Essential LightWave 3D- P1

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Essential LightWave 3D- P1: What you have in your hands is, quite simply, a collection of tools and techniques that many professional LightWave artists use every single day doing what we do in our various fields. The tools and techniques explored in this book are essential to creating the caliber of imagery that you see on film and television and in print and video games.

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  1. www.dbebooks.com - Free Books & magazines
  2. Essential LightWaveâ 3D [8] The Fastest and Easiest Way to Master LightWave Timothy Albee and Steve Warner with Robin Wood Wordware Publishing, Inc.
  3. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Albee, Timothy. Essential lightwave 3D 8 / by Timothy Albee and Steve Warner with Robin Wood. p. cm. Includes index. ISBN 1-55622-082-0 (pbk., companion CD-ROM) 1. Computer animation. 2. Computer graphics. 3. LightWave 3D. I. Warner, Steve, 1970- II. Wood, Robin, 1953- III. Title. TR897.7.A4215 2005 006.6'96--dc22 2004029130 CIP © 2005, Wordware Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2320 Los Rios Boulevard Plano, Texas 75074 No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from Wordware Publishing, Inc. Printed in the United States of America ISBN 1-55622-082-0 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0412 LightWave®, LightWave 3D®, HyperVoxels™, Particle FX™, and Video Toaster® are trademarks or registered trademarks of NewTek, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All brand names and product names mentioned in this book are trademarks or service marks of their respective companies. Any omission or misuse (of any kind) of service marks or trademarks should not be regarded as intent to infringe on the prop- erty of others. The publisher recognizes and respects all marks used by companies, manufacturers, and developers as a means to distinguish their products. This book is sold as is, without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, respecting the contents of this book and any disks or programs that may accompany it, including but not limited to implied warranties for the book’s quality, performance, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. Neither Wordware Publishing, Inc. nor its dealers or distributors shall be liable to the purchaser or any other person or entity with respect to any liability, loss, or damage caused or alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly by this book. All inquiries for volume purchases of this book should be addressed to Wordware Publishing, Inc., at the above address. Telephone inquiries may be made by calling: (972) 423-0090
  4. Dedication To the memory of my grandfather, Winston Hudson: automotive designer, actor, director, singer, violinist, and luthier. His life was a continuous example that all things are possible for the dedi- cated heart and the creative mind. Timothy Albee To my parents, Charles and Dorothy, who didn’t flinch when I told them I wanted to be an artist. The greatest gift a child can receive is the unwavering love and support of his parents. You provided that in spades. Thank you. Steve Warner iii
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  6. Contents Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xi Chapter 1 Playing in Three Dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 3D “Space” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Virtual Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Virtual Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Chapter 2 LightWave Dissected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Modeler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Viewports and Viewport Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Current Object . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Layers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Linking to Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Vertex Mapping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Adjustment Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Selection/Action Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Quick-Info Display. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Modeler Toolsets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Modeler General Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 Modeler Display Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 The File Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The Edit Menu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The Window Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The Help Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Modeler Quick Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Hot Key Customization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Menu Layout Customization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Viewport Styles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Viewport Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Linking to Modeler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The Frame Slider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Frame Controls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Key Creation/Deletion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Item Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Quick-Info Display. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 The Dope Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 v
  7. Contents · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout Menu Tabs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 The File Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 The Edit Menu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 The Window and Help Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Layout Quick Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Layout General Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Layout Display Options . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Plug-ins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 The Hub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 LightWave ScreamerNet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Chapter 3 Modeling 1: Foundation Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Points (Vertices) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Polygons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Normals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Planar vs. Non-Planar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Statistics Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Grouping Polygons (Parts) and Point Selection Sets . . . . . . . . 59 Selection “Tricks”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Select Connected . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Invert Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Expand/Contract Selection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Select Loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Select Points/Polygons . