Exploding Cow Tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to explode objects in Lightwave. It is actually a very easy way, but the results are quite good. You even don't have to use the modeller, you can just take an object in lightwave and explode it. In this tutorial, I've used objects that are on the Lightwave CD-rom, but you can take any other object as long at is has enough polygons. (you might have to change some values, but this shouldn't be a problem).

At first, we will clear the scene and load two objects: the object we want to explode and a ground. The object that is to be exploded can be any object you want as long as it has enough polygons, but for now we'll take a cow.

  • Clear any current scenes by choosing File/Clear Scene
  • Load in the ground object by choosing Objects/Load Object
  • Load the Landscape/Ground.lwo object that is provided with Lightwave
  • Now we will load the cow by choosing Load Object and select Animals/Cow.lwo
  • Press continue to return to the main view.
  • Select Options/Layout View/Grid Square Size and change it to 1.0
  • Return to the main screen by pressing Continue and select the Camera as your view

    You should make sure the pivot point of the object that is to be exploded is at the base of the object. Here, with the cow, this is already good.
    Now we will postion the objects and the camera. We will also replace the texture of the ground, because cows should be standing in the grass!

  • Select the cow, and rotate it by (-90,0,0) degrees.
  • Select the camera, and move it to (-2,3,-4).
  • Now rotate the camera by (20,20,0) degrees.
  • Go to Surfaces, select the "Ground" surface and press Load Surface
  • Choose the "Grass.srf" surface
  • Press Continue to return to the main view
  • Select the Ground object
  • We will save the ground object with the new surface: select Objects/Save Object
  • Give it a name, for example "CowGround.lwo"

    OK, now you should have something like this :


    OK, this was all just preparation. Now we will make our cow explode. We will do this by using a displacement map to distort the cow, and at the same time reduce the polygon size. Maybe this isn't clear, but you'll see what I mean as we go further.

  • First, give our scene some more frames: choose Scene, and enter "110" for the last frame.
  • Press return and go to the Objects menu
  • Select "cow.lwo", and enter the Displacement Map panel.
  • Choose Fractal Bumps with the options Size (0.1,0.1,0.1) and Frequencies=3
  • We will use a 'enveloppe' for the Amplitude, so press the little E
  • Create keyframes at frame 10,35 and 110 and enter the values as in this table:

    FrameCurrent Value

  • At frame 10, select Spline Controls and press Linear. This way the cow won't move before frame 10.
  • Press Use Enveloppe, Use Texture.
  • Now we will alter the polygon size, so enter Polygon Size/Enveloppe (the little E).
  • Here, you must create keyframes and enter the current values as in the following table:

    FrameCurrent Value
  • Press Use Enveloppe/Continue to return to the main view.

    If you should render this animation, you would see that this starts to look like an exploding cow, but the pieces blown away float into to space. Now we will make them to fall back on the ground.

  • In the main view, Select the "Cow.lwo" object and enter the Motion Graph panel
  • We will create keyframes for 3 channels: X Scale, Y Scale and Z Scale. Create keyframes and enter the following values:

    X Scale:

    FrameCurrent Value

    Y Scale:

    FrameCurrent Value

    Z Scale:

    FrameCurrent Value

  • to prevent the cow from shrinking in the first 10 frames, select keyframe 10 and enter Spline Controls/Linear
  • press Use Motion to return to the main view

    Now we will add a nice little effect: as the pieces of the cow fall down, they will be floating on the wind. If this is not clear, then just try it and you'll see. How will we do this? Simple, we add another Displacement Map for the cow. We give it an eveloppe so it only has effect when the pieces are falling down.

  • Go to Objects, select the cow and choose the Displacement Map Enveloppe
  • Press Add New Texture
  • Choose the Ripples texture with the following properties: size(10,10,10), Wave Sources : 3, Wavelength : 0.08, Wave Speed : 0.003.
  • Select the Texture Amplitude - Enveloppe button
  • Make the following enveloppe:

    FrameCurrent Value
  • Press Use Enveloppe/Use Texture/Continue to return to the main view.

    Now we have a cow that explodes. The only thing missing is a nice flare.

  • Select Lights/Add Light.
  • Change the Light Type to point and give it the following Light Color : (255,160,0)
  • Press the Light Intensity - Enveloppe and enter the following enveloppe :

    FrameCurrent Value

  • Press Use Enveloppe and press the Lens Flare button
  • Choose Lens Flare Options
  • Select Off Screen Streaks, Anamorphic Streaks and Anamorphic Distort (Distortion Factor = 3.0)
  • Enter the Flare Intensity - Enveloppe panel and make the folowwing enveloppe:

    FrameCurrent Value

  • Press Use Enveloppe/Continue/Continue and you are back in the main screen.

    Now all you have to do is put the light somewhere in the middle of the cow.

  • Select Light(2) and move it to (0,1,0).

    Et voila, your exploding cow is ready to be rendered. Don't forget to set the last frame to 110.
    This is as far as I guide you to explode objects. Can can still add a lot of features, such as smoke and other objects which are blown away by the explosion. And offcourse, if you explode a spaceship or a planet it will be much cooler than this cow. Check out the other tutorials on the net, they can help you a lot.