Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 22 - Creating Low-poly Buildings with Building Maker
In this tutorial, leverage the Building Maker tool, a tool that helps you automate many of the steps required to create low-polygon buildings, using an intuitive and unified interface.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
- Scripts used: http://areadownloads.autodesk.com/wdm/3dsmax/HTM-PRJ_cityblks-BMscripts.zip
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.
00:00:06,465 --> 00:00:12,428
Now that you understand the basics of the workflow, it is time to check out a tool called Building Maker.
00:00:13,076 --> 00:00:19,767
Building Maker helps you create low-poly buildings, by making the tasks and procedures you just learned about even easier.
00:00:20,189 --> 00:00:25,469
It combines all the needed functionality inside an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
00:00:25,959 --> 00:00:32,498
Keep in mind that Building Maker is not a "City Generator" as some of the available commercial products are.
00:00:32,800 --> 00:00:40,910
It is only meant as a fast alternative to create buildings by extruding splines and assigning materials in an easy an intuitive way.
00:00:41,669 --> 00:00:49,251
I designed and conceived the workflow behind Building Maker, but it was written in Maxscript by my co-worker Martin Ashton.
00:00:49,647 --> 00:00:57,648
Martin is our in-house MAXScript guru and has helped me before on many occasions. Thank you Martin for your help, yet again.
00:00:58,080 --> 00:01:02,651
To run Building Maker, simply use Maxscript > Run Script.
00:01:03,011 --> 00:01:06,099
Locate the BuildingMaker.ms file and run it.
00:01:06,364 --> 00:01:14,230
The interface is very straightforward and is meant to appeal to all users of 3ds Max, irrespective of their level of expertise.
00:01:14,570 --> 00:01:18,176
Close or minimize Building Maker, you'll come back to it in a moment.
00:01:18,895 --> 00:01:28,176
Open the file CityBlocks_Bldgs-bmakerstart.max. It shows the same familiar city blocks you worked on in the last few movies.
00:01:28,766 --> 00:01:32,479
To use Building Maker, first you need some 2D footprints.
00:01:32,988 --> 00:01:42,322
As before, you can create them directly in 3ds Max or if you have a few ready in CAD software, you can import them into your current scene.
00:01:43,192 --> 00:01:50,620
Use the Import tool to import the file named Footprints.dwg that you downloaded for this tutorial.
00:01:51,055 --> 00:01:56,451
This is a simple AutoCAD file with multiple 2D shapes drawn to represent building footprints.
00:01:56,971 --> 00:02:01,819
When you import the file into 3ds Max, you get a dialog with various options.
00:02:02,226 --> 00:02:06,705
Note the default option that says that objects are derived by the Layer they are on.
00:02:07,122 --> 00:02:13,258
This effectively means that all objects on the same layer come in as a single object in 3ds Max.
00:02:13,907 --> 00:02:20,386
This method works in most scenarios but not in this one, as you need to access the 2D shapes individually.
00:02:20,896 --> 00:02:23,521
Use the Entity option instead.
00:02:24,161 --> 00:02:32,399
Under Geometry Options, make sure the Weld Nearby Vertices option is enabled, as you need to deal with closed polylines,
00:02:32,737 --> 00:02:38,697
If the imported 2D shapes are not closed, you will have a hard time capping extrusions.
00:02:39,165 --> 00:02:42,596
Click OK to dismiss the dialog and import the footprints.
00:02:43,034 --> 00:02:50,396
There are many, and if you press H to access the Select from Scene dialog, you will notice they all have the same name.
00:02:50,988 --> 00:02:54,407
Go ahead and select all polylines in the list that bear the same name.
00:02:54,863 --> 00:03:00,647
You need to rename them to ensure they have individual names for Building Maker to work properly.
00:03:01,271 --> 00:03:07,291
With the shapes selected, use the Rename Objects dialog to give a base name to the splines.
00:03:08,049 --> 00:03:19,788
Use the base name "BM" that stands for Building Maker, "-FP_" (FootPrints_) and enable Numbered with a base number of 1.
00:03:20,320 --> 00:03:26,810
This ensures the splines are named BM-FP_01, BM-FP_02 and so on.
00:03:27,536 --> 00:03:34,943
If you prefer to have three digits, you can use the base name "BM-FP_0" instead.
00:03:35,396 --> 00:03:40,341
You may need to revisit the Rename tool if and when you have more than a hundred shapes though.
00:03:41,029 --> 00:03:48,234
Dismiss the Rename dialog when done and create a new Selection Set named FootPrints to make selection easier.
00:03:48,609 --> 00:03:53,304
Always remember to press Enter after specifying a Selection Set name.
00:03:53,984 --> 00:04:04,467
In AutoCad, all these shapes were created at Z-Level=0 . However, in 3ds Max, the building lots levels are 0.15m off the ground.
00:04:04,934 --> 00:04:11,645
And so, make sure you move all the shapes a relative 0.15m displacement in Z.
00:04:12,423 --> 00:04:15,838
You're now ready to use Building Maker on any of those footprints.
00:04:16,243 --> 00:04:22,344
Some are simple; others are more complex, representing buildings that have multiple footprints.
00:04:23,092 --> 00:04:29,535
Since this is your first time using Building Maker, you will use it to reproduce the same brick building you built manually earlier.
00:04:30,225 --> 00:04:35,015
Zoom in on the corner lot and open Building Maker again.
00:04:36,490 --> 00:04:41,820
The left side of the window has the functionality to build various levels in a building hierarchy.
00:04:42,249 --> 00:04:44,964
The right side lets you edit various parameters.
