Object Manipulation in 3ds Max - Align Tool
In this tutorial, learn how to leverage the Align Tool to match the position, rotation, and scale of two objects.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2010
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2010 or higher.
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The Align tool enables you to match the position, rotation and scale
of two objects based on criteria you specify.
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When you need to align two objects, you select the object you wish
to relocate first,
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and then using the Align tool, you click on the target object.
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By default, 3ds Max attempts to align the two objects in all three
directions (X, Y and Z), using their respective pivot points as a reference.
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In this case, the pivot points of the building blocks happen to be
at their bottom centers.
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You can change the reference to align the two objects
based on their 3D centers.
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By clicking OK, the dialog closes and the source object is relocated.
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Often, you need to align the two objects using various constraints,
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As an example, you may want the bottom of the tower to be aligned
with the top of the base.
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In such a case, you are looking at a "height-only" translation based
on the Z-axis.
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With the Z-axis alone enabled, you can force the minimum value
(lowest Z-value of the tower), to be aligned with the maximum value
(highest point) of the base.
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Usually, you do not need to exit the dialog to force changes.
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To place the tower on the corner of the base building, you can start
by aligning the two as usual.
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Work on each axis independently. Start with X and align the Minimum Value
(left side of the tower) to the Minimum Value (Left side of the base).
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By clicking the Apply button, you are confirming the changes without
exiting the dialog.
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Any previously enabled axis is now unchecked, and you are ready to make
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For example, you can now enable the Y-axis, and set the mode to use
Maximum Values for both objects.
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This aligns the back sides of the two buildings together.
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In addition to aligning in position mode, you can also reorient
one object to another.
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Center back the tower to the base by aligning it in X and Y,
center to center.
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The tower is already at the correct height, so you do not need
to change the Z-axis.
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Using the Move tool, set the coordinate system to Local mode.
This will let you properly view the orientation of the selected object.
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Notice the difference in orientation between the tower and this green car.
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You can align the orientation of the tower to that of the car without
relocating the tower at all.
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With the tower selected, use the Align tool and choose the car
as a target.
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By default, the align tool tries to relocate the source object
based on the last Align command you used.
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Disable all axes in the Position group. The tower goes back
to its original place.
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Align the orientation using the X-axis.
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The X-axis is now the same for both objects but the tower
is vertically flipped.
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Also, the Y and Z axes don't match.
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Repeat the procedure, only this time make sure both X and Y are enabled.
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For good measure, and always when forcing the same orientation
for both objects, enable all three orientation axes.
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The tower, like the car, is now rotated 45 degrees.
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Aligning scale is less often used. It matches the scale of a source
object to that of a target object, using the same principals learned here.