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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.
You've seen how the Surface Editor can work help you create some really amazing- looking surfaces and lots of colors, specularity, reflections. But if you look at the Surface Name list, how do you get these in here? Well, that all starts in LightWave Modeler. So let's hit the Modeler button in the top- right corner, jump into LightWave Modeler. What's going to happen here is that because this object was loaded in LightWave Layout, it automatically brought it over. That's what the LightWave Hub does. Let's go ahead and say File > Close All Objects. We don't need to save those. And then from the exercise files, we're going to load the 05_03 BallsBegin, and that is a similar scene without any surfaces at all.
It just has your one default surface on there. So how does surfacing work? Well, what you're going to do is identify a set of polygons. The system is going to remember. You're going to tell it this set of polygons is this color. This set of polygons is this color. The way you do that goes back to kind of what we talked about in the very beginning. If you select nothing, whatever you do applies to everything. So if I just pressed Surface down here at the very bottom of the screen, the Change Surface requester comes up. I could say Nothing. When I do that, when I type in this surface--and we don't want it to be default, so uncheck that--and we set an initial color-- let's just say a big pink color-- we can say OK, and what happens? That's going to apply to everything because nothing was selected.
The same principle that works with all kinds of things. Well instead, we want to select just particular items and give those unique surfaces. Let's go to layer1. We'll jump to Polygon mode. I'll hit the Spacebar. That allows me to click right on this ball right here, and then I'll hit my Right Bracket key to select everything connected to that. It selects the whole thing. But because this is on its own layer, I really don't need to do that. So it's just something to keep in mind. If you've got one large object that has multiple parts, you need to select that individual item to put surfaces on there. Then you need to select this one, put surfaces there, and so on.
But because these are already separated into layers, that principle can work for us that if nothing is selected, it applies to everything. Everything in here is just one ball. So we'll press the Q key, which is also just a shortcut for the Surface button at the bottom of the screen, and we'll say red ball, give it an initial color, and we can say OK. But before I do this, I want to talk about this panel here. This is very confusing for a lot of people because here's what's going to happen. You're going to see the Surface Editor in the very top-left.
You're going to confuse that with the Surface button at the bottom. Think of this as while it says Change Surface, it's really Identify Surface, and I've talked about this in other forums, and it's really important to understand that you're changing or identifying a surface. You're not necessarily modifying it here. You're creating a surface. We're going to say Red Ball. Click OK. Now, you don't have to color it. What happens is people do that and say, "Oh! I didn't want it red." They hit the Surface button and they click this, and they say, "Control is disabled," and then they email me, and say, "What's wrong?" Well, again, you are creating a surface in this panel.
Well, the surface called Red Ball is already created, which means I can't adjust it. That's okay. All you're doing is identifying a surface. To adjust the color, that's where the Surface Editor comes in. I'll select Red Ball, and then I can change it to any color I want. If I felt like renaming, I can, like that. So I just want to make that clear. You're just telling these polygons what surface name to identify them. So we'll go to layer2, we'll press the Q key, and we'll call this Green Ball. And because this is a surface that hasn't been created yet, my color is available.
I don't need to set the color, but I like to, because that helps me identify that I've created a surface for this set of polygons. Lastly, if you wanted to create multiple surfaces, you can do this. We'll select a couple of polygons like this, go to Select, and say Select Loop, press the Q key, and we'll say Stripe. Then you can create a different set of polygons right on the object like that. Press the Question Mark/Slash key to deselect. That's all you need to do to create surfaces, but they have to be done in LightWave Modeler.
When you save this, that's what will be brought into LightWave Layout to apply your surfaces. Lastly, I should mention that the Surface Editor here in LightWave Modeler does work the same as it does in LightWave Layout. But there are some advantages, some big advantages of using Surface Editor in LightWave Layout--mostly in terms of previewing. So while I can do things in here, such as Diffuse, Luminosity, Specularity, Smoothing, and so on, the problem with that is that I don't get to see all of my lighting.
Lighting is a very key component of working with surfaces in 3D. So for the most part, I don't use the Surface Editor in LightWave Modeler. I like to do it in Layout because it takes into account my reflections, my surfacing, my lighting, and the entire environment that I'm working in. But the surfaces need to be created in LightWave Modeler, and once you do that, you can do all the fun stuff in LightWave Layout.
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