LightWave 3D® has always had two distinct mesh systems from the beginning. Each was created for a focused task and at a time when much consideration had to be given to system memory usage and limitations that are now of much less concern. One of these mesh systems was optimized for geometry creation and manipulation with an “awareness” of the basic elements that go into making object geometry including vertices, polygons, and edges. The other mesh system was created primarily to render geometry and allowed interactive deformation and animation of the mesh. However, it lacked the ability to create geometry and it was also “blind” to the basic elements of polygon types, vertex maps and edges in many ways. This legacy design made a lot of sense when it was originally developed and has worked very well for LightWave® users for quite some time.
I have spoken very loudly about the benefits of the dual mesh systems in LightWave and the powerful functionality allowed by LightWave’s architecturally created “Geometry Referencing” because I wanted to make sure that everyone understood the benefits associated with this.
Several loud voices in the forums were continually pointing out the weaknesses of LightWave’s dual architecture and I simply wanted to provide some balance to that rhetoric because the truth is that being able to update an important model design instantly in 5000 shots on a television project is extremely useful and is only possible because of the legacy of LightWave’s dual architecture approach. That is a fact that I stand by.
However, I have also been a 3D art director and designer sitting in the seat with sweat pouring down my brow as film directors and production designers of varying levels of fame asked me to modify 3d set designs on the spot. It’s not a great feeling to have everyone engaged in your design and then be forced to abruptly interrupt flow, risk losing their attention and have to jump into Modeler to modify my geometry without any awareness of what my Layout camera was showing the director and production designer. That is not fun.
When a LightWave artist is working in Layout you are actually working in the rendering and visualization environment. This is the place where you design your shots and decide what the camera and as a result what the viewer will see and focus on. At a certain point in the design process (and it’s fairly early) it becomes tremendously important to be designing your geometry with an awareness of the camera view that it will ultimately be seen with. This doesn’t mean that you can only use geometry for one shot but what I mean is that you need to have a real world camera view and not some arbitrary viewport angle to elevate your design and really “nail” it. Doing that ensures that your audience will experience your design in the way that you intend and it ultimately saves tons of time.
My next post will explain what the Unified Geometry Engine is and why it is so important for LightWave users. Till next post….Keep on creating at the speed of Light!