As I mentioned before, the Layout is used for completing your scenes. This is
where you load in the objects you've created, edit lights & cameras, animate
things etc. As in Modeler, you can now customize almost everything to fit your
own needs. Menus, Tabs and Viewports amongst other things are now editable. I
prefer the default settings with one single Viewport, but if you'd like to try
your own settings then you'll find various options in the "Display Options" Panel,
you'll reach it by hitting "d" on your keyboard.
The Lightwave Universe
This is where the objects you load in ends up, and you can view the universe
from several different ways, such as from the Camera and from the Lights point
of view. Picture 27 shows the Universe.
The Properties Panel
Picture 27: The Lightwave Universe (Click to
We will start by loading in the objects we created. This will make it a bit easier
for me to explain the different stuff in Layout. To the left where the Toolbar
is you should see an "Add" button. Click that one, then select "Objects -> Load
Object". You will be represented with a requester, so browse to the folder where
you saved your object earlier and load it into Layout. Picture 28 shows the Layout
after the object has been loaded.
Picture 28: The objects loaded into Layout
(Click to enlarge)
The "Objects" Item is selected by default when you load Layout up, and now that
we have objects in our scene, we can also access the Properties Panel for the
Objects. All 4 Items (Objects, Bones, Lights and Cameras) have a Properties Panel,
and we will take a closer look at them now.
Keep the "Objects" Item selected and hit "p" on your keyboard to bring up the
Properties Panel, you can also access the Panel by clicking the "Item Properties" button
at the bottom of Layout. The Panel that comes up should look like picture 29.
Picture 29: The Properties panel
This Panel gives you many ways of altering the appearance of your object in the
final render. At the top of the Panel you can see how many objects there are
in the scene, in this case 2. Just below of that you can select which object
you wish to work with in the "Current Object" pull-down menu. The Tools have
been divided into 4 categories:
Geometry, Deform, Render, Edges and Lights.
In the Geometry Tab you can adjust settings such as the Subpatch Level of Subpatched
objects. Right now we don't have any objects in our scene which are subpatched,
so for our scene we don't need to worry about these settings.
The "Deform" Tab lets you deform your objects in certain ways, such as adding
a Displacement Map. Displacing requires that the object has got many polygons;
since it will actually alter the geometry of an object, i.e. deform the objects
mesh. An example is landscape Displacing, you can load in a simple flat plane
with many polygons into Layout, apply a displacement map and it will look more
like a terrain.
In the "Render" Tab you'll find various settings on how the object should appear
when you are rendering an image. Should the object receive or cast shadows? Should
it be seen by the Camera? Well, these are some of the settings you can alter
In the "Edges" Tab you can add certain effects of how you want the edges of your
object to turn out in the render. Best way to get to know them is to simply try
them out sometime one by one. One I have experienced a lot with myself is the
Silhouette effect, which lets you add an outline to your objects, making them
look more cartoon like.
The "Lights" tab lets you choose whether or not you want the object to receive
light, radiosity or caustics, as simple as that.
This is an area I won't explain so much of in this Guide. I will only cover the
basic things any lightwaver should know to get started on their own, and I consider
bones to be a bit of an advanced feature. Anyways, the Bones Properties Panel
lets you set the way the bones should behave when you use them on an object.
This Panel gives you full control over the Lights in your scene. There must always
be at least one light in the scene, and when you start Layout up, a Light is
added by default. There are 5 types of Light - "Distant Light", "Point Light", "Spot
Light", "Linear Light" and "Area Light". Picture 30 shows the Light Properties
Picture 30: The Light Properties Panel
You can choose the Colour or intensity the lightsource should have, if it should
have a distance fall-off and many other things. Distant, Point and Spot Lights
can have Volumetric Light effect. In real world, this effect appears when you
for example use a flashlight in a dark & misty room, where you can actually
see the light as it passes through the air; i.e. as if particles were flying
around in the air.
If you click the "Global Illumination" button at the top of the Light Properties,
a new Panel should appear. This Panel lets you set effects such as "Radiosity" and "Caustics".
Maybe you already knew, but in the real world light bounces on almost every material,
more or less depending on what kind of material it is. This is what "Radiosity" does.
If you activate Radiosity in a scene, the light that comes from your Lightsource
will bounce on the objects you have in your scene, and this enhances the realism
of the image very much. It takes longer to render with Radiosity though, but
it sure is worth it.
Have you ever been underwater a sunny day and noticed how the light casts hotspots
on the ocean floor? This effect is known as caustics. It takes longer to render
but is a pretty neat effect. Keep Caustics and Radiosity set to "Off", we don't
need to use them.
The Camera Properties
This Panel lets you change the way the Camera should behave when you render an
image. Here you set things like Image Resolution and Anti-aliasing. Picture 31
shows the Camera Properties Panel.
