Importing AutoCAD Drawings in 3ds max

August 18, 2003 | Comments

Importing AutoCAD Drawings in 3ds max

August 18, 2003

3ds max is capable of importing AutoCAD drawings. The AutoCAD 3D models are imported as Editable Meshes. You usually need to make some modifications to the model.

  1. Download 3d_house.dwg. The file consists of 4 solid models that are located on different layers [Figure 1].
Figure 1 – Click on image to enlarge
  1. Start 3ds max.
  2. From File menu select Import. The Select File to Import dialog box appears [Figure 2].
Figure 2 – Click on image to enlarge
  1. From Files of type list select AutoCAD (*.DWG).
  2. Locate and open 3d_house.dwg. The DWG Import dialog box appears [Figure 3].
Figure 3
  1. Here you may select any of the options as the scene is empty. Click OK. The Import AutoCAD DWG File dialog box appears [Figure 4].
Figure 4
  1. Make sure that Layer is selected in Derive Objects By section [Figure 4]. Click OK. The model appears in viewports [Figure 5].
Figure 5 – Click on image to enlarge
  1. Press Ctrl+W to expand the Perspective view (In max 4 press w only).
  2. Press H. The Select Objects dialog box appears [Figure 6].
Figure 6 – Click on image to enlarge
  1. Select floor.01 and then click Select.
  2. On command panel click the Modify tab [Figure 7].
Figure 7
  1. As you can see the model is an Editable mesh. In Selection rollout click the Polygon subobject [Figure 7].
  2. Press Ctrl+A to select all polygons.
  3. On command panel scroll down to view the Surface Properties rollout [Figure 8].
Figure 8
  1. Click Unify. All the Normals will be unified.
  2. Click Editable Mesh in Modifiers stack to deselect the Polygon subobject.
  3. Repeat steps 9 through 16 for the rest of objects. The surface of objects are now clearer [Figure 9].
Figure 9 – Click on image to enlarge
  1. Select floor.01.
  2. Select Modifiers > UV Coordinates > UVW Map menu option [Figure 10]. The UVW Mapping modifier will be assigned to floor.01. The modifier builds the proper mapping coordinates on the object. Now you can apply materials that contain maps to the object.
Figure 10
  1. In Parameters rollout select box option [Figure 11].
Figure 11
  1. Repeat steps 19 and 20 for the rest of objects.
  2. Press M. The Material Editor dialog box appears [Figure 12].
Figure 12
  1. Click Get Material icon [Figure 12]. The Material Map Browser dialog box appears [Figure 13].
Figure 13
  1. Select Mtl Library [Figure 13]. Make sure 3dsmax.mat is open; otherwise open this file with the help of Open button.
  2. On the list to the right, double click Concrete_Stucco (Standard). The material will be added to the first material slot [Figure 14].
Figure 14
  1. Drag and drop the material to floor.01. The material will be assigned to this object.
  2. Select other slots subsequently and select proper materials from Material/Map Browser. Then apply the materials to the rest of objects. You may use the following materials:
Material Name Object Name
Concrete_Asphalt roof.01
Bricks_Bricks_1 walls.01
Concrete_Brown_Stucco stairs.01
Concrete_Stucco floor.01
  1. Close Material Editor and Material Browser dialog boxes.
  2. Select Rendering > Environment menu option. The Environment dialog box appears [Figure 15].
Figure 15
  1. Click the Color swatch [Figure 15]. The Color Selector dialog box appears [Figure 16].
Figure 16
  1. Select a light blue color and then close both dialog boxes.
  2. Press F9 to quick render the scene. The Render window appears [Figure 17].
Figure 17  – Click on image to enlarge
  1. Close the Render window.
  2. Save the file.

About the Author

Alireza Parsai is the founder of He is a mechanical engineer with more than 12 years experience with AutoCAD. Alireza is an Autodesk Authorized Author, the AutoCAD consultant for Al Khawarizmi Institute, a contributing editor for Augiworld magazine, a writer for CAD Digest, an instructor for AUGI Training Program, and an elected speaker for Autodesk University 2002. He has written 7 books in Farsi, 3 booklets in English, and more than 100 articles for different magazines and newsletters. You can reach him at or visit his


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