3ds Max Mastery in 7 Hrs: Project Based Intro for Beginners
**Updated 10/2019 with new bonus project
3ds Max is an industry leading 3d software used widely in various different fields of 3d, including but not limited to: video games, film, medical illustration, architectural illustration, animation, industrial design and concept art.
Regardless of what field you are hoping to go into with 3d graphics, this is the place to start. Here are some of the reasons:
In the course we will use 3ds Max. Anyone can get access to this software for free (limited time), and it is one of the most widely used 3d packages used throughout all industries.
This course is comprehensive, in that it covers all the major concepts of 3d. At the end you will be able to create your own graphics.
We start slow, and from the absolute beginning, so don’t worry if you are new to this.
This is a project based course. We won’t get too caught up in all the theory, but instead we will jump right in and start creating things.
The projects include techniques that will be useful in various different disciplines, so regardless of what you are learning 3d for, there is something here for you.
All course models and texture maps are available for download, so it is easy to stay caught up with the instructor.
Many additional free resources will be available to enhance learning.
Videos are high-quality. They are presented in full HD with crisp sound, and they also include key-stroke overlays to help the student understand clearly.
All default settings are used in 3ds Max, so the student screen will look just like the instructor screen — no surprises or secret short cuts! This course is very easy to follow.
All these things, and many more, make this course the premiere place to learn 3d graphics on Udemy. After joining this course, you will see that after about 7 hours of video and practice projects, you will come to have a firm grasp of 3d graphics in 3ds Max. You will understand the theory behind 3d graphics as they apply to various different fields. You will also be able to navigate around in the software comfortably — a big achievement for such a powerful and complex software. Most importantly, you will be able to confidently create your own projects, whether it be modelling, animation, game content creation, or whatever.
More important notes about the class:
You will have access to the instructor, who is a practicing 3d professional, through the course forums. He will answer questions for you directly and help wherever necessary.
This course will be continually updated with new content which will all be free to existing students
This course will stay up to date and add additional information continually to stay up with the latest software releases.
There is a 30 day money back guarantee on this purchase. *Full refund for any reason.
-Meet me, the instructor
-What we're going to do in this course
-How we are going to learn
-What you will have / know by the end
Here we will explore the video player for this course, and also the Q & A section. It is important to know these things because they need to work in order for us to maximize our learning. Please use the Q & A section liberally.
Here you will see how to get your free version of the software so you can follow along with me. The latest version is 2017, and that is what I will be using during the course. If you have a previous version, it will work as well with a few minor things being slightly different.
Here is where you will need to come to find all the downloads (models, maps, etc) that I talk about in the course
Jump In To 3d Graphics: The Basic Building Blocks
An intro to section 2 where we will get our feet wet with 3d graphics. We will cover some of the basic principles of 3d, learn some of the applications of 3d (and possible career paths), and we will also create our first basic rendering in this section.
Here we will create a basic model using available default objects called standard primitives. We will also see how to place a light in our scene and render out an image. This is where we will create our very first rendering!
A little more about the building blocks of 3d and an explanation of how we can take these basic standard primitives and turn them into complex scenes.
3d can be used for so many things, and it all starts with the basic elements we have discussed in this section. In this lecture we will revue what we have learned, and also take a look at examples of what can be created using 3d graphics. This will give you some good goals to aim for as far as what kind of things you might want to create in 3d, and what kind of career path you might want to pursue.
Navigate 3ds Max With Ease
In this lecture we will touch on the various different elements of the 3ds Max UI. There is kind of a lot to look at, and it can be overwhelming, so it is worth taking the time. We will learn the difference between the viewport, file menus, command panel, other tool panels, etc.
More About Modelling
This lecture covers basic spline creation. Within splines, as you will see, there is a built-in ability to make any shape we want. To accomplish this, we will use sub-object modes and explore the various different types of vertices that can be created with splines.
This is an opportunity to look at some more of the standard primitives that are available in 3ds Max. We will see various different types demonstrated.
Once we have created the basic elements of our models, we need to be able to adjust them and modify them. Enter, the Modify Panel. Here we can change the parameters of basic primitives, change properties of splines, and also add various different types of adjustment modifiers to our objects. You will learn about sweep, FFD and more.
Here you will be introduced to polygon modelling, which gives you the maximum control over your objects. It is the basis for most complex models in 3d. You will learn how to enter sub-object mode and individually control the different elements of an object with poly tools such as extrude.
In this lecture we will dive deeper into polygon modelling, and see a demonstration of the basic tools that will be the foundation for some very complex, custom objects later on. Poly modelling is very powerful, and the this lecture will give us a good look at some of its capabilities.
The Modifier Panel In-Depth
In this lecture, we will get even more comfortable with the modify panel (it is really essential) by seeing various modifiers applied to our objects. We will see various different settings and what they do. Modifiers demonstrated include: lathe, FFD and noise.
