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In This Chapter

In the last chapter, you learned about some of the tools available for working with 2D shapes, and you applied some basic modifiers to create 3D mesh objects. In this chapter, you'll learn more about the Modifier stack and other useful modifiers, such as the Lattice modifier, as you create an airport control tower like the one in Figure 4.1 on the next page. Again, everything will begin as a simple 2D shape, which allows for flexible editing on many levels.

Figure 4.1. You'll create an easily edited airport control tower using just three simple 2D shapes.

You might think of this chapter as a design exercise in which you experiment with techniques that produce results you may or may not want to retain. You'll learn to use the Hold/Fetch commands to create a “bookmark” so that you can return to a certain state in editing anytime you decide the experiments are not working. The file saved with the Hold command is above and beyond the files that you save with the Save or Save As commands and is one of the safety net features, along with automatic backup files, that help increase productivity.

Chapter 2 presented the concept of using Modifier parameters to clone objects for easier editing. In this chapter, you'll put that concept into practice by working through a simple cloning exercise using modifiers that let you edit all cloned objects by changing the parameters of any one of the clones.

The creation of space-frame structures can be a daunting task to the new user of 3ds max 7. However, the Lattice modifier is designed to simplify the creation of a variety of space-frame-type objects, from radio towers, web beams, and construction staging, to wire baskets and shelving. You'll also learn to manipulate the edges of 3D objects to control the exact layout of the framework created using the Lattice modifier.

3ds max 7 has a new modifier called Edit Poly, which provides the functionality of the Editable Poly object type within the Modifier stack for more flexible editing choices.

You will also learn to use the Taper and Bevel Profile modifiers to change or create objects. As with any methods in 3ds max 7, more than one approach can be used to create and modify objects, but your focus should be on the underlying concepts of the exercises more than the end results.

This chapter covers the following topics:

  • Taper modifier. Applies a taper to objects with controls for amount, taper axis, and center position.

  • Lattice modifier. Lets you create space-frame or open-webbing structures from the visible edges of 3D objects.

  • Edge sub-object-level editing. Edges, or the connections between vertices in 3D objects, have parameters such as visibility and direction, which can give you greater control over the surface.

  • Hold/Fetch commands. Saving a copy of your scene to a file at any given point in time using the Hold command and then retrieving it using a Fetch command lets you experiment safely.

  • Bevel Profile modifier. With two 2D shapes, a base and a profile, you can create complex 3D objects that are easily edited by adjusting the shapes.

  • Edit Poly modifier. This new modifier in 3ds max 7 allows all the Editable Poly commands and controls to be placed in the Modifier stack.

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