Essential LightWave 3D- P14

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Essential LightWave 3D- P14: 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 14 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 14-147: The finished ear. Figure 14-148: The finished head. From here, you can continue to reshape the complete or better. If you find that it’s not ear to your satisfaction. Figure 14-147 quite right, I encourage you to continue shows the completed ear. working with it. Being willing to push past Zoom out and take a look at what you’ve the point of mediocrity is often what turns a got. The head model should be at least 93% good model into a great one. 378
  2. · · · · S p l i n e M o d e l i n g E xe r c i s e 2 : M o d e l i n g a H u m a n H e a d Closing Thoughts We’ve covered a tremendous amount of constructing morph targets for facial anima- ground in this chapter, from the proper tion. Build the rest of the body and use the techniques of building a spline cage to refin- information in Chapters 15 and 16 to get ing the mesh and adding in complex details. started in character animation. Let the In the process, you’ve constructed a work you’ve done in this chapter be the world-class head model. From here, I start of great things as you continue to real- encourage you to continue on. Begin ize your dreams in 3D. 379
  3. Chapter 15 Layout 2: Animation Basics This chapter explores the basic tools that Note LightWave uses to control the movements As we go through this chapter, you’ll see of items within an animation. While these that the tools LightWave offers to manipu- are the tools to control animation, they are late animations are rather complex. We’ve already touched on some of them in Chap- not the skills to create great works of ani- ter 2 while “dissecting” Layout. Throughout mation. There’s an entire book (LightWave this chapter, I’ll be referring to things we 3D 8 Character Animation) devoted to covered there. understanding these skills — inverse kine- matics, bones, weight mappings, and the Here, I’ll give you a taste of some of the skills common to good animation, whether things that are in store for you in the world hand-drawn on paper or created in of animation. These are things that are inte- LightWave. gral to animation, but they are no more animation itself than a cinema is the movies it shows. Keyframes (Keys) The concept of keyframes comes from tradi- LightWave when you change an item’s tional animation (animation drawn on scaling, rotation, or position (if you have paper). The animator draws the primary Auto Key Create active) or by using Create poses — the ones that define the action — Key to manually create a keyframe. assigning the drawings positions on a dope How do animators know how much time sheet (a spreadsheet that shows the position (how many frames) to put between their in time of every drawing within a scene). keyframes? We use a stopwatch to time After the animator is happy with the defini- either how long it takes for us to do an tion of the action, the scene goes on to action physically or how long the action other artists who fill in the drawings that takes to play out in our imaginations. come in between the key drawings (cre- The thing I never liked about stop- atively called inbetweens). watches is that I could never find one that A keyframe in LightWave is a record of would give me the timings in frames (work- the position, rotation, and/or scale of an ing in 30 FPS for NTSC or 24 FPS for film), item, whether it be an object, bone, light, feet/frames, SMPTE, or whatever. (I had to camera, etc. A keyframe is recorded in do all that “translation” in my head or on 380
  4. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics paper.) So, I wrote a little utility in Flash that serves as an animation timer and unit-conversion utility. The Itty-Bitty Animation Timer looks simple but packs a lot of power. Click on the icon at the center to time how long you hold the mouse button down. Click Frames, Feet/Frames, SMPTE, or Seconds to see your time displayed in that format. You can manually enter any value for any field, and press to update the calculations (this is how you change your FPS or add a frame offset if you’re timing part of an action that doesn’t start on frame 0). Note You can find more information on The Itty-Bitty Animation Timer, along with a whole slew of other plug-ins, programs, and Figure 15-1: The Itty-Bitty Animation Timer. utilities, in Appendix A. 1. Load Objects\Chapter15\Anima- tion.lwo. We’ll be doing a little “flying logo” work with this bit of text. Figure 15-2 381
