View Full Version : Kiwavers (NZ) meeting, 21st May 2003

05-21-2003, 05:00 PM
FYI - Anyone wanting to get the goss on our meeting last night, or see if there's anything here that you could use to do at your next LWUG meeting...

Well, thanks again to all of those that turned up to last nights meeting. As always the turnout was pretty good - Its funny just how much of a difference these meetings are now, compared to 3 years ago when I was lucky to get more then 2-3 people! :-)

As you know, I did 2 meetings in May - The first was a Saturday, well, inspired by the fact that users from Wellington were in town, and I figured it was an opportune time to have a meeting on a weekend as many people preferred that (but some didn't). However to give everyone else who couldn't come on Saturday a meeting in May, I also thought to experiment with the idea of a second meeting - Last Night.


Sign up now! (Signups close this weekend - Be quick!)

Last nights meeting was another request for more folks to get themselves booked up and paid for the LW World Tour. Another 3-4 people told me they would sign up, however I really need a few more as well... I try hard to really get cool stuff about LightWave and 3D for everyone here in NZ, please don't let me down and lets get some awesome International LightWave training to happen right here in New Zealand!

If you work in a studio, or school where 3D animation and modelling is used, it would be a fantastic idea to book in yourself and co-workers or students for some of the *cheapest* training you can get for LightWave - And from real experts in the business of 3D!

As one person at the LWUG pointed out last night, you can pay up to NZ$130-140 for a copy of 'Inside LightWave' or another 3D book. For NZ$195, you not only get 2 full days of 3D expertise from some real professionals, you also get **several** HOURS of video training material to take home at the end - That Video material alone is probably worth *more* then a copy of 'Inside LightWave', so considering it that way, what a bargain, eh! :)

Many thanks to Dave who bought along his photoreal Snowboard boot clamp 'thingy' (sorry, I can't remember exactly what it was called) he'd modelled - Very impressive amount of detailing and precise modelling work! Can't wait to see that baby textured up!

The young lady who bought the VHS tape with work she'd done again missed out - This time looked like the lab's connection from the VCR to the Projector was the problem... Hopefully we can ask her again to try next meeting once the Techies at AUT have a look and see what's happening...

I showed a fuselage of a WWII aeroplane I started working on a few months back - A Curtiss P-40 (the infamous 'Flying Tiger'!). All laid up with splines from some background schematic images I grabbed at www.airwar.ru (make sure to click the 'English' button, unless you are fluent in Russian!). Something I plan to get back to and finish real soon... (along with all my other unfinished projects! Doh!)

A quick flashback - I also showed my old NurbDroid, complete with
expression-driven gunfire...

* 7.5c - WHATS THE GOSS?
So, other then some bug fixes and an updated LScript engine (which I didn't cover - Since nobody was really into programming, I probably would have bored everyone to death!) what else did it have to offer? Easy - I had a pile of examples I'd whipped together the night before!

Now you can really develop some cool effects - From Depth Attenuation to more realistic glass and plastics!

This new 'Input' for gradients let you base surfaces on how thick they were. I quickly explained in detail how the 'thickness' worked, and then went on to show 3 examples - One was my 'Nurbdroid', now made of Perspex-type material, Another I did a quick lake showing the effect of depth attenuation as water got deeper, and finally I showed how a couple of odd subd models could be made to look like funky 'glass' sculptures, complete with the thickness effect being displayed in the shadows...

Very cool, and I'm sure capable of a pile of other effects!

Remember FI_Bezier bend? Newtek have a similiar offering, complete with funky visual interface that you can apply right in Layout. Add the deformer, activate the tool and you get little control handles complete with spline curve - Just start bending and twisting - Another cool tool to the animation arsenal!

Here's one that has a LOT of potential - It is a surface mixer that allows you to blend another surface into an existing one...

So? People often look and go 'oh, its a cross fade thing - What a waste of time! I could do that with a gradient!'. What people DON'T realise is this shader is actually blending ALL the surface parameters from another surface - That is, all the bump, difffuse, colour and more - Creating animated surfaces on an object that need to do complex blending of multiple parameters is a nightmare with layer upon layer of Alpha channel, gradient, opacity enveloping and more - And in all those texture channels!

Now just create the 'other' texture on a temporary polygon or object, and then blend away!

What was quite cool was how you could blend a surface into another - Sure, you can use the traditional 'E'nvelope approach, but you can also get quite clever and use 'Textures' to control the blending - The example I showed, I mixed the rusty metal surface from my NurbDroid object onto a Sphere to create a crusty, lumpy looking 'rock'. I then had a hot Lava texture on another sphere and used a Fractal to blend that on top of the NurbDroid one to create a rock with molten lava crust bubbling away!

Yes, you can add MORE then one Surfmixer - A good example of how this might be used came from Logan, who reminded us of the Lizard in 'Monsters Inc' who could blend into his environment... Very cool, and I'm sure people will find good ways to use this tool!

I discussed some tips and problems I'd been having making Video tutorials, and since I had the material on hand, I decided to cover a few old tips and tricks on Corona - This time I had a better sword model, and a much sexier looking ocean - We looked at hot metallic glints and flashes, as well as how we could apply sparkles to ocean waves... Very simple but very impressive!

Also a planned tutorial meant I could go through it a lot faster and
smoother then normal

I had a rather ancient LENY (LightWave Expo New York) CD rom on hand, since I wanted to show people who and what 'Lee Stranahan' was - 1997 was a bit old, but we took a quick look through a few very interesting and still relevant tutorials and tips on the CD. It was interesting to see the reaction of users to the old LW5.0 'Amiga-style' interface as well!

Some people had never heard of WaveFilter - So I decided to just briefly show how this could be used for a variety of image effects. Since I had access to the HV Sprite tutorials from last meeting, I also overviewed the gushing water effect for those who missed it last time

All in all, was a great night as always.