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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.
Rendering an animation or a still image, you often need to save it and that's all done in the Render Globals panel through the Output tab. So, let's start at the top. If you want to save an animation, you can click Save Animation. Hit Save and then you choose a type of animation, whether it's a QuickTime or an AVI depending on your system. There are some other options in here too as a Film Box or Storyboard. For the most part, I generally don't do this and the reason is sometimes those savers can fail, a QuickTime or an AVI saver.
So, you have got be really careful of those, and it's just a preview. It's not really a big deal. But then you could say here is the animation file and where to save it. What I would like to do instead is I save in RGB sequence and with that, I will set up a special folder on a second drive and I will put in the file name and I will hit Save, and then I choose a type of file. And this is really important because often my clients need 32-bit files such as a TIFF 32 or TARGA 32. With that 32-bit file, they will have the alpha channel, which means they can key it over something.
They can composite it later in an editing program. So, I often like to save a sequence. Now, how that sequence is saved in the format is right down here. So, I would go let's say the name and the frame number, dot, whatever the format is, and that usually works pretty well for me. But you have got to remember that if you have an animation that goes longer than a thousand frames, well, make sure you choose a name with four digits. You can choose the color space, which is a really big deal, depending on how your animation is being portrayed. If it's Linear or sRGB.
You have the Alpha Format and we definitely want that Premultiply Alpha. And the color space for the alpha could be the Linear or sRGB, and generally that is Linear. Now, the sRGB we often used for print. So you need to consider and talk to who's ever getting your final render. If they are going to use it for print, where it's going to go, because that's going to determine how you want to set that color space. These are all some new settings in a LightWave 10 that are going to really help the color of the output as well as the contrast of the lights. Some can be too hot, some can be too dark, and this can help balance them quite a bit.
So, you don't get too much falloff or not enough from some of your lights. We have all been down the road where we have a light set that's just entirely too bright and it's not lighting the scene enough. Well, this is a way you can change that, through Color Space. So, once that Output is done, you can just go to Render Scene. But what's also important is that's saved with your scene file and the reason that's important is because down here in the bottom left, under the Render Tab, there is Open RenderQ and when you do that-- just close this out-- you will get a Render panel that you can add up.
So let's say you have got this brick scene and you want to render it from the top and from the side. Well, you can set up different renders for each one of those cameras and add the scene. So, I would add a scene let's say from one of my chapters here. We will open these up and we will open up the one scene. We will add that in. We will add another scene and I will add this to the Q. And once I go ahead and hit Render, it will render the first scene and it's going to save it wherever I told it to save in my Global Renders panel from the Output tab.
So, make sure that once you save this, you then go to File and hit Save Scene. And then you load the scene up in Render-Q and you can walk away for a week and have all your animations just rendering away for you. You can clear it and close it out. So, rendering animation is not so tough. If you have a high res still image, the best way to save that is just hit the Render button and I will tell you what, let me do this. I am going to close that and let me turn off all the Motion Blur I put on, which is in the Filtering tab, just to make this speed up a little bit.
I will press F9 and this is how I actually render out a still image, so you just kind of wait for it, because it normally don't take too long, even if they're quite large. What happens is after this render goes, a panel will pop up and that panel-- just hit Continue-- is right here. This is your image frame and you'll see this in the General tab. The Render Display > Image Viewer and that's this one right here, so you want this to pop up. In this file, I can save an RGB, I can save PICT, I can save TIFF, whatever I need of that final render.
So, this is technically a raw render, and I can save it out wherever I need. I can save it exposed, resampled, put it to a buffer for a later use, but generally for the most part you're going to use the Save RGB. This color space for this, if you take a look, you can change it to sRGB, Cineon, and some of these others. Cineon can be used for film. So, for most of your things, you are probably going to choose between Linear and sRGB and it's really neat to experiment with that and see what your client needs, or your output, or your editing system.
We can look at this at 100% and that's how large it really is. We can look at it 200% and we can shrink it down if we need, and this is really good if you have got a really large screen and you don't have a very big render. You can blow it up or vice versa. Metadata, if you are into photography at all, same kind of idea. This will have all the information about this image embedded within it. Lastly, if you leave this panel open as you are rendering-- if you have got a second screen, you can push it off to the side-- it will save your render frames.
So, let's say that's a frame I rendered, let's move up like this, press F9. As long as our panel stays open, LightWave will remember these renders and you can get back to it without re-rendering. But if you close it, it's going to not remember those. So something to be aware of. We will let this render finish. Press Continue. So, now I've got my new render and the previous render. It's a good way to show those to clients as well. Lastly, you can view the image or if it has an alpha channel, you can view that as well right from there and save it out.
So, rendering from LightWave not too difficult. Yyou just need to remember everything you should do, that should be saved through the Render Globals panel through the Output tab. Still images or moving images are often going to be saved as sequences. Lastly, I want to show you down at the very bottom of the screen is the Preview and what you can do in the Preview is save your OpenGL. You can save your layout. So, what you can do in the Preview Options is choose how you want your rendering. I want it Normal. How the encoding should be? How it's compressed? The interlacing, which we are not going to do.
This is often done more for broadcast in your video editors. If you are staying within the computer, you are going to keep that to None. Lastly, you can choose QuickTime, AVI and choose the codec for that, or you can save an image sequence. And once you save those options, once you make a preview, that will actually generate a preview in the background. Move that out of the way. Let's bring this back to a wireframe and then we will hit to Make Preview and let's stop that real quick. We will jump back to this wireframe. Make Preview, from the Camera view or Perspective view, which is very handy.
Just playing through and it's recording that and I can play this back It helps give me a real-time look at my scene. It's also good for clients and again, you can render it from a Top view or from a Side view. But then you can save it. Because I set up those options, now I can play it back, free it from memory, or I can save it. And I will just put it on my Desktop as temppreview, and you will see it's exporting out of QuickTime. So, not only can you export out a full time render, you can export out a playback of your screen exactly as you see it.
So, it's a terrific way to keep your client, your boss or somebody up to speed on your work, if they're not there to look at your screen.
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