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Hey there. It so happens that I use 3dstudio max every single day. I make the art for ps2 games.. But anyways here is a simple tutorial on how to apply a material to an object..
Bare With me I suck at teaching!!!
step 1: Make a 3d object. (anything you want)
step 2: open the Material Editor. This can be accessed through the menus or from a little Icon that has 4 spheres on it. Red, Green, Blue and yellow. (3dsmax 3.1)
step 3: Either drag and drop the material to the object or find the little button that says "Apply to selected" when you roll over it.
it has a white box with an arrow pointing to it.
step 4: Tell me if thats what you meant?
When you open the Material Editor you will notice a bunch of spheres in this editor. Click on one of them. then open the parameters for that sphere. Note: Diffuse is your default color, This determines the over all base shade of the material. There are two types of materials you can apply to your object. Procedural and Texture maps. A procedural is where you make a texture from a bunch of options like noise, ramp, glossiness, Bump, reflection, refraction, specular, etc etc..
Texture map is where you choose a jpg or tga or any other supported file to become the texture. Like if you wanted to apply a jpg from the net onto a simple box, you'd choose the texture option. If you wanted to make a simple Dirt texture that has a bump and DOESNT tile you'd choose procedural.
Here is how to apply a JPG to a cube.
NOTE: Since a cube is a primitave object, it will come with its OWN texture coordinance. It will take every edge of your image file and match it to every edge of the object.
Make a cube.
open Material editor.
pick a slot to work from (pick a sphere)
open the parameters.
under Difuse click on the NONE button.
Choose a file.
in this material window there is a little CHECKER box. Find it and click it down. This will SHOW your material in the Viewport.
If there is no Mapping coordinance on your obejct then you have to apply them. Simply go to the modifier stack and choose UVW mapping. To add that modifier and choose BOX map in the options for that Mod.
I cant type anymore I'm very tired.. I hope I helped you atleast a little bit..
You can always go to 3dcafe.com and look for their Tutorials under Free Stuff....
Also there is tutorials in the HELP menu unless you have a CRACKED version of 3dsmax. Which you shouldn't because if you do they do have network tracking. And if that Dongle has faults in it, it will contact the net and tell discrete that your copy is faulty, and discrete can prosecute you.. So beware of that dude.. I usually run my cracked versions with my network turnned off. Or deny access to everything net related..
Thanks for your help guys. Jon, good crash course, and I do have the legit copy of 3D Studio Max. However version 4 doesn't use a hardware dongle. It's all software. I had to authorize it with a special number to get it to function. Also since you're a graphic designer for Play Station, why do you have cracked software?
I know they are great for Maya Tutorials and Lightwave.
But I've never looked at their Max stuff..
Btw, how is Max4? I only got to test it out for a day at work.
We have to stick with Max3 until this project is done. Has to do with programming for our exporters. I hear Max4 has some bugs still but not as bad as the max3.0 corrupt backup files bug. Really sucks when you work on somthing for an hour only to have a crash and the Backup file doesnt load =\
Haven't come across any bugs yet. But then again my models haven't been too complex. I like the interface it's more user friendly than Lightwave (especially Lightwave). Haven't used previous versions of 3DSMax but version 4 is good.
Also found tutorials at 3DCafe but don't have time to do yet.
get the trial version of Max8, there are huge changes from 3 and 4.
for those asking about max and linux, no such creature.
3d Studio Max from Autodesk / Discrete is a windows only app that wine and crossover office have not been able to get running, the application image is to complex for it to function under wine or crossover office yet.
Rhinoceros nurbs Modeller v2 has been reported to be runnable under wine, but they are now working on releasing v5, so it's a no longer available version.
both of these apps use IE for their UI, so wine / crossover office have to run IE as part of the app, this is what makes it so difficult.