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How to Create a Large Complex Model wiothout killing Max?
show user profile  peterjung
Hi there

On and off for a while I have been working on a pet project. I basically want to build a model of a large utility boiler and include as much detail as I can.

However, very quickly I find that I am working with huge file sizes and Max just slows to a crawl or crashes completely.

This model has a lot of duplicate items that I have just been cloning and moving to populate the model and I suspect I am missing a trick somewhere in what I am doing.

So, any tips on how to make a large complex model, including animation, but still have Max be able to handle it?

I am using Max 2011 on an i7 core PC with 6Gb RAM.

Any help, tips, or pointers to useful info sources are very much appreciated!


read 1039 times
6/22/2011 3:31:27 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 3:31:27 AM)
show user profile  Bolteon
what do you consider huge?

huge for some of us (like myself) is above 1gb of a max file.

if youre reaching that point, your doing something wrong.

if youre not reaching that point and your still crashing then there's something else that's wrong.

one way or another, as long as you video card is from this decade, you should be more then able to handle just about anything.

more details please... oh and max 2011 is a bad release in general; go up to 2012. you'll be happier in general.

-Marko Mandaric

read 1029 times
6/22/2011 4:01:59 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 4:02:36 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
Hi Marko

Thanks for your reply! The file I am working on is maybe 20% complete and is:

Size: 523720KB
Vertices: 24867358
Faces: 9870756

Apologies..I mistyped..I have Max 2010...not 2011..

but it is really struggling with this file. I am just reading up on using containers, perhaps this is the way to go?
read 1023 times
6/22/2011 4:12:21 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 4:12:21 AM)
show user profile  jareu
could you post a wireframe? 9 million polygons for a boiler seems ...retarted.

Never strive for detail for the sake of it. Always be as efficient as possible whilst going for visual detail. if you can achieve the exact same look with a third of the polygons then why not?

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 1007 times
6/22/2011 5:51:08 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 5:51:08 AM)
show user profile  Mr_Stabby
10m tris for a boiler is kinda silly.. unless it has the complete works of Shakespeare inscribed into it or something

if you are really looking for 0 compromise perfection in shape use one of the spline based surfaces like patches

also when doing a lot of duplication instancing is your friend

read 1004 times
6/22/2011 5:59:28 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 6:05:31 AM)
show user profile  Dub.
max hates too many objects.

You need to achieve a balance of faces vs objects.

If you can collapse say arrays of rivets to a single object, max will speed up nicely.
Also once you are done modelling an object, collapse it to an editable mesh. It's at least twice as fast in the VP.

Also make sure you use turbosmooths instead of meshsmooth.

Lastly with every single object you model, look at it and decide do I really need all those polys? Is there any way I can remove some without compromising the form? Use rendertime turbosmooth to give you smooth curves and only use base level polys if they are necessary to describe the forms.

Keep in mind the whole time the size that objects will be seen and don't go overboard with detail where it will be wasted.

Layers layers layers. Turn them off when you aren't working on the contents.

I have worked on some truly gigantic scenes efficiently by following these simple tips. (think of a whole oil-rig down to bolt level)

read 988 times
6/22/2011 8:08:13 AM (last edit: 6/22/2011 8:08:48 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
Many thanks to everyone who replied...lots of good tips here for me...!

I will be honest - I am probably working with way too much detail on some objects. However to achieve the aims of the model as a practical teaching and study aid then I do want to retain as much detail as practical.

I think if I can employ these tips I should be able to get a better balance between detail and performance.

I have a few question on some of the advice as follows:

To Dub:

"If you can collapse say arrays of rivets to a single object, max will speed up nicely."

Can you explain a little more - do you mean creating a compound object or something else?

"Also once you are done modelling an object, collapse it to an editable mesh. It's at least twice as fast in the VP."

Is collapsing different from converting?

Your oil rig reference gives me some hope as that is something like what I would like to achieve!

To Mr Stabby:

Do you mean similar to what Dub suggests but converting to editble patches? would this be better than editible mesh?

Instancing - I hear what you say here! Thanks! At the moment everything I have done is a cloned copy...

OK, so I have the above and layers and I think that using containers sounds promising too....thanks again for the help!

read 946 times
6/23/2011 6:40:35 AM (last edit: 6/23/2011 6:40:35 AM)
show user profile  jareu
"If you can collapse say arrays of rivets to a single object, max will speed up nicely."

