Essential LightWave 3D- P9

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Essential LightWave 3D- P9

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Essential LightWave 3D- P9: 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 9 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 9-36 12. Smooth shift and then move the two tucking the new polys inside the pant sets of symmetrical polys down to leg, with the new points lying along begin to form the shape of the legs. the same plane as defined by the calf 13. Continue smooth shifting and moving segment. to create the rest of the geometry for 14. On a new layer, create a box that is 2 the legs. You should have a segment at segments in Y, 2 segments in X, and 4 the knee and where the calf muscle segments in Z. Position this box on the (Gastrocnemius) bulges. Terminate the positive side of X=0 where the charac- pants similarly to what we did for the ter’s foot should be. end of the cuff — smooth shifting and Figure 9-37 Figure 9-38 228
  2. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 2 : C h a r a c t e r B o d y Note Here’s where drawing training comes into play helpful book on getting someone from square in a huge way. How do you know what propor- one to having their work look like a master fig- tions are right for a body unless you’ve trained urative artist in simple, understandable, yourself to see and understand what is right? achievable steps. (While working at Disney, I Drawing is the cheapest, quickest, most porta- took Glen’s life drawing classes and was ble way to train your eye to see what is right. dumbstruck when he was able to get produc- (If you look at drawing simply as a training tion assistants to create life drawings that exercise for something you really enjoy doing, looked as good as a full-on animator’s draw- you’ll get really good really fast and not even ings in a matter of a couple of months!) To put know you’re doing it.) it bluntly: If you want to learn how to draw fig- Drawing is just understanding mathematical ures well, get his book, read it, and do the relationships. (Hello? What is modeling?) Any- exercises. It’s as simple as that. one — and I mean anyone — can learn to However, even if you’re not a master figura- draw and learn to draw well! It’s just a matter tive artist, you can still make sure your of doing whatever it takes to trust that you will character’s proportions are correct by loading see from your own drawings the same quality into your backdrops images of characters in of mathematical relationships that you see in similar poses that you know are correctly pro- “good” drawings. portioned. By working from something that is The Vilppu Drawing Manual by Glen Vilppu correct, you are training yourself to expect to (available through the Animation World Net- see those same correct proportions in your work, http:www.awn.com) is the single most own work. Pretty neat, huh? Figure 9-39 Figure 9-40 15. Select Activate Sub-Patches for the 16. In a Top viewport, drag the points box, and move the points of its middle around so the box begins looking like a Y segment down to indicate the thick- shoe. ness of the shoe’s sole. 229
  3. Chapter 9 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 9-41 17. Having applied a surface that is “shoe- 18. Select the four polys that make up the like,” select the points of the shoe’s top rear of the shoe’s top and smooth shift and stretch them inward, so the shoe them. Then move them up just a bit to becomes less “boxy” when viewed start creating the ankle. from the sides. Then, grab the center 19. Smooth shift and move the polys again, point for the toe area of the shoe, and making the lower part of the calf and move it upward to give us the good ol’ fitting it inside the pant leg. “cartoon-shoe look,” as shown in Fig- ure 9-42. Figure 9-42 Figure 9-43 230
  4. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 2 : C h a r a c t e r B o d y Figure 9-44 20. Now, select only the polys you’ve just Apply a “sock-like” surface to them, created in making the calf/ankle (in- and you’ve got some “loafer action” cluding the ones you’ve been smooth going on. shifting, now at the top of the calf’s 22. Start pushing points until you’ve got a “spike”). nice cartoony form for the shoe/foot/ 21. Smooth shift them. Then move them ankle. down to set them inside the shoe. Figure 9-45 Figure 9-46 231
  5. Chapter 9 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 9-47 23. Apply a sole-like surface to the bottom You’ve given this guy some neat feet! layer of the shoe, rotate the whole (When you’re done, cut and paste them thing outward a bit, and mirror on the onto the main layer for your character.) X axis. Finishing Touches This section describes a few finishing touches you can make to your character. Figure 9-49 2. Select Deactivate Sub-Patches for Figure 9-48 the polys, and push their points so 1. Select the four polygons that make up you’ve got something more discoid the neck area at the top of your charac- than the rectangle they originally ter’s torso. formed. 232
