LightWave Animation: Using Soft Body Dynamics

LightWave animation is a great 3D software with easy-to-use features and a user-friendly interface. Another great thing about LightWave is that you can use the Soft Body Dynamics to animate even gelatinous forms.

Step 1: Using Soft FX Dynamics

Soft FX Dynamics is a very powerful and easy-to-use LightWave animation feature. First, you need to make sure you have properly installed your LightWave software on your computer. This prevents it from generating errors while you are working on your project. You can now launch the program and open your 3D project. Make sure you work on the Items page. If you check the bottom menu, you will see a Current Item box showing the name of your object. In this case, use a gelatinous form.

Choose from the left menu Load -> Scene and place a collision object beneath your item. It will usually show up as a blue broken line. This will make your object become flat or have another effect on it. Press the Play arrow to see the effect.

Step 2: Creating a Certain Effect

You can create certain animating and 3D effects with the help of LightWave animation tools. What you need to do is place your item into a new raw scene. This means no predefined effect will take place. Next, press the “P” button on your keyboard and load Properties. Go to the Dynamics Tab and choose Soft effects from the list. Now you can change defaults.

Step 3: Changing Defaults

Changing defaults in LightWave animation software can be done easily. In Operator, change the default applied to all surfaces to none. This means it will not apply to any surface at all. In Deform Tab, go to Collision detection and choose from Plate/surface or Rim/surface or Tire/surface option, depending on your item. This provides the surface map for the item’s area showing in red points what is going to be affected.

LightWave animation allows you to preview what is going to happen to your item. Simply press the Calculate button to preview the animation. The collision object affects the item’s body dynamics. Now you can go to Bump and change the compress bump effect from 0% to 100%. This will show a more dynamic change on your item. Click the “fx” box and choose between Plate/surface or Rim/surface or Tire/surface option similar to the one in Deform Tab. Also, change the bump limit, in order to prevent the item from too much bumping.

Step 4: Applying Other Program Features

The great thing about Soft Body Dynamics is that if you calculate once to preview effects, it will automatically calculate each time. LightWave animation also allows you to add other effects on the same animation, by using the special features and tools. In order to do so, go to Properties -> Edit FX and select edit tool. This tool allows you to select a point and view a motion pawn, which you can edit or add other effects.

LightWave animation software is great for creating any type of animation which can be used in real-time.