  5. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Note Note The worlds of broadcasting and advertising Don’t hesitate to flip back through Chapter are cyclical. At the time of publication, pref- 2’s section on Layout if you need to. There’s erences have leaned toward 3D that doesn’t a lot to remember here! Know your own cur- look “3D” (i.e., no hugely thick block letters). rent limits as to how much you can retain, Keep this in mind if you’re putting together a and don’t kick yourself for being within reel to get hired doing this kind of work. those limits. Learning is a skill that is devel- Generally, it isn’t a good idea to have things oped through practice! that look outdated on your reel — keep up with what’s current. 3. Making sure you’re still on frame 0, move the text along the negative Z axis 2. We’ll be working in 24 frames per sec- until it is just a tiny bit “behind” the ond, so make sure that you’ve got this camera (as shown in Figure 15-3, the set under General Options | Frames camera “sees” from an invisible point Per Second. Our animation will be in the center of its icon). You will also 1.75 seconds, so (using The Itty-Bitty want to move the text a little bit in the Animation Timer to convert 1.75 sec- negative X axis so the camera is onds into frames) enter 42 as your End between the “m” and “a” in the word Frame in both the Frame Slider and the “Animation.” Render Options fields. Take a moment to make sure you have both parts of Auto Key Create active! (You’ll have to develop your own preferences as to whether your moving an item will cre- ate keys on only the channels in which it is moved or on all channels at once.) Figure 15-3 382
  6. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics Note Clicking and dragging on an item’s handles will restrict movement, rotation, or scaling to one axis. It makes precise positioning much easier, especially when working in a Per- spective viewport. (Make sure you have Display Options | Show Handles active.) Figure 15-4 4. Now, we’re going to get into some 5. Press to bring up the Go to Frame actual animation. Moving the Frame dialog and enter 36, as shown in Figure Slider to frame 6, move your text 15-5. Move the text toward the positive toward the positive Z axis so it just Z axis by about another meter at frame barely fills the “title safe” area (see 36. (This will keep the text “alive” Chapter 2 if necessary) in a Camera while the viewers are reading what it viewport. You’ll also want to move the says.) text to X=0 so it’s centered again. (Now you can move the Frame Slider back and forth between 0 and 6 and watch the text come zooming in from behind the camera.) 383
  7. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Figure 15-5 Figure 15-6 6. Now go to frame 42 (the end of our mathematical perfection. Its default mode of scene), and enter the value of 200 m interpolation is a kind of spline (spatial line) for that frame’s Z position. (This will known as a TCB spline (which stands for make the text “zoom off” into the tension, continuity, and bias). This kind of distance.) spline is affected heavily by large, quick Hey! You’re animating! (Well, you’re start- motions that come immediately before or ing to at least.) When you “scrub” the after a keyframe (just like we’ve got Frame Slider back and forth, you’ll see that between frames 0 and 6). The solution to the text “bounces” backward, going our bouncing text is to either add more “behind” the camera again between frames keyframes or manually adjust the interpola- 6 and 36. It didn’t do this before when we tion to make the “inbetweening” exactly scrubbed through our frames in Figure 15-4. what we want for our motion. LightWave’s This is not what we want our text to do. Graph Editor will let us “sculpt” the func- LightWave will interpolate (inbetween) tion curves that control every aspect of an from keyframe to keyframe smoothly with item’s motion — and more! 384
  8. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics “Motion” Graph Editor Below the File pop-up menu on the upper- select the new item, and reopen the Graph left side of the Layout interface is the Editor). Shift-double-click to add an item’s Graph Editor button. Clicking on it will channels to the list you are currently open the “Motion” Graph Editor for your viewing. selected item. (The Graph Editor controls a lot more than just motions now, though at • The Graph area itself is where you right-click and drag to create a bounding one time that’s all it did, and so us “old-tim- box for selecting multiple keyframes or ers” still sometimes call it by its original left-click and drag to modify them. (The name: “Motion Graph.”) same hot key and mouse combinations Every aspect of an item’s motion and you’re used to in Modeler will work here as every “envelopable” attribute is controlled well to zoom and scroll the view.) through this interface. Press to Zoom All and to Zoom