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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.
When working with subdivision surface models, even though you can bevel to add more detail, sometimes you need to have a little bit more refinement. So I've loaded the 03_05_CupBegin file, and this is a nice little disc that we extruded and beveled to create a good-looking little coffee cup. But if you look down at the bottom, even though we had beveled to create this nice little lip at the bottom, we might need a little more detail. That bottom might be a little too round. The way I'm going to do that now is working with edges. But if you look closely, we don't really have any edges to work with.
I'm going to hit the Tab key to turn off my subdivisions. I've got one edge right here, but I need some more. Well, what's the best way to do that? Well, there are two ways. First, I can actually slice across it using the Knife tool. So I can go to the Multiply tab at the top of the screen, and then down under the Subdivide category select Knife, and just below that initial polygon line I'm just going to click and drag, and you can do this from the Back view or from the Right view. The biggest thing is that you do it from one of these views, because if you look, now it cuts all the way through.
If you did it from the Top view, well you'd be slicing the wrong way. I am going to turn off the Knife tool and you can see I've got another edge right there. Now, what I can do is select that edge and manipulate it a bit. I'm going to go to the Edge mode down at the very bottom of the screen. Then I'm going to select two edges. But you need to be careful that you don't select the edges behind it, which I just did. I'm going to hold the Ctrl key, make sure I deselect these extra edges on the outer edge, and that I only have two selected.
The way to tell that I have two selected, if you look at the very bottom-left here you see Select 2, and that way I know I've got two edges selected. Then I can go to Select dropdown and choose Select Loop, and that loops that selection all the way around. Now that I have that entire bottom edge selected, and you can see right here in the Perspective view, I can bevel that. So we'll go back to Multiply tab and choose Edge Bevel and just click and drag, and that extends that edge and essentially bevels it, creating another edge for you.
When I said there was two ways to actually add more detail, the edge bevel was the second way. I could have very easily instead of slice gone to this top edge right here and beveled that. So the choice is yours. It depends on how the model is working, what's easier to select, and so on. So now let's take the center edge that we just created, and I'm just going to select two like this and make sure I hold the Ctrl key and deselect whatever happens through, and the reason it selects through is because I'm in a wireframe mode. If you find that to be a problem, you can make any of these views perhaps a textured wire and when you select, it's only going to select what's right in front of you.
So that works really well, too. All right, so, forward slash to deselect. I can select two polygons and then from Select dropdown, choose Select Loop. Now, I can do Shift+H, which is also Size from the Modify tab, and I want to make sure that my mouse is set to selection. Now notice that when I size, when I click and drag, it sizes straight down evenly. So down here at the very bottom of screen under Modes, my mouse Action Center is set to Selection.
If your Action Center is set to Mouse and you click and drag over here, well, it's going to size that way. That could be good depending on what you're trying to model if you're doing some unique organic shapes. So, Ctrl+Z to undo that. So just make sure your mode of your Action Center for your mouse is set to Selection, and I'm just going to size this in just a little bit like that. That's all I need, just a little bit, and you can see it at the bottom. Turn off the Size tool, forward slash to deselect and then hit the Tab key and now look what happens. Only faces with three or four vertices can be converted to SubPatches. Well, why is that? That is because this model at the very bottom has one big, large polygon made up of 24 points.
The 24 points came from the original disc that we created. While the model looks okay, I'll hit Tab key to turn it off, that bottom polygon does not necessarily work for us with a normal subdivision. And that's okay. We can do a couple of things for that. We can change our SubD-Type to Catmull-Clark. But in order to make this a little more efficient, what we'll do is go to Polygon mode, select that bottom polygon, press the B key for bevel, and I'm going to click and drag in, right- click once to reset the bevel, and bring it in a little bit more. And not only will this add more detail, it will keep that quad mesh.
So right-click once to reset the bevel, bring it in a little bit more, and I'm just going to leave that. Press the Spacebar, turn off the bevel, and then click on that to deselect. The reason you need to deselect is because if you still had this polygon selected--I know it's tiny, so I'll move that in--and you hit the Tab key, well, you're only going to subdivide that tab, and that's not what you want. So you turn that off and it goes back to one of our first rules. If nothing is selected--and in this case nothing is selected--whatever you do applies to everything.
So when I hit the Tab key, my subdivision is going to apply to everything. If something was selected, the subdivision would only apply to just what was selected. So now you've got the Subdivision on, and although it gave you the error, it's only that tiny little center right at the very bottom, so much so that you can't even see any issue with it all. So that's a really good way to fix any subdivision errors. Of course, the other way--and I'll hit the Tab key to turn that subdivision off-- is just to go to Catmull-Clark subdivisions, hit the Tab key, and there will be no error at all given to you.
So let's hit the expand viewport like that. I'm going to press the D key and turn my grid off and make that a little bit easier for you to see, and I'm also going to turn off Show Cages. We'll close the panel. This way you can see your model a little bit cleaner. So now we've done, just by adding an edge at the bottom, we've created a nice little detail, something very intricate, without much effort at all. And we have a very even base for the bottom of the cup. If we take a look at the very, very bottom, you can see we still have that nice molded look, but we don't have a lot of geometry, and that's the beauty of working with subdivisions.
So from beveling to edges, adding subdivisions, whether it's Catmull-Clark or a standard subdivision surface, you can create a lot of fine detail in any kind of model you choose.
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