MAKING A BASIC ROOM IN 3DSMAX

 

The following is a basic room Tutorial, it is showing the use of 3DSMAX to create

and export a simple room ready to be uploaded into the create program within the IMVU

chat client. You should first ensure that you have the relevant files for export in order

that IMVU can recognise the XSF and XMF files.

You will be able to download the plug-ins from the IMVU site from here;

http://www.imvu.com/catalog/modules.php?op=modload&name=phpbb2&file=viewtopic.php&t=213459

Make sure you choose the correct version for your version of 3DSMAX.

For this Tutorial I have used version 3DSMAX 2010.

 

 

Making the Room

 

 

1. Open Your 3DSMAX program and click shift W, this will give you a single view window from the top

then change the view from its current setting to Hidden line by clicking on the words and

choosing Hidden line from the drop down.

2. Click on the 'hub' to give the view from the 'top'.

3. Click on 'Box'

4. Click and hold the left mouse button, then drag down diagonal to create a box shape, then release the left button

and move the mouse forward a tiny bit and click. you will now have the box as it is in the figure below.

 

 

 

5. Once you have your box, you can click on the tools tab (1) and make the box into a good size to work,

I have made this box 12000 L x 12000 W x 3000 H follow this by making the box into 4L x 4W x 1H

these sections will be app size for wall panels in later room designs. Although we are not using them in this

tutorial, it is good to know this in advance, in a later tutorial it will be shown how to make these 'extra'

panels into different texture panels for room designing.

6. Click on the 'Move' tab (3) and then click on the position meter (4), this should be made to show 0 x, 0 y, 0 z

this will place the room mesh dead centre and the right floor height, if at any time you accidentally move a part of the mesh

from its right position, you can simply type, 0,0,0 into her and it will return to its starting point.

 

 

 

 

7. On the right panel, click the menu tab next to the Hub (1) and from the drop down choose 'Edit Poly' (2).

 

 

 

8. Change the view using the Hub (1) to 'Front' and then click on the polygon icon (2) this will allow all the

sides to be selected as they are shown in the picture below. 9. Click and drag across the whole

box in a diagonal until it is highlighted as shown (3).

 

 

 

10. On the panel to the right you will find 'Flip', click this to reverse all the polygon faces, this is necessary

so that when the room is uploaded into IMVU the walls, floor, and ceiling will all face into the room correctly.

11. Click and drag across the side of the box about half way up, (1) this will highlight 'only' the walls around the outside,

then click on the 'Detach' tab (2), Click and drag across the top of the box as shown (you will see the

dotted line box) (3) and once selected, making sure not to select any of the bottom, then click detach again

to separate the ceiling from the floor (4).

 

 

 

12. Now we want to add our 'texture base' to the surfaces, this will give IMVU a place to put the added textures

when the room is uploaded and you add the colourful wallpapers and carpets etc. Without this stage, the

uploaded room will not show in the preview window and it will be a failed upload. So, lets go back to the

top view using the Hub (1) and then 'right click' the mouse to bring up the dropdown, here we choose

'Hide Unselected' (2) thus leaving us with only the floor on the screen.

 

 

 

13. Click the 'Material' tab (1) this looks like a ball, and it will provide the material editor window shown

below. You will see the first material is already selected, click on the name (2) and make this into Room [0]

(IMVU relies on a set structure for texture naming in order to work, they must be numbered from [0] to however

many you use, in this case it will be 4 so they will be Room [0], Room [1], Room [2] and Room [3])

click the tab where it says 'Diffuse' (3) and it will bring up the material map browser, to the left of

the page below, on here click on 'Bitmap' (4) which will open the browser to go and find the picture you

want to use for the material (these are normally best sized at 256 x 256 pixels).

 

 

 

14. Once you have 'loaded' your material, you will have to show it on the  surface, to do this first make sure the

desired surface is selected (in this case the floor) by clicking it, then click the 'apply' icon (1), your surface will

go a pale grey in response and you will then click the 'show' icon (2) to show the material you just attached to

the surface and as you see below, it now is placed onto the floor (3).

 

 

15. Now we want to apply material to the other surfaces, so Right click on the view screen to access the menu

 where we 'hid' the unselected, you can choose 'Unhide All' this time and that will show all the surfaces again.

Click the corner point of the Hub (1) and you will now see the sides and top of your box, we are going to apply the

side material by clicking on a side surface (2), then the material tab (3) and follow the same steps as those we

performed to put our first material on the floor. Then the top should be selected and the process repeated once

more, giving us a fully covered box as shown in the next picture.

