from the author:
This article was written with 3ds max 5 in mind. Due to software
improvements, bug fixes, user interface amendments and added features,
some items listed below may not apply to 3ds max after version 5
(note: 3ds max 6's Mental Ray Contours shader should be used instead
of Ink 'n' Paint's Inking feature as it yields much better results!!)
the majority of cartoons now integrating some kind of CG work in
their pipeline, just how easy is it to turn 3D to 2D, and does it
actually look any good?
there has been an increase in the amount of 3D media integrated
within 2D media mainly in the film industry, going back as far as
Beauty and the Beast and as recent as Treasure Planet. Nowadays
it doesn’t just have to be film production that benefits from
this technology. Design, print and commercial media are now actively
using the same methods within 3D software to streamline tasks normally
painstakingly undertaken by the 2D artist.
included within 3ds max 5 is a material that allows us to shade
our objects to make them appear as if they were a 2-dimensional
image. Just by utilising it’s basic settings, this “Ink
‘n Paint” material creates effective results, but with
it’s array of features and ability to be modified it opens
the doors for styles beyond those defaults. Here we will model out
a conceptual vehicle for a print advertisement with this new material
in mind to get the best from it’s features and avoid it’s
you wish to jump right to the materials and not bother with the
model creation, a library of the materials created in this tutorial
and small sample scene is included at the bottom of this tutorial.
a box primitive 150x200x300 with 3 length and width segments
and 5 Height segments. Right-click the object and collapse
to an Editable Poly. Amend the vertex positions to those illustrated
and weld the top corner vertices to those below them to create
a diagonal edge as illustrated. Also, weld the vertices at
the bottom left hand side to create the geometry illustrated.
the bottom inner 3 polygons as illustrated and extrude down
twice. Amend the vertex positions in the left viewport as
before and weld the vertices on the right hand side of the
new extrusion to form a point as shown.
the large front polys and Inset them slightly. Next, extrude
backwards to create the windscreen. Perform the same task
at the rear, but extrude back more to create a space for an
additional object. Extrude back the bottom polygons as show
to create additional indentations.
out and amend the vertex positions at the bottom of the model
to create a curved surface. At the rear, of the model, slice
across the middle polygon underneath the new inset and at
the rear of the curved surface. Target weld the bottom inset
to create a chiselled inset, select the rear 3 polys and extrude
by a very slight amount. Pull these new polys outwards..
the new extrude’s vertices and negative scale along
the x-axis (using the Selection Center tool) to line them
up vertically. Extrude again and pull the top in to create
a slight slant. Select the middle end polygons, inset and
extrude back as before. Remove any 5-sided (or more) polygons
by creating new edges and turning them into 3 and 4 sided
extrude and target weld to create a small box sitting on the
real extrusion of the model. On the top of the model, select
the middle rear 3 polys and extrude up and shape them as shown.
Select the middle poly on the front slant and inset, extrude
and target weld to create the outset polys. Select the new
front poly and inset and extrude back several times to create
along one side of the model, select the corner edges around
the model (top, front, side and rear) and chamfer them a little
to generate the illustrated result. Center the object’s
pivot, add a symmetry modifier and set it so the chamfered
side of the object is mirrored on the other side.
the two large polygons on the side of the model and inset
them a little. Tesselate the inset polys a few times. Target
weld the excess vertices to just end up with horizontal polygon
rows. Bevel out each polygon row individually to create the
with the sides of the model, select the harsh edges around
the top and side of the rear extrusion and chamfer them a
little to smooth them out. Target weld and create edges to
clean up any 5+ sided geometry and to ensure there aren’t
any overlapping polys.
the geometry down to an editable poly. Bring in the sides
of the curved surface at the bottom of the mesh. Select the
windscreen and outer polys as shown and slice them. Target
weld the floating vertex next to the new slats to the base
of the top slat. Select the inner polygons created by the
slice and extrude back a little as shown.