Selected. (There’s so • Just below the Graph area are the Graph Editor’s tool buttons. From the left much here that I’m going to just hit the are Move Keys, Add Keys, Stretch high points and leave the details to the LW Keys, Roll Keys, and Zoom. (Left-click manual.) and drag affects the selected keys’ value, • On the left side, the Channels list while Ctrl-left-click and drag affects the shows all the aspects that LW is tracking for selected keys’ frames.) the currently selected item. Click on one channel to view and edit it in the Graph • Frame is an input field that shows the frame on which your currently selected area, or Shift-click or Ctrl-click to select keyframe is located. more than one channel to view and modify at once. • Value tells you the selected key on the selected channel’s precise location. (In Fig- • Double-click on an item under the ure 15-7, we are looking only at the “curve” Channels tab (just under the Channels list) for the Z position for the item named Ani- to change what item’s curves you are view- mation. On the selected frame, 6, it is at ing (without having to close the window, precisely –2.3195 m along the Z axis.) Figure 15-7: The Graph Editor. 385
  9. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · • Pre Behavior and Post Behavior tell of +1 to get an item to ease into or out LightWave what to do before it reaches the of its keyed position.) item’s first keyframe and after it reaches its last keyframe (respectively). • Hermite Spline gives you little “handles” that extend from the key, • Constant (as shown in the figure) allowing you to visually control the holds the value of the first key for shape of the curve. (It isn’t quite as “infinity” before the first keyframe controllable as a bezier spline.) Alt- begins and/or the value of the last key dragging on one of these handles will for “infinity” after the last keyframe. let you split it from its partner, so it is not a mirror of the handle on the other • Reset sets the value of the graph side of the key. Double-clicking on a to 0 when it has no more keys with which to work. handle that has been split will get it to once again mirror the angle of the han- • Repeat plays the series of keys dle on the other side of the key. over and over again, ad infinitum. • Oscillate “ping-pongs” the anima- • Bezier Spline also gives you han- dles, but you can move the position of tion set by the keys, reversing it when these handles a great distance relative it reaches the end and playing it for- to their respective keys, giving you a ward once again when it returns to the lot more control. (Alt-dragging and beginning. double-clicking on these handles splits • Offset Repeat repeats the motion and reunites the handles with their but with everything shifted by the dif- partners, just as with Hermite Spline ference between the first and last keys handles.) (this would make our curve here into an infinite set of “stairs”). • Linear gives you a straight line inbetween from the previous keyframe. • Linear continues the curve • Stepped holds the value of the infinitely, projecting it at an angle previous key until the moment before established by the last two keys (or the stepped key, so it goes right from first two keys, if we’re talking about one value to the next without any kind Pre Behavior). of inbetweening (like what a traditional • Incoming Curve tells LightWave how animation “pencil test” looks like to handle the curve segment that is directly before it goes to the assistant anima- to the left of the selected key. tors who put in the “missing” frames). • TCB Spline is LightWave’s de- • The Footprints drop-down (located fault setting, and it gives good results along the top row of pop-up menus) lets you most of the time, without having to choose among several options: Leave Foot- worry about tweaking the curves print, Backtrack Footprint, and Pickup much. (Tension, Continuity, and Bias all Footprint. Leave Footprint places a bit of a affect the shape of the curve, based on “ghosted” image of how your curve looked values from –1 to +1. Of these, I have when you left the footprint. You can use this only ever found myself needing to use as a visual reference to help you as you Tension, and then only to put in a value tweak. If you totally mangle things, you can use Backtrack Footprint to get back to the 386
