View Full Version : Lightwave animations made with a 3dconnexion 3D mouse...

12-04-2012, 10:27 AM
Hi Folks.

I'm thinking of getting myself a 3D mouse from 3Dconnexion for use with Lightwave for creating some real-world camera movements around scenes. However, looking on YouTube there are very few videos about using a 3D mouse with Lightwave and I couldn't find any examples of renders done of scene walk-throughs using a 3D mouse. Does anyone have any they would care to share? I want to see how well they work before I invest in the mouse.


12-04-2012, 10:41 AM
I have yet to use mine with the virtual camera tools, but I can tell you the mouse is worth the investment for layout in general. Version 11 has some better support for modeller as well.

12-04-2012, 11:13 AM
ya it's worth it just as a control surface....

Areyos Alektor
12-04-2012, 06:05 PM
This is very useful in LightWave and 3D coat. It works without problems with the Virtual Studio but also outside. Now it's a controller. It's more about see it in action than to show a result. And for this there is a video of Rob Powers. It's on Newtek TV seems to me.

What I can tell you that it's very smooth and precise.

12-04-2012, 09:17 PM
I've got one but find it totally useless for LW work. For Inventor it's okay but that's just due to Inventors poor 3D viewport navigation in general. Maybe it might be usefull for camera moves in Layout but I don't do much in the way of animated cameras.

12-04-2012, 10:00 PM
No matter what your preference is, moving a light or object or camera up when you pull up on the puck, or moving it down - there are modes in LW where it will end up exactly reversed from what you want - and other modes where it is perfect.

You can't have it work perfectly in all modes.

I've requested a hot key that will add or remove a negative sign from both 'scale' entries - which would 'fix' this problem.

Hopefully, Newtek will implement this - but ... I'm not sure they actually use the puck themselves, as I've had a very hard time explaining something that becomes obvious with any normal usage of LW.

12-05-2012, 04:08 AM
Thanks for the replies. My main reason for wanting this is that I think it would great for doing real-world camera movement when walking through a scene. Shame it's hardward and not software where you can get a demo version to give it a try first. Kind of sitting on the fence right now about it but it does have my eye for sure.

12-05-2012, 04:17 AM
You can use it for creating camera moves but you still need a lot of tweaking to get a nice smooth motion without bumps. I used it a few weeks ago for a city fly thru scene. It works perfectly but mostly I use it to just move around in Layout.

12-05-2012, 09:37 AM
Get the $100 puck. It's very useful in many other programs besides LW, and it should be functional for creating the basis for camera moves that you'll have to tweek later.

12-05-2012, 07:26 PM
Hey I forgot to mention that while I personally think the 3Dconnexion is pretty worthless in LW, it works really nice with Photoshop. Pan and zoom, brush sizing etc. -- is really nice.

12-05-2012, 07:52 PM
Yes, and it works in MotionBuilder, 3ds Max, 3d-Coat, Mudbox, etc..

BTW - take a look at this thread on using the perspective view to keyframe the camera moves with the Faulknermano Pview* - might interest you?


12-07-2012, 01:53 PM
Thanks for the further replies and links, some very intersting stuff there indeed.

I have found a video of what it is I'm trying to achieve. Look at this:
This is a clip from the making of Monster House. Go to 4:50 into the clip and you will see a hand held camera controller for creating real-world camera movements. I love this!! I'm guessing that device costs a small fortune so I think a 3D mouse should be able to achieve something simular.

12-07-2012, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the link. Good stuff.


If you right-click on a video in YouTube while it's playing, you can "Copy Video URL at current time"

The PS3 Motion controller system should do what you want, but it'd cost more than a space navigator/space mouse because you need to get the PS3 system, the move controller/camera, and the play.me software (if it's available in your country).

It'd be nice if someone got the Razer Hydra working with LW: http://store.razerzone.com/store/razerusa/en_US/pd/productID.228849000

12-07-2012, 03:05 PM
I have a Space Navigator and I have to agree with the above comments--it's not especially useful for Lightwave. You can use it to navigate through Layout like it was a video game but that's pretty much it. If you want to record something that looks more like natural camera motions, you might look into the PS Move. My understanding is that you actually hold it like a camera and Lightwave records the motion.

I recently got two of these Move devices to use with iPi DMC to capture wrist rotations and for props tracking. However, I haven't used them with Lightwave because Lightwave requires a PS3 game console to make it work. iPi DMC only needs a USB bluetooth stick to record from the device, so I'm hoping Lightwave's PS Move support will be updated to work with bluetooth as well. The PS Move device is actually pretty cheap but the game console that Lightwave currently requires can be expensive.

