Hello people, welcome again for another exciting tutorial. This time I won’t be creating neither any titling sequence nor any lighting and rendering stuff. But here I would teach you how to create a model from BASE STRUCTURE and use Bi-Variate System and give amazing look and development and get your scene approve from next phase in your PRODUCTION stage.

Also, the DVD that I am working also contains this article too.SO you don’t have to worry about if you don’t get this but yes, you all will be getting my DVD’s too.

What is this tutorial exactly about.RIGHT. This tutorial deals with total displacement systemwhich is now been heavily carried out in our 3D graphic program. Here I won’t be explaining the advance features of displacement, but yes that would be too complex for starters. Yet I will explain about displacement map.And also how to get it started.


Displacement Mapping is an effective technique for encoding thehigh levels of detail found in today’s triangle based surface models.

Extending the hardware rendering pipeline to be capable of handling displacement maps as geometric primitives, will allow highly detailed models to be constructed without requiring large numbers of triangles to be passed from the CPU to the graphics pipeline.

So Bi-Variate System is one of the techniques that this industry uses. Bi-Variate means a combination of at least two colors to produce the result. It is exactly as your Noise map, gradient map and gradient ramp map. You require minimum two shades , which should be derived from your primary colors. As all we know that there are two kinds of assessment for Primary Colors. One is “Addictive Primary Colors” and second is “Subtractive Primary Colors”. When in addictive primary colors when we add “RED+GREEN+BLUE=WHITE” and when in subtractive primary colors when we add, “RED+GREEN+BLUE=BLACK”. And henceforth we also have color coding system which derives the values and derivations of each respective color.

Why am I talking about primary colors (addictive e and subtractive ) as we are not dealing with hardcore color symbolism and or color theory practicing practically for production. But yes the tutorial we are dealing has a connection with color symbolism. Anyways this is some sort of information I wanted to give you. It would be pretty much complex if I start Color Symbolism for production. I would rather stick to creative stuff rather trouble-shooting technically and making it very complex for you. All my intention is to show you how would you create a model withour third party plugins and or without using external sculpting software’s like ZBrush , Mudbox, and who knows many can come if future to make production workflow pretty much easier.


The above one is “Primary Addictive Color”.

While, the below is “Subtractive Primary Color”.


Now getting back to our displacement stuff . I will finish off this write up very quick, but you should know two things.

  1. Bump mapping:- Bump mapping is used more than displacement nap in this industry. Bump map does not actually displaces the model, it just give an illusion of attempting to elevate. Bump mapping makes an object to have bumpy or irregular surfaces. The depth-ness of bump map is very limited. The bumps are the simulation by perturbing face normal before the object is rendered. Bump map is created upon the degree of bumpiness. Higher degree (values) gives higher relief while, lower degrees gives lower relief.
  2. Displacement :-A displace modifier or a displacement map actually7 affects the surface of the geometry. It is unlike bump mapping; displace modifier or displacement map patch tessellation. Displacement map applies gray scale color combination to tessellate the surface geometry. Always remember that whenever you apply displacement map or displace modifier, it generates many triangular faces per surface. Sometimes over 1m per surface. It creates a good effect but at the cost of rendering time. Displacement is visible in viewport that is , it is view-depended. While that of bump map, it is not view-dependent.
  3. NOTE:- Always remember that whenever you work for displacement system in any of 3D program, you should have good amount of segments to your model. I have seen people working over thousands of polys and then applying meshsmooth and or turbosmooth and then they apply displacement modifier or displacement map over top of that model. This is a wrong method to work in production or practicing personally at home or institution. This industry has discipline and that discipline is categorized strategically.

As I said before that this tutorial has been divided into parts. One is to show you how to create and produce your scene to make it ready for FX department. And second is to show how to use this model and create effects.

This tutorial has been design in two sections.

One is how to make models for FX departments and second is how to use this model creating FX.

Alright so without wasting time we shall get ready to construct the scene.

NOTE:- File originally created in 3DS Max 9.0, revised in 3DS Max 2012.But I have saved this file and tested in 3DS Max 2010, 2011 and again in 2012. Too I have exported this core file into many different version. As I know that there are many different artist who’d try different CG applications. So below is the list of exported file into CG application.

  1. Amapi Pro
  2. Blender
  3. Bryce
  4. Carrara
  5. Cinema 4D
  6. Daz Studio
  7. Deep Creater
  8. Deep Exploration
  9. Deep Paint
  10. Hexagon
  11. Lightwave 3D
  12. Maya
  13. Modo
  14. Mudbox
  15. Poser
  16. XSI
  17. Vue
  18. ZBrush

Reason I have not included this export file in real Flow, now that depend upon the artist if he/she want to go for some extravaganza particle animation in any of the software and then try for Real Flow and back to their respected application(s).


