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Power Up Your Polygons

By William “Proton” Vaughan
| Your Rating:
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| 73760 Views
| 5 Comments
| Comments 5
Date Added: 9th January 2012
Software used:
LightWave

Characters

Use Powergons along with skelegons to quickly rig characters with IK goals. Attach the Powergon command to a skelegon and you can have a goal object (Null) generated in place and ready to go in no time. I've seen artists use Powergons to rig entire characters with the click of one button. Talk about a time saver (Fig.12 - 13)!

1464_tid_Powergons_011.jpg
Fig.12 - Attaching scripts to Skelegons using Powergons in Modeler

1464_tid_Powergons_012.jpg
Fig.13 - Nulls used for IK goals for this character's legs were generated with the push of one button

Architecture

Attach scripts using Powergons that add lights to any lighting fixtures you have in your architecture work. The beauty of Powergons is that the script is stored with the object, allowing you to load lighting fixtures into new interiors and quickly add lights to them without having to hand place each light. Remember that some scenes may have hundreds of lighting fixtures, which could take quite a bit of time to place by hand.

Hopefully you're starting to see just how powerful Powergons truly are. I'm sure you're already coming up with dozens of uses for them. Before you head out and start using Powergons on your current project, I'd like to hop back over to Modeler to discuss a few more Powergon features that might come in handy.

Additional Powergon Tools

There are a few tools you'll want to add to your toolkit when working with Powergons. If you've attached scripts to polygons and would like to remove them at anytime, simply use the Clear Powergons command (Setup > Layout Tools > Clear Powergons. This command will remove scripts that are attached to any selected polygons. Remember the LightWave rule: if nothing is selected, everything is selected (Fig.14).

1464_tid_Powergons_013.jpg
Fig.14 - Clear Powergons Command allows you to remove Powergons from selected polygons

Another handy, must-have tool when working with Powergons is the Select Powergons feature located under the Selection tab (Selection > Specialty > Select Powergons). Since Powergons are pretty much invisible once they are applied, it can be a challenge sometimes to track down which polygons have Powergons attached to them. Use the Select Powergons option to quickly select any polygon that has a script attached to it.

1464_tid_Powergons_014.jpg
Fig.15 - The Select Powergons option allows you to quickly select any polygons that have scripts attached to them

If you're like most LightWave artists, you'll quickly fall in love with Powergons when working on lighting rigs. You can use standard Powergons to build these lighting rigs like we did earlier or you can use a special type of Powergon called a Luxigon.

Luxigons are Powergons that focus solely on adding lights, but also give you the added ability to set certain light properties. To use, in Modeler select the desired polygons and choose Add Luxigon (Setup > Layout Tool > Add Luxigon). When the dialog appears, select the type of light you wish to add and set its properties. Once the object is in Layout, use the Convert Luxigons command to execute the Luxigons for the selected object. You can see Luxigons being used in a video I created that covers the spinning light trick:
ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/spinlight.mov

1464_tid_Powergons_015.jpg
Fig.16 - Luxigons are a specialized Powergon that focus on adding lights

Powergon Wrap-up

After you have used Powergons on a few projects, you'll wonder how you ever lived without them. They can greatly speed up mundane tasks like hand-placing hundreds of lights and allow for more accurate placement of items in a scene. Spend some time working with the Command History window by simply leaving the window open while you work, watch the commands that are displayed and you'll start coming up with all sorts of amazing uses for Powergons.

After writing about Powergons, I'm feeling a little less jealous of that playing card throwing dork, Gambit. He may have a deck of cards, but I have the Power of Powergons up my sleeve... OK, yeah, I'm a dork too!

If you're interested in learning more about Powergons, be sure to check out this introduction to the power of Powergons video I created: ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/Powergons.mov



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
avatar
(ID: 77916, pid: 0) Mosley on Wed, 11 January 2012 5:47pm
Good tutorial! 3DT could use more LightWave. Can Luxigons be used with all existing light types, including dome, IES, and spherical lights?
avatar
(ID: 77659, pid: 0) Glen D on Wed, 11 January 2012 1:26am
Great tutorial as always from William V! Thanks for another Lightwave tutorial, hopefully we can seem more in the future!
avatar
(ID: 77643, pid: 0) EraserFX on Wed, 11 January 2012 12:28am
Excellent tutorial. Very useful! Thank you
avatar
(ID: 77636, pid: 0) Cesar Falcao on Tue, 10 January 2012 10:03pm
Very useful tool
avatar
(ID: 77146, pid: 0) Ryan Roye on Mon, 09 January 2012 8:42pm
Very cool tutorial and I'll definitely be hotkeying this function. This gives me so many ideas for things I can do now that I couldn't before.
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