  10. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics way things were. If you like how things are, Note you can choose Pickup Footprint. (Foot- All these controls, buttons, and gizmos in prints only last until you close the Graph the Graph Editor may seem like overkill, but Editor window, use Pickup Footprint, or believe me, everything here has a purpose, select a different item’s curves.) and though you may not need one of these bits of functionality much, when you do 1. Let’s go back to where we were at the need it, you’ll be thankful it’s there. Bear in end of the last section. With the text mind that this is only scratching the surface. The Graph Editor is the animator’s most object selected, open the Graph Editor trusted and versatile tool. Its spline types, and select its Position Z channel. handles, footprints, you name it — all of it Right-drag a rectangle around all the lets you have the minimum number of keys keys, and set Incoming Curve to to hold your animation in place. Bezier Spline. Double-click on the handles shown to get them to mirror their shorter partners. Figure 15-8 Figure 15-9 387
  11. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · 2. Drop your selection. Then select only Animation controls are available in the the keys on frames 6 and 36 (still work- lower-right corner of the interface. (See ing with the Position Z channel). Press Figure 2-82.) If the playback seems too fast to Zoom Selected, and tweak the or too slow, make sure you have Play at handles until you have a nice, smooth Exact Rate active under the General slope between the two keys. Minimize Options. the Graph Editor window, and play your animation to see the difference. Adjusting Timing The animation we’ve just created looks pasted, and “baked” to create keys for the good, but you may notice that the logo inbetween frames. “pops” onto the screen a little too abruptly. Looking at our timeline we can see that Let’s take a look at a few different ways in the logo takes six frames to appear which we can tinker with timing to refine onscreen. At 24 frames per second, that’s our animation. only ¼ of a second for the logo to appear. The two primary tools for adjusting tim- Let’s give the “on” motion a little more ing are the Dope Track and Dope Sheet. time. The Dope Track can be accessed from the 1. Click on the key at frame 6 in the Dope main interface. Its cousin, the Dope Sheet, Track. A white rectangle will appear can be found in the Scene Editor. Both offer around the top of this keyframe, indi- a similar, yet slightly different set of tools cating it has been selected. for adjusting the timing of your animations. 2. Click and drag left and right to move Let’s do some fine-tuning using the the keyframe. As you can see, the Dope Track. Click on the textured portion keyframe can be moved to any location of the gray bar just above the main timeline. on the timeline, even past existing This will open the Dope Track. keys. For now, drag the key to frame 10 You’ll notice that a second timeline and let go. appears, complete with a duplicate set of keyframes. The difference between these 3. Using the playback controls, take a look keys and the ones found in the main at the adjustments you’ve made. Those timeline, however, is that they can be four extra frames make quite a bit of dragged to different locations, cut, copied, Figure 15-10: Opening the Dope Track. 388
  12. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics difference! That brings me to my next where we just created the new key. A point. marker will be created. In animation, just as in film and video edit- 2. Drag your Frame Slider over to frame ing, timing is crucial. The difference of a 20. You’ll notice that the marker turns few frames can literally make or break a yellow. scene. That’s why features like the Dope 3. Right-click on the Dope Track and Track are so vitally important. They make it select Set Marker Text from the easy for us to fine-tune the timing of indi- pop-up menu. In the requester that vidual elements in our scene. Let’s take a appears, type the name ZoomZoom. look at some of the other features available This will remind us that on this in the Dope Track. keyframe, the logo is zooming to the Keyframes can be added to the timeline back. Press OK in the requester. simply by double-clicking. The values for 4. A marker label now appears in the info the new key will be taken from those found field to the bottom left of the timeline at the location of the Frame Slider. (see Figure 15-11). 1. Move the Frame Slider to frame 42. At this point we can move our key away 2. Now move your mouse over frame 20 from frame 20 and still have a visual in the Dope Track and double-click. A reminder of its original location. I don’t new keyframe will be created. really want the ZoomZoom keyframe, how- 3. Play the scene using the playback con- ever, so let’s delete it. trols. You’ll notice that the logo now 1. Click the key we created at frame 20 to jumps back on the Z axis at frame 20. select it. Now right-click. This brings up a context-sensitive pop-up menu. Markers can be placed on the Dope Track 2. Scroll down and select the Delete to identify specific locations. They can even Keys option. be labeled to provide greater clarity as to the purpose of each marker. 3. The logo will immediately jump for- ward again, as the key that pushed it 1. Holding the key down, back has been removed. double-click the timeline at frame 20 Figure 15-11 389
