LightWave 10 Essential Training
Illustration by Maria ReƱdon

Organizing a 3D scene


LightWave 10 Essential Training

with Dan Ablan

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Organizing a 3D scene

Setting up a simple scene like this doesn't require too much organization, but the organization process of a 3D scene is always important, no matter how big or small a scene can be. Let's open up the Scene Editor. So over here on the very left and it doesn't matter which tab you are in, you are always going to see the Scene Editor. When you click this, you are going to see Open, New Instance ,and Classic Scene Editor. Let's start with the Classic. This is the one I use most. What this does, it gives you an overview of your scene as well as your timeline.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 4m 22s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Working with projects and setting the content directory
      2m 3s
  2. 46m 19s
    1. Understanding the LightWave 3D interfaces
      1m 49s
    2. Exploring the Hub
      1m 54s
    3. Understanding 3D space
      1m 13s
    4. Working in Modeler
      6m 49s
    5. Working in Layout
      4m 48s
    6. Selecting elements
      5m 31s
    7. Identifying the elements of a 3D model
      5m 26s
    8. Using the Numeric panel
      3m 10s
    9. Using layers
      8m 38s
    10. Using the Statistics panel
      2m 52s
    11. Working with menu and keyboard configurations
      4m 9s
  3. 22m 49s
    1. Working with geometric shapes
      4m 21s
    2. Using Extrude
      5m 11s
    3. Building with Bevel
      3m 47s
    4. Working with Polygon Bevel
      6m 4s
    5. Editing polygons
      3m 26s
  4. 34m 37s
    1. Understanding subdivisional surfaces in LightWave
      3m 20s
    2. Comparing Subpatch with Catmull-Clark subdivisions
      2m 18s
    3. Creating a basic model
      4m 27s
    4. Beveling with subdivisions
      3m 50s
    5. Adding detail to models
      6m 39s
    6. Deforming and shaping objects
      7m 13s
    7. Recapping subdivisions
      6m 50s
  5. 48m 42s
    1. Working with EPS files
      3m 24s
    2. Correcting EPS errors
      6m 13s
    3. Creating 3D text objects
      8m 1s
    4. Building objects with curves
      10m 6s
    5. Exploring Rail Clone methods and uses
      5m 13s
    6. Exploring Rail Extrude methods and uses
      2m 49s
    7. Modeling with Array
      4m 42s
    8. Using Symmetry
      8m 14s
  6. 56m 24s
    1. Understanding the Surface Editor
      10m 56s
    2. Comparing the Surface Editor and the Node Editor
      5m 12s
    3. Creating surfaces for polygons
      5m 11s
    4. Editing surfaces
      4m 39s
    5. Understanding the Texture Editor
      6m 22s
    6. Looking at image map textures
      4m 29s
    7. Using procedural texture options
      7m 40s
    8. Adding bump maps for realism
      4m 39s
    9. Enhancing surfaces with specularity and glossiness maps
      2m 43s
    10. Creating a reflective surface
      4m 33s
  7. 42m 2s
    1. Building 3D scenes
      1m 26s
    2. Importing, loading, and working with objects
      8m 29s
    3. Organizing a 3D scene
      8m 48s
    4. Working with different light types
      9m 25s
    5. Lighting a 3D scene
      6m 39s
    6. Employing environmental lighting
      7m 15s
  8. 22m 27s
    1. Understanding LightWave cameras
      8m 25s
    2. Setting up a camera in a scene
      7m 6s
    3. Placing multiple cameras
      3m 27s
    4. Animating cameras and camera elements
      3m 29s
  9. 38m 23s
    1. Understanding the Timeline
      3m 9s
    2. Adding and controlling keyframes
      6m 9s
    3. Fine-tuning keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 44s
    4. Using motion plug-ins to enhance keyframes
      5m 15s
    5. Animating textures
      7m 37s
    6. Enhancing scene animation with displacement maps
      7m 29s
  10. 36m 58s
    1. Introducing particles
      7m 29s
    2. Creating a particle animation
      7m 21s
    3. Working with Hypervoxels
      9m 6s
    4. Going a step beyond with particle animation
      8m 8s
    5. Replacing particles with items
      4m 54s
  11. 21m 58s
    1. Understanding dynamics in LightWave
      1m 27s
    2. Setting up a dynamic scene
      4m 21s
    3. Animating cloth
      2m 39s
    4. Building collisions
      6m 16s
    5. Creating a hard dynamic scene
      7m 15s
  12. 27m 30s
    1. Understanding bones
      3m 14s
    2. Understanding skelegons and when to use both skelegons and bones
      4m 4s
    3. Placing bones in an object
      6m 10s
    4. Fine-tuning bone placement and activating bones
      3m 51s
    5. Setting up Inverse Kinematics
      6m 37s
    6. Working with rigged characters
      3m 34s
  13. 21m 32s
    1. Understanding resolutions and rendering
      2m 21s
    2. Setting up a render project
      6m 50s
    3. Determining the proper anti-aliasing filter
      4m 24s
    4. Rendering to movie files vs. image sequences
      7m 57s
  14. 4m 8s
    1. Exporting an object
      2m 13s
    2. Exporting a full scene for backup
      1m 55s
  15. 1m 0s
    1. Final thoughts
      1m 0s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course LightWave 10 Essential Training
7h 9m Beginner Mar 21, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding and navigating 3D space
  • Configuring menu and keyboard settings
  • Molding basic geometric shapes
  • Creating detail using subdivisions
  • Casting reflections and creating surface textures
  • Building and lighting a 3D scene
  • Incorporating and animating cameras
  • Simulating collisions using dynamics
  • Determining the proper anti-aliasing filter for renders
  • Rendering a project as movie files and image sequences
  • Exporting a full scene
3D + Animation
Dan Ablan

