of work with that little stunt.

Note:no fix for the problem yet.

From Discreet support:

Attention All 3ds max® and Autodesk® VIZ Customers,

SUBJECT: ALERT- 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ (.max) file corruption caused by recent Microsoft Windows Updates.


Discreet has confirmed that Hotfix 823980 – contained in the Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 - causes the corruption of 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ (.max) files.

As a result, all .max files saved with Windows 2000 SP4 installed will no longer load in 3ds max or Autodesk VIZ on systems with Windows 2000 SP2, SP3 or SP4 installed.

We have also verified that this same Microsoft Windows Update Hotfix 823980 is also causing the same .max file corruption on XP operating systems. (Hotfix 823980 has been made available through Windows Update to all Windows 2000 and XP operating systems and service packs.)


The following operating systems configurations will experience 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ file corruption:

Win 2K SP4

Hotfix KB 823980 under XP

Hotfix KB 823980 under Win2K SP3 or lower

Hotfix KB 823980 under Win NT 4


Resolution of this problem and production work-arounds vary depending on a user’s particular configuration, from the above list. Please follow the instructions below carefully to minimize any impact from this Windows Update defect.

Note that we are anticipating a new Hotfix fix from Microsoft by the end of July 2003 to resolve this problem. The temporary instructions below will allow affected systems to return to normal operation until this new Hotfix becomes publicly available.

In all cases, you should disable automatic windows updates through WinUpdate to avoid picking up Hotfix 823980 until the new Hotfix becomes available.

Temporary Instructions for Windows Update Hotfix 823980 Configurations

If the Windows Update Hotfix 823980 has already been installed under any Windows operating system, it is suggested that customers uninstall the Hotfix to create usable (.max) file content. Uninstalling Hotfix 823980 will allow existing or recently saved/corrupted files to be read by 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ without errors.

You can verify that the Hotfix is installed, and uninstall it, through the Control Panel >> Add/Remove Programs, then scroll to find the Windows Update referencing 823980. If it is installed, highlight the reference, and click remove to uninstall the fix.

WARNING – be sure to back-up any critical data on your system before uninstalling Hotfix 823980 or Windows 2K SP4.

Temporary Instructions for Windows 2K SP4 Configurations

Potential workaround for retrieval of files created or saved under Win 2K SP4:

Option 1, for Win 2K SP4 users:

(Please be aware that some 3ds max and Autodesk VIZ data will still be lost in this workaround.)

Revert Windows 2000 SP 4 Systems back to SP3 or earlier

Use “File Merge” to retrieve data from corrupted .maxfiles created under Windows 2000 SP4, and resave.

Note 1: If you have Render Effects or Atmospherics in your .maxfile, use the

Merge button in the respective dialogs.

Note 2: For Option 1, We recommend retaining any originally corrupted .max files until Microsoft resolves this issue through a future Hotfix.

Option 2, if Win XP OS is available:

Open corrupted .max files created under Windows 2000 SP4 in Windows XP without Hotfix 823980 installed, and resave.

Revert all systems back to Windows 2000 SP3 or previous and files should be corrected.

WARNING – be sure to back-up any critical data on your system before uninstalling Hotfix 823980 or Windows 2K SP4.

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MS Fix 823980 is the RPC hole than the SANLove virus exploits. Without that patch your PC could be vunerable to crashing SVHOST and virus infections from SANLove.

Edit: Tested on XP pro, max 4.2 no problems.

Edited by spalvl

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AUTOSAVE!!!!!! I have lost three hours work, the last two nights consecutively. Tonight, autosave. Screw that. :wacko: Although, it does give me a second chance to try to improve what I did, but sheesh. :rolleyes:

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Register at Buzz and download all of the Max training videos. ;)

Learn to use an editable poly. It will open many doors and you would be suprised at what you can make from a simple box in a matter of minutes.

Get Meshtools and learn to use them. You'll be grateful for this handy script. ;)

Buy as many books on 3ds max as possible. If money is an issue go to your library and check them out. Here in the USA you can request them via an ISDN number and they will get them for you.

Read and practice. When you are done practicing, read some more. Plan to spend around 20 to 40 hours a week practicing if you are really serious about learning this tool. The more you practice the faster and easier it becomes.

Don't tackle the world on your first attempt. :wall: Start small and work your way up learning the fundamentals.

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On that site where do you get the videos???

Edited by Kamakazi

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You have to register on the site then under your profile deal go to downloads

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Allways have snap to grid on when mapping.

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The way I make them is this:


- Create a tree (you can use Shiver's tut's for that, if needed)

- Go to your front-viewport and zoom the tree so it fits the screen enirely.

- Go to your left-viewport and zoom the tree so it fits the screen entirely.

- use Ambient-lighting and set it in the viewport to use 2 sources.

- Render both the front- and left-viewport and save them as a .BMP.

- Save your .MAX file.

- Close 3DSM (or leave it open if your computer can handle 3DSM and PS at the same time)


- Open the 2 rendered .BMP's

- Make a duplicate of the layer (not the file) and delete the original layer (this to unlock the layer).

- Select the Magic Wand, tolerance=0, AA=ON, Contiguous=OFF

- Click on the background, hit DELETE (it will make the background transparant)

- use the Crop-tool to crop the tree.

- Resize the image to a height of 512 (or 256) pixels (use proportion constraints!)

- Create a new 512x512 image (you can use 256x256 aswell if you want)

- Copy both trees in this newly created image (make sure to leave a little room between the two trees)

- Merge the tree-layers by hitting CTRL+E

- Blur the layer once. The blur will make it look more distant in the game (like "out-of-focus" with a camera)

- Create a new layer underneath the merged treelayer. Fill it with a neutral colour (I use R80,G80,B72).