 

 

 

Our room is almost ready to be fitted with the standing spots and furniture spots (Nodes) but first we need to make it

into a single 'mesh' so, we click on 'attach' (1) then we click each set of surface (2) and hit enter until the

whole thing is one mesh.

 

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The Nodes

Ok, now the easy part is done, we can put in our standing and furniture 'Nodes'. these are

the yellow dots you see when you are in the rooms putting in your furniture. IMVU requires these or

your uploaded room will not be able to be decorated. The Standing nodes are where you appear and where you

move around the room, please note, if you put in less than 6 standing nodes, then IMVU will place a line

of 6 nodes where the Root of your room lies, this is often an unwanted 'clutter'.

 

Ok lets begin, remember how we altered the view from solid colours to hidden lines? well now we need it to be a wire frame

so click on the 'Hidden Line' and alter it to the next one down on the list, 'Wireframe' so it looks like the picture below.

Click the create tab (1) and then choose the 'Helpers' tab (2), this is where we go for Nodes and other wonderful attachment

snippets, as we only need Nodes we are only interested in the first box 'Dummy' (3) no, im not calling any a dummy :).

in the name box, type 'Root' (4) to name our first node, this is the node that will hold everything together at the end.

 

 

Next we need to place our 'Root' , so on the screen click and drag a small box to create the first node (1), I find

that guessing a size of around 400 pixels square tends to be a good size, but I have done large ones for our

example room.  Now go to the Move tab (highlighted at the top row as before) then enter 0, 0, 0 in the

position windows at the bottom to place the Root node in the middle of the room (green square shown below).

Create a second 'node' and name it seat01.Standing (2) (the naming of nodes is crucial or IMVU will not recognise them)

e.g. seat01.Standing

seat02.Standing

furniture.Floor.01

furniture.Floor.02 etc etc

you will not the only capital letter is at the start of the word 'after' the first punctuation. This is important.

Now place the second node in the top area, this is where you will 'land' when you enter the room in the

program. The 'Y' axis arrow is the direction of 'behind' you face away from it, this is also worth remembering.

to look the opposite way you simply turn the node 180 degrees, the 'Y' will stay the same way so be careful with this.

You can check the orientation of a node by altering the word 'view' into 'local' in the window next to the 'move'

tab at the top of your screen.

Once you have your standing node, you can press ctrl V to copy it, make sure you alter the mode from instance to copy (3)

alter the 01 to 02 and remove the 01 at the end so it reads seat02,Standing. Click ok and then use the move by clicking and dragging on

the 'X' arrow to move the new node to the side of the seat01 node. leave a space between the nodes so that you

will not stand 'inside' the next person.

 

 

Make your standing nodes then create a new node and name this furniture.Floor.01 and repeat the copy process

until you have filled your room floor as shown below. (you will not need to alter the names on the furniture nodes

as they will number automatically when copied, even if you select several and copy at once)

Your standing nodes (1) should not cover or connect any furniture nodes (2) try to keep a nice even pattern.

Next we want some nodes on the walls to hang the nice pictures you will no doubt make soon if you have not already

done some 'dev'ing'. Make a new node (3) and then name it furniture.Wall.01 and now we need to alter its

orientation so that it will work correctly. In the orientation, the 'Z' axis is always where the items will connect and face out from,

so we want the 'Z' axis to face the centre of the room instead of 'up'.

 

 

While you have the new wall node selected, choose the orientation tab (1) so that you have the 'wheels' showing

on the node (2), click the line that runs from the red dot in the picture to the bottom (3) and drag it down until

the node has turned toward you exactly 90 degrees, this will place the 'Y' up, the 'Z' inward and the 'X' unaltered.

You now have your node correctly orientated to hang things on your walls. Now we need to add it to the room.

 

 

 

Drag your new node to the position shown and align it so that it has the 'X' axis arrow sitting precisely

over the wall line of the room (the 'Y' axis number at the bottom will read 6000 in our room), Try to make

it sit half way between the lines so that the 4 we are going to place will be nicely place at the centres.

