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Chapter 5. Creating Convincing Terrain > Cutting a Boat Ramp into Terrain

Cutting a Boat Ramp into Terrain

In Exercise 5.9, you use ShapeMerge to cut a 2D shape into the terrain that will become a boat ramp for your shipyard scene. Again, ShapeMerge projects the 2D shape into a 3D surface to define new edges and faces. The new faces can then be selected and edited.

Exercise 5.9 Using ShapeMerge to Cut a Boat Ramp into the Terrain

Open the file called Ch05_BoatRamp01.max on the CD-ROM. From the File pull-down menu, choose Save As, point to an appropriate subdirectory on your hard drive, and use the plus sign button to save a new file with the name incremented to Ch05_BoatRamp02.max. This file is similar to the Ch05_Terrain04.max file you created earlier in the chapter and contains skydome, landscape, and water objects. A 2D shape has been added to the scene called ramp_shape that will define a boat ramp cut into the terrain.


ShapeMerge can be made more reliable if you first modify the shape by lowering the Interpolation settings from the default 6. Interpolation is the number of intermediate steps between vertices of shapes that define curvature.

In the Top viewport, select Landscape. It is the terrain compound object created from contour lines. Right-click it and, from the Quad menu, choose Convert To, Convert to Editable Mesh. This reduces the complexity of the object, making the following steps more reliable.

In the Create panel, Geometry panel, click Standard Primitives and choose Compound Objects from the list if it is not still the active panel. In the Object Type rollout, click the ShapeMerge button.

In the Create panel, Pick Operand rollout, click the Pick Shape button. In the Top viewport, pick the ramp_shape rectangle. The shape appears to turn white, but you are actually seeing the new edges that are being projected into the landscape object (see Figure 5.37). On the main toolbar, click the Select Obj button to exit ShapeMerge mode.

Figure 5.37. In the Create panel, Compound Objects, use ShapeMerge to project ramp_shape into the Landscape mesh to cut new edges and define new faces.

Right-click Landscape and convert to an editable mesh again. It became a ShapeMerge object in step 4. In the Modify panel, Stack view, expand Editable Mesh and highlight Polygon sub-object mode. The new polygons created by ShapeMerge are automatically selected. On the main toolbar, enter BoatRamp in the Named Selection Sets field and press Enter.


Creating a named selection set at this point is an important step because after you deselect the polygons, it can be difficult to reselect them.

In the Modify panel, Edit Geometry rollout, enter –4 in the Extrude numeric field. This extrudes the selected faces downward and creates new side faces for a boat ramp depressed into the landscape. In the Modify panel, Stack view, highlight Editable Mesh to exit sub-object mode (see Figure 5.38).

Figure 5.38. Extruding the newly selected polygons with a negative amount produces a depressed boat ramp in the landscape.

Save the file; it is already called Ch05_BoatRamp02.max.



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