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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.
Another thing you can do with curves in LightWave Modeler is use them to create other objects. So while we used a curve to actually build a 3D model, you can then take that model and make more of them from a curve. Let me show you what I mean. We're going to go down to the Curves section here under the Create tab, and we're going to choose Spline Draw. I am going to expand out my Top view here, and I am just going to start down at the bottom. And I'm just going to very simply just create kind of a little curvature like this. I'll circle this all the way in, just like that, and I'll bring this view back to quad view.
Turn off the Spline Draw. All right, it looks pretty good, but what can you do with it? Well, let's go ahead and load up another object. So I am going to say Load Object, and from the object files, I am going to choose 04_05_RailCloneBegin. And this is a simple bottle built also with a curve, and I am going to take this model and put it along with the curve. Now, when I load this model, it loads as its own project. In this dropdown up here on the top-right, I can have as many objects loaded as I want.
Each object contains as many layers as I want. Well, I need this object to be into this object. How do I do that? A simple copy-and-paste can work. So Ctrl+C to copy on your keyboard, select the next object, and I'll choose a new layer--and this is important--Ctrl+V to paste. The way this is going to work is that these layers are going to talk to each other, the first and the second layer. So I want the curve in the background layer, so I am going to click beneath that little slash right there. And let's go back to our RailCloneBegin and then say File > Close Object.
So it's important to understand you don't actually delete an object to get rid of it; you can close it--just as you would a Word document or a Photoshop file. You're closing a project, you're not necessarily deleting it. You can delete the contents if you hit Delete. So we've got our bottle. The background layer has this curve. What can I do with this? I'll come down to my Multiply tab. Down under Duplicate, there's the Mirror tool, an Array, a Clone, but under More, if you click that, there is actually one called Rail Clone.
So we're going to choose that, and a simple panel comes up where we're getting Uniform Lengths, Automatic, or Uniform Knots, that is going to place something in each one of these points. Let's just choose Automatic and click OK. Well, this object has a little bit of detail to it, so it's just going to take a second to come up. But what it will do, it will actually take this bottle and replicate it all the way around this curvature. But look at the way it did it. It's not quite exactly lined up right. It's kind of neat and we got so many bottles lying around--or maybe that's a bad thing--but let's Command+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo, Ctrl on the PC, and then let's go ahead and move this.
I am going to hit Modify > Move. We are going to put this bottle right in front of the spine curve, like that, and Shift+A to fit. The other thing I am going to do is I am going to make sure that my subdivisions are off, hitting the Tab key, which they are, like that. So you see the actual facets. That's going to help make things a little bit smoother for us. I'll go back to Multiply and then from the More dropdown, we're going to choose Rail Clone > Automatic, and it will clone all the way around that curvature.
Or I've created, let's say I have a highway I've built, and I have a streetlamp. I'm able to actually make streetlamps all the way down very easily. I don't have to actually copy and paste it. So now, all of those bottles, although a little bit too large, follow that curve precisely. The reason they're following it precisely is because we have that first bottle starting where the curve starts. Okay, so I am undoing here, just a Ctrl+Z to undo, and what I am going to do is this one more time, but we're going to control how many are in here, simply going to Rail Clone, and then we're going to choose Uniform Lengths, and let's just do ten of them, and click OK. And you'll see it happens a lot faster because we're not replicating as many.
So now I've told it to use that rail as a guide to create ten replicates. So it looks pretty nice. Now you can use this for all kinds of things, like I said streetlamps. You can use it for ornaments. You can use it for decorations. And that curvature doesn't have to live just in a flat plane. I'll do this one more time. Here's a little quick tip. Hit the Single Quote key, that's two over from the L on your keyboard, and it'll instantly reverse your layers, making your foreground your background and your background your foreground. If you go to Modify and choose Drag, you can click any of these points and move them on the other axis.
So your curve doesn't necessarily need to be flat. So now I've got this crazy curve, and if we reverse layers again with the Single Quote key, and we'll come back to Multiply > Rail Clone, and click OK, now that clone actually happens all the way around that curvature. So, kind of a neat thing. It's a great way to create an array of objects but be a little more precise based on the curvature.
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