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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.
As you learn more and more about LightWave, you're going to find that you might need to create some text files-- perhaps a flying logo, client animation something like that. Every once in a while, if you're lucky, the client will have an EPS file. EPS and an Illustrator file often are the same thing when it comes to LightWave. This is a file designed in Adobe Illustrator that can create a little bit more than just a simple text file. So I've created one here for you that you can load up. All you need to do is go to the File dropdown menu, choose Import, and use the EPSF Loader, Encapsulated PostScript File Loader.
This loader is a little bit older but will still do the job. However, there's one little caveat to it. When your artist is exporting out an EPS file or if you're doing it yourself, make sure it's Illustrator 8 or less. The new CS4, CS5 versions won't actually import. It's something to be the aware of. The Curve Division Level: Superfine, Fine, Standard, and Rough. You're probably going to want to set it to Fine. You're going to convert it to Closed Polygons and PolyLines. In the EPS file, simply hit the right arrow and choose the file.
So we'll go to our Exercise Files, Images folder, in Chapter 4. There's an ant.ai. Select that one, leave Auto Centering on, and leave everything else set to default. We're going to do this twice so you can see the variation. When you click OK, that EPS file is loaded, and that's a shape that might have been pretty hard to make normally in LightWave, but with an Illustrator file where you've got all the controls and the tools to build a nice curve like that, you can very easily import it. Once it's imported, you can extrude it, bevel it, put surfaces on it, and render it out.
Let's close that by hitting Close All Objects. Let's import again. Import > EPSF Loader and let's choose something else. Well here it says Convert to Close Lines and Polygons, PolyLines that is. Here you can choose Closed Polygons or Spline Curves. Let's do that and see what happens. It looks kind of the same down here but notice up here that there is not a polygon that renders. It's actually a curve. And if I come to my Modify tab and choose Drag for instance, we can actually take one of these points and you'll see that it's a nice curved font.
It's not something that you necessarily will render directly. You're going to have to freeze this, meaning you're going to have to turn it into a polygon in order for LightWave Layout to render it. The reason you would import with a curve like this, however, is to further manipulate the shape. So it's very easy to import these as curves and control them a little bit more. Let's do one more thing. Let's close all objects from the File menu. Don't save it. Then from File, choose Import > EPSF Loader > Convert to Closed Polygons, and PolyLines, and this time turn on Auto AxisDrill, click OK.
What happens is that the center of the A is now cut out automatically. So let me do that one more time: Import > EPSF. If I have Auto AxisDrill off, that A would actually be solid. That doesn't mean you can't use it. You can actually select the polygon, put it on another layer, and then cut a hole, but that's a little bit more work. Instead, click Auto AxisDrill on importing and anything like an A or an O will have that polygon cut out automatically. So EPS files, a great way to import custom logos, client-specific fonts, or just any particular shape you might have from Adobe Illustrator.
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