Buy a cheap copy of Inside LightWave v9 book by Dan Ablan. You hold in your hands the best-selling guide to NewTek’s LightWave 3D animation software. Chapter 6. Principles in Motion Here’s how the American Heritage Dictionary defines animation: “The act, process, or result of imparting life, interest, spirit. Chapter Dynamics in Motion In the previous chapter, you were introduced to LightWave v9’s particles. This chapter will take you even further by showing how .

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Along with Modeler, which we met in the previous topic, LightWave v9 includes another application called LightWave, which is commonly referred to as Layout.

Layout is where all of your hard work in Modeler pays off.

Buy Inside LightWave v9 – Microsoft Store

In Layout, you apply textures to models; assemble scenes, complete with lighting and motion; and see the final animated results. Just lightwwve everything in Layout can be pightwavefrom textures to lights to cameras to of course objects. There are plenty of tools for you to harness; in fact, many people spend more time in Layout than they do in Modeler. This topic guides you through a tour lifhtwave the LightWave 3D Layout interface, its workflow, panels, and possibilities.

You create 3D geometry in Modeler, and Layout is where you put things in motion. A scene consists of 3D models, lights, and cameras.

Think of Layout as your stage. The 3D models you build in Modeler are your actors. You are the director. Keep this in mind as you learn about navigating the Layout interface. When you first start up Layout, you see a large empty workspace. This workspace, however, is a insie space, rather than a flat grid as in most other programs. After all, Layout is your virtual television studio, and if you noticed, there is a camera and a light already in place for you.

Inside LightWave v9

lighhwave This view is the defaultand there is always one light and one camera. The interface will look familiar, because it resembles LightWave Modeler in iinside organization and workflow.

To understand how the LightWave 3D world worksconsider this: LightWave Layout is a big 3D space. Across the top of the interface are tabbed menuseach containing key lifhtwave for object editing, animating different items, compositing, and more.

Before you learn about the different menus, take a look at the bottom of the Layout interface. Animation is all about timing. By default, Layout works in frames rather than seconds or minutes.

This is because 3D animation, and even 2D animation, is a frame-by-frame process. A keyframe is nothing more than a marker in time. At the left side of the timeline, the insode is 0, representing the first frame of the animation.


Just because the front of the timeline defaults to 0,you are not locked into this value. You can start an animation at frame 6 or frame You can also start an animation before 0 by entering a negative value. You would do this for certain animations that need a head start, insiee example. Similarly, you could keyframe the lightwwave before frame 0, and then when your animation starts at 0,the item is already in full motion. At the right side of the timeline is the ending frame number, which defaults to Here, you can change the Frames Per Second setting to anything you like.

For examplethe last frame of your animation can lightwabe changed just like the first frame. Most likely, many of your animations will go well beyond 60 frames, or 2 seconds.

Double-click in the end frame window, which should read 60 by default. You can also just click and drag over the number.

Enter a new value —for example, —and be sure to press the Enter key on your PC or Return on insjde Mac. If you need more frames for your animation, just change that value. Above the buttons is a drop-down list called Item. Conversely, you can choose different items with this list, as well as bones, lights, and cameras. To the right of the Item list is a tiny button. Do not be confused by the buttons. Too often, animators click the mouse, press the spacebar, or press the Esc key until something happens.

Usually, something does happen, but not what they intended.

Do yourself a favor and think about your actions just as you do in Modeler. Select an item, turn on a tool, use it, and turn off the tool.

Think about the process. Then, pick a tool, such as Move, and have at it. Take a look at the bottom right. Those VCR-like buttons you see are your playback buttons Figure 2. These give you a pretty good idea of how your animation will play back.

Never judge your animation entirely by the Layout playback buttons. This applies to motions, timing, shadows, textures, and so on. Always save judgment until the animation has been properly rendered out.

The best way to understand timing is to work with itevery day, all day.

Timing is truly the hidden art of animation. Without it, nothing works. Sure, you can make pretty images, print ads, and the like. It needs to “work. Open LightWave Layout and make sure that nothing is in the scene.

Click Cameras at ligntwave bottom of the Layout interface, as shown in Figure 2.

Because there is only one camera lightwaave the sceneit is automatically selected and highlighted after you choose lifhtwave use Cameras. If you had multiple cameras in the scene, you would select which camera you want from the Current Item dropdown list, just above the Cameras button. To add multiple cameras to a scenego to the Items tab at the top of Layout; then from the tools on the left side of the interface, choose Camera from the Add category of tools. You can name this camera anything you like.


Multiple cameras are great for scenes in which you need to show your client different views. When activated, it creates a insside to mark the position and rotation of an object, camera, or light any time you move it within a scene.

Inside LightWave v9, 5th Edition

This is the start of your animation. Make sure the camera is still selected it should be highlighted in yellow and press t on the keyboard. This calls up the Move tool from the Modify tab. B9 the camera slightly to test.

Drag the timeline slider down to frame 60, and then click into the Layout and move the camera to lightwavd new position Figure 2. A good way to keep track of your keyframes is to simply look at the timeline. When a keyframe is created, LightWave puts a small yellow dash at that point in time, like lihgtwave marker. Click the Rewind button at the bottom-right of the Layout, beneath the timeline, as shown in Figure 2.

This quickly jumps your timeline slider back to 0.

LightWave Layout calculates framesand you might notice that after a keyframe at 60 is created automatically with Auto Keya motion path appears. LightWave has interpolated the motion of the frames in between. Of course, this motion path is just a straight line. So, try what is suggested in this next step. Move your timeline slider to frame Then, move the camera in some way, perhaps off to the side. You should see the motion path now curve, to accept the new keyframe. LightWave interactively updates the motion path, as shown in Figure 2.

A jnside way to jump to specific keyframes without dragging the timeline slider is to press f, which calls up the Go To Frame requester.

Enter a value and press the Enter key, and your timeline slider jumps to the keyframe.

This example shows keyframing in the simplest form. The Auto Key button you turned on to inxide create keyframes is on by default in LightWave; but as helpful as it is, it can be quite destructive too. There are times when you should use it—for example, when tweaking character animation.