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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.
Setting up dynamics is relatively easy in LightWave, but part of it, especially when one is working with cloth, you definitely want some collisions in there, and I want to show you how you can actually make this cloth just fall right over the ball. Now this whole concept can be used for flags, tablecloths, clothing on a model, anything you want. So I am going to take the cloth, which is just a flat box that is subdivided and Subdivision surfaces is turned on. Get a right mouse to move it up and I've got the Move tool selected from the Modify tab.
That's at frame 0 and then let's just drop it down maybe at frame 20, just a little bit like that. The rest of it we are going to allow the dynamics to do, so we are just going to let it float a little bit and then the dynamics are going to kick in. So I am going to press the P key and that will open the Object Properties for that object. I'll just kind of move over here so you can see it. I am going to add a dynamics for that cloth of what? Cloth. Makes sense. I'll select it to get the Properties for it and what we can do is set along these variances but for right now, it's better just to get it going and then tweak rather than trying to work your way through all these settings. So go to the Etc, the etcetera tab, and just some presets you can use.
This is the way I like to work. I'd like to come in here and just say I want thin cotton. When I select that and I go back to Basic and Collision a lot of these values are already put in place for me, thanks to the preset. So all I've to do now is say Calculate but what happens is that the ball disappears and the object doesn't fall. So let's go back to Cloth and take a look under Etc, the Etcetera tab, and we need to put some gravity on it. -9.8 meters per second squared, we have a little gravity.
Then the ball, let's select that, we need that to be a collision object. So we'll select it and then again from the Object Properties choose Collision. And that simply alone. Let's just see what happens. Hit Calculate. It doesn't quite work, does it? We need to determine what is colliding. So what we're going to do is select the Cloth again, open up the ClothFX, and let's take a look at the Collision. Collision Detect > Cloth. So we need to make sure that the surface of this object is being used as the collision.
Now I calculate and now you can see that it interacts with the ball. But as it does, it gets really kind of stretched out and that's pretty normal, because we're using that default thin setting. Well, let's take a look at it and play it in real-time. So you can see it works pretty well, and the other thing I want to do real quickly is open the Surface Editor and for the Ball let's put Smoothing on, and for the Cloth let's put Smoothing on as well as Double Sided.
So that way if you flip it around, we've got a surface on the other side and just for grins and giggles, let's put some shine on this thing so it has a little life to it. Back in the ClothFX, all we have to do is change a few things. We'll come down to collision and the Bound and Friction, well those are okay. That's what's helping it stick to the ball and it looks like it's doing it pretty well. So we don't need to change that too much. If you've got a more complex object, things are spiky and maybe a fist going through, you might need to adjust this just a little bit because certain parts might poke through.
Under the Advanced tab, this is what we really need to change. Compress Stress, we don't want to put too much on there and we don't want too much Stretch Limit. So we are going to bring that down to about 5% and we'll bring this down to about 5% and now let's hit Calculate. I've always told people with LightWave, don't often go in and change a bunch of settings and then see what happens. Do one setting, make a little preview, see how that works, make another change, see how that works, and so on. So you could see now that it doesn't stretch as much, but it kind of crosses into itself.
The folds look really nice. But what I want to do, let's just take a look at the playback. That's looking pretty good but what I want to do is change how it interacts with itself. So again with the ClothFX selected, we can come into Collision and then under Self Collision select that Cloth Surface. And Double Sided, Cloth Surface. You could see it turns red. So all those nodes now are active and they are going to interact with each other. So hit Calculate again. It will hold for a little bit and then Gravity kicks in and it will drop.
Sometimes these will start to take a little more to calculate and this is often why we do these dynamics with very simple objects. Because it's a lot easier to show them and describe them, because this calculation is really what takes the most part of your processing time. You could see as it comes down, it wraps around the ball pretty nicely. Now I want you to think about maybe a tablecloth or bedspread. You can just drop a cloth right on there and have it look very natural. So right away this comes around, and you can bring that Stretch Limit down, just so it's not stretching as much.
But the folds are pretty nice. If you up your subdivision level, that will also help the detail. We have a default subdivision about three or four right here. At this point as it starts to cross into each other, the interaction is doing about the best it can and you could see it kind of folding, and pretty much this point there's not a whole lot more you can do other than bring down some of the Gravity so it's not pulling as much. So it's not falling as fast and then you won't get as much flip at the bottom. You can also make it thicker as well.
So that it's a little bit heavier cloth. The Cloth dynamics in here can only take you so far. So a lot of times it's not going to always work to fix themselves, to fold onto each other. You are going to have to want to work with that just a little bit and manipulate. Now you are not always going to drop a cloth right on the ball and expect it to be perfectly suited for what we are doing. But again, this is just an example. Now if you are putting cloth on a table, it will work perfectly because you are not having all of this object folding onto itself.
But to set it up, it's very simple to do. Very simply you just need to put a collision, put a soft effect on the actual cloth itself. Make sure it's a subdivision surface. Make sure that the cloth surface is set up as the calculation, hit Calculate, and you've got your animated cloth.
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