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Building objects with curves


LightWave 10 Essential Training

with Dan Ablan

Video: Building objects with curves

Working in LightWave Modeler with simple primitives is one way to start building just about any kind of object, but every once in a while you need to build something a little more specific. And in that case you can actually use a curve. If you look at the Create tab down at the very bottom-left, there is the Curves category and you can start with a sketch where you can literally click and hold your mouse and sketch out a curve. And this is in 3D space, so that curve right there can be used for all kinds of things. So in an upcoming video you are actually going to see how we can use that to build and clone other objects.
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  1. 4m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Working with projects and setting the content directory
      2m 3s
  2. 46m 19s
    1. Understanding the LightWave 3D interfaces
      1m 49s
    2. Exploring the Hub
      1m 54s
    3. Understanding 3D space
      1m 13s
    4. Working in Modeler
      6m 49s
    5. Working in Layout
      4m 48s
    6. Selecting elements
      5m 31s
    7. Identifying the elements of a 3D model
      5m 26s
    8. Using the Numeric panel
      3m 10s
    9. Using layers
      8m 38s
    10. Using the Statistics panel
      2m 52s
    11. Working with menu and keyboard configurations
      4m 9s
  3. 22m 49s
    1. Working with geometric shapes
      4m 21s
    2. Using Extrude
      5m 11s
    3. Building with Bevel
      3m 47s
    4. Working with Polygon Bevel
      6m 4s
    5. Editing polygons
      3m 26s
  4. 34m 37s
    1. Understanding subdivisional surfaces in LightWave
      3m 20s
    2. Comparing Subpatch with Catmull-Clark subdivisions
      2m 18s
    3. Creating a basic model
      4m 27s
    4. Beveling with subdivisions
      3m 50s
    5. Adding detail to models
      6m 39s
    6. Deforming and shaping objects
      7m 13s
    7. Recapping subdivisions
      6m 50s
  5. 48m 42s
    1. Working with EPS files
      3m 24s
    2. Correcting EPS errors
      6m 13s
    3. Creating 3D text objects
      8m 1s
    4. Building objects with curves
      10m 6s
    5. Exploring Rail Clone methods and uses
      5m 13s
    6. Exploring Rail Extrude methods and uses
      2m 49s
    7. Modeling with Array
      4m 42s
    8. Using Symmetry
      8m 14s
  6. 56m 24s
    1. Understanding the Surface Editor
      10m 56s
    2. Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor
      5m 12s
    3. Creating surfaces for polygons
      5m 11s
    4. Editing surfaces
      4m 39s
    5. Understanding the Texture Editor
      6m 22s
    6. Looking at image map textures
      4m 29s
    7. Using procedural texture options
      7m 40s
    8. Adding bump maps for realism
      4m 39s
    9. Enhancing surfaces with specularity and glossiness maps
      2m 43s
    10. Creating a reflective surface
      4m 33s
  7. 42m 2s
    1. Building 3D scenes
      1m 26s
    2. Importing, loading, and working with objects
      8m 29s
    3. Organizing a 3D scene
      8m 48s
    4. Working with different light types
      9m 25s
    5. Lighting a 3D scene
      6m 39s
    6. Employing environmental lighting
      7m 15s
  8. 22m 27s
    1. Understanding LightWave cameras
      8m 25s
    2. Setting up a camera in a scene
      7m 6s
    3. Placing multiple cameras
      3m 27s
    4. Animating cameras and camera elements
      3m 29s
  9. 38m 23s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      3m 9s
    2. Adding and controlling keyframes
      6m 9s
    3. Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 44s
    4. Using motion plug-ins to enhance keyframes
      5m 15s
    5. Animating textures
      7m 37s
    6. Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps
      7m 29s
  10. 36m 58s
    1. Introducing particles
      7m 29s
    2. Creating a particle animation
      7m 21s
    3. Working with Hypervoxels
      9m 6s
    4. Going a step beyond with particle animation
      8m 8s
    5. Replacing particles with items
      4m 54s
  11. 21m 58s
    1. Understanding dynamics in LightWave
      1m 27s
    2. Setting up a dynamic scene
      4m 21s
    3. Animating cloth
      2m 39s
    4. Building collisions
      6m 16s
    5. Creating a hard dynamic scene
      7m 15s
  12. 27m 30s
    1. Understanding bones
      3m 14s
    2. Understanding skelegons and when to use both skelegons and bones
      4m 4s
    3. Placing bones in an object
      6m 10s
    4. Fine-tuning bone placement and activating bones
      3m 51s
    5. Setting up Inverse Kinematics
      6m 37s
    6. Working with rigged characters
      3m 34s
  13. 21m 32s
    1. Understanding resolutions and rendering
      2m 21s
    2. Setting up a render project
      6m 50s
    3. Determining the proper anti-aliasing filter
      4m 24s
    4. Rendering to movie files vs. image sequences
      7m 57s
  14. 4m 8s
    1. Exporting an object
      2m 13s
    2. Exporting a full scene for backup
      1m 55s
  15. 1m 0s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 0s