  6. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 2 : C h a r a c t e r B o d y Figure 9-50 3. Continuing to view your selection as 4. Smooth shift, and then move and polygons, smooth shift and then stretch stretch those polys in and down to them to create a bit of a “lip” for what become the inside of the shirt’s neck, will become the shirt’s neck. returning all your polys to sub-patches. (See Figure 9-51.) 5. Go back through your model and adjust Note anything that needs tweaking. You now I find that when working in a Perspective have a base you can use as is or, using viewport, LightWave’s tools conform to a plane described by the viewport’s “point of Smooth Shift and BandSaw, you can view.” So, to scale something that doesn’t lie add as much detail as you’d like, mak- along a simple X, Y, or Z plane, you can ing nearly any kind of humanoid angle your Perspective viewport so you’re character imaginable. looking “directly down” at your selection. Working from this angle, your tools will work more or less as they do when manipulating something in an isometric view lying “flat” on an X, Y, or Z plane. Figure 9-51 233
  7. Chapter 9 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 9-52 Note If you’d like to load the character I modeled vehicles, I found that when you use Align to for this exercise, he can be found in Path in Layout, the object gets aligned with Objects\Chapter09\Character_F.lwo. its “front” being whatever is facing down the If you load him in, you’ll notice that he’s +Z axis. (It didn’t take more than a couple facing along the positive Z axis (versus of times of mucking about with parenting my “looking” along the negative Z axis, as he already-surfaced-the-way-I-wanted model was while modeling him). When I’m model- to a null and having the null Align to Path ing, I don’t get all concerned with which way before I started just modeling things “right” my character is facing — I’m all about get- to begin with.) ting the job done well and quickly. However, Then when I started getting into rigging when I’m animating a character, I always some complex character setups, I found that have him facing along the positive Z axis (as I could “trust” IK more readily for what I was do 98% of all other technical directors). So, doing if I had the character facing along +Z. for Character_F.lwo, I’ve already rotated him With the improvements to how LW handles 180 degrees around his Y axis at X=0, Z=0, rotations and pivots, this isn’t quite as so he’s still perfectly symmetrical but facing important as it was then, but I stick with the the “proper” way. convention because it has come to make How did this convention of characters fac- sense to me — I don’t have to think about it ing along +Z get started? I can only speak when I’m working; I expect things to be a for myself, but when I started animating certain way. 234
  8. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 2 : C h a r a c t e r B o d y ... Nearly all character modeling follows the know the proportions are good, I can lose same basic steps that we followed here. myself in the details for days, knowing that When building my own characters, I always what gnarly stuff I’ve done won’t have to be start with a base like this — something that scrapped because I wasn’t paying attention has only as many segments as needed to to the rest of the character. hold the geometry in place. Often, I’ll save I suppose what we’re doing here could my base for later, just in case I want to have be called “deductive modeling” — modeling a “stand-in” model if my scene becomes so from the general to the specific, just like thick with objects that animating slows to a Sherlock Holmes’ reasoning to solve a crawl. mystery. Because we’ve created such gen- For making my final, “super-mega-ultra” eral forms to work with, with only a few high-res models, I take this base, whose more hours of working, you can quickly proportions I know are correct, and start turn this base into nearly any bipedal, working at it like a sculptor chiseling away humanoid character imaginable! at a rough-hewn marble likeness. Because I 235
  9. Chapter 10 Organic Modeling Exercise 3: Head Modeling Modeling a human face and head is one of so much time looking at faces, we don’t the most challenging things you can model spend much time at all really seeing and (if you’re not used to modeling human understanding the structures that create heads, that is). It isn’t difficult; it is just the complex shape of the human facial very, very exacting. If you give yourself the mask. time you need to get it done and have So, to become skilled at modeling human someone show you a path you can follow, it faces, we must become skilled at under- can be a fun, relaxing, explorative process. standing the layers, landmarks, and multi- If you’re one of those people who really ple planes that create its complex system of enjoys falling into the details and noodling interrelationships. A human face can look to your heart’s content, head/facial model- completely different when seen from a ing can be one of the most enjoyable areas slightly different angle. This is because of of 3D modeling. the relationships of the many planes that How can something be “challenging” make up the human face. As the head turns, and yet “not difficult”? Well, we are all these planes create an ever-shifting flow of experts on the geometry and landmarks of silhouettes. In short: We must let go of the the human face. Every day, from the time symbolism of what we think we are seeing we get up in the morning to the time we go and begin to truly understand what we are to bed at night, we are surrounded by seeing. human faces. Faces tell us 90% of the In this simple tutorial, there is little things about a person he doesn’t say with space for me to do more than show you how his voice. Our survival on a day-to-day basis to “stretch” a polygonal mesh over an imag- depends on being able to identify the subtle inary structure. This tutorial will indeed landmarks that exist as commonalities to all result in a completed human head, but it human faces and being able to extrapolate will not leave you with the understanding of the underlying thought/feeling processes why the head looks the way it does. If you that alter these landmarks from their find you enjoy the process of facial model- “at-rest” positions. (In industrial design ing (and there are modelers in studio terms, the “tolerances” of the human face environments who specialize in faces and are measured in hundredths of millimeters.) facial shapes for animation), then let this be We all get gut feelings when something a first step for you — let it be a tool for you on a face isn’t quite right. While we spend 236
