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Creating a Lantern Tutorials Sep 16, 2005


In this Tutorial we will be creating a realistic Lantern. When I first modelled the Lantern I was using a real one as a reference. While working in Lightwave I was taking measurements of the Lantern and using that as I went by. The result was better than I expected, and since I’ve had a few requests on a Tutorial being written on how to model one, I thought it would fit nicely as my next Tutorial Project.

If you have one of these Lanterns in your house, then by all means go get it! Have a look at it and figure out what modelling techniques might be best to use. When I had a look at mine, I noticed that most of it was just round shapes, and one tool quickly came to mind – The Lathe Tool. I could build most of this using only the Pen Tool and then Lathing it.

Picture 1 shows the Lantern we are about to build. The image to the left is a rough sketch of the outlines, which we will use as guides for the Pen Tool, and the image to the right is an OpenGL shot of the main Lantern body.

Picture 1: A rough sketch and a preview of a Lantern

So we will create the Lantern in sections, starting with the base and moving upwards. Before we start I should also mention that even though the Tutorial is step by step, it might not be aimed at the very beginners of Lightwave. I will not explain where to find tools or what tools do. If you’re just starting out with Lightwave, then my Beginners Guide might be a good choice. Good Luck!

Creating the 2D Shapes

Lower Base Section

Okay, I have made a few in-scale drawings of the parts we are about to create. Start by loading up Modeler and bring up the Display options panel by pressing “d”. Switch to the Backdrop Tab and select the bottom left viewport, then use the settings shown in picture 2.

Picture 2: The Background settings

Click OK to save the changes, then size up the Bottom Left viewport to max. Zoom in until the image fits the viewport as well. Now all we have to do is trace the lines of the background image with the Pen Tool to create the basic 2D shape of the Base section.

Don’t be afraid to place out many points, I used 67 points for the Base Section. The more points you use the more detail the Lantern will have, although 67 should be quite enough for this section. The following pictures shows where I placed my points and where there should be extra many points (for detail). Take a few seconds and study these and try to place your points in a similar way.

Picture 3: The points placed out using the background image as reference (Click to enlarge)

Select all the points you have created and hit “i” on your keyboard. This is the Point Info Panel, which gives you information about each individual point you’ve placed. Picture 4 shows that each point has been given a number, and this number represents in which order I created the point. As you can see I started in the lower right corner and then went in a clockwise order to create the points. You can also remove the background image now; it will make it a bit easier to see where the points are.

Picture 4: All 67 points selected & Point Info panel showing (Click to enlarge)

The following picture shows some of the more tedious and detailed parts of this section.

Picture 5: Close-ups on the more detailed parts (Click to enlarge)

This will become the base of our Lantern then, and we will keep it as a 2D shape/polygon while we make the other ones, and then we’ll Lathe them all at the same time. Save your object at this point, choose a filename such as “Lantern.lwo” or something similar.

Upper Base Section

The first 2D shape/polygon we made should be in Layer 1, so switch to Layer 2 now and bring up the Display Options Panel. Go to the Backdrop Tab and just change the background image, keep all the size and centre values, like in picture 6. All the 2D shapes will be created at the same place for now, and later on we will move them to their correct positions.

Picture 6: Backdrop settings for the second image

Click OK to save the changes, then start working with the Pen Tool again, like we did in the first chapter.

For this section I used 38 points, shown in picture 7.

Picture 7: Points placed along the contours of the background image

Remove the background image for now and have a look at picture 8 for some more detail on certain parts.

Creating a Lantern
Picture 8: Close-ups on the more detailed parts (Click to enlarge)

Glass Holder

So lets get on with the next section. Switch to Layer 3 and bring up the Display options panel again, then switch to the Backdrop tab and change the “Image” to picture3.tif. Just keep the rest of the settings to the way they were with the other two images.

Once again start tracing the outlines of the image in the Backview (Bottom Left Viewport). Try to create the points in a similar way as me, and for this section I used 25 points, picture 9 shows the 2D shape I made.

Picture 9: Section 3 – the Glass Holder

This section was fairly simple to make, but there’s one thing you need to think about. As you can see in picture 9, the mid section of the 2D shape does not contain any points, and I want you to create yours the same way. This section will later have holes in it, and that’s why we don’t want any points here, you’ll see why later on.

Select the two points shown in the top image of picture 10. As for now I have removed the backdrop image.

Picture 10: Use the Set Value Tool and place the points

Use the Set Value Tool (ctrl+v) and enter –20mm for the X-axis and then click OK. Then select the points shown in the bottom image of picture 10 and use the Set Value Tool again, this time use a value of –32mm on the X-axis. Click OK and the points will move to the new location.

This is it for this 2D shape, so lets get on with the Glass part.

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