3DS Max Tutorials For Beginners

3DS Max Tutorials - Chain Links

by Wendy Huther

How To Create A Chain With Path Deform

In this tutorial we will use Path Deform modifier(WSM) to create the position of a chain. Creating copies of a Torus then assigning a path to a spline is all we need. Path Deform modifier (WSM) is so easy and has fantastic results. Enjoy!


Step 1.

Let's start!

Open 3ds Max, start with a new page and save it in your scenes folder in 3ds Max as Chain - Path deform

Step 2.

We will start by creating a torus, in the geometry panel select Torus and drag in the top viewport, set the parameters to:

Radius 1 = 10

Radius 2 = 4

Segments = 24

Side = 16

Press Z on the keyboard to zoom all 4 viewports

chain 01

Step 3.

Before we start to model the shape of the chain link we need to rotate the torus just a fraction.

Right click the torus, under Transform click on the small square beside Rotate.


Step 4.

In Rotate Transform Type-In under Absolute World:

Z = -7,0

Click any where in the viewport to activate the rotation then close the panel.


Step 5.

Right click the mouse on the torus and from the drop down menu select Convert to Editable Poly. Then choose Vertex.


Step 6.

Notice how we can easily select exactly half of the torus with that slight rotation we made before.

Right click and from the drop down menu under Transform press the small square next to Move.


Step 7.

In Move Transform Type-In under Offset Screen:

X = 16

Click any where in the viewport to activate the movement. Close the Move transform panel, turn off Editable Poly mode.


Step 8.

We need to create a copy of the torus, to do this press and hold the shift key on the key board, select the torus, hold the mouse down and drag the torus a long the X axis. Select copy.


Step 9.

Situate torus 2 in the same position as the image, we will use the Angle Snap Toggle to rotate torus 2 45º.

Select Angle Snap Toggle from the main toolbar, set:

Angle = 45,0

Close the panel, select rotate, and rotate down the yellow line in the center of the rotate gizmo. It will rotate torus 2 only to 45º.


Step 10.

Notice the perspective viewport, we need to move torus 2 so it is close to the end of the link as we are going to make an other copy.


Step 11.

Select both links, in the top viewport slide them a long the X axis, position them properly before releasing the mouse.

Select Copy

Number of copies = 15


Step 12.

The chain is finished, but we can add a ring to one end if we like. In the Top viewport drag a torus to the last link.

Radius 1 = 18

Radius 2 = 3

Segments = 24

Side = 16

Situate the torus in the center of the last link.


Step 13.

We are going to attach all the links together to make just one object, to do this, right click the last torus and add an Editable Poly, choose Element, scroll down to Edit Geometry, press the small square beside Attach. In the Attach list under Select choose Select All, then press attach. Turn off Editable Poly.

The chain is finished, just a straight chain! Wouldn't it be nice to change the position, may be make it round, curved, hanging off the table etc. well we can do that by adding a Path Deform modifier (WSM), we can create any form we like. with a spline then apply the Path Deform modifier and the chain will change its shape to that form.


Step 14.

We will find the Arc in Shapes on the Geometry panel. In the Top viewport drag the Arc:

Creation Method = End-End-Middle

Radius = 120

From = 300

To = 240

Do not worry about the parameters, we can correct them easierly by going to the Modify button.


Step 15.

Here we can set the parameters.


Step 16.

Now we have the shape that we want the chain to have.

Select the chain, click on the modify button, scroll down the Modifier List, under World-Space-Modifiers choose Path Deform (WSM).


Step 17.

With the chain still selected press Pick Path and click on the Arc. (There are several adjustments to make before we actually see any movements, continue reading)


Step 18.

Press Move to Path.
Notice how the chain has moved to the path but in the wrong direction.


Step 19.

Set Path Deform Axis = X

Now we have the chain in the correct position, let's move it a long the Arc.


Step 20.

First roll the dials of Percent up to 50.

Wow this moves great.


Step 21.

Continue moving the dials Percent up to 100. If you like you can rotate slightly by moving the dials on Rotate to -50.

Add a metal material, lights and camera.

This is fun to animate, so in an other tutorial we will use the Path Deform to make a short animation.

Hope you enjoy this tutorial.

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