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Old May 2nd, 2012, 02:38 PM   #1
evil_genius_180
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Default Learning Lightwave

It's been a long road... getting from there to here. :p

For those who don't know, I've been modeling in trueSpace for well over a decade, though I've done most of the real work in the past seven years. I won't bore you with the saga, but suffice to say I've had some good times, some not so good times and some downright awful times. But, enough about modeling in trueSpace, that's the past.

Again, not boring you with the saga, but, as most people who know 3D art know, trueSpace went bye-bye a few years ago. Obviously, I could keep using it, but the software has a lot of issues. So, over the past few years, I've been trying various free software packages, but I've not been really happy with any of them. Late last year, a friend e-mailed me and told me he was upgrading Lightwave and asked me if I wanted Lightwave 10 for free. Naturally, I said “yes,” as this is $1500 software and it's professional level software. So, I've had Lightwave for a few months now.

Of course, the problem with new software is that you have to learn how to use it, which means tutorials (especially for those of us who got didn't get a manual with our software. ) Now, there are tutorials and there are tutorials. Most are boring, but some are not. The best ones are where you make something you will actually use in renders and scenes. For a Trekkie, there's no better tutorial than one that teaches you to build the classic USS Enterprise.

My friend Gerard “Taranis” Duffy has written a tutorial showing just that. And, being the nice guy he is, he has released it for free. I actually started on this last weekend, though I didn't do anything more than get my blueprints ready. Then I took a week off until I actually started building this ship on Monday. So, here's 3 days of work from someone who has never modeled anything in Lightwave before (yes, the tutorial is that good.):



So, anyway, this is what I'll be working on from now on. Any of my open trueSpace projects will likely either not be finished or will eventually be restarted in Lightwave.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 02:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Excellent ... looks great.

This is more fun seen someone build it... esp when they are new to LW.... I will be following with interest.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 08:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Thanks bro.

It's fun to build. I really like the tools in Lightwave, they seem more intuitive than in trueSpace. I can do so many things I couldn't before. I especially love the ability to select and triangulate non-planar faces. If I had those in trueSpace, I had to go and manually triangulate them or triangulate the whole object, creating unnecessary polygons. Plus, I love the step-by-step tutorial, it really helps to get used to the tools in LW. I did have to do a few things differently, mostly just slight changes to how much I had to stretch some of my stuff on the BC Deck, because I'm using Sinclair's blueprints instead of Casimiro's. But, it was simple enough to change the stretch amounts.
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Old May 3rd, 2012, 12:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Despite being in some pain, (back spasms) I managed to get the lower sensor doohickey added. (technical term) It went pretty smoothly. The 3 little things around the perimeter caused a few issues, but I got them done. Then I found I had extra polygons on them, making them render all FUBAR. I figured out all on my own how to get rid of those, so I'm pretty pleased with myself.

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Old May 3rd, 2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

It's not really an update, but I thought I'd play around with some textures. (all part of the learning process) I grabbed some from one of my trueSpace Enterprise meshes, so the weathering streaks don't really match up from top to bottom, but that's not important right now. The ship is going to get new textures when I'm done building it. I just figured I'd see how easy it was to apply textures, it's really simple.

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Old May 4th, 2012, 04:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Cool......looks great.... I like that effect you have on the lower dome.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Thanks bro, that's just a texture. I'll probably do something similar on the complete ship.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

looks very good ... I like the effect.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 07:20 PM   #9
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I ran into a bit of a snag on my build earlier. Ger uses Charles Casimiro's plans in his tutorial, I was using Alan Sinclair's plans, which I've been using for years. However, Sinclair's plans have a few issues, most notably where some things don't match up from one view to another. In trueSpace, I had ways of dealing with this, "just pick a view and go with it." However, the tutorial requires all views to match, and something was not matching that should, so I realized my engineering hull was going to look wrong if I continued with the tutorial using those plans. So, I started over. I got out Casimiro's plans and modified them and then started rebuilding everything with the plans. So, here I am, where I was this time yesterday:



Hopefully, tomorrow will bring forth actual progress.
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Old May 6th, 2012, 02:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

As I mentioned on your Blog ,, I tried a few times to get Sinclair blueprints to line up without any luck.

But you have comeback very quickly with a new model.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 11:21 AM   #11
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

OK, people who know me aren't really going to be surprised by this. I'm not happy with the upper saucer curve in my Casimiro-built saucer section. I frequently watch TOS episodes before bed to wind down and this doesn't look like what's on screen. (the original episodes, not the “remastered” ones)



The transition from the curve to the smooth surface is much less severe. So, I needed to fix that. I also like my B-C deck teardrop shape I originally made using Sinclair's plans better. That was easy to fix, I just made a new one off of Sinclair's plans and moved it slightly to line up with the Casimiro plans.




The saucer was a bit more interesting. Obviously, I could just make one off of Sinclair's plans and put it on the shp. However, Sinclair's plans not only don't line up with Casimiro's plans (big surprise there) but the saucer is also smaller than on the Casimiro plans. So, it won't work. Of course, the good thing about being an artist is that you don't have to take what they give you. I took the upper curve from Sinclair's plans and blended it into Casimiro's plans. The result was a bit messy, so I took that into Inkscape and redrew it to make a nice, clean spline line.



The result is a nice, smooth curve and a saucer I can be happy with.





