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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.
I have got the 12_02_BrickFinal scene loaded. I want to go ahead and set up a render for this. So the first thing I need to do is make sure my Timeline is correct and I could see here that yes I've got 160 frames, the animation is moving, everything looks good there. I also want to make sure that my camera is set. Typically it would be because we are setting that up as we are working. One thing that I've seen a lot of people do, we'll go here to our Viewport Preview Render, is they will get in the habit of setting up an animation from the Perspective view which is right up here.
But unfortunately, the Perspective view doesn't render in the final animation. It does here for the Viewport Render, but for the final render we need to be in the Camera view. So I am going to press six and it gets me to the Camera view. You can see it right there. Then I am actually going to press the T key, which is Move, and I am going to click and push in to move my camera. I can also choose Y to actually rotate and I'll make sure my camera is selected at the bottom of the screen and I will press T and I will move in. So now you can choose how you want the camera to be seen.
So setting up a render, especially on a dynamic scene like this, might mean moving camera, or it might mean leaving it static. So if at frame 0 my camera is here and then ball comes through and smashes, maybe we can set up a keyframe here for the camera to kind of look at it a little bit and we will move it like that. And then we'll move through our Timeline and as the ball comes back here, maybe we'll sweep the camera down just to follow it a little bit and as it comes back, perhaps at frame 120, the camera will just travel back.
Of course you can fly the camera right through the wall with the ball breaking it as well. So this way we just have a little bit of an animation going as we are doing this. So remember the camera is a very key to your render. Now even if you have multiple cameras, you make sure you have the right camera selected because that is what your render engine will see, not your Perspective View. In the Properties for the camera, you want to make sure that Use Globals is checked. You can set up your resolution right here in the Camera panel, but it's often a good idea to check Use Globals for both the Resolution and the Motion Effects because when you get to the Render and hit Render Globals, you will have one panel that you can work your way through.
So, now as we set up this render, in the Render Globals panel I want my first frame to be 1 and my last frame to be 160 to match my Timeline. My Frame Step is set to 1, meaning render every single frame. If I wanted render every third frame, let's say, I would set it to 3. By the same token I can render -1. What that will do is render backwards. So I could set 160 as my first frame and 1 as my last frame. A reason you might do this? I have one machine rendering 1 to 160 at a step of one.
I have another machine rendering 160 to 1 with a negative frame step of 1, so that both machines are rendering, but they are not repeating the same frames. So if one machine stops at frame 80, at least the other machine is rendering the backend and then one of those single frames come together we will have one complete animation. What I want to do from here, make sure Auto Frame Advance is on. If you are rendering your animation you need to have this on. Frame End Beep, turn that off. That will beep every time in Animation Frame Renders.
Animation End Beep, that's often good to have on because let's say you are working in your office, and you have the rendering going in the background. That will beep when the animation is done. Every frame beeping, that might be a little annoying. Preview will automatically disable. It will ask you if you want to turn that off when you do a full frame animation. Now that we have Use Globals on, the render can be set right here for the resolution. Now we will just use a preset. Very nice to do. From there, under the Render, Render Mode should usually be realistic, but if you do a Quick Shade or a Wireframe. But for the most part if you want a full render, you want Realistic.
Tell the render engine if you want Shadows or Transparencies, Occlusions, Render Lines, Reflections or Refractions. Generally these are on by default, so we are going to keep those on. The quality of the raytracing is all set right here in the Render tab. So Ray Recursion Limit will be set to 6. Sometimes you are going up this for a little bit better in transparency, but for the most part that's going to work just fine, as well as the Precision and the Cutoff. Light Intensity is a global control. So if I take this down, all of my lights in my scene will actually fade out and as you saw earlier in the course, you can set an envelope.
You can animate those values by clicking the E button. So let's say you have a stage of characters. Perhaps it's an improv and you've got characters running around the stage. You can have all these stage lights on, and one frame at 0% and all of a sudden, they come on and they bend and bow and it works really well. You can also do the same for Lens Flare if you have Lens Flares on for your lights. Globally, you can turn on Shadow Maps, Lens Flares, and so on. If you have High Dynamic Range imaging on for Filtering, you can put that on and Multithreading, if your computer has multiple processors.
You can go up to 64 processors now with LightWave. If you're doing a lot more work outside of LightWave on your computer, you can throttle back some of the threads and maybe if you've got four processors, you tell LightWave only use two threads so it's not using as much power in your system. I generally leave that on Automatic. Lastly, you can get to Filtering, which we are going to talk about shortly to clean up your render, but what I want to do now is take a look at what this might look like and I will come down to about frame 45. I am going to press F9 and that's going to render a single frame for my animation, and it looks pretty good, but I can see that there's little bit of jaggies.
So I am not sure if that shows up exactly on the video. There is a way to make this a little bit cleaner and that's through the anti-aliasing. The last thing to set up a render is your Output. How you are going to save this? There is a couple of different ways and we are going to talk about that shortly, but you can save animations, you can save RGB files. Setting up an animation is not too difficult as long as you work through the Render Globals panel. You get your resolutions right, you tell the render engine what to calculate, and then set an output and your render will go.
The last thing you should do though is over in the left-hand side under Render, there is Render Frame or Render Scene. So I will show you how to do that coming up. Rendering an animation or still image is not a lot of work. The Render Globals panel is a great way to work through setting up a render. It eliminates mistakes because in one panel you can work through your resolution, you can tell the render engine what to calculate such as Retray Shadows, you can set up your Antialiasing through the Filtering tab, and then your output can be set for images, AVIs, or QuickTimes.
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