Essential LightWave 3D- P6

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Essential LightWave 3D- P6

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Essential LightWave 3D- P6: 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 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Lathe The Lathe tool lets you take something 2. Select Multiply | Extend | Lathe to you’ve created and “spin” it around to cre- activate the Lathe tool. Click in the ate an object. It creates geometry from Back viewport, as shown in Figure either polygons or curves. (Lathe is some- 5-12, and drag straight down. (The axis times called Sweep in other 3D packages.) you are creating defines the angle 1. Create a two-dimensional disc some- around which your disc will be where to the left of X=0. “lathed.”) Figure 5-11 Note Note In addition to using the Numeric window to Sometimes Lathe creates the new polys with change the Lathe settings, you can drag the their normals facing the “wrong” way. Be root handle around to move the center of sure to check this every time after lathing the effect. You can drag the rotation handles and flip the polygons if necessary. (Even if to specify where you want the “lathing” to you’re using a double-sided surface on your start and stop. polys, it’s always a good idea to have your Press the to reduce the normals facing the “right” way.) number of segments; press the to increase the number of segments. 138
2. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · M o d e l i n g 2 : A d d i t i o n a l To o l s Figure 5-12: Multiply | Extend | Lathe activates the Lathe tool. Figure 5-13: Lathe also works with splines (curves — also known sometimes as “rails”) to quickly create rather neat-looking chalices and other “turned” objects. (The Sketch tool (Create | Curves | Sketch) was used to quickly draw the curve that was then lathed with the same settings as the disc in Figure 5-11.) Figure 5-14: The Offset field lets you “skew” the lathe operation, letting you create springs and other nifty doodads! (Remember that you can enter a mathematical formula into any of LightWave’s Numeric input fields. So, if, as in this illustration, you didn’t quite know what five complete revolutions would be in degrees, just enter 360 * 5, and let LightWave come up with 1800.0º for you.) 139
3. Chapter 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Taper Under the Modify | Transform menu, LightWave offers two kinds of tools that Note taper your geometry. Taper lets you control Taper, Twist, and Bend all work best when the amount of effect on each axis of the you have many segments along the effect’s axis of the geometry you are deforming. taper, depending on how much you move your mouse up and down or left and right. Taper Constrain, on the other hand, affects as it extends along the Y axis. Drag left or your geometry in both directions of your right, up or down to taper your object. taper at once (for instance, if you wanted a (Technically, the Taper tool successively Doric column to evenly taper as it rises). scales the selected geometry relative to the With a Taper tool active, click in a Top distance of the selected geometry’s viewport to taper your selected geometry bottom.) Figure 5-15: The Taper Constrain tool in action. 140
5. Chapter 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 5-16: The twist axis is established by clicking in a viewport, “spindling” the effect directly away from you in the viewport in which you clicked. (Think of the axis around which you’d twist a tall stack of napkins, playing cards, or saltine crackers. You establish this axis by looking straight down at the stack.) Bend We used Bend when making our flying text logo in Chapter 3. It follows along the same rationale as Taper and Twist. Figure 5-17: Click and drag in a viewport to bend your selection as if it were a car’s radio antenna and you were looking straight down the antenna at the effect’s axis. Note Unlike Twist, Bend is usu- ally very good about not creating non-planars, if you bend a poly only once. After hitting a selection more than once with Bend, check to see if it’s created any non- planar polys. 142
6. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · M o d e l i n g 2 : A d d i t i o n a l To o l s Smooth Scale/Move Plus Smooth Scale pushes your selection out What if we wanted to make ThinGuy along each individual polygon’s normal by (one of the characters in LightWave 3D 8 the distance you enter in its input window. Character Animation) into “PlumpGuy”? (It will pull your selection in if you enter a (Hey, anything can happen in production, negative value.) Unfortunately, Smooth right?) Scale has no real-time interface, which I select the polys I want to push out and makes its use less than intuitive. That’s then select Modify | Translate | More | why the Move Plus tool is such a welcome Move Plus. By right-clicking and dragging addition to LightWave 8. Move Plus fea- up, I can push the polygons out along their tures all of the functionality of the normals, essentially puffing it up. Dragging traditional Move tool when using the left down pulls them back in. I often use the mouse button. However, when used with Move Plus tool on a character’s fingers to the right mouse button, it performs a make them fatter or thinner. real-time smooth scale. Note Due to the way Smooth Scale and Move Plus operate, they can break the symmetry on your object. Be sure to check symmetry after working with one of these tools. Figure 5-18: ThinGuy. Figure 5-19 143
7. Chapter 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 5-20: Using Smooth Scale or Move Plus on an entire object can produce some interesting results. (Remember Dig Dug?) Rail Extrude — Single Rail Rail Extrude is a little like those “Leather- smooth it out: Objects\Chapter05\ man” tools that are a combination screw- RailExtrude_Raw.lwo.) driver, pliers, scissors, awl, penknife, and so on. Rail Extrude is one little tool, but it Note does a whole lot of things. Let’s start with Notice the funky little diamond thing at one one of its simple uses and move on from end of the curve in Figure 5-21. That is the there. end I started sketching first. This is the start Have you ever wanted to create one of point of the curve, as far as LightWave’s Rail Extrude is concerned. The circle we create in those “tunnel fly-throughs”? Follow these just a moment should be right at this place if steps: we want the extrusion to follow this curve as 1. Grab the Sketch tool, and draw a rail we intend. You can switch the end LightWave thinks (curve) you’d like to have your tunnel of as its start point by flipping the curve the follow. (You can load mine, if you like. same way you would flip a polygon (). It’s had some points cut from it to help Figure 5-21 144
8. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · M o d e l i n g 2 : A d d i t i o n a l To o l s 2. With the curve in a background layer, Note create a disc and move it to the curve’s Carl Meritt’s AlignToRail plug-in, available start point. In order to have it orient on the companion CD, will automatically properly along the curve, you will also line up your polygon to the start of the back- ground curve, making quick work out of an need to rotate it so that its normal is otherwise time-consuming process. like an extension of the curve’s line. (“Spinning” around the Perspective viewport and touching up the rotation where the normal is most out of align- ment is the quickest way to get it aligned well.) Figure 5-22 Note If you want the extruded geometry to have its normals facing out, then you want to have the soon-to-be-extruded poly’s normal facing away from the curve. If you want the new geometry to have its normals facing in, then the poly’s normal should be facing toward the curve. 145
9. Chapter 5 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 3. Once you’ve got the polygon aligned, 4. Accept the default settings shown in Multiply | Extend | Rail Extrude Figure 5-22. The disc is extruded along opens the Rail Extrude: Single window. the curve (looking a little like the It has the following options: ductwork from Brazil). • Automatic segmentation will let 5. Save your object. (Mine is Objects\ LightWave make its best judgment as Chapter05\RailExtrude_1.lwo.) far as how many “slices” to make and 6. With the layer that has the curve in it where they should be so the extrusion in the foreground, select File | Export most closely follows the curve. | Path to Motion. Save the motion • Uniform Lengths lets LightWave somewhere where you’ll have intuitive distribute its specified number of seg- access to it (Motions\Chapter5\ ments so they are all equidistant along TunnelFly-Through.mot is what I the curve’s length. used). You will need to add “.mot” (with- • Uniform Knots tells LightWave out the quotes) to the end of the file for Layout to see it; Modeler doesn’t do this to distribute its specified number of segments with relation to the place- automatically when you use Path to ment and number of knots (points) on Motion. the curve. 7. Now, use Send Object to Layout so • Oriented tells LightWave to rotate we can make a movie of our quick example here. the poly, aligning it to the curve as it is extruded. 8. While in Layout, use and to adjust the grid size so your extruded object fills the screen nicely. Figure 5-23 146