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Show/Hide Selection. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Primitives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Surfacing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Move, Rotate, and Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Extrude . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Extender Plus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Booleans and Solid Drilling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Bevel and Smooth Shift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 88 Edge Bevel and Super Shift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Chapter 4 Layout 1: Foundation Material . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 LightWave’s Camera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Rendering . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Lighting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Step 1: Load the Base Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Step 2: Global Intensity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Step 3: Spotlight . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Step 4: Why Do Things Look “3D”? . . . . . . . . . . . . 106 Step 5: Ray-Traced Soft Shadows . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 vi
  8. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Contents Step 6: Falloff (Atmosphere) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110 Step 7: Radiosity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Advanced Surfacing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Step 1: Chrome Sphere. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114 Step 2: “Realistic” Reflections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Step 3: Exploring a Surface Preset . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Step 4: More Gradient Tricks — “Realistic” Metal. . . . . . 123 Step 5: VIPER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126 Step 6: “Building” a Surface — Rusted Steel . . . . . . . . 127 Step 7: “Found” Textures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Chapter 5 Modeling 2: Additional Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 EPS Import . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Bridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 Lathe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 Taper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140 Twist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 Bend . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 142 Smooth Scale/Move Plus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Rail Extrude — Single Rail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 Rail Extrude — Multiple Rails . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Rail Bevel. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Edge Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 Add Edges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 Reduce Edges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Remove Edges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Rounder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 UV Texturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Chapter 6 Architectural Modeling Exercise: Interior Set. . . . . . . 174 Floor Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174 Two-Point Polyline Work. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 Chapter 7 Modeling 3: Sub-Patch Organic Modeling . . . . . . . . 197 Smooth Shift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199 BandSaw. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200 Magnet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 Pole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 Vortex . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 204 Subdivision Order . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 205 Chapter 8 Organic Modeling Exercise 1: “One-Minute” Spaceship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208 vii
  9. Contents · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Chapter 9 Organic Modeling Exercise 2: Character Body . . . . . . 214 Torso. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 214 Arms and Hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 216 Legs and Feet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224 Finishing Touches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 232 Chapter 10 Organic Modeling Exercise 3: Head Modeling . . . . . . 236 Reference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 238 Chapter 11 Organic Modeling Exercise 4: Modeling a Wolf’s Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259 Chapter 12 Modeling 4: Spline Modeling Basics . . . . . . . . . . . 270 The “Rules of the Game” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270 Three-Curve Patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271 Four-Curve Patches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 275 Chapter 13 Spline Modeling Exercise: Kayak . . . . . . . . . . . . 278 Chapter 14 Spline Modeling Exercise 2: Modeling a Human Head . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 292 Poly Count and Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293 Poly Count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293 Poly Flow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 294 Spline Modeling Pitfalls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296 Spline Modeling Tips and Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297 Creating the Cage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 298 Patching Tips and Tricks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 335 Patching the Cage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337 Basic Detailing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 344 Polygon Reduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350 Advanced Detailing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 358 Closing Thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379 Chapter 15 Layout 2: Animation Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380 Keyframes (Keys) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 380 “Motion” Graph Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385 Adjusting Timing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388 Previews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 394 Rendering an Animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 395 Chapter 16 Layout 3: Character Animation . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398 A Brief Introduction to Character Animation . . . . . . . . . . 398 Bones and Rigs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 398 Inverse Kinematics, Forward Kinematics, and IK Booster . . 399 FK (Forward Kinematics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 399 viii
