3ds Max provides
several techniques for copying or duplicating objects; cloning is
the general term for this process. These techniques can be used
to clone any selection set.
- Spacing Tool
- Clone and Align Tool
While each technique
has distinct uses and advantages in cloning objects, in most cases
the cloning techniques share some similarities in how they work:
- You can apply a transform when you clone.
New objects are moved, rotated, or scaled as they are created.
- The transform is relative to the current
coordinate system, axis constraint, and transform center.
- When cloning creates new objects, you
have the choice of making them copies, instances, or references.
Each of the following
items is discussed later in this chapter.
Using the Clone command
on the Edit menu is the easiest method for copying an object in
place; no transformation is involved. See
Shift+Clone clones an object when
you transform it.
You can clone an object
as you transform it interactively in the viewport. The process is
referred to as
the technique of holding down the Shift key
while transforming a selected object with the mouse.
Quick and versatile,
this technique is probably the one you’ll use most often to duplicate
objects. Snap settings give you precise results.
How you set the center
and axes for the transforms determines the arrangement of the cloned
objects. Depending on the settings, you can create both linear and
You need a working knowledge
of transform features to take full advantage of Shift+Clone. See
Watch a movie about Cloning
Using an ice-cream
cone animated along a path, Snapshot creates a stack of cones.
an animated object over time. You can create a single clone on any
frame, or space multiple clones along the animation path. The spacing
is a uniform time interval; it can also be a uniform distance.
A one-dimensional array
repeating design elements: for example, the gondolas of a Ferris
wheel, the treads of a spiral stair, or the battlements along a
Array gives you precise
control over all three transforms and in all three dimensions, including
the ability to scale along one or more axes. It is the combination
of transforms and dimensions, coupled with different centers, that
gives you so many options with a single tool. A spiral stair, for example,
would be a combination of Move and Rotate around a common center.
Another array using Move and Rotate might produce the interlocked links
of a chain.
Mirroring an object
a symmetrical copy around any combination of axes. There is also
a "No Clone" option that performs the mirror operation without copying.
The effect is a flip or move of the object to a new orientation.
Mirror has an interactive
dialog. As you change settings, you see the effect in the active
viewport; in other words, a preview of what the mirror will look
There is also a Mirror
modifier that gives you parametric control of the mirror effect.
The Spacing Tool distributes
the vases along the sides of the curved street.
tool distributes along a path defined by
a spline or pair of points. You define a path by picking a spline
or two points and by setting a number of parameters. You can also
specify how the spacing between objects is determined and whether
the insertion points of the objects align to the tangent of the
Clone and Align Tool
And Align tool lets you distribute source
objects based on the current selection to a second selection of
destination objects. For example, you can use Clone And Align to
populate several rooms simultaneously with the same furniture arrangement.
Similarly, if you import a CAD file that contains 2D symbols that
represent chairs in a conference room, you can use Clone And Align
to replace the symbols with 3D chair objects en masse.
With the Clone command
you can create copies, instances, or references of a selected object
or a set of objects.
- Clone Options Dialog
Clone creates a copy,
a selected object or set of objects. The Clone command on the Edit
menu creates a single copy. You can clone multiple copies by holding down
the Shift key as
you transform the selection.
- Using Shift+Clone
Shift+Clone is the primary way to
duplicate objects in 3ds Max. You hold down the Shift key and drag during any of
the standard transform operations: Move, Rotate, or Scale.
- Cloning with Shift+Move
Cloning objects while
moving them is quick and easy. It produces a linear array of two
or more objects.
- Cloning with Shift+Rotate
Cloning objects while
rotating them produces a variety of effects, depending on how you
set up the transformation.
- Cloning with Shift+Scale
Cloning objects while
scaling them can produce a variety of nested objects and arrays,
depending on the center you choose.
- Animating Shift+Rotate
You can use the
Key button to animate Shift-clone. However, there are
- Cloning Objects Over Time
Snapshot tool lets
you clone an object along its animation path. You can make a single
clone at any frame, or multiple clones spaced over a selected number