1 Navigating the 3ds Max Scene
This chapter introduces the working environment, the reference systems used inside the3ds Max scene and methods for navigating the scene. The User Interface is also presented with available tools for user customization.
1.1 The 3ds Max Scene
The 3ds Max Scene is a digital file with extension .MAX and can be consideredas a container of digital models, cameras, materials, environment settings,rendering settings, animation and more. In the 3ds Max Scene definition of spaceis accomplished using a Reference System of coordinate axes XYZ. Objects canbe created in the scene as native 3ds Max objects or imported from otherapplications (see 5.1).In some cases the 3ds Max Scene may require assets (external files) in order tofunction properly, e. g., a material in the scene using external bitmaps. Locationsof assets are recorded in the scene file and required external files need to beavailable at the recorded addresses or in the same folder where the scene file islocated.The 3ds Max Scene file contains models used for the production of graphics,lighting simulations and, with the use of MAXScript, data extraction extending thepurpose of 3d models to act as a building information database (BIM). AEC software focus on specific aspects of design work, Autodesk® Revit on datamanagement and extraction, Autodesk® AutoCAD on precise 2D drafting and Autodesk® Inventor on topology accuracy. 3ds MAX can be considered as apowerful modeling tool with rigorous and highly advanced visualization andsimulation capabilities. 3ds MAX is often used in combination with the abovementioned software.3ds MAX uses meshes
to define geometry objects and does not support solids,objects can still behave similarly to solids as in the case of Boolean compoundobjects (see 2.2).Meshes can be converted into Polygonal objects (e-poly) that provide a morecomprehensive tool set for surface manipulation. We will see in the next chaptershow, manipulating basic geometry objects (Primitives), the designer will be ableto achieve complex geometry, with the level of definition depending on project’srequirements and computing resources budget. A well known technique,commonly referred to as Box Modeling, uses the lowest possible number ofsurface polygons and while it has been traditionally used for the production of low-poly models in the video-game industry it can be also used as reference forthe production of models used for architectural visualization, particularly for theproduction of walk-through animations.
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