3Ds Max newbie


hi guys,

I just downloaded the trial version the other day from Max’s website and i don’t know where to start. I was wondering if any of you guys know any really good in depth tutorials. I know the iterface pretty well now and can create some basic things but i just need to have some deep tutorials so that i can learn all the knicks and cranies of Max.

Thanks guys,


im sure max comes with tutorials :wink:

just go to the help, theres a bunch about everything. Plus there is a whole section regarding tutorials at the top of this forum.

good luck and welcome to the world of Max.


while i was learning the program in school i used a very good book to teach me the basics and beyond of Max. it was for an older version (4 or 5 i think) but it really helped. the name escapes me right now but it sure as hell helped me learn the program real quick. only problem is i cant afford a copy of my own right now, but after this job i hope to change that :slight_smile: if i find the book ill post it here.

try some of the tutorials here. they should all help with whatever you need to learn. if not, the books always help.


I’m quite new to Max too, I never studied it or anything… just thought it would be cool to try it as a hobby. :stuck_out_tongue:

I did a few tutorials, and it occured to me that it was much easier to model with NURBS.
Is it a good idea to keep on going with that technique or should I concentrate more on polys? (Or are they the same thing? lol… yea… I’m a newbie :frowning: )

Also, when I see people designing textures, the make a bitmap with like the eyes, the ears and the head flat all on the same pic. How will 3DS know where to put each part of the pic? This is really confusing me. =/

Anyways, thanks for your help. :slight_smile:


i think u use uvw mapping to “coordinate” where 3dsmax draws the textures. There are a few tutorials in 3dsmax’s help file which are REALLY useful. So check those out 1st, priority one.
Those really helped me alot, but after doing quite alot of them its safe to check others online, here is some of my bookmarked colletction

http://www.3dtotal.com/ffa/tutorials/tutorialsmax.asp <–a ton of tutorials
http://psychokillax.tripod.com/html/weaponmodeling.html <–gun tutorial
http://www.thethirdreich.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1081 <-- link to another forum with tuts
http://www.viziongrafx.com/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=90 <–another forum
http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=254206 <–another forum

hope that helps :wink:


I think the video tutorials at 3d-Palace are a good way to start learning more about 3d Max. There’s nothing like watching someone do something. http://www.3d-palace.com

There are are hours and hours of video tutorials you can download for free. If you sponser 3d-Palace you can download some of the larger tutorials. The Scorpion tutorial is 14 hours long! I just purchased the APU DVD tutorial set and find it great especially for someone like me who is in the process of learning Max. The APU DVD set is 40 hours long with each section being about an hour.

For the beginner 3dbuzz.com is a good place. Buzz being a teacher himself is great at explaining things in his tutorials. You’ll have to register with a valid email address to see the download (tutorial) section.

hope this helps,


Okay thanks.

I did a few tutorials that came with 3ds max too.
When I got to modeling a head with NURBS I thought it was quite easy, so I tried it with another picture. (A chocobo from Final Fantasy series.)

But then it occured to me that those might be easier to model, but maybe they’re tricky to texture… or to animate. Since almost everyone on this forum uses polygons to model their caracters, I was looking for the catch in NURBS, or its limitations.
Also, the 3dsmax tutorials show how to model a few things using polygons, but I don’t like the way they do it, I thought it was more simple. When they model the hand, they start by drawing a shape, then they extrude it and then do Bevel and a lot of effects I would have to remember by heart. (?) Is there a way I can draw dots and lines and link them in order to make polygons, or do I really have to use all those effects ?

By the way: here’s my WIP (if we can call that a WIP) it’s my very very very very first project hehe. It’s a chocobo’s head, we can see its beak. (For those of you who don’t know what a chocobo is… it’s got some sort of a parrot’s head.) Not textured yet either… I don,t know how lol… :-p

Thanks for the help. :slight_smile:


check out the tutorial where u create a knight (chess). it showed how to create a knight basicly using lines and stuff.

it was in 3dsmax 6 i think (didnt see it in 4 ,my earlier version)


NURBS can be really fast but it is harder to put details in. You have less control.

Working with polygons basically consists of two methods:
  • Box modeling. You start with a box or another simple shape and then you create the shape using extrusions, chamfering, beveling and applying transformations. That is the general idea.
    Compare it to modeling clay.

  • Poly modeling. You start from scratch and create all the polygons by placing vertices and connecting them or extruding/chamfering/etc.
    Compare it to making something out of wooden boards.

You may also have heard of subdivision, or sub-d, modeling. This basically is modeling the mesh with not too many polygons and then applying something like meshsmooth to get the final result. You have to build the low poly mesh with the characteristics of meshsmooth in mind so meshsmooth can make the high poly model for you.
Understand that you can use sub-d modeling with either box or poly modeling.
Compare it to making a sketch or plan, giving important areas more significance so the non-significant areas can be constructed/filled in for you.

