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Chapter 4. Shipbuilding 101: The Making ... > Building Superstructure with New Mod...

Building Superstructure with New Modifiers

In this section, you learn to work with new modifiers to build the elements that make up the superstructure of the boat—turrets, smokestacks, railings, and stanchions, for example.

You also learn about an alignment tool called the Spacing tool, which enables you to place clones of objects along complex 2D shapes.

Finally, you merge the parts into a single file to finish the boat.

Bevel Profile Modifier

The first modifier in this section of the book that you will learn about is the Bevel Profile modifier. In Chapter 3, you used a modifier called Bevel that enabled you to extrude and outline a 2D shape up to three levels. Although the Bevel modifier has an option to apply curved outlined areas, it is a bit difficult to control. The Bevel Profile modifier comes to the rescue. It requires two 2D shapes—a base shape and a profile shape—the modifier is always applied to the base shape. You can think of the profile shape as a complex extrusion and outlining path that will define the height of the new 3D mesh.

In Exercise 4.11, you create a gun turret that sits on the deck of the boat. The 2D shapes have already been created for you. The turret itself has a 23-foot diameter inside dimension, is 10 inches thick, and has a 3-inch base at the bottom.

Exercise 4.11 Creating a Turret with Bevel Profile

1.
Open the file called Ch04_Turret01.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 Ch04_Turret02.max.

2.
In the file are three 2D shapes: turret_inside_radius, turret_profile, and bracket_shape. The Bevel Profile modifier will be applied to turret_inside_radius and use turret_profile as the profile. In the Perspective viewport, select the large circle called turret_inside_radius. In the Modify panel, Modifier List, choose Bevel Profile. The circle becomes a shaded flat surface in the Perspective viewport. In the Modify panel, Parameters rollout, click the Pick Profile button (see Figure 4.53).

Figure 4.53. Apply a Bevel Profile modifier to the circle and it turns to a shaded flat plane in the Perspective viewport. It is no longer a 2D object.


3.
In the Perspective viewport, pick the turret_profile line and the 3D turret grows from the grid plane (see Figure 4.54). In the Utilities panel, click the Measure button. The dimensions are shown as 23' in X- and Y-axis, and 12' in the Z-axis. This means the outside diameter is 23 feet. This is because the first vertex of the profile attaches itself to the base shape. Not to worry—because of the functionality of the modifier stack, it is easy to add the extra thickness to make it larger.

Figure 4.54. The first vertex of the profile attaches to base shape. In this object, the outside diameter is 23 feet. You must increase the size.


4.
In the Perspective viewport, select the turret 3D mesh. In the Modify panel, Stack view, highlight the Circle at the bottom of the stack. In the Parameters rollout, change the Radius to 12'7" (10" + 3" extra). In Stack view, highlight Bevel Profile to return to the top of the stack. In the Parameters rollout, clear the check boxes for Capping, both Start and End. This reduces the number of faces from 332 to 280. Rename the object Turret01 in the modifier stack.

5.
You now create a top cap for the turret, optimize it, and align the two. Activate the Top viewport. In the Create panel, Geometry panel, click Cylinder in the Object Type rollout. Pick and drag any size cylinder in the Top viewport. In the Modify panel, Parameters rollout, set the Radius to 15' and Height to 3". In the Perspective viewport, notice that the new cylinder has a more prominent segmented outer edge and it has height segments that add unnecessary detail (see Figure 4.55).

Figure 4.55. This cylinder has too much detail where it doesn't help and too little where it is noticeable.


6.
In the Modify panel, Parameters rollout, enter 1 in Height Segments and 28 in Sides numeric fields. The cylinder now looks much better and has about half the faces (112 versus 216). Always try to be aware of any optimizations you can uses while modeling.

7.
Now, align the cap to the top center of the turret. Make sure Cylinder01 is selected and the Perspective viewport is active. On the main toolbar, click the Align button. Pick the Turret01 in the Perspective viewport. In the Align Selection dialog, check X, Y, and Z Position check boxes and make sure Center is checked in both columns to align the object's geometric center to geometric center. Click the Apply button to set the alignment, to clear the check boxes, and remain in Align. Check the Z Position check box and check Minimum in the Current Object column and Maximum in the Target Object column to place the cylinder centered on top of the turret. Click OK.

