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[Technical Talk] - FAQ: Answers to common 3D software issues

polycounter lvl 13
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bearkub polycounter lvl 13
After some talking on IRC with a few of the folk, I thought this may be a good idea for a sticky thread, even though this place is getting a little cluttered with them. We see a lot of the same question day in and day out that require a simple answer and do not require a whole thread for them.

Example: "What happened to my transform gizmo in 3dsmax?"

This thread will be a collected list of these things. Please, only post a question if you can post the answer in the same post. Add any questions that you get asked by people new to the 3D field regularly.



  • ElysiumGX
  • Eric Chadwick
    [SIZE=+1]Why Is My File Crashing? A Short Essay On Reporting and Solving Bugs and Crashing Files[/SIZE]
    By Neil Blevins
    May 19th 2006

  • Chung Wong
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    Chung Wong polycounter lvl 10
    I was modelling a gun for the weapons challenge (which I didn't complete) and wondered, this viewport renderer is shit. All I can see a stupid fuzz picture. Is there a way to improve the quality? In the realtime viewport that is, if there isn't, there should be. 3dsmax 9 user. Cheers. This forum rocks.
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    LEViATHAN polycounter lvl 11
    Chung Wong wrote: »
    I was modelling a gun for the weapons challenge (which I didn't complete) and wondered, this viewport renderer is shit. All I can see a stupid fuzz picture. Is there a way to improve the quality? In the realtime viewport that is, if there isn't, there should be. 3dsmax 9 user. Cheers. This forum rocks.


    This thread isn't here to ask questions in, but to post solution to common problems.
  • Chung Wong
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    Chung Wong polycounter lvl 10
    Oh, sorry. I should have read the first post. But thanks for the help.

    Q> Why does my mesh turn into a blob when using mesh smooth or turbo smooth.

    A> You need to build reinforcement lines to hold its shape. Do this by liberal use of chamfer and extrude tool.
  • ElysiumGX
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    ElysiumGX polycounter lvl 15
    I may be reaching here, but there should be an option under Viewport Configuration to show only statistics for selected objects in the active viewport. Ctrl-click the objects and you'll see combined amounts. I honestly prefer having statistics within view at all times.

    Why upgrade software if it only causes more problems for you?
  • Eric Chadwick
    Depends on what you consider useful. Some of these things were available in 3rd party free or pay plugins/scripts, some are new. Cribbed from the Max 2009 What's New in the help file...

    • Spline Mapping The Unwrap UVW modifier now lets you define custom mapping with a spline. This is useful for quickly mapping such objects as snakes, tentacles, and winding roads.
    • Pelt Map RedesignThe Pelt Map command interface in Unwrap UVW has been redesigned for easier workflow and enhanced functionality.
    • Composite Map The Composite map is completely revamped. Additional functionality includes the ability to apply masks and use color correction on both maps and masks, and to use blend modes for different methods of combining the layers.
    • Color Correction Map The Color Correction map provides tools for modifying the colors of an incorporated, underlying map, using a stack-based method. Tools include monochrome, inversion, custom rewiring of color channels, hue shift, and adjustment of saturation and lightness. Color-adjustment controls in many cases mirror those found in Autodesk Toxik and Autodesk Combustion.
    • Enhanced Scene Explorer Scene Explorer adds new advanced filtering functionality that lets the dialog list only items that meet specific criteria based on object name, type, and so on. Plus there are now more options for how groups are displayed.
    • Autodesk Mudbox Interoperability Improved support for the OBJ file format, including more export options, facilitates importing and exporting of model data between Mudbox and 3ds Max software products as well as other third-party 3D digital sculpting applications. Users can now take advantage of new export presets, additional geometry options, including hidden splines/lines and new optimize options, to reduce file sizes and improve performance. There is also improved texture map handling and more import information with regards to face counts per object.
    • FBX Import/Export Improved FBX memory management, data translation fidelity and new import options support interoperability between 3ds Max and other Autodesk products such as Maya and MotionBuilder.
    • OpenFlight Import/Export Artists in the visual-simulation arena can take advantage of new import and export support for the OpenFlight® (FLT) file format.
    • Mirror In Place The new Mirror In Place option lets you mirror biped animation without changing the biped’s orientation. See Keyframing Tools Rollout.
    • Triangle Neck The new Triangle Neck option, similar to Triangle Pelvis, attaches the clavicles to the top of the spine instead of to the neck. For some character meshes, this can improve mesh deformation when you use Physique to apply the mesh.
    • ForeFeet The new ForeFeet (“Four Feet”) option lets you treat hands as feet. When you choose ForeFeet, you can set planted keys for fingers, as if the fingers were toes. You apply both the Triangle Neck and the ForeFeet options in Figure Mode. These options are on the Structure rollout.
    • Adjusting a soft selection is now more interactive with the new Edit Soft Selection Mode custom user interface action for changing the Falloff, Pinch, and Bubble values without leaving the viewport.
  • Jonathan
    Reset X-form is your friend. (Max)

    -FFD box looking weird? Reset X-form!
    -Selection Box/outline out of wack? Reset X-form!
    -Exporting to game/SDK? Reset X-form!
    -Mirrored part of a mesh turns inside out once exported? Reset X-form (and then check and correct flipped triangles)!

