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Create Unique Material Library

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Jeffrey Russell
Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 27, 2011 at 1:42:59 pm

Hello, all.

I am totally new to 3d Max and I need some help. I am not new to CGI -- I've been a Lightwave user since it was introduced nearly twenty years ago. I want to know how to create a materials library. I don't need any of the libraries that come with Max. I make maps and procure textures from somewhere else. I can't apply these materials to surfaces unless they come from a MAT file. So I want to create one like the one in the pink square that contains all the mats I have loaded in the mat window. Should be simple enough, huh? -- but, of all the help files and online tutes I've seen, not one list of instructions matches the interface I see when running 3d Max 9.

The screen shot shows thirteen materials I made for the various windows and doors for St. Raphaels Church. The idea is to combine these into a unique matlib called "St-Raphael.mat" These images can't be applied to surfaces unless they derive from a matlib. For example, look at step no. 2 for creating a matlib in V9:

"Expand the 'Library' tab by left-clicking the [+] sign. This will cause the library tree to open up, revealing all current libraries." That sounds nice but do you see a "Library Tab" anywhere? -- I don't. I'd try the rest of the instructions if they would show me where the "Library Tab" really is. I've gone through the process of clicking the button to "Put to Library" for each image (and given a unique name for each material) which is reflected in the Map Browser window, but I'm still at a loss for turning this list into a St-Raphael matlib file other than following through on the instructions after openning a "Library Tab" which I can not find in the first place.



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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 28, 2011 at 3:39:53 pm

My apologies if any of my info is off, since I've been using Max 2011 for quite a while, and the whole structure of Mat libraries has changed, at least in the interface.

I think what you want to do is create a new, blank library, then add your custom materials to it as you see fit. You could also mass delete the existing materials from the default Max library, 3dsmax.mat. Then when you open the program, it will default to your library.

If your custom maps are in various .max files, you can open those files one by one, then look in the Material Editor for Scene Materials, and the Get Material command, and add those one by one to your blank, or default, Max library. I think Max 9 also has the Asset Manager, and there may be a way to do some batch work, but I'm not sure if it will work with MatLibs.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jeffrey Russell
Re: Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 28, 2011 at 7:33:41 pm

Thanks for the response, Joe.

"I think what you want to do is create a new, blank library, then add your custom materials to it as you see fit."
Yes, that's what I was trying to do.

"If your custom maps are in various .max files..."
Well, they are not. I haven't yet graduated to actually making models in 3d Max -- I still make them in Lightwave.

My ultimate purpose is to create Sketchup objects to be added to Google Earth, but in a commercial way, which I can't elaborate on now. My situation is that Lightwave's UV mapping tools are not the best and neither is Sketchup's (to put it mildly). I've spent many frustrating hours trying to configure UVs in both apps and decided that both are unworkable for me as far as ease and efficiency. My project requires that I crank out quality UV mapped Sketchup models at a fast pace. I thought what I would do is make my models in Lightwave, convert them to 3d Max objects in order to do the UV mapping, whereby the mapping tools are better than LW and SU (so I've heard) and then use my converter again to export it as a finished and accurately mapped Sketchup object. I have the converters to import/export between all 3d file formats. What I really would like to know is: Which 3d app has the best (and easiest) UV mapping tools. It's definitely not Lightwave or Sketchup, and if it's not 3d Max, is it Maya, Bryce, Rhino, or what? I can't understand why there's still such a rigormorole involved with UV mapping at this point in the history of CGI. It should be simple by now -- you take an image and put it here -- you take another one and put it there -- then you take another one and put it over there with just a few mouse clicks along with a few simple options.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 29, 2011 at 2:18:28 pm

I can't give you an honest accounting of which 3D package has the best UV capabilities, because the extent of my experience in 3D is with Max (and Truespace, early on). I can tell you that Max has a broad array of UV tools, as well as scripts and third party plugins which streamline the process (do a search on "UV plugins and Max).

Here's a link I found which may shed light on the process of creating a MatLib:

http://www.cadtutor.net/tutorials/3ds-max/edit-and-save-materials.php

Max 2011 is different enough from what you use that I'm hesitant to walk you through a process which is totally different from Max 9.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Jeffrey Russell
Re: Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:57:23 pm

Ok, Joe. I'll checkout the link you provided for any 3d Max plug-ins that might help me.
You've also brought to light that if I'm looking for tutorials I would best enter the version number of the app I'm working with into the search query -- the better to narrow the search results relating to my specific version.

Thanks.


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Create Unique Material Library
on Jul 30, 2011 at 1:58:33 pm

That's a very good idea, Jeffrey. You wouldn't believe the trouble I've gone through in getting my head around the changes to the material editor in Max 2011. In many ways, you're lucky to be still working in Max 9. I jumped from Max 8 to Max 2011 a year or so ago, and my learning curve has been pretty steep.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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