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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.
Every once in a while you need to create a model that is really nothing more than a series of copies of an existing model, and while you can use the Rail Clone to create multiple copies, sometimes you need it a little bit more ordered. Let's say you are creating a field of trees: an apple orchard, or an orange farm. Well, let's load up a tree and try that. So from the File dropdown menu, I am going to say Load Object, and in the Chapter 4 folder, we are going to load the 04_07_Tree object from the Files folder. This is just a simple old palm tree.
What we're going to do is clone this, but rather than a simple clone, we are going to use the Array tool. So from the Multiply tab, we'll select Array. A nice little panel comes up, and you can choose to do a rectangular array or radial array. You can choose the Count. So how many copies you want on the X axis. Let's just do 6. We don't need any on the Y at this point because, well, the trees aren't going to grow in the sky, so we are just going to keep that to 1. The Z count, we are going to set to maybe 8, and then we can jitter it a little bit if we want, so it just offsets it slightly to maybe 0.2, 200 millimeters.
And then we can do the Offset Type set to Automatic or Manual. Perhaps we can make it 1 meter on each. Let's leave Y at 0, and then let's just click OK and see what happens. And at the very bottom of the screen, you might see a Progress come along. But because my Offsets was set to Manual, look what happens. While it creates a really neat-looking thing, the trees are kind of all overlapping each other. All right! So let's do a Ctrl+Z to undo. I'll click Array again and then go back to Automatic. The reason they overlapped is because my Offset set to Manual was only at 1 meter.
So how do I know what that is? Let me move this to the side. My grid, you can see right down here on the very bottom-left, is set to 2 meters. That means every square is 2 meters in length. Well, I only had it set to 1 meter, so the tree was here and then it was about here. So what I need it to be really is about 1, 2, 3, at least 4 meters. So I can do Automatic or just tell it 4 meters for each of those axes that I want, click OK, and now you can see that they are not overlapping. Press the A key to fit them to view, and let's expand this.
The only problem with this is that they look all the same. Just kind of all random is what we really wanted. And really the only true way to do this is to make a few, set the array for a few more, then clone those with an array, and so on. But you can manipulate this group a little bit just to create a little bit of a difference. So, I am going to go to the Modify tab. I am going to use the Magnet tool, and then with the right-mouse button I am going to click and drag out this circle. What this circle determines is the range of influence this Magnet tool will have. And then in the bottom view I am going to drag it out a little bit, too.
I can click right on the center, again just using the right-mouse button to encompass just this one area, and maybe I'll scale it back just a little bit. So what's going to happen here is that this is like a drag. I am able to drag the group of points, but it's going to be stronger in the middle and it's going to fall off towards the edges, and outside of this ring, nothing is going to happen. So watch! See what happens? I can actually just pull this around in here and shape it, and now I can actually make it a nice tall little cluster.
Then I can use my right mouse button, move it down here, and I can push these this way a little bit if I wanted, use my right mouse button to move it over this way, and change the size of it, maybe pull these back this way. And so with a little bit of work, I can actually create a little bit more variation to this without having to do too many more arrays. I'll just do one more over here, and we'll pull this back like that. So I'll click the Magnet tool to turn that off, expand this out.
And so just by varying that, you can see that all those leaves now have a little bit more randomization to them. So if you were going to do this again, perhaps go ahead and use a straight tree, and then you can use the Magnet tool to bend it, but it's a great way to make a series of bushes, a series of leaves, trees, even simple products. If you were going to do a big bowl of M&Ms, you can make one and you can set an array for all of those using the radial array versus the rectangular array. So Array, Clone, they are all really great tools to create all kinds of things for medical to architecture to very simple medical animations, anything you can think of.
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