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Chapter 4. Shipbuilding 101: The Making ... > Merging Objects from Other 3ds max F...

Merging Objects from Other 3ds max Files

You have created objects such as turrets and smokestacks that you will now merge into this scene and align in place on the deck of the boat. The original files remain intact and there will be no connection to the merged objects. Merging is often used when collaborating with other artists, but it also is useful for keeping scenes manageable in any office.

File Merging and 3ds max Groups

In Exercise 4.17, you merge objects from the turret file you created earlier, and then you use the Hold command to store the file in a buffer so that you can experiment will aligning the turret to the deck. It won't work as you might expect, so you will fetch the file back and learn about groups in 3ds max 6.

Exercise 4.17 Merging and Grouping Objects

1.
Open the file called Ch04_Monitor03.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_Monitor04.max.

2.
In the File pull-down menu, choose Merge and find the file called Ch04_ Turret05.max on the CD-ROM. You only want the 3D mesh objects from this scene so, in the Merge dialog, List Types area, click the None button to clear all the “type” check boxes, and then check Geometry to show a list of only 3D mesh objects. At the bottom of the dialog, click the All button to highlight the list (see Figure 4.70). Click OK to merge the objects.

Figure 4.70. Set the Merge list to show geometry only, highlight all in the list, and click OK to merge.


3.
On the main toolbar, enter Turret in the Named Selection Sets window and press Enter. This enables you to reselect the merged objects using this name (see Figure 4.71).

Figure 4.71. Enter Turret in the Named Selection Sets window of the main toolbar and press Enter. Pressing Enter after typing the name is important to make it final.


4.
In the Edit pull-down menu, choose Hold to save the scene to a file. On the main toolbar, click Align and, in the Perspective viewport, pick Hull01. In the Align Selection dialog, check X, Y, Z Position, and Center for both Current and Target Objects. Click OK. This makes a mess of things because the center of each individual piece is aligned with the center of the hull. In the Edit pull-down menu, click Fetch, and then answer Yes in the dialog.

5.
The turret objects are no longer selected. Click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Named Selection Sets window on the main toolbar and choose Turret in the list to select them again. In the Group pull-down menu, choose Group. Name the group Turret in the Group dialog (see Figure 4.72). Click OK.

Figure 4.72. From the Group pull-down menu, choose Group and name this group Turret.


6.
In the Perspective viewport, align the group with the Hull01, center to center in the three axes, and notice that each object keeps its original relationship to the others in the group. In the Align Selection dialog, click Apply. Check Z Position and Minimum in the Current column and Maximum in the Target column. Click OK. On the main toolbar, click the Select and Move button. On the status bar, toggle Offset Mode Transform Type-In and enter –3" in the Z field. Press Enter. This moves the turret to the surface of the deck, which is not the same as the maximum point of the hull bounding box because of some curvature in the deck.

7.
In the Transform Type-In X field, enter 40 and press Enter to move the turret forward. In the Edit pull-down menu, choose Clone. Check the Instance option and click OK to clone the group. In the Transform Type-In X field, enter –80 and press Enter. You now have two turrets on the deck (see Figure 4.73).

Figure 4.73. Move the Turret01 forward and clone it as an instance. Then, move the clone to the rear of the deck.


8.
In the File pull-down menu, choose Merge and find Ch04_SmokeStk02.max on your hard drive or on the CD-ROM. In the Merge dialog, highlight Smokestack01 and click OK.

9.
In the Perspective viewport, align the stack to sit on the deck at the center of the hull using the same process as step 6, but instead of moving it down the 3 inches, you can align to a turret body using Minimum to Minimum in the Z-axis.

10.
Save the file. It is already called Ch04_Monitor04.max.

You now have a hull with turrets and a smokestack, which, if you look back and review the process, was quite easy to create. It might seem like a long time since you started, but with a little practice, you could do it again quickly.

Most important is that you learned tools and techniques that can be applied to your own work.

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