WHEN YOU NEED TO POPULATE a scene with buildings, you can do it with a long, arduous process, or you can do it the quick and easy way. Which would you prefer?
The Preserve UVs feature of the Editable Poly object makes it possible to visually shape the building right to the map without leaving the Front viewport.
1. Get a photograph of a building with a nearly straighton perspective. In Photoshop, correct the perspective distortion and clean it up. In this image, I’ve removed the flag, signage, and balcony from the facade. Note the background color, which is similar to the building color.
2. In 3ds Max, create a box and map the building image onto it. Assign a UVW Map modifier and use Align to View, Fit, and Bitmap Fit to map the image with the correct aspect ratio. The box won’t have the right aspect ratio, but you need to get the image right before you can fix this.
3. Adjust the box size with parameters only, with the Show End Result On/Off Toggle turned on. If you use scaling rather than parameters, the map won’t stay still while you change the box size. Collapse the modifier stack and convert the box to an Editable Poly.
4. Count the number of horizontal segments you‘ll need to extrude windows and other details. Here, I counted one for the top and bottom of each window with an extra segment for each arched window. There’s one segment near the top that will be used to shape the roof, for a total of 16.
5. Access the Edge sub-object level and select the vertical edges at the sides of the building. You’ll need to make sure Window/Crossing is set to Crossing, and then draw a bounding area across the box horizontally.
6. Click Connect Settings and choose the appropriate number of segments. The horizontal segments appear on the box. If you can’t see them, press F4 to turn on Edged Faces in the viewport.
7. Access the Vertex sub-object level. In the Edit Geometry rollout, turn on Preserve UVs. This will keep the map in place while you move vertices. Move each row of vertices to line up with its corresponding horizontal.
8. Using the windows as a guide, count how many vertical segments will be needed. Select the horizontal edges and use Connect again to add the segments.
9. With Preserve UVs on, move the new columns of vertices to line up with windows. Note the adjustment of vertices around arched windows and the sides of the building.
10. If the texture wobbles as you move vertices, fix it by reapplying the UVW Map modifier. At the Polygon sub-object level, select the window polygons and extrude them inward. Voila! A 15-minute building.
HOT TIP To force vertices to move along existing edges, turn on the Edge option in the Constraints section of the Edit Geometry rollout.
Excerpt from How to Cheat in 3ds Max 2014 by Michael McCarthy © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.