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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.
Once you have created a particle animation, well you are probably thinking what can do with it. Well the best thing to do with it is render it out because if I take my camera right now by pressing 6 and I press the T key and I move back and I come up like this and I press F9 to do a Frame Render, look what happens. Nothing. Hypervoxel emitters need to be rendered and you are going to do that with hypervoxels. So we will come over here to Windows and we are going to choose Volumetric and Fog Options and under Volumetric, you can choose HyperVoxels.
That's where it lives. Now there is a shortcut for it right up here. It goes to the same place. We will double-click it to open the panel and I will close out the effects so you can see what's going on, and by default that emitter is not active. So I am going to double-click it. Now this is a portion of LightWave that often is confusing for a lot of people, but it's really not too complex and the best way to learn it is to really click on Show Particles. What that does is it shows those particles in layout. Now it doesn't look like much now, but I will move it this way so you can see it.
What is going to happen is that this Object Type is set to Surface. And in fact, you can go to your Viewport Preview Render and see exactly what's happening. So the particles coming out now typically are a simple blob, which on its own is kind of cool. You can do water and faucets. I think there was an Oreo commercial one time that used LightWave's particles like this to create Oreo cream coming down the street. But for the surface based HyperVoxels, everything is kind of round and blobby and it works okay, but for smoke what we really want to choose not Volume-- and Volume can be great for big puffs of smoke like this.
The problem with the Volume though is that they get really intense when it comes to rendering. I've set up tornadoes doing this and it has taken not just days but I think over a good week just to render a small tornado. Granted that was many years ago, but even these days that will still take a lot of rendering power. So instead of using Volume try Sprite. Sprite is a slice of that volume that you just saw and what is kind of neat about this is that you can create very easy smoke. It doesn't have to take a lot of rendering time and you can put little soft wisps into your scene.
So with that default set, I am going to click Automatic Sizing and just in case my particles were one size and HyperVoxel is another, that's often good way to start. I like to set the variation and that immediately starts getting rid of all that blobbiness and if you click and drag it stops at 500. Well, like I've told you with lights and other things you can manually go past it. Now, you don't want anything quite like that, but what's kind of neat is that you've got a nice big puff of smoke that you can still see moving when you have size variation like that.
So what I do is I turn that size variation way up, and then I bring the particle size down and now I have got just a good variation of smoke in there, that I can work with. The Stretch Direction you can set on whatever axis you like. I usually like to go with the Velocity of the particles themselves and again Stretch you can of course click and drag up to 500%, but like many things you can go much, much more. So there it is at 1000, you can see those particles are stretched and you can even bring the size down just a little bit more.
If you look at it on the Y-axis, which is the angle that it's going, you can see it stretches another way. Try it on the Z-axis. It kind of comes up towards you and creates all kinds of cool looks and even on the X goes the other way. Almost like clouds, crossing your scene. But we are going to keep it on Velocity and I am going to bring this back down, not to be too exaggerated. Okay, so that is showing the particles. Well, you can also give them some color and I will press 4 on my keyboard here just so we can see the whole thing. We will go here to the Shading tab and the color is set to White. That's fine.
but let's makes it more of a soft gray and then I want to play with Luminosity value. If you bring it all the way down, well that's very luminous. You can play with the Opacity of it, how bright it is, and you can play with the density of it. Okay and of course you can go more than that 100% to create very cool effects. Especially when you have got things blowing up. Yhat's often very good to do. The Number of Slices, remember how I said this was a slice of a Volumetric. Well, you can add more slices for a little more detail. I often don't do more than 1 or 3 so that's okay.
You can choose which lights hit it if you have multiple lights in your scene or choose None at all depending on how bright your luminosity is. But let's add a texture to the color and what I am going to do with this is add a Procedural Texture. So earlier in the course I told you how important learning the Texture Editor was because it is used everywhere for displays of maps, color textures, image maps, and of course here it is in the HyperVoxel panel. Use the texture and set a color for your particles. So let's go down and just choose just maybe a soft brown like that, and now you can see this texture is blended with that white underneath.
Let's bring the size in half. So I am going to go .5, .5, .5 and scale that down and just so you can see this. Not that you would make red and white smoke but, you can see how that fractal noise pattern now is mixed with the white surface underneath. You can change the frequencies of it, play with the contrast a bit so it is a little stronger, and now you have got just an entirely different look that you can work with for any kind of scene and those textures applied to each one of those particles coming up. Now one thing that is neat to do is put a gradient on. So let's do that.
The gradient allows me to vary the color. So I am going to click a couple of keys in here and let's say the base key could be more of a blue and the middle key, we can create more of a gray and then the top key we can just fade off like that. Now you are not seeing much on here. So what I want to do is change the input parameter to Particle Age. So as the particles age, as they come out and die at the end, you can actually see this transition and just to give a little more contrast here, I will put the color in.
You can even bring this one back in and I'll make this red so you can see it. Let's bring the Alpha back up and so now we have go this burnt area down at the bottom which goes to gray and then fades off to the blue. And then of course it still animates with it and it is almost like there is kind of a little fire burning at the end, simply by adding a gradient. So this gradient represents this particle string. If I bring the end up, you can see that I have more blue here and that will help keep that a little more solid at the top, and click Use Texture for that.
Now you can apply that texture and as I have mentioned you can animate all these texture values. Just as you did animating clouds on the sky, animating the texture on the cow, you can animate the texture for the Color, Luminosity, Opacity. Anywhere you see these E buttons you can animate that particular value. So you have Luminosity animating. It could be fading in and out, whatever you like. Lastly in HyperVoxels, you should learn about the Hyper Texture and the Hyper Texture is a way that you can set something like Turbulence to help shape the particles.
So all the particles are emitting and coming up and spilling all over. If you notice in here, I've gone ahead and put Hyper Texture on set to Turbulence and now you get this kind of wispy ends inside here. Here it is with none and it is just soft on the edges and with the Hyper Texture on such as Turbulence, you get a turbulent texture inside those particles. So you can use even something like this for creating brain matter. It doesn't actually have the move it; you can just render right through it. Amplitude is how strong it is.
The Effect you can actually set to Billowing and this will animate within the texture, so it is animated texture within the texture on the particles. And it gets a little Inception-like deep, but it is very cool stuff. So HyperVoxels makes it very easy to set up some really cool surfaces on your particles. Lastly, I want to just show you under the Windows dropdown there is Presets and when you're in the HyperVoxel window you can choose Clouds, Fire, and Smoke as well some other strange things in here.
One of them is called Strange, and if you double-click, those settings get applied to your particles, and then you can create all kinds of things. And here is a little tip. use these presets that came with LightWave to help you learn HyperVoxels a little bit more. You want to see how this glass is made? Load that up and then take a look and now you actually can see how bubbles are done. You've created particles yourself. You have set up HyperVoxels. Use one of the presets and dissect it a little bit and say "Okay, it is a little bit blue, diffused.
Very shiny with the speculatory." Just to give you an idea of how those settings can be manipulated or created on your own.
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