3ds Max - Modeling a Baseball with MCG

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Industry
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • 2016
  • MCG
Products
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate

3ds Max - Modeling a Baseball with MCG

In this tutorial, you learn to model a detailed baseball, right down to the seams and stitches, by using two Max Creation Graphs.

Notes

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2016
  • The interface in this tutorial applies to MCG 2017. The interface in MCG 2018 has been revised to a new node naming scheme.

Transcript

00:00:06 --> 00:00:12
In this movie, you learn to build a detailed baseball, right down to the seams and stitches.

00:00:12 --> 00:00:18
In doing so, you will use two Max Creation Graphs you have learned about in other tutorials on this channel.

00:00:19 --> 00:00:24
These would be the MCG_Clone tool and the MCG_ConformMesh tool.

00:00:24 --> 00:00:30
If you haven't followed the tutorials that relate to these tools, you can certainly do so before moving on.

00:00:30 --> 00:00:39
However, you can still skip viewing those tutorials and simply load the tools as they are part of the zip archive you downloaded for this tutorial.

00:00:39 --> 00:00:48
For that, start 3ds Max, and then from the Scripting menu choose: "Install Max Creation Graph (.mcg) Package".

00:00:49 --> 00:00:54
Browse to where you have stored the files you downloaded. There should be two of them.

00:00:54 --> 00:01:00
Select one to view its information, and then click Install to install the tool on your system.

00:01:01 --> 00:01:03
Repeat for the other file.

00:01:04 --> 00:01:12
More information about installing and packaging graphs is showcased in another movie on this channel named "MCG - Packaging and Installing".

00:01:13 --> 00:01:21
The install procedure you just did added two new modifiers to your system, both starting with the prefix MCG_.

00:01:22 --> 00:01:33
In a nutshell, the MCG_Clone modifier is a duplication tool where you specify a number of clones, with options for position, rotation and scale offsets.

00:01:33 --> 00:01:38
What makes this tool interesting is that the end result is viewed as a single object.

00:01:38 --> 00:01:42
You will use it later to create the stitching on the baseball.

00:01:43 --> 00:01:53
The MCG_ConformMesh tool is a modifier that ensures one surface conforms to another, with some relax and offset parameters built-in.

00:02:03 --> 00:02:10
You will use both modifiers to good effect, along with some other 3ds Max workflows to create a detailed baseball.

00:02:11 --> 00:02:13
Start or reset 3ds Max.

00:02:17 --> 00:02:21
Make sure your System Units are set to Inches,

00:02:23 --> 00:02:27
and that your Display Units are set to Generic.

00:02:29 --> 00:02:33
Create a box and make it 40 units on each side.

00:02:34 --> 00:02:42
Press F4 to view the scene in Edged Faces mode. You may be using this toggle key often in this tutorial, so remember it.

00:02:43 --> 00:02:52
In the Hierarchy panel, center the pivot point to the box. This is done by using the Affect Pivot Only and Center to Object buttons.

00:02:54 --> 00:03:00
Exit this mode and relocate the box to the center of the world at [0,0,0].

00:03:04 --> 00:03:11
In the Utilities panel, use the Reset XForm tool to reset the Transformation Matrix on the object.

00:03:12 --> 00:03:16
Finally convert the box to an Editable poly.

00:03:19 --> 00:03:22
Next, create a sphere with a 20-unit radius.

00:03:24 --> 00:03:34
Relocate it to 0,0,0 so that it fits inside the box. If you want you can see it better by temporarily using the F3 wireframe toggle.

00:03:35 --> 00:03:41
Actually, you can hide the sphere for now using the Scene Explorer; you don't really need to see it.

00:03:42 --> 00:03:52
Select the box again and apply a TurboSmooth modifier to it, with an Iterations value of 2, in essence spherifying the box.

00:03:53 --> 00:04:03
Although a baseball is spherical in nature, using a box and turning it into a sphere prevents the pinching that a traditional sphere has on its poles.

00:04:03 --> 00:04:09
Also this helps with edge flow as you later define the path where you want to place the stitches.

00:04:10 --> 00:04:18
Go back down to the Editable Poly level but make sure you enable the Show end result toggle so you can see what you are working on.

00:04:19 --> 00:04:26
Try something for size: go into Edge mode and note the orange edges representing the base box.

00:04:27 --> 00:04:31
Select the following edges with help of the Ctrl key.

00:04:42 --> 00:04:48
In the Edit Edges rollout, note what happens when you adjust the Crease value.

00:04:48 --> 00:04:54
The selected edges act like magnets to the geometry of the box, by pulling in vertices.

