Creating Reference Planes in 3ds

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Now let's use the three character sketches and place them on flat 2D planes in Max. These will be reference planes so that you can model in the X, Y, and Z directions simultaneously, thereby creating a 3D model. Most modelers put their images on three planes and go from there; I like to take it one step further and make the character sketch stand on his own with a transparent background. The planes you'll create will have the same relative length and width in meters as the pixel dimensions of each of the respective sketches.

1. In Max, click on the Create panel, select the Geometry button, and click on Plane. Click and drag in the Front viewport to create a plane. In the Plane Parameters rollout, change Length Segs and Width Segs to 1. Change Length and Width in the rollout to 1.83m and 1.74m respectively (see Figure 2.4).

Note that the dimensions of the front sketch, HICKS_front.tga, are 810x770 pixels. (You can view this in Photoshop.) What I've done is translated these measurements to meters. If the character is to be 1.83m (6 feet) tall, then 810 pixels corresponds to 1.83m (the height of the sketch). Therefore, dividing 1.83 by 810 and multiplying by 770 (1.83-810x770) gives us

3ds Max8 Camera Match
Figure 2.4 Create a plane in Front view with a length and width of 1.83m and 1.74m to match the dimensions of the HICKS_front.tga sketch.

the relative width of the front sketch in meters while maintaining the aspect ratio of the original sketch, which is 1.74. You can do this for the other two planes, too. This keeps the dimensions of the planes consistent with those of the sketches, and it makes the character 6 feet tall (which is the actual height of actor Michael Biehn, who plays Corporal Hicks in the movie Aliens).

2. Open the Material editor (press M) and select the first material slot in the top left. In the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, click on the button to the right of Diffuse. In the Material/Map Browser screen, select Bitmap. Browse to the Chapter 2 directory of the CD-ROM and select HICKS_front.tga to load this texture into the first material slot.

3. Click on the Go To Parent button to return to the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout.

4. Click the Show Map in Viewport button, and then click the Assign Material to Selection button. This adds the texture to the plane (see Figure 2.5).

5. In the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, set the Self Illumination spinner to 100. This fully illuminates the texture regardless of any lights present in the scene.

6. In the Blinn Basic Parameters rollout, click on the button to the right of Opacity. In the

Material/Map Browser screen, select Bitmap. Browse to the Chapter 2 directory of the CD-ROM and again select HICKS_front.tga. This texture file also contains a separate alpha channel, viewable in the Channels palette in Photoshop, that represents areas of the texture that are to be transparent.

7. In the Bitmap Parameters rollout, select Alpha in the Mono Channel Output section. Your character sketch should now be floating in Max without a background, making it easier to model (see Figure 2.6). For your information, TGA and TIF files are capable of storing alpha channels that represent transparency information for both modeling programs and video games. If you open the HICKS_front.tga file in Photoshop and open the Channels palette, you see a separate alpha layer that contains a black-and-white silhouette of

Tutorial Character Videogames Max

Figure 2.5 In the Material Editor, add the HICKS_front.tga texture to a material slot and assign it to the plane object.

Assigning Texture Material Slot

Figure 2.6 Use the same HICKS_front.tga file as an opacity map in the Material Editor to make the character sketch background transparent.

Figure 2.5 In the Material Editor, add the HICKS_front.tga texture to a material slot and assign it to the plane object.

Figure 2.6 Use the same HICKS_front.tga file as an opacity map in the Material Editor to make the character sketch background transparent.

the character sketch (see Figure 2.7). Max interprets the 100 percent black areas as fully transparent and the 100 percent white areas as fully opaque.

8. Now repeat steps 1-7 to create additional planes in the Left and Top viewports. Using empty slots in the Material Editor for each texture, use HICKS_side.tga (810x214 pixels) for the Left viewport plane, with Length equal to 1.83m and Width equal to 0.483m. Repeat with HICKS_top.tga (217x770

pixels) for the Top viewport plane, with Length equal to 0.49m and Width equal to 1.74m. When you're finished, use the Move tool to position all three planes so that their edges meet and form a modeling studio, as I have done in Figure 2.8.

9. Finally, it's helpful to freeze each plane so that you don't accidentally move them when modeling. Right-click a plane and choose Properties. In the Object Properties screen, check

Freeze. Then uncheck Show Frozen in Gray. Click OK, and repeat for the other two planes. If you need to unfreeze these planes at any time, just click on the Display panel, and in the Freeze section, select Unfreeze by Name.

Note

You can see the completed virtual studio setup by opening the HICKS_ studio.max file located on the book's CD-ROM in the Chapter 2 folder.

Figure 2.7 The transparency channel located in HICKS_front.tga tells 3ds Max what portions of the texture should be transparent. These are the 100 percent black areas in the channel as viewed in Photoshop.
3ds Max Reference Images

Figure 2.8 Create two more planes in the Left and Top viewports, and repeat steps 1 HICKS_top.tga.This completes your modeling studio.

-7 to texture them using HICKS_side.tga and

Figure 2.8 Create two more planes in the Left and Top viewports, and repeat steps 1 HICKS_top.tga.This completes your modeling studio.

-7 to texture them using HICKS_side.tga and

At this point, your Max modeling environment should be properly set up and allow you to begin modeling in the next chapter.

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Responses

  • samwise
    How to make texture for character?
    9 years ago
  • noora
    How to make transparent TGA for 3Dstudio Max?
    9 years ago
  • battista
    How to assign character on plane in 3d max?
    9 years ago
  • Robert
    How to create a plane in 3ds max with dimensions in pixels?
    8 years ago
  • wiseman
    How to create a character texture?
    8 years ago
  • LALIA
    How make transparent plane in 3ds max?
    8 years ago

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