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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.
With an understanding of how the LightWave lights work, I think it's important to go ahead and set up a full scene with full lighting. So you can see here that we've got our Camera view looking right at our objects. So let's go ahead and set this up with a basic 3-point lighting setup. I am going to press 4 on my keyboard. It's going to jump me to Perspective view. It helps in giving overall view to my scene. I am going to press my right bracket key a couple of times, and that's going to open up my grid space a little bit, so that I've got a little bit better relationship between my camera and my light.
That means my grid square is not quite as small. You can see down here in the very bottom-left, 10 meters. So I've got my default light right here. I am going to press P with that light selected. Any item you select in the scene, whether it's an object, a camera or a light, if you press P you will get the properties for it. The Current Light, I am going to double- click in here and rename this KeyLight and the KeyLight is our main light and I want this to be an area light. So I can see here in the layout that I've got my light-- I accidentally clicked off it and there we go. And then we will hit Modify and Size and let's size up that light.
How big do we size it? Imagine if we were lighting this in the real world. We'd have a light about that big. I am going to rotate around and I want this light to be kind of in front but off to the side a little bit. So let's go to Modify and Move and let's just move that over just a little bit. Just click and drag it to move it. If you want to see how it looks from your Camera view, you can jump back down to Camera view like this and that's nice. You don't want the light to be directly in front. You want a little depth and that light falloff around the back side is going to create kind of a nice shadow for us.
But you do need a little light back here. So let's jump back to our Perspective view and then we can clone this light simply by pressing Ctrl+C. Let's click into the layout real quick. Ctrl+C clones the current item. Whether that's a light or a camera or an object, Ctrl+C will clone that selected item. We will clone it one time. The reason I like to clone is because it keeps the size and the properties of whatever I had. Let me close the Light Properties real quick and I am going to take this second light, you can see down here, Current Item, KeyLight (2), I will move that over, then I am going to choose Rotate, and we will rotate it around.
Now this light doesn't need to be as bright and I am going to tilt it a little bit and if you have a little bit trouble setting up a light, what you can do is come down to the Light view and you can see exactly what these lights sees. It's like you're looking through the light. I can select Move and hold my right- mouse button and move it down a little bit. Select Rotate and rotate it back, pointing right to the objects. Press 6 on your keyboard and that will get you back to a Camera view. Now, look what happens. This light is entirely too bright.
So let's change that. Press the P key. And if you click this dropdown here, you can see both of your lights are named KeyLight. Let's take this second one and name it Fill or Phil, just in case your name is Phil, and then you're going to change this to maybe a soft blue. I always like doing a little bit of a blue light because it's not quite as invasive and it also gives a sense of a little bit more of an environment, but the light intensity is entirely too much.
So let's just click and drag that down, somewhere about 40%. Now a lot of people have asked me what these ratios mean. They don't mean anything. They are just arbitrary. So try not to get too hung up on some of these values. 100% means it's fully bright, 50%, 40% means it's less than that. However, that doesn't mean you can't go to 1000%. I've done that on few occasions when we've lit the inside of airplanes for instance, and then we take the Surface Value down on the actual object.
So just because this slider stops at 100 when you drag, you can actually manually punch in a larger value if you want. But we will keep this at 40 I think. Let's do one more light. And instead of cloning a light, what we are going to do is come over to our Items under Add and here are our Lights. Click the dropdown, and let's add a Spotlight, and we will call this BackLight. That adds it to the scene and it drops right in the 0 axis, right center, 0,0,0.
I am going to press 5 on my keyboard to get to Light view, press T for Move under Modify, right-click to move it up, left-click to push it back, and then Y to rotate. Remember I am facing backwards into the scene. I am going to click and drag around with Rotate on and now I am on the back of the objects. Press the T key to move. I can use my right-mouse to move it up, left-mouse to pull it back and then rotate again, just click that button, and then left-mouse, click and drag down.
Press the P key, open up the Properties, and for the Light Color, let's give this a little bit of warmth to it. Put some kind of orangey yellow back on there. Click into the view just to update and then let's select our Camera view again to see how this is looking. So now we've got a nice warm backlight, a little soft blue to fill it back here, and then our main KeyLight. Often what I do for that KeyLight, let me just open up the Light Properties real quick, so select Lights and then press P for Properties.
For that main KeyLight, light is never really white. We often want it just warm it or cool it. Warming it meaning give it a little yellow orange or cooling it means makes it little blue. So just a little off-white there and that just gives a little bit of warmth and it's not so stark with just white on it. So there is our scene. We will say File > Save Scene As. This is lighting final and you can load this up. So very simple 3-point lighting. If you want to see a final render, just press F9 on your keyboard and you'll see this render out, calculating all the shadows, and that's what our scene looks like.
Nice warm light from the back, KeyLight from the front, and a soft blue fill filling in these shadows. Simple 3-point lighting. It's a great way to work for any kind of product shot, a logo, or just about any other scene you can think of.
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