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3D Print and Illustration for 2D Artists, Volume I by Brad Krause

Most books, videos and other training materials for NewTek LightWave 3DR cover the 3D animation aspects of the software. So, where does that leave the 2D print artist who wants or needs to integrate 3D graphics into his projects. After all, for most marketing ads created today, it is almost impossible to distinguish between a 3D model and the real product. If you want to explore the “what and how” of working with 3D print projects, you might find this DVD by Brad Krause a place to start. Of course, it would be impossible to answer every question or cover all aspects of this type of project but the author does a good job of introducing the basics of 3D print and illustration by demonstrating two typical projects which are a 3D text logo and a beer can product image.

Krause begins with a short review of color modes and print basics and he does assume a working knowledge of Adobe R Illustrator R and PhotoshopR. Staring from within the Illustrator workspace, Krause creates a 2D text image which he will use for his first demonstration. He discusses importing Illustrator images into the LightWave Modular workspace via the EPS Loader plug-in. He covers how to install this plug-in and discusses what options the artist has for importing EPS format images. Once in Modular, you take a short tour of the workspace and are introduced to a few of the tools you will be using to convert your 2D text image to a 3D LightWave object. You will use the Extrude tool to click and drag on your 2D text to expand it into a 3D object which can then be viewed from several angles in this 3D work environment. You also use the Boolean operation and Bevel tool to add more 3D detail.

You can work with LightWave 3D models by manipulating points or polygons. Krause demonstrates how to work with the polygons that make up the 3D text object that you just made. He shows how to select individual surfaces of the polygons, name the surfaces and then add color and texture using the Surface Editor. Once the text object is complete, you move from the LightWave Modular workspace to the Layout workspace where you will work on texturing and rendering your text image. Krause gives a short tour of the Layout workspace and demonstrates a few common tasks that a print project might require such as changing the default black background to a white background to better simulate how the image will appear on paper. He continues to work on the color and texture in the Surface Editor and touches on light and camera properties used for setting up a scene for a print image.

After this text project has familiarized his audience with the Modular and Layout workspaces, Krause begins the major project which is the 3D beer can product image. He discusses custom colors and alpha channels and demonstrates how to convert the beer can label created in Illustrator and Photoshop to an imagemap for LightWave. After changing from the CMYK to RGB color model, he saves the alpha channels in the PSD Photoshop format and discusses the export options that will result in a good imagemap. Moving back into the Modular workspace, Krause demonstrates how to apply your imagemap to the generic 3D beer can model. Next, he moves to the Image Editor to do more work on the alpha channels and then it’s back to Photoshop to build the final image file for the printer.

The video ends with a small third project in Photoshop which demonstrates how the artist has integrated a 3D object created in LightWave into a 2D print project as part of the overall image.

Brad Krause has worked in graphic design, illustration and print production for over 20 years and co-authored LightWave 3D 8: 1001 Tips and Tricks. You can purchase the 3D Print and Illustration for 2D Artists: Volume I DVD from KURV studios LLC.


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