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Old 16th Jul 2008, 10:53 PM   #1
Flashfire
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Default LightWave - FF TUTORIAL - Lofting in Lightwave 101

Since the original version of this tutorial was lost with the demise of the LWG, I thought it was about time to redo it, especially given a recent thread in the Cafe.

What you need to follow along: A free LScript and the desire to learn a new (for LWers) technique for rapidly creating organic and inorganic shapes alike with maximum control and minimal hassle.

Cman's Loft LScript -> cm_Loft.zip Unzip and install in the usual method.

STEP ONE:

The first thing you need to do is to lay down some points to create a curve from, or use the Spline Draw tool. Whichever method you use is up to you and your usual working methods. If you use the draw tool, your spline will be created for you. Its best if you open the Numeric Box and tell the tool to create an open curve.

If you are using the points method, besure to work around the Y axis, as shown in image one below. Once you have your points plotted, select them in order as shown in the image - start with the blue one and work around counter clockwise. Once they are all selected, hit CONTROL-P to create am open curve.

Before continuing, select all of the points in the curve and press v to bring up the Value Box. Use a value of 0m on the Y axis (in my example) to even them out. If you are modeling on a different axis, use that one. Unless of course you need jagged splines for your asset, in which case you can forego this step.

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If all went well, you should have a curve as shown in the image below. Select the curve and look to see where the start point is situated. This is a VERY critical detail you need to pay attention to when lofting. If your control points do not align vertically, you will get all sorts of nasty lofting artifacts, including twisting and non-planars.

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I repeat - Pay attention to the START POINTS for the curves.

STEP TWO:

Start laying out more curves to create your asset. In my example, I am building a new body for my seahorse object. There are tricks to this. Where you know you will have more deformation (bones, etc), add more curves and where deformation is minimal, add less. You can always cut in more detail once the asset is lofted. If you plan to have bends in the asset, such as in the neck of my seahorse, its best to align the length of the curve to your BG image (if using one) before stretching it into place. Below is a shot of a basic series of curves (we call this a sweep, as in a sweep of curves) that have been plotted to represent a basic body shape and they have been selected to show you that my start points are all in alignment. When you are ready to loft your curves, start at one extreme of your sweep and select all the curves in order from start to finish. In my example, follow the blue arrow (bottom to top).

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STEP THREE:

Time to loft. Activate the loft tool, as shown in the image below.

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You can play around with the resolution and divisions to get a level of detail you want. Of importance here are a few things.

1. Close splines - Always say yes, unless of course you are using closed splines to begin with.

2. Remove Cage - I always say no to keep my sweeps for later use if needed. Cut them out after the loft and paste somewhere.

3. Loop Mesh - Dont play with it. Not needed now.

4. Resolution - Resequences the splines, so if they started with say, 10 points and didnt have the detail you wanted, you could resample them higher. Its also great for those of you freehanding your curves with the Spline Draw tool. Maybe all of your splines have different point counts - this will make them all have the same amount of points.

5. Divisions - How may subdivisions between splines when lofted.

When you have the level of detail entered into the tool, click okay to have your sweep lofted. If all when well, you'll have a shiny new poly-asset to play with that should, if you did your curves with detail to flow, need little to no point pushing to get mesh details. See below image for variation in the poly flow.

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These curves were done in like 3 mins and lofted shortly after. MUCH faster than splines in the usual sense and TRIPLY faster than box modeling. And its not limited in the fashion - you can do blend shapes too..... circles turning into squares, etc....

Play with it, learn it, love it and use it... this will always be the best way to do the job quickly and accurately the first time through. Just ask anyone who works in Maya....

Enjoy!
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 06:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashfire View Post
Cman's Loft LScript -> Attachment 11611 Unzip and install in the usual method.
Probably a stupid question, but what is the usual method to install plugins and such into LW?
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 06:50 PM   #3
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Unzip it into the plugins folder and in Modeler, go to the Utilities Tab and click Add Plugin. Find it via the file requester and add it. You'll see a window saying its been added. Now you only need to map it to a hotkey or to a button using the editors in the EDIT dropdown menu.
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Old 17th Jul 2008, 10:47 PM   #4
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Just to back up my claim somewhat I made a video of me doing the operations shown in the tutorial above. It seemed to have taken 4.5 minutes to do it with reason. Slow CPU (1Ghz) capturing 1280x960 @ 30 frames a second. So... yeah. Need a new computer - this was lagging SOOOO bad as I was making it. LoL!