- Select the merged tree-layer.

- Use the Magic Wand again and click anywhere outside the tree.


- Go to the pulldownmenu's: SELECT>SAVE SELECTION.

- Set it to channel=new (default)

- Name the layer Alpha 1 and hit OK.

Your Alpha channel is created in the Channels dialogbox.

Make sure that parts you want to be visible are white and parts that need to be transparant are black.

- Blur the Alpha-channel once (this will make the edges smoother when it's being cutout by the game-engine).

- Save the .PSD (in case you need to do some colour corrections later)

- Merge all layers and flatten it.

- Save the .RSB

.RSB Settings:


AlphaTested, Comparison=Greater/Equal, Value=32 or 64 (whatever you like best)

- Close Photohop (or leave it open if your computer can handle 3DSM and PS at the same time)


- Open 3DSM and open your .MAX file.

- In the front-viewport create a plane (1 segment) and draw it in such a way that it covers all outer edges of the tree.

- Go to the Material-editor and make a material with the tree-image created in PhotoShop.

- Apply the material to the plane.

- Go to the modify-panel and add a UVW-UNWRAP.

- Edit the UVW-UNWRAP and clip the plane to the frontview-image.

Repeat these steps for the left viewport (except ofcourse creating a new material)

When your done making both views, you probably need to move one of the planes to set the trunk to meet up in the middle.

Always make sure that the images intersect in such a way that the base of the trunk is centered.

Add a helperpoint "O" in the top-viewport and move it at the centre of the base of the trunk.


- Group your HLOD (your real tree) and give it a name (like 1_<lodn><tree>tree1)

- Go to your map-editor and open the GENERAL tab

- Put in LOD1 the name of your real tree (like tree1)

- Put in LOD2 the name of your LowLOD tree (like ++1_tree1)

- Set switch-distance in centimeters (like 5000)

- Set it to Cast Shadows

- Save your .MAX file.

- Delete the HLOD


- Group your LLOD (your LowLOD tree) and give it a name (like ++1_tree1)

- Go to your map-editor and open the GENERAL tab

- Put in LOD1 the name of your LLOD tree (like ++1_tree1)

- Save your .MAX file as a new file.

- Open your previous .MAX file (containing both trees) and delete the LLOD.

- Save your .MAX-file.

Make sure you put both models in the scene.

The LLOD-model only needs to be in the scene once (preferably outside the map somewhere).

Set your graphics to low or medium to see the trees switch from HLOD to LLOD.

Enjoy! :D

Edited by |rsi|™deleyt

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I have made this texture for a desert-surface but I 'm not using it in WSV so you can have it, if you like it.

It's a 512x512, 4 sides, seamless texture, so you can repeat it as often as you want.

Also, the texture is featureless, meaning that repetition is kept to a minimum.

EDIT: make sure you apply the texture with the shadowside away from the sun or it will look weird.

The filesize is 522 Kb. You can scale it down to any size you want, to reduce filesize.


Click on the picture to save the .RSB (this picture is a .jpg)

Edited by |rsi|™deleyt

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So the detail-texture goes ontop of the base-texture ? Or is it one image with 2 layers ?

I could use your desert texture as a detailed texture. Tile it like 20 times (applying UVW map). Gonna try it.

That is correct.

This sand-texture is your detail-texture.

To make your base-texture:

Go in 3DSM and open your map.

Go to the top viewport and zoom in on your terrain to fill the complete viewport.

Apply a basematerial to it (plain)

Then save the render of the top-viewport and open it in PhotoShop.

You can colour the map there to make your map have distinct colour on some spots.

Save your basetexture.

So that leaves you with 2 textures:

1 basetexture

1 detailtexture

Then use Dr Jeckyl's tut on applying a composite texture to your surface-mesh.

It's pretty straightforward with that tutorial (very good one).

Good luck

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I would like to know how to place the direction of sunlight so that it matches the position of the sun in the skybox. I use a stock-skybox, should I create my own one ?

Another thing is the color of sun-light for a normal summer-day. What color should I use : white?, little bit yellow ? And should I adjust the ambient light too so it looks good with the sunlight ? Ambient light is 128-128-128 (RGB) which is grey.

To place the sunlight right:

Place a sun-lightsource on the map on groundlevel somewhere near the middle of your map.

Then manouvre your viewpoint in such a way the your sun-lightsource and the sun in the skybox line up (sun-lightsource in in middle of your skybox-sun)

Then turn the sun-lightsource in such a way that you look onto the front of your flashlight.

if all should go well...you have made your sun-lightsource pretty close to the direction your skybox-sun is pointing at.

Colour of your sun:

Very easy. Depends on what time of day your sun is in:

Early morning (+/- 8:00):

sun is low (long shadows and stretched), not bright (dim, yellowish, saturated colour because of the clouds), medium size flare (because of the clouds again).

Highnoon (12:00):

Sun is high in mid air (shadows are short but crisp), bright colour (crisp white colour with a small rim of yellow on the outer edges), large size flare.

Late afternoon (18:00):

Sun is low again (long shadows), not bright but dominant (dim, redish light saturated colour), medium to small size lensflare.

Colour of your ambient:

Take the colour of your sun and saturate it a little. Then darken it about 40%. You can add a slight hue-difference for better contrast.

That should get you on the way.

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Here's a usefull link to some good tutorials by professionals.


Edited by |rsi|™deleyt

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