  10. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g to translate your future studies of facial Note anatomy into a 3D environment. While this exercise isn’t necessarily compli- The method that is outlined in this chap- cated, it does require that you follow the ter represents only one way to work. It is instructions carefully. If you find yourself struggling for whatever reason, make sure known as the detail-out approach. It begins you are following the instructions exactly. by modeling a small, detailed area of the (Yes, it is pedantic, but it is the best that can head (typically the eye) and then working be done without having me actually be there out from there. The detail-out approach is with you.) If you have to backtrack to a point where you know things were on track, that’s arguably the most popular way to build a okay. Usually, getting off-track is a simple head, but it’s not the only way. There are matter of slipping past some simple bit of two other approaches that artists typically detail. use: box modeling and spline modeling. Box modeling rivals the detail-out approach in its popularity. This method Note begins with a large, generic shape (typically Actually, there is an easy way to do facial a box) and works the details in from there. modeling. Take an existing head you know is The third major approach, spline modeling, modeled well, and start pushing points. is in many ways a hybrid of the other two To this end, Objects\Chapter10\Head_ Base_F.lwo is the finished model of what we approaches. Spline modeling involves the create in this chapter. You may find that creation of a low-resolution cage to gener- while you need a human head for this or ate the overall form. After that the details that, you have no desire to sit down and are modeled in. We’ll take an extensive look actually build one yourself. That’s fine! Take this guy and start “pushin’ dem points!” at the process of spline modeling a head in Chapter 14. I encourage you to try the different Note approaches and find the one that works best for you. Each approach has its advantages Industry sayings: and disadvantages. But be prepared — There is no “Animate” button on a com- there is no quick and easy way to do head puter’s keyboard. There is no “Model Human Head” button modeling. There are very few shortcuts, on a computer’s keyboard. and there is much that must be done by hand. The advantage of the detail-out approach Note is that it gives the artist complete control Industry joke: (quite literally) right from square one. There is nothing that gets left to chance. Q. What’s the easiest way to do facial mod- eling? Anything that is out of place is that way A. Pay someone else to do it for you. because of what the artist has done. Having learned what to expect in this process, I can now put a head model together in about two to three hours (with the right music to jam to as I work), whereas my first head took nearly two days to build. 237
  11. Chapter 10 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Reference The detail-out approach to facial modeling To work in the way that is outlined here, we requires that you have something to refer- need a front and a side view of the face we ence as you work. When you’re directly are modeling, as shown in Figure 10-2. referencing something, as we do here, it’s a 1. Under Display Options | Backdrop, lot easier to get a result that looks decent. set the Backdrop Image for your Front viewport to Reference\ch10\Head_ Frontal_Ref.png and the Image for your Left viewport to Reference\ ch10\Head_Profile_Ref.png. The Size for both images will need to be set to 33.3375 cm. You’ll want to set the Image Resolution to 512 so when you get in close, the image won’t get all pixelated on you. So the images don’t overpower your points and polys in the viewports, you’ll want to reduce the contrast of the backdrops. Some people like to have Pixel Blending on to make the images even smoother (I, person- ally, am not fond of this). The rest of the settings should be left alone. Figure 10-1: The reference figure. Figure 10-2: The head underneath the musher in Figure 10-1. 238
  12. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g Figure 10-3 Figure 10-5 Figure 10-4 2. Zoom in tight on the reference model’s 3. Create another “ring” of eight points, eye in a Front (or Rear) viewport. just outside the first, where the lid Create eight points, outlining the eye begins to “turn” to meet the eyeball. where the lid meets the eyeball, as shown in Figure 10-4. (You don’t have to worry about point order as we work.) 239
