Creating 3D Objects from 2D Shapes with 3ds Max

by Allisa Carter on January 1, 2013

Post image for Creating 3D Objects from 2D Shapes with 3ds Max

As the hol­i­day sea­son draws to a close, I’ve been think­ing over how the hol­i­days now are dif­fer­ent than they were when I was grow­ing up. For one, computer-​​generated 3D graph­ics play such a large part in enter­tain­ment, and really in how we envi­sion ideas in gen­eral. For exam­ple, our fam­ily went to see an ani­mated film in 3D and loved it. My son got a video game that is so real­is­tic he feels like the char­ac­ters actu­ally exist. My daughter’s favorite book is illus­trated with computer-​​generated 3D draw­ings. And I day­dreamed about what our kitchen would look like after a major ren­o­va­tion, using a 3D mod­el­ing pro­gram to help me design.

This tech­nol­ogy opens up won­der­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties for many pro­fes­sion­als, rang­ing from visual effects and motion graph­ics artists to game design­ers and media design artists, as well as archi­tects and engi­neers. Many of them use Autodesk 3ds Max, a pro­gram that pro­vides pow­er­ful mod­el­ing, ani­ma­tion, and ren­der­ing tools to help you cre­ate your vision with­out stum­bling over the tech­ni­cal details. That way your pri­mary focus can be on con­fi­dently cre­at­ing your best work ever.

Are you intrigued, yet uncer­tain if this is the pro­gram for you? Dar­iush and Randi Derakhshani’s new course Get­ting Started with 3ds Max is a great way to take this awe­some pro­gram for a spin. You’ll get an intro­duc­tion to the soft­ware with a glimpse of what it can do, then gain a thor­ough knowl­edge of the inter­face and how to cus­tomize it before you get down to work on a hands-​​on project. Soon you’ll be famil­iar with fea­tures such as the Graphite Mod­el­ing tool rib­bon, the Com­mand panel, and the Layer Man­ager, among other tools. As you cre­ate a real­is­tic model of an alarm clock, you’ll learn how to make mod­els with 3D objects, edit polyg­o­nal meshes, cre­ate sur­faces and mod­els with 2D shapes and splines, and more.

In this free video, you’ll see how to cre­ate 3D objects from 2D shapes, rather than the com­mon start­ing point of a 3D prim­i­tive or object. You’ll use the Cre­ate panel to make some sim­ple shapes (includ­ing the newly added Egg shape), then go to the Mod­ify panel to edit their para­me­ters and cre­ate editable spline objects out of them. I was espe­cially intrigued by the Sec­tion shape — take a look and see if you are too!

Over­all this is an awe­some course that pro­vides a great start­ing point for any­one who wants to cre­ate visual effects, ani­ma­tion, or design. It can be used to solid­ify so many cre­ative ideas! I par­tic­u­larly appre­ci­ated the hands-​​on project con­text in which the infor­ma­tion is pre­sented — it really helps define not only what a tool does, but why and how you would use it in rela­tion to the other tools and fea­tures. Enjoy!

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