Or “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gloss”
I can’t seem to stop fiddlin’ with the materials on the upper primary hull, but I *think* this is the right balance of shiny/dirty/glossy/not glossy. I think the main reason I keep dithering is because I know, deep down, that once I commit to the look there’s no going back (or at least, not without a great deal of rework). Allow me to explain:
I’ve been a software engineer and architect for over 25 years now, and came into the industry when object-oriented programming really started to take off. So, for most of my career I’ve learned to think “objectively”, if you will. Suppose I create a base exemplar material that has some fundamental properties I want to reuse over and over again. (A hull panel on the Enterprise comes to mind.) Now suppose I reuse that base example across a hundred different surfaces in my model. (This is not a theoretical number; there are 137 materials on this model right now, and I’ve only gotten down to deck 7!)
And now suppose that I don’t like some base aspect of the exemplar and I want to change it. The object-oriented software architect in me would expect that change to then flow down to all the surfaces that referenced the base node. That’s Objects 101. But is this possible in NewTek LightWave? Uh… NO.
This is what I have to deal with when creating the materials that join together to make a surface. See all those squiggly lines? They connect together the boxes (“nodes” in LightWave parlance), each of which describe some aspect of the Enterprise hull surface. Link all of those boxes together with them squiggly little lines, and LightWave adds ’em up and spits out… one surface. All of those boxes there? That’s describing just one type of surface. Remember, I’m at 137 of these and counting (and this isn’t even the most complex one in my model). God help me if I realize after copying this surface a hundred times that I’ve made some crucial mistake in how one of those boxes is linked to another box (or some obscure setting inside one of those boxes needs to be tweaked).
This is why I day drink.
So that’s why I continue to experiment and test. And test. And test some more. Maybe by the time I finish this, NewTek will finally address this issue and release an object-oriented update to thier node editor. Boy, that’d be nice.