How to properly subdivide mesh in 3ds max
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I am pretty new to using 3ds max (2015 version) and I can't figure out something that seems like it should be pretty simple.
I am trying to take a mesh--lets say a cube--and subdivide it so that I can add detail to it. So far I have figured out how to get a cube and apply a meshsmooth or turbosmooth modifier, followed by an edit poly modifier and a symmetry modifier, to add some more shape to the model. But from there I am somewhat confused. When I try to go back to the meshsmooth/turbosmooth modifier to increase the subdivision, I get some really weird results. It does seem to work if I put another meshsmooth, symmetry and edit poly on top of the existing ones, but something about that doesn't feel right to me, it can get to be a pretty huge stack of modifers eventually.
tl;dr: is there a better way to progressively add more detail to a mesh than layering a bunch of modifiers?
pic related: before and after increasing the value of the turbosmooth iterations
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Does anyone export video of their model as a normal map(as in, using an environment map/matcap colored to produce a normal map like you can see in the picture to shade the model) and use it to help in post processing?
As a simple example, using a technique like this possibly combined with a z-buffer depth map I'd think it'd be possible to do some kinds of lighting in programs like AE so long as the camera matches up, but I've never found any plugins/scripts/etc. that use data like this despite having spent quite a bit of time on 3d as a hobby.
I had the idea awhile ago but I'm thinking of trying to experiment with it now, and I'm wondering if it's used at all or what a common name for the technique is, if one exists.