TUTORIAL: HOW TO MODEL WALLS IN 3DS MAX

TUTORIAL: HOW TO MODEL WALLS IN 3DS MAX

Hi there! In this tutorial, I will show you how to model the walls for your interior scene. The technique that I’m using here is based on modeling the whole model from the plane and applying an Editable poly modifier on it. My aim is to have walls, floors, and ceiling in one object. The benefit of this technique is that you can use more advanced functions on it during later stages of modeling. For instance the chamfer modifier, which will round/chamfer the edges and corners of the wall in your interior scene. But let’s start from the beginning.

prepare your cad file

Most of the time, a project starts with receiving CAD drawings from the client. As it usually is, the CAD file is too complicated and full of uselessness, such as dimensions, labels, and other elements that don’t matter to us now. So we have to clean up the drawing and leave only things that we will need for modeling – walls, windows, doors and maybe furniture for later modeling. Another important thing is to get rid of unused layers, and also put each part of drawing into the different layers as you can see in the image below. So the ground floor should be in one layer, section A in another one, etc.

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Reduced CAD drawing with managed layers

Import CAD into 3ds Max

When your plans and sections are ready, you have to put them into 3ds Max. First, open 3ds Max and set your units according to the AutoCAD file that you want to import (Customize->Units Setup).  After that, let’s click on File->Import and select your .dwg file. In Import window you can see several options, where you can select units of imported file, geometry options, layer options, or what elements do you want or do not want to import. The important thing here is to select the right units that you used in AutoCAD – in my case it was millimeters, so I just leave millimeters in Incoming File Units box and check „Rescale“ box. Then just click on Import.

Import options

Prepare drawings in 3ds Max

As you can see, 3ds Max created separate objects according to layers set in AutoCAD – so in our case floorplan, and both sections are in separate objects. The next thing to do is to move each object (drawing) into the right place. To make it easier, turn on Snap angle function and Snap Toggle. Then right-click on the Snap Toggle button and make sure you have selected Endpoint and Vertex in Snaps bookmark and „Enable Axis Constraints“ in Options bookmark to ensure moving on selected axis only.  Now close the window and let’s rotate sections around 90 degrees to have better control when modeling. Be sure to place every part of drawing in the right place and to have the height of the floor on the same level – Snap function is really helpful here.

Snap options
Drawings in the right place

the plane is the key

When we have everything in the right place, we can finally start by modeling the wall. I found out that the plane is the most used primitive object when modeling all kinds of shapes, even square or round ones. Because the wall we are going to create isn’t an exception, we start with creating the plane in the corner of the wall.

Start by creating the plane in the corner of the building

extend edges

The plane itself isn’t very useful, so we have to convert it into Editable Poly. After that, we can work with it and create whatever form we want. After the conversion, we have to select an edge and extend it. There are few ways to do it, but the most efficient one is to hold Shift and drag it with the left mouse button until the nearest corner or edge of the window/doors. Do it around the whole floorplan to create our basement for the wall, but pay attention to finish every extension on the intersections of the floorplan.

To connect two opposite edges, use the function called Bridge. You can find it on the modifier panel but don’t forgot to select both edges first.

Two opposite edges are now connected

pull it up

If you finished the extension of the edges, you should have something like this in your viewport:

(I highlighted edges with red lines to show you how I did the extension phase)

Now it’s time to pull the whole object up to the height to create a 3 dimensional model of the wall. To do that, push a 4 key (not the one on a numerical keyboard but above the E/R keys), and then select all the polygons with ctrl+A. To extrude the selection you have to use the Extrude function (again on the modifier panel), or you can just use the shortcut alt+E.

Now if you drag polygons, you can see that the whole object rises until you release the mouse button. After you release it, move the selection to the nearest intersection in your sections. In my case, it’s the bottom edge of the window in height of 900mm. Again extend the top polygons until the upper edge of the window, and again until you hit the ceiling. In my scenario, it looks like this:

create openings

The next stage is to create openings for doors and windows. To do that, we will use the same Bridge function as during the extension phase, but now with polygons instead of edges. So let’s select two opposite polygons where the opening has to be and click on Bridge. That’s it! Do the same around the wall, if you need to open a larger area, just select multiple polygons.

Select two opposite polygons and click on Bridge (Editable poly -> Edit polygons panel) to make an opening
Walls with all the openings created

Add the floor and the ceiling

The last thing to complete your main structure is to cover the top and the bottom of the rooms. For this purpose, there is a very useful function called Cap. When you have your editable poly object selected, change your selection to borders by hitting this icon or pressing the key number 3.

Borders icon

Now if you want to cap the floors, select all borders on the bottom part of the model and hit the Cap function. Do the same with the upper part.

small trick

Now you have successfully created your main structure that consists of walls, floor, and ceiling in one object. The little problem here is that you can’t see through the ceiling and it’s hard to continue with working on the interior. It seems that the only solution is to delete the ceilings and add them back at the final stage of modeling. But there is one tricky function called Backface cull, which will allow you to see through the backface of the polygons, which is in our case the ceiling. To activate it, click on the object with RMB (right mouse button) and select Object Properties. On the left side of the window, check the box next to the Backface cull and hit OK.

I hope this tutorial gave you some useful information, so good luck with creating your own model.

For any questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Cheers!