Getting back to the Space Navigator, I find it far more useful for working with 3D-Coat. It's probably good for any program where you need to tumble an object while painting/sculpting it.


12-07-2012, 05:31 PM
Thanks for the replies. Didn't realise I could right click a movie on YouTube and get a link to that specific movies time frame, good to know. So it seems from the feedback that the 3D mouse isn't going to achieve what I want :(. I'm not a console guy, solely a PC gamer, so getting a PS3 isn't a high on my list. I guess that's my query answered, thanks everyone for the input.

12-07-2012, 06:00 PM
I'm not a console guy, solely a PC gamer, so getting a PS3 isn't a high on my list. I guess that's my query answered, thanks everyone for the input.
Same here. I own two Kinects for XBox, one Kinect for Windows, six PS eye cameras, and two PS Move controllers but no XBox or PS3 consoles--all these devices are used strictly for motion capture and plug directly into my PC via USB or use Bluetooth connection. Our family does own a Wii console but I can use the two Wii Motion Plus controllers that came with it to capture motion with the PC also via Bluetooth (no console needed.) By themselves, any of these controllers are relatively inexpensive (except maybe for Kinect for Windows,) so I hope it is possible for Lightwave's Virtual Studio to get Bluetooth support added.

Didn't somebody do something like this for Lightwave using an iPhone as a controller? I might be confusing that with something else but if this sounds familiar to anybody, please post a link. Thanks in advance. :)


01-04-2013, 10:56 AM
Hi there. We are giving this a try. We have the manual / setup from the Newtek docs. However, after we enable the move.me in the device manager settings, we check it, then try to open the settings, which, I believe is step 2 or 3 and Lightwave crashes everytime. Could this be a network/firewall issue? We have no idea. Anyone who is giving this a try...it'd be great to hear from you! Thanks for any help..


Sorry...forgot to mention...I'm trying a PS3 MOVE controller and move.me

01-10-2014, 01:22 PM
I want to resurrect this old thread. I got a gift voucher for Christmas and I'm still thinking about getting a 3D mouse because what I want to do is record a real-world camera movement through a scene. Has there been any improvements on this since the original thread above? Has anyone tried to record such a scene?

01-11-2014, 02:41 PM
I still find my Space Navigator totally unusable in Lightwave 11.6. I don't even attempt to try anymore :(
Unlike 3D Coat, I use it constantly, it works as you would expect, i.e. like your holding the object in front of you.
I don't know if the use you are intending it for works differently?

01-11-2014, 02:42 PM
well I have to say it has been the single best device I ever got for my pc and lightwave, as well as standard drivers there is a beta driver that will allow you to map any control or macro so you can use any software, in lightwave you should set your navigation to view and not object, and slow it down a little, it is also affected by grid size, once your head is around it I don't know how I ever worked without it! you don't even need to use virtual studio, set auto key on, set nav to fly or walk, press play on scene scrubber and do the old fashioned auto record keyframes (as you move autokey just places keys as you move) when in walk mode you can restrict to a ground plane giving you a much better hand held feel, you can also use it as a puppet tool in virtual studio like the PSmove,

01-11-2014, 03:34 PM
I havn't tried any beta drivers, but AFAIK the controls in Lightwave are different to every other 3D application, which is a pain when your backwards and forwards between apps, the actions should be the same.
It may work as a 'Virtual Device' but is no good (in my opinion :) ) when used in Modeler or to navigate in perspective view in Layout.

01-12-2014, 03:35 AM
mine works exactly the same as in 3D coat, are you sure you have it set correctly, update drivers? I did find that sometimes when you installed an app after the driver it can just use a default set up, the speed and style of motion on mine are identical in 3d coat and lightwave, even in blender, z brush however seems not very good as it seems to imitate a sort of keyboard macro which then stops tools working

01-12-2014, 04:12 AM
I will get the update and check it out.
If this works, I will be a happy bunny, thanks :thumbsup:

01-12-2014, 07:12 AM
Thanks for the feedback. Still haven't got a precise answer on my question but it sounds hopeful.

