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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.
Adding surfaces to objects with the Surface Editor is pretty straightforward. It allows you to create basic surfaces like you're seeing here with the Viewport Preview Render. But what if you wanted to add a little more interest to this? Well, you could use the Texture Editor. Let's open up the Surface Editor, and we're going to start with our red ball. We'll select that. You might have noticed these little T buttons next to all of these surface properties, and you're also going to notice these T buttons throughout LightWave when it comes to things like displacement maps for the object. Rendering.
There's all kinds of places you can put this. So it's really important to learn the Texture Editor. So let's select the Color texture. So I am just going to click the T button next to Color, and this opens up the Texture Editor. I'll close out our Surface Editor, keep it clean, and I am going to move my view over. Now the way I am going to move my view is because I'm looking through my camera, I need to actually move my camera over. So I'll select Camera at the bottom of the screen and then press my T key for move, and then I can just click and drag to move my camera shot over. That way, you can see everything.
Back in the Texture Editor, let's work our way down. A lot of people kind of just click all over. I've seen it happen quite a few times. What you really want to consider is that this is applying a texture to the color of the ball. Now, where you click this texture is what really makes a difference, and I'll go back to that in just a minute. The Texture Editor has layers, so you can layer up as many different textures as you want. What is a texture? A texture can be an image map. It can be a procedural or a gradient. Well, gradient will be like a transition, a procedural is a computer-generated, and an image map of course, well, that's an image. And that could be a photograph.
It could be a reflection. It could be a piece of wood. It could be a scan from something you went to the lumberyard and took a picture of. You can layer those up just by simply saying Add layer, and choose which type of layer you want. You can copy a layer, paste a layer, or remove one. Pretty straightforward. Let's go ahead and put a procedural on top of our red surface. If I placed an image map on there, that would overwrite our red surface. We just want to add to it. So we're going to choose the procedural, and you could see right away in the Viewport Preview Render that it automatically is updated for us, which is terrific.
But this default Turbulence, it's just a noise, just a fractal noise pattern. I can click and color this to anything I want and add to that. I can play with the scale and the size of it just to create all kinds of interesting shapes. But this procedural type has quite a few different things, and one I like a lot is Crumple. Let's say I had played with these values here. I am going to click Automatic Sizing. Automatic Sizing resets and looks at the geometry for me. Here, we can see I've got nice even values here, but I want to see it a little bit more.
So I am going to select in the X. I am going to press 2 on my keyboard, hit the Tab key, press 2, hit the Tab key, and press 2. That way, I've evenly sized that all down. I could see it a little bit better. So the Texture Editor allows you to put Procedural Textures, Image Maps, as well as many other things, like a gradient. A gradient will allow you to change values over the course of your object. So this little bar right here is called a key. I can click to add a new key, and with that selected, I can change the color value.
I'll make it orange. But notice it doesn't really change much. That has to do because of the way this key is right here in the Input parameter. So the Input parameter is based on the previous layer. We don't have any other layers. We can add one if we want, or we could change to Slope. What slope does, it actually looks at the curvature of the object. So now you can see the representation of this orange key fading to the white key right there on our ball. Pretty simple! I can select this key and take the Alpha to 0, and what happens is I see the red color from the base surface beneath.
So the gradient comes from a solid color and fades to transparency, allowing the surface underneath. So you can see how this can get quite complex if you start layering these up. I am going to change this back to a procedural texture, and then I am going to copy this, Copy > Selected Layers, and then I'll say Use Texture. Then I am going to open my Surface Editor, select the red ball, and you can see that the texture is on. It's clicked. I am going to go down to Bump map and click the T button. Look at this panel. It's exactly the same. A few minor differences, a few variances, but it's exactly the same as the color texture.
But what can you do in here? Well, the fact that this Texture Editor is set for Bump, it has a whole different effect. And I am going to paste down, say Add to layers or Replace Selected Layers and look what happens. That same procedural texture is pasted down, but because the texture is set as a bump we now actually have a nice bumpy surface. So, it works pretty well. With the Viewport Preview Render, we can actually see what's happening there. You can bring the Texture value down to say 20% and have less bump, or you can bring it up to 200% and have a lot more bump. And that's set to Turbulence.
These are the same size and parameters that we'd set in our color. I'll bring this back down to default of about 80%. I could do one more thing. I can copy this selected layer, the Turbulence. Then I can go to Specularity and add a texture. Again, the same Texture panel comes up. So where you apply your texture makes all the difference. Once you learn this panel, you can apply it anywhere. So we'll paste this down and replace selected layers. What I've done now is I've told the system to only place the specularity where these white parts are.
And by the same token I should mention that you can click and drag around this little preview just to see how the full texture looks. This is just a computer-generated texture. I'll click Use Texture, and so now what's happening is that the specular values, the shiny values, are only being applied where the surface has a white appearance. Where it's dark, we are not getting any specularity. What that's going to do is really help your realism for any kind of surface you create. So the Texture Editor is great way to add image maps, procedural textures, and fine details to a basic surface.
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