Building Complex Autocad Shapes in 3ds Max

Tutorial posted over 2 years ago
by aziz-khanaziz-khan

Hey guys, how are you all doing? Hope everyone is doing well, once again welcome to one of my tutorials. This time we'll take a look at architectural visualization in 3Ds MAX


I created this tutorial to help those who are confused about the workflow of building their models using complex AutoCAD imported drawings inside 3Ds MAX.

It’s pretty easy to build complex shapes by spending some time to learn the workflow of how you should build them. In this tutorial I will show you my method of working with complex AutoCAD drawing inside MAX- the drawing which we will work on in this tutorial is pretty nice with some challenging curvatures and will help you to build even more complex shape using this technique in the future.

You might be thinking we can extrude the shape into 3d model, yeah, you are right we can do it, but the problem is that we won’t have clean and smooth faces and it will be problematic while cutting the faces or adding extra edges for windows and doors.

Also, doing it in such a way might create problems while applying textures because of their flipped normals, so it’s always good to start in a appropriate way. Once we are finished with modelling, I will show you how to set up a lighting rig for the selected room we want to render, so this technique could be used for any interior scene.


We will start with the AutoCAD drawing file DWG, which I already imported into max and saved it as max native format which can be downloaded from here, if you want to follow along as closely as possible, 3ds Max 2010 or greater will be needed to open the max file.

Step 1

Open up the scene supplied along this tutorial, and you should have it as shown below

Step 2

Now create a box with the appropriate dimensions to match thickness of the walls and also add the segments to the width and height of the box as needed, in the image below I forgot to add the segments for the height but I always can add if i needed any later. It’s always good to start from the base to keep it smooth.

Once you are happy with the overall shape, right click and convert it to editable poly, selected the faces on the top view port use your extrude operation and follow along the guide lines, use your move tool to place the vertices along the lines if there is any curvature, as shown on the image below.

Step 3

Keep going on we will be using the same techniques to complete the whole shape, as you can see on the image.

Step 4

Since we are using the same techniques of extrude and move tools so i will only show you the progress of the making of this entire shape model.

Step 5

Keep making the shapes

Step 6

Here we will stop with this model and start modelling with a new box make sure you have the same settings you used for the previous one, I want to split the model because i don’t want to have a single object on the scene and it also create problems in texturing. If I wanted to apply different materials, I can still apply materials to separate polygons but it will be problematic if I wanted to use UV shells, I would end up with large and messed up map, so i don’t want to have it going with the extrude and move tool i reached here with new box model.

Step 7

use the same method to create that round corner as you can see on the image below.

Step 8

Stop with this model and create a new box with the same settings and start working with it.

Step 9

so as you can see with are done with the exterior walls.

Step 10

start using the same method for the interior walls.

Step 11

as I have forgotten to add the segments for the height so here I can add as many as I need using the quick slice operation, as showing on the image below.

Step 12

I added a few segments, which I have forgotten to the ones in the starting of this scene.
Note: if you already added them then you can skip previous step.

Step 13

I spent some time to create holes for the windows and then extruded the edges of the deleted faces and the welded their vertices to get a solid mesh, for the rounded corner I just used the inset and bevel operation to give it a windows shape.

Step 14

Then placed the windows on newly created windows holders, as you can see the frames for the windows are too big later on I will fix this problem, create a window with appropriate windows frame, not like mine, mine is only for test purposes.

Step 15

Now I applied the materials for the windows and glasses, as well as created the floor applied the tile texture, and the roof, so here we will be working on this single room the technique of lighting will be the same as for this room.

Step 16

I added the place holder for doors, also set a camera for test renders, like the one on the image below.

Step 17

For the moment we are done and ready for some test renders, assign v-ray as your renderer because we are going to use v-ray for lighting up the scene, if you don’t have v-ray installed in your system you can follow along with any 3rd party rendering engine you have in your access regardless.

Once you set v-ray as your renderer now it’s time to adjust the settings to get the desired lighting, in the v-ray tab from Image Sampler Type roll out chose Fixed as your image sampler and Catmul-Rom as your filter you can use any filter if you like but this is my favourite most often I am using it, fixed image sampler is pretty nice if you want to capture details on your renders because of its detailed renders, if you don’t have much detail on your scene you can use one from the 2 other on the roll out, now in Color mapping rollout choose Reinhard as your color mapping and set the Burn Value to 0.5 to have some good mixed lighting of Exponential and HSV Exponential you are more than welcome to experiment with any of them, and always play with the settings to achieve your desired look and feel, you are not bound to what i am doing here!

Note: Fixed Image Sampler Type is a bit render expensive because of capturing the small details, so use it on appropriate scenes.

Step 18

from the Indirect Illumination tab follow as the image showing you below, as you can see I am using fairly low preset because i am going to have a test render and i don't want to wait and watch for test renders, once i am happy with the settings then I can use medium or high preset anytime.

Step 19

In the v-ray Light Cache rollout check mark the indicate option this will help us to see the light cache calculation.

Step 20

Set couple of v-ray lights and make sure they are not intersecting with anything in the scene, like the one showing below.

Step 21

This is the settings for v-ray lights just we created right above, so this is my settings for the this scene, if you are using different scenes then it might differ from the one we are using here.

Step 22

It's time for our first test render, hit render and lets see what is the result, so here is mine and if you are using the same scene as i am using you should have something like the render below.

Step 23

For the moment I am fine the lighting and lets see how it will look if i add the sun light, so create a V-Ray sun light and set it up somewhere facing to windows like mine below, and then set the lighting parameter the one showing below, you can change the intensity of light if you want.

Step 24

With that set lets have another test render, and now I got this one which is pretty nice for the moment, once we start adding the other stuffs like furniture, lights, lamps, table etc the scene will get more brighter because of the secondary light bounces.

Step 25

This is another test render facing window, brightened the wall color a little bit, and fixed the window frame to make it realistic.

Step 26

Moved the camera to the left to check out if everything is setup nicely, so it looks cool.

Step 27

From another angel facing the side window, and yet everything looks nice for the moment.

Step 28

now its time for the final adjustment, I added the couch, table, lights, frame, carpet using v-ray fur, now merge your stuff in the scene like I did showing in the image below.

Step 29

Let's give it a test render and see what we get

Step 30

I moved the couch and other items to the other part of the room and then rendered it and i got this.

as you can see the intensity of the light is a bit of too much on the left side where sun light hits the couch, decrease it if you want but I am happy with it for the moment, or you can change your color mapping from Reinhard to Exponential to have a bit of darker result for the brighter areas by playing with bright multiplier values.

Step 31

Another render where I turned off the sun light and got this result, play with the settings if you want but I am happy with this result.

Note: I am still using the same low preset change it to medium or high if you are going to have the final render.

Step 32

Here I thought to add few more items to the scene to make it more realistic, so I added a palm plant, photo frame, and couple of ceiling lights, so this is the wire frame setup.

Step 33

Here i changed my preset to medium on the irradiance map rollout, other then everything is the same as we setup in the starting of lighting setup, so far I got this result, as you can see a bit of noise on the wall behind the lamp plant pot and the couch you could reduce the noise by increasing the values on the subdivisions of lights in their settings, I am not going to render anymore of this scene, I am leaving it all to you to play around.


lml46 wrote
Thanks. Amazing tutorial
adolfo3d-render wrote
excelente render. me gusta el efecto de la luz de dia
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  • autocad
  • 3Ds
  • Max