View Full Version : Frustration

Dick Nelson
06-03-2003, 09:28 AM
I am so frustrated trying to use LightWave that I could shoot my computer.

I want to take a "flat" logo (in other words, one that is saved a a jpg or gif file) and turn it into a 3D logo, which I can then animate.

First, can anyone direct me to a simple-to-follow tutorial on this? I've looked at several possibilities on the NewTek site, plus one at "Bytehawk Studio," but they either aren't what I need or don't work.

And the manual, of course, is of absolutely no help at all.

I am about convinced that LightWave (Express) is simply too difficult for someone with my limited graphics background. But I'm still hoping that I can be convinced otherwise.

I have been able to achieve some success with the animation functions, but Modeler has me completely stumped. Even applying an image to an object seems exceedingly complex. So far, I've not succeeded at all with that.

As an example of how useless the manual is on this subject:

On page 23.28 it says "Reset is the no-repeat mode. The underlying surface will be visible if the image is smaller than the surface area." And, "Repeat tiles the image until it fills the surface."

Actually, exactly the reverse is true. I've tried this a dozen times to make sure I wasn't imagining the problem. But, in fact, "Reset" tiles the image and "Repeat" applies it only once.

Also, can someone explain why the image appears backwards in the "Front" view, and correct in the "Back" view? That seems a bit backwards, too.

FYI, the logo I'm trying to use is attached, if that helps anyone.

06-03-2003, 10:03 AM
Sadly your logo isn't attached to your post for some reason so I can't see what you're trying to build but say for example it's a corporate logo or something, you have a couple of choices - If you've got an Illustrator version of the logo you should be able to import it into LightWave to give yourself a starting point (I say a starting point as it'll probably need some cleanup).

1. Assuming you haven't, load your image into a background plane in Modeler ("d" for display options, click on backdrop, pick a viewport (BL - Bottom Left or "Back" is probably best) and click on the image dropdown to load it)

2. It's easier to work with a background image if you turn the grid off and raise the Image Resolution to 1024 (assuming your image is 1024 or bigger) you can access those options from the display panel (again - just hit "d") Another tip is to open the Image Editor, click on the "Editing" tab and drop the saturation to -1.0 to temporarily make it a greyscale image the fiddle with Gamma, Brightness and Contrast to maximise the visibility of the image.

3. Now to actually building the logo - assuming it's a fairly simple flat shape the way to work is to create points following the contours of the shape - you can do this 2 ways - either you can create lots of points to mimic the shape in detail and press "p" when you have a closed shape to create a polygon or alternatively you can create fewer points and join them up with a closed curve. If you use curves you'll have to use the "Freeze" tool at some point to turn them into polygons (curves don't render). If there's cut-outs in the logo create them on another layer and use the Drill/Tunnel to cut them out.

4. When you're happy with your logo you can extrude it and perhaps bevel it too to give it some depth.

If you create your texture maps to precisely fit your geometry you shouldn't have any trouble with mapping - take a screengrab of your object in Modeler and then crop the grab so it precisely fits the model before painting you textures onto it - then when you apply the image map on the same axis you took the screengrab from you can hit "Automatic Sizing" and it should be a perfect fit.

I can't comment on the Reset/Repeat thang 'cause on my copy of LightWave they do exactly what the manual sys they do :)

The "Front" view is looking at the front of your object (i.e. models that need to follow paths should be made facing the +Z axis so Layout knows which direction to point 'em in) but "Back" is actually the forward facing view (looking into +Z) The Z channel is applied from negative Z to postitive Z whereas X and Y are applied positive to negative (dunno why - it just is) Incidentally, say you texture is flipped the wrong way on an axis - just enter a negative scale value for the texture in the Surface Editor - i.e. if your image is flipped on the X axis make its scale negative on X and LightWave will flip the texture back.

Post the logo pic and I'll try and help some more.

Dick Nelson
06-03-2003, 08:36 PM
Thanks for taking the time to write those instructions. They were VERY helpful. I now understand the concept much better. I'm having some trouble figuring out the drilling function. I've succeeded in using it, but it doesn't seem to work every time, so I think I'm not doing something right. It's also very difficult to plot the points carefully enough to get a neat-looking product. But I'm not nearly so frustrated now, so maybe I can keep with it long enough to succeed.

06-04-2003, 12:41 AM
Being a newbie myself I too find the learning curve to be difficult. There are so few good tutorials on the web and all the books out there are absolutely confusing and lacking in any type of clarity or logic. I really do not know how some of the guys out there churn out this fantastic 3d material. I guess it's just time and patience.

Anyways as for logo design I have yet to find one on the web that can explain it. However you should buy the "hardcore Lightwave Logo's" videotape (or DVD) from www.desktopimages.com. It is really clear and concise and you'll have your logo animation done in no time once you are finished watching the tape. It is well worth the money. Check on EBAY if you prefer not to buy it new. I got mine from there.

06-04-2003, 11:44 PM
I have used corel to trace 2d artwork then export as illustrator file and load in modeler.

06-04-2003, 11:50 PM
on the texture map problems.. you sould add you texture maps in layout and render them often as you adjust (low res no antialias) or use Viper, wich works for many texturing adjusments but might not be completely accurate, because the openGL display is not an good representation on how your texture will look.
To adjust the size, position and rotation of a texture I have found that using reference objects works very well.