00:04:57 --> 00:05:00
Exit Edge mode and go to the top of the stack.

00:05:01 --> 00:05:05
Add the MCG_ConformMesh modifier you installed previously.

00:05:06 --> 00:05:11
Use the Surface input to select the sphere in the Scene Explorer.

00:05:11 --> 00:05:18
The spherified box is now slightly bigger as it conforms to the size of the hidden sphere you built earlier.

00:05:18 --> 00:05:26
You can in fact further adjust it by editing the PushAmt value. Leave it at 0 for this tutorial.

00:05:26 --> 00:05:32
Now go back down to the Editable Poly > Edge mode and try the Crease value again.

00:05:33 --> 00:05:35
Set the Crease value to 1.

00:05:36 --> 00:05:38
This time, there are two forces at work:

00:05:38 --> 00:05:47
The selected edges are still trying to pull in vertices, but the ConformMesh modifier prevents the object from deforming too much.

00:05:47 --> 00:05:57
It remains a sphere because it conforming to one, but the edge flow changes, and now presents you with a perfect loop to add seams and stitches.

00:05:58 --> 00:06:01
Exit Edge mode and go back to the top of the stack.

00:06:02 --> 00:06:06
Add an Edit Poly modifier and go into edge mode again.

00:06:08 --> 00:06:14
Select one of the edges on the seam where you will eventually add stitches and click the Loop button.

00:06:15 --> 00:06:18
The loop is interrupted when it reaches a 3-point vertex.

00:06:19 --> 00:06:25
Use Ctrl+click to add the next edge in line and use the Loop tool again.

00:06:25 --> 00:06:32
Even easier, you can hold Ctrl and double-click the next edge to select the next loop.

00:06:32 --> 00:06:36
Keep going until the whole loop is selected.

00:06:41 --> 00:06:45
Next you'll use the Chamfer tool to create the seam.

00:06:45 --> 00:06:55
Here's a little tip for you: typically you use the Edit Poly Model mode to model, if you are not planning to animate the deformations.

00:06:55 --> 00:06:59
So here, you can certainly use Chamfer to turn the loop into a double loop.

00:07:00 --> 00:07:05
However, you have no means to edit the chamfer size after creating it,

00:07:05 --> 00:07:11
the Settings button is grayed out because changes done in this mode are automatically committed .

00:07:12 --> 00:07:16
You would need to undo the command and re-run it to get different results.

00:07:16 --> 00:07:20
If you use the same technique in Animate mode though,

00:07:22 --> 00:07:27
you will find that you can access the Settings at any time to refine the changes,

00:07:27 --> 00:07:30
as long as you haven't manually committed those changes.

00:07:31 --> 00:07:37
This will enable you to revisit the parameters at any later time to fine-tune the results.

00:07:38 --> 00:07:42
Exit Edge mode and rename the modifier "Edit Seam"

00:07:43 --> 00:07:50
Next, add another Edit Poly modifier on top and access Edge mode yet again.

00:07:52 --> 00:07:56
This time, select the ring of edges that Chamfer created earlier.

00:07:56 --> 00:08:01
This can be done by selecting one edge and then using the Ring button,

00:08:02 --> 00:08:07
or by selecting one edge and then shift selecting the one next to it.

00:08:08 --> 00:08:13
Click the Connect button to connect all these edges together with a new edge loop.

00:08:14 --> 00:08:19
Use the Scale tool to scale the loop down to create a crease.

00:08:23 --> 00:08:29
Exit Edge mode when done. Rename the modifier: "Edit Crease".

00:08:30 --> 00:08:34
Add another TurboSmooth on top of the stack.

00:08:35 --> 00:08:39
Set it to Isoline Display to make the ball easier to read.

00:08:40 --> 00:08:47
At this point, you can go back for further refinements: You can re-adjust the seam,

00:08:51 --> 00:08:55
Or the scaling of the crease loop.

00:08:59 --> 00:09:05
This takes care of the ball itself, but you still need to extract information to create the stitches.

00:09:06 --> 00:09:15
Temporarily disable the TurboSmooth modifier at the top of the stack so you can see clearer, and go to the Edit Crease > Edge mode level.

00:09:17 --> 00:09:24
If you followed along, the crease loop should still be selected. Click the Settings icon next to Create Shape.

00:09:24 --> 00:09:33
Make sure the type is set to Smooth to create a curve, and name the new shape: "Stitch Loop" and then click OK.

00:09:33 --> 00:09:37
Exit Edge mode and enable TurboSmooth once again.

