Creating a Railroad with Path Constraint and Snapshot Tool in 3DS Max


In this post i will explain how to use path constraint and snapshot tools to create continuous multiple objects. I am using this tools oftenly at work. For small scenes copy-paste could be easier to use but in huge scales snapshotting is much more time saver. I will post a few different renders below the explanation as example.

Before the start I created some kind of coal mine enter as you see above. Its only for the tutorial, I did not spend much time on it. Then I simply created a curved line starting from inside of the gate. It will be the path of our railroad.


Then I fit the line to the earth by playing with vertices. The earth plane has some ups and downs.


I created the wooden rail holder at the left side to put it below the rail.





Under the motion panel and assign controller drop down menu you will see position, rotation and scale. To assign a controller to transformer I selected position and pressed the assign controller button above the selection. After selecting path constraint from the list, it will be added to the object.



After adding path constraint, Path Parameters dropdown menu will show up. Under the menu Add Path button lets you choose which line will be followed by the selected object. I picked the path I created before. Usually the result is out of the rotation than how it must be look like. So I rotate it manually to find a position as I want. I recommend you to press follow button that I marked in the picture above before the manual rotation. Otherwise it will be unrotate again. Follow check lets rotate the object that controlled by path constraint on the way of picked line.

Now the object has a path animation. It can be seen by scrolling the timeline from begining to the end.



Snapshot can be reached under “Tools>Snapshot”. This tool can make a copy of the mesh within any single time or between a range in timeline. I have an animation of object that i want to copy in a range of time. So I checked Range and copied it 12 times as the lenght of my path.


The result is fine to me. I drew two lines more to create rails. And this is how it looks.


I also created the two pictures below. The one with city lamps is for this tutorial and the one with roller coaster is a product.




alan render3



2D Cartoon Character Illustration





In this tutorial I want to show you how I created the little alien who is wearing oculus rift at left side. I created this character for the banner above which is I made for the company I am currently working for. I seperated the tutorial to a few steps.

Before The Start

I had to let the audience understand that we are basically working on virtual reality by using Oculus Rift in our products.

Oculus is a very magical tool to amaze people. And it seems like little bit futuristic. Hence, I decided to create aliens who are wearing Oculus Rift and looks amazed by it.

creating the body

Creating The Body

I strongly recommend you to make some sketch before starting your design. I made a few sketches on paper then I started to draw the body with pen tool in Adobe Illustrator.  In the third step of the picture above I decided the angle of axises of arms and legs, then I drew the legs freely. I am skipping the hands for a while.

creating the rift


Creating The Rift

Drawing of Oculus Rift is easy part of this tutorial. I only paid attention to make it more understandable and recognizable. Due to my alien has 6 eyes, he wears 3 goggles’.

drawing the hands

Drawing Hands

This step is a little bit advanced. To see this forms of hands, you may need some basic drawing courses. I made a couple quick sketches above. They are not great but always help.

I am giving the shadows and highlights according to the light I imagined before I’ve started. Upper sides are bright and lower sides are darker. It perceived like it is volumed.
facial express

Facial Expressions

This is an advanced step too. I collected mouth shapes above which I used on the other characters in the banner to make it clearer. However it is not enough to understand facial expressions. You will need to observe a lot. Even masters still observe.

When the first time I ever wear Oculus Rift basically I felt anxiety, amazement and mind blow. I tried to express this feeling upon that characters. First character above worried, second one is amazed and the last ones mind has blown.


tiny details


Its always good to have some details like volumes, shadows, highlights and reflections in your illustrations. It makes the artwork looks better. And always keep in mind to be consistent when you draw the shadows and highlights. Best way to work on lighting is deciding the imaginary light source before painting the shapes. This will be very helpful.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, see you soon.