OK, let's begin. We'll be using Figures 1.1 and 1.2
as reference material to create the necessary shapes in MAX.
In the best of all possible worlds, we would have three reference
images (top, front, and side). However, sometimes you have to
get by with less.
Since my reference images have white backgrounds and MAX uses
white as its default selection color, the first step will be
to change MAX's selection color to red. This is done by going
to File->Preferences, selecting on the "Color" tab and changing
the "Selection" color under "Main UI" to be red (see Figure
1.3 Click for larger view
1.4 Click for larger view
1.5 Click for larger view
1.6 Click for larger view
we create the reference objects within MAX. The reference objects
will be boxes to which the front and side views of the Fambaa
lizard have been mapped. First create a box whose width and
height are the same as the dimensions of the image you're mapping
to it. For instance, if you're mapping a 640x480 image, then
create a box whose dimensions are 640x480x0 (i.e., set the "height"
value to 0). Do this for each texture you're going to map.
Next, make the boxes the same "width" (i.e., if you're looking
at them in the front viewport, the top edges and bottom edges
will be aligned, see Figure 1.4; you and I would call this the
box's "height" but "width" is the MAX setting we're interested
in). You can achieve this width equality by either: scaling
the images so that they share the same height; use uniform scale
in MAX to modify the reference boxes once you've created them;
or figure out the length and width mathematically and enter
the correct values in MAX.
I should take this moment to point out that all of this assumes
that the object being referenced is the same height in each
image. This is CRUCIAL. If this isn't true, then assuring
that the boxes are the same "width" won't help. Use PhotoShop
(or the image editor of choice) to copy one image into the other
to make sure that the object is the same height in each one
(see Figure 1.5). If they aren't the same height, then scale
one of the images until they are.
You should also take this time to name each box appropriately.
In my case, I have one box named "Reference: LEFT SIDE" and
the other named "Reference: FRONT SIDE." Why do this? Several
First, it is a nightmare to navigate complex scenes in which
each object has retained its default name. Which BOX out of
100 is the correct one? Naming the bjects makes navigation simple.
Second, it makes it easier to later reuse items from a project
when the items have meaningful names. While you're working on
a project you will probably remember that BOX05 is the stage
on which your character is placed, but will you remember it
if you visit the project in a month or two?
Third, if you name similar objects with similar names, it is
easy to select all via "Select by Name." You may have noticed
that each of my objects has "Reference:" at the beginning of
the name. When I go to Select by Name, I can now type "reference:"
and know that I've selected all of them.
I use this same naming scheme for materials. For instance, the
material for "Reference: FRONT SIDE" is name "Reference: FRONT;"
(ideally, it would be called "reference: FRONT SIDE," but the
length limit of a material's name is short than the length limit
of an object's name.)
Once your reference objects have been created, right click on
each one and select properties on the pop-up menu. On the resulting
Object Properties dialog uncheck "renderable," "cast shadows"
and "receive shadows." Now the reference objects will not show
up in any rendered output but are still visible in shaded preview
Next, open up the Material Editor to create the necessary textures.
The textures should have Shininess set to 0, Shin. Strength
set to 0 and Self-Illumination set to 100% (you'll probably
need to experiment with this value until you find a value that
allows you to see the reference texture and the object's mesh
comfortably). Assign one of your reference images to the diffuse
map, click "Show Map in Viewport" button for the map, and then
assign it to the appropriate reference box. The final reference
objects can be seen in Figure 1.6
NOTE: if the texture doesn't appear correctly on your reference
object, right click on the name of the viewport (the text in
the viewport's upper left corner) and select "Texture Correction."
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