  10. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Contents IK (Inverse Kinematics) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 What Is IK? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 “Standard” IK Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400 “Standard” IK Hazards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 407 “Standard” IK Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415 IK Booster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416 Applying IK Booster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 416 Long Chain Dependability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418 IK Booster and Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419 IK Booster and Keyframes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419 Pose and Motion Saving and Loading . . . . . . . . . . . 421 Quaternion Rotations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 422 Keyframe Move Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 423 Newbie Sensory Overload . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 424 Chapter 17 Layout 4: Special FX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 425 Glow Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 425 Glow Effect Basics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426 Fake “Volumetric Lights” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 429 Lens Flares . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 434 Compositing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440 CG Elements onto a “Live-Action Plate” . . . . . . . . . . 440 Basic Explosions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 449 Chapter 18 Simulations 1: HyperVoxels and Particles . . . . . . . . 459 HyperVoxels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459 HyperVoxel Explosion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 459 HyperVoxel “Surfaces” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 466 HyperVoxel “Sprites” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 471 Particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 477 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481 Chapter 19 Simulations 2: Dynamics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 482 An Introduction to Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 482 Personal Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483 Social Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483 Relational Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 483 The Dynamics Community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484 Dynamic Decisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485 Applied Dynamics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486 Collision Effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486 HardFX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 489 ClothFX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 499 SoftFX . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 504 ix
  11. Contents · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Chapter 20 Simulations 3: Fur and Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510 An Introduction to SasLite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 510 Beyond the Basics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514 Creating a Rug . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 514 There’s Nothing Plain about This Grassy Plain . . . . . . . . . 521 Hair’s Where It’s At! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 523 Refining the Beard and Mustache . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 528 Creating Hair with Long Hair Guides . . . . . . . . . . . . . 531 Splitting Hairs to Work with SasLite’s Limits . . . . . . . . . . . 543 Rendering the Hair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 544 Long Hair Guides, the Sequel!. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545 Eyelash Settings and Refinements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 552 Making Eyebrows . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 553 Tips for SasLite Eyebrow Settings. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 555 SasLite vs. Sasquatch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 556 Time-Saving Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 556 Sasquatch’s Valuable Extra Features . . . . . . . . . . . . 559 Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 565 Appendix A Plug-ins and Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 567 Appendix B Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 590 Appendix C LightWave’s Default Hot Keys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 602 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 607 x
  12. Introduction What you have in your hands is, quite sim- available, both PC and Mac versions have ply, a collection of tools and techniques that been included. many professional LightWave artists use Obviously, the information contained in every single day doing what we do in our this book may seem overwhelming, espe- various fields. The tools and techniques cially if this is your first foray into 3D. In explored in this book are essential to creat- the immortal words of Douglas Adams, ing the caliber of imagery that you see on “Don’t panic!” This book will provide you film and television and in print and video with a solid foundation in LightWave. It games. comes from those with many years of expe- While this book contains no “secrets,” rience who still have the passion of those per se, it does strip away the techno-babble newly introduced to the art form! that plagues so many technical documents From this foundation you will discover and reveals easy-to-follow, industry-proven new things, find better solutions, and gen- techniques. These are techniques that you erally raise the bar for us all. Show us the would eventually pick up on your own, as dreams you’ve got in your head, the things did the rest of us. However, the average that you wished you could always see but learning curve for “discovering” them on didn’t know quite how to bring to life. Share your own is estimated at between five and those dreams that were so exciting they eight years (much less if you find yourself kept you awake at night. Share these things hired into a studio where you are working with the rest of us, post them on forums, on actual productions). feature them on web sites, and show them The information in this book is designed in film festivals. Help to inspire the rest of to get you up and running with the software us by sharing what moves you in ways as quickly as possible. The first few chap- words can never relay! ters will orient you to LightWave’s unique Welcome to the path! May your journey interface. The next several chapters focus be one that fills you with wonder and on lighting and surfacing techniques. Sub- excitement, far exceeding what you barely sequent chapters develop your modeling dare to dream possible. skills and teach you the basics of animation. The final chapters show you how to add —Timothy Albee “pizzazz” to your work with special effects http://Timothy.ArtistNation.com and dynamics simulations. The files for the tutorials discussed in this book can be found —Steve Warner on the companion CD-ROM. When http://stevewarner.com xi
