PolyDraw                                 

The PolyDraw window is opened from the modeling rollout in the main PolyBoost interface, or by shortcut. On it there is an array of tools that can be used to quickly sketch out and edit a mesh either on the main grid. projected onto the surface of another object or on the selected object itself. These are tools that are activated and stay active until the user right-clicks to step out of the tool. Several different actions are possible within the tools depending on which of the Ctrl,Shift and Alt keys are pressed. These tools does not require a specific subobjectlevel to be active, but it is recommended to be in vertex subobject since you will then have visual feedback of the vertices.
View the interface below. The radiobuttons "Draw on:" determines what to draw on and applies to all the tools in PolyDraw. 

Draw on:
The "Grid" option means that you will work on the grid of the active viewport. Specifically useful in an ortographic view.
The "Surface" option lets you pick an object with the "Pick" button and draw on the surface of that object.
The "Selection" option lets you work on the surface of the selected object.
The "Offset" spinner determines how much the created surface is offset when created or moved across the used surface or the grid.

Beside each of the tool buttons there is a small button with the letter "I". These buttons are Quickhelp buttons and bring up a small window that shows all the functions of that tool and what key combinations does what.
The PolyDraw window is dockable in the viewport. Right-click at the top of the dialog to open docking options and right-click again at the top undock.

Keyboard shortcuts are generally not available while a tool is active but those that are available are: Undo (Ctrl+z) Redo (Ctrl+a) Toggle Edged Faces (F4) and Toggle Shding (F3).

Important: You should always deactivate any PolyDraw tools by right-clicking before performing any other actions in max. Not doing so could cause instability. Switching between the different PolyDraw tools while a tool is active is ok though and intended, as well as switching subobjectlevels.

Tip: It is recommended to use Direct3D as a viewport driver with the PolyDraw tools since with OpenGL the mousepointer can turn to a loading icon briefly every now and then. The result is the same, but it feels smoother working with Direct3D.

Tip: These tools can have a slight learning curve until you get used to which key does what, but once you get up to speed many types of model editing and surface creating is exceptionally fast.

Quick navigation:

Build PolyTopo(Topology brush)
Connect PolySurf
SwiftLoop PolyShapes
Border PolyStrips
Move PolyBranch
Optimizer Splines
EmptyObj SolveSurf

Edit:

Build: Activate to start building or edit a surface. Right-click to step out of the tool. Below are the different functions of the tool, that depend on which keyboard keys are pressed:

Normal: Click to place vertices on grid or surface.

Shift: Hold shift and click+drag over unconnected vertices to fill in the gaps between vertices with quad polygons. It will always create a polygon from the closest 4 vertices.

Ctrl: Click to delete a polygon. The vertices will remain in the mesh so that if you accidently create a face in the wrong place it's easy to just delete the face and draw again closer to the vertices you want.

Alt: Click to remove a vertex.

Ctrl+Alt: Click to remove an edge.

Ctrl+Shift: Hold ctrl and shift and click to place and select, or select vertices. When 4 vertices are selected a polygon will be automatically created. The 2 last vertices from the last created polygon are included in the new selection so the user only needs to click 2 times to create the next polygon. Release ctrl and shift to clear the selection.

Shift+Alt: Hold and drag to select vertices. Click to create polygon from the selected vertices. Good for creating polygons with as an example 3 or 5 sides. When the keys are released the selection is automatically cleared.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move a vertex around on the grid or surface. By moving the mouse around over the vertices with the keys pressed you will see which vertex the tool has snapped to.

Connect: Activates the Connect tool, which lets you paint and edit connections between edges and vertices. If the "Set Flow" checkbox is checked the created edges will be automatically adjusted to fit the flow of the mesh. Below are the different functions of the tool, that depend on which keyboard keys are pressed:

Normal: Click and drag to paint a connection between edges.

Shift: Click and drag to paint a connection between edges in the middle of the edges.

Ctrl: Click and drag to select and connect vertices.

Alt: Click to remove a vertex.

Ctrl+Alt: Click to remove an edge.

Ctrl+Shift: Click to remove an edgeloop.

Shift+Alt: Click and drag to paint a double connection between edges.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move a vertex around on the grid or surface.

