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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D
Cgi

How to Create a Low Poly Sword in 3DS Max: Part 1

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial step-by-step to create a low poly sword model that you can use in video games, graphic design and illustration projects whilst learning 3D Studio Max quickly. 

Some of the skills you'll learn in this tutorial include creating basic 3D shapes, modelling techniques and preparing topology for texturing.

In this, the first part of the two-part tutorial, I'll show you how to:

  • Model the handle of the sword
  • Model the hand Guard of the sword
  • Model the blade of the sword

1. How to Create the Handle of the Sword

Step 1

Use the Orthographic View for this tutorial. To change views click on the Middle Mouse Button anywhere on the viewport or the small button on the top left of the screen. 

Select the Orthographic View

Step 2

Spawn a Cylinder into the scene by selecting Create > Standard Primitives > Cylinder.

Spawn a Cylinder into the scene

Step 3

In the Cylinder Parameters enter the following:

  • Radius: 15m
  • Height: 90m
  • Height Segments: 3
  • Cap Segments: 1
  • Sides: 6
Adjust the Cylinder parameters

Step 4

Make the new object an Editable Poly by right clicking on the cylinder and selecting Convert to Editable Poly.

Convert the shape into an Editable Poly

Step 5

Duplicate the cylinder by selecting the Move Tool and then holding the Shift Key on the keyboard to drag a duplicate object in the Y axis out of the existing one.

You can also use Right-Click > Clone to duplicate an object. Ensure that you select Copy for Clone Options.

Duplicate the Cylinder

Step 6

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to select all the top polygons of the cloned cylinder (you can do this by holding the Shift Key on your keyboard). Once all but the bottom polygons have been selected, delete them by pressing the Delete Key on the keyboard.

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to remove unwanted polygons

Step 7

Use the Scale Tool to shorten the cloned cylinder.

Scale the shape down

Step 8

Use the Scale Tool to increase the width of the cloned Cylinder and then place it on top of the first cylinder.

Increase the width of the shape

Step 9

Use the Border Selection Tool or the Edge Selection Tool to select all the top edges of the cylinder. Then click on the Cap Button to fill the empty space.

Cap the empty space

Step 10

Use the Cut Tool to create an edge running down the center of the cylinder.

Create a new edge

Step 11

Duplicate the top cylinder and move it to the bottom of the handle.

Duplicate the top cylinder

Step 12

Go to Modeling > Swift Loop. Use Swift Loop to create a new ring around the duplicate cylinder object.

Use Swift Loop

Step 13

Select the new edges and use the Scale Tool to expand the inner ring outwards.

Adjust the shape of the cylinder

Step 14

Duplicate the new shape and use the Rotation Tool to rotate the object 90 degrees. Then use the Move Tool to position the object directly underneath the handle.

Rotate the shape

Step 15

Enure that all the objects are centralised by checking the other views (front, right, left, top and bottom). 

Use the Move Tool or input a value at the bottom (x, y or z) to adjust the objects.

Centralise all the shapes

 Step 16

Select the top cylinder object and duplicate it again. Move the new duplicate cylinder to the bottom of the handle.

Duplicate the top cylinder

Step 17

Use the Vertex Selection Tool to select the middle vertices of the handle. Once the middle vertices have been selected and are highlighted red, use the Scale Tool to move the vertices inwards, towards the middle of the handle.

Adjust the shape using the Vertex Selection Tool

Step 18

Go through each object again and adjust them to your liking using the techniques described above. 

The final sword handle model

2. How to Create the Hand Guard of the Sword

Step 1

Follow the same steps as before to create a new cylinder object. Don't worry too much about the height and radius dimensions this time as they can be changed later on. the rest of the parameters should be:

  • Height Segments: 3
  • Cap Segments: 1
  • Sides: 6
Create a new cylinder object

Step 2

Use the Rotation Tool to rotate the new cylinder by 90 degrees. 

Rotate the cylinder by 90 degrees

Step 3

Centre the pivot point to the object by going to the Hierarchy Tab, selecting Affect Pivot Only and then selecting Center to Object.

Change the pivot point of the object

Step 4

Right click the object and select Convert to Editable Poly. 

Convert the object into an editable poly

Step 5

Use the Scale Tool to scale the object to the dimensions appropriately. After that use the Move Tool to move the cylinder to the top and to the centre of the handle.

Use the Scale Tool

Step 6

Duplicate the bottom shape and use the Move Tool to place it in the centre of the top cylinder.

Duplicate the bottom shape

Step 7

With the new shape still selected, double click on the object colour box to change the colour to blue. This will help you organise the different parts of the sword.

