Essential LightWave 3D- P20

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Essential LightWave 3D- P20

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Essential LightWave 3D- P20: 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. Chapter 20 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 20-78: The Preview window in Sasquatch is easy to set up, and a real time-saver. Both SasLite and Sasquatch render little aren’t. In SasLite, the number of curves is straight lines when they make fibers. These fixed. If there aren’t enough for the coarse- look curved, but, like a polygon, really ness and frizziness you have chosen, you might see the lines. Much more commonly, there are many more than you need, espe- cially if you are making fairly straight fibers. But you are going to render them all any- way because you can’t change the number. In Sasquatch, you can edit the Fiber Divisions number, so you aren’t rendering any more segments than you need to. Once again, this can save quite a bit of time over a long animation. In fact, Sasquatch can save you so much time that, if you have clients, and time is money, it will probably pay for itself in short order. And that’s without all the extra capabilities! However, let’s talk about those for a few moments. Figure 20-79: The Rendering page of the Sasquatch Pixel Filter panel. 558
  2. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Simulations 3: Fur and Hair Sasquatch’s Valuable Extra accept surface textures and some can be animated. Features Surface textures are called by clicking a There are things that SasLite simply can’t little “S” next to the name of the attribute. do that Sasquatch can. That opens a panel that allows you to For instance, SasLite can’t cast shadows choose whether to apply a map (image or on anything, in any way, for any reason. weight), noise, spots, effectors, slope, or Sasquatch includes a surface shader, some variation of all of them to the attrib- “Shadow of Sasquatch,” that allows you to ute. Since you can also determine how selectively cast shadows on any surface in much of each attribute will be applied in the scene, in addition to controlling the both the black and white pixels, you have a opacity, colored highlights, and softness, great deal of control. among other things. It uses shadow maps, This allows you to tweak the color, so it’s fast. You can control the size of the growth pattern, density, coarseness — vir- map in the Pixel Filter panel, so you can tually any of the parameters — in minute use small maps for small or distant objects, detail, and in very little time. and high-resolution maps for close-ups and For instance, remember the grassy plain detail work. that we made in the beginning of this chap- ter? Those fibers were applied to the whole object, at the same length and density. There wasn’t any way to tweak it so that there was more detail near the camera than on the distant hills. But with Sasquatch, there is. Using an effector (usually a null object, set up in Lay- out), it’s simple to put long, luxuriant grass near the camera, with the grass getting not only thinner but shorter (to increase the illusion of distance) farther away. In the far distance, where the fog takes over, you don’t really need any fibers at all. With Sasquatch, you don’t have to render them. And, of course, that again saves time. While we’re talking about grass, in SasLite, you have no control over the taper of the fibers. With Sasquatch, you do; you can grow fibers that are the same width Figure 20-80: Shadow of Sasquatch Shader panel. from root to tip or fibers that taper to a point. So you can make blades that look The SasLite displacement, as you know, has more like an uncut field of grass in the first one panel of options. Sasquatch has nine, place. including dynamics; most of them can 559
  3. Chapter 20 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 20-81: Sasquatch surface texture panels. Figure 20-82: Using an Effector to control fibers in Sasquatch. 560
  4. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Simulations 3: Fur and Hair Figure 20-83: SasLite grass vs. Sasquatch grass. Perhaps the biggest thing that Sasquatch The differences in color are also enor- can do but SasLite cannot is animation. mous. In SasLite, as you know, the only With SasLite, the fibers are the fibers. variation in color possible is a single con- They don’t respond to anything, and they trol, which randomly changes both the don’t change over time. brightness and hue within a percentage With Sasquatch, not only can they range. respond to wind, movement, and so on, but In Sasquatch, not only are those two length and density can be independently things separated into two different ranges animated. You can, quite literally, make (one for each), but you also pick a “Salt” fibers grow before your eyes. and a “Pepper” fiber, each of which has a different base and tip color (that’s two colors per fiber, for every fiber). You pick how close to the tip the change occurs and how sharp the division is. Then you decide the percentage of “Salt” fibers, and the percentage of blend between “Salt” and “Pep- per.” (Is each fiber either black or white, for instance, or are there some that are gray?) In addition, you can decide if the fibers inherit the dominant color from the clump they are in, if they keep their own color, Figure 20-84: Animating properties panel in Sasquatch. or if they have some per- centage of both. 561
