View Full Version : Beginner advice?

08-20-2010, 02:12 PM
Hello all,
I just purchased a version of LW yesterday (and was sadly informed it was out of stock)... in the meantime, I've downloaded the trial version at home. I was wondering if some of you could offer me advice where a beginner can start? I have a very little amount of experience with "strata", so I guess it's best to assume I know next to nothing :) I was wondering if anyone can recommend a good place for tutorials (other than this website?), books, dvds, etc...
Appreciate any advice. I look forward to learning what looks to be a VERY complicated program :)

08-20-2010, 02:32 PM
out of stock... what..
You Buy It U Can Download it...
Do u have and account setup yet
If u do you can download it..
Oh ya for got the dongle comes with it..
To bad they do not have a downloadable dongle hmmm..
Well tell u get the LW Package w/dongle you can continue tinkering with it
A few days and u will recieve it ???

Ryan Roye
08-20-2010, 03:04 PM
I'm still very much a beginner (coming on 2 years using Lightwave) but i'll give you my input:

-Obviously, check out most of William's videos at http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/training.php ... You can probably skip the ones that delve into something very specific, but keep in mind that you can take his advice and attempt to apply it into something unrelated for a unique effect. These tutorials are high quality and concise.

-Don't try to do anything fancy at first... just do simple stuff. Establish a means to create the most basic of model/animation (at minimum, model+texture+movement). Yeah, people like eyecandy, but things from developers tend to get lackluster if they focus too heavily on it in their studies.

-Try to make yourself explore a new feature or tool every week or so... its very overwhelming at first but don't let that intimidate you. You will slowly become more versatile in what you can create. For instance, I made an animated series (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gefWQ-LbdRU) to kick things off for me... every episode I attempted to use new tools in Lightwave to create content. While its far from anything great, you can easily tell the strides in improvement that I made from video to video.

-You'll find that your models have "holes" in them when you open them up in "Layout"... you must "triple" your models in order to get rid of these holes. Typically, its the last thing I do to a model before I consider it completed.

-Your learning curve will depend on a few things:
1) Your artistic background

2) Your history working with other programs that do similar things (IE: If you've used Flash, Lightwave's timeline/layers concepts will look familiar to you)

3) Your drive. This is perhaps the most important thing for any artist to have. If you aren't intrinsically motivated, you won't succeed.

Good luck, and hopefully the initial learning curve slope won't be too steep for you. Fortunately, Lightwave has among the lowest learning curves of all 3d software in my experience.

08-20-2010, 03:39 PM
Thanks Zap,
Yep... it's the dongles that are out of stock. I called Customer service and he gave me an estimate of about a week.
Fingers crossed.

Great tips Chaz! Thanks!
(I liked your video's too).

Still interested in other people's tips.

08-20-2010, 04:05 PM
Although I've used LW for many years, I am a chronic newbie — learning new stuff all the time. When I first started, I bought Dan Ablan's "Inside Lightwave" books every year — go to Amazon, you probably buy these dirt cheap. Even if you pick up an old version, it probably is still relevant — I was referring to his Version 6 edition just yesterday.

Lot's of good online resources (and free), including William Vaughan's training on the Newtek.

Larry "SplineGod" has tons of great tutorials, including on his own site: http://www.splinegod.com/store.html. I highly recommend anything by SplineGod.

Take advantage of the forums as well — if you're stuck, someone will now how to help you.

08-20-2010, 04:26 PM
Theres alot of tutorials in these places.



Youtube also has many tutorials.

Ryan Roye
08-20-2010, 06:51 PM
One last note I want to put here. Sooner or later, you're going to run into a problem that does not have a visible solution (in your eyes).

So, you will need to ask a question on these very forums. Try to be as specific and concise as possible when you ask your questions and provide uploaded and embedded pictures when possible, it really goes a long way in communicating what you are asking for. In most circumstances, others are more than willing to help people tackle a problem if they know that they are genuinely stuck and are putting out maximum effort without working results especially if its a simple issue like multi-layered texturing.

08-20-2010, 09:05 PM
Also now is a great time to invest in the DVD training from KURV. They are having a 70% off sale I believe. Lots of stuff from Larry Shultz about spline modeling, weight maps, endomorphs. There is also his stuff about rigging and IK and IKBoost.

The rigging stuff may be a little advanced for now. The spline modeling stuff is good to know for anyone.

In addition to the stuff at KURV, REBELHill has a very popular training program for LW rigging.

3D Garage used to offer LW training. I think the last version was for 9.0 though...not sure. Dan Ablan did alot of stuff for many years his book was practically the LW bible for many. He seems to have more or less moved on to MODO and other training aspects.

There are also many free tutorials out there. Check out FLAY.com Most are for older versions of LW but the modeling ones should help you get into the swing of the LW toolset. Also there is a HUGE tutorial that takes you step by step on how to model the ship from SERENITY/FIREFLY. Not really geared for beginners but if you were to go through it, you would learn a ton.

Also forgot to mention liberty3D not sure how much they have geared for the beginner but worth a look.

Good Luck

08-21-2010, 11:38 PM
Doesn't the download of LW work fully for 30days? After that it's limited to so many points per layer and has a watermark on the render. Yes, I think it functions just fine for 30days. It should be in stock by then, you'll have your dongle and be good to go.

08-22-2010, 01:39 AM
Ah I had so much fun learning LW back in the day :)

Welcome to the club, you've come to the right place for learning LW!

08-22-2010, 01:58 AM
I just bought three books on lightwave "essential lightwave v9", "lightwave v9 texturing", and "lightwave v9 lighting" although I haven't received the lighting one yet.. I have to say that the essentials book is AWESOME! The DVD that it comes with is VERY helpful.. especially the chapter 8 modeling tutorials. He pretty much models a phone and teaches all the tools.. I would say that's a must have. And it's almost 1000 pages! Very detailed things in there that walk you through pretty much everything you need to know to get started, after that i would say use the forums.

This is by FAR the best 3D community I've been a part of (and I've been a part of them all!). The support this community offers is unmatched. That is one of the many reasons I chose LW. There was a lot of training material AND the support on the forums what crazy awesome. William Vaughan's videos are a great place to start. But I would say experiment and definitely buy the essential's book. I think I bought mine for close to $10 so it's really not that much for all the information you get.

I'm probably ranting too much, but I just started in LW too recently and I'm just trying to share some info that really helped me. Also, Kurv has really great quality training. I've bought a couple of those as well and they are great!

08-23-2010, 10:05 AM
Thanks everyone! This is exactly the type of info I was looking for, and you all have provided me a lot of good starting points.

I've downloaded my trial version and just now discovered the manuals (I didn't realize they were in a different place and that I had to download them separately). My first cube has been modeled (babysteps)!

Thanks again!

If anyone else wishes to add more to this thread - by all means! It's a good resource for future beginners.

08-24-2010, 11:29 AM
What everyone else said, plus: I always save the IKEA catalog as a random exercise generator: open at any page, blindly put your finger down, and model whatever it lands on.