Choose a colour

Step 8

Ensure that both sword hilt shapes are the same colour before moving on to the next step.

Colour the new shape

Step 9

Turn the view port so that you are viewing the sword from the side. Use the Scale Tool  and expand the new shape in the Y Axis.

Adjust the shape in the Y Axis

Step 10

Adjust the hand guard shape so that both shapes are roughly the same height.

Adjust the shapes

Step 11

Isolate the top cylinder and remove the vertical edges. Then create a single edge running down the centre of the shape. To do this select all the horizontal edges around the cylinder and select Edit Edges > Connect.

Delete and create edges

Step 12

Select the faces on the left and right side of the shape and use the Scale Tool to scale them down.

Using the scale tool on the sides of the object

3. How to Create Hand Guard Horns

Step 1

Duplicate the horizontal hand guard shape by using the Move Tool and holding down the Shift Key on the keyboard. Under Clone Options ensure that you select Copy.

Duplicate the hand guard

Step 2

Use the Selection Tool and select one half of the shape. Use the Delete Key on the keyboard to remove half of the shape.

Delete half of the shape

Step 3

Use the Border Selection Tool to select the edges of the shape and then use Edit Borders > Cap to fill the empty space.

Cap the empty space

Step 4

Use Modelling > Swift Loop to create two extra edges to the shape.

Create edges with Swift Loop

Step 5

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to select the right side of the shape. Then use the Scale Tool to scale the side down a little bit.

Adjust the shape

Step 6

Using the Vertex Selection Tool, select the middle vertices and use the Scale Tool to scale it down a little bit.

Adjust the vertices

Step 7

Repeat the same technique for the left side of the shape.

Adjust the tip of the horn

Step 8

With the left vertices still selected, use the move tool to move them up to create a horn like shape.

Adjusting the shape of the horn

Step 9

With the vertices still selected use Edit Vertices > Weld to weld all of them together to create the tip of the horn. Increase the weld threshold if needed.

Welding vertices

Step 10

Select the Symmetry Modifier and mirror the horn in the Z Axis.

Using the Symmetry Modifier

4. How to Create the Blade

Step 1

Spawn a Box into the scene by selecting Create > Standard Primitives > Box

In the Box Parameters enter the following:

  • Length: 10m
  • Width: 85m
  • Height: 230m
  • Length Segs: 1
  • Width Segs: 4
  • Height Segs: 1
Spawn a box into the scene

Step 2

Delete half of the box by using the Vertex Selection Tool and removing the right side.

Delete half of the box

Step 3

Create a the new edges at the top of the box by going to Edit Geometry > Cut. Move the four vertices on the top left of the box towards the right slightly. 

Adjust the vertices

Step 4

Weld the vertices on the left side of the box by selecting the two connecting edges and using Weld. Increase the Weld Threshold if needed.

Weld the vertices to create the edge of the sword

Step 5

Use the same techniques to weld the tip of the sword.

Weld the vertices to create the tip of the sword

Step 6

Return to the front view on your view port and create a sharp point for the tip of the sword by welding the top vertices together. 

To do this, go to Edit Vertices > Target Weld and connect them to the centre.

Weld the vertices to create the sword point

Step 7

Use the Move Tool to move the vertices to create the desired shape of the sword blade.

Continue to adjust the vertices

Step 8

Use the Edge Selection Tool to remove any unwanted edges on the blade.

Delete the edge

Step 9

Use Edit Geometry > Cut to create a new edge for the tip of the blade.

Create an edge

Step 10

Use the same technique to create a small edge at the bottom right of the blade.

Use the Cut Tool

Step 11

Use the Scale Tool to scale the size of the blade so that it suits the size of the handle.

Use the Scale Tool

Step 12

Using the Symmetry Modifier, create the right side of the blade by mirroring it in the Z Axis.

Use the Symmetry Modifier

Step 13

Select the bottom edges of the sword and use Edit Borders > Extrude to create some new shapes at the bottom of the blade. Then use the Scale Tool to scale them all down.

Extrude the polygons

Step 14

With the edges still selected, use the Extrude Tool again to create the bottom part of the blade.

Create the bottom part of the blade

Step 15

With the blade now complete, you can combine all the different parts of the sword together to complete the low poly sword. 

From here you can also organise all the different objects into groups using the Scene Explorer by creating new layers or using Edit Geometry > Attach

The final sword model

Coming Next...

Low Poly Sword

And with that, the Low Poly 3D Sword is complete. Feel free to share your own creations below. In the second part of the the tutorial series, I'll show you how to:

  • Unwrap the UVs
  • Create a UV Map
  • Create a Texture Map in Photoshop
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