Jump to content
  • darn42

    3ds Max Mixed Modeling Tutorial: Pt 2


    Let’s do the small details on the large fountain now. These are nigh impossible to do with polygon modeling so let’s delve into the wonderful world of spline cages.


    To start create a shape like this. Use a circle converted to an editable poly for the portion of this. This is the curvy embellishment. Also, notice how all of the vertices are lined up and ready to be made into quads. This is imperative to do. Again planning on making quads makes your life much easier in the end, even more so when you are creating a 3d model from splines alone.


    We are starting to make our spline into 3d geometry now. Select all the edges and drag it out to clone it. Then do the same and then scale it down a bit. You will need to move vertices when you scale to get it right. If we refined this now and put surface on it, it would be a flat edge, then it would go straight and slope down.


    If you look at the reference, this bit has the long curving part a flat surface, then the circle bit at the end has this going in, then going out kinda sloping thing, and it finishes up making a hole. Select only those 3 edges, and use the scale tool and move tool to add these details in.


    Now, use the refine tool to refine all these vertices. Go from one side of it to the other, making sure to keep the flow of the line you are using right. Don’t connect a vertex out of sequence. You can always go back if you make that mistake, but if you do, make sure you notice it. Keep the back end unrefined if you want. We will be using symmetry later anyways so it won’t matter.


    Now we will put a surface modifier on. After I refined my cage, I noticed that the middle circle had a flat bottom. I didn’t mind that on the rest of it, but I wanted it to be round in the middle. So I just adjusted the Bezier on the points at the bottom of the circle and it was fixed. When we look at the reference image again, though, we notice that ours doesn’t completely match up. The circular area protrudes a bit further than the rest of it, and there is a flat spot at the very top right on the side. Because of how we modeled this, this is an easy fix.


    For the protrusion, I added an extra refine loop around it after I went back to the bottom of the stack, and then I selected all the edges above it, and I scaled it up. That gave me a nice result that I wanted. (You can preview the end result by clicking that little white column thing right below the stack) For the flat part, drag those two vertices out and adjust the beziers.


    Here I’ve created the second part of the details on the corners of the bottom using bevel and then NURMs on a cylinder. Create the Cylinder in a horizontal view like left to remove the step of rotating it. You should be able to do this part on your own by now.


    Now just position it so that it faces off at the right angle and position from your base. Then, using the pivot position change, rotate them and create 3 instances around the base. If yours looks a bit off, like my cylinders do, you can select them all, bring orientation dropdown to local and move them like that. It will move them in regards to the pivot point, so basically your movements will be instanced :D

    We’ve finished these small details here. Let’s move on to the slightly more difficult embossing on the flat square between these last details. Zooming in it looks like it is an oval with two circles connected to it that go in and out and such. Looks like another good time to utilize spline cages.


    To start this, make 2 circles, on big, one small. Make them into ovals. The big one only half of it has to be oval. Attach the two circles together after overlapping them. Then, fillet the vertices that are within the other circle so that they are lying on the line of the other circle. After you fillet them, there should be two sets of overlapping vertices. Weld those together. Then, for the sake of quads, fillet the rightmost vertex. Yours should look like mine.


    Now, we will start to get these shapes in for the details of it. Delete the left half of the shape that we’ve done nothing with. Then, mirror the shape and make it an instance. Scale down what’s left of the big oval. It will have a portion missing. Do the same with the smaller oval. It will also have a portion missing. For the cloned big oval. Move the vertices straight left to where the mirror is and the instanced vertices are overlapping. Then, using “create line,” complete the ovals. It will be funky. Use the Bezier handles to get them back into shape. If you do this right, yours will look like mine.


    Here I’ve done some scaling and moving around to get some dips and some definition to this shape in 3d. to get the more circlier shape in the middle I just dragged the edges in. I left all the vertices unbrought to the mirror to show what you could get. Using the spline selection tool can also be useful here.


    I moved the vertices in towards the center and I also did the same process with the “ear” of the monkey (it’s not actually a monkey but it looks like a one eyed monkey atm. Not much to explain here.


