NewTek Lightwave 3D: Keyframing in Lightwave

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Terms and techniques on how to key elements in Lightwave 3D

Text of NewTek Lightwave 3D: Keyframing in Lightwave

  • Animation VI Keyframing in Lightwave
  • Keyframing Do this, do that In order to items to change over time, you need to set down reference points (keyframes) to tell the item what to do at a given point in time
  • Keyframing Start here, end here Once you have two or more keyframes, Lightwave will figure out how to change the item from its starting point to its end point Called tweaning or tweens
  • Keyframing Good/bad keyframing Usually the fewer the keyframes, the smoother the effect Dont try to overthink the action let Lightwave get you where you want to go Too many keyframes can cause jittery action
  • Keyframing Everybody has one Everything in your scene must have at least one keyframe Some things dont need to change so they only have a keyframe on the very first frame (0)
  • Keyframing Frames and Time Depends what you are doing NTSC = 30 fps PAL = 25 fps Film = 24 fps Stills = single frame We operate at 30 fps Think in frames 300 = 10 seconds
  • Lets Get Started Start up Lightwave 3D Clear the scene if you need to Select Load Object (+) In the Landscape folder, select Canyon.lwo
  • Lets Get Started Select Load Object (+) again In the Vehicles folder select MonsterTruck.lwo This object lost a surface image, so we have to fix
  • Lets Get Started Several surface images got lost and have to be reconnected. Click Yes, then select FractalReflections.tga Repeat this process a couple more times until all the surfaces load and you can see
  • Lets Get Started Lets fix the Truck While the MonsterTruck is still selected choose: File > Save > Save Current Object Choose Replace That should fix the problem
  • Scaling Things in Porportion That canyon is mighty small! Select the Top view (2) Zoom out so theres lots of room Select the Canyon as the current object
  • Scaling Things in Porportion Select the Modify tab Under Transform, select Stretch We want to change the width and depth, but not the height (at least for now) In the Numerics section change the X and Z axis to 35
  • Keyframing See the big picture The best way to create a motion is to set the starting point and end point first Then tweak parameters in-between these two points to what you need This help set a consistent pace
  • Set One Keyframe Choose Camera view (6) Truck looks like its stuck in the mud In the Modify tab select Translate and Move Drag the Green arrow and drag the truck up so it sits on the
  • Set a Start and End Point Make sure the MonsterTruck is selected Choose the top view Zoom out so you can see the whole canyon You can see that some parts of the canyon are above the grid while other parts are below
  • Set a Start and End Point While at frame 0, move the truck to the upper left corner In the Timeline, change the last frame to 300 frames Drag the slider to frame 300 and move the truck to the lower right corner
  • Making a Keyframe What do you want to do? Make a keyframe for what? Selected item All items Selected item and any other items it controls
  • Making a Keyframe What should get a keyframe You decide if its position, rotation and/or scale gets locked down or not If the item should not get a keyframe for the selected frame, just turn that parameter off
  • Set a Start and End Point Click on Create Frame or press Return Make sure Create Key At is set to 300 For: Selected item (your truck) Position, rotation, scale are on (blue) Press OK
  • Action Without Keyframes Target Causes the camera to always see an item in the middle of its frame of view If the item moves, the camera pans or tilts to keep that item in view Camera will not MOVE unless you set keyframes for its location Targeting and moving the camera can make very interesting animations
  • Have the Camera Keep an Eye on the Truck Select the Camera as the current item Press M to bring up Motion Options In the Target Item pop-up menu, select Monster truck NOT Parent
  • Have the Camera Keep an Eye on the Truck Switch to Camera view and scrub through your animation Now the camera follows the truck from beginning to end Truck faces the wrong way thats OK for now
  • Action Without Keyframes Aligning to Path Once you set up a motion path for an item, it can automatically follow in the direction of that path Left and right Up and down
  • Action Without Keyframes Make sure the truck is the current item Press M to select motion options Select the Controllers and Limits tab
  • Action Without Keyframes We need the rotation of the truck to follow the path Select the Rotation tab Under Heading & Pitch, set the Heading Controller to Align to Path
  • Action Without Keyframes In Camera view scrub through your animation Your truck should now follow the path from beginning to end That was easy! Lighting is not so great though
  • Action Without Keyframes Parenting An item that mimics what another item does What one airplane does, all the other airplanes do The controlling item is called a parent The controlled items are called descendants
  • Action Without Keyframes Give the truck a little light Switch back to the top view & zoom in a little Drag the slider to frame 0 With the Modify tab, move the light so it is in front and to the right of the truck
  • Action Without Keyframes While the light is still selected, press M to bring up the Motion options In the Parent Item pop-up menu choose MonsterTruck
  • Action Without Keyframes While still in the top view scrub though your timeline and notice how the light now follows the truck along its animation
  • Finessing Motion Adding keyframes in- between the start and finish Now that the pacing is set, you can adjust the item in-between start and end points without causing the motion to jitter Still remember though the fewer keyframes, the better
  • Add Some Character to the Truck Motion Select the top view (2) Select the truck as the current item Move the slider to frame 75 With the Modify tab, select Move
  • Add Some Character to the Truck Motion Using the arrows, drag the truck down and to the left to the top of the hill on the left side of the canyon Make a keyframe for the truck at frame 75
  • Add Some Character to the Truck Motion Move the slider to 185 Using the arrows, drag the truck to the right so its on top of the hill on the right of the canyon Make another keyframe for the truck at frame 185
  • Animate the Camera Switch to the top view (2) Make sure the slider is at frame 0 Move the camera so its in the middle of the canyon, but in front of the truck
  • Animate the Camera Give the camera a better view While still at frame 0, in the numerics window, change the Y value to 6 meters Switch to the camera view to see your new look at the truck
  • Animate the Camera Switch back to the top view Move the slider to frame 300 Move the camera so its further down the canyon, but behind the truck Make a new keyframe for the camera at frame 300
  • Add Some Character to the Canyon Select the back view (1) Move the slider to frame 0 Select the Canyon as the current item With the Modify tab, select the Stretch tool In the numerics box, change the Y value
  • Aligning to Motion Not just left and right, but up and down Like the Mustang, when an item along the motion path goes up or down, it can also point in that direction with the Align to path feature
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