LightWave 3D: Using Bone Tools

There are various animation fundamentals that need to be considered when doing an animation in LightWave 3D. LightWave has come up with various features, through which you are able to edit the bones in the Layout, which makes it more flexible when you are rigging. There is also the Inverse Kinematics (IK) Booster which helps in giving the bones more dynamics.

Inverse Kinematics is the way in which one is able to know the motion of joints in a 3D object. LightWave has 2 major categories of bone tools. The first one is Bone tools, which is found in the Setup Tab, and the second one is the IK booster. The following tutorial describes how to use the IK booster.

Step 1: Load Object

Decide upon which object you want to use and load it onto the program.

Step 2: Setting Up

After you have loaded the object on to the layout, set up the head in a way that it will collide with the hair. Once you have selected the head object, go to the dynamics tab and click on properties (p), and then select the collision dynamic. Under Type, select Object and put the radius level to 20mm. The Group should be <default> and Mode should be Bounce. The probability should be 100% and the New Group should be <default>.

Once you have ensured that these settings are in place, close the window. Once you have done this, click on the area on the grid that is black and the click on the Items tab. Click on Add category and the under Dynamic Object, select the gravity dynamic. Under Fall Off, select OFF. The Power should be set at 600.0% and the gravity -9.8. Close the window after inputting these settings.

Step 3: Convert Skelgons to Bones

Click on the Set Up tab and click on Cvt Skelgons. Switch on the Bone X-ray which is in the openGL sub render options. Once you have done this, go to the Modify tab, click on tools and the select the IK Boost tool. Right click on the hair object and a notification to Apply IK Booster will appear. To apply, left click on your mouse button; your bones will be have circle handles on them when this is done. Select the bone that is in the middle and right click on the mouse button. Choose fix to lock the bone, and its falloff geometry which will enable the hair to drop, except in the middle.

Step 4: Bone Dynamics

To apply bone dynamics, click on the IKB menu that is situated in the lower right corner. This will apply the bone dynamics. To calculate the dynamics, click on the Modify tab, and then click on tools. Press the Ctrl button on the key board to stop calculating once it reaches the fifth frame. You are also able to adjust other dynamics, such as the weight, and the plaits can be animated using the IK booster. Always remember to save the project.