Check the name is correctly entered as furniture.Wall.01 (2) and then go to the position windows at the bottom

and alter the 'Z' axis to read 1500 (3) this will put the node half way up our wall. Using the copy function (CTRL V)

as before for the furniture on the floor, copy and place another 3 wall nodes by dragging each new copy to the right

and placing it approximately middle of the lines. then, copy a 5th node and drag it to the side away from the room and

using the orientation tag again, turn it 90 degrees ( 1/4 turn) anti clockwise (like unscrewing something). Go

back to the move tag and then drag it onto the left wall, now you will see that the 'X' window below will be at 6000

if it is placed correctly, copy the pattern of the top row along the left side, repeat process of turn and place

 to do a row at the bottom then again for the right hand wall, if you have it right, all wall nodes will have their

working face pointing into the room. (you can check this with the 'view' to 'local' trick I explained earlier but remember

to go back to 'view' once you have checked).

 

 

Now you have all your nodes placed we need to be able to see in the room once it is completed, so we need to add a 'camera'.

choose the camera tab on the tools bar (1) then click on 'Target' (2)

We want to place the camera to face us as we enter or in that general direction (3) Click the move tool (6) and click and drag upward

to create our camera somewhere near the middle of the room (4) don't make it too big, but big enough to see easily,

and name our camera as camera.01.01.root (5). Now we need to lift the camera off the floor, so in hte box atthe bottom alter the 'Z'

axis to about 400, you will notice there was a small box at the front of the camera when you were dragging upward

we need to click this and lift it also, you will note that its name is camera.01.01.root.target this is the direction and elevation or 'aim' of

our camera. alter this so that the 'Z' axis is about 350. Now we have everything we need for our Room.

 

 

We need to connect it all together ready to export it now, so press 'H' and you will see the 'Select From Scene'

window pop up as shown below and you need to click and select the whole list from seat01, down to the camera target

so that they are highlighted as shown (1) (remember to leave the room itself and the Root node unselected.)

then click ok (2) and you will see everything turn white except the room mesh and the green Root node.

 

 

 

Now we need to 'link' the selected nodes and camera to the Root node so they all know where they should be

when we export it all. Now click on hte 'Link ' icon (1) and hit 'H' again to open the select window and choose

'Root' then clcik on link (3) give it a few seconds and you will see your Root node go to white then back to green,

then click the move icon to release the link mode. (important).

Now all the nodes are linked together and to the Root.

 

 

Now we can export the nodes, or to name it correctly our 'Skeleton'. Firstly click 'H' and selected everything except the room

and click ok, you will note that the only thing not lit white now is the room shell itself. Then click on the dropdown (1) tab

and choose export to open the window below and in the dropdown list (3) choose Cal3d Skeleton file (.xsf). Then name

our skeleton (4) New Room, and click save.

 

 

 

You will be given the window below, first we need to unselect everything by clicking the tab (1), then click on the box next to Root (2)

follow this by clicking on 'Check Children' (3), )this stops the skeleton from having 'double ups', a simple scroll down the window will show you

 that the nodes are there twice, we only need the first instances or avatars will stand inside each other and furniture will double up in the

 room instead of each going to its own node.)

Click finish (4) and we are done, That is part one done. Congrats.

 

 

Now we need to export the room shell to complete our 'Mesh'.

Click anywhere away from the room, then click on the room lines to select the shell (1), then on the dropdown

in hte tools tab (second tab to the right of the Hub, remember?) in the drop down where we originally chose

the 'Edit Poly' we need to scroll down and choose 'Skin' (2), we can then link our shell to our skeleton.

 

Once we have chosen the 'skin' tool you will see the section shown in the picture below, and our first job is

to tell the program what we want to 'skin' (link) our shell to, so click on 'Add' (1) and from the popup window choose

'Root'. (rooms are always best skinned to the root node to avoid any confusions.)

Then we click on the Edit button (2) and that is followed by ticking the Vertices box (3).

Now we select the whole shell, you will see it will have little 'Vertices' on all the line joints, these will change from white

 as shown to red when they have been selected. Click and drag across to select all the vertices (4) and Click the tool tab

(5) to close the section.

 

New we need to export it, so follow the same routine as for exporting our Skeleton but this time change the

plug in from (.xsf) to cal3d mesh file (,xmf), and make sure the name above it does not have .xsf at the end, just

the name New Room.

When you click save you will see the window below, and your Skeleton file will be already in the selection window (1)

If it is not then you should place it here by clicking browse and going to the 'export' folder of the program.

From here it is all easy, just keep clicking to continue, nothing to alter (2).

 

 

 

You have now Exported both the parts to upload into the create section of IMVU, my next tutorial will walk us

through the process of uploading, adding textures, and submitting our room to our Catalog.

 

Thank you for reading and i hope this small tutorial has been helpful, and gives you a taste for becoming

one of the many great creators on IMVU.

Cheers, Goldy.

 

 

 

 

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