3ds Max Modeling Techniques - Part 3 - Curtain Walls
In this final tutorial, learn how to model a curtain wall. Unlike the previous tutorials where most of the modeling was spline-based, here, most of the modeling is done at an editable poly level. You will start with a spline that you first extrude into a thin sheet, then turn into an editable poly, and finally edit it to create glazing and mullions.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2011
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2011 or higher.
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In this movie, you take a look at an efficient method of modeling
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Select the curtain wall that makes the corner of the building.
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Hide it or delete it so you can rebuild it.
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Set an Orthographic view in Wireframe mode.
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Right-click the 3D Snap tool and set it to Midpoint only.
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Enable it and then draw a line that represents the base of the curtain wall,
running through the middle of the existing wall opening.
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Disable Snap mode when done.
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Extrude the line you created to fill the opening.
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It should be 13'-6".
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Turn your view into shaded mode again (F3). Also make sure that
Edged Faces mode (F4) is active so that edges are visible in the viewport.
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Convert the extruded spline to an editable poly.
Next you start subdividing it to help with the creation of mullions.
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Expand the modeling ribbon and choose the SwiftLoop tool.
This will help you subdivide the curtain wall.
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Place your cursor in the appropriate positions and click to divide the mesh.
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To divide a set of edges directly in the middle, use the Connect tool
instead of SwiftLoop.
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Select a set of parallel edges and then click Connect.
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Once the basic divisions are done, it is time to give the mullions a width.
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In Polygon sub-object mode, select all polygons
except those that make the corner column.
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Use the Inset Settings and set the type to By Polygon.
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Specify a width of 1" and accept the value.
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This gives the mullions a thickness and leaves you
with a set of selected polygons that represent the glazing.
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Detach these polygons and give them the name Glazing.
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While you're at it, select the polygons that make the corner column
and detach those too.
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Give the new object an appropriate name.
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Exit sub-object mode and rename the selected object Mullions.
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These mullions have thickness but no depth.
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With the Mullions selected, apply a Shell Modifier.
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Set the Inner and Outer values to 4" to give the mullions a depth.
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Similarly, apply a Shell Modifier to the corner column
and give it an Outer Amount of 2".
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Take a look in the top view and notice how the corner column
is slightly deformed.
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When using the shell modifier, especially in architectural modeling,
you generally want to enable the option: "Straighten Corners".
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Finally, do the same for the glazing with very small
Inner and Outer amounts
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Apply the same metallic blue material to the structure
and a transparent material to the glazing.
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At this time, the Shell modifier gave you a basic
inner and outer extrusion to the mullions.
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This would be fine for most purposes when the building is viewed
from a distance.
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For a close-up shot, you may need a bit more detail.
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Instead of a simple extrusion, you can use the Shell modifier
in conjunction with a spline.
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The extrusion is then made based on that spline profile.
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Drawing the profile in the correct orientation is tricky but fortunately,
you can always adjust it after the fact.
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In the top view, draw a profile to add details to the mullions
like chamfered corners and contours for the glazing.
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When done, select the mullions and in the Shell Parameters,
enable Bevel Edges.
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Click the None button and then select the spline you just created.
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In this case, the bevel is done in the opposite direction
than the one anticipated.
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Select the profile once more and go to spline sub-object mode.
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Select the spline and mirror it horizontally to get the required effect.
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For linear shapes like curtain walls, you may want to add
a Smooth modifier to the top of the stack.
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The mullions are still dependent on the profile.
You can add more detail to the profile and see them update on the mullions.
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Of course, remember that additional detail is only useful
in a close-up shot.
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When seen from a distance, additional detail only adds to rendering time.
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In this 3-part series, you learned different methods
to model architectural metal. We hope you found these techniques useful.