Building a Pyramid of Stones in 5 Minutes
Application Used: Autodesk 3ds max
Author: Jonas Ussing
Alright, here's a quick tut I've been promising a handful of people to make, but it's been quite delayed. We're going to build a pyramid out of stone blocks, like the one in my canyon pyramid clip.
We're going to start off with the excellent pyramid primitive, just drag it in the viewport until it has your preferred dimensions, and make sure the width and depth are the same.
Slap an edit poly modifier on, and delete the faces in the bottom, since we don't want stones where we can't see them anyway.
Next, create the box that will be the building block. For starters, make the block a lot larger than you think you will need, and make sure the dimensions are symmetrical.
If you want to do anything special with the building blocks, such as making bevelled edges or any special mapping, now is the time.
Next, select the pyramid primitive, and add a subdivide modifier.
Tweak the "Size" setting until you get the division you want (we are going to place a building block at each vertex).
Then select the box, and under "Compound objects", click "Scatter". This will distribute the box over the surface of another object.
Click "Pick distribution object", and select the pyramid primitive.
This will put one large block on the side of the pyramid shape.
Scroll down to the display menu in the scatter rollout, and turn on "hide distribution object".
Scroll back up, and de-select "Perpendicular", and select "All vertices". From this point on you will experience a certain drop in performance, as the box is scattered all over the pyramid surface.
Scale down the building blocks in "Base scale", until you get the stone size you want.
Now we're getting there!
The pyramid still doesn't look random enough, so let's scroll down to the "Transforms" menu in the scatter rollout.
The "rotation" fields are for random rotation of the objects, so enter some appropriate values. Z is the one that makes the most sense, as the X and Y will tilt the blocks to the side.
The "local translation" fields are for random positioning, and here the X and Y make the most sense, as the Z will move the stones up into the other rows.
Finally, click "lock aspect ratio", and enter a scale value of 5.
When you're done, collapse the scatter object to boost performance (calculating the scattering takes a lot of CPU power).
At this point, the random-ified stones will propably intersect the original pyramid shape. However, we don't want to delete the shape, since our building block structure is anything but solid, so scale it down just enough to keep it from intersecting the building block, and then give it a black material.
And here you are!
To finalize, you can add some extra noise modifiers to your pyramid stones, to make them look even more random.