Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 15 - Array and Spacing Tool

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

Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 15 - Array and Spacing Tool

In this tutorial, you finalize the duplication and placement of light poles around the city blocks using two different cloning methods: Array and Spacing Tool.


Notes

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

Transcript

1
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Continue working on your file from the last movie or open the file named CityBlocks_UD-lights.max if you need to catch up.

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Earlier, you have placed the light pole/traffic light/trash can assembly and duplicated it using simple transform commands.

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You still need to duplicate light poles on their own, not the whole assembly, to have enough poles around the building lots.

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This time, instead of using simple transform tools like move and rotate, you'll explore a couple of other options.

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Start with the Array tool: it can be quite powerful once you get used to it, although the interface can be intimidating at first.

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With an object selected, you can open the Array dialog from the Tools menu.

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The upper portion is for the placement of duplicates, including options for Position, Rotation and Scale.

8
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The bottom portion is where you specify the duplicate type, and whether the duplicates span in 1, 2 or 3 directions.

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In the bottom right corner, there's a Preview button which is useful to enable.

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By default, the array is set to span in one direction.

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This means that by specifying distances in one direction or the other, duplicates start to appear.

12
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If you want, you can span duplicates in 2 directions simultaneously,

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Or even 3 directions if you so choose.

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With that in mind, let's see how you can apply it to the light poles.

15
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To avoid confusion, you'll array objects in one direction at a time.

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In the left view, do a cross-selection around the left-most poles, the ones sort of "pointing" to the left.

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Make sure only the poles are selected but not the traffic lights or the trash cans.

18
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The use of selection crossing is so that you select all poles on that depth line.

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Pan the left view and then press control and cross-select all other poles pointing in the same direction.

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All poles facing the same way will be arrayed simultaneously.

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Hover over the Top view and press Alt+W to maximize that view.

22
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Also press F3 to turn the view to wireframe mode. This is only temporary and makes the selected objects easier to see.

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With four poles selected, call up the Array tool.

24
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If you need to, set all position (Move) values to 0 and the number of duplicates to 10. You will change that in a second.

25
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Make sure the clone type is set to Instance. This is simply an editable poly object that has no intelligence or wiring like the traffic lights.

26
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Enable Preview mode. At this time, nothing happens because you have 10 duplicates sitting on top of one another.

27
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Change the X-Move value. Light poles are usually spread about 30 or 40 meters.

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Reduce the number of clones. 5 should work nicely here.

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You can zoom in and tweak the distance value.

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29.95m seems to work fine when comparing the last clone with the pole around the bend.

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Click OK to confirm the changes and exit the dialog.

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Press Alt+W and go back to the Left view.

33
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This time, select all poles pointing the opposite way.

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Go back to a maximized Top view.

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With the new selection, use Array again.

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Note that the values from earlier are retained.

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Only this time, you need the clones to spread from right to left.

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You can see by clicking Preview that they are still spanning left to right as earlier.

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Simply change the X value from 29.95 to -29.95m.

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Click OK to confirm.

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Use the same technique to clone the poles running vertically.

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To that end, use the Front view to make your selection,

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but enter the 29.95m value in the Y-position field while zeroing out the X-value.

44
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Use + or - values depending if you are cloning up or down.

45
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You still need to fine-tune positions as some poles may be falling into the middle of a side street.

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There are a couple here,

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and another one there.

48
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Simply move these objects a bit to one side or another so that they are safely on the sidewalks.

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For the smaller, inner roads, you can certainly use Array again, or you can alternatively use the Spacing Tool.

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The Spacing Tool is arguably easier to use, especially with angled roads such as this one.

51
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Merge the street light object from the urban components file.

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When asked, use the scene material as it is already in the scene.

53
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In this case, the scene material and the merged material are one and the same, so either option works fine.

54
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Move the street lamp closer to the angled road.

55
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With the lamp selected, choose Tools > Align > Spacing Tool. You can also simply press Shift+I

56
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Here you can span duplicates across a spline if you have one, or simply by specifying two points.

57
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You can then use a variety of placement methods.

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The default one works well enough, as you can specify a number of clones while keeping an eye on the distance between them.

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You can also enable the Follow option so that the clones align with the direction you specified.

60
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If you need to adjust the rotation, do it on the master object, 90 degrees in this case.

61
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You will temporarily lose the clones in the viewport but they reappear as soon as you select the Spacing Tool window again.

62
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Once you're happy with the result, click the Apply button to confirm the changes.

63
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You can repeat the procedure onto other areas by clicking other points,

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and specifying a different number of duplicates.

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Take a minute to complete the cloning of the street lights along the inner roads.

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When you're done, delete the original street light you merged into this scene (UDC_StreetLight_001).

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It has now served its purpose as a clone master and can be removed.

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Save your file. In the next movie, you learn to turn objects into primitives for even easier placement.

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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Scripting
  • 2014
  • Environment
  • Workflow
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