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View Full Version : FYI : Kiwavers (NZLWUG) May Meet (26th May)



kevman3d
05-27-2004, 10:47 PM
For anyone interested, here's a low-down on our May LWUG this week...

OPENING:
As always, a lovely dose of animation - A couple of Modelling showreels, short film teasers for a short film called 'Emilia', and then I chucked in an episode of 'Invader Zim' for good measure!

Also, while I'm at it, there are now 3 'RoughNecks : Starship Trooper
Chronicles' DVD's available in NZ, all at $29.95 - Hydora, Tesca and Tophet
Campaigns. Good price, and great LW-animated TV series - Just a pity it
took almost 2 years to appear here - I bought mine from Amazon over a year ago now, and I can say they were a little MORE then $29.95 a disc after US$ conversion, and paying for the typical Amazon postage! :)

If you want a disc with some great animation and lighting, I recommend the
'Tophet' campaign DVD - These episodes contain some very nice character
work, and a few episodes have a great lighting design to boot!


DEMO:
I had a handful of things to demo.

RIPPLES:
Ripple_s_beta3 is the new update to the excellent displacement plugin that
lets you create wakes, drops and more! I ran a quick null through a water
plane, and also showed how it could be used to generate drip ripples by
simply 'dipping' a null up and down... You can download this plugin from
http://www1.odn.ne.jp/saw/index.html

UME (http://home.att.ne.jp/omega/tabo/3dlabo/index.html):
This guy is the creator of such cool plugins as TB_Iplane, TB_Edgebevel and
FakeSkin... But there were some other 'treasures' hiding on his website...

TB_ShadowBlur was a small plugin hidden in Ume's 'Junk Programs' section of
his website. This plugin lets you generate soft shadows, much like those
generated by Area and Linear lights, but by using a shader. The shader also
allowed much nicer 'softening' of soft reflections and refraction too... Of
course, this was at the expense of extra render time... But a nice idea...

Defocus was more a 'tool' from Ume's 'Other Programs' section of his
website, designed as a standalone PC tool to create 'out of focus' effects.
It can work with depth buffers so perhaps think about this tool when you
next need a depth-of-field effect for a still image...

DeepShade is another tool from 'Other Programs' - This one is a node-based
shader maker, letting you create your own shader, and then use a LW plugin
to load it onto your LW models! Very nice indeed - If only there was a
manual though!

TB_Dirt I didn't get to demo - It was also in the 'Junk' pile, but
essentially tracks edges and grooves on a model and paints a scummy dirt
effect! Its not bad with a little toying about of the settings...


SHOW AND TELL:
One person (sorry, I really must make a better effort to remember names! I
think it was 'Aaron', but I can't be sure so please do correct me!) bought a
very sweet animation of a Laser beam cutting a chrome sphere in half - Many
thanks for running through the techniques and tools used, and explaining how
you did it! This stuff is what many people say make meetings fun!

I followed that up with a quick look at my 'streamlined' spaceship. Though
after comparing it with the older version, I'm not sure if it was a good
update or just a time filler for the weekend! :)


TEA TIME:
Up to the 16th floor for nibbles, coffee's, drinks and general discussion.
These 'departures' from 1307 really make for great social discussion!
BTW, Thanks to everyone who bought along nibbles and drinks!


THE BIG KAHUNA!
First of all, a big thank you to both Petrik and Dave for bringing along
their personal L8 copies for us to demo.

I demo'd what I'd been doing with L8 in just the last couple of days.

I started in Modeler... I loaded up my spaceship, switched its 'sketch'
color to black and off we went...

First off, we looked at the new features of Modeler. The new crisp OpenGL
was my favorite thing - The speed and smooth flow now of modeler made
modelling much more fun, and we looked at the two new display modes 'Hidden
Front Wire' and 'Textured Wire'.

I followed this up with a look at Translate Plus - A tool for moving,
rotating and scaling, but with selectable 'centers' and 'directions'
including normals and line segments! Very nice... I then got into Rounder
(for edge filleting/beveling), the cool bridge tool to join hands and arms,
Edge tools for adding and removing edges, 'Supershift' (which is like
Smoothshift and Bevel combined), Quicksaw and cut tools (for fast slice and
dice), and a handful of the new selection tools.

Later in the evening, I also demo'd the interactive 'rotate Skelegons' in
modeler - You can test your skelegons directly in modeler (pretty cool) - Of
course, you also need to weightmap your bones as well...

I quickly whipped up a brick wall in modeler... Then it was off to
Layout...

I showed off some of the new interface enhancements such as the handy
dopetrack, the multiple undos, the new OpenGL 'multitexture' capability
(specially the cool way you can now SEE your transparency image maps at
work), the easy ability to rename things directly in the properties panel of
an item, and the way you can now see a gobo image in a spot light view...

This was a great chance to also play with LightWave's rigid body dynamics
system by creating an animation of a smashing brick wall... (which was a
load of fun). We spent a while playing in here.

Finally, I quickly added some 'IKBooster' to the Roboboy rig - While I'm not
fully up-to-speed on this tool just yet, I did show the general idea, the
'IKBooster' dopetrack and did a bit of IK Dynamics as well just for fun!
Though we also managed to catch a few possible bugs (or just me? Who
knows!) - Like floating a control point that decided to pop out to infinity and then the way the IKB Dopetrack decided to spin away from the bottom of the screen if you zoomed out too far! :)

But I think everyone got a small taste of what's in 8 - Its a nice looking
update, and overall a much 'smoother' experience to work in...


THE END:
Finally, it was over. I think another fun meeting... Hope to see you all in
June!


Kev.