any harsh right-angled edges created by the last extrusion
operation and chamfer them slightly. Select the rear corner
polygons and inset, extrude back, inset again, extrude out,
and chamfer the edges of the outward extrusion. Inset and
extrude the rear-facing outwards extrusion as shown.
the top line of polygons running the length of the model,
inset and pull the inset polys up. Inset slightly and extrude
back down. Target weld the corner vertices to fan out the
inset at the front and rear of the roof to form a channel
the large polys underneath the extruded slats on the side
of the model, inset slightly and extrude inwards. Target weld
the inner front and rear vertices to the outer front and rear
vertices to create an “intake” as shown. Select
the top side chamfer, inset and extrude back as illustrated.
off the roof by target welding the roof extrusion to the front
of the roof to create an incline. Also, chamfer any harsh
edges around the top of the headlight housing.
the bottom end of the rear extrusion, extrude down and across
to create a mudflap. Underneath the extrusion, extrude out
about 7 times and reposition vertices and weld to form an
arm to hold the rear wheel. Insert vertices in the middle
of edges in edge sub-object mode and create additional edges
using these vertices to extrude the resulting polygons out
to create a fin at the rear.
a box 240x240x110 with 3 Length 1 Width and 4 Height segments
and position as shown. Collapse to an editable poly. Adjust
the vertices in the left viewport to represent those in the
the right-angled edges of the mesh and re-form the vertices
so the mesh’s sides bulge out as in the screenshot’s
front viewport. Select the front and back polys of the mesh,
inset and extrude back. Select the large polygons on the side
and top, inset, extrude back, inset again, extrude outwards
and outline a little to taper the extrusion.
a cylinder with 30 radius, 30 height, 3 height segments and
18 sides. Collapse to an editable poly and position as shown.
Extrude the middle polygons back to form an axel. Inset the
cap ends to form a rim and extrude back. Extrude outwards
again and outline, repeating to form a slight curve. Finally
extrude back, inset then extrude outwards again to create
an indentation in the centre.
front and rear suspension and the rear ventilation geometry
was created from a single box with several length iterations.
After collapsing to an editable poly, each row of iterations
were bevelled independently. The geometry was then repositioned,
scaled, tapered and sliced (for the ventilation) and amended
to fit it’s place.
a cylinder, radius 50, height 23, 4 height and cap segments
and 18 sides. Clone this cylinder and hide it. Scale inwards
the outer ring of vertices to curve the outer surface. On
both sides, create the outline of the inside of the wheel
using new edges, extrude back, delete the unwanted polygons
and weld the two inner sides together. Chamfer edges to remove
any harsh right-angles.
the cylinder and use the primitive’s slice feature to
remove the bottom part of the cylinder as shown. Increase
it’s radius and height a little so it fits snugly over
the wheel. Inset and extrude the underside of the wheelarch
for the wheel to disappear into. Also, extrude the front few
polygons, inset them and extrude to form a headlight and add
any additional detail to the sides of the wheel arch as desired.
off by refining the geometry further if desired. I’ve
created a slight wheel arch for the large front wheel’s
axle (a modified cylinder) to enter, and have also created
headlights between the wheels and underneath the windscreen,
using inset and extrusion techniques as before.
a new Ink ‘n Paint material and label it “Paint
Light”. In the material’s Basic Material Extensions
rollout, check off 2-Sided (as none of our objects have holes
or backfacing polygons). Set the Paint Levels to 4, the Shaded
spinner to 50 and check on Highlight
the Lighted colour swatch to RGB 190,220,220. Drag this swatch
to the Highlight swatch and copy it. Amend it’s saturation
so it’s nearly white. In the Ink controls rollout, set
the Ink Quality to 2 and set the Outline, Overlap and Mat
ID swatches to white. Check off SmGroup. Assign this material
to the wheel arch, main body and solar cell geometry.
this material and label it “Headlights”. Set the
Paint Levels to 2, Lighted swatch to RGB 254,232,133 , shaded
spinner to 80 and Highlight to white. Check on SmGroup and
set the swatch to white. Clone this material another couple
of times labelling them “Rear Lights” and “Glass”
and set their Lighted swatches to RGB 177,0,0 and 210,210,255
the Paint Light material and label it “Suspension”.
