Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 13 - Adding Urban Design Components

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Industry
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Scripting
  • 2014
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  • Workflow
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  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
Duration
10 min

Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 13 - Adding Urban Design Components

To make the road works and the city block more believable, you need to add a few urban design components. In this movie, you take a look at a separate file that has a set of objects such as traffic lights, fire hydrants, mailboxes and more, and consider how you can merge them and make them work in your scene.

Notes

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.

Transcript

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In this installment of the City Blocks tutorial series, you learn to add Urban Design Components to make the city blocks more believable.

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Objects such as benches, fire hydrants and traffic lights among others are essential in an urban environment.

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Open the file named Urban-Design-Components.max that you downloaded for this tutorial.

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There, you'll find a set of objects that are typical of an urban scene:

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A street lamp, a stop sign, a bench, a light pole with attached traffic light and trashcan, a fire hydrant, a mailbox and a bus shelter.

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They are all built using low-poly editing techniques and Face IDs have been set so that all objects are sharing a single Multi/Sub-Object material.

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Low-poly count is important as you will have quite a few of these scattered. Keep that in mind as you create them.

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All objects have been converted to simple editable polys to reduce stack overhead.

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The only object that is moderately complex is the traffic light.

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In terms of geometry, it is simple enough but there are three "flaps" that can be animated to hide or show the lights to change their status.

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By selecting the traffic light box, you can animate the slider to switch from a green to a yellow or to a red light.

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The flaps are simple boxes with rotations made to react to the slider position.

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These were done using the Reaction Manager which has been covered in other tutorials on this channel.

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However, in case you're interested, I will show you how I went about it in a moment.

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One important fact to remember is that because of the nature of the reaction controller, if you clone the traffic light as an instance,

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you also instance the reactions as well. This means instanced traffic lights will animate the same way.

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If you need to animate the traffic lights individually (which you probably do), you need to clone the traffic lights as Copies.

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One other thing to note is that the traffic light and the trash can are linked to the lamp post for easier relocation.

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Also, their pivot points are set to match their parent's, so that they can be easily rotated around the pole.

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This can be handy if you need multiple lights around a single pole.

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These only represent a handful of urban design components. You can certainly create your own and build a larger library.

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One final note, the components names have a UDC_ prefix which stands for Urban Design Component.

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This is just to simplify selection when you merge and duplicate these components into another scene.

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With that in mind, you are ready to move on to the next movie where you merge some of these elements into your city blocks scene.

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However, read on if you are curious about how the Reaction Manager was set up.

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Open the file UDC_reaction-mgr.max.

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It is essentially the same scene that you had a moment ago but without the slider to control the traffic light.

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Also, this scene was saved before the objects were renamed with a prefix, so that's a good opportunity to re-visit the Rename Objects tool.

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Select all objects and choose Tools > Rename Objects.

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Disable all options except Prefix. Enter a prefix: UDC_ and then click Rename.

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Exit the dialog and click in an empty area to deselect all objects.

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Now all objects have a UDC_ prefix.

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Zoom in on the traffic light.

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Use the Box tool in AutoGrid mode to create a box that covers the red light.

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The values should be around 0.275x0.275x0.01m

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Disable AutoGrid when done.

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Using the Move tool, push the box slightly to the inside so it is not protruding too much.

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The idea is to rotate this flap 180 degrees so that it hides or shows the light underneath.

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Apply the Multi/Sub material to the box and then convert it to an Editable Poly.

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Select all polygons that make the box and set them to ID #1 so that they're the same color as the metal housing.

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Exit polygon mode when done.

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Rename the object UDC_Traffic-Light_RL_001 (RL for red light).

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Duplicate it to create a flap for the yellow light,

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And another for the green light.

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Link all three flaps to the traffic light.

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Next, you need a controller object. You'll use a slider custom attribute accessible when you select the traffic light.

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Select the traffic light and add an Attribute Holder modifier to it.

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Press Alt+1 to open the Parameter Editor. You can also access it from the Animation menu.

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Set the Parameter Type to Integer. You don't need precision here, just three states of play, green, yellow, or red.

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Set the UI to slider. You can also use spinner if you prefer. In this case though, slider is arguably easier to use.

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Name it Traffic Light.

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Set the Range from 1 to 3, 1 being Green, 2 is Yellow and 3 is Red.

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Set the default to 1 for a green light.

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If you want, set the number of ticks to 2, this makes the slider position a bit easier to understand.

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Click the Add button to add the custom attribute to the Modify panel and then dismiss the Parameter Editor.

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You are now ready to use the Reaction Manager.

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From the 3ds Max menus, choose Animation > Reaction Manager.

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Click the Add Master button and then click the traffic light and choose Modified Object > Attribute Holder > Custom_Attributes > Traffic Light

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This is to say that the Custom Attribute slider is now the master object

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Next select the three flaps and then click the Add Selected button to make them dependent of the master object.

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Choose Transform > Rotation > Z Rotation although in this case, the Y-axis would work just as well.

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A first state has been added where all flaps are showing the current Z-Rotation of -90 degrees.

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Change the Green Light rotation to +90 to see the effect.

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This is saying that when the slider value is set to 1 (to the left), the green flap is rotated 180 degrees from where it started originally.

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Click the State001 label once and then click it again to rename it. Give it the name Green Light.

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To create a similar reaction for the yellow light, simply Create a New State.

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Name it Yellow light.

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Set its value to 2 representing the middle position of the slider,

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and then set the GL and RL flaps to -90 degrees and the YL flap to +90.

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To test it, select the traffic light and work the slider.

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Finally, create a new state for the red light,

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where the slider value is set to 3,

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and the red flap angle at a +90-degree angle.

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Dismiss the Reaction Manager dialog when done. Form this point on; you can animate the slider to animate the traffic light.

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In the next movie, you merge the traffic light assembly into your city blocks scene.


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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Scripting
  • 2014
  • Environment
  • Workflow
2 Comments
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| 1 year ago
In Part 14, Attribute Modifiers are ok with 3ds Max 2014, but testing with 2016 or 2018 fails. Regards Walter
Edited by 1RV8C9ux 1 year ago
| 1 year ago
It went well until minute 8:22 then the Reaction Manager gives error and close down :(
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