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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.
Bump maps, displacement maps, specularity maps, glossy maps, kind of starts building up to a more complex surface. But what's really going to set this ocean apart is a reflection map, and in order to do that, we need to change two things. We need to change the Surface Properties for the ocean to give it some reflections and tell the ocean to be reflective, but then we need something for it to reflect. So let's do this first. Our background right here is just black, so I am going to go to the Windows dropdown and choose Backdrop Options.
Here in this Effects panel there are four tabs: Backdrop, Volumetrics, Compositing, and Processing. For right now, we are going to use Backdrop Color. You can set this to any color you want, such as a bright green, and you'll see that change. Or click the Gradients and the gradient essentially works with the 3D sphere that encompasses your scene. Now it's an invisible sphere, but think of it as a little world around your virtual TV studio. So the zenith is the very top part of that sphere, the sky, and of course, you can see right there, and then there's just somewhat fake horizon line.
That's what a ground plane is. Well in order to get rid of that, what you need to do is make the ground color the same as the sky color. So what I'll do is I'll click the little blue icon here, click the color swatch for the sky, and I'll just copy that right there. If you are on a PC, you can do that the same way you can copy your surface. I'll close that and then for the ground color, I'll select that same. Close that out, click into the Layout to update it, and you can see that that ground plane now disappears. The nadir is the very bottom of the little virtual sphere that encompasses the world, so I'll just make it a little orange.
Now what you can do is you can actually squeeze that up if you want, just increase that value, and what happens you can see, see it just coming up there? Sort of like a little sunset value, and you can do that with the top or the bottom, pull that down. It squeezes that, gives it more of a nice appearance. Sometimes I like to make this top part all white and give it kind of a foggy look. But for the first part here we'll just keep this just a nice dark blue. So we've got our backdrop. That's one aspect. Let's open the Surface Editor again for the ocean.
Now let's tell the ocean to be reflective. How much? Well, that depends on your taste. I am going to say 30%. And what's it reflecting? Well, the environment. It suddenly got much brighter, but let's take a look at the environment. So I'll go to the Environment tab. It's set to Ray Tracing and Backdrop. Well ray tracing means it's going to reflect anything around it. So if we had a boat on the water, for instance, you'd see a reflection of the boat. The backdrop, we just made to this backdrop color. The other options in here are Spherical map, Ray Tracing, and Spherical map.
So now I can say if unless I didn't want that color backdrop, I can do this. I could say Load Image and from the Chapter 05 folder, I've got some clouds in there. You can open that up and now your backdrop is actually reflecting those clouds, and it's picking up that color. So I can come in here, and I'll bring my Diffuse value down to about 70%. It has a whole different appearance to it. I can come back to Environment, change it to Spherical map only, or I can change it to Backdrop Only, or a combination. So the choice is yours.
You can use either one of those. Another option, just to take this step further, is to actually take the Luminosity channel and apply texture map. So you've used texture maps for specularity, glossiness, bump. How would it affect luminosity? Click the T button. Again the same Texture Editor panel opens. Place an image map flat, which is planar-- the image being those same clouds. We'll map them on the y axis and click Automatic Sizing and click Use Texture, and look what happens.
Now you get this really neat-looking cloud picture mapped within this surface. If you reopen the Luminosity texture, you can bring this value down, say maybe 30%, and now you've got a very nice- looking reflection in there. It almost looks like patterns in the water that you'd see in the real world. So while the cloud image you might think would be strong clouds, it actually can be used for other things. I always want you to think about any kind of image map you used. Don't think of it literally. Think of it how it can be used for something else. And in this case, our cloud image is used on the water, and it creates just another surface variation.
It changes the Luminosity values of the water. So some parts are little brighter than others, giving it a completely different look, and helping that ocean with it's realism. So specularity maps, glossy maps, reflection maps, luminosity maps, all of them can be put together to create one great-looking surface.
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