Tip: When connecting edges and vertices you can press and release Ctrl to alternate between connecting vertices or edges. That way you can as an example hold Ctrl and drag over a vertex to start from that vertex then release Ctrl to connect from the vertex to the next edge and so on. After connecting edges you can press Ctrl to end the connection in a vertex or keep connecting vertices.

Note: This tools works the same in all "Draw on" modes except if you move vertices with Ctrl+Shift+Alt.

SwiftLoop: Activates the SwiftLoop tool, which lets you place edgeloops at the position you pick on an edge. It also lets you slide edges or edgeloops in different ways. Below are the different functions of the tool, that depend on which keyboard keys are pressed:

Normal: Click to insert edgeloop on an edgering at the position of the click.

Shift: Click to insert edgeloop on an edgering and fit the new loop to the flow of the surrounding surface.

Ctrl: Click to select edgeloop. This will also automatically enter edge subobjectlevel.

Alt: Click and drag over a vertex on a selected edgeloop to slide the edgeloop on the edgering that the loop is on. Move the mouse along the edges to the sides of the initial vertex.

Ctrl+Alt:  Same as with Alt but since Ctrl is pressed the distance to the sides for all vertices of the loop will be made the same as the distance for the initial vertex.

Ctrl+Shift: Click to remove an edgeloop.

Note: It does not matter which "Draw on" type is selected for this tool. It will function the same in all modes.

Border: Activates the Border tool which lets you work on the open edges of the object. Open edges are edges that lies on the border of the surface and only have 1 polygon attached to them. Below are the different functions of the Border tool:

Normal: Click and drag to create polygons by dragging from border vertices.

Shift: Create polygons by dragging from a border edges.

Shift+Ctrl: Click and drag to create a polygon between 2 edges.

Ctrl: Click to delete a polygon and its isolated vertices.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move a vertex around on the grid or surface.

Working in screenspace:

You can also use this tool to edit the object in screenspace. Subobject elements will then be moved perpendicular to the current view. There is no need to change the active coordinate system in 3ds max for this to work.

Alt: Click and drag to create polygons in screenspace by dragging from border vertices.

Alt+Shift: Create polygons in screenspace by dragging from a border edges.

Alt+Ctrl: Click and drag to move a vertex around in screenspace.

Move: Activates the Move tool which lets you move around elements on the surface or on grid. The functionality of the Move tools is the following:

Normal: Click and drag to move vertices.

Shift: Click and drag to move edges.

Ctrl: Click and drag to move polygons.

Shift+Ctrl: Click and drag to move edgeloops.

Shift+Ctrl+Alt: Click and drag to move element.

Working in screenspace:

You can also use this tool to edit the object in screenspace. Subobject elements will then be moved perpendicular to the current view. There is no need to change the active coordinate system in 3ds max for this to work.

Alt: Click and drag to move vertices in screenspace.

Alt+Shift: Click and drag to move edges in screenspace.

Alt+Ctrl: Click and drag to move polygons in screenspace.

Optimizer: Activates the Optimizer tool which can be effectively used to optimize meshes by quickly sketching away details. Here are the functions of the Optimize tool:

Normal: Click on edges to collapse them, making 2 vertices into 1.

Ctrl+Shift: Click on edges to remove the edgeloops they are on.

Shift: Click and drag target weld vertices, collapsing the first selected vertex into the next dragged over. Several vertices can be welded in a single stroke.

Shift+Alt: Click on an edge to collapse all the edges in the edgering it resides on.

Alt: Click to remove vertex.

Ctrl+Alt: Click to remove edge.

Ctrl: Click and drag to paint connections between vertices.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move a vertex around on the grid or surface.

Draw:

The tools in the "Draw" area works by drawing onto the model or grid in different ways. The "Min Distance" area handles how this is handled in the view. The result of the value in the spinner is different depending on what tool is used but it is the minimum distance the user needs to drag the mouse before the next step in the tool is taken. Example: When using PolyShapes to draw a polygon shape this value will be the minimum distance that vertices will be created at. In the Splines tool it is the minimum distance between the knots in the spline. If the "Pixels" option is on the distance will be in pixels on screen and if the "Units" option is on the distance will be in world units.

