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matthew405

Auto CAD to 3DS Max

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matthew405

Hi everyone.

 

I am looking for some help / advice / tutorial links etc.

 

I am trying to get a site layout (roads, footpaths, buildings, open space) from Auto CAD into 3DS Max. I am quite new to Max, i know how to import and scale my drawing, and i know how some of the modifier tools work, but that's about it!

 

Does anyone know of any decent tutorials on how to turn a CAD site layout into a 3D model, using the original CAD line and without having to retrace the whole thing in Max?

 

Many thanks

 

Matt

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ADSK2007

Hi Matthew

 

 

If you have a 2D plan of the site then

1- make sure all areas are closed plines and not lines - Once imported in 3dsMax you can extrude the closed shapes into 3D form and build your model

2- make sure you set the scale correct BEFORE importing your drawing into Max

3- In AutoCAD move your drawing to 0,0,0 and delete what is not needed - remove lines/objects far away from 0,0,0

4- import your CAD file into Max

 

There are so many tutorials about this on Youtube - A decent and good tutorial is called "Creating an Optimized Architectural Visualization" - you may find it on youtube - it will show you the whole process from start to finish

 

Regards

 

Adsk

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matthew405

Thanks for your reply Adsk.

 

I think i have been getting some strange results due to the import being so far away from 0,0,0. I had been keeping my CAD .dwg to BNT Co-Ordinates before importing to Max. The change to 0,0,0, has helped!

 

I have searched for the tutorial on YouTube and it has linked to a Digital Tutors course by Micha Koren (is this the one you referred to?) which seems to (hopefully) cover everything i am after!

 

Thanks again

 

Matt

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ADSK2007

Matthew

 

 

Objects behave strange if they are imported far away from 0,0,0.

 

yes, that link I gave you is a good example, but there are many videos you could benefit from in youtube - that link was just one example

 

 

Let me know if you have questions and I help you as much as I can

 

 

Regards

 

 

Adsk

Edited by ADSK2007

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Cad64

Objects behave strange if they are imported far away from 0,0,0. I think this was a bug that never got fixed

 

It's not a bug. I have been using Studio Max for well over 10 years and it has always behaved this way. 3ds Max is not a CAD program so it doesn't maintain a high level of accuracy as you get further and further away from the origin. This is why you have issues with viewport display, navigation and problems with stability and crashing when trying to work on scenes that are far away from 0,0,0. Max just can't keep track of objects that are far away and doesn't know how to display them which is why you get the strange display errors. In order to insure the best possible working conditions I always move my CAD drawing to 0,0,0 before importing.

 

Here is another way to deal with CAD drawings that are very large or far from the origin. I have never used this method though. I always move my CAD file to the origin before importing. https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-DE32919D-A856-4A54-B8DE-F2B6CDE2FDC6-htm.html

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Cad64

Does anyone know of any decent tutorials on how to turn a CAD site layout into a 3D model, using the original CAD line and without having to retrace the whole thing in Max?

 

If you want to invest in some training material, take a look at CGSchool. I purchased one of their books many years ago, when I was first starting out, and it was money well spent. They also have video training now, but I don't have any first hand knowledge of it so I can't make a recommendation, but if it's anything like their books then I'm sure it's top quality.

 

If you want free then yeah, get on YouTube and start searching. There are lots of free tutorials out there. Also, take a look at the links I've posted here: http://www.cadtutor.net/forum/showthread.php?29434-Free-Studio-Max-Tutorial-Sites-amp-Other-Stuff

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matthew405

Thanks to you both for your replies. Much appreciated.

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lrm
... 3ds Max is not a CAD program so it doesn't maintain a high level of accuracy as you get further and further away from the origin. ... I always move my CAD file to the origin before importing.

 

3ds Max has a floating point database with a precision of 32 bits with 24 of those bits devoted to the mantissa. Therefore you can draw something with a precision of 1 part in 2^24th or 1 part in 16,777,216. This gives you about 7 significant figures for object placement. If an object is position at say 1.23 then you can have up to 6 decimal places of precision. However, if the object is positioned at 1234.5, you can only have 3 decimal places of precision. This is not a bug but a design limitation.

 

BTW, limiting precision to 1 part in 16777216 limits modeling the USA to about a foot of precision.

 

In contrast, a 32 bit integer database (about 1 part in 4 billion) provides a precision of about 0.03 feet for positioning something anywhere in the world. I believe this is the precision that Sketchup outputs to a kml file for use in Google Earth.

 

~Lee

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Cad64
This is not a bug but a design limitation.

