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Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor

From: LightWave 10 Essential Training

Video: Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor

When we talk about the Surface Editor in LightWave, there's another portion to the Surface Editor that you might be interested in. It's called the Node Editor. So what I'm going to do in the Surface Editor is click on the Nodes, but I can't do that until I actually have some geometry with the surface on it. So from the File dropdown, we're going to load an object and we're going to load the 05_02_Balls and just four colored balls on a flat ground. And let's just work with the Red_Ball. We'll select that. But let's click the Edit Nodes button at the top of the Basic tab in the Surface Editor, and what you're going to see is this very nice panel-- I will close the Surface Editor in the background--that resembles a nice working environment for a Surface Editor, but it's different than your basic Surface Editor. And you're not going to use this new Node Editor all the time.

Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor

When we talk about the Surface Editor in LightWave, there's another portion to the Surface Editor that you might be interested in. It's called the Node Editor. So what I'm going to do in the Surface Editor is click on the Nodes, but I can't do that until I actually have some geometry with the surface on it. So from the File dropdown, we're going to load an object and we're going to load the 05_02_Balls and just four colored balls on a flat ground. And let's just work with the Red_Ball. We'll select that. But let's click the Edit Nodes button at the top of the Basic tab in the Surface Editor, and what you're going to see is this very nice panel-- I will close the Surface Editor in the background--that resembles a nice working environment for a Surface Editor, but it's different than your basic Surface Editor. And you're not going to use this new Node Editor all the time.

Some people very much like it and use it only as their surfacing; others like the basic Surface Editor. I use a combination of both, but why would you use this Node Editor. Well the Node Editor is a network, and it allows you to derive different portions of your surface through other properties. Let me show you what I mean. Right now, we have a default surface. This is what feeds the render engine. Okay, so this is always in here this, basic surface, and this is driven from the surface I created for my materials in LightWave Modeler. And I'll show you how to do that coming up.

But what I want to is add a node, and we will does take a 2D texture, perhaps bricks, and what this does, it adds another node. So, what I can do with this brick surface--and this is a computer- generated surface just one that's built in LightWave--I can take any portion of this, the Color, the Alpha, or the Bump and drive it to the red ball surface. So perhaps I take the bump and I click and drag and hold and put that on the bump, and what happens is that my surface now has a bump map. Pretty easy, but then I can do more to it. I can take the color of this, and I probably wouldn't do much luminosity.

But you can see that the black-and- white, computer-generated brick map here now pushes the luminosity up. Let's add another one. You can see there's all kinds of them down here: one for hair, one for different materials, different types of shaders for reflections, different diffuse values-- diffuse being how much light your surface takes from the scenes. So this can get very, very deep, but a lot of times you want something simple just like fractal noise. This is great for landscapes. So what can I do with this now that I have this brick surface in here? Well, if I click this little arrow, I can collapse that bricks, so I can pull that down out of the way. I can take this fractal noise and I take the color and drop that to the color, but it sort of overrides everything. What if I took that color then and put it to the diffuse? What would happen? What happens is remember diffuse value tells the surface how much light to take from the scene.

This black-and-white principle in LightWave--the white affecting more, the black affecting less--you can see it here with the bricks. This principle is used throughout all the surfacing, so what's happening here is that the white of this computer- generated fractal noise is allowing more light to be hit on the surface. The Black is allowing less to hit the surface. Pretty simple, but you're not taking each one of these nodes and dropping them to the surface. You can actually use one of these nodes to derive another node.

So for instance, to remove this, just click and pull that off and let go the mouse. I can take the Alpha channel of the multi-fractal, the transparency map of it, and I can drop that into the Opacity of the bricks. So now my bricks have a whole different appearance on my surface. Let me just add one more. Come to Add Node, and then we can come down to Displacement if we wanted, different math functions. We can come down to shaders. Let's take Diffuse, and let's choose do an occlusion shader.

Some of these are relatively simple, but they have a strong math function. I could take the output of this into the increment of the multifractal, and suddenly that changes how that appears, which then feeds the bricks, and now you can see just a very slight variation of the diffuse values. One more thing to know about these: to get rid of them if you select just any node, press Delete on your keyboard. That will get rid of it. You can also double-click any of these and get a full-surface properties. Now each one of these would vary depending on what node you are using, but I can change then the color of this fractal, which just gives me whole another range of possibilities. And this is terrific for planets and landscapes, things like that.

There is not necessarily any kind of function to follow. A lot of these are simply just kind of work with it and see what works best for you for the type of scene you're creating. So, different values of noise, and again, just all math functions. It's all built into LightWave, and then you can multiply these by adding them up and blending them all together. So this network of the Node Editor works quite well for any kind of surface. You don't need to use it. It just there if you want to create more organic, more advanced surfaces.

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This video is part of

Image for LightWave 10 Essential Training
LightWave 10 Essential Training

83 video lessons · 5141 viewers

Dan Ablan
Author

 
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  1. 4m 22s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Working with projects and setting the content directory
      2m 3s
  2. 46m 20s
    1. Understanding the LightWave 3D interfaces
      1m 50s
    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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