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View Full Version : New to 3D and Lightwave, need training materials.



Sebasvideo
12-30-2012, 11:04 AM
Hello,

I'm a videographer with experience in After Effects but I have no experience in 3D design or Lightwave. My goal is to become very proficient in both, for which I downloaded the Lightwave 11 trial and started playing with it, and so far I really like it, so I guess eventually I will buy it, hopefully version 11.5 by then. But I would like to start taking lessons on it, either from a book, DVD or online. I have watched a couple of the beginner tutorials on the Lightwave website but the sound is so horrible and distracting because of all the distortion and thin sound that I would prefer to watch tutorials from another source. I played another tutorial on that website that is more advanced and it has the same abysmal sound quality, so I suppose they all sound the same, like they were recorded over a cell phone with really bad sound quality. Which is sad because actually the tutorials themselves seem pretty good other than that.

So I'm looking for some advice on how to approach the learning process. I would need a way to learn Lightwave from scratch, but also 3D design from scratch. My goal is to use Lightwave mostly to integrate 3D objects and motion with real life footage, like it's done in most movies nowadays, a lot of which is in the Lightwave demo reel.

So far my only experience with 3D is through the Element 3D plugin for After Effects, which can load some models in obj and c4d formats but in a raw way and then the user has to assign textures and colors to the different parts and pieces. But anyone who knows After Effects knows that its 3D is very limited and it needs several workarounds for things that don't behave the way they're supposed to in a real 3D environment, so I would like to learn Lightwave from zero and become proficient with it in a few years.

What are the best books or any other training materials that I can get, preferably for version 11? I know 11.5 will have some changes, but I read that 11 had a lot of changes from 10, and I would prefer not to read a book on version 10 since I will start on 11 and move to 11.5 shortly after that. Since 3D design is so complicated, would I need a book on general 3D design before I start one on Lightwave itself? If there was a book that teaches both at the same time, that would be ideal, but I don't know if that exists.

Thanks,

Sebastian

Burchigb
12-30-2012, 11:21 AM
Very soon 3D garage will have a video class on lightwave 11.5
url: http://www.3dgarage.com/collections/newtek-lightwave-3d/products/lightwave-11-5-up-to-speed
I expect some other authors will be coming out with up dated training info.

wesleycorgi
12-30-2012, 11:31 AM
Any book 9.x and above are still very relevant. There aren't any LW 11 focused books. Check out the official LW YouTube site.

djlithium
12-30-2012, 11:36 AM
Have you looked at any of the LightWave tutorials from www.Liberty3d.com?
Most is in LW 9.6 and 10.1 but we are moving now into 11.x heavily.

Sebasvideo
12-30-2012, 12:37 PM
Very soon 3D garage will have a video class on lightwave 11.5
url: http://www.3dgarage.com/collections/newtek-lightwave-3d/products/lightwave-11-5-up-to-speed
I expect some other authors will be coming out with up dated training info.

How about this one: http://www.3dgarage.com/products/lightwave-3d-v11-signature-courseware

It says it's good for beginners and intermediate users, but I wonder if with my zero knowledge of 3D design I would be able to understand it fully, rather than bits and pieces.

jasonwestmas
12-30-2012, 12:41 PM
I bought a tutorial for modo from 3d garage once. It was very basic so maybe that's what the LW 11 would be like.

Kryslin
12-30-2012, 01:02 PM
I would recommend finding all the 9.x series videos Newtek offered as free training material; Mr. Vaughan went through the basics of most of the tools that are still present in Lightwave, and that alone helped me immensely.

RebelHill
12-30-2012, 01:22 PM
Yeah... the 9x series tuts Kryslin mentions are a great start... and dont worry about getting a book made for 10 or such... things havent changed all that much, extra newer features here n there sure, but nothing in the "basics".