    The detail has some little things coming off the ears in the picture, so lets add those details. Take the vertices where those notches are and fillet them. But, keep in mind, we want this to be very clean, so also fillet the vertices that would be refined later. You can see a line of them coming from my pic. Then, divide all of the edges you just created EDIT: Don’t divide the edges. It ends up needing to be deleted anyways. I used the lasso selection for this. Then, once you have all the vertices made, fillet the vertices on the notches, you only have to do those, nothing else because we can create quads there. Divide the segment you just created, and filet it again. Drag the first edge on each out to about where mine are, then drag the next segments out to where mine are. Yours should look like mine.


    Now we refine. Don’t get discouraged if this takes you a while. It was a hard one to refine. I added a small small detail that I shouldn’t have that made it way harder. Remember to rotate the camera around to get the right perspective on what you need to refine and click next.


    Here I just rotated it and moved it so that it fit flush against the base. I also added a symmetry modifier and deleted the instance we were using as a reference to see what it would look with both sides. After you add the surface modifier, though, make sure to add an edit poly. Then, I selected some rings of the middle and moved them back and forth to give it a little bit more depth.


    After instancing it around, this is what we have so far.

    Now we go to the detail on the rounded pillar. It seems to be a circle with some sort of weird splash kind of looking thing coming out from a rod looking thing (great description, I know)



    Here is the beginning of the shape. Create a circle and use that as a base to spline cage this. This is one of the few cases where it’s more efficient to allow triangles. There is a cross indent in the shape, and the easiest way to do that, is to make there be a cross during refining. After you make the shape of this spline cage, fillet all the vertices then refine it. Once you do that, add surface modifier and an edit poly. Then, select your cross you just refined, and extrude it a bit.


    Create a separate cylinder and align it to the spline cage object you made. Give it 8 segments around, and a lot up and down. Then, rotate it 22.5 degrees so that the flat faces are flat. After you do that, Draw a spline with a curve like the bottom one. Copy it by dragging it up and say about 10 copies. Then change each one a little bit to give that kind of undulating pattern in the real thing. Try to line them up with the polygons on the cylinder.


    Now we use one of my favorite tools. This shape we are trying to create with all the different curves and such is very difficult to make with only one shape and polygon modeling. I’m not experienced enough to figure out a more efficient way than this.

    Create a very small circle. That circle will be copied along your spline you drew creating geometry along the way. It is how I did a lot of the details on the tribune tower, my first real detailed thing I’ve done. Anyways, to use loft, go under geometry then compound objects with your spline selected, select loft. Then, select “get shape” and choose your circle. You will see geometry right away. You can adjust the amount of steps to make the splines it takes under skin parameters.


    Loft all of them, then slap a symmetry modifier onto the circular base with the cross. I made a little background thing for my whatever these are. After you have the symmetry going, attach everything. I put nurms on mine cause it was a bit choppy. I am not too pleased with my result though, so I’m going to see if I can use polygon selection and scale tool to fix it a little.



    I just dragged some of the lofts down and copied them to add a bit more density to it. What we do next, is explore a new modifier, and one that we only used briefly before. Once you get your detail centered, apply a bend modifier to it. Increase the angle to about 80 or so, and find the axis of effect that causes it to bend from the middle outward, like it would encompass the pillar. After you bend it to get a general fit, add a FFD 4x4x4 to the detail. Go under control points, grab the top section and bring it towards the pillar so it bends the detail in. Do the same with the middle ones. Experiment with it. Try not to get the pillar going through the detail.


    Now instance it all the way around to add some symmetry to it all.


    Now create a spline with the shape of the one I have created and use your scaling and moving to create this cage. When you scale the spline, there will be some weird stuff going on so you’ll need to move vertices individually and adjust beziers. Add surface and edit poly and symmetry to get geometry and symmetricalness.


    Now instance it around your fountain. This time make 7 copies and rotate it 45 degrees. That is what we’ve done so far with the fountain.