I know, some of you are probably wondering why I'm going to all this trouble on a ship I'm building for a tutorial. Well, simply put, it took me years and several tries to get a very close (about 99%) TOS Connie in trueSpace. I don't want to spend that time on the ship in LW, I want to get it done in one shot. I have several years' worth of ships to rebuild or convert in LW and probably a few new things to do, so no redoing ships that I've already done in LW until that's all done.

The Engineering hull is forthcoming. I've just about ran out of excuses to not start work on it, though don't expect a speedy update. There are a lot of steps, it's likely to take a few days, and I'm not going to stop to render everything as I go.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I like what you have done with the bridge...... looks great...
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Old May 10th, 2012, 08:31 PM   #13
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Thanks bro. Though, the bridge is modeled off of Casimiro's plans, so I'm not quite certain what you mean by: "what you have done with the bridge."
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Old May 11th, 2012, 01:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I think I was thinking about the bridge dome the color or texture. I like the look of it..... but to be honest I forget.

Had to take my wife to hospital yesterday where we spent the whole day.
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Old May 11th, 2012, 09:07 AM   #15
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I'm sorry to hear that, Ger. Is she OK?
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Old May 11th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #16
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Quote:
Originally Posted by evil_genius_180 View Post
I'm sorry to hear that, Ger. Is she OK?
Yes thankfully. I feared a broken ankle at one point. but only a bad sprain... but I wanted an X ray to be sure..
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Old May 11th, 2012, 09:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

That's great to hear, bro. I agree, you had to get it X-rayed. It's better to be safe than sorry, I always say.
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Old May 14th, 2012, 09:12 AM   #18
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

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Originally Posted by evil_genius_180 View Post
That's great to hear, bro. I agree, you had to get it X-rayed. It's better to be safe than sorry, I always say.
She is much better now..... and we where away for the weekend.....
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Old May 15th, 2012, 08:57 AM   #19
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Great news, bro. Was it work or pleasure? (your "away for the weekend" trip)
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Old May 15th, 2012, 09:33 AM   #20
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Quote:
Originally Posted by evil_genius_180 View Post
Great news, bro. Was it work or pleasure? (your "away for the weekend" trip)
Leisure and a communion for a friends daughter.. I explored the town while that went on though
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Old May 15th, 2012, 10:13 AM   #21
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Nice.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 09:46 AM   #22
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

OK, here's where I am. Needless to say, there was a lot of work involved in the front end of this engineering hull. I don't know who decided to make this part this way back in the '60s, but it's not the easiest thing to replicate in 3D. Next up is the equally fun shuttlebay area.









BTW, if anybody who knows Lightwave has any idea why I'm getting those smoothing errors in the rear of the booleans cut when I render and how to fix them, please let me know. Here's a screenshot showing the area to which I'm referring:



I followed Ger's tutorial and everything looks good to me, but what do I know?
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:22 PM   #23
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Are your naming each area´s as you build it or is it the same surface setting for all?… this is the area that gave me the most trouble to get right

If your using the same surface setting (the smooth angle) for all the model. this could be the problem, and if you give this it own surface same, (umbilical connect or some thing like that) and change the smooth angle might help.

I was concerned if my approach would work in this area and this is all I can think off at this time,

But so far your work is looking awesome……
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:25 PM   #24
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Changing the smoothing angle did nothing. Unfortunately, I have figured out the problem. This is unfortunate because the only way I can think of to fix it is to rebuild the section. I was looking at the wireframe from the top-down view earlier when I saw the issue. It's all cockeyed back there, no two faces have the same angle. That's causing the faceted look, because it is faceted. I think I'm going to go back to my pre-cut hull layer and redo the cut, this time differently than what you say to do in the tutorial, so that it's a flat face back there. Once I have a flat face back there, I think the smoothing errors in the cut area will be history. Outside the cut should be OK too, because I'll be getting rid of a lot of those points that don't line up with verts.

I don't know how the heck yours looks so good and mine looks like crap, but it could be a difference in software versions. Though, if what I have in mind works, mine should look as good as yours.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:41 PM   #25
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I will think on it.........

Your idea that it could be different versions is a good point..... you could ask over at F3D thats where the best LW users I know.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 12:56 PM   #26
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

In order to do that, I'd have to first remember my password.

I had another thought on the changing surface names thing: wouldn't that mess up texturing?
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Old May 18th, 2012, 02:10 AM   #27
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Quote:
Originally Posted by evil_genius_180 View Post
In order to do that, I'd have to first remember my password.

I had another thought on the changing surface names thing: wouldn't that mess up texturing?
Apart from adding a separate texture map to this area.
Your a better texture than I am.

but its the way I over came the same problem your having....... (I was working on that area last summer wow) ........

I will have a look over my model again and see if there is a work around.

If you remember your Password to F3D.....download Prologic9 Enterprise, I like his texture work on that
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Old May 18th, 2012, 02:23 AM   #28
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

I worked on mine and gave it the same surface name and I got surface smoothing errors, my fix was to give the umbilicals (3) its own surface.

again it was the only way I could think of to use the Rounder Tool so LW does not hang, or your asked to restart LW etc.

Its possibly over worked.

But this is great feedback Chris...
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #29
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Basically, yeah. If I give it a separate surface name, I'm going to have to do a texture just for that part. And, if I don't match up the weathering, grid lines, etc. exactly, it's going to look stupid. It's a huge PITA. This would also cause issues with textured signage.
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Old May 18th, 2012, 12:12 PM   #30
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Default Re: Learning Lightwave

Yeah Rounder can be a pain that why the over work in this area...

I never gave any thought for the textures as the Tut is only a modeling exercise.

The other possibility is to remove the segments in that umbilical area.
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