Sci-Fi Spacecraft in LightWave Using VertiBevel
By Jon Carroll
VertiBevel is a plug-in for LightWave that gives more flexibility
to the user in creating polygonal detail on their Lightwave
3d models. It has been crafted to combine certain features of
LightWave's built-in Bevel and Smooth Shift functions and add
enhanced functionality. VertiBevel adds several capabilities,
enabling you to bevel several selected polygons as a group,
the ability to set up multiple subsequent bevels, and the ability
to actually draw the edge profile of your bevel before it is
performed. It also allows you to use ESP. That is, select points
along the edge of a bevel and then exclude the selected points
(hence ESP) from the inset of the bevel.
Hold your pointer over the above image map above for a brief
explanation of the interface functions.
One of my various pet projects has been attempting to build
a model of a starship in the style of the late 1970s TV series
Battlestar:Galactica. From the time I received VertiBevel
I knew it would be a very serviceable tool in creating a model
with this level and style of detail. I had already previously
built a partial outer hull for the model and will walk through
using VertiBevel to help create details.
Above you can see the basic hull shape. Some detail had already
been started, but we're going to use VertiBevel to enhance that
detail as well as add much more.
One of the big problems in creating a large, detailed-looking
3D model is the tendency of 3D modeling programs to create unnaturally
sharp edges. In nature, and even on machinery, edges are never
sharp and an edge is never a perfect 90-degree angle. By using
VertiBevel to create multiple bevels at the interface between
surfaces, essentially creating a round or a fillet, you can
add to the realism of your model, as well as making it more
visually interesting as specular highlights travel across these
This is the aft edge of the hull right along the side of the
engine pod. The "little" notch in the side of the hull is where
anti-fighter "turbolasers" are placed. It may seem like a tiny
detail until you realize it is 2.8 meters tall. I'll use VertiBevel
to give the entire edge at the back of the engine pod a slight
rounding effect, which will help provide a better feel for a
ship that is supposed to be hundreds of "yahrens" old.
As you can see I have actually drawn out a curved profile for
the edge within the plug-in's interface. This produces the results
That corner now has a nice rounded edge much more in keeping
with the scale of the ship.