Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 16 - Using Primitive Maker

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

Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 16 - Using Primitive Maker

In this tutorial, you turn your urban design components into 3ds Max primitive using a free script called Primitive Maker by Garp. This way, you will be able to duplicate and place components in your cityscape in a very flexible and intuitive approach.

Notes

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

Transcript

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So far, you duplicated and placed light poles and other street lights using duplication tools such as Array and Spacing Tool.

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Here, you use an even easier and more intuitive approach by turning editable poly objects into standard 3ds Max primitives.

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For that, you use a free downloadable script called Primitive Maker by Garp.

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This extremely helpful tool can be found where most other free scripts are found, namely at scriptspot.com

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Use a web browser and navigate to scriptspot.com,

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and then do a search for Primitive Maker.

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Make sure you select the one authored by Garp,

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There's a little animation that showcases the tool,

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and a paragraph of text that describes it.

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As you will see in a second, it's very well-conceived and easy enough to use without any instruction manual.

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Scroll down and download the script.

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Choose a place for it on your local drive. In this movie, I'll just place it on the desktop.

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In 3ds Max, open the file that contains the objects you want to turn into primitives, in this case the file named: Urban-Design-Components.max

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Form the MaxScript menu, choose Run Script.

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Browse and select the Primitive Maker script.

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A small dialog appears.

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The Cat. Input is important. Here you can specify a label that will eventually appear in the Geometry list of the Create panel.

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Name the Category: UD Components for Urban Design Components.

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Let's take a look at how we can turn the stop sign into a primitive.

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You need to set a name for the primitive. This will be used as a button label but also as a base object name.

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In your case, it's important that all primitives added to the city blocks scene start with the prefix UDC_

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As mentioned before, this is part of the scene management approach we have adopted, to make objects easier to select.

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Set the name as UDC_Stop. It is not very elegant but it will serve its purpose well enough.

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Choose Pick Template Object and then click the stop sign in the scene.

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Its name appears in the window.

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Lastly, click the Make Primitive Plugin button.

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You are asked to specify a folder. Choose one or create one.

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In this movie, I already have one named UD_Comps right on the desktop, I'll use that.

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Click OK to confirm and a new primitive is created.

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What the script did is it created a sub-folder named after the category you specified.

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In that sub-folder, a special script was created after the primitive name you selected, in this case UDC_Stop, with the category appended.

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Check out the Geometry creation list and you will notice a new entry named UD Components.

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That new entry has a new button named UDC_Stop that you can use as any other standard primitive in 3ds Max.

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This means you can select the new tool and click and drag in the viewport to create a new stop sign in the scene.

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You can change the size but in our case, the size of these components should remain constant.

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Stop signs, fire hydrants or mailboxes shouldn't vary in size.

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In this case, simply click the Original Size button to make sure the scale is reset.

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You may notice the material has not been retained.

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This is by design and I for one agree with the author on this. This gives you more flexibility to apply different materials if and when you need to.

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After all, none of the other 3ds Max primitives have default materials applied to them.

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What's interesting and powerful though is that Face IDs are preserved.

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This means that you can apply the same existing multi-sub material to the new object and it will look exactly like the original.

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To create a new primitive for the bench for example, the category name is already in place.

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This ensures the new primitive will be added to the UD Components panel.

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Simply name the new primitive: UDC_Bench and then click the appropriate object in the scene.

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Make a primitive out of it and specify the same folder you specified earlier.

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You now have a new primitive for the bench that you can use effortlessly.

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Create primitives for the fire hydrant,

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the mailbox,

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and even the bus stop shelter.

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You can certainly create primitives for the remaining objects as well, but be aware that Primitive Maker works with one mesh object at a time.

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This means it won't allow you to select multiple objects in a hierarchy, as you have here with the traffic lights.

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Since we've already covered the duplication and placement of those, as well as poles and street lamps, we won't turn them into primitives.

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Go ahead and test out the primitives you created.

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When done, you can select all scene objects and apply the UD Components material to them so they all look similar.

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Close the Primitive Maker window. Reset the scene but do not save your file.

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Note that in a new scene, the custom primitives are still accessible.

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This means you can open your city block scene and add components to it.

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Use your file or open CityBlocks_UD-primmaker.max if you need to catch up.

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Maximize a view in Perspective mode and zoom in on the center intersection.

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Start by placing a bus stop shelter or two near the intersection.

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Use standard transform tools to position and orient the objects in place.

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Similarly, place a bench or two nearby,

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A fire hydrant,

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or a mailbox occasionally,

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and maybe a few stop signs along the inner roads.

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Take a minute and go around the scene to add the components you need where you need them.

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Ultimately, you want to apply the single material that affects all UD components.

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First open the Slate Material Editor. It has the default view, which contains the environment background settings,

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and a Roads view, which stores the materials for the road infrastructure,

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So go ahead and create a third view and name it UD Components or simply Urban for short.

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Use the Material picker and select one of the merged poles, traffic lights or street lights in the scene.

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Those already have the proper material applied.

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You can collapse the nodes and re-arrange them as you have already learned to do.

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To select the urban design components in the scene, it is now an easy task because of the way you named them.

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Press H to open the Select from Scene dialog and type UDC_ in the Find field. The focus needs to be away from the Material Editor for H to work.

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All objects whose names start with these letters get selected.

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Click OK to confirm. All urban design components in the scene are now selected.

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This means that you can easily apply the same materials to all of them in one operation.

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There's one final note you need to be made aware of: The way you learned to use Primitive Maker in this movie is session-based.

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This means if you were to exit and restart 3ds Max, you would lose the UD Components primitives panel.

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In the next movie, you learn how to make it permanent.

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