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  14. Chapter 1 Playing in Three Dimensions Before we get really deep into the nuts and Note bolts of the major LightWave tools, we’ve If kids were taught math and geometry with got to make sure everyone is on the same 3D (making movies or exporting animations page about understanding the core concepts into a public domain game engine), you couldn’t keep them away from it. of 3D. Math and geometry figure heavily in these core concepts, but they come into play in such a way that they’re fun. (This is Using 3D, you not only see an immediate probably because when working in 3D, use for all that nifty trigonometry, geome- math no longer represents abstract, almost try, tensor calculus, and algebra, but you arcane, concepts. In 3D, math and geometry also have a lot of fun playing with it (yes, are almost tangible. They give you immedi- playing)! So, as you explore this, keep in ate gratification with imagery that looks mind that the whole objective is to have awesome when you solve whatever prob- fun, explore, and play. If you keep that focus lem you’re working on.) in mind, the nuts and bolts will be almost effortless. 3D “Space” To measure any three-dimensional object, of mathematics, drafting, or computer-aided whether it be in “real” space or the “virtual design. Certain conventions (agreements world” of a computer, you need to attribute that, to make things easier for everyone, a to that object three dimensions. In the real certain symbol will always represent a cer- world, these three dimensions are most tain concept) were brought into play for the commonly thought of in terms of length, defining of these three dimensions as they width, and depth. exist within the conceptual space of a So, a “dimension” is really just a vector (a computer. line that extends infinitely in each direction In three-dimensional space, up and down from its origin, never turning and never are defined as parts of the Y axis. The area stopping) laid along a specific axis (the above the ground plane (defined where angles that define the vector’s orientation). Y=0) is measured with positive values (like Height is a dimension, just as width and Y=5). Below the ground plane, the Y axis is depth are. But the labels “height,” width,” measured with negative values (like Y=–5). and “depth” are too subjective to be used Left and right are measured along the X with any certainty within the precise areas axis. Space to the left of X=0 is measured 1
  15. Chapter 1 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 1-2: Heading (H) rotates around the Y axis. Figure 1-1: The convention for defining Pitch (P) rotates around the X axis. Bank (B) rotates three-dimensional space. around the Z axis. with negative values, and space to the right handle on where +X becomes –X will of X=0 is measured with positive values. never vary. Space “away from you” is measured with For keeping track of how an object is positive values of the Z axis, and space rotated within three-dimensional space, “toward you” is measured with negative LightWave has taken its labels for the rota- values of the Z axis. tion axes from what you’d think of while Bear in mind that like the image in Fig- flying a plane: Heading, Pitch, and Bank. ure 1-1, your viewport (your window into Figure 1-2 is probably confusing. Let me this “virtual world,” of which you may have take a different angle on the concept. more than one open) may be offset from If you think of your hand like an airplane what the computer considers “world- (I know it’s simplistic, but bear with me), space.” World-space is easy to think of as heading is the axis that would change your LightWave’s “handle” on its reality. No mat- compass direction, pitch is the axis that ter how you spin an object, no matter how would raise and lower the nose of the air- you rotate a viewport, LightWave will plane, and bank is the axis that would get always keep X=0, Y=0, and Z=0 exactly the plane to roll on its side. It may seem where it always has been (and forever will silly, but for the first couple of years that I be). So, like in Figure 1-1, the viewport can worked in 3D, I still did the “my-hand-is- be rotated counterclockwise a bit and tilted an-airplane” thing to figure out rotation up just a bit so you can see the axes all axes. (Hey, if it works, don’t knock it!) nicely laid out before you, but LightWave’s 2
  16. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Playing in Three Dimensions Figure 1-3: LightWave’s rotation axes — think of your hand like a plane. Objects Behind every slick render — hidden under papier-mâché laid over a chicken-wire the fur, buried within the volumetrics, deep mesh. The papier-mâché surface may have within the polish of the texturing — is an all sorts of paint and whatnot on it (giving it object. At its core, the object is made up of a the appearance of anything from flesh to meshwork of lines that define triangles, rock), but at its core is a carefully planned- quadrangles, or other variously shaped out wireframe structure. That structure is polygons. what we would consider the object. The quickest way to understand the con- LightWave has very few limitations as to cept of what 3D is all about is to think of what it can “conceptualize” as an object. If you wanted to have a single polygon (a closed plane bounded by straight sides) defined by 500 points, you could. (Many other programs restrict the user to building only with triangles.) LightWave also allows you to build using splines (spatial-lines, originally thought up for designing cars) and a wonderful hybridization of splines and polygons known as sub-patches (also known as “subdivision surfaces” in other software packages). The toolset that this combination of Figure 1-4: Beneath the 3D fur (generated with polys, splines, and sub-patches offers Worley Labs’ Sasquatch) is a model made up of thousands and thousands of triangles. means you can create extremely complex geometric or organic shapes with amazing speed. We get into using each one of these differ- ent tools in a bit. But how can you see what you’ve built without light? Figure 1-5: The same sphere can look completely different with different surfacing treatments. 3