00:09:38 --> 00:09:44
Next you tackle the stitches. Stitches on a baseball are usually set in a V-pattern.

00:09:45 --> 00:09:50
You need to create one stitch and then duplicate it to follow the loop you extracted.

00:09:50 --> 00:09:56
Temporarily hide the baseball, you should be able to see the stitch loop a little easier.

00:10:00 --> 00:10:10
In the Top view and strictly for reference purposes, draw a rectangle as big as you feel a single stitch may be, about 1.5x2 units.

00:10:12 --> 00:10:18
Zoom in on it and using the line tool, draw the first line representing a stitch.

00:10:20 --> 00:10:25
Disable Start New Shape and then create the second line of the stitch.

00:10:26 --> 00:10:29
Rename the object: "Stitches",

00:10:32 --> 00:10:35
and then delete the reference rectangle when done.

00:10:37 --> 00:10:44
Select the stitch shape again and make it visible in the viewport and at render time.

00:10:44 --> 00:10:47
A Thickness value of 0.3 should be fine for now.

00:10:49 --> 00:10:51
Go into Vertex mode,

00:10:52 --> 00:10:56
and convert the vertices to Bezier mode;

00:11:00 --> 00:11:04
and then adjust the handles to curve the stitch somewhat.

00:11:12 --> 00:11:16
If you need to, change the wirecolor to see the stitch better.

00:11:17 --> 00:11:24
When you're adjusting handles, use the F8 toggle to switch axis coordinates based on the view you are working in.

00:11:33 --> 00:11:36
Move the stitch to the side,

00:11:38 --> 00:11:46
and adjust its pivot point. Center it or move it manually to relocate it where you feel it should be.

00:11:54 --> 00:11:57
Next, unhide the box that you turned into a baseball.

00:11:57 --> 00:12:06
In fact, rename it accordingly and call it: Baseball. If you need to, change its wirecolor as well.

00:12:08 --> 00:12:10
Select the stitch,

00:12:13 --> 00:12:16
and apply an MCG_Clone modifier to it.

00:12:16 --> 00:12:24
This modifier was created using the Max Creation Graph tool, and there is a step-by-step tutorial on that subject on this very channel.

00:12:24 --> 00:12:30
It enables you to define a number of duplicates, with offset options for position, rotation and scale.

00:12:31 --> 00:12:36
Here, you only need to define a number of clones, and a Y-offset distance.

00:12:36 --> 00:12:46
At this point, you are not 100% sure of either value, so use about 10 duplicates with a Y-offset value of about 3. You'll change these in a moment.

00:12:47 --> 00:12:56
What is more significant is that the end result of this modifier ensures all the duplicates and the original are regarded as one object.

00:12:56 --> 00:13:06
This means you can add a Path Deform (WSM) modifier to the top of the stack, and pick the Stitch Loop as a path to follow.

00:13:09 --> 00:13:19
You also want to use the Move to Path option and specify the same deformation axis that you specified as a clone direction offset, in this case Y.

00:13:20 --> 00:13:27
At this point, the stitches could be pointing the wrong way. You can edit the Path Deform Rotation value to get them right.

00:13:28 --> 00:13:33
In this video, a value of about 140 degrees seems about just right.

00:13:33 --> 00:13:43
Also, the stitches seem to be digging a bit too deep. To adjust that, go into Editable Spline > Spline mode.

00:13:46 --> 00:13:54
Disable Show End Results temporarily on the Modifier Stack. In the Front view, select the two splines that make the stitch.

00:13:54 --> 00:13:58
Note that you can move them up or down without affecting the pivot point.

00:13:59 --> 00:14:07
Since the pivot point acts as an anchor when using Path Deform, moving the splines up or down induces a vertical offset.

00:14:08 --> 00:14:15
Enable Show End Results yet again and move the selected splines up or down to see the results.

00:14:18 --> 00:14:22
Adjust the splines until you get a good result in the viewport.

00:14:39 --> 00:14:48
Finally, to add more stitches, it's a question of going back to the MCG_Clone tool and adjusting the values.

00:15:03 --> 00:15:12
Again, in this particular example, I will set the clone number to 95 and the Y offset to 1.72.

00:15:15 --> 00:15:21
If you need to, you can also go back to the spline level and adjust the thickness of the stitch.

00:15:22 --> 00:15:28
That's it! You can take it from here and apply your own materials and lighting to the scene.

00:15:31 --> 00:15:39
If you prefer, you can take a look at the finished version of this project found in the zip archive you downloaded for this tutorial.
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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • 2016
  • MCG
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