Setting Up the Isometric View Reference
Get your picture and take it into your favorite image editing
software such as Photoshop. Crop the area you want to use
and then set your image’s width to a power of 2 (128, 256, 512,
1024, 2048…). You may also do image sizes that are
non-square like 1024 x 2048.
The reason we do this is because Max likes images that
are a power of 2, just like most game engines. If you don’t
make the image a power of 2, it will almost surely come
in very blurred and muddy. Not a very pretty image to
work off of!
After you have your image all set up, go into Max and create a
new scene. Create a rectangle spline using snaps in your
Front viewport. Make it a perfect square if your image is a
perfect square. Otherwise, make it non-square just like your
image looks. Typically I use a width and length of 200 x 200.
This is the dark grid square around the center of the grid in
the Front view. After you’ve got your rectangle, right-click on
its stack and convert it to an Editable Poly.
Organic Modeling Exercise: Roughing Out a Character 239
Figure 11-2:
The beginnings
of our image
Now you’ve got a single polygon plane that we can apply our
image to. Apply an Unwrap UVW modifier to it and collapse
the stack.
We’ll talk about the Unwrap UVW modifier in Chapter 17.
Basically this modifier allows us to apply an image to the
geometry and that image will show up correctly on that
Open the Material Editor and open the Maps rollout. Click on
the Diffuse slot and pick Bitmap. Now find your image file
through the Open File dialog box. Find the Self-Illumination
numeric box and set it to 100. Drag and drop this material
onto the plane you’ve created in your viewport.
Clone the image and rotate it 90 degrees so you can see it
in your Left viewport.
With the plane that is visible in your Front viewport,
right-click on the Move tool and in the Absolute: World sec-
tion under Y, give it a value of 500. This moves our plane out
of the way so we can model in the middle of the scene. Now in
the Left viewport, select the plane you see here and move
this one 500 units on its x-axis.
240 Chapter 11
Figure 11-3: The positions of our image planes in the Perspective view
Almost done—Ipromise! Now pick the Front view plane
again and clone it. Using the Mirror tool, mirror it on its y-axis
and move it to –500 on its y-axis. This will be our back plane.
Now all that’s left is to center this image on the x, y, and z
axes. Make the y-axis pass straight through the middle of the
front of the character depicted in the image. Do the same with
the back and side views.
Organic Modeling Exercise: Roughing Out a Character 241
Figure 11-4:
The front image
plane centered
on the x-axis
Figure 11-5:
plane centered
on the y-axis
Finally, select all three of your image planes and right-click.
Open up their properties and check the Backface Cull option if
it isn’t checked already. This will allow you to see through the
back of the image plane so you can model without your
side/front/back views being obstructed!
The final step is to freeze the image planes so you can’t select
them when you didn’t mean to. However, by default Max
applies a very matte gray material to any frozen object. This
would prevent us from being able to see our reference. To
turn off the freezing in gray, go back into your image plane’s
properties and uncheck the Show Frozen in Gray check box.
Click OK.
242 Chapter 11
Figure 11-6:
The Backface
Cull option in
the object
Figure 11-7:
The Show
Frozen in Gray
option in the

Get Essential 3ds max 2008 now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.