Project #1: Create A Basic Still Life
It is time to polish our models and get them ready for rendering. To do this, we will use more modifiers (I told you they are important), and more poly modeling. Generally, we will be adding small details that make our models more physically accurate, because this will help them to render more realistically.
Previously we learned how to create objects from a simple rectangle using poly tools. Here we will use the same techniques to model the table for our still life models to sit on.
Up to this point, we have been modelling independent of any specific units or scale. In this lecture, we will remedy that as we prepare to start rendering. We will also see how to fix scale problems if they arise in our projects.
Here we will add a simple studio backdrop for our models. This will be important when we get to lighting and rendering our scene. It will add to the realism, and also to the look and feel that we are trying achieve with our final rendering.
In this lecture we finally create another rendering, and this time we are getting a lot closer to something that looks finished, especially on the modelling part. We will learn again how to put in a simple light and camera, and then how to use basic render settings. In later lectures, we will then go back and start to review these areas in more depth.
For those of you who have later versions of 3ds Max where Arnold has been introduced instead of Mental Ray, this video will adapt our project to that render engine. We will put in some Arnold compatible lights and render with the default settings of that engine to preview our scene. We will also show how to render the scene with the ART render engine.
Let There Be Light
-Different kinds of lights in 3d
-Mental Ray / Standard / Photometric
-Which one to use when
-Benefits of different kinds
Here we start to get a little more in depth with lights and their associated settings. This first lecture covers standard lights; spotlights, direct lights and omni lights. These are the standard 3ds Max lights, and will render with basically any render engine.
Area lights are more accurate than standard lights. We will cover them here as we attempt to create more realistic shadows and lighting effects, again with built-in lights that come with every copy of 3ds Max.
Photometric lights are probably the most physically accurate. They can actually perfectly mimic specific lights in the real world, per manufacturer specs. We'll learn how in this video. When we are done here, we will have learned about all the different kinds of lights available to us in 3ds Max.
Check the resources of this video to grab the .ies files that we talk about in the lecture.
For those of you using a newer version of the software with Arnold, this lecture gets you up to speed with Arnold lights. Arnold lights can replace all the other lights that we have talked about in this section. They can act as area lights of all different shapes and sizes.
Cameras and Composition
- Theory behind photography
- How it applies in 3d
- Setting up cameras in 3ds Max
- Camera Settings
Before using a camera in 3ds Max, it is helpful to understand how actual cameras work. The settings on a real-life camera will translate straight across to 3d, so understanding one helps us understand the other. Here we will discuss the essential settings and the theory behind them so that we can improve our 3d scene.
Now we see how to apply photography principles to the 3ds Max physical camera. We'll go over all the basic settings that are important to our scene. Some things that are discussed include exposure, depth-of-field, motion blur and more.
Depth-of-field can be a great tool for adding an artistic flare to our scenes. It also helps to guide the eye to the focal point of our image. Here we will put it into use.
When we create new cameras in 3d, it often means that we see new parts of our models that we hadn't focused on before. In this lecture, we adjust the scene and composition to fit with our new camera from this section. We will also make sure that the lighting makes sense with the new camera.
We have learned a lot about cameras and photography in this section. Here we will review what we have learned, and I will also give you additional material for you to reference if you wish to explore photography further.
Creating Materials for Your Models
Here we will take a look at some different types of materials, and try our hand at adjusting some of them. We will start to learn the basic construction of materials so that we can begin to start creating our own, custom materials.
In this introduction, you will see the basic theory behind materials. We will also cover some basic terminology, plus see the theory behind UVW mapping, which is the process of mapping 2d images (maps) onto 3 dimensional geometry.
Use the provided .jpg files as bitmaps to create a complex rustic wood material. This lecture is a great introduction about using bitmaps for diffuse, reflection, glossiness, bump etc.
Now use what you know about making materials and adapt to Arnold Materials. In this lecture, we change the table material into an Arnold material that will work with the Arnold renderer.
We have looked at bitmaps, but now we will use procedural maps to create some interesting effects. These maps are generated using mathematical algorithms. We will use them to create a brushed metal material here, but they can be used for many different things in 3d materials.
In this lecture, we will create a basic glass material and explore some of its settings. We will also experiment a little bit more with some procedural maps, and introduce refraction to our materials.
Here we will finish up the materials for our scene with final tweaks. We will also look at a new type of material, the Fast SSS Mental Ray material. When we are done with the lecture, our scene will be fully materialized.
3ds Max includes a scene converter, so regardless of what render engine you are using, you can convert it to another. It can convert materials and lights so they will be compatible.
We have already used and applied UVW maps to our objects, but here we will review them and learn some of the theory behind them. Watch this lecture to ensure that you always have your materials looking right on your objects.
Setting Up Your Rendering - Render Settings
This lecture demonstrates for us the simplicity of Mental Ray render settings so we can be on our way with rendering our own scenes. Mental Ray makes it fairly simple to quickly adjust the essential settings.