  13. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Note Drag the Frame Slider or use the playback When the Frame Slider is over a marker, it controls to see the result of this change. will obscure the keyframe indicator. If it You’ll notice that the logo is cocked at a doesn’t appear that your keyframe has been constant 10° angle. Since the only keyframe deleted, simply move the Frame Slider away for rotation was at frame 0, modifying it from the marker. caused the change to remain in effect throughout the duration of the animation. Since we deleted the ZoomZoom keyframe, This is nice, but not quite what we wanted. we no longer need its marker either. 1. Move the Frame Slider to frame 10. 1. Move the Frame Slider to frame 20. This is the frame at which the logo has The marker will turn yellow. This tells moved completely onscreen and rests us that we can perform functions on briefly before flying off. this marker. 2. Click in the Bank field and replace the 2. Right-click to bring up the pop-up 10 with a 0. Press to accept menu. Choose the Delete Marker the results and play back your option. animation. Our animation is looking better, but there’s Ah! Much better! But there’s still room for still room for improvement. Let’s make the improvement. I want the rotation to end logo’s motion a little more dynamic. just before the logo comes to rest at frame 1. Move the Frame Slider to frame 0. 10. In order to achieve this, I need to move Click the Rotate tool from the Modify the keyframe for the Bank channel so that it | Rotate menu or press the keyboard is offset slightly from the logo’s XYZ shortcut . You’ll notice that the motion. If you look at the Dope Track, how- Quick-Info display now shows controls ever, you’ll notice that there’s no way to for heading (H), pitch (P), and bank (B). adjust the rotation keyframe independently 2. Click in the Bank field and replace the of the position keyframe. Or is there? 0 with 10. Then press to Right-click on the Dope Track and scroll accept the value. This rotates our logo all the way to the bottom of the pop-up 10° on its Bank channel (Figure 15-12). menu. Select Channel Edit Mode. You’ll notice that the keyframes on the Dope Figure 15-12 390
  14. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics Track are no longer represented by solid to adjust the Bank channel independently to yellow lines. Instead, they are made up of refine the logo’s “on” motion. three small bars colored red, green, and 1. Make sure that the Rotate tool is active blue. These correspond to the individual X, by pressing the keyboard short- Y, Z or H, P B channels of our object. , cut. Then click on the key at frame 10. Take a look at frame 0. (You should still This is the keyframe that we created to have the Rotate tool active.) The three bars restore our logo’s rotation to 0 degrees. tell us that there are keyframes here for By moving this keyframe, we can heading, pitch, and bank. Now take a look at adjust the timing of that rotation. frame 10. Since the only adjustment to this 2. Drag the key for this channel left and frame was in the Bank channel, the red and drop it at frame 8. Then, using the play- green bars for heading and pitch are absent. back controls, preview your animation. Instead, we find a single blue bar represent- (See Figure 15-13.) ing our logo’s bank depicted here. Just as a quick comparison, select the This is much better! The logo now moves Move tool by pressing the keyboard onscreen and finishes rotating slightly shortcut. You’ll notice that the keyframes before its “on” motion is complete. It hov- changed. You see, the Channel Edit mode is ers briefly, then shoots off out of view. context sensitive. When the Move tool is selected, the Dope Track will show keys for the X, Y, and Z position. However, when the Note Rotate tool is selected, it will show keys for Keep in mind that the settings I give you the H, P and B rotation. , here are just a guide. Feel free to experi- ment with different locations for each Take a look at the Quick-Info display. Do keyframe. Remember, you are the artist. The you see the X, Y, and Z buttons? Even if a look and feel of this animation is entirely up channel is present (i.e., keyframes exist for to you! it), you can limit the Dope Track’s ability to tweak it by deselecting its button in the Our animation is just about finished. But Quick-Info display. Try turning on and off before we wrap up this section, let’s take a the different channels to see how it affects quick look at the Dope Sheet. Press the Dope Track. When you’re finished, turn + or choose Scene Editor on all of the position channels again. Then | Open from the main menu. The Dope switch back to the Rotate tool. We’re going Figure 15-13 391