00:04:45,341 --> 00:04:52,530
To create a building, you start appropriately by using the Create Building button, and then picking a 2D spline.
00:04:53,185 --> 00:04:58,099
This creates a volume representing the building's street level, which you can now adjust to your liking.
00:04:58,509 --> 00:05:04,479
For example, there are options to manage the Start and End capping of the extrusion.
00:05:05,212 --> 00:05:10,115
More importantly, you want to assign textures and material to fit that level.
00:05:10,517 --> 00:05:18,035
Instead of going to the Material Editor and fiddle with material types and map nodes, all is done from within the Building Maker interface.
00:05:18,566 --> 00:05:22,778
To assign a color texture, simply click the Browse Color Map button.
00:05:23,558 --> 00:05:28,567
Browse and select the same ground level texture you used for the brick building in earlier movies.
00:05:29,347 --> 00:05:33,432
Similarly, browse and select the matching Reflection Map.
00:05:34,183 --> 00:05:39,986
Building Maker follows the principle you have learned before and also works in Real-World dimensions.
00:05:40,468 --> 00:05:46,912
This means that you need to enter the real-world dimensions of the texture you are using, which is shown in the file name.
00:05:47,372 --> 00:05:53,202
If you use your own textures, it is recommended you include that information in the file names.
00:05:53,762 --> 00:05:59,848
As you define the Width and Height values, the extruded volume automatically adjusts.
00:06:00,578 --> 00:06:08,852
If you need to nudge the image position, you can offset it in one of three directions. In this case, a slight Z-offset works well.
00:06:09,892 --> 00:06:14,992
To create another level above this one, use the Add New Level button.
00:06:15,474 --> 00:06:19,737
The building switches to XRay mode to make spline selection easier.
00:06:20,140 --> 00:06:23,790
Pick the same spline as this building only has one footprint.
00:06:23,990 --> 00:06:26,780
A new volume is created above the previous one.
00:06:27,289 --> 00:06:37,892
Incidentally, there are two buttons to toggle Xray mode and wireframe mode. This is roughly the same as using Alt+X or F3
00:06:38,720 --> 00:06:45,786
Now that you have a new volume for repetitive typical floors, go ahead and select the correct textures for them.
00:06:47,846 --> 00:06:50,934
Adjust the real-world dimensions accordingly.
00:06:51,576 --> 00:06:59,452
Here, you may want to alter the number of repetitive floors in the building. To that extent, use the Height Multiplier value.
00:06:59,795 --> 00:07:04,896
This adds any number of floors without distorting the textures or mapping coordinates.
00:07:06,613 --> 00:07:09,841
Use Add New Level again to add the penthouse.
00:07:10,576 --> 00:07:16,395
Make the necessary adjustments to the textures and possibly the Z-Offset value.
00:07:25,482 --> 00:07:30,207
To create the roof, start by adding a new level for the gravel surface.
00:07:30,675 --> 00:07:34,388
Make sure you cap the end part to get a flat area.
00:07:35,078 --> 00:07:37,555
Apply a gravel texture that you like.
00:07:38,105 --> 00:07:42,382
Note that the dirt textures do not have a real-world dimension set in the file name.
00:07:42,707 --> 00:07:50,207
That's because you have a bit of leeway in textures like dirt, sand and grass as far as real-world dimensions are concerned.
00:07:50,957 --> 00:07:57,763
Set this one to about 10mx10m, and then reduce the Height Multiplier value to create a thin slab.
00:07:58,428 --> 00:08:04,669
You still need a parapet to go around the roof and it needs to be at the same level as the dirt texture.
00:08:05,449 --> 00:08:11,754
With the gravel slab selected, use the Add New Element button to add the parapet.
00:08:12,219 --> 00:08:18,288
You now have two volumes or "elements" at the same elevation, right above the penthouse.
00:08:19,098 --> 00:08:26,009
Zoom in and notice how the new volume and the gravel slab are fighting one another for display priority.
00:08:26,476 --> 00:08:30,596
This is because their side polygons are sharing the same vertical planes.
00:08:30,980 --> 00:08:40,360
You can change that by making the parapet protrude a bit using the Start Width or End Width options.
00:08:43,794 --> 00:08:52,998
To make the volume look like a parapet, enable the Level 1 and Level 2 options. This is the same as adjusting the levels on a Bevel modifier.
00:08:53,500 --> 00:08:59,145
You can even remove the End Cap for the parapet as we are meant to see the gravel surface.
00:08:59,940 --> 00:09:06,740
For a simple Diffuse color, use the appropriate color swatch and define a color, or pick one from the scene.
00:09:11,732 --> 00:09:16,335
The nice thing about Building Maker is that the building hierarchy is preserved at all times.
00:09:16,787 --> 00:09:24,165
This means if you decide to change the number of typical floors for example, all floors above are automatically adjusted.
00:09:24,838 --> 00:09:32,732
By the same token, you can edit the Base spline and all dependent floors adjust to that change.
00:09:36,630 --> 00:09:44,986
On that note, if the base splines are imported from other applications, chances are the individual segments are set in Line mode.
00:09:45,439 --> 00:09:49,277
This prevents you from creating curved walls.
00:09:53,508 --> 00:10:02,633
This is an easy fix though, all you need is to select all segments that make the base and turn them into Curve mode.
00:10:03,086 --> 00:10:09,577
From that point on, you can use Bezier handles on vertices and run with your imagination.
00:10:18,950 --> 00:10:24,660
Save your file. In the next movie, you explore a bit more of Building Maker's functionality.