CAP 211 - Interactive Design and Game Development

Quick Start Lesson


This lesson introduces the student to several aspects of the software used for the course. Objectives important to this lesson:

  1. Using an on-screen reference sketch
  2. Building a character
  3. Smoothing a mesh
  4. Adding Biped and Skin modifiers
  5. Animating

The first chapter in the text does not have a number. It is just called the Quick Start. We will begin here, to review some things you have seen before, and to reinforce some things you will see in the CAP 202 class this term.

Mr. Murdock (the author) calls his exercises tutorials. His first one begins on page 5. Let's break it down a little. (Work through the tutorials and turn in your answers to all questions below as part of the homework for this assignment.)

Tutorial Notes and Questions

Tutorial 1 (Loading Reference Sketches):

  1. Create a plane in the Front viewport.
  2. Modify its length to 848 and its width to 416. Set it to 1 length segment and 1 width segment.
  3. Click the zoom extents all button, to make it as viewable as possible in all viewports.
  4. Open the Material Editor. (You can use the menu, the toolbar icon, or the keyboard shortcut.)
  5. Your plane object should still be selected. If it is not, select it.
  6. You will add a material to the plane. In this case the material is a .tif file. On the Material Editor, click the square button to the right of the Diffuse color swatch. This takes you to the Material/Map browser, where you tell 3DS Max what kind of material to use.
  7. Double-click bitmap. (You will be opening a raster image file, so 3DS Max calls it a "bitmap".)
  8. In the next window, browse to the Marvin moose.tif file. (It will be on your DVD that came with the book, and should be on the student resources folder on our server as well.) Select that file.
  9. Click OK as needed to return to the Material Editor. Click the Assign Material to Selection button, then click the Show Map in Viewport button. (The second button makes it possible to see maps in viewports. Unlike materials from the materials library, maps are not automatically shown.) Close the Materials Editor.
  10. Maximize the current viewport with Alt-W. Turn on Smooth & Highlights as directed. Save the file as My_Reference_Sketch.max

Tutorial 2 (Creating the moose's leg and foot):

In the second tutorial, you begin making a 3D model based on the reference sketch. You should be able to follow the instructions for this tutorial, having done similar steps in CAP 201.

  1. Mr. Murdock does not give the detailed instructions we found in the last text. After you make the cylinder, make sure to set its parameters on the Modify panel. The eight height segments will be useful in step 4.
  2. You will use the Move tool and the Scale tool.
  3. Use the quad-menu to convert the leg to an Editable Poly.
  4. Scale a ring of vertices at a time. You may want to be in wireframe mode to see the vertices easily. Use the screen image in the text as a guide.
  5. When you create the second cylinder, there is no shoe to connect it to. Use the screen image in the text as a guide. Create the half GeoSphere and configure it as noted.
    Question 1: What version of the Scale tool will you need to use?
  6. After you convert the shoe to an Editable Poly, you set three Bevels. The text does not specify all the settings for them.
    Question 2: Experiment with the Height and Outline values for the second Bevel. What numbers did you finally use? What negative value did you use for the third Bevel?
  7. Save incrementally.

Tutorial 3 (Extruding the moose's torso, arms, and hands):

Moose have hands? A cartoon moose can. In the third tutorial, you use the Extrude command to extend the upper leg and create a torso. Again, use the reference sketch and the screen images in the text as guides. Do NOT go off on a tangent and make some other character. A point of the exercise is to make a character that matches the reference sketch as much as possible.

  1. Extrude the polygons as indicated.
  2. As you move the vertices, you are sculpting the rough shape of the character. Remember that you are only making the character's right side, so far.
  3. As you extrude and align, keep using the reference sketch and the images in the text as guides.
  4. The Remove button is not described. See page 375 in the text for an explanation of what Mr. Murdock wants you to do. As noted, Remove is less disruptive to the object than Delete.
  5. Make six extrusions to form the upper and lower arm. (We are making a clothed arm, not just flesh.)
  6. Inset the last polygon to make the end of the sleeve. Extrude to form a wrist. Extrude to make a hand. Cut to begin to make fingers and thumb.
  7. Extrude the cut sections into fingers and a thumb. Sculpt with the vertices.
  8. Save incrementally.

Tutorial 4 (Mirroring the body):

If you have made a half body in the steps above, you will find the next steps easy.

  1. Use the Attach command to make one body object. See page 337 to review Attach. Delete the polygons that will be inside the body. Follow the instructions to Mirror the body.
  2. Attach the two halves of the body. Use the Weld tool as instructed.
  3. Remove the "crease" vertices as instructed.
  4. Save incrementally.

Tutorial 5 (Adding a head):

The head is created in the next steps.

