Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lightwave Reboot part 1

Recently, I've decided that I need to refresh my skills in Lightwave 3D. Back in the day, I used to use Lightwave 3.0 on the old Amiga Toaster 4000 to make reallly bad models and animation, but I excused alot of my crappiness because it was such a primitive program. Even so, I loved the program, and to this day have yet to be impressed by any other, Maya and 3DS Max included.

I stopped for two reasons. That Amiga broke down (which really didn't matter because I was able to get Lightwave 7.0 for my senior project in highschool) and (more importantly) I was informed by some artists far greater than myself that learning to draw is far more important than learning software. Once I was told this I began my journey learning how to draw in order to become better at making things in 3D. This was around 2003.

Along that path, I became distracted and I learned that I would never master traditional ideas completely but my effort had a more tangible result. Thus, I pretty much abandoned 3D.

However, every medium that I want to have a career in requires some knowledge of a 3D program and more and more I'm beginning to appreciate 3D programs as a kind of painting tool. Competent use of a 3D program requires the same knowledge I use in my painting, and while I may not be an expert in painting, I still want to see what I can create with these tools. So, I've decided to make making 3D models and scenes in to a hobby similar to my digital painting. A realm where I will continually try to make good looking images and animation.

I was an expert in Lightwave 3.0, but there have been quite a few changes over the years. They are all the way up to 9.0 I think. Well, I can't afford 9.0, but I still have my 7.0 copy and inside lightwave 7.0 by dan ablan. 7.0 has more than enough capabilities to cut my teeth on. However, even between 3.0 and 7.0 there are some major differences.

Thanks to those differences, I'm going to go through Inside Lightwave 7 a chapter a day. I'll do the tutorials and read all of the little things to make sure that I understand what I'm doing. I'm going to chronicle my journey here.

By the end of this summer, I plan to have at least two pieces of art created with Lightwave.\

Anyway, on to

Chapter 1

Chapter 1 was an introduction to Layout and Modeler. Most of it I already knew. The whole thing about how the hub connects Layout and Modeler is fucking awesome tho. That wasn't in 3.0. I also like the "hide the tool bar, and use shift+ctrl+ mouse click to access tool bars" I think that'll really streamline my process.

No projects though

Chapter 2

All about the surface menu. Functionality is pretty much the same since lightwave 3.0, but once again there are a few new features that are really cool. The whole thing about being able to use layers and layers of textures and being able to mix and match them in a manner similar to how photoshop uses layers just adds a whole new layer of depth.

I have to admit that the projects were a little boring, but gave a great introduction to the surfacing process. I know that the book gets in to UV mapping and THAT is what I'm really looking forward to.

Tutorial 1 taught how to add a basic texture, and some of the properties of color, gloss, and basic shit like that.

This tutorial taught how to use and edit images and create bump and specular maps.

This tutorial used the same process as the last one, but added the extra texture layer of a procedural and a gradient to give the surface a dirt swept look.

This shit is so basic it hurts, but I don't want to jump ahead to where I think I should be at, just incase I miss something or am totally wrong about where I should be at

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