You might assume that the only option for animating the displacement texture is to use an image sequence because UV textures can not be moved with a reference null. But you would be wrong. You can use procedural textures, or drag the image around with a reference null. I learned this amazing trick from Brad Peebler at a Lightwave seminar in 2001. This example shows how to use a procedural texture, but you can also add a planar mapped image and move it with a reference object.


Open the displacement Texture Editor window. Load any small image into the displacement texture. It just has to have big enough to ensure that each item in your displacement object has its own pixel. The pixels in this image will be edited to be completely black so it really does not matter what the image is. In this example I used a small image that contains a flat gray color.


Open the Image Editor panel by clicking on the Edit Image button. On the Editing tab set the Brightness to –1 to make the image completely black.


Click on the Processing tab and then click on the Add Filter button. Add the filter called Textured Filter. This filter colors the pixels in the image with a new texture.


Click on the Animate Filters check box.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Lightwave does not remember this setting (At least not in LW 7.5). Therefore you MUST come back to the image editor window and re-check this box every time you load the scene.


Double click on the Textured Filter, and then click the Texture button. A new Texture Editor window will open. You now have a confusing situation where there are two Texture Editor windows and one Image Editor window open. Be careful to set up the procedural texture in the new Image Editor window. In this example I added the Ripples texture, which can be animated with the Wave Speed parameter. I chose a Wavelength of 0.5, which was appropriate for the scale of my object. I wanted the animation to repeat after 1 second (30 frames) so I divided the Wavelength by 30 to get the wave speed of 0.0167.

This animation shows the results of this tutorial. The blocks are moved by the procedural ripple texture

Animation using an image rotated by a reference null. Instead of adding a procedural texture in Step 5 above, add a planar image texture and add a reference null to animate it.

Note for Mac users: Using an image map to animate the displacemnet does not seem to work on the Mac. I have tried it with LW 7.5 and LW 8. Lightwave locks up when I try to animate the texture and I must force quit the program.