    -How do you carry over a selection for vert/edge/loop/face/element mode to another (i.e.vert to edge, or edge to face mode, etc)? Simply hold "Ctrl" and click the mode you want to go to in the toolbar on the right or I think pressing the appropriate number on the upper row will work as well. In the UV editor, you can do the same by going to the toolbar, and dropping down the option bar and selecting convert selection to edge/face/etc.

    -Bringing in a really high-poly mesh is taking too long? On import, deselect texture-coordinates, assuming you don't need them, and it'll speed things up.
    -Are your alphas you brought in square and you want to remove the hard edge when using it? Go to the Alpha menu, and adjust radial fading ("RF"), and also check the other settings to further control it.
    -Want a quick alpha textuer for Zbrush? Try using CrazyBump to create alphas for Zbrush, the parallax/displacement map can sometimes work pretty well (for obvious reasons).
    -Don't like the main canvas to be such a small box? Go to Document--> Double, and then redraw your object
    -Did your object disappear way off into Zbrush "space"? Just click on "Scale" and it should recenter, if not, press T to drop your current tool, ctrl+N for a new canvas, and redraw the tool.
    -is your tool becoming pixelated? Always "scale" the mesh to see it, don't "zoom in" as you're just zooming in on the "pixols" and not the mesh (not the most accurate description perhaps)
    -ensure your memory settings are set in Preferences, the default is 256. You can store the config so Zbrush loads with the proper memory settings the next time.
  • Japhir
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    Japhir polycounter lvl 13
    Q: whaaa what happened? everytime i rotate my viewport my objects turn into boxes.
    A: you accidently hit the "o" key, that stands for toggle override (or whatever). it's usefull when your dealing with scenes with a very high polycount.

    hehe that was one of the first threads i made here ;).
  • leethium
    when i render my model,the image i used to make it from(viewport background), also comes in the background(rendered).i made a box around my model but i still see the viewport background. i havnt found a way to remove this it either.

    plz help.
  • Tumerboy
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    Tumerboy polycounter lvl 12
    Disregard. Wrong thread.
  • dejawolf
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    dejawolf polycounter lvl 11
    in max, never use the mirror tool. it fucks your model up badly. use the mirror modifier.
  • Tumerboy
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    Tumerboy polycounter lvl 12
    only problem I've had with the mirror tool is it occasionally flipping the normals. Resetting XForms and flipping the polys fixes it though.
  • Slipstream
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    Slipstream polycounter lvl 16
    Q: In 3dsmax 2008, my viewport displays smooth faces even though I have it set to faceted; the only apparent way to fix it is to select it.

    A: Go to: Customize - Preferences Settings - Viewports - Configure Driver. At the top, deselect "Use cached DX3dmeshes"
    After selecting your mesh, in faceted mode, the problem should be solved.

    ... just a minor irritant I just figured out. Dunno if anyone else had this problem.
  • Chicklet
    Does anyone know offhand whether scene files created in the new version of XSI (7.1) will transfer to 7? If anyone is familiar with this software please let me know.

    -thanks :)
  • Krisonrik
    Well, since my other thread hasn't got any replies, I will try this one. Hopefully I will get some help here. Basically, I have some wacky problem with 3DS Max 2009 skin modifier mirror mode. I model a human character with just about every body part created in different mesh. Shirt, head, jacket, gloves, boots and other part. Now I'm trying to rig the thing. Shirt and other parts seems to went fine. But I starting to run into mirror mode when I rig the head and gloves. On the head, since I didn't do a very complicated bone rig, only just 1 bone suppor skull and 2-3 bone supporting the jaw. All the bones are default at the center of the mesh. When I mirror the weight, everything would get screwed up. All the weights are changed, even some envelopes has rotated. And on the hand, it is just plain not working. I have 2 meshes for gloves. They are attached into 1 mesh with 2 different elements. I changed the pivot to the center. Add the skin modifier and then add bones. And when I click on the mirror mode, the mirror plane would be in the center of one of the hands. I offset the plane to the center between 2 hands, but that hand (which had plane in the center) would still have half green and half blue. No matter what threshold I put on there, that hand would remain half green and half blue. I have tried everything. Re-mirror the hand, take off all modifier and only re-apply skin modifer. But nothing works. Could someone shed some light on this? I've been choking on this for 2 days now and can't find an answer on the web anywhere. And there seems to be few people who had the same or similar problems as I do and they never got it answered either. Since my work policy prevents me from transfering any content from my workstation, I can't post a picture of my problem, but hopefully my long description is clear enough. Thanks for your help.
  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    Hi Kris,

    A simple check would be to make sure that you reset xforms (at least twice!!!) on the symmetrical objects you are trying to weightmirror. If the xforms are off I would suspect that the mirror would have a hard time.
  • uk_resistant
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    uk_resistant polycounter lvl 14
    Im just starting to use Maya 2009 for the first time (im a max user) for a new job. Im just wondering if there is a way to save the positions of the menus that you tear off as a default UI?

