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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.
LightWave Layout is where you assemble your scenes. I've gone ahead and loaded up the shoe object from the Chapter 01 folder, and you can also see that the default light and camera are also in here. Now, you can have as many cameras as you want, and I have just clicked on it to select it. You can have as many lights as you want. And as we build our scenes throughout this course, you will see that we will use multiple lights and even multiple cameras. But I want you to consider Layout as a virtual TV studio, with your lights, your cameras, and your actors being your objects.
Now, navigating through here is quite easy. I am just holding the Alt or Option key-- Option on the Mac, Alt on the PC-- but I can also do that up here in the top-right corner. If I click and hold on this second icon, I can move around. If I click and hold on the third, I can rotate, and click and hold on the fourth is my zoom. But what's this first button do? Well, this one I don't actually click and hold on. This one you just select and it automatically locks, and what that does is it automatically centers whatever is selected.
So, I just click the light and it automatically centered. If I click the camera, that automatically centers. It's a great way to navigate to a more complex scene. So I've got a quite a big scene here, and I need to get in close on an item. I can select it. It will center it automatically for me, and then I can click and zoom in, making it very easy to see, check my textures, check lighting, and so on. And I can click it just to unselect. Up at the top, you've got Items, Modify, Setup, Utilities, Render, View, and Modeler.
Modeler tools we are going to cover a little bit later, but I want to talk about the Items and the Modify tabs. Over here, these tabs, very similar to LightWave Modeler, control loading objects, adding items to the scene such as lights and cameras, and then once those are loaded, you are going to modify them in some way. You are going to translate, a move. You are going to rotate, transform. You can size and stretch. If you go to Setup, this is going to get into our bones for character deformations, and then we are going to jump to Utilities for different LScripts and Plugins for additional tools.
But for the most part, we are going to work between these two tabs. So, just like in Modeler, you shouldn't be overwhelmed by all of the buttons and tabs. We are going to spend most of our time in these first two. But notice as I go through each of these tabs, this whole series of buttons stays the same. So, once we learn these, that's just a lot less you have to worry about. We are going to use like a lot of keyboard equivalents for navigating, making things a lot simpler for us, but I'll also show you where all of those buttons are. Down at the bottom is an area we are going to cover quite a bit, and we are going to work in this throughout the course.
This is our Timeline, and this is how we create animations. By default, we have 60 frames, which is 2 seconds at 30 frames per second, starting at 0, ending at 60. When we get to our Preferences, I will show you how to change that and make a default longer scene. In the bottom-right corner, you've got your play controls from going to the beginning of your animation to going to the end of the animation or to just simply hitting the Play button.
In the middle, we've got our area for creating keys and deleting keys, and this is what sets an object in motion over time. And then to select certain items if you don't want to simply just click on it in Layout, you can use the dropdown--and often you are going to have to do this when you have a very complex scene. So, you would say I want to work with objects and I select the objects. I want to work with lights and you would select your lights. Whichever component mode you are in-- Objects, Lights, or Cameras--you can then click Properties or press the P key to open the properties for that selected item.
Press P key again to close it. Lastly, down here--and it's very hard to see. It's a little tiny button off to the right of the current item-- if you click and open that, you are going to get this nice little panel that you can actually leave open. If you are working with a dual monitor setup, it's actually something nice to put off onto another screen. This is your current item selector. Now, I generally use this when it comes to objects, and I will click Objects, open that up and I'll close this camera one. We don't need that. And when I have a lot of objects in my scene, it's a very easy way to select simply by clicking on those particular objects I need.
You can filter, you can change the way selections are handled, and you have different actions for sorting a full list of objects. Quite handy, and we will use that in the course as well. So, LightWave Layout, where we are going to do all our animations, create up our scenes, our lights, our textures, and render out animations.
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