Shapes are 2D and 3D lines and groups of lines that you typically use as components of other objects. Most of the default shapes are made from splines. You use these spline shapes to do the following:
3ds Max Design supplies 11 basic spline shape objects, two types of NURBS curves, and five extended splines. You can quickly create these shapes using mouse or keyboard entry and combine them to form compound shapes. For information about the methods and parameters used to create these shapes, see .
To access the shape-creation tools, go to the Create panel and click (Shapes). You'll find the standard shapes under Splines in the category list, Point Curve and CV Curve under NURBS curves, and WRectangle, Channel, Angle, Tee, and Wide Flange under Extended Splines.
You can create shapes from edge selections in mesh objects. In Edit/Editable Mesh objects, at the Edge selection level, in the Edit Geometry rollout, is a button called Create Shape from Edges that creates a spline shape based on selected edges. See . Similarly, with Editable Poly objects, you can use the Create Shape button at the Edge selection level. See
You can convert a basic spline to an . The editable spline has a variety of controls that let you directly manipulate it and its sub-objects. For example, at the Vertex sub-object level you can move vertices or adjust their Bezier handles. Editable splines let you create shapes that are less regular, more free-form than the basic spline options.
When you use a shape to create a 3D object by lofting, extruding, or other means, the shape becomes a renderable 3D object. However, you can make a shape render without making it into a 3D object. There are three basic steps to rendering a shape:
3ds Max Design provides control over renderable shapes; viewports, including wireframe viewports, can display the geometry of renderable shapes. The rendering parameters for shapes appear in their own rollout.
A straightforward usage for shapes is 2D cutouts or planar objects. Examples include ground planes, text for signs, and cutout billboards. You create a planar object by applying an to a closed shape, or by converting it to an .
You can also apply an Edit Mesh modifier to a 3D shape (for example, a shape whose vertices have been moved vertically away from the construction plane by different amounts) to create a curved surface. The resulting 3D surface often requires manual editing of faces and edges to smooth surface ridges.
You can apply modifiers to a shape to create a 3D object. Two of these modifiers are Extrude and Lathe. creates a 3D object by adding height to a shape. creates a 3D object by rotating a shape about an axis.
Initial text shape with extruded shape below
Lathed object with initial shape on right
Splines include the following object types: , , , , , . , , , , and . Extended Splines include the following object types: . . . , and This topic covers aspects of spline and extended spline creation that are common to all spline object types, including the parameters available in the General rollout.
The Shape Check utility tests spline and NURBS-based shapes and curves for self-intersection and graphically displays any instances of intersecting segments. Self-intersecting shapes used to produce lathed, extruded, lofted, or other 3D objects can result in rendering errors.