8.
Save the file; it is already called Ch04_Turret02.max.

New Alignment Tools

In Exercise 4.12, you learn to align an object's positive Z-axis to a viewport. This orients the bracket shape so that it can be easily aligned under the cap.

Exercises 4.12 Viewport Align Option

1.
Open the file called Ch04_Turret02.max on the CD-ROM or from the preceding exercise. 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 Ch04_Turret03.max.

2.
Activate the Front viewport and select the bracket_shape 2D object. You can use Select by Name on the main toolbar to make selecting easier. On the main toolbar, click and hold on Align and choose Align to View from the flyouts (see Figure 4.56).

Figure 4.56. On the main toolbar, choose the Align to View button from the flyouts.


3.
The shape aligns its local Z-axis to point from the viewport (see Figure 4.57). Click OK. In the Modify panel, Modifier List, choose Extrude and enter 3" in the Amount field to give the shape thickness. Rename the object Bracket01.

Figure 4.57. Click OK in the Align to View dialog so the shape's local Z-axis points out from the viewport.


4.
Now, center it to Cylinder01 and align it flush to the outside edge. In the Front viewport, make sure Bracket01 is selected. On the main toolbar, click and hold Align to View and choose Align from the flyouts. In the Front viewport, pick Cylinder01. In the Align Selection dialog, check Y Position, Maximum in Current Object, and Minimum in Target Object. Click Apply. Check Z Position and Center in both columns. Click Apply. Click X Position and Maximum in both columns. Click OK. The bracket is now positioned where you want it, holding up the cap (see Figure 4.58).

Figure 4.58. With a series of quick alignments, the bracket is positioned precisely where you want it and in the correct orientation.


5.
Save the file. It is already called Ch04_Turret03.max.

Creating a Circular Array of Objects

In Exercise 4.13, you learn how to make a circular array of cloned objects around the center of another object, and you use Angle Snap to keep accurate spacing. This is another example of the power of reference coordinate systems. You also learn a handy tip about performing calculations in 3ds max 6.

Exercise 4.13 Arraying Clone

1.
Open the file called Ch04_Turret03.max on the CD-ROM or from the preceding exercise. 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 Ch04_Turret04.max.

2.
Activate the Top viewport and select Bracket01. On the main toolbar, click and hold on the View reference coordinate system and choose Pick from the menu (see Figure 4.59). In the Top viewport, pick either the Cylinder01 or Turret01. The name of the object appears in the window, and they both share a common center from this view.

Figure 4.59. Change the reference coordinate system from View to Pick and pick either Turret01 or Cylinder01 in the Top viewport.


3.
On the main toolbar, click and hold on the Use Pivot Point Center button, which is located to the right of the reference coordinate system window, and choose Use Transform Coordinate Center, the bottom flyout. Click the Select and Move button (if it is not already) and you see the Transform gizmo in the center of the turret. This is now the rotation center of Bracket01.

4.
On the main toolbar, click the Select and Rotate button. It sets the reference coordinate system back to View. Pick on View and choose Turret01, which is now an entry in the menu. Set to Use Transform Coordinate Center again to use the turret center.

5.
Set the Angle Snap option to get 14 evenly spaced brackets. On the main toolbar, click and then right-click the Angle Snap Toggle button. In the Grid and Snap Settings dialog, you see the Angle is set to 5.0 degrees. You have 14 objects in a 360-degree circle. Highlight the numeric field for Angle. Press Ctrl+N to call the Numerical Expression Evaluator. Enter 360/14 in the field, and the result is reported on the line below (see Figure 4.60). Click the Paste button and the result is entered in the numeric field. Close the Grid and Snap Settings dialog.

Figure 4.60. Highlight any numeric field and press Ctrl+N to call the Numerical Expression Evaluator for performing math functions in 3ds max 6.


6.
Make sure the Select and Rotate is still toggled on, hold the Shift key for cloning, and rotate the bracket in the Z-axis one detent, 25.71 degrees (see Figure 4.61). In the Clone Options dialog, check the Instance radio button, enter 13 in the Number of Copies field, and click OK. You now have 14 evenly spaced and correctly oriented brackets supporting the cap (see Figure 4.62).

Figure 4.61. Hold the Shift key and rotate the bracket in the Z-axis one detent of the Angle Snap.


Figure 4.62. The cloned brackets are correctly spaced and oriented.


7.
Save the file; it is already called Ch04_Turret04.max.

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