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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.
If you are not fortunate enough to have an EPS or an Illustrator file to build a text object, it's not a problem. LightWave Modeler has quite a few text controls that you can use to build your own text, fonts, logos, et cetera. So from the Create tab, down under the Text category, and you can see there are five different options to choose from. The make_text button allows you to import a text file. So if you have a long string of text, you wanted to create your own Star Wars-like introduction, you can load that up and it will automatically generate that into fonts for you. But more often or not, you are going to create something with the Logo or the Text tools.
The Logo Maker, just type in anything you want such as 'My Logo'. It's good. Extrusion depth could be 500 mm, and then you can choose a font. Come down and choose Arial. If you click OK, it automatically just makes a quick easy logo for you. Kind of basic, but it works. Now sometimes I like a little more control over things, so I am going to Ctrl+X to get rid of that. The Multi Text is big, massive tool that you can use, and I just put some text in here I took off from Wikipedia, and what this is allows you to come down, again, we'll just choose Arial, something a font everybody has.
Alignment could be Left, Center, or Right. We choose Left. You can load a text file, you have Sharp Corners or Buffered. You can center it out, scale it and so on. Kerning, for in between the letters, and I'll show you that in a little bit. And of course you can have multiple lines of text in here. As soon as you click OK, it generates that. Let me expand this view right here to a long string of text, whatever I put in there. And for the most part this one works pretty well. It does a nice clean job. So, you can use the fonts--and I've done this for quite a few projects-- I used fonts as elements.
They don't always have to be as bold as "here is a logo right in front of you that's the title of a company." It can simply be an element. In fact, a company logo, the majority of the design is a series of different script fonts all blended together. You don't really know what they are until you took a closer look at it. So let's do Ctrl+X to cut that. The next option is Text Layers, and similar to the Multi Text this one will create layers for you. So again, I'll do My Logo, go to Font, and I'll choose Arial again. Easy enough.
Then what you can do, you have Font Spacing, Font Scaling, Extrusion. This one, however, will bevel for you, which saves you a little bit of time, which is very nice. You can jump over to Surfaces and this will create three different surfaces for you, from the size of the fonts to the bevel and to the face, and there's a reason for that. You'll often want to put the reflections on the bevel a lot shinier than perhaps on the side. The side of logo might actually have a smoother surface than the face, where it's going to be flat, and of course, you might even just want different colors.
Then you can have multiple layers. You can set it up per Word, Single, or per Letter. Meaning these layers up in the top right corner, this Text layers command will separate through those layers if you want it to. Finally, you can say where to create this object, and it will build the scene for you that you can load directly in Layout, so it's quite nice. So I am just going to click OK, and I'll press the A key to fit, and this is the only issue that you might have once in a while, depending on your font. Now the font is fine, and this is something that you might see from time to time.
This has to do with the video card display, just OpenGL, and I'll show you how to fix this in a minute. You can see that the logo is built. It actually has a nice bevel to it, and if we jump to the Surface Editor, which we haven't covered yet, you will see that there are actually three surfaces that we can put on there. So, that works out quite well. You'll also notice that we have all the letters separated into different layers, and the reason you would want that is to perhaps you want all these letters to tumble in when you get to Layout. So if you are animating this, you need each one of those letters to be on a separate layer in order to animate.
If you're animating the logo as a whole, you can still parent it to a null object just a information channel, and have that animated as well. Let me show you what happens here to fix this M. Now normally when this happens, and if you look your font in the wireframe is fine, but your OpenGL view, the shade view, doesn't look right. So from the Modify tab there is the Drag tool right there, and all you need to do is just take one of these points and if you just adjust it, often you can fix this font.
See how that changes? And it's these points right here that are causing the issue. So similar to an EPS file where the bevel overshot and crossed over, this is one where these corners just extended too long, and this essentially turn the face inside out. So don't get too alarmed when you see things like that. Just really pay attention to the wireframe and the shape of your model. And in that case, it works out okay. So Ctrl+X to cut that. We don't need that one. Let's do one more. So under the Create tab, choose just the Text tool, and you'll get a little cursor that comes up.
I am going to click right here in the Back view, and the reason I like the Back View is because when I get to Layout this will be facing my camera. My camera will see this font directly in the middle. And I'll type in My Logo. Easy enough, we've been doing that. I am going to press the Numeric button down at the bottom, and here are the Text Tool Numeric controls. I don't like this font at all. And we've been using Arial, but let's go ahead and do something a little bit nicer, like Book Antiqua, and that's a font that's pretty common on PCs and Macs. You can see that before I've even finished this the fonts automatically change right in front of me.
I've got scaling and kerning in here that I can do, and really all I want to do in here is just press 0 for the to Center X, 0 for the Y, and 0 for the Z, and that brings that cursor right to the center zero. Alignment could be Left, Centered, or Right, and that alignment is left, center, or right of the text cursor. I usually do it left. It gives me a little more control. Then the last thing I could do is when I zoom in I can kern, and there is a little tiny line right there on this tool, and if I click and hold my mouse on there, I can actually scale this in or out.
Sometimes you'll need to do this more often than not. Certain fonts just don't line up properly, so you might want to do it manually. For instance the o is little close to the L. The y might not be close enough. That's because each font has its own unique bounding box that the computer understands. It's just kind of an invisible boundary, and that's what it sees when it brings these together. So for instance an A, let me just do this Shift+Backspace, we'll remove that. If you type AV, that's what happens: you get that very big space in between. You should be aware that you should never let a font look like that.
The reason it does that is because if you envision a box around this font and a box around this font, look where they line up, right in between A and the V. So you always want to kern those to get those little bit closer together, okay. So Shift+Backspace will get rid of those. Type in My Logo again, and then let's kern them out. And then if you grab the top handle, you can actually size the full logo itself. Turn off the Text tool, and now you can use just your regular modeling tools.
You can go to Multiply, choose Extrude, click and drag from the top, turn off Extrude, press the A key to fit, and we'll zoom in, and just like that, we've got a very nice font logo that we can work with. Remember, these are all individual polygons. So you can select one, then if you press the bracket key two over from the P key, that will select everything connected to what you just selected, and then you can move that around. Press the T key for instance, and you can move this up like this, and then you can press the Question Mark/Slash key to deselect. Click on this one, press the Right Bracket two over from the P key, T key for Move, and that's just the Modify > Move, and you can move this down.
So, without much effort-- we'll click to turn off the move-- you can create a very unique logo just with some simple fonts. So the text tool in LightWave Modeler quite powerful, quite a few that you can use, whether you want it fully automated or just a manual setup, the choice is yours.
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