This is a basic tutorial on how to make some cool Planetary Rings using Hypervoxels in Lightwave 7. I am not going to go into great detail on this tute as I am assuming that most people doing this tutorial are familiar with Lightwave.
This is a basic tutorial on how to make some cool Planetary Rings using Hypervoxels in Lightwave 7. I am not going to go into great detail on this tute as I am assuming that most people doing this tutorial are familiar with Lightwave. Note* In this tutorial I will be using Feet as the unit of measurement... I am from the U.S. and that is what I use, you tell me something is a mile long and I know how far that is... You tell me something is 1 kilometer long, then I have to go "ok 1 kilometer is less than a Mile so..." or " 1 meter is almost 3 feet ". I meant what's the point...? We'll use the good ol' fashion foot for measurements...
Ok, the cool thing about space scapes is there are not a lot of poly's invested across the breath of your scene. Which is great for us because this means we can indulge ourselves in the planet rings themselves, using the high poly count for that. However, if you have a lot of large ships and space docks for repairing all the damage inflected by battles in a far off nebula, you may want to scale down the poly count for your rings as it can cost CPU time in the rendering. So lets have at it shall we . . . Open Modeler and search for a planet you want to use. If you have a costume planet you made this is fine, use that. But for this tutorial I am just going to use the stock planet in LW located content\objects\space\planet.lwo. Step 1: Load the planet in the first layer. This planet comes with an atmosphere already so we won't have to worry about starting our planet belt too close to the atmosphere. The planet measures 7000 FEET across so we are going to have a nice size ring system. Now activate layer 2 and put layer 1 in the background so we can see what we are doing. The two most important view ports here are TOP and LEFT. These are the ones we are going to be using to shape our ring system, so use whatever set up you like just make Top and Left handy to work out of. Ok now save object as planet_rings.lwo.
Step 2: Ok grab your Spray Points Tool: Create Tab\ Elements and click to the left of the planet in the top view to activate it. In the Numeric Tablet: n key (Mac). Set the Rate at 20 and the Radius at 450' this will give us a nice size inner system to start with.
Step 3:Take your Spray Tool and circle the planet once this is all you need to do in order to get started. You should wind up with about 1900 point or so. Don't worry about the shape of your circle, as asteroids are anything but uniform. Just make sure you have some space between your planet and the start of the first ring set.
Step 4: Ok, now that we have our first ring set, we need to make it a little more dense as 1900 rocks in an Asteroid Belt is laughable. So we copy paste the points in layer 2, into layer 3. Set layer 1 and 2 into the background. With layer 3 in the foreground grab your Rotate Tool: Modify Tab\ Rotate, and in the Top View "Center", rotate layer 3 about 25 degrees. Repeat step 4 as many times as you like in order to get a dense field of soon to be Asteroids.
Step 5: I made 7 separate layers to get a nice thick Asteroid Belt going, but like I said do as many as you like but keep it within reason we have a lot of room as far as poly count goes but keep in mind that points can add up very quickly here . . . .
Step 6: Now flatten the layers with all the points so that they rest on layer 2.
Step 7: Ok, now we must clean up the areas inside and outside the first belt system. Select points along the outer and inner edges of the ring, the idea is to make a clean edge without too many stragglers. You don't have to make it perfectly clean and sharp "as asteroids are anything but uniform", but you want to be able to recognize the gap between the rings at a distance. . Save object . . . . . .
Step 8: Open layer 3 and put layers 1 and 2 in the background so that we can see what we are doing. Select your Spray Points Tool: Create Tab \ Elements and in the Numeric Tablet set the rate to 30 and the Radius to 1000'. This will ensure a nice size for your Second Asteroid Belt.
Step 9: Once again repeat the steps, circle the planet once leaving space between your first asteroid belt, then copy- paste and rotate as many layers as you like. Once you have a required thickness of points, flatten the layers of the second belt and delete the points on the edges removing all of the stragglers . . . . . . . Save object.
Step 10 Keep repeating the steps until you have as many rings you want, *I made a system of 3 rings here, of course you can make whatever you like this is totally up to you . . . . . . . this is just the basic concept.
Step 11: Ok so before we go to Layout, make sure that you delete the planet in layer 1 and move all your rings down a layer so that they occupy the first 3 layers, or if you have 5 ring layers, make sure they occupy layers 1 thru 5. "You get the idea". Important * . . . . Do not flatten your layers before saving the object. For more control over each ring in layout, it is best to have all your rings on separate layers.
*Now this next step is important so you have to decide here how you want to handle this. When we look at a planet that has a ring system, from far the rings appear to be flat, almost like a record album. But when we do close up shots we see that the ring is actually several miles if not thousands of miles thick . . . so what to do. . Hmmm
I am going to show you two different methods here you decide what you want to do.
Step 12.1: If you want a thin ring system you can select a group of points above and below your rings like in fig.12.1. Right now what you have is way too thick, so you need to make it thinner. Just do the following, command + right-click + drag (Mac) or Left-click + drag (PC) . . . . . you don't have to be accurate or make a straight line because. . . . . . " asteroids are anything but uniform".
Step 12.2 Once you have selected all the points you need, you can cut them away and do the same thing to all the other layers you have . . . fig 12.2.
This second method is the one that I am going to use, but you decide.
Step 12.3: Make all your Ring layers active, then select all of the points. What we are going to do here is flatten all of the points on a single y value = 0. So with all the Belt layers active and all the points selected go Detail Tab\ Points \ Set Value. . on the Y Axis set value to 0 ft And press ok . . . fig. 12.3
*And there it is a thing of beauty . . . .
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