  • Fire up your 3DS Max executable file (3ds max.exe) .
  • Go to the Unit Setup and setup system to “Generic_Units”.


  • Once this has been done. All you have to do is save this file as “LVM_Wide_Start”.
  • Right now as we have saved our file, lets began its modeling.
  • Go to the creat panel. Inside this create panel you’ll find 7 different types of panels made for carrying out different kinds of work. Go to the geometry panel and hit over “Plane-object primitive”. Create that plane inside the top viewport and amend these following settings. Also make sure you get that plane X-Y-Z axis placing to 0,0,0 i.e., at the center of the grid.

Rename that plane from “Plane001 to Ground_Displacement”.

Ground_Displacement properties…

Length = Width = 1000

Length Segments = Width Segments = 250


So once this has been set, CTRL+S once and CTRL+H to save and hold your scene. Remember always to save to your scene whenever you make any changes to it. So if by-chance you lose your file while saving it, you have HOLDED you file which you can easily fetch out with current properties amended.

  • Whether you map your primitive even with basic shader I’ll personally recommend to apply UVW map to it. So keeping this model selected, go to the modifier set and apply UV map to our plane. Since we are going to construct our scene with multiple bi-variant maps, so it is but-obvious to amend this modifier. This is how it looks.



Creating maps for constructing our model

  • Now let’s start building maps for designing our volcanic terrain.
  • All you have to do is just open up Medit(Material Editor) and amend these following setting. Now in order to do that , just select an empty slot. Press “G” from your keyboard to open up Materail/Map Browser. This window will open maps as well as materials at same time. So you have a choice of selecting whichever materials and maps you want.
  • Now keeping that dialogue box open select and load “Gradient Ramp Map” , rename that map as “BaseCrater”.Now basic settings won’t give us required results. So in order to make crater open like wide mouth. Follow up these parameters below..

Add 5 new flags in that ramp. And feed up these values.

  • Flag(1)—>R=G=B=0 (black),position=0
  • Flag(2)—>R=G=B=0(black), position=13
  • Flag(3)—>R=G=B=8,position=19
  • Flag(4)—>R=G=B=59,position=23
  • Flag(5)—>R=G=B=128,position=32
  • Flag(6)—>R=G=B=215,position=53
  • Add one more lag at position=66 having R=G=B=92, and the last flag shall be black again.
  • Gradient Type (Radial)
  • Interpolation (Linear)
  • Noise Amount = 0.14, noise size = 4.0, Noise turbulence level = 10.0.
  • Now till here we have created a map comprising of black and white color which will eventually help us to design terrain. This is how it looks.


  • Now select our plane(Ground_Displacement_object) and go to the modifier set and apply “Displace” modifier. Now this displaced modifier will raise up our base plane giving a new dimension and new properties to our vertices. So in order to do that, we have to drag-drop the recently created map “BaseCrater” into the map section of the displace modifier.Now once you drag-drop that map over the displace modifier, a small box will prompt us asking whether you want to COPY or INSATNCE this map. If choose instance, making any further changes won’t have to copy/paste again and again. But if you choose COPY the every time you make any kind of changes will have to drag-dropthe change parameter map. Alright so let’s move further, shall we then J.
  • Now keeping our plane still selected and displace modifier active pump up its displace value and see the changes for yourself. Mine is 500 (Displacement strenght). Now this is how it looks.


  • Now save this file as “LVM_Start_Medit_File”.
  • This model is not yet finished. So lets refine some vertices n=and make some adjustments.
  • Arrangements can be easily done, since 3DS Max contains hell lot of modifier sets that comes hand and so it allows the artist faster their workflow.
  • Again go to the modifier set and select “Volume Select Modifier”. What this modifier will do is , it will allow the artist to select sub-object kevels without actually converting model into poly. I have seen artist converting their model into poly-dimension and manually selecting vertices, edges and polygons and then apply external effects or modifiers over it. This is not the right way to do it. Since once you select any sub-object level you have to close it before applying any external properties. Volume select modifier will allow us to select the sub-object and apply whichever external property we want to.
  • So once you apply Volume select modifier give these following values to it.

Volume Select Modifier parameters.





Now just scale up volume select modifier’s gizmo a bit so it covers the very bottom level of the plane that is getting raised up.

Now moving forward lets go below and open up Soft selection parameter and give these following values.

Soft Selection values from Volume Select Modifier.

Look at this screenshot.

softselection_volume select modifier

  • Now if you see the portion from where terrain is getting raised up has some grieves….some kind of disturbance. But the bottom level looks pretty plane. We need to add some roughness to there. As also we have selected some vertices from Volume Select Modifier lets add noise modifier. So go to modifier set and amend noise modifier.Now when you apply noise modifier to our plane, still we se the selection from volume select modifier. See that’s what I am talking about. So again go to the modifier set and apply “Mesh_Select modifier”. What this will do is , whatever selections we have made , it willput an end to it. But the effect will remain on the entity. Go back to noise modifier and make the following changes.

