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AI Paths 2 Max


AI (Adobe Illustrator) Paths 2 Max

This tutorial will show you how to use AI paths to make splines in Max. Much easier than tracing a background image. You don't need Illustrator, just Photoshop and Max. This tutorial used Photoshop 5.0 and Max 3.0.

Open your selected image in photoshop and select the area you wish to make a spline shape from. Most times it's easier to select the background

and then do an inverse selection to select the foreground.

ai1.jpg (33915 bytes)

If it's not already, promote your image to RGB. The image above shows the background selected before the inverse operation. Select or outline the outer area of the image. Press Shift-CTRL-I to select the inverse.

ai4.jpg (32329 bytes)

Go to 'paths' and select 'make work path'.

ai5.jpg (28571 bytes)

Set the smallest tolerance that you can. .5 is the smallest but my screen cap utility wouldn't let me select it here.

ai9.jpg (29578 bytes)

Select 'Save Path'.

ai7.jpg (27012 bytes)

Accept the default 'Path 1'.

ai10.jpg (13918 bytes)


Save file to hard drive location.

ai11.jpg (16524 bytes)

In Max, go to FILE-IMPORT and select AI, find your file and use the default import options that appear.

ai12.jpg (13188 bytes)

Your spline should come in as above. You can then apply an edit spline modifier to stretch the shape around and an extrude modifier

to give it depth.

ai14.jpg (24780 bytes)

Here's a finished render with the original graphic applied. I had to go into edit mesh/vertex mode and move the mesh around a bit

to fit the graphic. I also went back into photoshop and made a greyscale of the image and applied it as a bump map.

There are tons of uses for this technique and I'm sure there are ways to make it even easier.

First I heard of this technique was on the Kinetix board, can't remember who brought it up but my hat's off to him!

Makes for a really easy way to get a spline shape off of a grahic.

Many thanks also to Kim Deters, photoshop guru!

Enjoy! and hope it helps!!

Ed Baumgarten




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