View Full Version : NASCAR Modeling with Lightwave

01-06-2011, 04:58 PM
The race team I am working for has me reviewing software that we will use to create 3D models for prospective clients. We are considering the concept of creating a virtual marketing presentation as well.

Here is the million dollar question:
How to I skin the model? (if this is even the correct term - apologies if it is not)

In 3D Max, I can select the photoshop file with the sponsor design and get it to wrap on the car. When it renders, it is nice and smooth and looks like a race car... How do I do this in Lightwave?

I have the .lwo file (which is the car model). I can open it and see it in the Lightwave Modeler. ...Can't figure out how to customize the scheme on the car with prospective sponsors logo's, etc.

I have yet to locate a tutorial that shows me how to this. Tech support referred me to the "24 hour" tutorials on the website, however, none of these answer my question.

I am hopeful that someone here has experience in this.

Thank you in advance!

01-06-2011, 05:34 PM
Hi. This is basically the same thing in every 3d package. It just changes where the buttons are. (By the way, "skinning" is more of a game-related term, and in this kind of forums it might confuse people thinking you are referring to a characterīs deformation. We use the term "texturing" for this)

The quick way you did it in MAX makes me think you used a model which had a UV Map already created. (If you donīt know what a UV Map, just ask. I donīt know to which extent you have been into CG animation).
So the equivalent in Lightwave would be opening the Surface Editor, selecting the proper surface for the body of the car, entering the Texture Editor in the color channel, and adding an image map using the UV already there (as a quick dirty way to check stuff if thereīs no UV Map, a cubic projection could be used).
Also, remember that Lightwave is different to other apps in that the Modelling part would just show the model and an OpenGL preview. If you open the other part of the package (Layout) you will find there all you lights, cameras and powerful render stuff to get nice realistic pics of the car.

By the way, I think if you dig a bit into it, you will find Lightwave extremely appropiate for the kind of job youīre trying to do.

01-06-2011, 05:40 PM
What you are referring to is called "UV Mapping". The process is not particularly trivial when applying to complex models. I would start by seeking out some tutorials/videos on the UV mapping process. Since this general process is shared by most 3D applications, any conceptual tutorials will be helpful to get you started. Other helpful instruction relating to LightWave specific work flow can be found with a simple Google search using "lightwave UV mapping tutorial".

If you are dedicated in your decision to use LightWave, I would highly recommend you download and install the PLG UV unwrapping plugin. This will save you time and frustration trying to texture your model using native LightWave tools. This plugin (and other helpful tools) can be found here (http://www.lwplugindb.com/Search.aspx?At=PLG).

01-06-2011, 05:56 PM
Thank you for the reply!

I have Zero animation experience. I learned the basics of 3ds Max in about 2 days. The challenge I had with that program was lighting, positioning cameras and moving the object around. The easy part was designing the template in Photoshop and importing it onto the model.

I like to think I am a fast learner. However, this program has me stumped.

Here is what I am doing once the object (model) is opened.
1. enter surface editor
2. left click the "T" next to Color (under edit nodes)
3. This opens the "Texture Editor"
4. left click "Image" (under "Projection) which is set to Planar) and then click load image
5. load the car body design (which does not look like a car)
6. Next - left click "Use Texture" (at this point the car in the main view window looks like it has a million polka dots)
7. close surface editor

When I zoom in, the photoshop design is actually in each little triangles on the car. Looks like there are thousands of them!

In 3ds, the photoshop design snaps into the correct location... the door numbers are on the doors, the sponsor logo is on the hood and upper quarter panel and the custom paint scheme is the base coat of the car.

My challenge is probably a simple fix... and am betting I will feel VERY stupid once I learn how this works!

You are correct in that I do not know all the terms yet. I will mentally note that the proper term for what I am asking is "texture! "

Thank you!

BTW - What does UV mean?

01-06-2011, 05:58 PM
Thank you Hopper for your assistance!
Googling "lightwave UV mapping tutorial" now.

01-06-2011, 06:10 PM
Following the Tutorial step by step now has it looking like it has a real paint scheme on it now.

A lot closer to where I want to go.

Ya'll have been very helpful.
If you have any other advice... I am thankful for all and any assistance!

01-06-2011, 06:12 PM
I have yet to locate a tutorial that shows me how to this. Tech support referred me to the "24 hour" tutorials on the website, however, none of these answer my question.

There's a good quick tutorial on UV in the 24 hour tute section: ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/MakeUVs.mov

If you're getting up to snuff on Lightwave, William "Proton" does a great job in covering a lot of features in those tutorials.

01-06-2011, 06:14 PM
In the surface editor. Select the car surface. Hit the T near color. For projection type select "UV". Then select the UV name of the texture (hopefully it will show up as a default name like TextureUV) Then load in the image. It should look the same as it did in Max.

The difference in LW the UV Map is named based and not modifier based like Max.

01-06-2011, 06:19 PM
UV is just the flat 2D space for polygons texturing. Think of it as X and Y. To see if you have a UV for the model change a viewport from like top to UV. Then go to the T button in the lower right corner and drop down to the UV name.

01-06-2011, 07:18 PM
Here are some sample images of UV textures displayed in modeler.