    I like to tear off the select, mesh and edit mesh menus and place them at either side of the viewport and switch (ironically :P) to expert mode, but im having to do this everytime i start a new file! :(

  • Krisonrik
    you should make the habit of creating custom shelf in Maya. Also, you can tear off any menu by clicking on the double boarder on the top of the pull down menu. you could add any button to your shelf by ctrl + shift click on the fuctions of any menu. I use both Maya and Max and Max interface just pisses me off.
  • duck
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    duck polycounter lvl 10
    is there any way of getting my lambert to be whiter as default? using maya 2009 and like working with dark bkgr ,but makes the default lambert hard to see
  • duck
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    duck polycounter lvl 10
    also how do you remove the bar "file/Edit/Create/..etc" since i have it in the hotbox its just taking up space.
  • ivars
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    ivars polycounter lvl 13
    This is interesting I thought you could use the "use default scene" in the optionbox for new, but for some retarded reason it still resets the color of the default material.....
    If you add a white texture to it though, that seems to work.

    So just make a new scene
    Set a white texture to lambert1
    Save the scene somwhere like: default.mb
    Click the optionbox for new
    Tick the "use default scene" checkbox
    Browse for the default.mb scene

    Now every time you click new, it will use the content of that scene.
  • kodde
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    kodde polycounter lvl 15
    duck wrote: »
    also how do you remove the bar "file/Edit/Create/..etc" since i have it in the hotbox its just taking up space.

  • RickFX
    wassnt there a thread somewhere where someone told how to change the default startup max material library and scene?

  • bunnygnu
    I know you guys aren't very render-centric, but neither am I.. suddenly I'm needing to render something and it's really getting to me.. In 3DSmax 2009 I have an unwrapped model. Everything's fine in viewport, works normally... but every time I tell it to render, it seems to nudge all my UV's to the right just before rendering, and then screws up everything. I try to load my UV's back, everything's OK, until I hit that render button again and things fly to the right I tried restarting max, tweaking various settings, but it's something which I can't put my finger on.. What am I doing wrong?
  • renderhjs
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    renderhjs sublime tool
    maybe your material has a different channel id assigned ? or you disabled mapping in the rendering settings
  • kodiak
    Maya question: If I have a single mesh can I make a specific selection of faces and cut them from the model to form two separate meshes?

    Example: Can I take a simple cube with one division and cut it into two half boxes.
  • Whargoul
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    Whargoul polycounter lvl 14
    Kodiak: Edit Poly -> Extract (separate new faces)
  • Paradox113
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    Paradox113 polycounter lvl 8
    Just a shot in the dark, but I am having a problem with Max 2010 64bit and figured I would post a question here.

    Apparently there is a common problem with Max 2010 crashing on starup. I am now having this problem. It was working a few months back so I know it's not a graphics issue. I can't seem to get a straight answer on this issue and so far everyrthing I have read, I have tried, and nothing seems to work. Just wondering if anyone here has encountered this problem yet and if so, how do I go about fixing it?
  • Karmageddon
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    Karmageddon polycounter lvl 7
    A friend forwarded this one to me.

    Top 10 reasons you cannot select an object:

    1. Unlock the selection (space bar, or turn off Selection Lock Toggle).
    2.Click the wireframe, not the volume.
    3.Unfreeze the object (right-clic for quad menu, choose Unfreeze All).
    4. Turn off the creation tool you're currently using, or click Select Object.
    5. Get out of sub0object mode.
    6.Make sure Window/Crossing is set to the mode you want.
    7.One sided object? Click the other side.
    8.Turn off the tool that's expecting a selection, or click select object.
    9.reset the selection Filter to All or Geometry.
    10. Use CTRL to add to the selection, not ALT.
  • heather
    nvm, just a matter of poking around. :)
  • Dr Stench
    Problem in max: Every time when I rotate an object and after that I want to align vertices/edges/faces with the X Z an Y buttons in the 'edit geometry' section. It aligns according to the orientation of the object instead of the world. This seems fine to me.

    But here's the problem: when I change the orientation of the pivot point, it has NO influence on the alignment process of vertices/edges/faces. Which means that the vertices I am trying to align are still aligning based on the rotation of the object I made firstly. This is really annoying. In maya I would just freeze transformations and the object would simply be oriented based on the world again. Is this not possible in Max?
  • Eric Chadwick
    Dr Stench wrote: »
    freeze transformations and the object would simply be oriented based on the world again.
    This is called Reset Xforms in Max. It's over in the Utilities panel. It will not automatically remove all history, but it may mess up any transform animation on the object.
  • Dr Stench
    This is called Reset Xforms in Max. It's over in the Utilities panel. It will not automatically remove all history, but it may mess up any transform animation on the object.

    thank you, I will try this.
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