Milo Cup in Lightwave 3D

A mug makes a Mug?

It seems that everyone learning 3D modelling creates a cup at some stage, but I never did. Due to the boredom of Covid Lockdown 4.0 here in Melbourne, I made a quick model and render of a cup of Milo.

Unlike most 3D programs, Lightwave is a 2-part program; Lightwave Modeler, and Lightwave Layout (for finishing off surfaces, adding lights and environment and final rendering either as a static image or an animation). For more info about my experiences with Lightwave, click here


Textures and Image Maps (surfacing stuff)

The texture image for the 3D liquid surface is from a phone camera photo of my morning tea (Milo) cup.

Below: A cup of Milo, photographed so that the Milo’s surface can be applied as a ‘texture’, or ‘image map’ to the appropriate surface in the 3D model.

The Milo surface was cropped and made round in Photoshop, then saved as a TIFF image for positioning onto the 3D model. When positioned in the model, only the circular brown part of the image will show; the white corners of the image will not be visible.

The Milo logo is a freebie image from a stock online logo library. Even though the original .png image was only 480 pixels high, I enlarged it a bit in Photoshop and it still looks crisp in the final Ultra High Definition resolution render 3840×2160 pixels. (UHD is really only applicable for television, but it was one of Layout’s pre-set high resolution render sizes – seemed good to use at the time.)


Modelling Milo

Basically started with a disc and used the Bevel tool to progressively work up to make the cup shape exterior, then kept going with the Bevel tool to work back down to make the cup inside hollow.

Once the shape was created, the next step was to assign unique names to the surfaces of various parts; one for the handle, one for the cup’s white interior, one for the cup exterior, two for the labels and another name for the liquid. Uniquely named surfaces can have different characteristics applied to them, such as glossiness, roughness, reflections and ‘texture maps’, also known as ‘image maps’ – photographic or graphic images such as the logo and Milo surface photo.

In the Modeler screen grab below, the big floating panel in the middle is the Node Editor, where you can ‘plug in’ various functions of Lightwave Modeler to other functions and finally to an output (i.e. what will be seen in the perspective view (colour mug in the top right corner).

In this example, the Node Editor is being used to apply the photo of the Milo surface to its 3D counterpart in the 3D model (this can also be done in Lightwave Layout).

The Perspective view (top right panel) is an average quality representation of what will finally be the high quality image rendered in the Layout half of the program. (Models created in Modeler are exported to Layout for final renders, but can be sent back and forth between the two parts of the program for tweaking.) The Node Editor is available in both Modeler and Layout; I’m still trying to get my head around using the Node Editor!

Click Lightwave Modeler image for larger view.

Below: The cup seen positioned on a large flat white plane in Lightwave layout for positioning of lighting and the camera. Lightwave renders whatever the camera viewport shows. In the screen grab below, Layout shows the Top view (TL), a Side view (top, centre), Camera view (TR) and a Perspective view (large panel at bottom). The entire environment can be adjusted including placement and type of lighting, camera settings (using real-world equivalent terms such as F-Stop, ISO etc.)

Click Lightwave Layout image for larger view.

Below: A test render from Layout, without the photographic Milo image map applied to the liquid surface – handle was too large, so a quick trip back to Modeler to shrink the handle fixed it for the final render back in Layout. Click image for larger view.


Below: A small view of the final render from Lightwave Layout. Click image below for a larger (but not full size) version

If you want to see the final render in it’s UHD full size 3840×2160 pixels, click here

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