  5. Chapter 20 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Then you can put all of that on a map, too. (The colors blend much like Multiply in Photoshop. They can be darker than the map, but never lighter.) Remember the rug we did? In Sasquatch, if you want a complex pattern in the rug all you have to do is choose pure white for the Salt and Pepper, root and tip, and use the map of the rug for the image under the Mapping button. Presto! A per- fect, colorful rug. Figure 20-86: The head, redone with Sasquatch! re-enter them in the second instance, or save the entire thing, load it into the second instance, and then tweak the non-color parameters. In Sasquatch, you can copy each page of parameters separately. So moving just the Figure 20-85: Mapping in Sasquatch, and the rug color or just the shading or just the anima- you can make with it. tion from one instance to another is a snap! (Sasquatch can also load saved SasLite files. While we’re talking about re-rendering So, if you have a wig you like in SasLite, using Sasquatch, remember the head? Well, you can use the same parameters in in Sasquatch, you don’t have to make sepa- Sasquatch. There will be lots of thing miss- rate parts for the mustache. Just choose a ing, of course, that will simply have the poly in the philtrum, and use Smart default values, but it’s a start.) Combing, starting from that poly. The beard In fact, there’s so much that Sasquatch and mustache are automatically combed, can do that I’m not going to try to tell you just the way they would grow. (You can all of it. Instead, I suggest that you go to the tweak this, if you like, but I didn’t have to Worley Labs site at here.) This, again, saves both time and and download the plug-in from the Down- frustration! load page. You won’t be able to open the If you want to match colors but not interface or change the parameters if you length, density, clumping, etc., in two don’t buy it, but you can render things that instances of SasLite, you have to either use it. make a note of the colors you used and 562
  6. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Simulations 3: Fur and Hair Download the demo files as well, and contain. Then make up your own mind if render some of them, and the Sasquatch SasLite will fill your needs or not. version of the files that I’ve included on the I hope you enjoyed this chapter, and I CD. Notice how much faster they render, encourage you to jump into Sasquatch or and how much more information they SasLite and have a ball. 563
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  8. Epilogue It has been a pleasure sharing with you any of us already well along on our own these essential techniques of using journeys can imagine. All we ask is that you LightWave as a tool for bringing the things share what you learn, what you find out, you’ve got tucked away in your mind into a with others. What you will be doing is rais- form that others can see as well. You’ve ing the level that everyone will be able to come a very long way in a very short achieve and what we expect of our amount of time. I hope the “ominous mys- achievements. tique” that may have prevailed before Just as every seventh-grader today opening these pages has been replaced with understands, without even thinking about an overwhelming sense of possibility and it, the theories that took Pythagoras almost excitement. There is so much you can do a lifetime to develop, it is our hope that with what you know right now! This is only tomorrow we will all be able to work mira- the beginning of your path! cles with 3D, the likes of which are The things in these pages are the things contemplated only by the wishful dreamers that “the best of the best” have as part of of today. their “toolboxes” that they use on a daily Where you go from here is limited only basis. (You’d eventually learn them in X by what you choose to do. You now have the number of years, but why wait?) All we’ve skill set that it takes most LightWavers done is take some choice things from our many years to develop. You could explore own toolboxs and lay them out for you to character animation and the creation of play with, to test their “heft” and “feel.” your own short films. You could delve into (These are things we couldn’t work with- special effects, even learning LScripting to out, no one should have to try to work create with mathematics things that can be without them, unless they consciously neither modeled nor animated. You could decide they don’t want to.) find yourself working with other extremely There may be some other “hotshots” dedicated and talented artists to create out there who may wonder why the heck something even bigger than Lord of the we’re doing this. Doesn’t this threaten our Rings. Or you could find yourself living a positions as authorities? Let us make this pastoral life, as if on some remote col- perfectly clear: Beyond all shadows of doubt, ony-planet, making the films you have absolutely not! always wanted to see and helping others to Consider the kind of growth in the field achieve their dreams and goals as well. of 3D that has the possibility of happening Beginnings are wonderful things. Possi- when what was once considered the pinna- bilities lay out before you like a never-end- cle of the exploration phase of LightWave is ing webwork that connects where you are now merely the beginning. The things that right now to everywhere you dream to be. you will discover should be far beyond what 565
