Chapter 2. Controlling and Configuring the Viewports


  • Understanding 3D space

  • Using the Viewport Navigation Control buttons

  • Controlling the viewport settings with the Viewport Configuration dialog box

  • Loading a viewport background image

Although Max consists of many different interface elements, such as panels, dialog boxes, and menus, the viewports are the main areas that will catch your attention. The four main viewports make up the bulk of the interface. You can think of the viewports as looking at the television screen instead of the remote. Learning to control and use the viewports can make a huge difference in your comfort level with Max. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to rotate, pan, and zoom the view.

The viewports have numerous settings that you can use to provide thousands of different ways to look at your scene, and beginners can feel frustrated at not being able to control what they see. This chapter includes all the details you need to make the viewports reveal their secrets.

Understanding 3D Space

It seems silly to be talking about 3D space because we live and move in 3D space. If we stop and think about it, 3D space is natural to us. For example, consider trying to locate your kids at the swimming pool. If you're standing poolside, the kids could be to your left or right, in front of you or behind you, or in the water below you or on the high dive above you. Each of these sets of directions represents a dimension in 3D space.

Now imagine that ...

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