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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.
Sometimes when you've placed an image map on a surface it looks great and you can take that same image map and make it a bump map, such as a brick wall. But sometimes you want to go little bit further with it, and that's where a procedural texture comes in. So I've briefly touched on that, but I want to show you a little bit more, and I want to compare the traditional Surface Editor, which is right here in the top- left of Layout, with the Node Editor. So we're going to do a little project that shows setting up the same kind of surface in both and the variations. So from the File dropdown, go to Load, and we are going to load an object, and the 05_07_BrickWallBegin object is really nothing more than a flat polygon, just with a surface named BrickWall.
So if you don't have the exercise files, you can simply make a flat polygon and bring it over. From there, I want to actually place an image on there. So for the texture, for Color, we'll hit the T button, and we want the layer Type to be an Image Map. We want it blend normally. The other blend modes are Additive, Subtractive, very much like Photoshop. So you can blend those different modes. And the way the blending is going to work is based on what other layers you have in or what color you have on the surface.
But for right now we want it just Normal. The Projection is set to Planar, meaning it's flat. The Image, we'll hit Load Image, and I want bricks, and this is from the Chapter 5 exercise files. And by default you could see that it comes on very tiled. It's very tiny. Now, this is a good thing for some textures that you want to just repeat, but this brick image wasn't designed to repeat, and what you can see is that it just, well, has a nice pattern to it that normally we wouldn't see on a brick wall. If however you are doing something like tiles or little plaques that could repeat, that works really well.
So the Width Tile and Height Tile you can set to not repeat by choosing Reset, and you will see that it's just mapped on the center there. But because we're flat on the Z axis, we can just hit Automatic Sizing. I know it's the Z axis because if you look down towards the back of the Layout you can see Z right there. I'll click Automatic Sizing and it scales to fit, so that's pretty easy. Well that's all we are going to do with the image map, but we will copy it. Selected Layer, hit Use Texture.
For Bump map, we'll hit Texture and we will select Replace Selected layers-- although Selected Layer is none, so we are just going to override it. And that way we get a little bit of a bump map on there as well. It helps getting a little more depth. But I want to just add a little dirt to it. So back in the texture for color we can add another layer. So at the very top-left we'll say Add layer and choose Procedural, and that puts a Procedural turbulence layer above the bricks. Okay, and if you look here in Layout, not much is happening and that's okay, because I can come over here under the dropdown, I can choose Viewport Preview Render, the VPR, and what you'll see is now that procedural texture is what was the bump maps all being applied right there directly in Layout, and give it a second to redraw.
So let's jump back into our Texture Editor. The Texture Color is set to white. Let's change this to just kind of a dirty brown. I kind of like that. And then click into the Layout just to update it and you could see that really changing. From there, I can play with the scale of this. So let's stretch it out on the y, so it looks like something rust has dripped down the top of the wall. But I don't want the whole wall covered, so I am going to go to Falloff and I am going to make it fall off on the Y a little bit, like that. But notice where it falls off from--right down the center.
The reason being--and I am going to do a little trick here. Press the Tab key and you'll instantly hide your panels that are open, which is kind of the quick way to see your Layout. If I go back to a bounding box, what you are going to see is that the object is dropped center in the scene, and that's fine. But this X zero axis right across there, that 0, 0, X, Y, Z is right there on the center. So the falloff right here in the Texture panel is based off of that value.
So it's falling off from the zero axis, and that's why it falls off the top and bottom. That's not a problem. All we have to do is go to Position in the Texture Editor and move that Texture value up, and now it drips down from the top. And then if I wanted to, I can scale it some more on the y just to make it drip down a little bit more. So pretty easy to set up, but how would you do this in the Node Editor? Well, I am going to remove this texture, and we have just a base yellow wall that it was. I am going to hold the Shift key and click T for bump map, just to turn that bump map off, and then let's click the Node Editor.
Let's first check it to turn it on. Jump to the Node Editor. Here is our rendered node. This is the basic surface that feeds the render. What do we want to do? We want to place an image map. So we go to Add Node, and from the 2D Textures, choose Image. Double-click the Image node. A nice panel comes up allowing you to load an image. Well our bricks were already loaded in the LightWave from before, so we'll select that. Then down at the bottom I can choose the Z axis flat Planar, Automatic Sizing.
We'll just kind of click in the Layout to see it, but you can't, right? The reason is this node that you've set up, even though that has a texture, needs to be plugged into the surface. So the color of the texture we'll drop in there and you could see it apply easily. I also want a bump map. Drop it on there. So you could see right away, setting up a bump map was even simpler than it was in the Surface Editor. What about that procedural? We'll go to Add Node then we want a 3D Texture, and then we can choose the same MultiFractal or Turbulence.
I can double-click the Turbulence icon, and up here I can set in the Background color that same kind of dirty brown. And for the Foreground color, we can leave that the same, or vice versa, whichever you like. You can do an automatic sizing and then close the panel. Well right now we can't see anything because it's not fed into our image. Well, you can feed this into the bricks and it will determine how those bricks are fed into the surface. Or you can simply drop this right on top of the color and override that, just like that.
But I think instead what we'll do, I'll show you how you could feed it into the bricks. We'll take the color, we'll drag and drop Color to Background Color. We are going to take the Bump map and drop that to Bump map. And again, this is the procedural noise feeding all of this. We'll take the Alpha, meaning the transparent channels, and feed that in as well. If I double-click Turbulence now and I play with the Scale, and maybe perhaps I will make this 2 m and 2 m, something similar to before, we've got a nice streaked texture on there as well as the bump maps. Those dark areas are bumping out.
We can now set a falloff just like we did in the regular Surface Editor, and then I can move that position up and we'll set it manually to about one meter. What I'll do for the background color, I'll change this to white and I'll make the foreground color our dirty brown, and that reverses that texture on there. So you could see without much effort it's very easy to use the Node Editor. Even though it looks complex, it's actually very easy to apply different procedural textures. You can apply bump maps, you can layer them up, and you can use one procedural texture such as a turbulence to do multiple things.
So the Node Editor works quite well in conjunction with the Surface Editor to create simple or complex surfaces.
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