3ds Max Blog Post 2: The beginning of Shapes

My 3Ds Max experience began with the completion of a very basic straw in January which can be seen below. The time constraints of the masters programme have limited available time to practice, however, the major project began. The limited number of photographs available of the Whitworth monument and its incredible complexity led to a great number of challenges. However, the process of its completion resulted in a very enjoyable experience.
In the beginning, I decided to split the monument into layers, which included the base, middle support and top layer. The second step was to create a general look of the object using simple geometric shapes. This allowed me to critically think about the steps which needed to be taken. The base of the monument was the first call for action when I opened up 3Ds Max. My original research into the Whitworth monument was not as bountiful as first perceived. Using the only, slightly low-quality images, I began creating the base. I attempted to create a ratio using the best quality photograph and the monument generalised size across the town. 1/14th of 2 metres for every centimetre.
A simple box with small pillars surrounding it, I believed it would be the easiest step. I made a box shape which stretched out to a rectangle. The pillars surrounding the base began with a chamfer. The top of the cylinders were finished with a chamfer shape changed into an editable mesh, twisted using the twist modifier. A box was used again to create the next section of the monument. However, this part needed slightly more work to finish.
Originally, the next section of the monument was created using an upside down pyramid. However, I believed this might ruin the integrity of the object at a later date. As a result, I created a box shape to fit exactly at the top of the box, following on from that, I used a modifier to change the parameters slightly. I continued to work my way up the monument, attempting to define the monument shape. Fortunately, the main shapes of the monument proved reasonably simple to define. Further boxes, ranging in height and width were added to the monument before pyramids became a main shape. An addition of four thing pyramids surrounds the top square can be seen in the photograph below. A final pyramid at the top would complete the basic shape of the monument. However, there were a lot more hours put in to complete the project.
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3ds Max Blog Post 3: Growing complexity

The attempt to add complexity now began. An attempt which proved to involve a lot of trial and error. Trial and error mixed with joy and a little bit of confusion. The first complicated section would now begin. Pillars and fountains. Marble like pillars can be seen at the side of the base. I realised These were completed using three shapes, a cylinder, torus and gegnon. The boolean operator was used to cut a square into each section, which can be seen below.
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The important point here was to ensure the geometry of the original square was set before it was altered using the boolean compound object selection. The main parameters could not be changed easily after this process had been completed. The gegnon was used as the base and top of each pillar, angled properly and then copied for each pillar. The cylinders were completed in the same way with a smaller torus placed in the centre of each pillar.
The incredibly awkward drinking fountain would be next to complete. Unfortunately, I am still not happy with the overall view of the drinking fountain, but I believed it was still important to show on the monument. The main fountain trough was completed using a sphere. Another sphere was then made which could be used to subtract an area out of the first sphere. Using the boolean function, which I found very useful during my time using 3ds Max, however, I believe there may be a certain number of limitations using this function. This created a hole within the original sphere, a modifier, displace, then altered the shape of the trough. Bronze plates can be seen in some of the original photos of the monument. These were created using a simple cylinder shape and attaching them to the base. A complicated section completed.

3ds Max Blog Post 4: Travelling to the top

The next section would prove to add difficulty, although there were some duplicates from the original base. I used small squares to add a sense of relief around the rectangle, this was to ensure a lifelike reconstruction. The boolean operator was used again at this point, although I was still not fully sure of its consequences.
Thankfully, I was able to copy my work on the pillars from the original base and use them for this section. However, a different type of intrusion had to be completed on the rectangular block. I yet again used a boolean operator, which seemed to be my saving grace during this project. Firstly, cutting in a rectangular block in the middle and afterwards a cylinder in an attempt to copy the picture correctly.
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The smaller design which surrounded this rectangular block were very difficult. In the end, I had to suffice with using a bend modifier on a square block. I don’t believe this looks perfect, but I attempted a variety of different shapes and modifiers. The spires were an easy section to add detail. I started by adding spherical shapes to the smaller pyramids, which would later be seen during the full render. The main spire had a cross added to the top by simply attaching two rectangles to each other using the attached within the compound object list. Spheres were added to the top of the smaller pyramids, however, the proved very troublesome. I attempt to cut out a quarter of the faces and then bend each one to try and replicate the design. The result is similar to the photographs, however, it is difficult to be sure due to the low quality.
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