Perhaps of interest to you: the word polygon is derived from two ancient Greek words, poly and goni (not sure about the last), meaning ‘many angles’. It’s defined as a plane figure with many angles. Basically a plane with more than three sides.

I personally use poly modeling most of the times. If I were you I’d learn either box or poly modeling first, and then learn NURBS if you have to. And stay clear of patch modeling :slight_smile:

Hope this clears it all a bit up for you.

  • Rens


“And stay clear of patch modeling”

Just curious, why would you not recommend patch.


Thanks a lot Rens. :slight_smile:

Im gonna try to model some basic thing using polys… I prefer the second method you mentionned. I don’t really like the idea of starting with a box and then applying changes.

Well anyways, thanks for helping.


Well, it’s not as bad as I make it sound, especially for modeling flowing/smooth surfaces. But working with polygons gives more control plus you have better and more tools and scripts.

For those interested: I took Camtasia studio for a test drive and I made a small movie in which I make a simple sink. It shows basic box and sub-d modeling. The last parts shows how to make renderable isolines which I added just for fun.
Note that in it I’m modeling for speed, not accuracy. I think it will explain a bit better what I’m talking about.

If you want to see very good poly modeling in action you should watch Dave Black’s excellent video tutorial.

Modeling a head, by Dave Black:

Sink movie:

You also need the TSCC codec for my movie:

  • Rens

P.S. Please let me know if you have any problems dowloading the sink movie. I just have a new web host and I’m curious about the stability.

P.P.S. I want to try out more advanced functions of Camtasia. So if you guys are interested I could make a short movie showing all the different modeling techniques. I still have plenty of days left on my evaluation version.


Alright, thanks a lot for the vids.
I watched how to make a face. O_O
Too complicated for me lol.
I checked out the sink too, and yet again, it seemed complicated.
I mean, I understood… I’d be able to redo it using the tutorial and by following the steps,
but you use all those details and techniques I don’t know of and appear complicated.
I guess nothing can help it, only time. I’ll just try new things, new stuff and do more and more tutorials until I’m able to beat Tetsuya Nomura. :slight_smile:
You guys made me realize Nomura isn’t as good as I thought but he’s still my idol. (for CG stuff) Hehe… (Tetsuya Nomura is the guy who designs caracters for Final Fantasy series.) I always thought CG clips from these games were very nice, actually, they are the nicest of all video games, but that’s just my opinion. :slight_smile:

Thanks again for the help and suggestions.


Sorry, to get a little off topic here…

FYI, Windows Media offers a free Encoder, with all of the features of Camtasia Capture (ie screen/window cap., plus Mic. in) , although it doesn’t offer the editing tools, God forbid you can use Windows Movie Maker (which is equal to the editing tools in Camtasia).
Personally I think the WMV codec is much better than the Techsmith.

Thought I might offer a free solution…


rocfor: Yea, pause the video everytime you can’t follow what’s going on and try to figure out the why and how of the action. That’s a good way of really understanding what you’re seeing.

dizzl8r: Thanks, I’ll check it out! About the codecs, WMV is lossy while TSCC is lossless. Also TSCC is created specifically for desktop recording. But I’ll give WMV a try and see if I can notice any differences.


I tried out some effects and it gave… hmm… some results.
I first tried making a gun, but I think it was too low poly (60 few) because when I did MeshSmooth, the shape became all weird… like… some sort of an alien-fantasy handgun.

I also tried the Lathe effect and made a little scene:

I think that what I need to do is to keep on practising, and also, take more time for my projects. Maybe that if I would’ve taken more time to model the handgun, with more polys, MeshSmooth wouldn’t have given that result.

So thanks for the help again. :slight_smile:


With meshmooth, always remember that the closer the edges are the less your mesh will be deformed.

Good luck with it.

  • Rens


Yea… that’s what I thought, but I couldn’t find how to add more vertex to a polygon…
Or maybe I can do it with Quick Slice.


Not opinion… Fact!

I love the final fantasy stuff as well. Arguably the best CG in the video game industry after Blizzard’s stuff. Hehe, now who’s spouting opnions :slight_smile: One thing to watch out for, it’s pretty easy to get decent in CG. You will see your work get better and better with each project. But I’ve found getting from “pretty good” to “really good” is similar to becoming a professional athlete. It’s a bit harder than you think is all I’m saying. Ok wayyyy harder.

Anyways, back on topic. It was in the links M_N_M passed on but it’s realy good for beginners due to amount of detail he offers. Check out:

You won’t be disappointed if you want to learn how to make characters (like a chocobo). And he really covers the basic stuff so you aren’t wondering what’s going on.

Good luck



Thanks Deathcricket.
by the way… check out FFVII: Advent Children, full CG movie, it’ll be great. :smiley: