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 Basic Tutorial: Compound Objects  
 Objective: Learn how to handle the "compound objects"
 Difficulty: Low
 Required time: 2 hours ( approximately )
 Progress files: Due to the low difficult of this tutorial, this one does not have progress files
 Index: 1- Compound Objects
2- Boolean operations
 Language Notes: tutorial original language: Spanish - comments about the translation to info@tutorials3d.com (we will gratify your help)
 Page: 1 of 1

Compound Objects

Hi!! :-) Welcome to this compound objects tutorial. We are going to learn new methods to create objects. What is a compound object? It is a object that generally combines two or more existing objects into a single one.

We can find these objects in ‘create - >geometry' in the combo box:

Loft objects

Originally are splines. Loft objects are two-dimensional shapes extruded along a third axis. You create loft objects from two or more existing spline objects. One of these splines serves the path. The remaining splines serve as cross-sections, or shapes, of the loft object. As you arrange shapes along the path, the software generates a surface between the shapes. Let's create a line, a rectangle and a circle:

select the line and go to ‘create->compound objects'. Press the ‘Loft' button:

now we have selected the line as a path and we have to select the other shapes (as cross sections), press the ‘Get Shape' button to select the other splines, if the mouse is over a valid shape changes its form. Click the rectangle:

in the ‘skin parameters' panel, we can activate ‘skin' to see the result in the viewport. There are more options, the most important are shape and path steps which are a similar concepts as segments.

in ‘path parameter' we find the controls that allows us move along the path (to insert new shapes). Is important know that this kind of object changes from a shape to other using interpolation. For our example, try with a path value=100 and get the circle:

in one extreme there is a square shape, in the other a circle, you can see how the mesh changes from the original shape to the final one. Now, try to insert a new square but this time with 50 as path value:

as you see, between the two squares the mesh remains without modification (normal, is the same shape) but between the square and the circle there are interpolation. Also there is a communication between the splines used as cross section and the loft object. If you modify the spline, the loft object changes. Test it changing the radius parameter of the circle.

In the sub-object level, we can modify path and shapes.

Let's model a spring. Create a helix spline:

that's the spline we're going to use as path. Now, we need the shape to cross it along the path so create a small circle:

Select the helix and go to ‘geometry->compound objects->loft' and select the circle as shape:

You can check your result in your viewport. These are my values:

We can apply deformations to our loft objects, as you can imagine, they're in the ‘Deformations' panel. Deformation controls let you scale, twist, teeter, bevel or fit shapes along the path. The interface for all deformations is a graph. Lines with control points on the graph represent the deformations along the path.

Let's create a loft object, use a line as path. Let's apply a scale deformation, press the scale button:

a new window with a red line appears. See the 4 icons from the left, with them you can select the axis to apply the deformation. Now we have only point in the extremes, move it and check the result:

we had scaled the extremes. But we can insert new control points in the line (square or Bezier points):

so insert some points:

the loft object acquires the transformation arranged in the graphic. It could be symmetrical or not, you can edit the transformation in X or Y axis.

Twist deformation lets you create objects that spiral or twist along their length. Twist specifies the amount of rotation about the path:

Teeter deformation rotates shapes about their local X axis and Y axis.

Finally, bevel is used to create bevels in the loft object. The last deformation ‘fit' is hard to understand in this tutorial (Fit deformation lets you use two Fit curves to define the top and side profiles of your object) and is between learn other methods for modeling, as polymodeling.

Bien, pues con respecto a los solevados, ya sabes lo más importante.


Boolean Operations

The Boolean objects combine two other objects by performing a Boolean operation on them: union, subtraction and intersection. To perform the operation select the first object (operand A) and go to ‘compound objects->Boolean' select the operation:

and click the second object (operand B):

What the operation does? Let's understand it with an example with 2 spheres but if you had read the splines tutorial you know it :-) The original spheres:

after the Boolean operations:

The boolean operations are not the best optimized module in 3dsmax so save your work when you're going to use it!! Sometimes there are fails and errors… And if you can model your pbject without using booleans… do it. Other sample:




Finally, let's explain in two lines the compound object ‘scatter'. Scatter is a form of compound object that randomly scatters the selected source object either as an array, or over the surface of a distribution object. Better with an example, create a cylinder:

apply a taper and a bend modifier:

Now create a sphere (bigger than the cylinder). Go to compound objects and select the cylinder. Select ‘scatter', and pick the distribution object: the sphere.

automatically the cylinder is over the sphere:

we have in the menu some parameters:

Try to add more duplicates. Also we can choose how distribute the object:

When perpendicular is on, orients each duplicate object perpendicular to its associate face, vertex, or edge in the distribution object. When it is off, the duplicates maintain the same orientation as the original source object. Also we can distribute the object over the total surface area of the distribution object, randomly. Finally, the ‘transforms' panel let you apply random transform offsets to each duplicate object.


That's all about compound objects. In our next free tutorial let's explain the editable polys, maybe the most important objects in 3D modeling.

See you!!


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