 

I didn't say it was a bug. I said it was NOT a bug.

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lrm
I didn't say it was a bug. I said it was NOT a bug.

 

I didn't say you said it was a bug but an earlier poster did say " I think this was a bug that never got fixed". My response to your statement was intended to give additional background supporting your suggestion to move geometry closer to 0,0 before exporting it to Max.

 

On a separate note, I will take exception though with your statement that "3ds Max is not a CAD program ". There are all types of Computer Aided Design work and not all of it requires high precision geometry. Even though 3ds Max is usually aimed at applications where the primary goal is to make pictures or videos that look "good enough" (and may not be that numerically accurate) the end result can aid the design process. CAD is not limited to creating precise geometry models for the design and fabrication of mechanical products or constructed systems. The excellent photorealistic 3ds Max images you have posted on this forum are good examples of the value of models that look great but may not be geometrically accurate.

 

~Lee

 

~Lee

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Cad64
The excellent photorealistic 3ds Max images you have posted on this forum are good examples of the value of models that look great but may not be geometrically accurate.

 

No, everything I do is geometrically accurate. I would be in a lot of trouble if I provided renders to my clients that were not completely accurate. That's why I always draw plans and profiles in Autocad and then import into 3ds Max to use as a base in creating models. It is possible to create accurate models in Max, but for me it's just easier and faster to draw what I need in Autocad and then import to Max.

 

And when I said that Max is not a CAD program, I'm was referring to CAD as Computer Aided Drafting, not Computer Aided Design. If you're saying that Max is a Computer Aided Design program then I completely agree with you.

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ADSK2007

I just edited my post and removed what I said earlier "I think this was a bug that never got fixed" not to give wrong information to readers

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lrm
... If you're saying that Max is a Computer Aided Design program then I completely agree with you.

 

We agree, Max can be use as a Computer Aided Design program!

 

I often use AutoCAD and Inventor as the initial CAD program for building geometry I later import to Max. I find it easier to build geometrically accurate models with these programs although care must be used to not create excessively accurate models. For example, should the tread of a tire be modeled accurately as geometry or can a more simple revolved shape be used and then combined it with a suitable texture and bump map. That decision of course lies with the down stream use. If the tire will never be seen up close the texture/bump map may be sufficient. I find that many new Max users fall into the trap of making a model too detailed. They make this mistake because it is easier to get carried away with detailed modeling than making the strategic cost/benefit decision of how much detail is enough. As you quote in your tag line "Work Smart, Not Hard" :).

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Cad64
although care must be used to not create excessively accurate models . . . I find that many new Max users fall into the trap of making a model too detailed.

 

Yeah, that was me when I first started modeling. I thought that every model needed to be highly detailed and every polygon had to be perfectly aligned and placed precisely. It didn't take me long to figure out that was not a very efficient or productive way to work. Your models become very heavy with all those polygons and your scenes become more difficult to work with when you have lots of overly detailed models. And now that I'm moving more towards building models for use in game engines for rendering and animations, I'm having to learn a whole new workflow that involves creating very low polygon models with high quality texture maps and normal maps to add in detail. I'm thinking about starting a new thread in the Work-In-Progress section to chronicle my adventures in this new chapter of my 3D career as I work through my first project, building models, creating textures & normal maps, lighting, rendering, animation, etc. Should be pretty fun, and interesting, I think.

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lrm
I'm thinking about starting a new thread in the Work-In-Progress section to chronicle my adventures in this new chapter of my 3D career as I work through my first project, building models, creating textures & normal maps, lighting, rendering, animation, etc.

 

I'd like to hear that story and what you discovered.

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tzframpton
I'm thinking about starting a new thread in the Work-In-Progress section to chronicle my adventures in this new chapter of my 3D career as I work through my first project, building models, creating textures & normal maps, lighting, rendering, animation, etc. Should be pretty fun, and interesting, I think.
Please do, Cad64!

 

:)

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Cad64

I spent several hours last night getting familiar with the Unreal editor and blocking out the basic level that I will use for the project. Tonight I will start building assets for use in the Engine. Once I have some stuff worth posting I'll start a new thread in the Work-In-Progress section to track my progress. I hope others find this as interesting as I do. :)

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f700es

I so need to get into using a game engine for architectural viz work. I just to make time for it I guess :( Such a powerful tool set in Unreal and now it's free.

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Cad64

Yeah, that's the thing. It does take some time to learn all the in's and out's, but I believe it will be worth the effort. I'm making progress and should be ready to start posting stuff in a few days or so, once I get this first model fully baked, textured and into Unreal.

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