  9. Epilogue · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Where will you choose to let your path take you do that, the work that will come through you now that it has begun? you will look more and more like the work When you think about just how far 3D that inspired you to take this journey has come in the few short years it has been yourself! actually possible, this beginning you are Be well, and enjoy the journey! now a part of is itself a part of one of the more exciting things to touch this little Timothy planet in a long, long time. Just remember, in all that you do, find the ways of making it fun. Find ways of letting Steve what you do be more play than work. When 566
  10. Appendix A Plug-ins and Programs Something that has always struck me about them, you won’t want to work without the community that has gravitated to Light- them. Wave is the amazing sense of, well, “com- I am equally thankful to each of the art- munity.” I’ve used all the major software ist/programmers who have let me include packages and only found this sense of open- the plug-ins that I use most frequently on ness, sharing, camaraderie, and support the companion CD. I encourage you, if you among the users of LightWave. These feel- have a leaning toward programming, to ings of connection exist with LightWave make note of the things you’ve always artists from all areas of the globe, regard- wished existed in LightWave and code less of language, belief, or computer them, adding to the wealth of things that platform. make the LightWave community the awe- I’m not quite sure why this is so with some “concept in action” it is. LightWave — maybe it has something to do This chapter outlines brief descriptions with the initial intent of Video Toaster as a of the plug-ins and programs that are on “paradigm shift” or something. The point is the companion CD. These descriptions that there are incredibly talented artists, describe the basics of what they do, giving programmers, and programmer/artists you an idea of whether or not they’re some- working with LightWave who have done thing you want to add to your own toolbox. some amazing things, and out of their own (Most of these are free, full versions of the feelings of connection with this community software, while some are demos of com- have chosen to share what they’ve created mercial products. All are included with the with the rest of us. These are plug-ins, permission of their authors.) LScripts, and external programs that save The directory structure for the plug-ins hours of time or make you sit up and say, is Plugs_n_Programs\Creator\Program “Dude! That’s cool! I never would have Name\Computer Platform\. thought of that!” Each included plug-in (or program) has As a firm believer in giving back, and its own README file in either its Program someone who uses these additions to Name or Computer Platform directories. LightWave on a constant basis, I am very The README files will get into much thankful and deeply indebted to the works more depth about how to use and set up the of these honorable people. What they have plug-ins (or programs). created are things that would sell for hun- A snippet of the creator’s web site is dreds, if not thousands, of dollars were we included under the Creator directory, as is a using Maya, XSI, or 3ds max. These are link to the web site itself. You’ll be able to incredibly helpful tools. Once you start using get the most recent versions of the files 567
  11. Appendix A · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · directly from there and see what new things Note those artist/programmers have created. Most of these utilities are for both Intel and Macintosh. Some, however, have not yet been compiled for Macintosh (at the time of Note publication). I apologize for the frustration this may present to Mac users of LightWave. You will need to know how to add plug-ins With the aim of strengthening the ties of in order to implement their functionality into the LightWave community, if you are a Mac LightWave. If you do not know how to do programmer and can offer your time to this, please see the LW manuals. compile a plug-in for Intel-only LightWave coders, I’m sure they, as well as Macintosh LightWave users, would be grateful for your help. 3D Cybercorp guide for when you are painting UV texture Plug-in by Antony Scerri maps. What makes this cool: Without this UV Imaginator plug-in, you typically take a screen capture of your UV Map viewport and paste it into (Intel, Mac OS9, Mac OSX) Full Version your paint program. Your resolution, then, is limited to that of your screen. UV What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Addi- Imaginator lets you create any resolution tional | UV Imaginator generates a bitmap image of a UV map layout, even letting you image of any UV map that you have generate the bitmap based on a current assigned to a model, which you can use as a selection or surface! Figure A-1: UV Imaginator. 568
