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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.
You might have heard the term 'subdivisions' before, but not quite sure what they are. It's something that you can do in Modeler that can really help you create some very fine detailed models. So let me show you how to do that. I'm going to come over to the Box tool here, and I'm going to click and drag this out. And while I am doing this, I actually want to show you a little trick. As I'm drawing this out, I can press the N key for Numeric and create a very even box, making it even on all sides, but there is a little simpler way. I am going to turn off the Box tool, and I'm going to press Ctrl+X to cut that away-- Mac or PC, same command--select the Box tool again, and then I'm going to hold down the Ctrl key and click and draw out from the Top view and then go to the bottom view, and click and draw out, and I create a very even box on all axis. Press the N key.
You can see that it's exactly the same with the width, height, and depth. So just a quick little tip to create a nice even box. You can also do that same tip with a ball, a disc, a cone, anything else, a unit primitive. So we've got this box right here. And for the most part it's got six sides and kind of boring. You can do a lot with it, especially if you press the Tab key, and that turns on the subdivisions. The subdivisions take each one of those polygons and subdivide it a certain number of times. To determine what amount it's subdivided, press the O key and you'll see here that in the General Options tab the Subpatch Divisions is set to 6.
If I change this to 2, let's say, press the Enter key, and then click OK, you'll see that that subdivision now is 2 on each side. So what that means is each polygon-- that's a polygon right there--is subdivided 1, 2, 1, 2, and then this one is subdivided 2 times, and this one is subdivided 2 times, and so on. So I'll press the O key again, and let's change this to maybe 4, kind of a common value that you might use often. If you change this Flat Shade to perhaps Smooth Shade, you'll see that you have a much smoother object, but what can you do with this? Well, let me give you an example.
If you come over and you select this top polygon, and then you press the B key for Bevel, and then you click and you bevel this, well, what you end up with is a very nice smooth object. We're doing this very simple just to begin. But you can see you can create some very interesting shapes all just from a simple box. If I hit the Tab key to turn off the subdivision, all you're left with is just kind of a strange-looking box. The Tab key then smoothes that out by subdividing each one of those polygons.
So what happens is a lot of people think that subdivisions are only good for short, small, blobby little characters, maybe perhaps like this. They're really useful for household items, electronics, automotive parts, because you can create all the fine detail right inside there without adding a lot of extra geometry. The subdivisions translate into Layout. So if I set this to Layout, what will happen in here is that Subdivision value will still hold, and when we render we'll be able to create all the fine detail we need in the edges to create smooth sides and so on.
As this course goes on, we'll be using the subdivisions quite a bit, and we will model more a complex object. But subdivisions allow you to create more detail in an object without building a lot of extra geometry.
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