All the essential render settings for Arnold
Project #2: Creating a High-Poly Desk Lamp
Here we see how to start our project off with some good reference imagery. It is important to get good ref images, and to know how to use them properly within max. This lecture teaches us how.
In this lecture we will start to experiment with the basic techniques of poly modelling. What we learn here is the foundation for all organic, high-poly modelling in 3ds Max. We will begin to understand the importance of edge loops in combination with the turbosmooth modifier.
We will continue to work on our desk lamp, learning more tips and tricks for high-poly modelling in 3ds Max along the way.
Our lamp starts to come together as we continue to use 3ds Max tools to poly model high-detail objects. We see tools like symmetry, swift loop, edge select, loop select, turbosmooth, extrude, bevel, inset and so many more.
This lecture concludes our high-poly project. We now have a completely modelled desk lamp created from scratch that helped us learn the ins and outs of poly modelling with built in 3ds Max tools.
Project #3: Create a Basic Game Model (Low Poly)
Here we will create a very simple model, and unlike previous projects, we will create this one with the intent of being able to export it to a game. Creating game content requires some specific techniques, one of which is using your polygons efficiently.
With game models, UVW mapping needs to be customized. That is where UVW unwrap modifier comes in. This modifier enables us to apply detail to our simplified models using texture maps only. This can be a complicated process. This lecture will show you the basic theories and techniques.
Once we have our UVW maps for our object, it is necessary to export them to a photo-editing software of some sort, where we can custom paint our texture maps. This lecture will show us how to do that.
With our object unwrapped properly, we can paint in detail, and add normal maps to the object which will give the perception of depth and detail that we don't have to model in, keeping our game object very efficient.
Advanced Modelling Techniques: Cloth, Physics, etc.
- Advanced modelling in 3ds Max
- Cloth Modifier
- Physics simulation with Mass FX
- Pivot points and radial symmetry
Here we will explore the basics of creating cloth objects in 3ds Max by using the example of a table cloth. Modelling this manually could be quite difficult, so we will let 3ds Max built in Physics do the work for us.
This lecture explains some important concepts for all modelling, and serves the dual purpose of teaching us how to create a nice basket for our scene, and for our game object apples to go in. We will see an easy way to model objects with radial symmetry while learning about pivot points and how to adjust them.
In this lecture we take our wire basket model, and our apple game model, and we place the apples using Mass FX physics. This is a much easier way to place things naturally, or even animate them, so that is why we look at here in this modelling section. We let the Mass FX engine do the work for us.
Add Motion To Your Scene With Basic Animation Techniques
- Basic key frame animation
- curve editor
- pivots and basic rigging for our 3d models
Before animating an object in 3ds Max, we need to make sure that the object model is setup properly. A large part of that will be ensuring that pivot points are in the right place, and also that we have our hierarchies defined. This lecture will show us how.
Here we will learn all the basic controls in 3ds Max for animating. After this lecture we will understand the basic UI navigation for animating, and also what a key frame is and how to create one.
We will use what we now know about key frames and we will animate our desk lamp project.
It is necessary to dive into the 3ds Max curve editor a little bit more, because this is an important tool for animating. It shows us all the movement in our scene on a line graph essentially (position over time). This lecture explores some of the settings and uses of the curve editor.
Here we will learn how to make movies! Animating the camera is an important part of any animation in 3ds Max, and here we will learn several different techniques we can use to animate cameras effectively. We will cover constraints, dummy objects, and standard keyframing.
Project Completion: Putting It All Together
- finishing touches on our rendering
- merging our other models into the scene
- render settings
Finally, in this lecture, we will bring everything together and render a final project. I will show you exactly what my finished rendering looks like. I will then explain everything I did, demonstrate some of the techniques, and give you all the info you need to finish your project as well. We'll start by merging our various different projects together using merge in 3ds Max. From there, it is just a matter of placing everything, tweaking lighting and materials, and viola!
Let's look at that last few things that we need to finish up. I'll show you my render settings, and well be all set to have our first finished project using 3ds Max.
Post-processing is the process of taking your 3d rendering into a photo editing software and further adjusting it. Here we'll adjust colors and lighting slightly, just to make our rendering look even better. We will be using Photoshop, but other photo editing software can work as well. We will go over some very basic techniques for post-processing here, and at the end we will have an even better looking image.
BONUS PROJECT I: Architectural Visualization - Modeling Furniture
Download the project and follow along with everything I do. Learn how to model this very high detail, high quality window.
BONUS SECTION: Where to go next + Free Photoshop Course
- Thank you for taking the course
- Ideas for where to go next
- Start learning more in-depth, in more specific areas of 3d
- Keep learning with me on Udemy
- Coupons available
Click the links in this lecture to join any of the courses for very cheap prices.