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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've run through how all the cameras work, lighting is important, so let's go ahead and just actually set up a camera for the scene. So with Camera selected for the current item, that's just the default camera, we'll hit Properties and we've got a Perspective Camera, which is pretty much a default camera in LightWave. Now the typical default 24 millimeters is okay for most things, but when we are doing a product shot like this I kind of like to be zoomed in just a little bit. The reason is, in the real world if you actually had these on a tabletop you wouldn't be up on top of it.
You actually would be zoomed in. I have found that this Lens Focal Length doesn't really equal 40 millimeters in the real world. It's a little bit arbitrary. But what you want to consider is how the look is. Don't worry about the numbers as much. So I am going to select Move, I am going to hit the right mouse and I am going to move this up, and then I am going to click the left mouse and pull back, just click and drag on the mouse backwards. Then I am going to hit Rotate and click with the left mouse and rotate like this and then back in the Properties panel hit the P key.
I can zoom in a little bit more. So this zoom has a much different look to it than just actually pushing the camera in. Then if you take a look at the Perspective view, you can see what I'm talking about here. We just rotate the view around. You could see that the camera is back here, just as if we'd set this up on a tabletop and you had a tripod with the camera. That's kind of about the distance you'd be. The camera wouldn't be right up here on top of it with a wide-angle. So anytime you're setting of a product shot you want to give it that realism.
It changes the overall look of the perspective of the shot. So that's fine and just to make it even, because I am a little OCD, we've got to make that 50 millimeters. We are setting Use Global so our resolution will be set from the Global Illumination panel and the Render Globals panel. Our Antialiasing is set at 9 which I know just from past experience that's a good resolution and what that will do, see these little jaggies right here? Now that's OpenGL. That's just the viewport display. But we don't want those when we render and that's what that Antialiasing will do.
What the Antialiasing does is rebuilds. It reconstructs the edges and how does it reconstruct it? Well that's this value right here. Often Classic works fine. You can set to Gaussian, which is more of a blurring, but it will work fine for that. Sampling Pattern can be fixed. you can also just choose Classic, but Fixed works well. We do not want Soft Filter because we don't want a soft image. I use Soft Filter for doing a very low res preview. I'll put Soft Filter on to clean it up a bit. Motion effects we are going to use Use Global as well, okay.
So that's setting up just a basic camera. The next thing I like to do even just to give this camera a little bit of interest is just right-click, choose Rotate, and then right-click just to tilt it a little bit, a little touch angle. You can also see down here in the very bottom left Rotation. So just like any object or light you can choose camera and set a numeric value. If you hit Move, you could see there's the X, Y, Z positions and if you hit Rotate, you can see there is the Heading, Pitch and Bank for each of the camera values. Lastly, we'll go to Render > Render Globals, hit the General tab and then down here under Resolution, I'll change it to 1920 x 1080, or you can go 720p, which is 1280 x 720, but one of these two settings is most current these days.
Now the Multiplier, this again has to do with your camera. Let's say I've got my scenes set up the way I want, my client is happy with it, but I need to do some tests. So when I press the F9 key, I'll actually see that full frame render and you can see here Resolution 1920 x 1080, Antialiasing set to 9. It gives me all the information I need and the Camera Name, I just set to Camera and I see Perspective Camera Type. You can see that wide-angle look. I'll hit Close, and then you can see that there is my render, nice and clean on the edges.
This is not the scene with all the default lighting and it looks fine, but what I can do in here, let's say the client says, "Well that's good and you need to make some changes." If you're doing a still image, it's not a problem, but if you are doing animation, a full res animation like this might take some time just to send a preview. This is where the Multiplier comes in. You can jump this down to 25% and keep all of the settings, the High-Resolution, the Aspect Ratio, the Antialiasing, but it will scale that resolution down 25%.
So press F9 and what you'll see now is that you get the exact same ratio and the Antialiasing, but at 480 x 270, 25% size of your full HD. What you'll be able to do is render out an animation in that size and it renders much quicker of course because it's not the full resolution. The Multiplier is very, very nice way to test an animation or a scene and by the same token you can double it. Sometimes if your resolution doesn't go high enough, you can set it and just double it. Again the Antialiasing will still prevail.
Limited Region, if you turn this on for your camera and you could turn on Borders what you'll get is this nice outline and so let's say you only want to render a portion of your scene. You can click and drag your corner and then click in the center and then when you press F9 to a render it will render only with that Limited Region shows. You can do a full res animation like this to a QuickTime or an AVI. You could render a square animation if you want. It doesn't have to be set to a standard resolution.
You can choose an overlay if you want for your camera as a frame number or as timecode or as film if you are doing a movie, even time in seconds. Sometimes I like the frame number and you can punch that in there, press F9, and when your animation goes you'll see a frame number at the bottom of the screen. Now it won't show up on a still image like this because we are not doing a full animation, but if you have an animation going you'll actually see that frame number on there.
So that works really, really well. But again that's usually more for a client preview than anything else. We'll turn that off and we'll turn that off. Last thing, Segment Memory Limit, normally you don't have change this anymore. In years past you did. What this will do it says how much memory is being used for that render. So 256, more than enough, but if you've got a super high-resolution you may need to change that. The reason is you want to render in one segment. If this is a too low, it will render half the frame and then half the frame and sometimes with certain plug-ins and values, that kind of screw things up a little bit.
So it's best to render in one segment, not only for the scene itself but also for a time's sake it will render a little bit faster. But that's setting up a camera in LightWave, very easy to do with the Camera Properties panel and the Render Globals panel working in conjunction to set the right resolution and frame rate.
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