Using Multi-Materials in gMax v1.2  


This tutorial deals with using Multi-Material sub-materials on mesh objects in gMax.
The steps I will go through are very basic and are aimed at those that have no
experience in this process.

In Part 1 you will see how to build a Multi-Material with sub-materials.

In Part 2 the sub-materials are applied to the mesh objects.

In Part 3 you will see the application of an image file that is part of a sub-material to
an object. Commonly referred to as mapping.

In Part 4 you will see how to apply a sub-material at the sub-object level. In other
words, coloring specifi polygons of a larger mesh using a specific sub-material.

If you care to download the model I'll be using in this tutorial and follow along, it is
here. This is a model I found on the net and decided to use here in this tutorial. I
have rescaled and positioned it for the 1 model unit = 1 meter standard and
removed the original materials so all we are starting with is the basic meshs. The
archive contains two files, the gMax model and an image file. Put the model,
athlete_01.gmax, in your C:\gmax\Scenes\ directory and the image file,
eyes.jpg, in your C:\gmax\Maps\ directory.

If you have not already done so, be sure your scale is set properly under Customize
> Preferences > General tab > System Unit Scale set to 1 Unit = 1 meter. If you care
to set your prefered units of measure, Customize > Units Setup and set it to what you
like to work in. I have mine set to US Standard > Decimal Feet. I also have my Home
Grid set to 1.0 feet. You can see more detailed instructions on this in my
"Getting Started in Max" tutorial.

 

 
 
Building the Multi-Material  


Once you have the files placed and are setup, open the scene athlete_01.gmax. It
should look something like below.

 

 


On the Main Tool Bar, open the Material Editor and the Material Navigator.
Whenever I am working with materials and maps I try to remember to have
both open. as gMax has a nasty little habit of crashing when you name materials
or maps if they are not both open.

 

 


Things should look like the image above.... empty.

 

 


In the Material Editor, click on the New button and the New Material dialog box
will open. Select Multi-Material and then click the OK button.

 

 


Now your Material Editor should look something like the above image. gMax has
automatically made two sub-materials for me. Don't worry about the Mtl #8, Mtl #6
or Mtl #7 names, yours may be different and we are going to change them anyway.

 

 


Just as we have directories and sub directories, we can have materials set up in the
same type of hierarchy. I name my top material level to Caucasian_Male. Under
Name, my primary material will be the skin. This is the "default material" assigned
to any object that has Caucasian_Male as its material. Change the name in the
second slot to eyeball. Notice how the Material Navigator changes as you change
the names in the Material Editor.

 

 


Click on the Add button and a new material slot is made. Give this one the name
of swimsuit.

 

 


Now click on the button that is shown above.

 

 


The Material Editor now looks much like it does for any standard material.

 

 


Change the Mtl #6 name to skin. Again, the Material Navigator is updated.

 

 


Click once on the Diffuse color box to open the Color Selector.

 

 


We are going to set the color for the skin material here. Type in the values shown
then click on the Close button. Be sure and keep the Diffuse and Ambient colors
linked.

 

 


Now click once on the Specular color box to open the Color Selector.

 

 


Generally, I don't want the skin to have a shine so I set this to all zeros (black) and
the Specular Level and Glossiness to zero as well.

 

 


Now click on the checkered cube to "turn on" the material. Notice the ball in the
Material Navigator changes from blue to red. We are done here for now so click
on the "up arrow" to go back up the hierarchy one level.

 

 


Notice that the Mtl #6 name has gone away. It now has meaning and is not ambigious.

 

 


Now I set the properties for the eyeball material. It is pretty much the same process
as for the skin except I want the material to have a "wet" look so I have the Specular
Color and Levels different.

 

 


I have made the swimsuit material orange again using the same steps as for the skin.

 

 


Close the Material Editor and Material Navigatior as now is a good time to save
what we have done so far. Save to a new file using File > Save As and name it
athlete_02.gmax.

 

 


In the next step we will apply the sub-materials to the meshes and see what we have
been doing so far come to life, so to speak.

 

 
Part 2