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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.
One of the most common tools in LightWave Modeler is the Extrusion tool. You're going to use this for all kinds of things, from buildings to text to perhaps credit cards. So let's go ahead and extrude an object to build a credit card. I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Load Object, and from the exercise file, we're going to choose the 02_02_CreditCardBegin file. This is a flat object that we're going to adjust and make into a credit card. Now, the corners are a little bit too round to be a normal credit card. It's good for maybe a business card or a plaque or sign of some sort, but let's say you wanted to change this. How would you do it? Well I want to scale down the corners.
So what I'm going to do is just right-mouse around these points, and I'm in Point mode down here at the very bottom of the screen. I'm going to go to Modify and then choose Size, and paying very close attention to this bottom-left quadrant down here, this bottom-left corner, I want to watch my Scale. Now look what happens. When I move my mouse, look at the scaling towards my mouse. That's not really what I want. You can also see that down at that bottom corner there it says 58%. So I want 50% scale on these. However, I don't want to move when I do it.
So I'm going to Command+Z to undo on the Mac, or Ctrl+Z on the PC, and then under modes at the very bottom of the screen, right now it's set to Mouse. What that means is when my computer mouse was centered in the screen, or wherever it was, the action was going towards the mouse, and in this case I want to it stay based on the selection. So when I choose that, Action Center set to Selection, I'm just going to click and drag, and now it stays put no matter where my mouse is. You can see that that stays in place. With my Action Center set to Mouse, that action will move towards the mouse.
So in this case we're going to move it down and scale it 50%, taking a look at the scale in the bottom-left corner. And then I'll turn off the scale with the Spacebar, press the forward slash to deselect, and then I'll do the same to these. Select the Size tool and I can scale 50%. Spacebar turns off the tool, forward slash, right mouse around those, press the Size. Now sometimes a lot of these movements become a little mundane, but unfortunately that is part of modeling, but there are a lot of little tedious things to do, but not too bad.
So I'll right-mouse around these to select, Shift+H gives us our size, and then we will scale it down 50%. Now I'm going to resave this, forward slash to deselect those, and I'm going to say File > Save Object As, and we'll call this Extrude, and this will be the one that we're going to extrude. So from the Multiply tab, we'll choose the Extrude tool. When I click and drag I literally can just extrude that up. Let's take a look at it over here in the Perspective view.
I'll click and drag my rotate. Now, look what happens. It looks like it's inside out, doesn't it? Well that is going to happen from time to time. There are two ways to fix that. I can either pull my extrusion the other way which fixes it, or if for whatever reason I needed it to stay up here like this, I can turn off the Extrusion and then press the F key, and that's going to flip the polygons. The polygons only have one side, and by selecting it you can see that the surface normal faces up. Well, when it was flipped in, that surface normal faces down.
So that's all we need to do; just press F and flip those polygons outward. So that looks pretty good, but well, it's kind of a thick credit card, and I don't have that much credit. So let's go back to Points, and then let's right-mouse all the way around just the top row of those points. To get more precise, we're going to move to center that out and then click and hold on the zoom, and we'll just zoom in with this Back view down here. Press the T key, which is the Move tool under the Translate category in the Modify tab.
Hold the Ctrl key down. That will constrain and we're just going to bring those way down. Now notice it's kind of just snapping a little bit. Let's say I don't want it to snap. I want to have little more control. Press the D key. It opens up your Display Options. Over in the Units tab, you can change Grid Snap to None, because right now it's snapping to that grid behind it to a simple 1-millimeter measurement. Now with the snapping off, look how much more precise I can move this. The snapping is good if you're doing architecture, some very precise things, and not that this isn't precise, but it just gives us a little more flexibility in its movement.
I'll turn off the Move tool by clicking right on the tool, I'll zoom back out, and let's press the Question Mark/Slash key to deselect, and now I've got this nice thin credit card with a very simple extrusion, surfaces around the edges, polygons on top and bottom, that we're ready to add a little more detail to and then eventually put some surfaces on. So last, I want to say File, and Save Object. That's all set. So the Extrusion tool can be used for simple objects like credit cards, use it for buildings. In combination with editing some points, very simply you can create a much more detailed object.
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