How to: Model Braid in 3ds Max

A tutorial guide to show how to model braids in 3ds max easily and quickly. You can use this technique for creating braids with more than 3 strands.

In this tutorial, you will be learning how to model braids in 3ds max. There is no doubt that modeling a braid is quite difficult due to its complex shape. It’s really hard to figure out how the strands get interlock together.

I tried modeling braid when I was a beginner and I had no clue where to start. You can align two torus primitives and copy them few times to get the illusion of a braid but I wanted a solid mesh so this was not an option.

I studied the pattern of braid and discovered this awesome technique. I prefer this technique as it is one of the easiest and quick ways of modeling braids. Let’s go and get into the process.

Step 1

Creating a Spline

I am using a spline with Render in Viewport option turned on. You can use cylinder or any other geometry of your choice. I will call it Strand 1 to makes things easy to understand.

Step 2

Applying a Ripple Modifier

Go to Modify panel and apply a Ripple modifier on the spline object. Set the Amplitude 1 and Amplitude 2 values to 2.0 and Wave Length to 24.0.

As you can see that the spline object has been deformed according to the current settings but the deformation is looking a bit weird. This is because the object’s pivot point is at the center of the object and modifiers consider pivot point’s position as the center.

Let’s go to Center sub-object level of the Ripple modifier and move the center at one of the two ends of the spline object.

Step 3

Rotating the Object

If we look at the spline from the top view it still looks like a straight line. Let’s rotate the object 90 degrees in the y-axis with the help of Select and Rotate tool.

This step is not necessary; I am doing this just to make sure that the braid will be facing the right direction.

Tip: In case you don’t want to rotate the object, you can rotate the Ripple’s gizmo.

Step 4

Duplicating the Ripple Modifier

Ctrl + Shift Drag the Ripple modifier to create another copy of it. To avoid any confusion, I just renamed them as Ripple_1 and Ripple_2.

Let’s select the Ripple_1 modifier and set its Amplitude 12 values to 1.0 and Wave Length to 12.0. These values are just half of the values we used in Step 2.

Step 5

Rotating the Gizmo

Go to Gizmo sub-object level of Ripple_1 and rotate the gizmo 90 degrees in y-axis. We are pretty much done now.

Step 6

Finished 3d Braid Pattern

Now, duplicate the spline object two times and align them as shown above to get a nice interlocked braid pattern.

I have given each strand a different color to make it a bit easier to understand how they are actually interlocking.

The braid is looking all fine, however the ends are not looking very good after offsetting the strands. Let’s fix them in the next step.

Step 7

Braid with Slice Modifier applied

There are two ways to fix the ends of the braid. One way is to apply Slice modifier at each end of the braid with Slice Type set to Remove Top/Bottom.

If you don’t want to use Slice then you can use the second method mentioned in the next step.

Step 8

Strands with different Phase values

Create two copies of the spline object by Shift + dragging it to an axis and rename them as Strand 2 and Strand 3 respectively.

Select the Strand 2 and go to Modify panel. Now, set the Ripple_1 modifier’s Phase value to 0.33 and Ripple_2 modifier’s Phase value to 0.66.

Now, Select the Strand 3 and set the Ripple_1 modifier’s Phase value to 0.66 and Ripple_2 modifier’s Phase value to 0.33.

Now, use Align tool to align all the three objects together to get the finished braid pattern.

You can create braids with more than three strands with the help of this technique.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any suggestion or query don’t hesitate to ask in your comments below. Thanks!