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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.
Every once in a while when you're building a model you want it to be more specific. So for instance if I came to the Create tab and in my Primitives category I say let's just draw out a ball here. And I am drawing out the ball and okay, that's pretty good, but I don't know if that's really 100% even on all sides. I can see my position and rotation and everything down here on the left, but what if I wanted it to be more accurate? Well, the way to do is with the Numerics, and that's right down here at the bottom. You can also press the N, as in Nancy, called the Numeric panel. In this panel, I can set the number of sides.
So let's say I want it to be a little more detailed. I'll say 48. And I'd like to hit the Tab key between sections here. One thing in LightWave, you want to make sure that you Enter or Tab out of these boxes; otherwise that value won't take. For Segments, I'll double that as well, 24. There you can see that I've got a nice quad mesh all the way around the model, but it's a lot smoother than it was by its default. But the center is off. I want it to be perfectly centered on the X, Y, and Z axis. So I'll press 0 for the X.
That moves it over. 0 for Z, and that moves it over. But there is my issue with the Radius. See I visually couldn't draw it out even, but now numerically I can. So I can say 100 millimeters, Tab, 100 mm, Tab, 100 mm. That's it! Perfect even ball, 100 millimeters in size, and then I can turn off the Ball tool, and notice that the Numeric goes blank. Now a lot of people what they like to do is place their Numeric panel on another monitor, or they can scale their interface over like this, and they leave their Numeric open.
So as you're working, that panel can be there. I don't typically do that. I just usually press the N key and call it up when I need to, but the option is there if you like just the same. Now if I go to the Box command for instance, and I draw a little box here, and I want this to be exact, I can press the N command, open up my Numeric, and again, go through and you'll see that now I have a little bit different setup. I still have Width, Height, Depth, number of segments for instance. If I want to make a little bit more detail, I can just click and hold and drag and create segments.
The reason I would create segments on this box was let's say I was making a building and I wanted to put windows in. Or perhaps, if I wanted to bend this box, you can't bend it if it doesn't have any segments. So think of a solid wood door for instance. If you try to bend that door, it would crack. That's kind of what would happen to your polygons; it would just break apart and wouldn't work right. But think of a screen door that's made up of a number of different segments like this, kind of like a ball--more malleable for instance--it would actually bend smoothly. The more segments you have, the smoother you can bend and manipulate an object.
But there is a balance; you don't want to over-build an object either. So as we build models in this course, we'll definitely go ahead and show you what's the proper usage: not too much, not too little, somewhere right in the middle. But using Numerics can really help you get precise models, precise position, and setting the right values for any object you create.
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