Noise Modifier values:-Keep all the values same, just change Noise strength of Z axis from its default value 0 to 10.0.

Now we need to add few more modifier between Noise and Mesh Select modifier. But whichever modifier you apply above volume select modifier ,effects will take place only on the selected portion from that volume select modifier. In order to do that, select the Mesh Select modifier and turn it off for time being by switching or turning that small bulb like button just next to it. We’ll turn it on when time comes. Till then it is better to keep it off. This way we could see easily what exactly is happening.

So moving further, lets add another modifier from its set called as “Relax Modifier”. What this modifier will do here is , it will change the apparent tension in a mesh by moving away or towards the vertices. This will give the typical smoothing effect to our model. So go and apply this relax modifier to our terrain.

Relax modifier values:- Keep all the values same except Iteration. Give iteration level from 1 to 5. Rest will be the same.


  • Save the file.
  • We will add another displace modifier in our modifier stack.
  • Still we are not going to turn on Mesh Select modifier.
  • Create a new gradient ramp and rename it as “SubCrates”. Amend these following changes.

Gradient Ramp(SubCrates) new vales.

Gradient Ramp parameters:-

  • Gradient type = Radial
  • Interpolation = Ease out
  • Noise amount = 0.25 (Turbulent)
  • Noise sixe = 4.0
  • Noise level = 10.0
  • Now in the outputsection, change the curve order same as the previous one as shown in the screenshot below.
  • Go to the coordinates the foremost parameter of this map and change U tiling from 1 to 2.
  • Now once the values are in, lets change the ramp. Go to the ramp and add one more flag to it.Change and provide these following values to our flags of Gradient Ramp amp.





  • Now , just copy your previous relax modifier and paste it above displace modifier and hange it iteration value from 5 to 2, while rest of the propertyremain the same. What this relax modifier will do is, it will smoothenise the sharp edges created by second displace modifier.
  • Finally we turn on our Mesh Select Modifier. This is how it looks.


  • Save the file.
  • Now our one set is finished. Let’s move further.
  • OK till far we have created basic mesh and with using couple of displace modifier, relax modifier and gradient ramp maps we have achieved till here. Let’screate a small crater open besides the masterterrain on the same plane.
  • Once we have done till here, let’s move forward…
  • What we are going to do here is , we would be building a small side-lane terrain, add some modifiers and then clean up our model.
  • So again save this file as “LVM_Start_Medit_File_2.max”. Moving forward.
  • Select your model, go to modifier set and add “Voluem Select modifier”. Amend these following settings.

Volume Select Modifier amendments. See the screenshot below for changes.


  • Position this modifier’s “GIZMO” and scale it down. Align it to the corner of your terrain. You can position it to anywhere you want.
  • Also it is not necessary that you should follow this steps below, you can also make a copy of all above steps it. So you can have another terrain hidden by-side. Understanding this above procedure, you can also make up your own terrain and take it further.
  • So now taking it further, select your model and keeping ON your Volume Select Modifier, go to the modifier set and add “Displace Modifier”. Time to add a map which will displace from its original place to now one.
  • So open up your Medit (Material Editor), select a now slot and hit “G” and drag-drop a fresh new “Gradient Ramp” map and give these following changes.Rename that new map as “Small_Elevation”.

Now copy the “Big_Elevation_Map” that we have created earlier. And with so instance in your displace modifier . Look at the screenshot below.


  • Now , once the map has been installed in your displace modifier. Increase your displace modifier strength from 0 to 100.
  • Still we require some modifiers to wrap up our scene. So again moving on to the route of modifier set. Apply “Tessellation Modifier”. And finally still our selection of Volume Select Modifier is active; we need to shut it down. So apply “Mesh_Select Modifier” to our scene.
  • This is our screenshot where we have applied “Tessellation and Mesh Select Modifier” to our entity.


  • Alright most of our scene has been constructed, we need one system to add.
  • Lets go to modifier system and add “TurboSmooth Modifier” to our scene. Now when you are rendering kindly “Render_Iteration” from this modifier. Hit “7” from your keyboard and see for yourself the statistics of your scene.
  • This is your final viewport scene after adding turbosmooth.


  • Alright so here we finishes up our model and is now ready for FX department for some effects.
  • Also in next edition I’ll show you how to use this model, add camera and create Volcano from this Volcanic Terrain.
  • My main intention here was to show how you can sculpt a model from base without using ZBrush and Mudbox from our basic toolkit. As since not all production house go for ZBrush and Mudbox unless it is needed. So it is so very useful to all artist who work as Environment Set Designers from Production or in teaching section. This technique is the one which you cannot deny. And so very useful from Production Point of View.
  • Here’s my final and finished result using basic toolkit.