a wine glass with LightWave
Model creation tools -- Lathe!..
by Tony Gilchrist
note: This is the first in a series of LightWave tutorials geared
to entry-level LightWave users. Rudimentary LightWave skills
are recommended to work with this tutorial. Author/animator
Tony Gilchrist has been gracious in sharing some of his tutorials
with the DigitalProducer.com community.)
One of the oldest tools to aid in modeling more involved shapes
is the "Lathe" tool. We'll use the lathe in Lightwave to build
a wineglass (almost as "classic" of a item as the teapot or
bouncing ball). First, familiarize yourself with the use of
the lathe tool by creating a shape or three with it:
we can lathe with either a polygon or a curve. Thus both of
the shapes are valid for creating a lathe object:
(blocky polygon) shape on the right was created by choosing
the "Object / Pen" tool. It is operated by left clicking
to create each point.
(smooth spline) shape on the left was created using the
"Objects / Sketch" tool. It is operated by dragging your
left mouse button.
you have created the shape you plan to lathe (using either
method above), you can adjust the shape by dragging the
points around individually with the "drag" tool -- found
in "Modify / Drag" (Ctrl - T).
If you wanted to create more accurate curves, or make a closed
curve, they can be made more "manually" by using the "Object
/ Points" tool, and then choosing "Objects / Make Pol, Open
Curve, Closed Curve". This would be my preferred method.
the lathe tool ("Multiply / Lathe")
and drag with your left mouse button to define the axis direction
of the lathe. (see the diagram below).
like the results? Press 'u" to undo, and immediately try again.
Repeat as needed.
you release the mouse button, you can drag the whole lathe
axis around by left clicking on it.
some finer control over the shape of the lathe, the number
of steps, and so on? Press "n" to open the numeric
controls for the lathe tool allow you to adjust several values,
including obvious things like the number of sides, axis (which
overrides any angle you may have drawn), and the Start &
End values (which determines whether the lathe is 360 degrees,
or less). The three center values control where the lathe
center is placed (overriding the positioning data you "drew"
obvious is the "offset" value (the last entry in the "lathe"
panel). Setting an offset value will cause the geometry to
be progressively pushed up along the lathe axis. The simple
"corkscrew" shape shown below resulted from latheing only
the polygon (shown above) which had a width of 2 or 3 meters,
with the settings shown n the numeric panel, which included
an offset of 10 meters. Note that using Start and End angles
which are more than 360 degrees apart will result in a mess,
unless an offset value is also used.
the green lines overlayed on the finished image -- these show
the path and direction of the lathe Modification. When you
are done drawing and adjusting the lathe, press <spacebar>
to stop editing it.
Avoid Right clicking while using this tool! If you right click,
a new lathe will be created, multiplying your geometry without
adding any visible detail.
of the classic projects for new artists is the creation
of a wine glass.
- If you
still have Modeler open, choose "File / Close All Objects".
Then press "a" to reset the viewports (since no objects are
present to fit into the views, "a" functions as a view port
- We want
our wine glass to be approximately the size of a normal wine
glass, so just zoom in a bit until we have a grid size of
about 20mm. (Why? Since each view-port shows on the order
of 10 to 15 rows of the grid, a grid size of 20mm means that
the total height of each view-port will be about 20 cm --
or a bit higher that the average wine glass).
a shape very similar to the one shown here. Note that there
are only 10 points in this shape. The more points there are
in our basic shape, the more there will be in our finished
lathe shape, and thus the higher our face count will be. Of
course if we wanted a more "bowl" like shape for our stemware,
we'd need another point or two to round the top part of the
could create this using either the "sketch" tool, or by drawing
the points one at a time, and connecting them up with "open
curve". I built this the second way:
the "Points" tool. Using your Right mouse button, run along
clicking where you want each point to land.
The "Open Curve" tool creates the curve by joining the points
in the order of their creation (well, in the order they were
selected in, but newly created points are automatically selected).
You will need to create the points "in order" -- that is start
at one end of the outline curve, and work your way along it).
The image below shows the progression of points being added
(read the diagram from left to right).
the Lathe. If you look at the example, I've set it up so that
both the first and last points on the line are resting on
the same vertical grid line. When I applied my lathe, I clicked
on the black line just above the last point, and then drug
my mouse straight down. These steps ensure that there will
be no "hole" in core of the resulting object.
Since I built the curve from the bottom up, but performed
the lathe by dragging from the top down, the polygons are
all facing the wrong way. In Lightwave Modeler, flipping polygons
is a one-key function. Press "f", or choose "Polygon
/ Flip" in the menu if your polygons are facing the right
way. Of course I could have avoided this whole problem
by creating drawing from the bottom up to create the lathe.
Remember, as long as you don't choose a new tool or press
space bar, the blue / green lathe axis will still be visible,
and the lathe will still be editable. Once you hit spacebar
or other wise deactivate the lathe tool, the changes will
I saw how ugly my wineglass was, I pressed "undo" to get back
to the original curve, and then drug the points in the original
curve around (using "Modify / Drag" -- "Ctrl-T"). It
is also possible to add points to an existing curve, or remove
them -- or if you like, delete the whole curve, and build
a new one. Either way, get something similar to the shape
shown below -- this time when I lathed it, I drug my lathe
axis from the bottom up, and so did not have to flip the polygons.
(Before some asks, -- where I'm from we always drink wine
from martini glasses).
make sure no points or polygons are selected*, and press "q".
The requester shown here should appear. Enter a new surface
name, such as "Wine_Glass_Main". We'll apply surface settings
to our wine glass shortly.
no points or polygons are selected in modeler, the software
acts as if everything in the current layer were selected.
Thus by deselecting everything we will get the same result
as if we selected everything. Strange, but a time saver.
(you can also "Set Initial Color" in this panel -- which I've
done in the image shown here -- this is not necessary, but
it does allow you to set a color, and control certain other
- If you
haven't saved lately, what are you waiting for? I'm using
a working file name of "wineglass_00". You can find the various
saves I made while doing this in the shared folder "I:\tonyg\assign\
week8\wineglass".. The latest version of mine is the one with
the highest number -- "wineglass_02.lwo" as of this writing.
- I then
adjusted the elevation of the whole glass so that the bottom
edge of the cup's base was pretty much exactly on the "0"
line of the "y" axis. Note in this close-up shot how a large
thick black line runs through the space just below the wineglass
-- that is the center of the world -- keeping an eye on it
helps us to organize and control our objects more exactly.
Place to Rest Your Cup…