Basic stuff Lightwave users should know, but are not-so-obvious

Ryan Roye

Animator
I'm sure there have been topics like this before discussing things in Lightwave sometimes considered "hidden gems" and whatnot... but I think it's time to re-visit this. Perhaps even some of the long time veteran users among us will learn a new thing or two!

THE IDEA FOR THIS THREAD:

There are native functions in Lightwave that a lot of users take for granted... some of which are almost invisible and are somewhere between hard and impossible to discover. So the big question is this: What is a basic Lightwave function that you feel the average user would likely not find, but is something you consider important to know about generally speaking? (both modeler and layout)

To demonstrate, I whipped up a really quick video about the statistics panel to kick off this thread:


Bonus tip courtesy of Tobian: Volume select works with things like "hide selected". Try it!

EDIT: Do a search on Erikals's videos when posting and include them if they are relevant to your post... because chances are good he covered a few things that are likely to get mentioned :)
 
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raw-m

Big fan of coffee
I'll get the ball rolling with a couple of really basic yet useful GE shortcuts (and by way of subscribing to the thread!):

Select Keyframes, Press F1, LBM left/right will quickly allow you change the TCB Spline Tension.

Another simple yet over looked option in the GE: Filter Static Envelopes. Turning on will only show channels with keys on them - really useful if you have loads of nodes/instance animations going on.
 

hrgiger

I'm my Clone
Im not sure how many people make use of it but if you hit 'i' in modeler it will bring up the ino panel where you can get the coordinate values for the X,Y, and Z of a vertex or group of vertices and copy them. Useful when you want to line up geometry on the same axis coordinate by using the set value command. 'v' for set value, paste your coordinates in dialog window and hit ok..
 

Waves of light

Stuck in a very big cube
'Align to last point X' (or Y or Z) - hidden in the menus. Select any set of points, then select one more and use those to align to a specific Axis.

'Select Path' - select two polys, points or edges and use it to complete the selection between the two.
 

jeric_synergy

Axes grinder- Dongle #99
(away from machiine) trying to remember how this one works....

IF I'm remembering this correctly:
The Graph Editor has its own set of hotkeys, that OVERRIDE the main set when the GE is open. If this is driving you crazy, UNassigning them in the hotkey editor will allow them to work as usual in the main UI even when the GE is open.

++++
POINT SELECTION
If you've just made a complicated (ie, PITA) point selection, get in the habit of creating a Point Set. Better, make a hotkey to make it even faster-- mousing down to the Selection Set thingy is slow slow slow slowwwww. A hotkey will make this convenient and more likely to become a Good Habit.

POLY SELECTION SETS
Although PARTS should be the polygon equivalent to Point Sets, they are not (dammit, LAME) because the contents cannot overlap. However, using SEL POINTS gives you the equivalent by switching from selected points to the equivalent in Polys.

SELECTION BY COLOR
You can select by Sketch Color.



(ps: I LUVVV these kinds of threads!!! Thanks, Chazriker-- we should probably start one every 3 months just to noodge folks.)
 
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jeric_synergy

Axes grinder- Dongle #99
Even experienced users forget this one:

People coming from other apps often think there's no "Soft-selection" in LWM. Technically true, but there is FALLOFF.

Falloff can be either spacial, or moderated by a Weight Map. While not as slick as most implementations of 'soft-select', Weight-mapping can give modelers arbitrary control over how a Tool is applied to a mesh. Plus, you can have MULTIPLE weight-maps on the same geometry, so you can have multiple ways of applying tools to the same geometry.
 

xchrisx

automator of tasks
One thing I wish I knew when I first started Lightwave is that if you want similar functionality to Mute Channels when keyframing animation, you can add an expression to a channel with "0" as the expression's value. Then just disable the expression when you want to "Unmute" it.
 

Danner

Pixel Mage
Things that I've found a couple of experienced LW users didn't know about Modeler.

1. You can bind "deselect all" to a key, instead of clicking on an empty section of the interface
2. bind PickSurf to a key. you can now click on any polygon and the surface editor opens up and highlights its' surface, click on another polygon with another surface and the surface editor selects it.
3. You can use Absolute size, to measure things, but also to scale them to exact dimentions.
4. Spin Edge to change how a quad is triangulated. [/] or [\]
5. Snap drag tool works inside the UV window too.
6. Almost any box where you can enter a number you can also enter simple formulas like 360/7+5
7. In those numeric boxes you can use metric and imperial numbers mixed toguether. 20"+2m -.2'
 

tyrot

New member
I guess it will be one of the greatest thread ever.. May be at the end there will be an edited version as PDF... First community user based - PDF - tips and tricks.
 

raw-m

Big fan of coffee
Using Vertex Paint in Layout allows you to paint directly on your model - using black and white values is handy for creating masks, just use the Vertex Color node where you might have used a Weigh Map.
 

Ryan Roye

Animator
Believe it or not, I used lightwave for a little over a year before I discovered mouse menus. I guess its the fact that the average user will only really ever discover these by accident, and even the inclusion of the "mouse menus" in the "edit menus" don't really clue in users as to what they are referring to (they should should be labeled like "CTRL+Shift Left Mouse Menu" so people aren't guessing).

I know i've mentioned these in various other tutorials i've done... but alas, I feel users need to be aware and I don't consider it an obvious thing.

 
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BigHache

Kamehameha Chameleon
Im not sure how many people make use of it but if you hit 'i' in modeler it will bring up the ino panel where you can get the coordinate values for the X,Y, and Z of a vertex or group of vertices and copy them. Useful when you want to line up geometry on the same axis coordinate by using the set value command. 'v' for set value, paste your coordinates in dialog window and hit ok..

I do this quite a lot actually.

I bind Bridge to left-mouse menu then have Deselect All to right-mouse menu. It makes for super fast filling of holes.
 

Pensart

Lightwave rebel
Tip for the newcomers?
Drag and drop objects, images, surfaces .srf, presets etc... from your windows explorer into lw.
Select multiple images at once and drag them into your images editor.
Save previews along with your surface .srf files and drag the choosen .srf file into the surface editor.
Love this workflow. Mutch better than the surface presets window in LW because you cannot use a custom image render instead of the sphere.
I like to have a decent surface preview so i work this way. Having a dual monitor setup is very nice :p
 
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