  17. Chapter 1 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Virtual Lights Without light, we would see nothing. The Each of the lights within LightWave has a same applies to the virtual world within real-world counterpart. A distant light is like LightWave. In order to “see” anything in a light that is so far away that its rays all LightWave, you must (in essence) use one behave as if they are parallel to one another. of LightWave’s lights to send a “wavicle” This is like sunlight or moonlight or nonde- (a wave/particle of light) scattering off the script “bounced” lighting. Distant lights can surface of an object and into the lens of cast shadows, but they only cast hard-edged LightWave’s camera. (When you think of ray-traced shadows (shadows that are per- your eyes as cameras, this is exactly the fect in every detail except that they are also way things operate in real life.) perfectly sharp). Distant lights give a flat, almost “spacey” kind of feeling. They’re great for when you want to imply that light has traveled great dis- tances to impact the objects (like from the sun, moon, or distant Figure 1-6: The different kinds of lights available to a LightWave artist. stars). Distant lights that don’t cast shad- ows are also great for precisely suggesting ambient light (more on this in Chapter 4). Point lights are like candles or non-frosted “globe” lightbulbs. Like distant lights, point lights can cast Figure 1-7: Distant light. only hard-edged, ray-traced shadows. Point lights cast their light from a sin- gle point. Notice how you don’t actually see the light itself but only the impact of the light’s waves. (If you wanted to see a light Figure 1-8: Point light. “bulb,” you would 4
  18. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Playing in Three Dimensions build a model of one and “attach” the light commonly used light. They’re fast, predict- to the lightbulb object.) able, and versatile. Spotlights are like the klieg lights used Linear lights are like fluorescent tubes. on live-action productions. They cast a cone They cast only ray-traced shadows, but of light in only one direction and can fade these shadows are soft-edged. The amount that light gently from the light’s “hot spot” of softness in the shadows from linear lights to the edge of its cone. Spotlights can cast is determined by how long the “fluorescent hard-edged, ray-traced shadows, and they tube” is and how far away it is from the can also cast soft-edged (but technically objects casting or receiving shadows (just imperfect) shadow-mapped shadows, which like a “real” fluorescent light). These lights are much quicker to calculate than give a soft, gentle glow. Their shadows take ray-traced shadows. These are the most longer to calculate than shadows from dis- tant, point, or spotlights, but not as long as shad- ows from area lights. Area lights are a little like spotlights in that they cast light in roughly a cone shape. But this cone lacks the controls given to spot- lights, and light is given Figure 1-9: Spotlight. off both in the direction the light is facing and directly behind it. Area lights most closely sim- ulate real-world lights and shadows. They are slow to render, even when they are not cast- ing shadows, so use them sparingly. Figure 1-10: Linear light. As LightWave has progressed from version to version, its lights and renderer (the complex engine that calculates how everything looks) have been updated to allow light to behave more and more like light in the real world. Light can now bounce off sur- Figure 1-11: Area light. faces (giving the same 5
  19. Chapter 1 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · kind of red hint when an apple is placed photography or directed live-action film or right next to a white wall). And light can theater have a distinct advantage in under- now obey the laws of caustics, meaning that standing lighting. When a room is lit for a light “wavicles” will be refracted (focused) production, it is lit differently than how it through transparent objects (like sunlight would be lit for general use. Studying how through a magnifying glass) and reflected off theatrical and cinematic lighting is shiny objects (like a gold ring throwing a bit accomplished could not be more strongly of brightness onto the stone plinth that recommended.) As you walk around your holds it). world, always look for how the environ- So, the important thing to remember ments you are moving through are lit. Then when lighting your scene in LightWave is to think about the slight changes to the think, “How would I light this in real life?” real-world lights that you’d have to make to (Those of you who have studied get the same effect within LightWave. Virtual Camera LightWave’s “cameras” are the windows can track to items in the scene and inherit through which your audience will see your its motion directly from other items (it final product (you can have up to 100 cam- could be “parented” to the wingtip of a eras in a scene). All of LightWave’s other plane if you wanted). There are more set- windows are aids in constructing your work; tings on the LightWave camera than most the camera’s viewport is the one window of us will ever need — though it is wonder- where you will showcase your work. ful to know that they’re there, just in case we ever do. Figure 1-13 has Show Safe Areas active, which gives me two sets of lines running around the outside edge of the renderable area. Even modern televisions cut off much of the picture. The outer line is known as “Action Safe” and shows where you can safely assume that any important action won’t be cut off by a viewer’s TV set. The inner line is known as “Title Safe” and Figure 1-12: The camera icon serves as a visual representation for the camera’s position and marks the extents of where important text rotation within three-dimensional space. It also or logos should go — just in case the reflects the camera’s field of view, its focal distance viewer’s TV is really old and crops that (what will be in focus when using depth of field), and where objects begin to disappear into much off the picture. LightWave’s fog. The partially gridded cross that looks like it could be in a submarine’s range When you tell LightWave to render, what- finder is what’s known as a field chart. For ever the camera is “seeing” will be fair traditional animators, a field chart helps cal- game for the renderer to draw. The camera culate panning shots (shots where the can be moved and rotated along all axes. It background is moving), but for 3D, it is 6
  20. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Playing in Three Dimensions Figure 1-13: The Camera view. The areas shaded with tan on the left and right of the viewport are indications of what is outside the camera’s 640x480 field of view. used mostly as a reference guide for ele- Note ment placement. While LightWave’s camera has, literally, no strings attached and though you could do “If you nail together two things things with that camera that would be that have never been nailed impossible with a real camera, just keep in together before, some mind that audiences have built up almost schmuck will buy it from you.” 100 years of experience watching the — George Carlin results of real cameras. I find that unless there’s a darn good reason to have a “fly- ing” camera, the story you’re telling is served much better with the camera han- dled as if it were on a virtual tripod. ··· With those basic concepts, that’s about all Your greatest assets are creativity, prob- there is to 3D! Everything else is just about lem-solving skills, and a darn good sense of finding new ways of putting things together. humor. 7
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