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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.
When I started using LightWave about 20 years ago, geometric shapes were simple objects, nothing more than this, and they still are today. However, the promotions always said that you could build just about anything with these, and well, while that sounded great on paper, when I really got to it, I really didn't know what to do. As I've learned though, and what I'm going to show you, is how these simple shapes can really be turned into some very nice-looking objects. So I just did a Command+X, Ctrl+X on the PC, to cut those away.
I'll press the A key to fit, and that kind of resets my view. What we're going to start with is a disc. We're just going to build a simple credit card, and we're going to use a disc to do it. All right! So, I'm going to draw out a little disc, and I'm going to press N for Numeric. The reason I'm going to that is because I want to make sure that my radius is equal on those two axes, the X and the Z which they are, X and Z working in the top view. It's 250 mm, and that's fine. I'm going to close that out and turn off the tool. I'm going to press the A key. That fits it to view.
Now here's a new tool that I've not shown to you yet. It's called Kill. I'm going to press the K command, which is K on your keyboard, and it kills the polygons so that you can adjust the points. What's nice about that is that allows me to use those points to create something else. So in Point mode down here at the bottom, I'm going to use my right mouse to Lasso+Select pretty much like 45 degrees, 45 minutes you should say if it's a clock if you're looking at it. I just want to keep this top-left quarter. And I'll press Command+X on the Mac, Ctrl+X on the PC, to cut those away.
Then I am going to go to Multiply, and choose Mirror, and right about here, it doesn't necessarily matter, just cross the axis even, I'm going to click and drag up and let's move over, so we can see it, and I've just mirrored across the X axis. Let me do it one more time so you can see it. I'm going to Undo, which is Command+Z on the Mac, Ctrl+Z on the PC, and just right here on the center Z axis I'm going to click and drag up, and that mirrors that over. Earlier I mentioned about the Numerics and if you click the Numeric button, you can see that you can control which axis you're mirroring across right here as well.
I'm going to turn off the Mirror tool, and you'll see that now I have two sets of these, and I can very easily mirror those again just by clicking and dragging to the right, and now I've mirrored that double set back over the Z axis. Well, it doesn't look like much, but what I can do with these points is connect them. So with Point mode selected at the bottom of screen, I'm going to click and hold my mouse down, and in order--now this is important--click in order, because if you go out of order, this won't connect correctly.
It's kind of like connect the dots, and you need to connect in order to make the final shape. So I'll just select like that, then I'll press the P key, which means make polygon. What I've done is created a nice shape with rounded corners just from a simple disc. Now this looks like a cool modern business card, but let's say we want it to be more of a credit card. Well what I can do then is use my right- mouse button around one group of points, go to Modify, select the Move tool, and holding the Ctrl key, I can constrain my movement and just move those over.
Turn off the Move tool, click the Question Mark/Slash key to deselect. And remember, I had pressed F10 as a keyboard equivalent to center. I had set that up in a previous video, and you can also press F2. And now I've centered that out perfectly on the 0 axis. Now it's a little bit too round to be a credit card, but that's okay. We can adjust that. So I'm going to zoom back out, and I'm going to press Shift+H, which is also the Size tool down under the Transform category, and I can click and drag and size this up, just to make it a little bit bigger.
Turn off the Size tool, and zoom back out, and we've got our shape. Now from here we can extrude, we can bevel, and even create more detail in this. The advantage of using geometric shapes is that we can create a basic point structure to build something else upon it. When you have certain corners that need to be perfectly round, it's very hard to line those up on their own, but by using a disc, using the primitive we can use that structure to build something more complex.
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