Areyos Alektor
01-12-2014, 07:56 PM
It all depends on what you are looking : if it's a better tool than a mouse to create paths of camera response is yes without hesitation and LightWave handles it very well, if it's to faithfully reproduce the motion of a camera not because that simulate the movement in space. It's more fluid than in reality, you have no worries of gravity, etc... Now it can be simulated too and you can combine with 3D Tracking. Then with regard to price and what this allows me I say yes. It takes just a small time of adaptation and this give a little trouble to properly enjoy.

01-13-2014, 04:46 AM
mine works exactly the same as in 3D coat, are you sure you have it set correctly, update drivers? I did find that sometimes when you installed an app after the driver it can just use a default set up, the speed and style of motion on mine are identical in 3d coat and lightwave, even in blender, z brush however seems not very good as it seems to imitate a sort of keyboard macro which then stops tools working

Same here. I use it in modeler just as in 3D-Coat, and in Layout, mainly for navigation in "walk" mode. I had to decrease the general speed quite a lot in the 3DConnexion preference s panel, though (I'm on Mac OS X).

01-13-2014, 08:29 AM
Hi Paul,

Just in case you haven't spotted it already, check out this thread http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?136784-3dConnexion-Users-how-can-we-make-LightWave-support-even-better

It's my opinion, and others might differ, that you'd be best off hanging fire on getting any 3Dconnexion device for LW until the LWDG have got themselves sorted and finally get LW and 3Dconnexion devices to work nicely together. At the moment, when compared to the other main 3D applications, LW sticks out like a sore thumb in having a VERY poor implementation with many obvious features completely screwed up!

[And this, IMHO, smacks of hastily cobbled together software - probably just to shoe-horn the feature into LW ready for a major show! That is, very poor software design, very poor testing, and very poor follow-up support. Did the LWDG ever really carefully read and understand the manufacture's hardware interface specifications for these devices? The evidence sadly suggests otherwise!]

As you'll see in that referenced thread, and in addition to all the problems other users have reported, I've not had a good experience with the new Wireless version of the 3DC SpaceMouse - LW refuses to recognise it as a navigation device, which is the main reason that I purchased the SpaceMouse and, until the LWDG get this sorted, I'm stuck with a rather expensive high tech paperweight!


01-13-2014, 10:18 AM
Just to add here... MODO has flawless support! It triggers in the screen on my 3dConnexion Space Pilot too, so I know it's working correctly... LW doesn't, still is shoddy as hell, and zero consistency between Layout and Modeller! Crapoly!

01-14-2014, 09:55 AM
WOW!! Thanks for the detailed feedback. I'll save my vouchers and hold off on the purchase of the 3D mouse for now. It's a shame as I was hopeful this would enable me to do the real-world camera movement walk-throughs I want to create. I guess I'll stick with keyframing the camera manually.

01-14-2014, 12:12 PM
I use SpaceNavigator in 3DC and really like it there but, like others here, I don't find it especially useful in LightWave.

It's been a while since I tried it but, IMO, the SpaceNavigator is fun to play with in Layout but the motion isn't really 'camera like'--it moves more like a video game. If you want motion that really looks like a hand held camera, you'll probably want a hand held input device like the PS Move, which can record all six axis if you add the game console to the mix.

With iPi Mocap Studio, I use PS Move to record wrist and head, but that system really only records rotation. For human mocap, that's all you need because translation comes from the actual bone positions.

To use the PS Move for camera data in LightWave, you'll also need to involve the game console because that's how it gets the translation data.

I recall years ago the Box got the Wii controller to work in Maya and then we saved the motion path for LightWave. I think we used an open source tool. I think we used that on a couple of jobs but mostly, we still preferred to keyframe our motions. We almost always applied additional 'organic' motions in comp.

I seem to recall that somebody (maybe 3D Cel?) got it to work with an iPhone, but I think this only recorded rotation, the translation. I thought I saw a video about this on YouTube.

Optionally, you can 'pretend' to shoot your environment with a video camera, track that footage in a program like SynthEyes, and then bring that motion data into your LightWave scene. If you apply the motion to a null and then parent the camera to the null, you can add 'corrective' controls to the camera. (An IK pointer, for example.) Obviously, that's not an ideal solution but it's a cheap one that can work within reason for many situations.

If you do decide to record directly inside of LightWave, I imagine performance will slow down if you try this in a highly detailed cg environment. But of course that's when you switch to a proxy version of the scene just to get the camera recording.

Not that any of this info is helpful in solving your original question but maybe it helps explain some of the limitations.


01-14-2014, 02:59 PM
Folks, have any of you heard of Leap Motion? Could this be used with Lightwave to achieve the camcorder hand movement I'm after:


A video of it here is:


01-14-2014, 03:04 PM
Seems to work with Maya:
Very cool!!