  15. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Sheet can be found on the tab at the right Moving this keyframe didn’t really help side of the Scene Editor. anything. Let’s return it to its original The blocks in the Dope Sheet represent position. keyframes. By default, the blocks for 1. Bring up the Scene Editor again. Since objects appear in blue, the blocks for cam- we did not close it, the frame we eras appear in green, and the blocks for moved should still be highlighted. lights appear in magenta. You can click on 2. Click and drag the keyframe until it any of these blocks to select it, or click and rests over the gray box at frame 10. drag to define a range. Once a keyframe or range of frames is selected, you can move So far, we’ve been adjusting keyframes for and scale it at will. all channels just as we did in the Dope 1. Click on frame 10 of the animation Track. But it is possible to adjust the object to select it. Yellow borders will keyframes for individual channels as well. appear around the left, right, and top of The C+ icon to the left of each item allows the frame. These denote the bound- you to expand an object to see its individual aries of the current selection. channels. The red, green, and blue blocks here are 2. Click and drag to move the key to simply larger versions of the ones we saw frame 20. You’ll notice that a gray box in the Dope Track. The keyframes for indi- has been left on the key’s original vidual channels can be moved, cut, copied, frame. This gray box acts as a marker, pasted, and scaled. making it easy for you to return the key to its starting position should you 1. Left-click on the animation object’s find the change unsatisfactory. Position X red key at frame 10. 3. You’ll also notice that there are play- 2. Hold the key down and click back controls at the bottom right of the on the Position Y key at frame 36. This Scene Editor. Press Play to preview selects the entire range of frames for your animation. If needed, minimize the X and Y channels. the Scene Editor or move it out of the 3. Note the solid yellow bar on the far left way, but do not close it yet (Figure and right sides of the selection. 15-14). Dragging this bar allows you to interac- tively scale the selection. Figure 15-14 392
  16. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics 4. Click the yellow bar on the right side of improve our animation, so let’s put them the selection and drag it left until the back where they started. We could move two right channel keys rest at frame and drag our keyframes back into place, but 14. that would require multiple steps. An easier 5. Clicking and dragging on one of the way to revert to our previous keyframe individual channels will allow you to positions is to use the Undo command. move the entire selection. 1. Right-click over any portion of the 6. Click and hold down your left mouse Dope Sheet and choose Undo. button over the Position X key at frame 2. Finally, click any portion of the Dope 10. Now drag to the right until this key Sheet that does not contain an item rests at frame 20. Note that the gray (such as a camera, object, or light) to blocks still show the original positions deselect the range. of your keyframes. If you haven’t done so recently, this would While scaling and moving the X and Y keys be a great time to save your scene! was a good lesson in the use of the Dope Sheet, it didn’t really do anything to Figure 15-15 393
  17. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Previews If you’ve got a heavily complex scene, not can tell LightWave to make a preview of like this simple flying logo we’re working part of your scene. When you press OK to on but something really grindingly detailed, accept the default values, LightWave your scene won’t look good at all when “zings” through the animation, storing the played using the animation controls. You’ll image of each frame in memory and num- have to make a preview first. bering it for easy referencing. Note Previews are built from whatever window is in the upper-left corner of the interface. That window can be any view LightWave has to offer (even Schematic view — though it’ll be awfully boring). Figure 15-17 When LW is finished building the preview, a VCR-like control set pops up that you can use to step-frame or play your animation Figure 15-16 forward or backward, looping or stopping at the ends. You can play your preview at the With the upper-left viewport set to Camera frame rates listed, or you can use the little View, select