Getting the Most Out of the Swift Loop Tool in 3ds Max
The Swift Loop tool is an amazing tool that allows you to create loops very quickly wherever you want on our 3D models. However, there is some really great functionality beneath the surface that can boost your workflow. Together, let's reveal the complete functionality of the already powerful Swift Loop tool.
Where is the Swift Loop tool?
If this is the first time you've ever heard of the Swift Loop tool, then there's just one question for you, are you ready for cerebrum fulmination? That's fancy talk for blowing your mind. To access the Swift Loop tool you must have an Editable Poly object selected with Edge Mode activated.
Then you'll go to the Modeling Tab in the Modeling Ribbon. You can select the Swift Loop tool under Edit. With it activated, simply click on the model to add a loop. You can add as many loops as you would like. If you're finished, simply right click in the viewport to drop the Swift Loop tool. Because the Swift Loop tool is so powerful, you could create a custom keyboard shortcut for it. You can learn how to do it from Quick Start to Modeling in 3ds Max: Volume 3 in Lesson 2.
Add and Retain Curvature
While the Swift Loop tool is very handy, it can also boost your workflow by just using some simple keyboard keys to modify its functionality. Hold down Shift with the Swift Loop tool active and you'll notice that the new loop will center between the existing loops.
But notice one more thing, it actually modifies the curvature of your model based on the flow of the existing loops. This can be extremely helpful when you're trying to create curve surfaces.
Quickly Select Loop
Now, if you hold down the Ctrl key and click on any edge, it will select the entire loop that the selected edge is connected to. This is helpful because you can use something like the Chamfer tool on the selected loop without ever dropping the Swift Loop tool. This allows you to quickly get back to add loops in the necessary places on your model. It will also allow you to quickly use the next technique easily.
Slide Edge Loop
There may come a time where the loops that you have created aren't placed exactly where you want. Wouldn't it be great if you could just slide that edge loop where you want it? Guess what! You can! Just hold down the Alt key and click and drag the selected edge loop.
IMPORTANT NOTE INCOMING! While using the Alt key to slide the edge loop, it will only slide the currently selected edge loop. So make sure you're using the Ctrl key to select your desired edge loop. Once you've got that, notice how the edge loop conforms to the existing topology keeping the curvature of the model. I'll give you a moment for the cerebrum fulmination to finish.
Slide Edge Loop and Make Parallel
The next technique is very similar to the last. If you hold down Ctrl and Alt while dragging the selected loop, you'll notice that it has a similar result, but it's not quite the same. What happens here is that the edge loop that is sliding is matching the curvature of the existing loop that it's closest to making them perfectly parallel. This is helpful when you're trying to create tight edges on high poly models.
Remove Edge Loop
Finally, there may come a time when you need to just get rid of some existing edge loops. This can be done by simply holding down the Ctrl and Shift key and clicking on the desired edge loop.
Now that you know how to get the most out of the Swift Loop tool try to experiment on your own models and see just how much time it can save you when adding loops to your models. If you want to learn more about the powerful modeling tools inside 3ds Max be sure to check out our many in-depth 3ds Max tutorials.