  12. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Plug-ins and Programs Notes: Once you have set the tar- get image with Save As, be sure to click Generate. (No bitmap is created unless you click Generate.) Figure A-2: The bitmap generated by the settings shown in Figure A-1, ready to be used as a template for your painted texture in your paint program. ASA What it is: Layout => Effects | Pro- Plug-ins by Juha Pinola cessing | Image Filter | ASA_BufferSaver is a plug-in for advanced users that saves ASA BufferSaver images containing the internal buffers that LightWave uses to create its images (Intel, Mac OS9) Full Version (Specularity, Shading, Raw RGB, etc.). Figure A-3: ASA BufferSaver. 569
  13. Appendix A · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · What makes this cool: By saving the Side Note: If you’re into random-dot internal buffers and then using a program stereograms, you can use this plug-in to like CinePaint or After FX to combine them save the depth buffer to the black-and- after rendering, you can have amazing con- white image an RDS-generating program trol over how the final image looks. You can needs to work its “magic.” (You can find adjust the darkness and tonality of base col- RDS programs through, ors, shadows, and highlights. You can blur explored in Appendix B.) the Specular shading buffer, using Screen to create soft “bloom-like” effects. (The list of ASA ColorPicker things you can do to control every aspect of the final image without re-rendering is (Intel) Full Version nearly endless.) This is what the pros do. Notes: Working in this manner is highly What it is: Layout => General Options | advanced, but it is something that you will Color Picker | ASA_ColorPicker changes want to get into when you want your ren- the tool you use to select colors in ders to start taking on even more of a LightWave’s interface. professional feel. The code-like information What makes this cool: This opens up a in the Buffers fields refers to which individ- whole new level of precision and ease for ual buffer channels (shown under the Help choosing your colors in LightWave. You can button) will be used to make up the R, G, B, compare your original color with the color and alpha channels of the output image. you are selecting in the upper part of its (The first entry in the Buffers field stands window and use the “ratchet-ring” around for the red channel, then the green channel, the color wheel to micro-adjust your color the blue channel, and finally the alpha selection. channel.) Notes: Using this plug-in makes select- ing colors in other programs seem like a drag. Figure A-4: ASA ColorPicker. 570
  14. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Plug-ins and Programs Fake Irradiance Illumination (Intel) Full Version get the look of radiosity but don’t have the time for even Backdrop Only radiosity, you What it is: Surface Editor | Shaders | need this plug-in. ASA_FakeIrradianceIllumination allows you Notes: See the README file for to use a prerendered image to precalculate instructions on how to set up this plug-in a very convincing “fake” radiosity. and generate the image the plug-in needs to What makes this cool: If you want to do its magic. Light Absorption in See-Through Items (Intel, Mac OS9) Full Version What it is: Surface Editor | Shaders | ASA_LASI is a shader that calculates the com- plex mathematics for the way light behaves when passing through transparent objects. What makes this cool: This lets you have “glass” objects that more or less accu- rately recreate their real-world counterparts. While ray-tracing with this plug-in will very accu- rately recreate real life, you can Figure A-5 (Image by Juha Pinola — used with permission) render without ray-tracing and still have your surfaces show the coolness of light being absorbed as it passes through “see-through” items. Notes: I’ve found this plug-in to be a little bit of a chal- lenge to pick up at first, but when you do get the hang of its settings, it is well worth the time spent learning it. Figure A-6 (Image by Juha Pinola — used with permission) 571
  15. Appendix A · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ASA RenderTarget (Intel) Full Version What it is: ASA_RenderTarget does a couple of things, but what I imagine you might find most helpful is its ability to render what any camera in your scene is “look- ing at” onto a surface. (In this case, it is applied as a shader.) You’ll Figure A-7 probably find this extremely useful if you’re doing “vid-screens” that monitor an area from Notes: In the ASA RenderTarget shader several angles at once (or monitor the dif- interface, RTC (Render Target Camera) lets ferent parts of a spaceship’s exterior). you choose which camera’s view (already in What makes this cool: Using Surface your scene) will be shown on the surface. Editor | Shaders | ASA_RenderTarget lets IMO (Isometric Object) lets an object be you do “in camera” things that would nor- your “camera” if Isometric is checked at the mally require you to prerender and then top of the window. This plug-in only does map the prerendered image sequences onto planar mapping at the moment, so be sure surfaces in your scene. your (Planar Mapping) axis is set correctly. Blochi (As an LScript, it will work on both Intel Plug-in by Blochi and Macintosh — regardless of Mac OS.) What makes this cool: Try making a Thickener couple of complex flat objects “thick” in the same way by hand and get back to me. (LScript) Full Version Notes: Thickener is more than Extrude, more than Smooth Scale. It thickens objects What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Utility along each poly’s normal. Try it. I think | Additional | Thickener will add real thick- you’ll like it! ness to a flat object, even sub-patch objects. 572
