In class this week we're starting to work in 3ds Max. I'll bring in my curvy ceiling model, but I'm going to do it in several steps because for one thing my current trusty computer has a hard time with 3ds Max, and because I have a few different things going on. If I attempt to bring in the whole model with the level of detail it will take to render the ceiling correctly it will take me all day, and I just don't have that kinda time. I'm guessing neither do you. So here goes.
I turned everything off but the walls, then I selected all. Then under File I chose Export Selected. I picked the AutoCAD .dwg format and hit ok. Then this little box pops up called Export AutoCAD File. Notice how my Scheme is custom? Hit Edit Schemes.
This box is very important. Without it, my walls would export to AutoCAD as simple 3D linework. There will be no faces/surfaces/meshes/whatever. I hit New off to the right. Name a new scheme, then hit ok. Under the General tab, the first thing to do is make sure the AutoCAD Version is the newest version possible. In my case that is 2004, and it works pretty well. Next, I want to make sure it Writes Surfaces as: Meshes. Solids may also work, but absolutely do not leave it as Curves! Write Meshes as: Meshes or 3D Faces. I usually have it set as 3D Faces. And Project to plane: Don't project! I've never projected to any plane, on purpose that is.
Under the Curves tab, here are the settings I usually use. Lines become Lines. Arcs become Arcs. Polylines become Polylines. Curves become Splines. And Polycurves become Polylines with bulge arcs. I have a Maximum angle of 2.0 for Curve Tessellation. This might have to be increased when I export my curvy ceiling. And I have checked Simplify Lines & Arcs with a tolerance of 0.05. These settings work well for many things, but you might want to explore the differences at some point, especially if you have a lot of curvy objects like chairs and signs.
When I close the Edit Schemes box and hit OK in the Export box, another little box called Polygon Mesh Options pops up. This is also a very important box. It controls the amount of detail my surfaces have when exported. Here is a preview of the default setting. For these straight rectangular walls, I can turn it down a couple notches. We can discuss the ramifications of this in class, but play with the slider and hit preview a few times to see what happens. In general the higher you go, the longer it will take to import into Max, the longer it will take to render, and the detail of your renderings will be higher. I'm exporting only the walls right now because they do not need high detail. If I exported everything at once, the level of detail it would take to render my ceiling correctly would also be applied to my walls, doors and light fixtures which would tax my computer way too much for such a small model. I'm going to turn this down to almost the lowest setting, and hit OK.
In 3ds Max, when I import those walls, this is what I get.