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Modeling a Vase Using the FFD Modifier

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#1 Seifer


    The best Anti-Paladin weapon is a tin opener...!

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Posted 18 August 2005 - 02:26 PM


This is meant to be a simple tutorial to show you a nice, easy way to make objects like pots or vases. I'm assuming you have some very basic knowledge of 3DSMax such as using the Transform and Scale gizmos. If you don't know about those, refer to the early tutorials that came with your copy of 3DSMax.

Creating the Object

Let's start off by finding a primitive that will mold easily into a vase. In most cases, it's a simple cylinder.

First, under the Create panel, click Cylinder and drag in the Perspective viewport to create it. Set the Radius to 5 units and the Height to 20 in the Modify panel. Zoom in or out so you can see the cylinder easily.

I normally take into account polygon count for my scenes, since they can increase Render time a good amount. Since pots and vases are usually small, they don't need to have a lot of polygons. To get a number that looks good and saves polys, go into the Modify panel and set Sides to 12 and Height Segments to 6. That's the base object for our vase.

Now we want to mold this cylinder into a vase-like shape without moving each vertex itself. To do that, we're going to apply an FFD Cylinder modifier.

For 3DSMax4:

In the Modify rollout, click on the dropdown menu that says Modifier List. Scroll down and click FFD (cyl).

For 3DSMax3:

Near the top of the screen, click the Modifiers tab and select FFD Cylinder.

Once that's done, we have to set a number of dimensions that makes sense. So, under FFD Parameters, click Set Number of Points. We don't need to modify the radial section of the cylinder, so set Radial dimensions to 2 (the minimum). Set Height dimensions to 5 since that's what we'll be modifying the most. Sides can stay at 6 dimensions. Once that's done, hit OK.

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Next is actually modelling the vase. To do this, let's first get into a viewport that makes it easy to select vertices. Right-click the Front viewport to activate it (first hit the Min/Max toggle if you've been working in the Perspective viewport exclusively), then hit the Min/Max toggle to maximize it. Zoom in so that you can see the cylinder easily.
Now we have to go into Sub-object mode so we can mold the cylinder into our vase. Click Sub-object: Control Points (in 3DSMax4).

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1. Highlight the second row of control points from the bottom by click and dragging. On the top of the screen, click and hold down on the Select and Uniform Scale button. Two more options should rollout; pick Select and Non-Uniform Scale (see image below).

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Look to the right of that, and select ZX (Select to Z and X axis).
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Hit the Spacebar on your keyboard (this initiates the Selection Lock Toggle)
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Now drag up with the Non-Uniform Scale until it shows as scaled to 160% (the scale % is shown underneath the viewport). Unlock the selection by either clicking the Lock button or hitting the Spacebar again.

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2. Select the two top rows of Control Points by clicking and dragging, then Lock the selection. Click and drag until it's scaled to 30%. Unlock the selection.
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3. Select the middle row of Control Points (unselected until now), then Lock the selection. Scale to 50%. Unlock the selection.

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Now get out of Sub-object mode, and you've got yourself a vase.

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Edited by Seifer, 19 August 2005 - 03:18 AM.

how come you always look so damn cool in every photo I see you in?!?

Speaking of modding, I listened to IER 3 yesterday, so you can have another quote for your signature: how come you sound so damn cool, as well as look it? It's unfair. Seriously.

Still a cyberjock, still hacking the matrix, still unsure of what that means.

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