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Chapter 2. Fundamental Concepts > Basic Lofting Concepts

Basic Lofting Concepts

In my view, lofting is the most powerful modeling tool in 3ds max, but one that is underutilized because it often exhibits “strange” behavior when you're using it. In reality, the behavior is not strange. Rather, because lofting is unlike any creation method you use in other software, it requires that you understand a few simple concepts before it will make sense to you.

The term lofting comes from old shipbuilding practices in which the patterns for ribs of a ship were all laid out in the upstairs loft of the shipbuilders shop. Long, thin metal bands, or splines, were set on edge and bent to the curvature of the hull at given points along the keel. To hold the splines in place so that the lines could be traced on the patterns, the ship designer placed heavy steel or lead “ducks” at the tangency points. To create the hull, the ribs (loft shapes) were then attached along the keel (loft path) and the planking was attached to form the hull (mesh object).


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