Can you explain a little more - do you mean creating a compound object or something else?

convert one of them to an editable poly, click on attach and then select the other rivets. this will create a single object wherein each rivet is a subobject. will keep things nice and smooth.

another tip is to avoid keeping huge modifier stacks up. once you're finished with an object, reset its Xref, and convert to an editable poly. the most you should have is the root modifier for editable poly, maybe a smoothing groups modifier if you're lazy and an unwrap UVW map. anymore then this and you're wasting RAM (unless you need specific mods for animating)

converting to an editable poly/mesh will collapse the modifier stack and so converting synonomous with collapsing, in this case

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 944 times
6/23/2011 6:51:20 AM (last edit: 6/23/2011 6:53:29 AM)
show user profile  Stianbl
Could you post a render? Or screengrab?
Would be interesting to see your work =)

read 928 times
6/23/2011 3:19:25 PM (last edit: 6/23/2011 3:19:25 PM)
show user profile  peterjung
OK, well I started a new model in an effort to employ some of the tips ...

I will post a couple of images but not so much to see at the moment.

This is a screen grab showing where I am at in my new model. The coloured sections are tube banks that I have made using polylines of specific thickness to match the required tube O.D.

Here is a render with some more detail:

Now, it was all going swimmingly, until I made the secondary reheater tube bank (the light blue bit). This has 99 rows of tubes and once I had completed this, things started to grind a bit again...

Now, I am sure that there is a better way of doing what I need to I mentioned I want this to be an engineering model that I can use as a teaching aid but also use to make accurate animations of some equipment operating. Anyway, for these tube banks here is my workflow of how I have been creating these:

In AutoCAD I have a detailed 2D of the profile of each of the tube bank sections. I take this profile, make it all polylines and then import into Max.

When importing I set the polyline thickness to match the required tube O.D.

I then create an array using instances to get the whole tube bank. I then convert the first object to an editable polyline and the "attach" all the other tube rows to make the entire tube bank one object. i.e. each colour section is a single object.

I then convert the single object to an editable mesh and save it as a container. Everything is also divided nicely in layers.

Is there a more efficient way of making these tube banks than using polylines? As I said, when I completed the latest part, with all the containers loaded performance is slowing down dramatically.

Here is another render showing the secondary reheater tube detail:

The tube banks that I have still to add are increasinly more complex so this is only going to slow things down further. At least using the containers I can load and unload each section as required so it is not so bad!

Again as always, all comment and help is very much appreciated!

read 907 times
6/24/2011 6:08:58 AM (last edit: 6/24/2011 6:08:58 AM)
show user profile  jareu
IMO, using renderable splines with that many iteration is what is killing max. you should be able to get away with 8-10 sided tubes with a corner segment of maybe 4 or 5. add smoothing up to 90 degrees and you're set. that will take your poly count down to at least one fifth

He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 893 times
6/24/2011 7:40:01 AM (last edit: 6/24/2011 7:40:01 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
Thanks Jareu! With the dramatic slow down after making the blue tube bank I was begining to suspect that using splines was not a great idea!

Do you think it would make any difference between using the tube or cylinder primitive?

I am going to have a go at making teh next section (primary reheater) using this method....this has 203 rows...
read 888 times
6/24/2011 7:52:03 AM (last edit: 6/24/2011 7:52:03 AM)
show user profile  jareu
I was a draftsman for a process engineer for several years, here is how I always did things.
create the corners first, use bridge in edit poly to connect them together. fix your smooth groups. replicate.

using this method you can have a perfectly controlled mesh.

to make the corners create a cylinder with x height segments and y sides ( I would use 5 and 10 respectively)
add a bend modifier, then move the pivot up by the desired radius value. set the bend angle to your angle

convert to editable poly, select the caps and delete.

mirror, move and bridge.


He who says it cannot be done is interrupting the man doing it.

read 877 times
6/24/2011 8:58:04 AM (last edit: 6/24/2011 8:58:04 AM)
show user profile  peterjung
Many thanks for the tips!

It will take me a quite bit more time to model the tube banks in this way but if it improves the performance then it will be worth it!

Thanks again
read 872 times
6/24/2011 9:37:27 AM (last edit: 6/24/2011 9:37:27 AM)
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