    Let’s start working on the next detail. There is a ring of engravings underneath the big part of the fountain. Select two edges that I have selected on your model (NOTE: What I have selected here ended up not being sufficient, I went back and selected just one more up also) it probably won’t be the same exact look, but hopefully it’ll be similar. With those edges selected, hit the similar graphite modeling


    Connect the selected edges with one new one. Select the edges you just created and select similar. Then chamfer them a good amount like so.


    This kind of detail is easy to add. Select a new polygon and select similar again. Then use bevel and inset to create some details like this.

    The next step will be a bit difficult. There are goat’s heads all around the main part of the fountain. We will try to make the goat’s heads somewhat detailed, but again, we will be using spline cage modeling to do this. Before we do something like this, we have to plan a bit, though.

    The goat starts with a kind of oval neck, then it swoops in with that neck around to a face that is still kind of oval, just top heavy; we can use the same shape the we started for that and just edit it a bit. The ears can be made from a separate shape that we include into the main head. The horns can be made using “extrude along spline” and a circle we make using our previous method. The rest of the details can be added while making the spline cage. With something like this, I am going to model it entirely based on scale regarding itself then scale it down to fit with the fountain later.

    Ok, let’s get started.


    This is the shape I will use for the base of my goat’s head. What it seems to do is scale down and move upward in kind of a sloping way so I can scale and drag my base spline I just created. Note: because this part is going to be hard to conceptualize, I am going to be doing very stepbystep instructions on this goathead.


    This is my cage so far. I made my base shape curved a bit just by draggin back the middle vertices. Then I dragged the top vertex, but not as fast as the middle to give that shape that the goat heads have. Then we create the sort of curving in sharp at the bottom and up shallow at the top by scaling down the spline and dragging it out and up. This will be the neck of the goat. I included the side view of what it looks like also.

    I’ll be honest with you guys, this goat head thing is a totally new thing for me. I have had a lot of trouble with this, and I think I found a method that finally works.


    I made a spline cage entirely out of the one shape. I was using a surface modifier and a symmetry modifier all throughout making the spline cage modeling. Notice how it narrows in the front to make the basic shape of the goats head. I moved vertices around quite a lot. I spent a very very long time figuring this out. Try and copy the shape and layout of my mesh as best you can. Make sure to use the symmetry modifier. It’s a life saver with this one. I also used about 8 steps on surface modifier.


    This Is something I do know how to do. Stay in editable spline mode. Drag up a vertex sandwiched in between to loops real close to eachother so that when you drag it up, it will make that crease like in mine. Then, move the beziers on the next vertex over so the point downward and cause lips to form.


    Move some vertices around and inward to sculpt the countours of the goats face in a bit. As you can see I have a mouth and the area for the nose in there. I also have some cheek structure. Again, I’m pulling all this out of my ass, so bear with me.

    Next, try and find an area where the eyes would fit well. Goats have wide eyes, as you can see in the picture so I’m thinking about here


    I drew in the features of the face we will add, the horns, the ears, the nostrils and the ears. It’s starting to look kind of like a goat, I’m a bit surprised tbh.


    Add two refine loops where you think the eyes would be, make the middle edge loop the one that will define the eye. Adjust the vertices convert the vertices to Bezier corners. Then Bezier it in to get the shape. The way I placed my loops caused this shape to form. I’m doing this all in editable poly mode with show end result on. I would turn edit poly off so the subdivision isn’t visible. If you want to just see the cage, hit f3 to pull up wireframe mode.


    Here’s an example of my beziers for the eye.


    To create the eye lids, create 2 concentric circles just bigger than the eye socket you created, convert to editable poly and attach them. Then, add a lathe modifier on top of it. Lower the degrees to about what I have and change the direction of effect so it looks like an eyelid in the perspective we are looking at. The back won’t be there, but it doesn’t matter.


    Create a sphere, very self-explanatory, and position it in the middle of the eyelid. Then, move the eyelid and eyeball into the socket we created. Attach it to the edit poly below the symmetry and it will appear on both sides. I scaled mine a bit  horizontally cause it looked a bit like that in the picture.

