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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.
Creating subdivision surfaces is very easy to do for things like lamps, laptops, or even coffee cups. But sometimes you have more organic, more fun things to create, not so hard-shaped. So what I'm going to show you how to do is build just a simple cactus, and how easy it can be to create kind of a unique shape like that with a simple box and subdivisions. So from the Create tab, I'm going to choose my Box, and I'm going to click and drag out in the Top view like this. Now I've got some segments here already, but an easy way to create segments without opening the numeric panel is use your up arrow and your right arrow.
You can remove those by hitting the down arrow and the left arrow on your keyboard. Just a quick easy way to create some segments without a lot of effort and numerics. So I'll turn off the Box tool, I'll click and rotate to see my little flat polygon here, and I'll select that center polygon. Make sure here then in my Back View, I'm going to click and just pull that view down a bit. So I'm going to go to Multiply, choose Bevel, and then I'm going to click and drag up, and then move my mouse to the right a little bit, just to kind of expand this.
I'll right-click one time to reset the bevel, then left-click to pull it back up, right-click again to reset, and pull it back up. And we'll right-click one more time, and then left- click just to kind of pull it in. This will create that initial shape we're looking for. Then I'm going to click on that top polygon to deselect. Now I want to bevel out the sides. I want to curve them a bit. But what's going to happen is I need to do it on both sides. So instead of doing twice the work, why don't I put on Symmetry? So I click Symmetry, and it says +Y.
Well, what that means is the Symmetry mode is going to work on the X axis. So if I click on the right, the left should automatically go, but the problem is my object is not 100% even on both sides. So I'm going to press F2, which is a default center. Now here is a thing. If you are on a PC, that should automatically center. If you are on the Mac, it might not. You might have to hold your function, your FN key, and hit F2, because there is a system preference in your keyboard settings in your Mac system preferences that says use all function keys as standard programs.
So you might want to turn that on. It's off by default. Or again, simply just hit function key and then F2. It's also under the View tab as well. You can hit Center. So what I should do now is click on one side and then I'll rotate around, click on the other. When we bevel, we're going to be beveling both sides. But I don't want to go out too far. I want to go out just a little bit like this, and then I'm going to right-click to reset the bevel, and then bevel again.
Now what I want to do is press the Y command for rotate, and I'm going to rotate this. Then I can press the T key to move it a little bit. Then press the B key for bevel. What I'm doing is actually shaping this as I build it. And I'm going to right-click again. Now what I want to do is, no matter where I rotate from, notice it's rotating based on selection, so down under modes, I'm going to change that to Mouse for my Action Center. What that allows me to do is place my mouse anywhere I want and rotate from that pivot versus a center pivot, and that helps give us the shape we want.
In this way, I can actually Shift+H for Size and click and size this down a little bit. Press the T key for Move, and I can move it. Press the Y command, and I can rotate it a bit and so on. So, very easy to shape those. Let's press the B key again for bevel and let's just bevel that out a little bit more. So, Spacebar to turn off the Bevel, and let's just click on those to deselect them, press the Tab key, and what you end up with is this very nice smooth shape that somewhat looks like a cactus. It kind of looks more like a ghost.
But then, I can very easily turn off my Symmetry tool, come in here to this top polygon, press the T key, pull that up, press Bevel, and click and bevel that up some more. Then I can deselect that, and now we don't want these perfectly even-- perhaps you mark on from the other side-- so here is something you can do. You can select this polygon, and hold your Shift key to press your Right Bracket key. That's two over from your P key.
What I'm doing is expanding my selection. And then with that expanded, press the T for Move, and then I can move that down. Now don't not worry too much about the wireframe being a little offset there. It doesn't matter for the final model. But that what you have just a little bit of a variation; Spacebar to turn that tool off, and then forward slash to deselect. Now you can take Point mode, and let's go back to a wireframe here, and then you can right-mouse around these points and manipulate them quite easily.
Press the Y key for rotate. You can deselect the points you don't want to Ctrl, then rotate some more. You can use your Stretch tool, which is H. These are all under the Modify tab. Stretch that down to size it out and so on. By having a very simple model like this, you have a lot of flexibility in controlling the movements. Another tool that's terrific for this is Drag, and that's right here under Translate. You can click and drag this Translate around, literally clicking on any of these points and shaping.
So while I'm not building the greatest looking cactus in the world, I think a little more time and skill from you can create something pretty unique. But just by building this basic shape from a box, and even just kind of pulling these in or offsetting it a bit, you can create some really interesting shapes. Now it's still kind of flat. So what I can do, again using this Drag tool, is just take these points from the front and pull them forward, and I can do this right here in the Perspective view as well and shape that out.
So, very easy to do. You can also even bevel some more, and then you can bend this. Let me show you how the Bend works. I'm going to right-mouse around these top points--and again I'm in Point mode-- go to Modify, and choose Bend. And with my modes set to Mouse, my bend action is going to happen from wherever my mouse is. So I can very simply, in the Right view here, put my mouse kind of about right here, and I can bend those either way I want. I can bend it from the front or the back, whichever I like.
So just to a create more of a unique shape, and I can right mouse around these deselect, pull this out, and let's deselect that one. So while we start it out pretty organic and pretty uniform, now we've got something that's just a little more diverse and not quite as perfect as a cup or a piece of furniture or electronics. So by using some of the standard Modify tools--Move, Drag, Shear, Magnet, and some of the others, a simple Box--you can create some really unique organic shapes.
Add to this some textures and shading and you can create some really unique objects.
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