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Chapter 5. LightWave 7 Graph Editor > Editing Color Channels

Editing Color Channels

A cool feature in LightWave’s Graph Editor is the capability to animate color channels, in addition to motion channels, texture channels, and more. This is great for animating colored lights for animations such as stage lighting or a gradually changing sunset.

Exercise 5.7 Animating Color Channels

Close the Graph Editor, and then clear the LightWave scene and select the scene’s default light.

Press the p key to enter the light’s Properties panel.

You will see a series of small buttons labeled E. These are envelopes, and anywhere you see them throughout LightWave they will guide you right back to the Graph Editor. However, when you access the Graph Editor in this manner, you will have control over only the specific area from which you have selected an envelope, such as Light Color.

It’s important to note that entering the Graph Editor by using the E buttons tells LightWave that you want to perform a specific function. For example, if you click the E button next to Light Color, you are telling LightWave that you want to animate the Light Color, and the Graph Editor opens accordingly. Entering the Graph Editor on its own from the Layout interface would not enable you to animate the Light Color initially. Once you have entered the Graph Editor using any E button, the value you enter will remain there until you clear it; therefore, you need to enter the Graph Editor from particular E buttons only once.

Click the E button next to Light Color, as shown in Figure 5.47.

Figure 5.47. The E button (envelope) guides you to the Graph Editor for specific control over Light Color.

Once you’ve clicked the E button, you are in the Graph Editor. It looks similar to the Graph Editor you’ve been reading about in this chapter, but there is a strip of color along the bottom. LightWave enables you to use the Graph Editor’s capabilities on color channels as well as motion channels. Figure 5.48 shows the Graph Editor with the color channel.

Figure 5.48. Color channels can be animated in the Graph Editor, along with motion channels. Here you can see the separate RGB channels in the Curve Bin, while the default Light Color, white, is visible in the Curve Window.

In Figure 5.48, the Curve Bin doesn’t show position, rotation, or scale channels, but rather, color channels.

Select a color channel such as LightColor:G. You also can select all color channels at once by selecting LightColor.R, then holding down the Shift key and selecting LightColor.B (if they are not already selected).

Create a few keyframes in the Curve Window and then right-click over a key, and choose Open Color Picker.

Click and drag the Value slider for a particular keyframe. Figure 5.49 shows what just one color channel looks like when it’s been adjusted.

Figure 5.49. Scaling the value for a particular RGB color channel changes the color channel for a set keyframe.

You also can change the value of a key as well. From the Curves tab at the bottom of the Graph Editor, adjust the value and watch how the curve changes.

You’ll see the color you’ve selected appear as a gradual change in the Curve Window.

Set colors for the other keyframes, and adjust their values accordingly to set precise timing. Experiment with these values to see the different types of results you can achieve.

You can cycle colors like this for lights, backgrounds, textures—just about anything!



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