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Watch the Online Video Course LightWave 10 Essential Training
7h 9m Beginner Mar 21, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding and navigating 3D space
  • Configuring menu and keyboard settings
  • Molding basic geometric shapes
  • Creating detail using subdivisions
  • Casting reflections and creating surface textures
  • Building and lighting a 3D scene
  • Incorporating and animating cameras
  • Simulating collisions using dynamics
  • Determining the proper anti-aliasing filter for renders
  • Rendering a project as movie files and image sequences
  • Exporting a full scene
3D + Animation
Dan Ablan

Building objects with curves

Working in LightWave Modeler with simple primitives is one way to start building just about any kind of object, but every once in a while you need to build something a little more specific. And in that case you can actually use a curve. If you look at the Create tab down at the very bottom-left, there is the Curves category and you can start with a sketch where you can literally click and hold your mouse and sketch out a curve. And this is in 3D space, so that curve right there can be used for all kinds of things. So in an upcoming video you are actually going to see how we can use that to build and clone other objects.

So let's do Ctrl+X to get rid of that. For you artists and designers there is also the Bezier, and you can click and pull the curve out like that, and then you can pull right on these little handles here and shape this out. And if you open the Numeric panel, you can change the subdivisions, so how much detail-- less or more--is in that curve. So, a nice way to work. But one of my favorites is the Spline Draw, and with this I can actually just build a very nice controllable curve. And any of you that have ever worked in Illustrator or have done curves in Photoshop, you know that if you have more points closer together you can create sharper turn, and if they are farther away you can create it smoother.

So it is a very nice way to work. So what I am going to do is actually show you how to build an object based on an image with a curve. So let's Ctrl+X to get rid of that. Press the D key and under the Backdrop tab in the Display Options, you can control what your viewport looks like. So we have our Top Left, Top Right, Bottom Left and Bottom Right viewports. Well since we want our camera to look at this when we get into Layout, we want the Bottom Left, or the Back view, looking towards the back of our scene.

And from that Image dropdown right there, we can click and say load image, and from the Chapter 4 Images folder, you load the genericbottle.jpeg. That puts a nice little diagram that I have put in there for you, which is just a simple bottle, but kind of hard to see at this point. So we are going to do two things: we are going to take this size and bring it up to about 6 m, and then we are going to change the Image Resolution from 500 k to let's say 2000. That makes it much cleaner. So don't worry about this Image Resolution.

It has nothing to do your final model or anything else. It actually is just your display resolution. Now, if we start building a curve over this, it might actually be kind of hard to see. So we want to bring the Brightness down on this, and you could see how that works. You can also bring the Contrast down. You just want to just kind of ghosted back there, so it makes putting your curve over it little bit easier. Depending on your model, you can hit Invert if that's easier for you to see, but for the most part that's going to work okay. We can close this out, and I am going to expand my back view by hitting this top- right corner here and I can zoom in a little bit and what we are going to do then is change the Curve to Spline Draw, and we are going to start right here at the center cursor right here.

We are going to put right on that Y axis. I am going to click right there, and then we are going to move over to this next end right here, and that creates that long flat curve right there, and then you are going to click kind of about over here. Now as I start adding more points, you could see that affects the curve behind it. So it's really pretty easy to create the shape now because I have a reference to work with, and that's the beauty of putting an image in the background. Now just don't worry about it not being super-precise at this point because you can go back and tweak this once it is done. Biggest thing with laying down curves like this and I am just clicking away is that you can come back and zoom in and create more detail.

But you also want to make sure that get these down as evenly as possible. That's always a good thing. I am going to zoom in a little bit so we can get to the neck of bottle and make it a little bit cleaner for us. Now, if I click too close to this, what will happen is that I end up grabbing the same point. So the little trick I always do is I kind of click over here and then I pull it back in. And generally just want like two points around the corners. So I am going to come in like this. I am not going to worry about the cap just yet. We will come up to the neck of the bottle, and then we'll do the cap in a separate layer.

