I am new to 3ds max so please bare with me. I am starting a project which is the modelling of a development. It has 3 major parts - a business park, a marina village and a cruise terminal. Now these areas are spread over about a mile of land or more. The final project is going to be a fly through movie sweeping across the whole development but swooping down into the 3 areas to show in detail.
The Question: What sort of scale should i be working to? (eg.. i'm guessing full size is going to be to big, not only for file size but for rendering etc, or am i completely wrong and i should be working to 100%)
Any help or suggestion appreciated.
What do you mean by scale? It doesn't make a difference to Max whether the house is 3cm big or 40meters big, you just set the units. Do you mean how much detail to add? If so, that's really a question of asthetics.
Scale is a totally arbitrary. Almost all modeling software work with units of undefined size. So 1.0 units can mean a millimeter, a meter, an inch, 2.54 centimeter, a lightyear... It is what you want it to be. The program that does the flighthrough just has to use the correct units per second to have the correct speed.
Probably the most useful unit is one meter. But use any other if you like, as long as you properly define it.
Sorry, 'scale' probably wasn't the correct word to use. Here is an example of what i mean.
EG// If i were to create a model of a stretch of motorway which was a mile long in real life, should i create my road in 3ds (say was made from a plane) 1000 metres long (100%) or should i create myself a scale of say 100metres = 1metre in 3ds.
NOTE: Still bearing in mind that the final output will be a video.
As other people have explained, it does not matter. The size of a 3DS unit is totally arbitrary, so you could have a unit be a meter and make the road 1000 units long, or you could have a unit be 100 meters and make it 10 units long. The file size and rendering time will not be affected (big numbers don't take more space to store or time to process than small numbers).
Cheers lads - you've finally drilled it home.