LightWave Modelling Setup by Yiorgz

This brief tutorial will cover setting up your LightWave Modeler for model creation using scanned drawings. I make use of some Photoshop specific tools. They may apply to other tools but I only use Photoshop. This is going to be reasonably indepth coverage so grab a cup of coffee.

The tutorial will cover positioning of a creature that stands upright, but the same principles apply for one that walks on all fours (100s or whatever). I've included a little bit of information at the end for 4 legged creatures (or sideways / not upright creatures).

Disclaimer: Any similarity to anything trademarked or protected by legal stuff is purely coincidental and unintentional. No animals were harmed in the making of this tutorial. Are LightWavers wierd people or what !! Ok time to get on with this tutorial.

Skill Level: Beginner to Expert (since even experts sometimes go "I didn't think of that")

Requirements: Photoshop 5 or higher (I used 6) & LightWave 7.x (some panels may appear different on 6.x and 5.x)


Step 1: Scanning your image

You can obtain your source images in lots of ways. For example, scanning, photographing, Internet, freehand drawing with graphics tablet.

The trick is getting it into your computer at a usable size. When modelling you don't need to use a print resolution image. Scanning an A4 (or Letter) size image at 300 DPI will do just that - give you more than what you need.

When you scan for modelling (especially from magazines or newspapers) you only need to use about 150 DPI on your scanning software. Sometimes the software shows measurements in other types of units. More often than not, it will allow you to select pixels or DPI (dots per inch)

Scan your image (read your scanner manual for more info here, because I've written enough already on this).

Step 2: Straightening up your image

Ok, now normally, I spend a little extra time to cut my paper drawing out so it fits on my scanner. If you didn't, you might end up with a scan like this. OK - so it's a little extreme, since most of you are patient sorts who would try a little harder to line it up on the scanner. ??

Holy leaning Yodas Batman !!!!

This is easily fixed though. First we load up our scan into Photoshop. We are going to fix this orientation problem in one quick and easy way.

Now see in your mind (and on screen), the imaginary line that runs down the middle of your character's body. It splits the body into equal halves. In my case, I created new layer in photoshop (above my scan layer) and I used the Line Tool to draw my red dividing line. It will come in handy later.

Once you can see your imaginary line, you select the Measurement Tool and click on point a then point b. This will place the measurement tool along the dividing line.

No.. not the imaginary Lion !! Use the measurement tool Luke !!!

Now for the cool part. From the menu select IMAGE / ROTATE CANVAS / ARBITRARY...

You should see a number in the box alread. Don't change it. Photoshop was being clever by helping you out. It read the angle of the measurement tool and worked out how many degrees to turn your picture and which direction, so that the measurement tool would become straight (so would your picture). Just click OK.

Rotate image Whats this ???

Now that might seem like overkill ?? You could have turned your picture around with the Free Transform Tool (for those who know a bit of Photoshop). What if your creature was a walking building or a mechanical thing where you need to get the sides straight. What if you're just a picky person and you like it that way ??

What I did next was drag out a guide and line it up with my imaginary dividing line. Once I did that, I didn't need my imaginary dividing line layer, so I deleted it. You need to have Rulers enabled (ctrl + r) to be able to create guides. Guides will help you soo much when using Photoshop.

See your Photoshop help for more info on how to use guides

Now it's time to get your image correctly aligned for modelling in LightWave.

Lets go on to the next step.................................. NEXT