Beginners Guide to Modelling an Acoustic Guitar in 3ds Max – Part 2

Guitar

The second part of the tutorial would deal with modelling the remaining parts of the guitar. This includes spline modelling and box modelling the remaining sections. If you haven’t checked the first part of the tutorial check

Beginners Guide to Modelling an Acoustic Guitar in 3ds Max – Part 1

Modelling the Neck of the Guitar

To model the Neck of the guitar start of with a box and decide the width segments according to the number of frets you want to have and the length segments according to the number of strings in the guitar. I have chosen a length segment as 7 for the 6 strings and the width segments for the 21 frets.

Creating the top board
Creating the top board

Place the newly created box just above the Rosette, this box would be used as the top board of the guitar neck.

The top board of the neck consist of a different composition of wood than the bottom part of the neck. to start modelling the bottom part of the neck create a box object and by using box modelling extrude it to a shape as below.

Creating the bottom ridge
Creating the bottom ridge

Extrude out the faces up until the head of the top board so that there is plentiful room to model the head of the guitar.

Once the low polygonal model of the bottom neck is completed apply a Turbosmooth Modifier
on the neck of the guitar to smooth out the result.

Extruding the bottom ridge
Extruding the bottom ridge and smoothing

To model the head start extruding out the bottom board neck and notice how the head curves down in shape when viewed from the left perspective.

Modelling the Head
Modelling the Head

Once the entire neck and head is created it looks as below. I have curved the top of the head section like in Gibson guitars.

Completed neck and the  head of the guitar
Completed neck and the head of the guitar

Modelling a guitar Fret

Start off with a box placed on top of the first segment on the top board of the neck. By use of the Taper Modifier we could curve in the edges of the fret inwards to model a low polygon fret. Since a fret is a small part of the guitar it would be fine to keep it remaining as a low polygon object.

Modelling a Fret
Modelling a Fret

3ds max consisted of Cloning methods that easily allow to replicate the fret that we have created.

There are several ways to clone and object in 3ds max. Once of the simplest ways clone is to hold down Shift and to move the fret to the next immediate segment in the neck.

Cloning Frets
Cloning Frets

When releasing the Shift key after moving the Fret brings the dialog above, this allows to set the number of cloned elements. The clone type refers how the cloned objects co-relate to the original source object. In a case where Instance is selected the cloned objects would mimic any property changed in the base source object.

Creating the Bridge

Create the bridge by again starting off with a simple box model and out-lining and enhancing it by building on top of it.
The images below show how the bridge has been detailed. Double extrusions and outlining is done to create the ridge on top of the bridge. and a separate string resting piece has been added separately.

Creating the Bridge
Creating the Bridge
Adding details to the bridge
Adding details to the bridge

Spline Modelling

Creating the Strings

The strings need not be created again separately. Since we were able to properly define the segments in the neck its easier to extract them out to create string splines.

Creating Strings
Creating Strings

Navigate to the sub-object Edge level in the top board of the guitar and select the length segments through to the head as a single line. Next go to the Edit Polygon section and select Detach Edge and clone the edge to a new object spline. Do the following to all the 6 strings.

Getting Detached Strings From Neck!
Getting Detached Strings From Neck!

Creating the Nut

Creating the Nut
Creating the Nut
Cutting grooves
Cutting grooves

Using Spline modelling techniques to create the End pin

The end pin is a symmetrical revolved edge. To model such objects 3ds max consists of a special modifier knows as Lathe .
Start off by creating a cross section of the model intended to be revolved using a spline object as shown below.

Creating the end pin spline
Creating the end pin spline

Apply a Lathe modifier to the model. Provide the proper axis and weld any vertices than stick out. Make sure that face normals appear correctly in the model if not flip them to correct it.

Applying a Lathe
Applying a Lathe

The bridge pins also can be created using a cross section and later revolving using a Lathe modifier.

Creating Bridge Pins
Creating Bridge Pins

Start creating the tuning keys using basic shapes.Cylinders stack one on top of the other can easily model the above

Creating the Tuning keys
Creating the Tuning keys

Start24_CreatingTuningKeys

To wind the strings onto the guitar the easiest method would be to use splines. The ideal spline object in this case would be the Helix object. The helix object allows to create a spline that revolves round like a spring with multiple turns. Create the winding and make sure the turns are clockwise and anti-clockwise depending on the position the strings would be wrapped to the guitar.

Winding the strings using a helix spline
Winding the strings using a helix spline
Editing the strings
Editing the strings

The helix and the strings detached need to be joined. Individually attach the new helix objects to the relevant strings. Even after attaching the splines would be individual segments. To prevent this the splines need to be welded properly to form uniformity.

Welding the Helix to the String
Welding the Helix to the String
Creating the Tuning keys
Creating the Tuning keys


Use mirroring to duplicate. The tuning keys can be rotated dynamically to show randomness.

Mirroring the Tuning keys
Mirroring the Tuning keys
Completed Windings
Completed Windings

The guard has been modeled entirely using splines. Start off by creating a spline. It is similar to using the pen tool in illustration applications. Merely click-on provides sharp corner points where as clicking and holding while drawing the spline creates a bezier curve which is smoother, and contains bezier handles.

Drawing a pick guard, using spline
Drawing a pick guard, using spline

Start33_ModellingTheGuard

Adjust the spline, and bezier handles to refine the pick guard.

Refining the Bridge Guard
Refining the Bridge Guard

Textures and Materials

List of Materials used

The body of the guitar consists of a multi sub object material. This type of material contains a collection of other materials. Each material in the multi-sub object is marked using an ID. The IDs can be mapped individually to faces. This allows multiple parts of the same object to be textured differently.

All of the other materials are Standard Materials The image below shows a list of all the materials used in the scene.

List of Materials
List of Materials
Textured Guitar in Viewport
Textured Guitar in Viewport

Summary

Hope the above tutorial was useful and provided guidance to help understand different approaches to modelling in 3ds Max, and I hope it provided enthusiasm to anyone starting 3D modelling to pursue it.

Lasitha Ishan Petthawadu.

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