  1. Create two GeoSpheres as instructed, and modify them with a scale tool.
    Use the ProBoolean tool to create a Union of the two parts of the head.
    Question 3: What does the Union remove from the figure?
    Convert to an Editable Poly.
  2. Create spheres that will make dents for nostrils. Use the ProBoolean tool to subtract the spheres from the moose's muzzle.
  3. The antler's should be easy: create a line by tracing the reference antler on one side of the head. (Make sure you close the spline.) Extrude the line to make an antler. Select and move the antler, then mirror it. (It should resemble the image on page 11.)
  4. Create eyes as you did the antlers. Trace and extrude. Add a pupil, move to a good location, and mirror to make the second eye. (He is starting to look like Bullwinkle.)
  5. Create two shallow cylinders and a spline for a pair of pince-nez glasses. (Don't worry about transparency yet.)
  6. Save incrementally.

Tutorial 6 (Editing the body):

This tutorial combines new parts and smoothes the body.

  1. Attach the body to the parts indicated.
  2. Attach the parts of the glasses as indicated. Link the glasses to the body with the Select and Link button on the toolbar.
  3. Use TurboSmooth on the body, then attach the antlers to the body.

Tutorial 7 (Adding materials):

You will add color to the figure, making it look more finished. In this case, you need to open his version of the file, because he has prepared the figure by naming portions of it.

  1. Open the Material Editor. Click the Standard material button. Select Multi/Sub-Object Material. This will let us add several materials to what is now one object. Continue as instructed.
  2. You may count the materials needed for the character, but your count may not match the author's. Use his count (7) in the Multi/Sub-Object parameters. Use the seven names he give you for the materials.
  3. Mr. Murdock's instructions are a bit vague here. He tells us to set a color for each material, then to set the specularity for those materials that need it. I suppose we can judge for ourselves which materials those would be? Leave the specularity alone, and assign some colors to the material names.
  4. In step 4, Mr. Murdock reveals that some colors are already assigned to some body parts. We did not do this, he did it in the version of the file he made for this activity. This approach does not teach you to do it yourself. Let's assume he wants to hurry on to something else.
  5. You are told to match materials to appropriate body parts. (What he has not shown you is how to name the body parts. He did that behind the curtain.)
  6. He discusses how to assign a material to an unnamed portion of the body: select all the polygons of that area, then assign a material.
  7. Step 7 asks you to create material for the glasses.
  8. When done, save the file as My_07_Moose.max

Tutorial 8 (Creating and fitting a biped):

This tutorial and the next cover what is sometimes called rigging. You will do more with it in another lesson. For now, use the standard biped rig, which is a set of bones and joints that constrain character movement to ranges of motion that are possible for most humans. You want the biped construct to fit inside the body of the character. You will customize in in several steps.

  1. Hide the reference image as instructed. It is not necessary to this tutorial. Make the moose transparent as instructed. You will put a biped object in it, and seeing inside the moose will make this easier.
  2. Select Create, Systems, Biped. Drag an area beside the moose, starting at the moose's feet and dragging up to a height that matches the top of the moose's head, to make a biped object his height. Do NOT do this in the Top viewport as instructed. It will be impossible to make the biped the right height when you can't see the moose's height.
    Once the biped is created, move it behind the moose to continue the process as described.
  3. Now that you have a biped, go to the Motion panel as instructed, and click the Figure button. Follow the instructions to begin sizing the biped for this figure.
  4. Rotate arms and legs of the biped as instructed.
  5. As with other parts of the biped, the spine links (vertebrae) are not scaled for our character. Scale them and the head as needed.
  6. Continue scaling the biped head in the views indicated, and scale the rest of the skeleton to fit the moose.
    Question 4
    : It may be difficult to select the indicated parts of the biped in the scene. What can you do to select the specific parts you want?
  7. Continue scaling the rest of the biped as instructed.

Tutorial 9 (Attaching a character skin to a biped):

The text explains that the bones of the biped have an "envelope" around them. For the bones to be useful, the muscle, skin, and other elements of the character must be inside the appropriate envelope so that they move with the bone when it is animated. This is what the bones are for, to constraint movement, but also to enable it.

  1. The mesh that represents the skin of the character is not ready to attach to the bones yet. Apply a Skin modifier to it as instructed.
  2. In the Parameters rollout for the Skin modifier, follow the instructions to Add the root object of the biped (Bip01) to the Skin, including the Subtree of all the bones.
  3. Edit the Envelope for each bone as instructed, expanding the envelope to cover the necessary parts of the character mesh.
  4. Continue as instructed to cover all vertices of the skin mesh with envelopes of the biped.

Tutorial 10 (Animating a character's motion):

The last tutorial in the chapter animates the character briefly.

  1. Step 1 asks you to turn on Auto Key mode, and to move an arm and a foot of the biped. Moving the foot uses Inverse Kinematics (IK) to realistically move the shin, knee, and thigh of the biped as they would have to move if the character moved his foot the way you are moving it.
  2. Animate the character as indicated.
  3. Animate the character as indicated.
  4. Animate the character as indicated.
  5. You are told to hide the biped object, then play the animation.
    Question 5: Why hide the biped?