Booley-Booley: Creating Objects with the Boolean Operations






Booley-Booley: Creating Objects with the Boolean Operations

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Boolean operations are among the most common modeling options in professional 3D programs. A Boolean operation makes changes in 3D models mathematically, in much the same way that numbers can be combined to create other numbers. The on-screen results from the following three operations look like magic:

  • Boolean Add: Adding objects together results in a single object with one overall surface.

  • Boolean Subtract: Subtracting one object from another produces a hole or depression in one object that conforms to the dimensions of the subtracted object.

  • Boolean Intersection: When two objects intersect, this operation leaves only the intersecting parts of each surface.

Although the following examples use a sphere and a cylinder, you can apply a Boolean operation to any Primitive, imported model, or created model.

Adding ’em up

Boolean Addition combines two objects into a single object with one surface. To explore Boolean Addition, follow these steps:

  1. Place two intersecting objects in a 3ds max scene.

    I used a Standard Primitive Sphere and a Standard Primitive Cylinder in this example, as shown in Figure.

  2. Select the larger of the two objects.

  3. Choose Create>Geometry>Compound Objects>Boolean in the Command Panel.

  4. Under Operation, click Union.

  5. Click the Pick Operand B button.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Place two intersecting objects in a 3ds max scene.

  6. Click the other object in any viewport.

    Your two objects have been added together, married till a transform does them part (the Move, Rotate, and Scale transforms can be applied to either through an editing operation in the Modify Command Panel). All modifications now will address both previously singular forms as one. (Should there be organ music here?)

Boolean Subtraction

Of all Boolean options, Boolean Subtraction is the one most called upon. Cutting holes in objects is necessary when you want to create many complex forms, and this operation performs that feat easily. Boolean Subtraction cuts holes and depressions in objects. If you really like making holes in things, follow these steps:

  1. Place two intersecting objects in a 3ds max scene.

  2. Choose Create>Geometry>Compound Objects>Boolean in the Command Panel.

  3. Select the larger object.

    This object is now referred to as Object A (or Operand A).

  4. Choose Subtraction (A–B) in the Command Panel.

  5. Click Pick Operand B.

  6. Choose any viewport.

  7. Click the smaller intersecting object.

    Instantly you see a hole or depression in Operand A (Object A) that matches the shape of Operand B.

Note that the Command Panel also allows a B-minus-A operation, but this is by far the less common of the two Boolean Subtraction options. Explore Boolean Subtraction with more complex objects.

The difference leftover

The Boolean Intersect operation is the least-used Boolean operation, but it can be quite handy; trying to get the resulting form would be quite difficult with any other modeling alternative. Follow these steps:

  1. Place two intersecting objects in a 3ds max scene.

  2. Choose Create>Geometry>Compound Objects>Boolean in the Command Panel.

  3. Click your larger object to select it.

  4. In the Command Panel, click Intersect.

    All that remains of the two objects is the surface area of their intersection, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Boolean Intersection of a sphere with a cylinder, resulting in a shorter cylinder with a rounded top.



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