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NOTE You can use metric units if you prefer. This tutorial will use feet and inches. You should use the system that you are most comfortable with.

Make a box object that has the overall volume of the entourage you are planning to create—in this case we'll be making a person. You will use this box as a visual template to guide you in creating flat plane geometry that you will later map to the entourage material you will be designing in this tutorial.

2. Press Alt+W if necessary to maximize the current viewport. Press T to switch to the Top viewport.

3. Click the Create tab of the Command Panel, click the Geometry button, select Standard Primitives from the drop-down, and click the Box tool in the Object Type rollout.

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4. Drag out a box in the Top viewport, and adjust its parameters in the Command Panel to have a length and width of 2 each (the approximate width of a typical human body), and set the height to match the height of the person—in this case, set it to 5'8".

Before you make the plane object that you will ultimately map your entourage material to, you need to know the proportions of the image you will be using. You want to match the aspect ratio of the plane geometry to the image file so that no distortions occur. If the plane is wider than the image, the figure will stretch and appear wider than it is in real life.

5. Choose File > View Image File to open the View File dialog box, as shown in Figure 4.37. Navigate to the folder on your hard drive where you stored WomanStanding.tif from earlier in this chapter. (You can also find this file on the CD.) Single-click WomanStanding.tif in the View File dialog box so you can see the statistics data at the bottom before opening this file. Make a note that this image measures 345x1415 pixels.

It is a good idea to preview the image you will use for entourage to make sure it contains an alpha channel.

6. Double-click WomanStanding.tif in the View File dialog box. The Rendered Frame Window (RFW) opens, displaying the selected image (see Figure 4.38). Click the Display Alpha Channel button in the RFW. The grayscale alpha channel displays in the RFW. Close the RFW.

Figure 4.37

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7. Press F to switch to the Front viewport. Press G to toggle the grid on. Click the Plane button in the Object Type rollout. Drag out a plane next to the box. Don't worry about its exact size or placement yet.

We need to temporarily change to generic units to match the size of the plane to the pixel dimensions of the image.

8. Choose Customize > Units Setup to open the Units Setup dialog box. Click the Generic Units radio button and then click OK. Changing units does not scale objects; it merely changes the system of measurement. Using generic units may be less confusing than feet and inches in the next step.

9. Click the Modify tab of the Command Panel. Change Length to 1415 and Width to 345. These generic values match the pixel dimensions of the image.

10. Click the Select And Uniform Scale tool on the main toolbar. Drag the Scale gizmo down to reduce the size of the plane. Keep dragging until the plane's height roughly matches the height of the box. Right-click, choose Move from the Transform quad, and move the plane so that its lower edge rests on the major line of the grid (see Figure 4.39). Finally, erase the box, now that it has fulfilled its job as your visual template (click to select it and press Delete).

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