Picture 31: The Camera Properties Panel
There are 4 Editors in Layout. "Scene Editor", "Graph Editor", "Surface Editor" and
the "Image Editor". These 4 Editors are always available in the Toolbar to the
left of Layout; it doesn't matter in which Tab you are. I won't explain the Scene
and Graph Editor that much, since they are a bit more advanced with their Tools,
but they are generally there to give you more control over the scene, and to
help you animate your objects better and faster.
The Surface Editor
This is where you edit your surfaces. Picture 32 shows the Surface Editor.
Picture 32: The Surface Editor (Click to enlarge)
As you can see to the left, the object name and its surfaces are listed. To the
right of that list, you have a real-time preview of the surface that you are
editing. You have 4 Tabs with different Tools to alter and change your surfaces. "Basic", "Advanced", "Environment" and "Shaders".
The Basic Settings
lets you set the colour of a surface.
refers to how much the surface will glow on its own light,
remember though that if this setting is on, the object won't appear as a light
(won't cast shadows etc).
lets you choose how much light the surface should attract. High
Diffusion will result in that the surface appears bright, and low diffusion will
result in that the surface absorbs most of the light and will therefore appear
lets you set highlights on your surface, which is often used
on smooth shiny objects.
will determine how spread out the Specularity is; note that
you have to have a Specular value set for this option to be available.
speaks for itself, it lets you change the amount of reflectivity
the surface should have.
is a way to make your object go transparent, which is a must
when you are creating glass surfaces and such.
sets how much the light should bend when it passes through
a certain material. Note that you have to have a transparency value set for this
option to be available.
is a different kind of transparency. You can't see through
a translucent material, yet light can pass through it. Like the shade of a lamp,
where the actual light gets through, but you can't see through it.
is a way to add bumps to your material. Every real world object has
bumps to some degree and this is where you simulate them.
and Smoothing Threshold
lets you smoothen out the polygons
on your objects surfaces. Our glass bowl is a good example where the surface
should be smooth.
When you are creating new surfaces, the best way to get to know the basic settings
is to simply try them out one by one.
You can save any surface you create for later use, and this is where the "Presets" Panel
comes in. In the Tools menu to the left in Layout you should see the Presets
button, click that one and the Panel should open up, looking something like picture
Picture 33: The Preset Window
At the top of the Panel you should have a pull-down menu, with "Workspace" currently
selected. This is the place your surfaces end up when you choose to save them.
As you can see I have 1 surface saved in my Workspace, and loading it is simple,
just double-click it. We will try this more later on when we are altering the
Lightwave comes with a bunch of pre-made surfaces, and these are located in different
categories in the pull-down menu at the top of the Presets Panel. I deleted all
mine because I never use them and I prefer to create all the surfaces on my own,
but as a beginner it might be good to check them out and perhaps learn a bit
on how they are built up.
The Surface Panel isn't the only one that has got a Presets Panel. For instance,
if you were to use a volumetric light in your scene, you can find pre-made light
settings in the Presets Panel within the Lights Panel. Check it out sometime.
Advanced, Environment & Shaders
A bit more advanced settings for your surfaces can be set within these 3 Tabs.
If you have a reflecting surface, you can set how it should behave in the Environment
Tab. You can use an image as a reflection map for your surface, or you could
just trace the reflection for real. In the "Shaders" Tab you can add Shaders
that will help you achieve certain materials better.
The Image Editor
This is where you load in all the images you need for your scene. You can even
adjust certain settings on your images such as Brightness and Contrast. Picture
34 shows the Image Editor.
Picture 34: The Image Editor
Okay, you can close down the Image Editor now and then click the "Scene" Tab
at the top of Layout. Once you click it, the menu to the left will change, and
you will have a new set of Tools to work with. Click the "Backdrop" button to
the left, and a new Panel should open up, looking like picture 35.
Picture 35: The Effects Panel - Backdrop
Here you can add certain environment settings, such as a gradient backdrop. You
can set the colour of the sky and the ground. This effect is just basic and won't
let you add clouds and stuff like that. Skytracer on the other hand lets you
configurate a somewhat better looking sky, with clouds, sun & moon and stuff
like that. The result is not that breathtaking but it's still pretty cool. The
Skytracer is added with the "Add Environment" pull-down menu at the bottom of
the Backdrop Tab (within the Effects Panel).
You can add some basic fog in the "Volumetrics" Tab, and this is also where you
add and configurate the HyperVoxels plug-in. HyperVoxels is a way to convert
points into volumetrics, such as fire, water and many other things.
In "Compositing" and "Processing" you'll find various Tools to change the look
of your final renders, such as adding backdrop images that will appear behind
every object in your scene. If you had a Glow value set on one of your surfaces,
this is where you turn the actual Glow on, and you can also set how big the glow
should be, and what intensity it should have.
Lightwave also comes with a built in Particle System. You can add many types
of effects that can affect your objects. I won't explain this in detail, because
it would take too long, but you should know that it exists, and you should definitely
try it out someday.
This ends our tour of Lightwave Layout, and now we will finish the Tutorial.