3D S Max Materials Editor Application

Using standard primitives (simple shapes) in 3D Max, operating some of the basic tools. View ports, and toggling between one or more view ports.

With 3D Max up and running, create an object using standard primitives. In this case I'm creating two spheres, one small and one slightly larger. I'm working where the text states "Create" in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

3d Max has four ports you will work with, take note of "Perspective" which is surrounded by yellow outline. By right clicking on the word "Perspective" you will have options to change between different view ports. Currently four are on the screen, Top; Right; Left; Perspective, though other options do exist.

You can see the yellow rectangle where I chose "sphere" for my shape to work with.

You can use your cursor and mouse to choose different view ports.

You can also look to the bottom right hand of the screen and find the bottom-most tool icon, with two squares and an upwards arrow. If you click on this icon, you can toggle between the four view ports, and the view port you have highlighted and opt to work in one view port, if it suits your needs. Sometimes it is necessary as with working with fine detail in your modeling or animation.

Some of the tools are self-explanatory, such as zoom, rotate selected object, capacity to scale in and out from your selected view port.

Inside my port I created two spheres to work with.

Why the wired frames on four of the view ports and color on the bottom right view port?

That, the wireframe, and solid color is toggled using your F3 key on Windows.

As was seen in the first images material_editor_01.html I had created a sphere within a sphere. Here I have clicked on the larger sphere, and using the gizmo, (red, blue, green arrow) moved the spheres apart and separate.

3D Max View Ports offer views from all angles to give the user an idea of where their objects are in relation with one another. Using one view port can be deceptive in appearance.

The top view port is highlighted, and an indication from which port I was working from to move the sphere.

I switched to the front view port after toggling all the objects from wire frame to solid color.

Take notice between image #5 and image #6 how the tool bar at the top of 3D Max "slides", and now "Material Editor" is in view.

By clicking on the material editor, you'll open the materials application editor.

The materials editor is open, and I have one of the sample material spheres selected (including my larger sphere in the view port). These spheres in the material editor give the user an approximate idea what the final rendered image will look like.

Take note of the tool icon "Get Material"

Clicking on "Get Material", activates the Materials Library.

By default a list of available materials is given, but the user also has the choice to pick from the "Material Library" which is accessed from the hard-drive directories under 3D Max by clicking "Open".

Using the hand icon, I scrolled down to the Space_Earth selection to apply on my sphere. The sample appears in the Materials Editor. Take note of the text "Assign Material to Selection". In the view port I had the larger sphere selected and applying this material to the sphere.

As seen above, the larger sphere is now blue. When the image is rendered, the earth material will be applied to the object.

For the next step, I've selected the smallest sphere.

I want the smaller sphere to look like the moon and will need the moon material, but will need to open the material library collection.

Opening the materials editor again, I've selected the second sample sphere to test materials on. As shown above, the screen capture shows the location of the materials editor and option to "Open" collections of materials from the hard-drive.

After choosing the space materials collection, click "Open". A lengthy list of available materials will be displayed to choose from after opening your selected material collection. Use the hand tool to scroll up or down through the list of materials. Double click on the material you want to apply to your object to see a preview. See Below.

The material is now applied for both the moon and earth, though the materials themself are not revealed until the rendering process, placing less strain on computer resources.

In this image the materials editor is still open, and in the background both spheres now have materials applied to them. Notice, the smaller sphere (the moon) was changed to a dark gray.

In this screen capture, I'm preparing to render an image. First I want to make certain the background around my objects is solid black. I could set the background with stars, but I will pass on that for now, and use a solid black.

To control the color of the background, go to "Environment" as shown in the image above.

A dialogue box for selecting the background color of the final render (whether animation (*.mov) or still image) is given. In this case I choose solid black to fill the background, and will return to the "Rendering" dialogue box.

Opening the "Rendering" dialogue box a second time, in the above screen capture. This time I am going to render a final image, or as would normally be the actual case --to preview the final in a lower resolution. You can always get a quick view of your image by clicking on the teapot in the sliding toolbar. (below)

In the above screen capture, a drop down menu is available for a variety of resolutions for the final render. HDTV (High Definition) is highlighted in blue. For the purpose of this demonstration however, I'll simply go with "Custom", at a smaller resolution. The drop down dialogue box contains a number of pre-specified resolutions the final can be rendered with.

In the options I have selected "Single", for a single still image.

When the image is prepared for rendering, "Render" is located at the right corner, bottom of the Rendering dialogue box.

In this screen capture, the image has been rendered for preview or for a final. The image was rendered from the "Perspective" view port. That was covered earlier. Four view ports are available by default, and "Perspective" was selected when the image was rendered. If the image had been rendered from one of the other view ports, the image would have been rendered from the angle of the view port (front, top, left, etc).

A "Save" icon (above) is located on the top left of the window. You will have the option to save the image in a variety of formats including *jpg.

To view the final click here: moon_earth.jpg. (27 k)