Organizing a 3D scene

Setting up a simple scene like this doesn't require too much organization, but the organization process of a 3D scene is always important, no matter how big or small a scene can be. Let's open up the Scene Editor. So over here on the very left and it doesn't matter which tab you are in, you are always going to see the Scene Editor. When you click this, you are going to see Open, New Instance ,and Classic Scene Editor. Let's start with the Classic. This is the one I use most. What this does, it gives you an overview of your scene as well as your timeline.

I am going to expand this out. And what this will allow you to do is organize your scene in a variety of ways. First of all, we can see the hierarchy of our scene. We can see here is our Ground object, and we can slide this around if we want and move it and parent it to other items simply by dragging it. I can open and close the hierarchy of items. So you can see here that we've got our first cup and the cap that belongs to it, the second cup that we've cloned and the cap that belongs to it, and the third cup and the cap that belongs to it. Our Light, our Camera, everything else.

The checkmark here will determine what renders. So if you've got something in your scene such as maybe that center cup right there and you don't want it to render, you can just uncheck it and you can see it just disappeared right there. It doesn't mean you deleted it. Just it turns off the visibility, because don't forget this Virtual Preview Render that I am showing here is an actual render of your scene. This little eyeball icon, that will actually turn on a different kind of view for each one of your items. So I can say this one I want as a bounding box, this one I want as wireframe, and let's take our scene to a Shaded Solid, you could see what I am talking about here.

So now I have got bounding boxes, and this is really great if you've got a much more complex scene that you are working with. Sometimes a full wireframe might be too much data and you want just a bounding box, meaning just a representation of that to show up in your view. Sometimes just a Wireframe, and you can change it to Shaded Solid here or Front Face Wireframes. Everything you do in here, it all depends on how complex your scene is and how much or how little is in your scene as well.

The Timeline here cannot be organized. Now we have not yet talked about animation but here you'll actually see the keyframes, meaning the time-in-space the motion path for each one of these items. You can select all objects in here, all cameras. You can choose different favorites, you can create a set, and all these are different ways to organize your scene. We could take different colors, just to organize it as well. And this is especially great if you are doing any kind of character work. So I can say all the base items of our models are blue and perhaps all the caps are white.

Our ground we don't want to see it that much. Maybe it's a black. So whenever it's not selected, it is going to be dark. So what I will do is change to my camera and you'll see that now I've got a ground. And let's just change the color here for the Ground object. We will make this black so that when it's not selected, that wireframe is black and kind of gets out of the way a little bit. So these are just visual things. They don't actually have anything to do with how your scene renders. The only thing that will is that checkmark.

