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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 we're seeing is a virtual TV studio. Your objects are like your actors. You have your cameras and you have your lights. So to begin, let's load up some objects. I am going to go to the File menu, hit Load, I'll say Load Object, and in the Exercise Files I've got two objects, a Ground and a CupBegin. We'll select both of these, click Open, and you'll see two objects loaded. And the one object, the Cup, actually has two layers. So what you're going to see down here now is three different items.
So it's important to know that an object can have multiple layers. So the Cup has two layers whereas the Ground is an object all on its own. Well, if I select the Cup layer 1 and I move that, what happens? Well, the cap stays put. So I did a Ctrl+Z just to undo that. I want to make sure that that cap stays connected to the cup. So I'm going to click on it to select. Then I'm going to press the M key. That is the Motion options for that selected object, in this case the cap.
I want the parent item of the cap to be the Cup layer 1. And what that means is whenever layer 1 moves the child, the cap, will move with it. So we'll select the cup and we'll move that and now we can move that along. So what's the point of having two objects then if you have to parent one? Well, the point is that I can come now back to this cap, go to Modify, select Move, and I can move that cap off if I want in an animation. It could be a separate piece that I can animate. So that's the first part in setting up a scene.
Now what if I wanted two or three cups? Well, let's take a cup like this and we'll just click and drag right on this blue handle to move it forward, and then I want to duplicate this. Well, how do I duplicate both of these? Pretty easy! All I have to do is go over here to Items and instead of just Cloning, which will clone just the selected item, I want to choose CloneHierarchy, meaning the parent-child relationship. I'll click that and then what you'll see down here in your current item, now you actually have two more of those items.
But if I select the version 2, you could see a number is automatically added there for me. Here is version 1, here is version 2. Now I have a second cup copied and with this one I can choose my Rotate command and just click on the heading and just kind of rotate that like that. And then maybe if I want to do another one, I can come over back to Items, choose CloneHierarchy, and then down in my list I could see now I have a version 3.
And with this one, let's lay this one down perhaps. Somebody was not being very nice and littered with their cup. Go to Modify, select Move, and I'm just going to move this up and down. In part of working with a scene, you have to consider your grid space and what that means is if you notice that see as I am moving it's kind of snapping around a bit, and that's not a snapping issue as it much as it is a size issue. My cups are relatively small, they are not that big, but they are small in comparison to the grid space.
Well down here Grid is set to 10 meters. That means every square you see in my View layout is 10 meter in size. I can change that simply by pressing my Left Bracket key and what happens is it looks like I zoom in but I really don't. It actually changes the world measurements. So I'm going to click and hold on to Zoom tool and pull back out and look what happens. All of those grids now are 1 meter in size. You can see down here in the bottom left. If you press D for Display Options, there's the Grid Square Size right there.
The Left and Right Bracket keys are simply shortcuts for this. Think of this as your world measurement, and a really good example of this, if I press the Zoom tool and I zoom out and I see my camera, my camera is all the way over here, really tiny. If I have a very large zoom with the Grid Square and I go back up to say 10 meters, look what happens. See how my objects actually shrink? Well, I'm not really shrinking my objects.
I mean I know this is a little bit confusing, but you have to understand that it is your Grid Square that's changing. The world measurement is changing here. And what that will allow you to do is change relationship of your camera to the objects. So for instance, if you loaded up a cup like this and then you loaded up a really big object like a building, suddenly your camera would be very tiny and hard to see. Or by the same token, if you had a large building and you loaded up a tiny little bug on the street, your camera would overpower it. It wouldn't actually be able to select that camera and move it in close.
So you have to always consider the grid, the world measurement of your scene. Then when I get back down into my close view by just clicking and dragging the zoom and I select this object, look how much more precisely now I can actually move that, because I have that much more detail to work with as far as my world measurement. I'll press the Y command. That changes me to Rotate and I'm going to rotate this just like that a little bit. Click the Move tool and let's set this cup down just so it rests right on the ground, then we'll move it over and actually we'll put it kind of back here like this.
That's fine! So that's one part of setting up a scene is loading your objects. The next part, something I usually do, is I set up the camera. So I'm going to select the camera down here at the bottom that tells LightWave that I want to work with cameras, and then I'm going to change to the Camera view. So my camera is default all the way back and front. I want to do two things. I want to actually push in, so I'm going to select Move from the Modify tab and I'm going to just click and push my mouse in. Now what I've seen a lot of people do is pull like this, thinking they are looking at a 2D view and they want to get closer.
You got to remember, you're looking through a camera as if you're holding it on your shoulder. And I'm just going to push it. Now notice how long it takes me to get in. That is because I have a very tiny the Grid Square that I'm working with. That's okay. If you've a larger Grid Square, you would zoom in much quicker. And once I get close, I'm going to jump to Rotate, and then click and drag to Rotate. If I use my right mouse I can actually bank the camera. It kind of gives you a little look like that. And as my background looks a little short, I can actually click right on it to choose that automatically.
See there's my ground. And I'll choose Size for the Transform tab under Modify, and I'm just going to size that up, let it fill the view. I want to make sure though, I'll press T for Move, that it hits the bottom of the cups, which it does. And at this point I always save my scene. Very important to do. File, we'll say Save Scene As and I'll save this as a working version, but you save over for the final. I'll call this 06_02_CupSetup and you can load that if you want.
I can press 4 to get back to the Perspective view, but now I know that my camera is set in place and you could see it right there. So that's what my camera sees. That is really important, because that's what is going to render in an animation or a still image. Lastly, the thing I want to do is put a light in place. So here is my light, the default right at the center of the scene, and typically, what I like to do is, very much like a camera, we're going to choose a Light View. And this is what my light sees and now I can select Move and click and drag and now I'm moving my light directly from view.
It's like I'm standing on a ladder just positioning my light. I can use the right mouse button to move it up and down, and then I can select Rotate just like I did with an object or the camera and rotate my light around. I'll jump back to Camera view. I'll hit Save Scene just to save my changes and I'll change to Viewport Preview Render. So far that's what we have. Looking pretty good. You put some surfaces on the ground, but I think our lighting is a little dull.
So we need to enhance that a bit. But before we do, let's take a look at what we just did. We have loaded an object. We've cloned an object. We've adjusted an object with size and scale. We've set up a camera position and we've set up a light, all the basic elements of setting up a scene.
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