    Hey! This is starting to look pretty nifty.

    Now let’s work on the ears.


    So let’s look at the ears. They start kind bulbousy, then sag down to eye level. Make this kind of shape as a start.  It’s not set up for quads yet, but we can just fillet the last point to prepare it for that.


    Here is the base cage for this. To make this do that same as always, scale and move vertices. Notice how I differentiated a bit between the bulge of where the ear connects, and the actual ear. This will be refined and it will slope into the thin part of the ear


    Here I’m starting to refine. But look, part of this mesh, where it differentiates, isn’t ready to be quaded, this could be a problem, let’s think of how we can fix it. A very simple solution would be to add more detail to the thin part of the ear. Why don’t we do that.


    Here it is fully refined. Adding that extra bit helped! As you can see, I filleted the end of the ear and that also turned out pretty nicely. I also decided to make a little crease there by doing some Bezier work after refining.


    Place it on your goathead. You can edit it more here if you want, just go to line and show end result. Edit it ‘til you’re happy then attach it to your goathead.


    This is it now.

    Now we’ll do the nose. We will use a very similar technique that we used for the eyes.


    Just add one refine loop this time (remember to keep quads) Try and place it near the bottom of the nose ridge thing. Once you do that, you can turn the vertex closest to the nose into a Bezier corner. Then, just drag it into the area you want the nose and it’ll create those slits you want. Voila!

    Next is the horns. We could go a few ways with this one. We could extrude along a spline, or we could do a loft. I think I want to do a loft instead. More options for manipulating the product.


    You all should be masters at making Bezier curves by now. Make on that looks like this and prepare a circle for the loft. Mine is a bit too small, you want to make it about as big as the base of the horn will be.


    Apply a loft and get shape is the circle. (In the background you can see I increased the size of it a lot. In loft, go to deformations. Here, we can change the shape and how the loft works. It’s a really powerful tool if you utilize this. If you click on scale, a curve editor pops up. This changes the scale based on how far along the loft the shape is. You can see how the horn starts off thick, becomes thinner fast, then mellows out a bit then goes to a point. In the curve editor, that thickness at the beginning corresponds to being at 100% scale, then going up a bit. It drops down in scale very fast, then it mellows out in the curve editor, etc. You can create points with the “create control point” button. It’s the button with the explosion on it. Then you can drag them around the curve editor and make them beziers and such. That’s how you can get this nice curve. Create your loft and try and match my curve editor the best you can. If you want you can experiment. It doesn’t really matter much.

    Btw, this curve editor loft thing is honestly something I just recently discovered. I enjoy it a lot. The possibilities of unique shapes and stuff are very high.


    Now attach your horn to your face and it’ll go to the other side. Now you have your goat made! Woohoo.


    Now just align it to your fountain rotate 45 degrees and make 7 copies and render.

    This fountain is getting pretty nice, no?

    The rest of the fountain will be detailed in part 3. Right now, this is 33 pages on word so I would rather split it up a bit more…

    Sign in to follow this  
    Sign in to follow this  

    User Feedback

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an Account  

    Sign up to join our friendly community. It's easy!  

    Register a New Account

    Sign In  

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


Thank You for the Continued Support!

Simtropolis relies mainly on member donations to continue operating. Without your support, we just would not be able to be entering our 15th year online!  You've really help make this a great community.

But we still need your support to stay online. If you're able to, please consider a donation to help us stay up and running, so that we can help keep bringing SimCity players together to share our creations.

Make a Donation, Get a Gift!

Expand your city with the best from the Simtropolis Echange.
Make a donation and get one or all three discs today!


By way of a "Thank You" gift, we'd like to send you our STEX Collector's DVD. It's some of the best buildings, lots, maps and mods collected for you over the years. Check out the STEX Collections for more info.

Each donation helps keep Simtropolis online, open and free!

Thank you for reading and enjoy the site!

More About STEX Collections