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  • Writer's pictureMichael

3D Studio Max – Class notes: Making a Shark

1: Create a box 100x30x30mm, and set it to have 3x3x3 sections in the parameters box. Convert to editable poly. Choose the ‘polygon’ selection from properties (red quare icon), and extrude the top centre polygon from the box. (Click the little square icon beside the word extrude) This will become the sharks fin. Next, choose the ‘vertex’ selection from properties (3 red dots) and select the 4 centre points at the rear end of the box. With the move tool, drag these four points out to create the tail. Do the same to the front to make the head. (For accuracy, dont pull the head out quite as far. also raise it vertically ever so slightly)

2: To create the tail fin, select the polygon at the rear end of the model (remember to select the red square icon to manipulate polygons) and extrude this by approx 20mm to produce a small cuboid shape. Next, extrude the top and bottom faces of this cuboid by 25mm to create the rough shape of the fins. Just leave them as rectangles for now- we’ll adjust the shape soon.

3: The side fins. Select the edge selection from the properties box (the red triangle) and select the 3 lines making up the bottom edge of the side of the shark

(Tooltip: Hold the Ctrl key and click each edge to select more than one at once)

With the edges selected, use the ‘Chamfer’ command from the properties box on the right. Click the little square icon beside the word chamfer, and type 5mm in the options window that appears on screen. This will round off the bottom corner of the sharks body. On this new edge that is formed, select the middle polygon and extrude by 20mm to produce the fin. Repeat this step on the other side of the shark to produce the second fin.

4: Thats the basic geometry of the shark created. Now we just need to make the fins more triangular. Select the ‘vertex’ selection icon, and begin selecting the corner vertexes of the fins, and moving them backwards into more aerodynamic shapes as shown below.

5: Now for the money shot- choose ‘meshsmooth’ from the drop down modifier list, and set iterations to 2 in the properties box to round off the angles and make the shark look more organic.

Next time we’ll look at some rudimentary animation and adding wavy water above the shark.


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