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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.
Once a surface has been created in LightWave Modeler, it's often good to go into LightWave Layout to actually apply those surfaces. So I've prepared a scene that you can work with. Go to the File dropdown and instead of loading an object, this time load a scene, and from the Chapter 5 Exercise Folder, load the 05_04_BallsBegin scene. .lws is a LightWave scene. The difference between a scene and an object: the objects live within a scene, but the scene holds the camera position, lighting position; the objects hold the surfaces.
So what I want to do now is put some surfaces on here. So let's hit the Surface Editor. I am going to move it over just a little bit, and let's start putting some surfaces on. Let's first take the ground surface. So we'll select that. That's what we want to work with. I want the ground to be a little more robust than this. So I am going to put a little Specularity on, about 30%, and Glossiness, about 40% is fine. But what's really going to help this is give it some reflection. So we will make the Reflection about 20%. But notice I don't see it here, nor do I see it in my view. Well, there are a couple of reasons for that.
Number one, the normal OpenGL view, you're not going to see this. You will see it, however, if you go to-- I am going to slide this out of the way for a moment--up here at the top of your viewport if you click dropdown, change the VPR mode, and what VPR mode is is a Virtual Preview Render. This is a wonderful new thing in LightWave 10. Well, right now it doesn't look like much, but you will see in a minute that you are actually seeing a real-time render directly in your LightWave Layout. Well, the reflection is still not working. Well, why is that? You need to tell LightWave's render engine to calculate the rays.
Well, what are rays? Rays are bounced rays of light. So for reflection it has to actually calculate that ray of light being bounced to show up. So from the Render tab, click Render Globals under Options, and then there is another Render tab within there and you can say Raytrace Shadows, meaning calculate shadows, and suddenly you see them come on. There is also Raytrace Reflection. When you click that, you can see those come on. So let's close that. So now when we make our surface changes we will be able to really get a feel for what they are looking like.
So our ground is looking okay. Later on we are going to come back and we're going to add a little bit more to this. Let's go to the red ball since we can see that right away. The first thing I want to do is hit the Smoothing button. It changes all those polygon facets. Red is fine. We don't want it luminous, but we might want it to be reflective as well. So let's pull this back down about 80%. And you are thinking well, why would you bring the Diffuse Value down? Why would you not want it to have more light in the scene? The reason is I am going to add some reflection and what happens too often than not, people put reflections on, which is going to add to your surface brightness.
And if you have 100% diffuse, if your surface is taking all the light from the scene, well then you have reflections at it, it's going to be overly bright. So you typically want to balance diffusion and reflection to equal about 100%. It's not a steadfast rule, but kind of a good starting point for you. We'll put a little Specularity on, about 24%, 25%, and we will make it a little bit higher gloss, about 60%. Now you can see it's reflecting the green ball next to it. Well what if you like this and you want to keep all those properties for the other ones? Well, there is an easy way to do that.
If you right-click on the surface name, you can select a copy. Then I am going to go to the green ball, right-click and paste, and all of those properties are copied. But you're thinking, well, wait a minute. I don't want red. I want it green. That's fine! My thought process in this is that it's a lot easier to copy all the specific properties and make one simple change back to green than it is to add everything right in. Now then I could do the same for the blue ball. Right-click, paste my settings, and change the color to blue, and that's how simple it is to create surfaces in LightWave Layout.
Let me do the yellow ball, right- click and paste, and change this to yellow. Make sure you just click right into your Layout to activate. Make sure that updates. So let me close this panel out. So you can see that with little effort, you can put reflections, shading, shadows, and this is all with one default light. Very simply you can create a nice smooth surface all with the LightWave Surface Editor. Surfaces are created in LightWave Modeler.
In LightWave Layout you can apply all the color, texture, specularity, and glossiness that you need-- a great way to start creating terrific looking surfaces.
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