Sweet Gum Lewis

Let me just start by saying that the new interactive modeling tools are excellent in Lightwave 6.0. My modeling speed has increase due to these interactive features. The release of Lightwave 6.0 is not perfect and Newtek still has many "bugs" in which they still have to fix.  Other than minor problems, Lighwave 6.0 is really a big improvement from 5.6 and I love it!

Sweet Gum Lewis is my first attempt at character modeling in Lightwave 6.0.  I did not have any visuals of the character to go by when I started modeling... I just started modeling.

I started with a sphere, rotated it 90 degrees and began to select points in a circular pattern and smooth shifted polygons.  I pushed and pulled polygons around until I got the shape that I wanted.  Sweet Gum Lewis is a "Simpsons" style cartoon character that I thought of as I started to shape the sphere.  Once I had created his face and assigned surfaces, I smooth shifted his neck down to create his torso. I cut his shoulders off and counted the number of points.  I made a box with the same number of points as his shoulder and began to build his arm. I welded the points together to blend the arm with the shoulder.


The eyes are separate spheres and eye lids are sphere halves. These are separate objects so I can animate them independently. Lightwave 6.0 saves all the layers with the objects file and when you open the object up in Layout, each layer is a separate object. It is like saving multiple objects in one object file.  Pretty cool, huh?




Someone suggested that Sweet Gum Lewis looked like a boxer, so I created boxing gloves out of a box. This suggestion will make it easier to animate because I do not have to deal with fingers. Again, I did not use any reference photos, I just smooth shifted the polygons and moved them around until I got the shapes that I wanted.



Finally I created some trunks for the champion out of a box. I assigned surfaces to the trunks so I can create the waist band, stripe and gold material.  Up to this point, I have spent about 6 hours modeling this character. Selecting points and polygons is much easier and faster with Lightwave 6.0. This character would have taken much longer in 5.6.


I created his legs out of a box and then I used smooth shift and the move tool to add the segments to form the shape of the leg.  I also used the knife tool to add additional segments to the knee in order to create Sweet Gum Lewis's knee cap.  As you can see, I modeled the character in separate pieces, allowing me to use the clothing to cover the seams


I downloaded an image of a weight lifting shoe off of the net and used it as a background image in order to easily create the shape of the shoe. I started with a box and the used....you guessed it, smooth shift in order to extend the segments and create the indentations. I metaformed the shoe once in order to smooth shift the soles out a bit to give them some depth.  I mapped the image of the shoe to the X axis but the laces did not wrap correctly.  I will need to go in and add the laces to the shoe in photoshop.


Since Sweet Gum Lewis is a cartoon style character, I created two types of hair for him. I am undecided on which to use. I first create an afro for him.  I created this out of a box and use the knife tool to add segments to it.  I smooth shift the front of it and pushed it in, to create and indentation for his head. I grabbed points and moved them around until I got the shape that I wanted.


The second hair style is the "Tia Chi" kick boxer ponytail.  I plan to animate the hair to bounce as he dances around the ring and "Sticks it to Ya!" Please drop me an e-mail and tell me what hair style you like better


In Lightwave 6.0 you can now add a skeleton to your model  by dragging out the bones in modeler. I drew out each bone chain and then used the mirror tool to create the same bone on the other side of the model. I connected the ends of additional bones by welding the points, which are the ends of the bones, together.  Once you create the bones in modeler, you activate the skelegons in Layout and it creates the hierarchy for you.  I am still unclear  how to make skelegons create the goal nulls at the end of the chain, if they do at all. I would assume that there is a way to do this.


I will post more information as I get further along.  I am planning on creating morphs targets for facial animation and finish the skeleton and test it for proper displacment of the character. I still have many more things to do before I can breathe life into Sweet Gum Lewis.  I am learning the new features in Lightwave 6.0 and how they can help me accomplish this task.


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