Steve's Animated Wave Page
Several years back, I wrote a little computer program that
would allow me to make and cut some precise this:

more about the paper waves can be read here:
Paper and Laser Page

Then I thought it would be fun to produce a lot of them
at different phases, so that I could animate them.
The project didn't come together quickly enough
and my laser is not currently in a functional state.

But in the spring of 2011, I thought it would be
acceptable to make a digital version of this, which would
use far less paper so it is more environmentally friendly.

First, I thought I would modify the original program. The first
program produced multiple DXF and PLT files for each piece of paper
that had to be cut. But, I needed a single digital object.
Turns out that it was easier just to write a new program.
The first iterations produced maya OBJ files as they are easily
formatted text files. These were then loaded into Lightwave, a
3D animation program. Using object replacement animation the
different phases are loaded successively and rendered.
Here is an early example:

There were immediate limitations to the OBJ file format. Although
they could be loaded into Lightwave, the files are for geometry
data (vertices and faces) only. There was no texture (no color)
and an additional problem was that Lightwave would not save
a scene that contained OBJ files. I was going to have to figure
out how to save LWO (Lightwave object) files. Lightwave has no
native ascii (text) version of the LWO. The LWO is a binary file.
Thankfully Ernie Wright has Lightwave info on his site.
Within a couple of days, I had written a decimal to floating point converter
and had rewritten the shape generating program to produce LWO files.
These files contain not just geometry, but color and textural info.
Here are some examples: