Journal of Computer-Aided Environmental Design and Education

Editor: Joan McLain-Kark  jmkark@vt.edu

Volume 2, Number 1
Fall 1996

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Constructing A Simple Interior with 3D Studio

Joan McLain-Kark
Department of Housing, Interior Design and Resource Management
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, VA 24061-0424
e-mail: jmkark@vt.edu


The tutorial covers the basic steps in making a simple interior with 3D Studio sofware. It takes the user from building the floors, walls, and adding a door opening. Then the user adds materials and mapping coordinates to make a tile floor. Finally lights and cameras are added for a final rendering. This tutorial is best used after the student does a few basics such as Tutorial 1 and 2 from the Autodesk 3D Studio Tutorials (Release 3 & 4). Examples of 6-12 hour projects that were completed after this exercise are presented in the beginning of the tutorial

Constructing A Simple Interior with 3D Studio

It is easy to construct an interior with 3D Studio (by Autodesk). Below are examples of interiors that were done by using simple shapes doing some basic texturing, lighting, and camera views. Furniture was merged from the World Toolkit provided with the software. Students did this project after completing Tutorials 1-4 and 8-12 of the Autodesk 3D Studio Tutorials and the interiors tutorial that follows. Two more examples are at the end of the article.

You should first set up a drawing (similar to AutoCAD): Click on the following pulldown menus (in bold) to set the units to architectural, snap, grid, and angle snap:

Now you are ready to construct the interior. If you are a CAD user, bear in mind that accuracy is not as important as it is for construction drawings--an inch or two off in interior doesn't really show up. If you are a stickler for accuracy however, then set snap to different settings to get the desired precision.

Click on the right screen menus to make a floor and three walls:

If you use the tab key, you can make the arrows either go in a vertical or horizontal position if needed. The southwall is the same size as the north wall so you can just copy it by using move again but pressing down the shift key to make a copy:

Now make the last wall:

If your walls are too far off (8' thick instead of tall!), you delete by:

It is a good idea to save your work. Since you have set some drawing aids--save it as project so your settings will be saved also:

To make windows or doors you will use the boolean feature to cut them out. An alternative method is to draw the wall as an elevation in the 2D Shaper and loft them in the 3D Lofter (but this is my preferred method). You will first make a door hole to use as a tool to cut the hole in the wall. To make the doorhole and have it sit on the floor surface, you can move the construction plane by:

Boolean operations cannot be undone so you will want to save the mesh geometry by clicking on the hold button on right screen menu. Now make the door hole:

If you do not see the door opening, you can click on the FETCH button to retrieve the originial mesh geometry and try again. Sometimes, you will get the message that boolean cannot be done. If so, it usually means that another object is overlapping. Rearrange your objects so that only two are touching.

Now you can assign materials to the walls and floor.

The material for the floor needs mapping coordinates because it is a bitmap image. You will apply "planar" type of mapping coordinates. However, that is the default so you will not need to change that the type:

You can see in the Front viewport that the mapping coordinate icon is on the ceiling because the construction plane was on the ceiling. You will move the icon and place on top of the floor (not underneath the surface or it will not work).

You will need the adjust the tiling or else you will get just one tile. Because the room is 16' x 20' you will use those numbers to make 1' tiles:

Finally, you must apply the mapping coordinates to the object:

Now you will want to add lights and a camera so that you can render the interior:

In the top viewport, place a light in the center of the room.

You will replace the User view with the camera view by using pulldown menu:

Your camera view is odd because both the camera and target are on the ceiling (again because the construction plane is on the ceiling). Move the camera:

In the Left viewport, move the camera and target to about 5' height or until you have a nice view of the room. Now see your results:

To make mouldings around a door, make a thin box. Do not bother mitering the corners unless you plan to have a close up view of the door. To adjust the height of the moulding or object:

Click on the bottom of the moulding or wall.

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