01-14-2014, 03:30 PM
Yes, I always thought LeapMotion was a neat device.

The capture space is a bit small for manipulating a 'real world' camera though, isn't it? I don't know the answer--I'm just asking. I guess if you can somehow 'drive' the camera away from its origin (like with SpaceNavigator,) while also capturing 'local' camera motions as a 'hand held' device, that could work. Has anybody here used one yet?

Hmm...it just occurred to me that in iPi Mocap Studio, a PS Move could be used as a 'proxy' camera. This would be an alternative to the video tracking solution described above, so it's not really like the LightWave/PS Move demo where you're controlling a virtual camera in the actual cg environment in real ttime. But if you can imagine the environment with reasonable accuracy, it should work, especially if place reference markers in the room to represent landmarks in the cg environment. I'll have to try that when I get back to working on our music video project.


01-14-2014, 04:58 PM
Hi G.

Only saw your post above mine now, thanks for the feedback. I'm not a console guy, my gaming needs come purely from my PC, so I don't have the PlayStation kit to do this. It's a shame there is no way to achieve something like this with something like a 3D mouse or other such devices. I remember the new Lightwave videos, for version 10 I think, and there was a guy on a stage with a camera and as he moved the camera in his hand, the camera in the scene moved to match it! COOL!! This is what I want to achieve but obviously on a budget without having to buy that camera the guy was holding (which probably cost a fortune!). You seem to have some ideas on this though so if you come up with something that could work, by all means let me know :). Best of luck with your music video.

01-14-2014, 05:14 PM
Yeah, same here...I currently own three Kinects, three PS Moves, and six PS3 Eye cameras but I don't own a single gaming console. I don't even play games on PC either...these days, I'm pretty much limiting myself to what I can load on my iPod Touch and 'old fashioned' tabletop board games. If iPi Mocap Studio required a gaming system, I probably wouldn't have bothered.

(Which is why haven't tried PS Move for LightWave yet.) :p


Areyos Alektor
01-14-2014, 06:01 PM
You can either paste sensors in a camera ("Arduino" ? http://www.arduino.cc/), or use 3D Tracking.

You can start by testing with "Icarus" :

And if you are convinced you spend to "PFMatchit" :

01-14-2014, 07:47 PM
Thanks for the continued feedback but I'm now going to resign myself to the fact that this just isn't available at a cost-friendly price. What I'm after is what's shown in this clip here:
A way to control the 3D camera in Lightwave with the ease shown here. Does anyone know what that camera controller device is that the guy has in his hand? I'm sure it costs a fortune and probably doesn't work with Lightwave but I'd like to see it if I can.

Thanks, Folks, I'm now signing off on this topic.

01-14-2014, 11:22 PM
Here you go. This is that tech demo from 3D Cel (a.k.a. Ruro2004, 3rd Powers,) I mentioned earlier:

Tech Demo - Using iPod touch 4G's Gyroscope in Lightwave (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfZe6UQ7yWg&feature=c4-overview&list=UU0N1DjdjQtw_VN-Ju7Km0cg)

Sorry, I don't have any more information beyond what's shown in the video. As far as I know, this tool hasn't been made available to the public but seeing that 3rd Powers is responsible for an amazing suite of plug-ins that just came out for LightWave (Lattice, Cage, MetaMesh, etc.,) maybe this is something they intend to release? It might be worth contacting them about and putting in a request.


01-15-2014, 05:26 PM
Cool!! But, how does that work??? There is no connection from the phone to the computer so how is the phones data being transferred to the computer? Wifi? Bluetooth? Would be interested to get my hands on that and give it a try. Thanks!!

01-15-2014, 06:19 PM
I have no actual information but, based on my knowledge of iPi Mocap Studio, iPi records motion for the WiiMote and PS Move through a standard USB Bluetooth adapter. The limitation with the Bluetooth only system is that it can only records rotation, not translation, so your 'camera' movements will be nodal. FYI, this isn't a limitation for iPi Mocap Studio because it gets the translation data from the position of the bone that the device is 'attached' to. However, for the purpose of our discussion, 'hand held camera input, the data is really only halfway there.

My guess is that the iPod Touch system seen in the above link is also nodal but you could probably add translation through another device (by pushing a mouse or joystick for example. Or maybe even by touch input on the iPod screen itself.)

If you learn anything more from asking the developer, please let us know what they say.