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Deformations and Movement in LightWave 7

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Dan Ablan, author of Inside LightWave, discusses the ins and outs of creating a selection set that works for various applications, including techniques for lip syncing 3D characters. This is all done using NewTek’s LightWave 3D version 7 modeling and animation software.
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The endomorph technology in LightWave has many uses, but character animation is its primary function. In this sample, you'll use a model of a head that has already been created and learn how to give that face motion. In addition, you'll learn what the next step is after setting up Skelegons and converting them to bones.

Preparing for Facial Animation

Facial animation is one of the most difficult aspects of 3D animation. Human facial expressions have so many nuances that we take for granted every day; but if you stop to look—really look—you'll find that with a few key facial expressions, you can make a character come to life in LightWave.

A number of books on the market deal specifically with character animation and the human form. Many of these books discuss facial muscle structure and illustrate various facial positions. This chapter takes a different approach and uses a simple method—do it until it looks right. Although most of your preparation requires manipulating the 3D model, you should take some time and visit your local library or bookstore to study the human form. This, along with just watching people's movements and expressions, is the best way to prepare yourself. From there, it's up to you to create facial animation.

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