PolyTopo: Activates the PolyTopo tool which works as a topology brush. The idea is to draw lines on a surface where the lines form a grid of quads or triangles, then automatically create a mesh from that grid. When the user right-clicks to step out of the tool a polygon mesh is automatically created from the lines. If the "Autoweld" checkbox is checked the created mesh will automatically be attached to the selected Editable poly object and vertices that are close on the border will be welded together. This way you can continue adding to the surface of the selected object. The distance set in the "Min Distance" will determine the resolution of the lines. If the value is too small some faces might be missed in the polygon creation. A value of 10 with the unit type set to pixels should work good in most cases. Here are the different functions of the PolyTopo tool that depend on which keyboard key is pressed:

Normal: Click and drag to draw lines on surface or grid.

Shift: Click and drag to continue a line from the closest endpoint of the line.

Ctrl: Click delete line.

RightClick: Exit tool and create polygon mesh.

PolySurf: Activates the PolySurf tool which lets you paint a surface directly onto the surface of another object. It will try to automatically place faces in way so that a closed surface is created. If the "Quads" checkbox is checked the tool will try to create quad faces wherever it can, otherwise the result will be in triangles. Unlike the other tools in the "Draw" area of PolyDraw this tool always works in unit distance, so it will always interpret the value in the "Min Distance" spinner in units. These are the functions of the PolySurf tool:

Normal: Click and drag to interactively paint a surface on another surface or grid.

Shift: Click and drag to continue the surface from a border. If this method is not used you will risk getting overlapping geometry. It is not necessary to use this if the area is clearly free from surrounding geometry though. Then you can just paint as usual and the surface will join together when you get close to an open border.

Ctrl: Click to delete polygon.

PolyShapes: Activates the PolyShapes tool which lets you quickly draw polygon shapes on grid or surface. A simple but powerful tool. The result after one click-drag will be a single polygon shaped as you drew it, projected onto a model or grid. This tool has the complementary tool "SolveSurf" to create a workable mesh from the shape. With these two tools combined it is very easy and fast to create as an example details on the surfaces of other object. See below for more info about SolveSurf. Here are the different functions for the PolyShapes tool:

Normal: Click and drag to draw polygon shape.

Ctrl: Click to delete polygon.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move a polygon.

PolyStrips: Activates the PolyShapes tool which lets you paint strips of polygons where the strips turns to follow the movements of the mouse. Provides a good way to as an example quickly lay out the topology foundation for a mesh. These are the functions of the PolyStrips tool:

Normal: Click and drag to draw polygon strips.

Shift: Click and drag to start painting strip from existing edge The closest edge will be picked.

Alt: Press while drawing strip to enter a mode where the strip currently being painted will be closed by dragging close to another edge. A polygon will be created between the "front" edge of the strip and the close edge.

PolyBranch: Activates the PolyBranch tool which lets you paint multi segmented extrusions from polygons with optional tapering to form "branches". The extrusions will be aligned to the screen. The value in the "Taper" spinner determines the difference in size between the first and the last polygon in the branch. A value of -1.0 will make the last polygon as small as possible. The "Min distance" value lets you set the distance between segments in the extrusion. These are the functions of the PolyBranch tool:

Normal: Click and drag to draw extruded branches from the polygon closest to the mouse.

Shift: Click and drag to draw extruded branches from the selected polygon(s).

Ctrl: Click to select a polygon.

Ctrl+Alt: Click to select/deselect additional polygons.

Splines: Activates the PolyShapes tool which lets you draw spline-shapes on another surface or grid. These splines can then be made renderable or used in a loftting operation to create quick details. The functions of the Splines tool:

Normal: Click and drag to draw splines.

Ctrl: Click to delete spline.

Ctrl+Shift+Alt: Click and drag to move the closest spline.

Note: Due to certain issues in maxscript this tools has no undo functionality.

SolveSurf: Opens up the SolveSurf dialog.

This tool takes a polygon shape like the ones painted with the PolyShapes tool and tries to create a workable mesh where connections are created between vertices so that it is made up of a clean shape of mainly quad polygons. If the "Quads" spinner is not checked the result will be mainly triangles. This tools works best if the shape to perform the action on has mostly forms of "strips" where there is not too far between the two sides of the polygon.
When a shape has been drawn on grid the default setting of 30 in the "Angle" spinner should do fine, but if the shape has been drawn on another surface that has a lot of curvature you will need to turn this value up to get rid of strange connections between vertices. Just try a few different values and undo the result until it looks good.

EmptyObject: Creates an empty Editable Poly object with no geometry to use when starting a new surface.


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