1. IntroductionThere are many different ways of importing files to 3d studio max. Many people have their own methods, but you'll find the best process we've used via Autocad , Revit, and SketchUp.
2. ACADa. Method A
Basically, this method is about how to clean the CAD files before you import into 3ds max so that you can use this CAD file as reference and modeling in 3DS Max
- Clean up CAD files that you don't need such as electrical installations, structural elements, notes, specifications, etc.
- There should be no "XREF" file present. If so, you need to insert or bind or you can try the "include XREF" option but we prefer binding XREFs and cleaning this XREF file as well.
- Sometimes there are blocks in the CAD files. You can either "explode" them or you can turn on "Convert blocks to groups" option when you import into Max.
- Make separate lines for each shape. Max will import your file as separate lines and then organize your layers by the same components (we normally make layers by materials) such as walls, floor, ceiling, trim, wood, stone, fabric etc.
- When importing files into Max, we usually use "Legacy AutoCAD" or "AutoCAD Drawing". It depends on how you are going to use them.
- Let's do "Legacy AutoCAD" for this example. There is "Combine Objects by Layer." That is why you need to use layers in AutoCAD, so that Max imports the object by layers as well.
- Freeze the imported CAD and trace the line that you are going to create.
- Now you can apply "Extrude" modifier into this line to create walls, etc.
b. Method B
This method is more about interactivity between CAD files and Max. In other words, if you change something in the CAD, Max will instantly update based on the CAD file. In order for this concept to work, there are certain things that you need to consider and understand about the concept. The most important thing would be "polyline."
- Polyline must be closed. In most CAD drawings, polylines are not closed or are single lines drawn on top of each other. So you need to redraw clean, closed polylines by layers.
- In Polyline options, there is "Thickness." Not only will you be able to create a simple 3D geometric shape, but also it will instantly update in 3DS Max.
- The "thickness" is basically how much you can extrude so if you type 10'-0" then it will extrude from polyline and create a 3D form.
- Now organize the layers by components and you're ready to import it into 3DS Max.
- In Max, go to "File" and select "File Link Manager."
- In "File Link Manager" you will be able to customize, preset and link the file.
- As you see, you will be able to tell the polyline that has "thickness" as it will have the extruded modifier automatically applied.
- Let's give different thicknesses to certain polylines in CAD, and let's move some of the wall vertexes. Then reload the CAD file in Max.
- You will notice it instantly update whenever you save changes in the CAD.
This part of the tutorial will explain how to import a Revit model in 3DS Max. It expects little experience with Revit and a solid understanding of 3DS Max.
- Need to be in a 3D view in Revit
- Export it out as Autocad DWG format
a. In RevitFileExportCAD Format
b. In 3DS Max
File linking - The best way to bring any AutoCAD DWG is File Linking Manager.
If the original file in Revit has a different unit system, you can check "Rescale" and select inches from the pull-down menu.
There is a preset that is already set up for Revit on the dialog box.
Check "Use scene material assignment on Reload" if you want to bring materials that were assigned in Revit to 3DS Max.
If you want to assign new materials in 3DS Max, you need to keep this box unchecked.
We have linked the model now in 3DS Max.
The layers and object naming will be saved, so everything is well organized.
You can go any time to the File Link Manager to reload the file back in 3DS Max. If you have assigned new materials in 3DS Max, the 3DS Max materials will be maintained so we do not lose them.
The materials that were assigned in Revit will save all their qualities and naming.
All the camera views will be maintained as well.
The file is ready now for lighting and rendering.
4. SketchUpThis final portion of the tutorial will explain how to import a SketchUp model into 3DS Max. It expects little experience with SketchUp and a solid understanding of 3DS Max.
These instructions were recoded from practice using SketchUp Pro6 and 3DS Max version 9. However, it is believed that the instructions will be applicable to earlier versions of 3DS Max.
a. In SketchUp Pro
Get the model from Google Earth in SketchUp by using the Get Models button to access the model from the 3D Warehouse.
Download the model.
Prepare the model for exporting to 3DS Max.
1) Save your model.
2) Orient all faces correctly. Any face that is blue is facing the wrong direction. You will need to reverse all faces that are oriented incorrectly or they won't display in 3DS Max.
3) Add pages for your desired render views.
SketchUp export options the common export options are DWG and 3DS.
Export as DWG by exporting it as a DWG, everything gets pre-welded. So if the model is not organized in layers or components, the best way is to export that as a DWG.
(SketchUp surfaces are independent from one another, so basically you just have a bunch of surfaces that are adjacent to each other and are not actually connected. By welding the points, you'll be able to smooth it out.)
Select "File," then "Export" and then "3D Model." Click the "Options" button and be sure to select "Faces."
b. In 3DS Max
Now import the model into 3DS Max. Click "File" and select "Import." Then choose .dwg file. Navigate to your model and select it for import. Max will prompt you to merge or completely replace the scene choose "Replace."
Look at the image above for settings.
The model is now imported into 3DS Max
Collapse the model in Editable Mesh, because the model is a Viz Block.
Separate the elements by ID and detach them in order to apply new 3DS Max materials.
Export as 3DS
One advantage of the 3DS export is that it saves the step of doing material assignment in 3DS Max.
Other things to consider are:
- Don't use instances as they just don't show up once imported
- Don't change the pivot point or your object won't be in the correct location once imported
Group by texture before exporting
When you export from SketchUp, check "Export texture maps" and "Welding vertices" in the options. All the surfaces that are smooth in SU will be smooth in MAX/VIZ.
Make sure you select "Export Cameras from Pages" so that you can have the same views in 3DS Max set up that you made in SketchUp.
Look at the image above for settings.
ImportNow import the model into 3DS Max. Click "File" and then select "Import." Choose .3ds for the file type.
Navigate to your model and select it for import. Max will prompt you to merge or completely replace the scene. Choose "Replace." Different from the DWG version where the file is translated to a Viz model, the 3ds file is translated to an Editable Mesh.
Apply the materialsIt doesn't even matter what they are as long as (for example) everything glass is the same material, everything rock is the same material, all water is the same, etc. Now when you get into 3DS Max, open the material editor. Select the first slot and click on the Pick Material (eyedropper icon). Then click on a material in your model. Sometimes it will assign all materials to sub maps automatically. Other times you will need to go through and assign each material manually to a new slot. Either way, just go through and select each material you want to change.
Once it is assigned to a material slot, you can change the material and it will change all objects with that material in the model.
If the material is using a texture map, then you will need to change the path of the maps on the diffuse.
The texture maps are saved automatically on the same file where the exported 3ds is located.
Now the texture is reloaded and the file is ready in 3DS Max.
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