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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.
I've gone ahead and loaded up the 04_02_FontBegin file. This is an Illustrator file that has been imported, and you can see that it's a very nice clean object. It's flat, however; it doesn't have a backside. And of course, we're working in a 3D animation program, so we want to be able to fly into it and put some bevels on it. So let's take this flat object and make it a 3D file. And the way I am going to do that is go to the Multiply tab. I am going to come down and choose Extrude, and in the Top view, I am just going to click and drag back.
Easy enough, got a nice 3D file but still a little bit plain. So I'll just click the Extrude tool to turn that off. Well, I want to bevel this. I want to give it some life because now that we do have a back and we have sides, well that's terrific, but we need to give it just a way for it to be highlighted as the light crosses in front of it. So what I am going to do is in Polygon mode here at the bottom of the screen, I am going to click the polygon faces of each one of these objects. I am holding the Shift key as I click these faces. Okay, the next thing I am going to do is select Bevel.
I am going to make sure that if I press D for Display Options, under Units I want my Grid Snap set to None. You want to have very specific control over how our bevel works and if Grid Snap is on, it's going to snap that bevel and not give us this much control. And remember, up and down shifts your bevel, and left and right insets it. Okay, so we want to just give it just a slight little bevel about like that. Then I am going to click the Bevel tool, and then I am going to press the Question Mark/Slash key, and our bevel looks kind of okay. But it's okay in the fonts. What about the big ampersand, big symbol there? What's happening? Well, what happens here is that the bevel might be good enough for the fonts, but because we have these tight little areas right here--and here's a little trick, by the way.
I am going to move my mouse down to this corner of the font, press the G key, and that centers that area where my mouse was, and then I can hit the Period key on the keyboard to zoom in. Just a little quick tip. So what happens is that because this corner, each one of these corners, are very thin, the big bevel that I put on made those polygons overlap, and basically it kind of turned that polygon inside out. So what do you do about that? Well, you can do two things. You can, of course, undo and re-bevel, but what might happen is that that bevel-- Ctrl+Z to undo right there.
Press the B key to bevel again and then if you just watch that very carefully, even a tiny little bevel starts to give it some issues. So I'll tell you what. Let's do this. Let's keep the bevel the way we want, and let's fix it. If you can't make the smaller bevel, then you fix that one, and it's very easy to do. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to come down to this Back view, expand the view by clicking the right corner there, move my mouse over this corner, press the G key, period, a couple of times to move in, and there's my issue right there. Very simple to fix! Come down to the Points so we're working in Points mode.
Use your right mouse button, and we're going to select all of these and then very simply, all we have to do is weld them together. So from the Detail tab, select Weld. It says 4 points welded. And then you can press Modify and drag and just kind of tweak that a little bit back up there. Now click and hold my Move tool over here and I'll move up to the top-left corner. That's okay. In the bottom-left corner, it looks like it has a little issue there.
So I will select these two points and then go back to Detail and choose Weld. Now one thing Weld will do, it will pull the weld to the last-selected point. So I'll click Weld, 2 points welded, and you can see it joins them together. Let's pull back out. Let's expand back to a Quad view and look what happens. Our geometry is fixed. No more holes in that one. And that's all you have to do. I know it's a big issue with a lot of people for EPS files, or Illustrator files, when they bring them in and some people feel that you can't actually use them. But you can.
It's just you have to remember, when you bevel, some of those tight corners cross over. Let's do one more. Point mode, right mouse to select those, click Weld from the Detail tab, 5 points welded. And of course, you can use your Drag from the Modify tab to just center that back out a bit. Click and hold the Move tool to come down to the bottom-left here, and you can also see this on font as well, not just Illustrator files, because this is not really an Illustrator thing; it's more a small-font thing and a bevel thing.
It just so happens that we have fine details with bevels in Illustrator files like we brought in here, so that can happen. So Weld, also Ctrl+W is the Weld command on the keyboard, and then we'll go back to Modify and drag, and we'll swing that over, and I think there's one more right here. So move your mouse over this area, press the G key, period key to zoom in, Spacebar to turn off the Move tool, and then we will right-mouse around these. Ctrl+W is Weld. Click OK. Ctrl+T is drag, and that's the same on the Mac or the PC.
And then I believe that is all of them. I think there's one more right here. So I'll press the G key for that area. Let's zoom in a little bit. You've got two more areas right here. So within minutes even with explaining it, we can fix these pretty quickly. So I'll select these, Detail tab > Weld, and then select these and then Weld and then Ctrl+T is my Drag tool. And I can click right on the point and drag it. So let's bring our quad view back by clicking the top-right corner.
Let's press the A key to fit, and now our ampersand, our & symbol, is all fixed. Bevels look really good, and what's nice about this is that we can zoom right up on top of it. We haven't even put any smoothing or surfacing on it yet, but you can see that the objects are very clean and the bevel is very legible. So it works very well. So, fixing bevels, working with small, thin fonts, or EPS, or Illustrator files, very easy to fix with the Weld tool.
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