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In LightWave 10 Essential Training, author Dan Ablan provides thorough, step-by-step instructions on building 3D models, scenes, and animations in LightWave 10. Beginning with a tour of the interface and LightWave's two main programs, Modeler and Layout, the course covers key concepts such as building models from basic polygonal shapes, assigning textures, and employing lights and 3D cameras to build real world scenes. Also included are tutorials explaining particle animation, dynamics, and bones. Exercise files accompany the course.
Every once in a while you need an object to not be so flat. That's always something important. And typically the way to do it is with a bump map, and a map being an image map that you bring in, like a brick wall, to make something bump, make it not so flat. But you can go further with it with something called the displacement map. Now, let's set up something and show a comparison. What I am going to do is open the Surface Editor, and we have this simple flat polygon made up of multiple segments, with a surface named Ocean, very simple. I am going to go down to Bump Map and hit the T button to open up my Texture Editor, and instead of an image map like a brick wall, we're going to use a procedural texture, a computer-generated texture.
And I also want to make sure that in my Layout, from the very top of Layout, I want the Viewport Preview Render to be available. That will allow me to see my bump maps. And right away I can see that this turbulence is creating a nice bump on there. You can look at things like Crumple. It creates even a nicer look. You can look at things like ripples and marble like that, create little waves. But the problem with this, I will go back to Crumple. This is the problem with a bump map, for most things like a brick wall, little fine details, Crumple works great-- all the bump maps work great.
But here is the trick. If you come around--and I am just going to rotate my view--there is no depth. It's completely fake, so while the advantage of a bump map is that you can have a very simple object look very complex, the disadvantage is that certain angles, it's truly not bumped at all. It's a visual fake. What's the best way to work with these? Well, what I am going to do is make sure this object is selected, and I am going to press the P key, the Object Properties panel. And for this current object, the 05_08_Ocean, I am going to go to the Deform tab, and right there in the center of the panel there is another T button.
So earlier in the course when I told you about the Texture panel, and it's used throughout LightWave. This is once of those places. If you click it, it's that exact same panel. But now it's being applied as a displacement map, not a color map or a bump map. So what I can do then is take this layer type and I'll set it to Procedural, and look what happens. The object is completely disformed, all based on a procedural noise-- procedural meaning computer-generated. Well, that's great because now I can make landscapes and mountains and oceans.
So if I come back to the Crumple texture which I had earlier, you can see I have got something pretty nice looking, but may be a little too much. So what I can do then is change it to perhaps fractal noise, see how that looks. Now, you don't have to keep these values all the same, things like the Grid or a Honeycomb texture. All this can be very useful for many different things. You can do icicles. You can do landscapes. You can do mountains. You can do crazy oceans. So what we are going to do is more of a simplistic ocean, and we're going to do that with Turbulence.
But I am going to bring this value down, and that's right here, Texture Value, bring it down about 0.2. And then if you move your scene over and you zoom in and take a look and you rotate, now not only do you have physical bumps with a displacement, you've got very tiny little bumps with a bump map. Let's click Use Texture and close out that Object Properties panel. We'll reopen the Surface Editor, and I want to make sure Smoothing is on. That's going to smooth out those facets.
So now take a look. All these tiny little lines in here, that's the bump map. Let's make that a little bit smaller. So I am going to go into the Texture Editor for Bump Map, and the Scale, we're just going to bring that down. I am going to say 0.2, hit the Tab key, 0.2, hit the Tab key, and 0.2. So now I have got this very complex-looking surface, and it wasn't complex at all to set up. I am going to bring the Texture Value down to about 30%, and that just softens it just a little bit.
We'll click Use Texture. So what we've done is we've created a displaced object from a flat polygon to make it look physically bumped like an ocean, and then we've used the bump map on top of it to create tiny little wrinkles and ripples. You can use bump maps for things like veins and skin and imperfections in a surface. You can use a displacement map to create larger types of bumps, such as oceans and mountains and landscapes.
Use them combined and you've got some really great-looking surfaces.
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