Introduction to 3D Studio MAX

I.     Course Prefix/Number: CAD 223

       Course Name: Introduction to 3D Studio MAX

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

As the leading software in its field, 3D Studio Max has been the preferred choice of animators, designers and engineers.  Its animation and rendering features are used in such diverse applications as engineering and architectural visualization, accident recreation and multimedia presentations.  This course is an introduction to 3-D Studio’s capabilities.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The main objective is to develop the engineering student's ability to analyze and solve problems in a lab environment utilizing Computer Assisted Drafting systems and techniques.  The emphasis is on the correct understanding of the Computer Assisted Drafting System both drawing competency and programming language.  Drawing problems will focus on industry related drawing problems.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

See attached outline for topics and dates and D2L

Week #1 –- Introduction
Course Introduction
Lab Hours
Directory Space
3ds max Overview
3ds max Interface

Homework: Chapter 1 – 3ds max 4 Concepts (pp.1-27)
Chapter 2 – The 3ds max User Interface (pp. 29-66)
Chapter 7 – Splines and Compound Objects (pp. 201-239)

Week #2 –– 2D Modeling
Creating 2D Objects
Modifying 2D Objects
Object Transformations
Naming Objects
Copying Objects
Groups & Selection Sets

Homework: Chapter 4 – Modeling Basics (pp. 107-138)
Chapter 6 – Editable Mesh and Editable Poly (pp. 163-200)

Week #3 –– 3D Modeling I
Setting Up a Basic Work Environment
Moving From 2D to 3D
Creating 3D Primitive Objects

Homework: Chapter 5 – Modifiers and Stackview (pp. 139-162)

Week #4 –– 3D Modeling II
Modifying 3D Objects
Using the Stackview
Assigning Modifiers
Compound Objects

Homework: Chapter TBA

Week #5 –– 3D Modeling III
Creating Patch Objects
Creating NURBS Objects

Homework: Chapter 9 – Lights and Cameras (pp. 277-314)
Chapter 12 – Rendering (pp. 383-419)

Week #6 –– Lighting and Cameras
Different Types of Lights
Creating Lights
Modifying Lighting Parameters
Environmental Lighting Settings
Creating Cameras
Lens Parameters
Target vs. Free Cameras
Attaching Cameras to Paths
Rendering Still Images

Homework: Chapter 10 – Introduction to Materials (pp. 315-343)

Week #7 –– Materials I
The Material Editor
Basic Material Types
Basic Material Parameters

Homework: Review notes, reading assignments and handouts for Mid-Term
Begin to develop Final Project proposal


Homework: Chapter 11 – Mapping Materials (pp. 345-382)

Week #9 –– Materials II
Working with Bitmaps
Material/Map Browser
Applying Mapping Coordinates
Assigning Background/Environmental Maps

Homework: Chapter 13 – Introduction to Animation (pp. 421-453)
Submit initial Final Project proposals for evaluation

Week #10 –– Animation I
Animatable Parameters
Assigning Motion Controllers

Homework: Chapter 14 – More on Animation (pp. 455-490)

Week #11 –– Animation II
Manipulating Animated Objects In Track View
Rendering Animated Frames to Video

Homework: Chapter 15 – Character Animation (pp. 491-529)
Final storyboards/concepts due at beginning of class

Week #12 –– Animation III
Object Links & Inheritance
Forward vs. Inverse Kinematics (IK)

Homework: Begin collecting reference materials for Final Project

Week #13 –– Self-Study

Work on final project

Week #14 –– Self-Study

Work on final project

Week #15–– Self-Study
Begin final renderings/animations

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture demonstration of drawing techniques with a hands on focus emphasizing the solution of drawing problems.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Course may be taught as face-to-face, media-based, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

3ds max 4: Ground Rules
By Michael Todd Peterson
Autodesk Press, #####

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

Drawings will be graded according to standard drawing conventions provide on assignment sheets, notes and handouts.  Late submissions will incur a 10% late fee.

A 90%
B 80%
C 70%
D 60%
F Below 60%
Attendance 10%

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at