These visibility things right here all determine how you look in your OpenGL. Lastly is the Audio. Here you can load an audio file and use this as a timing base for your animation. Let's close out the Scene Editor. The other Scene Editor is a newer one. A lot more complex. This one is more of a spreadsheet format and also if you have ever heard term dope sheet, you will see that here as well. This is greatly use for character animation, so that you can really move your timing around.

Select Sections, right-click, and you can do a lot of different offsets. You can erase keyframes, put in gaps, delete, cut, and so on. So if you have got a more complex animation and if you had series of keyframes that run throughout, you can use the Dope Sheet to edit those. You can also look at the Property tab and any of your animations or objects that have certain variables set up, you can copy and paste those all within the Property tab. So if you look, you can click this top value here, you can see there are all kinds of options that you can choose from.

You can view different channels, look at basic surfaces, look to the alpha channels, look at different effects or resolutions. All of that's controllable in here. Again, this is not one that I use personally too often, but it will work great if you are doing a lot of character animation and it's one that you can use as well. You can do the surfaces in your scene and what are their names. So we have a Coffee_Cup, Coffee_Cup_Lid. Those are the surfaces for that object. We can look at the Ground surface and we can look at the motion channels. Every channel has an X, Y, and Z position, heading, bank and pitch for the rotation, and a Scale X, Y, and Z. You can look at each one of those and if there's keyframe setup for the motion, you will see those in here and you can edit them.

So a quite nice way to work. So the Scene Editor is a great place to organize your scene. What I like to do in the Classic Scene Editor is I like to use this for parenting, and it's very easy to take all of these items and parent them together. So let's do a little project real quick. I am going to move by Scene Editor over and I'm going to my Items tab and from the Add category, I am going to add a Null object and a Null object doesn't render. It's just a little reference you can use to parent things, to target a camera, or to group.

So I'll call this CupMASTER, like that. Before I do, I can open up the Edit dropdown and here I can choose a shape for this, like a pyramid or a diamond. I can choose the axis, I can choose the scale, how large it is. If it's filled or not. And I will call this MASTER, like that. We will say make sure it's the same, call it CupMASTER. And you can draw a line to a camera or one of the other objects if you want. We don't need to. The Selected Color, we can make it that bright yellow one it selected.

The Unselected Color, we can make it kind of a nice soft nondescript color. Text Color can be yellow as well, just something very bright that we can see it, and the opacity of it. If you click OK, what happens is not only that you have a nice item in there, and let me come back here to a Perspective view and I'll change to a Shaded view so you can see it. There is my CupMASTER right there and what can I do with that? Well, here it is in my Scene Editor and I am going to click and drag it up, and then I am going to select layer (1), layer (2) and layer (3).

All three cups, you can see them there. I am going to click, hold the mouse, and I am going to drag, but as I drag, see this white bar? I am going to make sure it indents, just like that. So it's underneath it and now when it indents it's actually parented to the master. You can see a little arrow pops up. So if I open and close this arrow and I see those underneath, now I know the parenting works. So that means this hierarchy of this cup now belongs to this MASTER. So if I want to move all of these objects around, all I've got to do now is click the MASTER and all of those cups move. It works quite well.

Great way to organize your scene , and again that doesn't render. If I put on the virtual preview, it doesn't render. It's just a null object. It's just there to reference other objects. So now I have got a whole parent for that and taking it a step further, if I went to Items and I hit CloneHierarchy for that CupMASTER, like this, what will happen, let me get back here to a Shaded view. Now I have got CupMASTER (2) and look what's beneath it.

A whole section of cups already cloned. So not only did we have CupMASTER (1) with 3 cups underneath, now we have CupMASTER (2) and we have a whole another clone. Get back to Perspective View by pressing 4. A whole other clone of those cups. I am going to put it over off to the side. You can rotate the cluster and very easily create randomized objects. Trees, bushes, debris, garbage.

Press 6 to get back to your camera and now I have got more cups back there. Just like that. So parented them all to a cluster and then we clone them, gives us more, and then you can of course size that cluster. Just press Shift+H, you can size that up. So a lot of possibilities with that. So organizing your scene is not that hard. A lot of it can be done all within the Scene Editor rather than in layout, because it gives you just a nice overview of how everything is looking.

There are currently no FAQs about LightWave 10 Essential Training.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed LightWave 10 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.