Make Preview from the Pre- handle to scrub through your scene to your view pop-up menu (next to the animation heart’s content. controls in the lower-right corner of the interface). A dialog box opens in which you Note Under the Preview pop-up menu, you can also While LightWave is storing your preview in save your preview as a movie format, using memory, it is storing it in a lossless format, whatever codec (compression format) you set which can take up a sizable chunk of memory. under Preview Options. Under the Preview pop-up menu, you can also Choosing Play Preview under the Preview choose Free Preview to retrieve whatever pop-up menu, you can see your preview again memory is being used to hold the preview. for as long as it is held in memory. 394
  18. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics Rendering an Animation You might think this is a no-brainer, but animation after everything’s done. (See there is something to point out about ren- Figure 15-18.) dering your animations. If you’re rendering to a movie format (Rendering | Render Note Options | Save Animation) and the power Computer crashes during or immediately goes out (and you haven’t got a UPS), or after renders are good reasons for saving your scene before you render! (“Hey! That the machine crashes, or any of the other finally looks the way I want it! Hey! What things that can go wrong do, guess what? happened to the electricity?!!”) Your animation is more than likely irretriev- able. This may not be such a biggie if the Under the Image Editor, you can tell whole render takes less than a minute to LightWave to load in the first frame of a complete, but what if you’re looking at a series of rendered frames; then under the 120-frame scene that’s taking nine minutes Image Type pop-up menu, you can tell per frame? (Not uncommon...) LightWave that it isn’t a still frame but a The solution? Cover your ASCII! sequence. LightWave will scan the directory, When you’re rendering to an animation analyzing the sequence of frames, and fill in format (AVI, QuickTime, whatever), be the rest of the information shown in Figure sure to render to frames as well! If your com- 15-18. You can then set the end frame of puter dies while you’re rendering, you can your movie (and render) to the Out point of just go back and restart the render for the the sequence (see the figure), and under remainder of the frames, letting LightWave Effects | Compositing, set Background compile the rendered frames into an Image to be the sequence you just loaded. Figure 15-18 395
  19. Chapter 15 · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · View Background set to Background Image). To render the flying logo we did here, I recommend using some serious motion blur (more as a special effect than the simulation of film speed) since the text moves so fast. In order to get the effect looking as good as possible, we need to really crank up the Antialiasing setting (Enhanced Extreme will factor 33 passes into a single frame) and set Motion Blur to Dithered (which will render every other pixel from a slightly dif- ferent point on the timeline). To get the special effect I’m thinking of, set Blur Length to 200%. (See Figure 15-19.) Figure 15-19 Note If you’d like to see a movie of what we’ve gone over here, Renders\Chapter15\ Without any objects in the scene (and with- will show you what Scenes\ out the need to antialias), you can render a Chapter_15\Animation_F.lws looks like when rendered. movie from your pre-rendered frames (shown with Display Options | Camera Figure 15-20: Here are some frames from the finished animation to show what the “super-mega-ultra” motion blur looks like as the text settles. (The vector blur we used on our tunnel fly-through could be used here as well.) 396
  20. · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · Layout 2: Animation Basics ... These are the basics of what LightWave Editor to hone the shape of the curves that uses to control animation. (Remember, LightWave uses to store the motion data. these are the “hows,” not the “whys.”) At its What you’ve learned in this chapter has core, animation is simply manipulating an shown you the basic tools used by all CG item’s changes in position, rotation, and/or animators, whether they are creating space- scale over time. All LightWave animations ships flying through minefields or animating consist of moving, rotating, and/or scaling Mortal Kombats. It’s how these tools are an object, bone, light, camera, or special used that create the art we know as anima- effect, creating keyframes that record these tion. The use of these tools defines an changes over time, and using the Graph animator and the animations he or she creates. 397
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