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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.
So when we talk about a model, you are probably wondering, what actually is a model? Well, let me show you. If you come over to the Create tab, under the Primitives category you have got a Box, a Ball, a Disc, and a Cone. It's very simple primitive objects. Under the More dropdown there is Capsule tool as well as some other solids that you can work with. Let's choose the torus, also called Toroid, and what happens as you get this nice little numeric panel that comes up and you can choose the number of sections, number of sides, the radius of this torus, start angle, end angle.
So we are pretty much going to keep this as its default full 360-degree rotation so that it looks like that. Not something too useful, but it will work for our example here. If you're building this more for a real project, you would want to add more segments and more sections to it so that it has more detail. These days with the power of computers you don't need to have simple primitives like this. In years past you had to in order for your system to keep up, but these days you can actually do a very nice detail object. But if you take a look at this wireframe, you will see that there is number of lines as well as points.
Now let me expand this by clicking the top-right corner here of the top quadrant. That expands that to a single view, and then I will click and drag on my Zoom tool just to zoom in a bit. So you can see here that there's a point in between each of these lines and then lines connecting each one of those. But what those are, there are points, also known as vertex. These vertices connect in between each one of these lines to create a polygon. So four points have edges between them, and I will jump to Edge mode here just by clicking at the bottom and then selecting my edges.
Each of those together makes up polygons, and I am going to expand my view back to a quad view, and a polygon is what you end up with. And I will do Shift+A on the keyboard to bring that selection to view. Also, you can go to the View tab and Fit All and Fit Selected. So what we normally do is a, Fits All. Fits Selected brings what's selected into view. So points make up polygons, and as I mentioned earlier, it's kind of like connect the dots.
What happens though, if you take out one of these? So if I have this polygon selected and perhaps I go to Edit > Cut, you get a hole. It's just removed. But notice that's there is nothing inside there. The reason for that is that polygons are one sided, and if you take a look, well how do you know that that's really facing the right way? Sometimes a polygon might not be deleted. It might just be facing the wrong way. That can happen from time to time when you're importing models, connecting parts of models with other points and edges.
For instance, I am going to rotate around here so you can see. We will hold Alt, Option key, Alt on the PC, Option on the Mac. Select one of these and if you press the F key for flip, it flips the polygon. So while it looks the same as this polygon being removed, it's really not. It's actually just flipped inside. So, how can you tell? Well you can do that by showing the surface normal. So if you press the D key, you will get your Display Options, and there are a number of different panels in here, but in this very first tab called the Layout tab, you can turn on Show Normals. And when I do that--I will just close this panel here-- you can see a little dotted line come out from the polygon and that shows which way the polygon is facing.
So if you take a look in this Top view here, you can see that it's facing inward. There actually is a polygon there. So knowing that, I can press F to flip it out the other way. So that's something to keep in mind just when you're working with these polygons, to know which way your surface normal is facing. Now if you had a model that had a hole in it for some reason, you accidentally deleted it a polygon, how would you reconnect that? Well I am going to press the right corner here and expand this view. I am going to work in Point mode, so I will select Points at the very bottom of the screen, and that allows me to select points.
Notice that I still have points selected over here from earlier when I was just talking about them. I am going to press the Question Mark/Slash key on the keyboard to deselect those, hold the Alt+Option key to rotate around and then with the Point mode on, I am literally going to hold my mouse down and run across these points. Now something has happened here other than selecting four points I have selected five. I can tell that because number one, I can just see it right there. But down here at the bottom-left, look how it says Sel. That means selection. It says 5.
Five what? Five points. That's what I have selected. So by holding the Ctrl key, and clicking on the point I don't need, I can deselect that. Now that I have got the four points selected, I can make a polygon by pressing P for polygon, and now I have reconnected. I will expand back to a quad view, come out, and my object is whole again. So just a simple explanation of how these elements are built, whether it's something you're going to build on your own or whether it's a primitive you views from the included shapes.
Either way, points, edges, and polygons are what make up your model and what you are going to be using in our upcoming videos.
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