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Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps

From: LightWave 10 Essential Training

Video: Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps

Earlier in the course I showed you how bump maps can enhance a surface and then slightly got into displacement maps. I like to cover those a little bit more and show you something that you can do with them to create a simple landscape from just a couple of polygons. I have got a scene loaded here and this is nothing more than a subdivided polygon. Let's take a look at the Perspective view. So I will press 4 on the keyboard and it will zoom out and I am going to jump to a Wireframe so we can see what this is. And that's pretty much it. It is just a subdivided box and I will press the Tab key to turn on the subdivision surfaces and the reason I did that is because it allows me to have all these segments that I can bend around.

Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps

Earlier in the course I showed you how bump maps can enhance a surface and then slightly got into displacement maps. I like to cover those a little bit more and show you something that you can do with them to create a simple landscape from just a couple of polygons. I have got a scene loaded here and this is nothing more than a subdivided polygon. Let's take a look at the Perspective view. So I will press 4 on the keyboard and it will zoom out and I am going to jump to a Wireframe so we can see what this is. And that's pretty much it. It is just a subdivided box and I will press the Tab key to turn on the subdivision surfaces and the reason I did that is because it allows me to have all these segments that I can bend around.

When we create a Bump Map you can put a Bump Map literally on one flat surface. When you do displacement maps, you are going to want a little bit more geometry in there so that you can bend it a little bit and I always use the analogy of a screen door that you can bend very easily. Well, take a look at this. It kind of looks like a screen door made up of tiny little segments. So it is very easy to be bent. So to do that we are going to first select the object itself and then press P to get to the properties for that object and under the Deform tab you are going to see Displacement Map right in the center of the screen with a little T button that means Texture.

So we are going to click that to apply a Displacement Map Texture. But what is the texture we are going to use? Well, we are going to let the computer do it for us. So rather than an image map, we are going to load a procedural. So let's say Procedural Texture and instantly you can see that that surface suddenly becomes a little bumpy, which is great. What that means is this value here, the white value, is actually being applied to this entire surface and bumping it. If I increase that Texture Value you can see those bumps increase, or you can go negative as well.

So what could you do with this? Well I have often made landscapes with this and let me show you how to do that. You choose Underwater. It creates kind of a neat look. You can different values in here for map function. You can see it back there. Veins, Wood. Click Automatic Sizing for a lot of these to help straighten it out. But for a landscape we can often do Crumple and that works really well and if we increase the Texture value you get a very nice-looking, just kind of mountain range. It is a very soft mountain range, perhaps one you would see in, I don't know, Ventura, California, and this could sit behind some buildings that you can make very easily with perhaps a Bevel tool.

So this also could work for an ocean. It could work for cloth. So I want you to think in those terms when working with Displacement Maps. The other way to do it is with Fractal Noise and of course that looks a little odd. So what you need to do for this is manually set the size. So I will set the X value of the scale to 2, 2 on the Y, and 2 on the Z, and then let's bring that Texture Value down to about 2 as well, and actually we can even go lower than that. So now I have got just larger bumps like that. It gives you a little more that you can work with and what's wonderful about these displacements and the speed of computers today is you can get a real-time feedback.

So as I'm moving these around I can get a pretty good idea of what this looks like. That's another way to create a nice little mountain range. But let's say I don't want the whole thing to be mountain; maybe I want sort of little valley before it. Well, the way I would do that and let's go back to Crumple. I think that worked pretty well for us. What we are going to do is take that value and once we get this back up here and we are going to make it fall off. So I am going to jump to the Falloff tab and which ways is it going to falloff? Well, let's take a look at our camera in our scene.

Our camera is pretty much at this default position, pointing down the Z-axis. Our object was centered on the X, Y and Z, so 0 is right there in the center. So we want to falloff on the Z-axis towards the back and look what happens. It just kind of falls off from the whole thing and I don't want that. I only wanted just from the front. Well that's okay. I will make it fall- off about 5% from that center value, and then I am going to use Position on the Z. I am positioning the procedural texture that we are applying as a displacement map and I can just push that over.

Here is the cool thing. Earlier I showed you how you can animate textures, right? Well, you can actually animate something crawling under this like a rug. So I am going to show you that next. But right now we are just going to move this and so what we end up with is this nice little scaled mountain range that we can use to render our scene. So let's take a look at our Viewport Preview Render. We will press 6 on the camera and now we have got a nice very flat land here that we are going to apply texture to.

We will open up the Surface Editor and put Smoothing on and we will come into our Backdrop Options from the Windows dropdown and turn on our gradient just to get a little sky in there. And we will click Camera and then under Modify I will choose Rotate and now when I move around you can see that I've got that nice mountain range back there. Looks nice and random. I didn't have to worry about modeling. It is all done with displacement maps. Let me show one thing you can do with this.

If you had an image map- I am going to press P for Properties- you can actually have that image move through the object. So a way to do that, we will take an image and I am going to go down to Image right here and hit Load and I am going to load the bricks. So now this brick image is being used to displace and let me turn off my Falloff here so it does the whole thing. So there's the bricks actually coming through the surface and the more detail I have in here, the more detail I'll be able to see.

Meaning let's come here to the object properties and under the Geometry tab. Because I have a subdivision surface, my SubPatch Display level is 3, but I want to render it maybe a little higher. You got to be careful with this because it is very easy to go overboard and have your system kind of come to a crawl. But I am going to bring my Display SubPatch Level to 6. That means this object is going to be subdivided 6 times versus 3 and you will see here in a minute as it redraws, look at all the detail I have now in here. And now that I have more detail I can come in and adjust my values for the amplitude, which is the amount of displacement, and now you can see that those bricks are very well defined.

