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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 and Modeler have their menus and keyboard equivalents pretty well worked out. For instance under the Surface Editor, you can see there's F5, for keyboard equivalent F6. The Create menu has a nice organization, but every once in a while you might feel the need to customize that. You can do that pretty easily. So here in LightWave Modeler I am going to go up to the Edit dropdown. I'll click that and choose Edit Menu Layout. You get this very nice Configure Menus panel that pops up. Here you can literally see the entire layout of menus and tabs as they're set up currently as the default.
But let's say you wanted to add your own button for some other tool that you might feel the need to use pretty often. So what I'll do is I'll come down here to let's say the Main menu. Here is my Image Editor. That's this button right here. And I want to add something right beneath it. So I'll select that Image Editor, and then I'll come over and find a new tool, and these are all the tools in Modeler, organized pretty well. Let's say I just wanted to center something. So what I'll do is I'll come over to Modeler Tools. I'll expand that and you can see all the different Modeler tools in there.
Now these are mostly ghosted because they have keyboard equivalents already. That doesn't mean you can't assign a new one. So I am going to select Center 1D, meaning 1 dimension, 1 axis. With that selected, plus the Image Editor selected, I can say Add. And it adds it right beneath the Image Editor. It doesn't add it to the Image Editor button, it adds beneath it. Certainly you can click and drag this around if you like, but we just want to put it right there. But let's say you wanted it to separate. So I can say I'll select Image Editor and say give me a new divider.
That puts a divider in there to help me organize, and then I could say even a new group. I can drop that into my new group. Select the new group and I can say Rename for instance, and I'll call this Dan's Tools. Now I have my own dropdown menu of tools that work just for me. It works pretty well. So, very easy to set this up. If you feel the need to go back, you can go to the Presets and choose Default, and everything will go back to where it was.
You can also choose a studio production style and you can see that the whole interface completely changes. You can choose a 9.6 style for a previous version of LightWave or even go back to the old 6.0 from the year 2000, which is a very minimalistic approach. For this course we're going to keep everything Default. But for those of you that like to modify, that's a really good way to do it. Along those lines, if you go back to Edit, you can choose Keyboard Shortcuts and in here working very similarly the way you did with the menus, you can create your own keyboard shortcut.
So let's go ahead and set one up. On the Mac, I like to change my Function keys. On the PC, they're already set for you. So if you press F2 on the PC, your object will automatically center. On the Mac, it's not quite as easy until you change those Function keys back in your system preferences. But instead of doing that, I can just reconfigure that Center tool. The way I am going to do it, see the Center Data, mapped to F2? I can actually map that to a different key if I want.
But I don't know where it is, so I am going to hit Find. When I did that, it automatically found where that command is on the left side. It's under Modify. Well then I can select an empty keyboard equivalent, such as F10, and hit Assign. Now I've got it in two places. I'll click Done, and let's just say I go to a little ball off scale here and I want to center it, I'll press F10. That automatically centers with my new keyboard equivalent.
When I create keyboard equivalents you'll actually see them listed to the right of the tool. So you can create one for the Disc, the Cone, Text Layers, and so on. Most of the basic initial functions have them already assigned, but if there are other tools you use, you can set them up yourself. So, configuring menus and keyboards are quite easy to do and help you customize so you can have a much better workflow working with LightWave Modeler or Layout.
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