  13. Chapter 10 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 10-6 4. Create one more ring of eight points, as shown in Figure 10-6. Figure 10-8 6. Having added two more rings, follow- ing the same theory used in the making of topographical maps (where more rings indicate more changes in alti- tude), we have something that looks a little like Locutus of Borg. Figure 10-7 7. Next, we do something similar for the area around the mouth. Notice how the 5. Manually select each set of four points, area at the corner of the mouth is han- creating quad-polys from them and dled. We want to always try to envision making two rings of quad-polys around a “Spider-Man-like webwork” radiating the opening for the eyeball. (Con- out from major landmarks on our char- necting points clockwise will make a acter, flowing smoothly around and poly with its normal facing one way; over the “topography.” Sometimes, this connecting them counterclockwise will isn’t possible when we are trying to make the normal face in the opposite work only with quads, so we do our direction.) best to improvise, as we have with the corner of the mouth. (See Figure 10-9.) 240
  14. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g Figure 10-9 Figure 10-10 Figure 10-11 8. Do the same thing for the nose, plan- 9. Create the polys from the existing ning out how the radial segments will points, bridging the mouth, nose, and connect. eye socket. 241
  15. Chapter 10 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 10-13 Figure 10-12 10. Continue expanding the “webwork 11. Continuing to work in similar fashion topology” across the face. Let’s face it, around the topography of the head, it’s difficult to plan out everything establish one half of the “facial mask.” you’re going to do and everything (Make sure that all the points that are you’ll need. You may need to add seg- in the center of the work actually do fall ments or, like in this work-in-progress on X=0, using Detail | Points | Set in these figures, remove segments. Value if necessary.) With BandGlue, I was able to remove a band of polys I didn’t really need. 242
  16. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g 12. Mirroring along the X axis and merging points gives us a completed, two- dimensional facial mask. 13. Now take the points along X=0 and move, drag, and magnet them so they roughly fit the silhouette of the refer- ence face in the Left viewport. (Remember that when we sub-patch this mesh, the sub-patch will be slightly “inside” the points that define it.) Note When you’re moving your points to conform to the reference profile, to help make sure that you’re only moving them in Z, hold down before moving your points. Your movement will be restricted to the axis in which your selection is moved first. Figure 10-14 Figure 10-15 243
  17. Chapter 10 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 10-16 14. Work your way outward from the mask’s center, using the visual cues Note from both backdrops to make your best Don’t forget about the power of making guess as to where the points should be. point selection sets to help you quickly “sift” through the points of a complex model. (See (Right now, all we are concerned about Chapter 3, Figures 3-17 through 3-19.) is getting close.) Figure 10-17: The third “row” out from the center — a “work-in-progress.” 244
  18. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g Note 15. Once all the points have been “pushed” Don’t worry yourself with checking your using our best judgment, take a look at work in a Perspective viewport. Getting all the results of our labor in a Perspective nitpicky about the details before you’ve got viewport. (If your work is anything like everything roughed in is a sure way to let mine, it looks pretty creepy!) time get away from you. Once all the points are in their rough positions, we can then go in and start noodling. Figure 10-18: You can use selections of points that you can see clearly in one viewport to help you make sense of complicated areas in another viewport. Figure 10-19: Try to get your radial segments as smooth as possible in both viewports. 245
  19. Chapter 10 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 10-20: When working on the forehead, switch to a Top viewport so you can more clearly examine the arc that the points define (seen here with the extra “clutter” of the rest of the face hidden). Figure 10-21 246
  20. · · · · · · · · O r g a n i c M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 3 : H e a d M o d e l i n g 16. Continue to push points only along the Z axis, referencing all four viewports until you have something that looks a little less like a prop from a B-grade horror film. Figure 10-22 Note There may be times when no matter how (much better). you tweak your points, the sub-patches just When you select two adjacent quad-polys seem to refuse to give you the contour you and use Spin Quads, Modeler “reworks” are looking for. This is because of the way those two polys based on the different ways the radial segments are defining the topog- of “connecting the dots” to make two quad- raphy of your face. Now, you could scrap rilateral polygons (leaving the “dots” right what you’ve done, reworking based on a where they were). stronger knowledge You can use of what your topog- Spin Quads to raphy must be in completely order to get the restructure your forms you want (not radial seg- fun). Or you could ments. (Spin use Detail | Poly- Quads works gons | Spin Quads with Symmetry to rework your active too!) radial segments without having to Figure 10-23 tear down anything 247
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