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1 Tutorials LightWave 3D Expression Basics: Rotating a Gear em Qua Jan 26, 2011 2:17 am

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Download source
files here.


I've been using LightWave 3D® for
many years now and Expressions have always been
something that I considered too technical, something
that I'd give my math friends to work on. It
wasn't until recently that I found out that it's
quite simple to use expressions for many
things. This tutorial will walk you thru setting
up a basic expression that will help speed up
animating gears on a Mech. I promise this wont
hurt. Smile

Creating an Expression:

Step 1: Load "Crunk_Raw" from
the source files.



Our goal in this setup is to
have the gears automatically rotate when
the Thigh "Crunk_rightthigh" is
rotated. The lower gear "Crunk_Gear01" is
already setup to rotate by being parented to
the thigh. We can do this because the lower gears
pivot point is in the same place as the Thigh.
The upper gear "Crunk_Gear02" doesn't
share the same pivot point and needs to rotate
in the opposite direction. You could manually
animate the upper gear but using an expression
will save you the hassle.

Step 2: Select "Crunk_rightthigh" as
the Current Object.





Step 3: Open the Graph
Editor by clicking on the Graph Editor button.
(CTRL +F2)





Step 4: Click on the Expressions menu
tab located under the graph display.



Step 5: Click the button
labeled "New" and give it a
name. I chose to name mine "Gear_02".


Step 6: In the Value field, select "Value" and
replace it with "-".



The "-" will make
the gear spin the opposite way of the thigh by
giving it a negative value.

Step 7: We want the Gear
to spin the opposite way of the Thigh by giving
it a negative value of the Thigh's Pitch. The "-" makes
it negative, now all we need is the Pitch value
of the Thigh. From the Channel List Choose "Crunk:Crunk_rightthigh.Rotation.P".


Step 8: Right-Click and Choose Append
to Expression
.


The Value Fieldld should look like this:



Congratulations! You
have just written your first expression. Now
that wasn't so hard was it? All we need to do
now is apply this expression to "Crunk_Gear02" and
we'll be finished with the setup. Let's continue.

Applying an Expression:

Step 9: Now that we have
our Expression let's apply it to the Gear. From
the Channels list select "Crunk_Gear02".


Step 10: From the Channel List Choose "Crunk_gear02.Rotation.P".


Step 11: Click Apply.



Note: A
small dot is placed next to the channel to
let you know that it has an expression attached
to it.



Let's take a look at what happens when we rotate
the Thigh.

Step 12: Close the Graph
Editor window and make sure that Auto Key
Create
is selected.


Step 13: Select "Crunk_rightthigh" as
the Current Object, and rotate it's Pitch.





Crunk_Gear02 should rotate
on it's Pitch in the Opposite direction of Crunk_Gear01 and Crunk_rightthigh.



Well, there you have it. Your
first expression applied and in action. I told
you this was going to be easy. We've only scratched
the surface on the power of Expressions in LightWave.
Check back in the future for more tutorials
about Expressions. Until then, experiment and
see what useful setups you can come up with.
Now it's time for a cold beverage of your choice.
Smile
]

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