Amend the Lighted swatch to RGB 238,198,0 and the Highlight
swatch to RGB 247,226,131. Set the Shaded spinner to 70 and
Glossiness to 20 to create a wider highlight to indicate a
the Suspension material and label it “Ventilation”.
Set the Lighted swatch to a mid-grey and it’s highlight
to white. Set the glossiness to 50 to indicate a shiny surface.
Now you’ve got the knack of how the basics of this material
this material copying procedure and set up the following materials:
Tyre Rubber, Rubber (same, but darker), Tyre Metal (gold metal),
Tyre Chrome (same but grey colour), Mech Metal (less shiny
and slightly darker grey), Paint Dark (as Paint Light but,
er, darker!), Solar Cells (shiny blue), and Gold.
you don’t want to set up all the materials, load in
the ca_cellshade.mat 3ds max material library included on
the cover cd. By selecting polygons on our model, we can assign
materials to these polygons. As we’ve already assigned
the main material to the mesh, all we now need to do is add
the detail materials.
the relevant polygons (not using move or rotate incase you
translate the polygons by accident) and assign the materials
to those as illustrated. The most convenient way to assign
materials around indentations (such as the headlights) is
to select the headlight polygons, expand the selection, assign
the outer material, contact back and assign the other material.
Easier than selecting every polygon!
can now refine the geometry by adding a Meshsmooth modifier
to the wheel and wheel arches and set it’s Surface Parameters
to Separate by Materials. This will ensure the materials boundaries
will remain intact once the geometry is refined. Instance
clone and mirror the front wheel setup to the other side of
the vehicle. The same smoothing setup should also be assigned
to the single rear wheel.
off the scene by placing the vehicle in situ. The illo to
accompany this tutorial was rendered out in max with one target
light to generate shadows and a gradient map set to the environment
slot to create the sky. The ground was a single plane with
various polygon extrusions to create an interesting an irregular
the cellshade material library
Vs Speed: Even though the solid paint colour renders out
quite quickly, even for print-resolution jobs, Ink ‘n Paint’s
inking lets it down considerably in matters of speed and quality.
In fact, if you are producing a print resolution image, it would
be advisable to ditch the inking altogether and simply use the paint
solutions: As an alternative to Ink ‘n Paint’s
slow inking, try using some of the excellent third party renderers
out there. Illustrate!, Plasma (whose renderer embeds into 3ds max
after installation) and Vectra3D are faster and give better results.
did we create the illustration? (see gallery section):
The illustration to accompany this tutorial was rendered using Plasma’s
vector renderer directly from within 3ds max. The render was then
trimmed to remove any non-essential information then brought into
Photoshop where it was simply colour corrected and had the overlaid
of Ink ‘n Paint: Due to the fine inking line of the
Plasma render hardly being noticeable in this print res image, rendering
out using Ink ‘n Paint would generate an almost identical
result if it’s inking feature was turned off for every material.
Due to it being material and not renderer based, Ink ‘n Paint
materials can be utilised in scenes that contain “normal”
material setups, creating an interesting mixture of styles.
As this material contains many map slots, a great variation of material
effects and styles can be created. For example, create a pencil
sketch effect by dropping in a screen mapped scan of pencil shading
or create nice gradual effects by adding a gradient into the Lighted
map slot. Also, interesting inking effects can be designed by dropping
maps such as Noise into it’s Ink Width map slot. The sky is
Arts magazine, Issue 82, April 2003.
Draper, April 2003. Reproduction without permission prohibited.