  16. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Plug-ins and Programs Figure A-8 (Images by Blochi — used with permission) Faulknermano object you set as the focus object right in Plug-in by Lernie Ang the middle of that camera’s depth of field. What makes this cool: When you’re RackFocusCF using LightWave’s real depth of field, once you set the focus object you no longer have (LScript) Full Version to fiddle with envelopes to track a moving object. What it is: RackFocusCF is a channel filter Notes: If you are exploring depth of that you apply under the camera’s Depth of field, I highly recommend looking into Field | Focal Distance envelope (on the LightWave’s fast and good-looking DOF Graph Editor’s Modifiers tab). It will make “faker” (Effects | Processing | Image Filter the camera’s Focal Distance Curve auto- | Digital Confusion). matically alter itself to keep whatever 573
  17. Appendix A · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · FI Texture Editor | Procedural Type pop-up ~f_ichikawa/ menu. Plug-ins by Fujio Ichikawa What makes this cool: Using mathe- matics to define a texture as opposed to painting one will more often than not give FI’s Procedural Textures you a better-looking texture that uses far (Intel) Full Version less memory and looks good both from a great distance and at close range. What it is: fisptxtrs.p adds seven new pro- Notes: The README and, more impor- cedural textures to choose from under your tantly, the sample scenes (under the Intel directory) will get you up to speed the quickest on how to use each one of these new procedurals. Figure A-9 FI’s Wrinkle (Intel, Mac OS9, Mac OSX) Full Version FI’s Wrinkle adds works perfectly with sub-patches and only adds the minimum What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Addi- amount of geometry to keep the detail in tional | FI’s_Wrinkle will “wrinkle” your place. model along a “seam” desig- nated by your point selection. You drag your mouse left or right to change the depth of the wrinkle and up or down to change its width. What makes this cool: You can quickly add detail to a mesh that holds up under scrutiny far better than any Figure A-10: This model is the Peixe+Wrinkles.lwo that is found in each painted texture. The detail of the different computer platform directories for this plug-in. 574
  18. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Plug-ins and Programs Notes: With something that makes the ones that look so natural, so much a detailing as simple as this, it is easy to go part of the way the model “should” be, that overboard on how much you put into your you barely notice them until you look. model. Remember that the best details are Key Reducer (LScript) Full Version (making changes to the animation an exer- cise in tedium), this will give you a curve What it is: Scene | Utilities | Generics | that is much more easily animatable. (Or, if KeyReducer will eliminate all unnecessary you find your curves getting sloppy with keyframes from TCB curves. too many keys, you can use this to “clean” What makes this cool: This plug-in them.) does its best to maintain the original shape Notes: This plug-in will only work with of the curve, as seen in Figure A-11. If TCB splines. you work with motion capture data where there is a keyframe on every single frame Figure A-11: Key Reducer. 575
  19. Appendix A · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · JettoCrack 3D Plug-ins by Javier Gómez Cáceres JettoBevel (Intel/Mac) Full Version What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Additional | JettoBevel is an advanced all-in-one bevel tool. What makes this cool: Com- bining the power of Bevel, Rail Bevel, and Rounder into one tool, JettoBevel makes it a snap to create complex bevels and works wonders in complex situations where power tools like Rounder fail. Its simple interface allows you to try out various bevels before committing to them and even allows you to assign new surfaces as you bevel. JettoFillet Figure A-12 (Intel/Mac) Full Version What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Addi- However, Rounder can only fillet points on tional | JettoFillet rounds the sharp edges 3D objects. JettoFillet augments Rounder’s of individual polygons. function by providing filleting on 2D What makes this cool: LightWave’s objects. Rounder tool provides point rounding (also known as filleting in many 3D applications). 576
  20. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Plug-ins and Programs Figure A-13 JettoLocal (Intel) Full Version What it is: Modeler => Utilities | Addi- tional | JettoLocal allows you to define a local coordinate system in Modeler. What makes this cool: By defining a local coordinate system, you can reorient an object so that any given polygon rests flush with the ground. This becomes critical when you want to align one object with another but find it difficult to do so due to the object’s rotation. The local coordinate system can be saved with the object and restored to LightWave’s native coordinate system at any time. Figure A-14 577
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