And I will just come up like this, and very quickly you can see that it doesn't take too long to do. Now, similar to other projects, you can come in and create this straight and bevel out these edges or polygons little bit later on. But if are taking the time to do this with a curve, it's always fine just do it manually like this. Not a big deal. And I try to come up with something that is a little simpler for you to use and this is a pretty good bottle that has a good bit of realism to it once it is done because of all these nice little curves.

All right, so two points on each corner, and then we are not going to go to the other side. We are just going to go right back to the middle. And that's it. So I am going to turn off the Spline Draw, and I am going to come in and then press, from the Modify tab, my Drag tool. And with drag now I can come in and tweak any of these points. Now let me press the D key, and I am going to take this image and click none just to turn that off for the time being so you can see how this looks. Okay. And from here what I can do is just smooth out this curvature and just line it up.

Okay, now we are just going to rough it out, but you can see that without much trouble you can very easily come in and click and drag and take these shapes and make them look nice and even, And if you feel the need to remove one, you can select the point and just simply hit Delete. Down here, I want to pull that curve in just a little bit. The next thing to do is to lathe this. It is also called loft is some other programs. But first thing I want to do is select these two points, and I am going to press the V key, and the V calls up my set value.

What that means, it is going to actually move those points to wherever I tell it. So if I put it to let's say -1, it is going to shoot those all exactly to -1 on the X axis. All right, but I really want it at 0. My axis is my left and right, and we built right on that axis there. So I am going to press 0, and now I know that those two points are exactly at the 0 axis. And the reason that's important--I'll just come back here to a full view-- the reason that's important is because when we come to the Multiply tab and we choose Lathe and we hit N for Numeric, the default starting angle is 0, and automatically as soon as I activated that tool you could see how it just revolves around that curve and makes that bottle for us.

But before I turn this tool off, I can actually set the amount of sides I want. I can say 48, for instance, and get a much cleaner bottle. Or I can also use our subdivision surfaces. So I am going to do that instead. That gives us even more control for the smooth bottle. So 24 is fine. I will turn off the Numeric and turn off the Lathe. And if we take a look at the Top Down, we will see that it is solid. If those points were not set at 0 and I lathed around 0, I would have a little bit of a hole right there. So that's kind of important to make sure those points are lined up.

But you see that we've got a lot of nice detail. We haven't adjusted the bevels at all. If I come here to the Smooth Shade and just quickly I am going to jump into the Surface Editor and turn on Smoothing and we will close that, and I will press D, go to our Layout and turn off Show Grid, just to give you a little bit better view of this. So here is the simple bottle with a nice complex top, with a very nice shape at the bottom, all from one curvature. So while you can do a cup like we did with bevels and working with edges and subdivisions, working with a curve and then using the Lathe command can actually create quite a nice shape.

Let's quickly go to layer 2 by clicking layer right up here, and then let's expand down here at the bottom-left. Let's zoom in and let's create that cap in the same way, help reinforce this, and finish off the bottle. So we will select Spline Draw, start right in the middle, come to the end, and we want two points around the corner, and we will pull this one up here. I can going to pull these in just a little bit and probably three around this top curve and then one in the center. Turn off the Spline Draw, and let's press D, go to Backdrop, and turn off the bottle so we can see our curve.

Select two points, press the V key-- that's our Set Value command--and set them both to 0 on the X axis. Question Mark key to deselect, and we will come back here just so you can see this. Press the D key again. If that view pops up, just make sure you turn that off, and then what we will do is from the Multiply, select Lathe, hit N for Numeric, and it looks like I have an extra hole in there and that is because I think my point didn't line up at the bottom.

And that's okay because we are actually going to open up the cap. So, click Lathe to turn that off, and that's the bottom of my cap. So what I want to do is just select those polygons and we are going to actually make this a little more transparent. So we will jump over to Polygon mode, and I am just going to mouse around these bottom ones like this. I am just holding down the mouse and circling around. We are actually just going to delete these because we don't really need them. And then Shift+Right Bracket will expand my selection.

I will do it one more time to that edge and Ctrl+X to cut those away. And now we've got our cap that can be placed right over our bottle. I will press the A key if I want to turn this up. And so later when we get the surfacing we can put a transparent surface on the cap, so you could see the detail underneath, but we still have a nice curvature all at the bottom here and it lines perfectly up with the bottle. So working with curves is a great way to create shapes likes bottles, things that revolve.

You could do banisters. You could do baseball bats. You could do tools. All of those things are very easily done if you bring in a background image and trace over it with a Bezier curve.

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