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Working with curves in LightWave Modeler is pretty powerful. You can create simple shapes, from text objects to bottles with more intricate designs. You can actually create cloned objects with a simple curve. But you can also extrude with a curve. I've gone ahead and loaded up the 04_06_ RailExtBegin file from the exercise files. And what this is simply just a flat disc. You can see it right there in one layer, layer 2. And layer 1 has a curve, and this curve was just drawn out using the Spline Draw right here from the Create tab.
And making sure that the flat disc is in one layer and the curve is in a background layer, I can actually use that curve to generate an extrusion. Let me show you what I mean. Under the Multiply tab, we're going to come down to Extend, and under the More dropdown, there's Rail Extrude. It's also Ctrl+R as a shortcut. If you click that, you'll get a little panel that pops up and it says Automatic, Uniform Lengths, or Uniform Knots. Something like this I think Automatic would be just fine, so I'll click OK. And what happens is that disc is now extruded along the curve.
Now lines up pretty well, and the reason it does is because I made sure that when this is lined up that disc at the curve's start--I always tell people it's like a needle and thread-- you want that curvature going straight through the very front of that disc; otherwise, if it's on an angle you're going to get little bit of a weird turn in it too soon. The other problem with this is that it looks okay, but the polygons are flipped inside. Now depending on what you're building, that could be a good or bad thing. For a lot of things I do on a daily basis, something like this works for me.
For instance, I often have to create body parts and travel through and maybe put blood cells in there. So here we can have a vein and now we can actually travel through this very easily because the polygons are flipped inside. And that curve allows me to actually model that the way I need. If I press F, I flip the polygons outward. And so let's say you're making a Cheez-It, or you're making frosting on a cake, or just even chords, or tubes for electronics.
You could do it very simply with just a rail extrusion like that. And again, the smoothing, even through we're in Smooth Shade mode, comes from the Surface Editor when Smoothing is on. Let's say Font Shading. It's just a shading technique which we're going to talk about in our surfacing videos. But that's what curves out those little facets. So the Rail Extrusion is very powerful and very useful for chords, for arteries, and all kinds of little designs that you might need that are probably a little too organic and too specific to model on your own.
But by setting up just a rail extrusion, you can do it quite easily.
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