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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.
I've loaded up the 08_01_ AnimateCamBegin and this is a scene from earlier in the course and I have got a little error with the camera here. I am not sure what's going on there. Well, what's the best way to fix that? Well, if I take a look at the Perspective view by pressing 4 on my keyboard, if you look at that motion path, I'll hit the Rewind button and then just hit Play, it looks okay, but it's kind of odd right in here. And while I can tweak that right here in Layout, there is another way to adjust your keyframes and that's with the Graph Editor. The additional thing I want to fix is that my camera just kind of starts out and it's just kind of ends abruptly.
Just kind of stops. So I am going to extend this to 160 frames just so the camera sits for a little bit before the animation rewinds, and in the real world the camera wouldn't just slam in. It would ease in. And the same thing at the start. It wouldn't just start up. It would kind of ease out a little bit. Well you can do that in the Graph Editor. You can fix all those little things by clicking the Graph Editor right here on the very top-left of the screen. Now a lot of people I now get in here, and they go, "whoa, too much!" And it's not that hard once you know what you are doing.
So what I am going to do is give you an overview of this and then we are going to tweak that keyframe. We have got our Scene Bin, down here at the very bottom left and what this does is it shows you whatever is in your LightWave scene. So we've got our CupMASTER. All the additional cups that we have created, our light and our camera. Let's open up the camera by clicking the little triangle, and in there, you can see that you've got all of your motion channels. So you have got your Position X, Y and Z and your Heading, Pitch and Bank.
By just double-clicking one of those, you add it to the Channel Bin, which is up here in the top-left. You can double-click one of the others, or if you hold the Shift key you could add two channels. If you want to add all of them at once, simply just double-click the camera and all of its Motion Channels are added to the Channel bin. The reason you do that is because then you can select one of these channels and edit them in the Curve bin. That's this area right here. So I know that my camera is a little weird on the rotation at that middle keyframe.
So let's take a look at those channels. I can grab this Timeline slider right here and look through. The red represents my Heading, the green represents the Pitch. And you can see that it's pretty flat, meaning there's really no motion on that channel. And the Bank also doesn't really have much change. The Heading is the one that to be a little bit odd. So let's go to that frame 60 right there. I will move this down and that's that keyframe right there. So if you have a larger screen, you can actually put your Graph Editor on one view and then take a look at your animation on another view.
I am going to adjust my screen here so you can see what's happening on both. If I move my Timeline, you will see it respond in Layout, and what I can do then is come down here to these tools. The very left one here is Move and you can see the legend right there, and it even tells you what to do. Left mouse button moves values, Ctrl+ Left mouse button moves time, Ctrl+Right mouse button, and so on. This one creates a key. You can actually create your keyframes in the Graph Editor. I don't know too many people that do that. Most people adjust in the Graph Editor, adding one or deleting one, but you're welcome to build your whole animation in here.
You can stretch a timeline, you can roll a group of keys, and of course, you can just zoom in on one. And if you accidentally do that, just press the A key. That will fit everything to view. Up here just like you can in LightWave Modeler and LightWave Layout, click and drag around to look at your Timeline. You can zoom in and out and then there are a number of other keys up here that you can click. These will give you more specific controls over your keyframe and motion channels. We are going to leave those alone just for the time being. Let's take a look at this key right here. What's this one? That is the X. It's red and that is where things start out. So let's do this.
I'm going to left mouse and just click right on that keyframe, and that activates a number of controls down here at the very bottom. So in the Curves tab, you can see that my value for that frame is -15. -15 what? Well, that's -15 meters on the Position.X. Where does that number come from? Well, the base is just off of that zero axis. That dark crosshair that you see in the screen. That's your 0,0 axis. So it's -15 meters from that point and I know that because my grid at the very bottom left of the screen is 10 meters.
So it starts right over there. 15 meters from that zero point. But notice how hard it is when it comes out. That's where these Curve controls come in. What I can do is click and drag the Tension and I get set that to 1. And this Tension only goes to 1 or -1. So you can't really go more than that. But now the camera eases out. See how that curve changes? I can do the same over here. I am going to hold the Shift key and select all of my keyframes for the Position and then with my right mouse button, I'm going to select all of those, just like that.
Now I can easily set Tension for each one of those very easily. I can right mouse over the ending keyframe and also set a Tension of 1 and notice how now it eases in. Well, let's see what happens now when I play this. It starts out slow, comes around, and then it slows down into place. Much smoother. But I still have that odd rotation going on here in the middle. Right there. So let's fix that. The reason I can't really fix it directly from here is because it's going to an additional keyframe.
Even though there is a keyframe at 30, when it's going to 60 it's rotating in between. It's interpolating. So I need to be careful when I adjust that keyframe. So let me come over here and hold the Shift key and select all my heading channels and see this slope right here, you see the Motion Z that actually changes the Z channel, where it pulls out a little bit, and then the Rotation, we'll right mouse over this and here I can change the value. Look at that. I am actually rotating the camera in Layout right by changing this value.
So let's just put it at zero and now the camera is not rotating, but I need to be careful because it might actually be rotated too much. Let's take a look at the Camera View and see what it sees? Oops! Too high, right? So we're just going to bring it down about 10 degrees and I'll pull this up so you can see, and now we actually can see our shot very easily. So we will rewind, hit the Play button, and now we don't dip down into the shot.
Just by editing it in the Graph Editor. Lastly, let's go back to Position. If you don't like the camera easing in, perhaps you have a ball bouncing or something like that, you could set a Tension of -1 and what that does is slam your camera in. It comes in really fast, and again that's something more that you want to land hard. Now, our camera doesn't want to land hard. It wants to just ease in. So that's the opposite. That's 1.0. Other values like Continuity and Bias work better with your in-between keyframes and here if you adjust the Continuity to 1, you will see it actually jumps into a keyframe and jumps out quickly.
So ball bouncing that would work really well. The opposite value has a jump in something really hard. You have a car perhaps that turns a corner. Well if you are going to do that, go to Bias and watch what happens when I adjust the Bias. It changes the motion before or after that keyframe. So you have a car swinging around a corner. It can actually fishtail by just adjusting the Rotation channel's keyframe bias. Now I know that sounds relatively complex, but it's not as hard as you might think. It's just takes a little bit of time to just adjust these, tweak, and with one little setting, you will see the instant results right in the Layout.
For the most part you are going to use the Tension quite often and there is a little quick key to do that. If I come back to 4 on my keyboard and I go to frame 120 let's say, if I press Ctrl+G, take a look at the Rotation information channels down here. Ctrl+G all of a sudden changes that keyframe to Move TCB. Tension, Continuity and Bias. Right there in Layout, I can actually set a Tension for that keyframe, and avoid going to the Graph Editor, if that's all I need to do. And to just to get out of it, I can just select the Move tool or Rotate or some other tool.
So the Graph Editor is not quite as complex as you think, but it's a great way to get in and take care of motion channels, individual channels, as well as rotation channels, and have very specific motion channels for all of your animations.
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