Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 6 - Connecting the Intersections

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

Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 6 - Connecting the Intersections

In this tutorial, you create the roads that connect the intersections together. You will explore a couple of different approaches and settle on one that yields an easier mapping workflow.

Notes

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

Transcript

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With the major intersections in place, you now create the roads that connect them together.

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If you need to catch up, use the file named: CityBlocks_Roads-Connects.max

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First, start by combining the intersections into one editable poly.

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Select the main cross intersection and then, in the Modify panel, click the little button next to Attach.

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In the Attach List, select all other intersections (there should be eight of them) and then click Attach.

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All intersections are now part of a single editable poly object.

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To connect the intersections with stretches of road, you have a couple of options:

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You can certainly work at an editable poly level, bridging the gap between two edges.

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This requires adjusting face IDs,

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and ultimately creating the appropriate sub-materials for the connecting roads.

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However, this approach would require that you apply an Unwrap UVW modifier to adjust mapping coordinates on the connecting roads.

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You start by applying a planar map from top (Z projection) and then you adjust the cluster.

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In this case, you can use Freeform mode and scale the cluster vertically by holding Shift+Alt.

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Not a hard task by any means but one that requires a bit of fiddling.

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Once all connecting roads are created, you can convert the object back to an editable poly to bake the uv's.

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There is also an alternate workflow to achieve the same results. You will learn about it and then you can decide which approach works better for you.

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Re-open the same file without saving it,

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and attach the intersections the way you did before.

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Next, enable Snap mode and right-click it to ensure it is set to Midpoint only.

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Next, create a line that connects two intersections on the perimeter, midpoint to midpoint, starting in the bottom-left corner.

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Now disable Start New Shape on the Creation panel. This ensures the next line you create is part of the currently selected one.

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In a counter-clock direction, create additional line segments to go around the perimeter.

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You could have gone clockwise if you prefer, as long as you remain consistent, i.e. all lines drawn in the same direction.

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Next, click Start New Shape to build a new independent spline for the inner roads.

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As earlier, create four new segments from the outside in.

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You now have two splines made of multiple segments each. To turn these into roads, you'll use the Sweep modifier.

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The Sweep modifier extrudes a cross-section shape along a path. You just drew two paths that you will now turn into roads.

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Select the inner path you just created and apply a Sweep modifier to it.

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In the Built-In Section, choose the Bar shape. It's a simple rectangular shape that works fine here.

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Since the inner roads are four-lane-based and 14m-wide in total, set the length and width to 14m as well.

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Note how the bar is being swept from a center point. This is the default set up.

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You can change that by adjusting the Pivot Alignment presets.

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Try them out to get a feel for them and settle on the top center option, so that the top of the bar is level with the existing intersections.

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You really only need the top face of the Sweep result but we'll get to that in a moment.

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First, you'll adjust the material for this new stretch of roads.

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In the Slate Material Editor, create a new Arch & Design material using the Matte template.

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Enable Show Shaded Material in Viewport.

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For a diffuse map, apply the bitmap named RD_2w-dbl.jpg.

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If you were to apply the material to the swept object at this time, you won't be able to see it in the viewport just yet.

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For that, you need to enable Gen. Mapping Coords. in the Sweep Parameters panel.

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To ensure a perfect mapping fit, you will work in Real-World scale.

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Double-click the bitmap node in the Material Editor and set it to Real-World Scale.

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Now change the Width and Height to 14m, as these are the dimension of this stretch of road in the real world.

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Finally, enable Real-World Map Size in the Sweep Modifier panel.

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The mapping size is now correct but running in the wrong direction.

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In the Bitmap Coordinates rollout, change the W-angle to 90. The texture is now a perfect match.

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Repeat the procedure for the other path,

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using a 10.5m dimension for the Sweep modifier (three lanes).

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Create a new material for it based on the bitmap named: RD_1w-trp.jpg

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Apply the material to the swept object,

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set the map in real-world scale of 10.5mx10.5m,

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and make sure it is set to generate mapping coordinates in real-world scale.

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and the angle to 90 degrees.

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Depending how you drew the original path, the solid line divider may be in the wrong place.

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It should be to the outside of the city block.

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If it is on the inside, then simply change the W-Angle from 90 to -90 degrees.

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You're just about done but before moving on to the next step, here's a glimpse why this approach using Sweep can be favored:

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So far, you've only dealt with straight roads, which you could have easily bridged together as seen earlier.

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If you had to deal with curved roads however, the approach using Sweep is far easier.

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As an example, select the inner swept roads again and go down the stack to the Editable Spline level.

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Enable Show End-Results so you can see the effect of the Sweep modifier.

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Now, click Create Line to add to the existing spline and disable Snap mode (S on the keyboard).

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Add a new winding road by clicking and dragging away.

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Every new road you add is already mapped properly and the mapping follows the extrusion.

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If the mapping starts to distort badly around the curves, you can help it by adjusting the Curve Interpolation.

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When you're done, go to spline sub-object mode and then select and delete any added or unwanted roads.

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Finally, select the main intersections and attach the swept objects to them.

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Make sure you Match Material IDs to Material to ensure none of the work you've done on materials is lost.

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Go into Vertex mode and in a side view, select all vertices that are underground.

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Delete those vertices so you end up with only the needed faces on the ground.

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In Vertex sub-object mode, select all vertices and weld them to make sure all elements are properly connected and then exit sub-object mode.

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Go into the Material Editor and select and delete all nodes.

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Using Pick Material from Object, click the object in the scene.

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Note the newly created Multi-Sub-Object material that now includes the two new sub-materials applied to the roads.

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If you want, you can minimize the Arch & Design material nodes.

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To minimize multiple nodes simultaneously, first select them and then use View > Open/Close Selected Nodes.

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You can then rearrange the layout using the Lay Out All - Vertical button.

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One last thing remains: you may still need a few tweaks at the mapping coordinates level.

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In some areas where intermittent lines show, there may be an abrupt cut of one of the lines.

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It probably won't be a major issue in most cases but you can make these corrections at an Unwrap UVW level if you feel you need to.

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With the roads selected, apply an Unwrap UVW modifier.

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Go to polygon mode and select a road stretch you want to adjust. Remember the F2 key that toggles shaded selection on & off.

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You may want to temporarily disable shaded mode in order to see how mapping is going to affect this area.

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Open the UV Editor and zoom back until you see the selected face(s).

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Set the working mode to Freeform.

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Hold Shift to constrain the movement and drag a right corner to get rid of the partial intermittent line.

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Do not overdo it as you don't want to distort the image too much, intermittent lines need to remain consistently scaled.

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Repeat this procedure to any other polygon that needs tweaking.

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When you're done, convert the object to an editable poly again to bake the UV coordinates.

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Save your file. In the next movie, you work on the inner, smaller two-lane roads.

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