HOW TO: Setup an Orthographic Camera in 3dsMax9

{ draw logic } will be presenting HOWTOs every once in a while based on current projects or very simple, targeted actions in game development, programming, data design etc. 

Setup an Orthographic Camera in 3dsMax9

Axonometric Projection allows you to make flat Isometric game assets or views sometimes needed for maps layouts where false or flat 3D is used so you can see the items up close as well as you can see the items off in the distance. This view was common in the early sim citygames and many RPGs like Command and Conquer Red Alert (oh no not the blimps!). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Orthographic views are a camera setting that makes it so there is no vanishing point or correct perspective but instead parallel external lines. Sometimes this is key in scrolling 2d games or maps like I said but its also to help reuse assets over and over to create a better cache to pull from.  Orthographic viewscan also make flattening textures to be used in texturing in isometric games very simple.

To setup a camera in 3d Studio Max for orthographic renders follow these steps:

  1. Open up your file and get a perspective you want. Usually this is a diagonal 45 degree view or a 45 degree angle where 2/3 of one side shows and 1/3 of the other showsPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
  2. Go to the perspective view and click in it. 
  3. Create a new camera by clicking CTRL+C. This will create a new ‘Camera01‘.
  4. Click C to jump into your new camera.
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
  5. As you can see this view has the perspective vanishing point and the lines on the outside of the model will eventually meet on the horizon.  For game assets this doesn’t always work when making an isometric or axonometric view.We want to make it an orthographic view so that there is a void of perspective and correct vanishing lines.
  6. To flatten this true perspective make sure the camera is still selected by clicking on the camera or by pressing ‘C’ (brings up all cameras as ‘P’ does the perspective view again) or selecting it from the object list.
  7.  Then under the modifiers tabs check the “Orthographic Projection” checkmark.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 
  8. All done, now make a boatload more assets for your game/project!

See the difference in renders here:

True Perspective View:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Orthographic View:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 

You can see that if the homes were to be stacked in rows where their walls are parallel (like the command and conquer screenshot above) the orthographic view is more suited for games or maps where you need to see all items the same size or scale. Click here to see a flash version of this that stretched full screen fluid flash.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here’s the MAX file source of the house. I used 3dsmax9 and built on a model I found online making it more cartoonish and simplistic/vector-like. For this tutorial some of the settings may be changed in your version but all 3d programs have this setting somewhere even if you are not using 3dsmax. 

  • blopp

    thanks great tip

  • http://www.codinghorror.com/ Christie

    How many time you creat this model???