Shell Modifier
 
 
 
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Modify panel Make a selection. Modifier List Object-Space Modifiers Shell

Make a selection. Modifiers menu Parametric Deformers Shell

The Shell modifier “solidifies” or gives thickness to an object by adding an extra set of faces facing the opposite direction of existing faces, plus edges connecting the inner and outer surfaces wherever faces are missing in the original object. You can specify offset distances for the inner and outer surfaces, characteristics for edges, material IDs, and mapping types for the edges.

Also, because the Shell modifier doesn't have sub-objects, you can use the Select options to specify a face selection for passing up the stack to other modifiers. Please note that the Shell modifier doesn't recognize existing sub-object selections, nor does it pass such selections up the stack.

Left: Sphere with part of surface removed; Right: Sphere with Shell applied

You'd typically use Shell on an object with part of its surface removed, such as a sphere with several deleted vertices or faces, as illustrated above. For best results, the original polygons should face outward. If an object has no faces with at least one free edge, Shell will not create any edges.

Watch a movie about Shell Modifier.

Examples of Shell Usage

Following are some examples of modeling tasks for which the Shell modifier would be appropriate:

Procedures

To solidify an object:

  1. Create an object to solidify. The object should have some holes in its surface. For example, start with a primitive sphere, convert it to Editable Poly, and delete some vertices or polygons.
  2. Optionally create an open spline to serve as the profile for the edges connecting the inner and outer surfaces. For example, go to Create panel Shapes and click Line. Then, in the Top viewport, draw the spline from top to bottom. Where the spline protrudes to the right, the edge surface will be convex, and where it protrudes to the left, the surface will be concave.
  3. Apply the Shell modifier to the object from step 1.
  4. To use custom edges, turn on Bevel Edges, click the Bevel Spline button, and then select the spline from step 2.
  5. By default, Shell keeps the material IDs of the new surfaces consistent with those of the original object. To change these, turn on the different Override options, specify appropriate material IDs, and apply a Multi/Sub-Object material.
  6. Likewise, Shell keeps the texture coordinates of the new surfaces consistent with those of the original object. To change these on the new edges, change the Edge Mapping choice, and with the Strip and Interpolate choices, optionally change the TV Offset setting.

Interface

Inner/Outer Amount

Distance in 3ds Max generic units by which the inner surface is moved inward and the outer surface is moved outward from their original positions. Defaults=0.0 / 1.0.

The sum of the two Amount settings determines the thickness of the object's shell, as well as the default width of the edges. If you set both to 0, the resultant shell has no thickness, and resembles an object set to display as 2-sided.

Segments

The number of subdivisions across each edge. Default=1.

Change this setting if you need greater resolution on the edge for use by subsequent modeling or modifiers.

NoteWhen you use a Bevel Spline, the spline's properties override this setting.
Bevel Edges

When on, and you specify a Bevel Spline, 3ds Max uses the spline to define the edges' profile and resolution. Default=off.

After you define a Bevel Spline, use Bevel Edges to switch between a flat edge whose resolution is defined by the Segments setting and a custom profile defined by the Bevel Spline.

Bevel Spline

Click this button and then select an open spline to define the edge shape and resolution. Closed shapes such as Circle or Star will not work.

The original spline is instanced to the Bevel Spline, so changing the spline's shape and properties are reflected in the Bevel Spline. With non-corner vertices, you can change the edge resolution with the spline's Interpolation rollout settings.

A bevel spline as viewed from the top (inset) and the resulting bevel

TipFor best results, create the spline in the Top viewport, and draw it from top to bottom. The top point on the spline is applied to the outside edge, and the bottom point to the inside edge. Displacements to the right will create outward protrusions on the edge profile, and displacements to the left create inward protrusions.
Override Inner Mat ID

Turn on to specify a material ID for all of the inner surface polygons using the Inner Mat ID parameter. Default=off.

If you don't specify a material ID, the surface uses the same material ID or IDs as the original faces.

Inner Mat ID

Specifies the material ID for inner faces. Available only when Override Inner MatID is on.

Override Outer Mat ID

Turn on to specify a material ID for all of the outer surface polygons using the Outer Mat ID parameter. Default=off.

If you don't specify a material ID, the surface uses the same material ID or IDs as the original faces.

Outer Mat ID

Specifies the material ID for outer faces. Available only when Override Outer MatID is on.

Override Edge Mat ID

Turn on to specify a material ID for all of the new edge polygons using the Edge Mat ID parameter. Default=off.

If you don't specify a material ID, the surface uses the same material ID or IDs as the original faces from which the edges are derived.

Edge Mat ID

Specifies the material ID for edge faces. Available only when Override Edge MatID is on.

Auto Smooth Edge

Applies automatic, angle-based smoothing across the edge faces using the Angle parameter. When off, no smoothing is applied. Default=on.

This doesn't apply smoothing across the junction between the edge faces and the outer/inner surface faces.

Angle

Specifies the maximum angle between edge faces that will be smoothed by Auto Smooth Edge. Available only when Auto Smooth Edge is on. Default=45.0.

Faces that meet at an angle greater than this value will not be smoothed.

Override Smooth Group

Lets you specify a smoothing group for the new edge polygons using the Smooth Grp setting. Available only when Auto Smooth Edge is off. Default=off.

Smooth Grp

Sets the smoothing group for the edge polygons. Available only when Override Smooth Group is on. Default=0.

When Smooth Grp is set to the default value of 0, no smoothing group is assigned to the edge polygons. To specify a smoothing group, change the value to a number between 1 and 32.

NoteWhen Auto Smooth Edge and Override Smooth Group are both off, 3ds Max assigns smoothing group 31 to the edge polygons.
Edge Mapping

Specifies the type of texture mapping that is applied to the new edges. Choose a mapping type from the drop-down list:

  • CopyEach edge face uses the same UVW coordinates as the original face from which it's derived.
  • NoneEach edge face is assigned a U value of 0 and a V value of 1. Thus, if a map is assigned, the edges will take the color of the upper-left pixel.
  • StripThe edges are mapped in a continuous strip.
  • InterpolateThe edge mapping is interpolated from the mapping of the adjacent inner and outer surface polygons.
TV Offset

Determines the spacing of the texture vertices across the edges. Available only with the Edge Mapping choices Strip and Interpolate. Default=0.05.

Increasing this value increases the repetition of the texture map across the edge polygons.

Select Edges

Selects the edge faces. This selection is passed up the stack to other modifiers. Default=off.

Select Inner Faces

Selects the inner faces. This selection is passed up the stack to other modifiers. Default=off.

Select Outer Faces

Selects the outer faces. This selection is passed up the stack to other modifiers. Default=off.

Straighten Corners

Adjusts corner vertices to maintain straight-line edges.

If you apply Shell to a subdivided object with straight edges, such as a box set to 3x3x3 segments, you might find that the corner vertices don't stay in a straight line with the other edge vertices. This gives the edges a bulging look. To resolve this, turn on Straighten Corners.

Box with Straighten Corners off (left) and on (right)