At any rate, you can clearly see now how quick it is - so much more faster in every way than box modeling. And because I am using curves, I have a fair to accurate representation of how the Subpatched model will look, without the need to constantly switch between faces and patches to view my point manipulations.

SPECS: xvid avi - 640x480 (cropped from 1280x960) - 4.5 Minutes - 10megs

Lofting.avi

EDIT: Just watched that ... Man I need a new computer...
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Old 18th Jul 2008, 11:21 AM   #5
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Thanks for the explanation! ^^

I'll play around with that tool a little bit when I get home.
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Old 18th Jul 2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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Now this is cool. Might help me get some ideas out a lot faster.
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Old 18th Jul 2008, 01:55 PM   #7
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Thanks for making the tutorial available again. I also liked linking location of plug in to the tutorial.

Q
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Old 18th Jul 2008, 11:57 PM   #8
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Thx for this tut!
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Old 19th Jul 2008, 10:09 AM   #9
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You're all very welcome! I hope the technique will be of great use to you...
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Old 20th Jul 2008, 10:23 AM   #10
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Very nice. Thnx
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Old 20th Jul 2008, 12:13 PM   #11
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Played with this in the past, with the addition of CM loft this looks to be a much more usable technique. Have to re-a-quaint myself with the tool.

Thanks for the mini tut.

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Old 31st Jul 2008, 07:34 AM   #12
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helpful.
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Old 9th Aug 2008, 01:46 PM   #13
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Thanks fellas... sorry I didnt see these responses sooner.
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Old 16th Aug 2008, 12:35 AM   #14
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Thanks for posting the tut

Helpful one
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 05:00 PM   #15
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My modeling life just got easier & faster!!!
Thank You for the tutorials
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Old 1st Nov 2008, 05:54 PM   #16
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You're welcome - glad it will be of use to you.
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Old 5th Feb 2009, 11:25 AM   #17
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Thanks Flashfire, I have recently started familarizing myself with Maya. The lofting tool in Maya is a great tool for QUICKLY creating organtic shapes. No extruding, or sizing needed. Lofting beats spline patching by a mile. I'm glad to see someone taking the time and effort to keep LW in the game. Thanks again.
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Old 5th Feb 2009, 12:39 PM   #18
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Isn't a loft like.. an expensive chique studio flat?

Morba: what are you doing exactly to start with maya, i just can't work with it spent 5 minutes the other day trying to find extrude?
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Old 11th Feb 2009, 05:17 AM   #19
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it's looks like lw modeller morph tool..isnt it?
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 08:39 AM   #20
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Cool .. Rigel point me in this direction .. It will make modelling easer
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Old 14th Mar 2009, 03:44 PM   #22
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Thanks, just added the tut to all my others. That's 189 training videos on my zune...
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Old 13th May 2009, 06:07 PM   #23
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Nice tutorial. Thanks
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Old 1st Jul 2010, 11:46 PM   #24
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Thanks , I have been very useful, considering how hard it is to find statutes of LW in Castilian.
My request (ask us not to be ..) is if you could later mount a more tuto modeling tools that are (is that many, but this video I have been forever).
Whether you decide to do something or not, all my respect and thanks again!
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Old 28th May 2011, 11:46 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flashfire View Post
Since the original version of this tutorial was lost with the demise of the LWG, I thought it was about time to redo it, especially given a recent thread in the Cafe.

What you need to follow along: A free LScript and the desire to learn a new (for LWers) technique for rapidly creating organic and inorganic shapes alike with maximum control and minimal hassle.

Cman's Loft LScript -> Attachment 11611 Unzip and install in the usual method.
Will this script work for the mac version of LW?
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Old 28th May 2011, 01:43 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torturebori View Post
Will this script work for the mac version of LW?
If it's an Lscript it should, not counting the version of Lightwave that you are using though...
Install it and give it a try.
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Old 28th May 2011, 04:16 PM   #27
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I use Lightwave on the Mac and have used the script.
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Old 29th May 2011, 08:59 AM   #28
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Will do thanks for the quick replies...

Lightwavers live on!
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