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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.
Setting up keyframes in LightWave is not too complicated. Start with one point, set a keyframe, move to a second point, set another keyframe. But sometimes you can do things a little more automated. You can let the system work for you. And that's done with motion plug-ins. Let me show you what I mean. I am going to press 4 on my keyboard to take it to a Perspective view and I am going to rotate around just to see things a little bit, and I will select the big red ball here. Now, notice that the pivot point for this ball is right at the center origin. We never changed that in LightWave Modeler, which means if I rotate this by pressing the Y command, it's going to rotate from that point.
Well, I want to change that. So what I am going to do is go to Modify, and then go down to Move Pivot, right here under the Translate category, and very simply I can move this over. And let's press the 2 on our keyboard. It gives us a top-down view, and very easily I can move that pivot point. Press 4 to go back to Perspective and even 3 if you like to go to a Side view, and I can move that up to the center of the ball. But I think we could leave it there for what we are going to do right now. Make sure though when you're moving a pivot or anything, you check it from all axis.
Now, if I go back to the Move tool, now I can move it very easily from that center opine. reusesP the Y command for Rotate and now it rotates from that base point. So very easy to change that. And that's important to do if you've got things like doors that are opening and closing. You are going to want to move that pivot point. With that object selector, I am going to press the M key for Motion Options. You will have Motion Options for any item in LightWave. Camera, light, or an object. I don't want to do any parenting or targeting to this. I actually want to work down under modifiers, and modifiers are a plug-in, just a little accent that you can put in, such as something like gravity, and there is a long list, there is quite a few things, but I am going to choose Gravity.
Any time you add something, you can double-click it and you'll get additional tools that follow beneath it. So the Strength of gravity, right now it says 1. Well, 9.8 will give you a little bit more realistic gravity. The Ground Level is 0. Now, we know that that's going to work, because we build everything right on that 0 plane, and that pivot I just moved is right at 0. Start Time is 1, End Time is 60. Elasticity at a 100% means it will bounce. So let's do this. I am going to leave this open. Put it off to the side so you can see what's happening.
I have got the red ball selected and I am going to move it up like that. I have not set any keyframes for it. There is always a keyframe at 0 to hold it in place but there is no others on the Timeline. When I press Play, it automatically falls and bounces, and let's make our animation 300 frames by adding the last frame to 300. And so now you can see it stopped after 60. Well, that's because our End Time was only 60 in our Motion Options.
So I'll select that and choose 300, or better yet, let's make it 200, so we could see what happens after. So now for 200 frames, that ball is just going to bounce. I didn't have to set any keyframes, and at 200 it stops. Well, I want it to bounce a little bit, but not keep bouncing. Well, that's where the Elasticity comes in. So I am going to come over to Elasticity and maybe choose 20%, hit the Play button, and there it goes.
So it's a little heavier, like a bowling ball. If I want it lighter, put a little more bounce into it. A little bounce in your step, and there you go. Now, you can certainly add some keyframes to this to accent it. I have actually used this quite a bit for logos. I had logos drop right in from behind the camera and fall. It works really well. Let me show you one more thing you can do. We'll pretend that we're viewing it from here. Let's say our camera wants to shake a little bit. This is a big heavy red ball. You want your company logo to just really shake the screen.
Let's press 6 to get to Camera View. When this comes down, it bounces. It hits right at about 14 frames. So I am going to select the Camera, press Properties, press M to get the Motion Properties. You don't need the regular properties. And we are going to add the Modifier Jolt. It's right under Gravity. And this is Motion options for the Camera. I am going to double-click Jolt and I get this whole other panel that pops up. Now, don't be confused by all this.
It's actually pretty easy. What we are going to do is go to that frame that we just set, which was probably 11 or 12, 13, you can even manually punch it in, and then I want to hit Create Key, and I want a light jolt of the camera, and all these values are automatically set. I'll click Continue, I'll rewind, and now watch what happens. Now, the camera has a little bit of a shake to it. Let's bring this back down to about 90. Now, you can adjust that to more of a medium jolt; you can extend it so that it wobbles the camera.
It can rotate the camera, whatever you like, but those motion plug-ins are very useful for little accents in your animation that are often sometimes hard to keyframe, and something to consider whether you're doing realistic animations, logos, or even simple product shots.
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