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3ds Max Tutorial - Index
3ds Max Tutorial - The User Interface
3ds Max Tutorial - Working with Files
3ds Max Tutorial - Object and Transformation
3ds Max Tutorial - Modeling
3ds Max Tutorial - Materials and Textures
3ds Max Tutorial - Basic Animation Techniques
3ds Max Tutorial - Lights
3ds Max Tutorial - Cameras
3ds Max Tutorial - Rendering
3ds Max Tutorial - Scene Creation

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  Home > Courses, Tutorials & eBooks > 3DS Max Tutorial > Modeling

3DS Max Tutorial - Modeling

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A sub-object is a subset of an object's geometry. Subobjects are the elements that make up the model and can include vertices, edges, faces, polygons, and elements.

These individual subobjects can be selected and transformed just like normal objects using the transformation tools located on the main toolbar.

To access sub-objects, go to the Modifier panel. In the modifier stack display, click the plus-sign button to display an object's hierarchy, and then choose the sub-objects level from the hierarchy.

Figure 4-2: The selected Subobject type is highlighted by yellow color

You can also enter subobject mode by clicking on the subobject icons located at the top of the Selection rollout or by pressing the 1 through 5 keys on the keyboard.

When you’re in subobject mode, the subobject title and the icon in the Selection rollout are highlighted yellow. You can work with the selected subobjects only while in subobject mode.

To transform the entire object again, you need to exit subobject mode, which you can do by clicking either the subobject title or the subobject icon, or by pressing one of the keyboard shortcuts, 1–5.

Soft Selection

Soft Selection selects all the subobjects surrounding the current selection and applies transformations to them to an extent that falls off as the distance from the selected sub-object increases. This falloff is visible in the viewports as a color gradient surrounding the selection.

For example, if a face is selected and moved a distance of 2, then with linear Soft Selection, the neighboring faces within the soft selection range move a distance of 1. The overall effect is a smoother transition.

Figure 4-3: The Soft Selection rollout

The Use Soft Selection parameter enables or disables the Soft Selection feature. The Edge Distance option sets the range (the number of edges from the current selection) that the Soft Selection will affect. If disabled, the distance is determined by the Falloff amount.

The Affect Backfacing option applies the Soft Selection to selected subobjects on the backside of an object. For example, if you are selecting vertices on the front of a sphere object and the Affect Backfacing option is enabled, then vertices on the opposite side of the sphere are also selected.


Modifiers is a tool to sculpt and edit objects. They enable you to change the geometry of an object, and its properties.

The Modifiers menu includes a submenu of modifiers that are specific to mesh (and poly) objects. These modifiers are found in the Mesh Editing submenu and can be used to enhance the features available for these objects.

The modifiers you apply to an object are stored in a stack. By navigating up and down the stack, you can change the effect of the modifier, or remove it from the object. Or you can choose to “collapse” the stack and make your changes permanently.

You can apply an unlimited number of modifiers to an object or part of an object. When you delete a modifier, all its changes to the object disappear. You can move and copy modifiers to other objects using controls in the modifier stack display.

The order or sequence in which you add modifiers is important. Each modifier affects those that come after it. For instance, adding a Bend modifier before a Taper can give you distinctly different results than if you first added the Taper followed by the Bend.

Several of the Mesh Editing modifiers are unique, special-purpose modifiers. The Edit Normals modifier, for example, lets you change the direction of face normals, which doesn’t really change the geometry, but can create a big impact on how the object is smoothed and shaded.

Modifier Stack

The modifier stack and its editing dialog are the keys to managing all aspects of modification.

Modifier stack can be used to find a particular modifier and adjust its parameters. It can also be used to manipulate the sequence of modifiers and copy, cut and paste modifiers between objects.

With the stack feature, no modification has to be permanent. By clicking an entry in the stack, you can go back to the point where you made that modification.

Figure 4-4: The Modifier stack

The effect of a modifier in the stack can be deactivated and modifiers can also be removed from the stack.

You can also insert a new modifier in the stack at that point. The changes you make ripple upward through the stack, changing the current state of the object.


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