The Lightwave 3D Beginners Guide

must congratulate you to your first steps with Lightwave. The tutorial was only … the Guide, or even finished renders that were made out of the Vase-Tutorial. …

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The Lightwave 3D Beginners Guide 1
The Lightwave 3D Beginners Guide By Erik Brimstedt So, you decided to venture into the world of 3D. All you have with you is your computer, your 3D software and your imagination. These are the three things that your really need when it comes to producing nice 3D art. To start out with, I will explain some basic parts when it comes to 3D so you ll get a somewhat idea of how it really works. All 3D programs out there are based on the same idea, where you build your objects, ‘skin them with textures, place them in a scene and render them. There are, however, a lot more that needs to be said about this. First of all, in any regular 2D paint program, you paint your pictures with the tools that are available in that program, and you can even paint 3 Dimensional pictures in a 2D program, but when it comes to animating the scene it gets worse, and this is why 3D programs was invented. When working with any 3D software, you are working with three so-called axes. These were invented to simulate the three Dimensions. In Lightwave, these three Dimensions are called X, Y and Z, and can be described as Left/Right, Up/Down and Near/Far respectively. The two main things that make an object are called Points and Polygons. To explain this as good as possible I will take a box object as an example. A simple six-sided box is built up by eight points, one in each corner. The sides of the box are the so-called Polygons, which are connected to the points. The Polygons are the ones you can see in the final render, and they are the ones that you give textures to. Much more can be said about how 3D works, but there you have it in the basics. If you keep on reading you will understand more of what I’ve just said, since we ll be doing a tutorial. 2 The Main Programs So, are you ready to begin the tour of Lightwave 3D? Good, lets load the program up, and the first screen you will be represented with should look like the one below. Picture 1: The Layout loaded 3 This is the Layout, and this is where you load objects you have created, give them textures, add lights, animate and render etc. There is one more part of Lightwave, and it is called Modeler. In the top right corner you should see a button named  Modeler , click that one and the Modeler should load up, looking something like this: Picture 2: The Modeler loaded 4 Getting to know Modeler I will start with Modeler, go through all the basics and then move over to Layout. You are now represented with four views. The Top left is called ‘top View and this is where you see your object from above. The bottom left is called  Face View or  Front View and this is where you see your object from the front. The bottom right is called ‘side View and this is where you see your object from the side, from the left actually. The Top right is called  Perspective View and you can change the view of the object as you please here. Push the  d key on the keyboard and an options panel will come up. This panel let’s you set the very basics of the Modeler. If it isn’t already set, change the Preview Type to  Open GL Smooth Shaded and Unit System to ‘sI . In the Visibility section, checkmark all the boxes but  Patch Polygon and click OK. To get full control over Modeler, I will give you an explanation over all the things you see. All three views Top, Left and Front are built up by so called Grids. The Grids are there to help you model as correctly measured objects as possible. In the very bottom left of modeler you should see what the current Grid size is (Picture 3). As default, it should be set to 500 mm. Above the Grid size, is the Position window (Picture 4). Here you have full control over where points etc are placed in the Lightwave universe. Picture 3: The Grid Size Picture 4: The Position Window The Modeler is based on two modes, Points Mode and Polygons Mode (Picture 5). If you read the first part of this guide you should know what the Points and Polygons are, if not, then move back to that section in the guide and read it, it is essential to know what Points and Polygons are. However, the two buttons are there to make it easier when working with objects, it gives you more control over the situation. Picture 5: The two Modes of Modeler 5 Just above the ‘top View window, you should see a row of Tabs (Picture 6). These divide Modelers Tools into categories.  Objects (Picture 7) is the one selected when you load modeler up. This is where you create primitive objects such as Boxes and Spheres. Try to click any of the Tabs and notice that the tool box (Picture 7) changes as you change Tab. Picture 6: The Tabs Picture 7: The Contents of the Objects Tab 6 The Objects Tab To try the different Objects tools out, click on the  Box Tool once. If you now move the mouse pointer over one of the three views Top, Left or Front, the pointer should be shaped like a small box. Keep the Box tool selected and click the Numeric button to the left. You will be represented with a window asking you for values that will shape the box. Accept the default settings and click OK. You should now see the shape of a box in all three views, but not the perspective view. Why not? Well, the box is not created yet. Click Enter now and the box will be created, also showing in the Perspective View. To spin the object around in the perspective view now, simply click somewhere in that View and hold the left mouse button down. Then move the mouse around and watch how the object spins as you move. You may now delete this object, so click the Delete Key on your keyboard to do this and the box will disappear. You may try the same procedure with any of the primitive objects. Click the ‘text tool and once more hit the Numeric button. A new panel will come up. In the Text string, write the word  Hello , or if you want to write something of your own, feel free to do so. Click the  Add True-Type button and add the font ‘verdana from the list (You may choose your own True Type but Verdana is what I used). Set the Axis to Z and  Alignment to  Center . Click OK and the text should appear in all the views but Perspective. Hit Enter to create the text. Now, this is the basic object we will be using to test the different tools of Lightwave Modeler on. As you can see, this object is still flat, it has got no depth, so lets add that. Click the  Multiply Tab and choose the  Extrude Tool. Bring up the Numeric panel by either clicking on it in the menu to the left, or by clicking the  n key on your keyboard. Set the Axis to Z, and enter 60mm for the  Extent option, leave the ‘segments to 1. Click OK and hit enter to perform the Extrusion. Now the text is really 3D. Spin it around in the Perspective View to see what it looks like. 7 The Modify Tab Enter the Modify Tab. Now we are going to try out a few of the tools here. Let’s start with the  Move tool. Click it once to activate it, and then move the mouse pointer to any of the three views Top, Left or Front and click the left mouse button. Hold it down and move the mouse around, watch how the object moves. If you release the mouse button now, the new position will be remembered. If you were not satisfied with the movement then simply click the  u key on your keyboard to undo the la

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