So I think of this in larger terms. You can put a logo in there, you can emboss a coin, and then you can actually take this and position it and move it through there just like I did with the landscape. Now it is going to take a little bit to update because it is a lot of geometry we are working with. But taking one step further, if you have a little white image perhaps of a shade of a mouse, like a little ball with two little ears. that white image would actually displace this, kind of the way that white in this image is and you would have a nice little bump in there that you can translate through the object.

So displacement maps are very powerful, not just for oceans and landscapes, but also for things like brick-walls and little imperfections in a surface that you might have through an everyday object.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for LightWave 10 Essential Training
LightWave 10 Essential Training

83 video lessons · 5160 viewers

Dan Ablan
Author

 
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  1. 4m 22s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Working with projects and setting the content directory
      2m 3s
  2. 46m 20s
    1. Understanding the LightWave 3D interfaces
      1m 50s
    2. Exploring the Hub
      1m 54s
    3. Understanding 3D space
      1m 13s
    4. Working in Modeler
      6m 49s
    5. Working in Layout
      4m 48s
    6. Selecting elements
      5m 31s
    7. Identifying the elements of a 3D model
      5m 26s
    8. Using the Numeric panel
      3m 10s
    9. Using layers
      8m 38s
    10. Using the Statistics panel
      2m 52s
    11. Working with menu and keyboard configurations
      4m 9s
  3. 22m 49s
    1. Working with geometric shapes
      4m 21s
    2. Using Extrude
      5m 11s
    3. Building with Bevel
      3m 47s
    4. Working with Polygon Bevel
      6m 4s
    5. Editing polygons
      3m 26s
  4. 34m 37s
    1. Understanding subdivisional surfaces in LightWave
      3m 20s
    2. Comparing Subpatch with Catmull-Clark subdivisions
      2m 18s
    3. Creating a basic model
      4m 27s
    4. Beveling with subdivisions
      3m 50s
    5. Adding detail to models
      6m 39s
    6. Deforming and shaping objects
      7m 13s
    7. Recapping subdivisions
      6m 50s
  5. 48m 42s
    1. Working with EPS files
      3m 24s
    2. Correcting EPS errors
      6m 13s
    3. Creating 3D text objects
      8m 1s
    4. Building objects with curves
      10m 6s
    5. Exploring Rail Clone methods and uses
      5m 13s
    6. Exploring Rail Extrude methods and uses
      2m 49s
    7. Modeling with Array
      4m 42s
    8. Using Symmetry
      8m 14s
  6. 56m 24s
    1. Understanding the Surface Editor
      10m 56s
    2. Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor
      5m 12s
    3. Creating surfaces for polygons
      5m 11s
    4. Editing surfaces
      4m 39s
    5. Understanding the Texture Editor
      6m 22s
    6. Looking at image map textures
      4m 29s
    7. Using procedural texture options
      7m 40s
    8. Adding bump maps for realism
      4m 39s
    9. Enhancing surfaces with specularity and glossiness maps
      2m 43s
    10. Creating a reflective surface
      4m 33s
  7. 42m 2s
    1. Building 3D scenes
      1m 26s
    2. Importing, loading, and working with objects
      8m 29s
    3. Organizing a 3D scene
      8m 48s
    4. Working with different light types
      9m 25s
    5. Lighting a 3D scene
      6m 39s
    6. Employing environmental lighting
      7m 15s
  8. 22m 27s
    1. Understanding LightWave cameras
      8m 25s
    2. Setting up a camera in a scene
      7m 6s
    3. Placing multiple cameras
      3m 27s
    4. Animating cameras and camera elements
      3m 29s
  9. 38m 23s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      3m 9s
    2. Adding and controlling keyframes
      6m 9s
    3. Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 44s
    4. Using motion plug-ins to enhance keyframes
      5m 15s
    5. Animating textures
      7m 37s
    6. Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps
      7m 29s
  10. 36m 58s
    1. Introducing particles
      7m 29s
    2. Creating a particle animation
      7m 21s
    3. Working with Hypervoxels
      9m 6s
    4. Going a step beyond with particle animation
      8m 8s
    5. Replacing particles with items
      4m 54s
  11. 21m 58s
    1. Understanding dynamics in LightWave
      1m 27s
    2. Setting up a dynamic scene
      4m 21s
    3. Animating cloth
      2m 39s
    4. Building collisions
      6m 16s
    5. Creating a hard dynamic scene
      7m 15s
  12. 27m 30s
    1. Understanding bones
      3m 14s
    2. Understanding skelegons and when to use both skelegons and bones
      4m 4s
    3. Placing bones in an object
      6m 10s
    4. Fine-tuning bone placement and activating bones
      3m 51s
    5. Setting up Inverse Kinematics
      6m 37s
    6. Working with rigged characters
      3m 34s
  13. 21m 32s
    1. Understanding resolutions and rendering
      2m 21s
    2. Setting up a render project
      6m 50s
    3. Determining the proper anti-aliasing filter
      4m 24s
    4. Rendering to movie files vs. image sequences
      7m 57s
  14. 4m 8s
    1. Exporting an object
      2m 13s
    2. Exporting a full scene for backup
      1m 55s
  15. 1m 0s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 0s

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