Now as for finding some kind of "foundation" for 3d computer graphics in general... good f'ing luck... Gotta say, this is something that's been weighing on my mind in recent time...

erikals
12-30-2012, 03:30 PM
once again, a ton of links here >
http://tinyurl.com/7832bja

erikals
12-30-2012, 03:32 PM
Very soon 3D garage will have a video class on lightwave 11.5
url: http://www.3dgarage.com/collections/newtek-lightwave-3d/products/lightwave-11-5-up-to-speed
I expect some other authors will be coming out with up dated training info.

looks good.

allabulle
12-30-2012, 07:37 PM
Books about the 3D creation process I find useful and clear:
Digital Modeling (by William Vaughan)
Digital Lighting and Rendering (by Jeremy Birn)
Digital Texturing and Painting (by Owen Demers)

For LightWave centric books, you can search Dan Ablan's 'Inside LightWave' series of books and, also, the 'Essential LightWave v9' (by Steve Warner, Kevin Phillips and Timothy Albee) which I still think it's relevant.

You have LightWave centric books dealing with a specific part of the creation process, like: LightWave v9 Texturing (by Angel Nieves), LightWave v9 Lighting (by Nicholas Boughen) and Albee's LightWave Character Animation books.

On video you have of course the LightWave Group's YouTube channel and a lot more on liberty3d.com. For questions and specific issues you'll find quite a large community full of scripts, videos, workflows, and forums.

Personally I've fallen in love recently with the video-tutorials made by RebelHill (he calls himself that way on this forums). Both the ones about nodes and rigging are a marvel. Others may be enjoying something else: this forum is a great source of information on its own. Even the more agitated threads. :)

Surrealist.
12-30-2012, 09:03 PM
Definitely add reading the manual to the mix. And don't forget about the LightWiki...

oops sorry. Not up on the LightWiki issue and I don't have a good link. My sig link is broken too.

This is the only thing I could find:

http://lightwiki.pbworks.com/w/page/17289148/FrontPage

dwburman
12-30-2012, 11:39 PM
The biggest difference between LW 9 and LW11 that you'll have to deal with in order to render, is the anti-aliasing and sampling settings (how smooth the lines and shading are in your render), the addition of color spaces (internal gamma adjustments to images and color values) and possibly some advancements in the render engine. There were also some changes to bones after LW9. Otherwise most of the animation and lights and modeling and surfacing should be pretty similar. There are things from all the way back in LW7 that still apply to LW11.

There ARE a bunch of new features, but they shouldn't get in the way of you following most tutorials. If you run into a problem, ask here on the forums and someone will probably help if they can.

Sebasvideo
01-01-2013, 10:22 AM
Thanks to all of you for your replies.


Books about the 3D creation process I find useful and clear:
Digital Modeling (by William Vaughan)
Digital Lighting and Rendering (by Jeremy Birn)
Digital Texturing and Painting (by Owen Demers)


I bought the first book since it's praised by everybody and it seems like a good start on 3D modeling. The other two books, however, seem kind of old, one from 2006 and the other from 2001. I would prefer books that include more up to date information. I mean, 6 years in this field is a long time, 11 years is an eternity, unless they updated the content but the publication dates are 2006 and 2001 on Amazon.

I also bought Dan Ablan's Signature Courseware for LW 11, which I'm still downloading and looking forward to spend the first day of the year watching and practicing.

One important thing I would like to find some online tutorials about, is how to integrate 3D models and their animations into real footage, like it's done in movies. In After Effects I have the camera tracker that analyses the footage and then gives me reference points from which I can set up a camera, nulls, shadow catcher, etc, and then set a layer with text or a 3D object with the help of Element 3D (a plugin for AE, in case you're not familiar). Of course this is very basic stuff compared to what can be done in Lightwave judging by the several movies that have used it, but I'm having trouble finding any kind of information on how to setup camera tracking, or if you need a separate plugin for that and in that case which one is best. I see lots of tutorials on modeling, animation and other things, but I couldn't find one that talks about this.

Happy New Year,

Sebastian

allabulle
01-01-2013, 11:06 AM
Well, they explain the basics of the matter. Once those are well understood, finding the tools available to do such work on your software of choice is easy. Or you can compare between different applicatons and plugins to choose which workflow suits you better. Some prefer a more straight forward approach. But sill, the foundation of the 3D creation process hasn't changed that much.

As stated by many you'll find great tutorials on various places that teach you specific tools and techniques, both commercial and free.

dwburman
01-01-2013, 11:09 AM
You were asking about the fundamentals of 3D. The fundamentals of lighting have changed a little, in that it's feasible to use Global Illumination/radiosity in production where it wasn't before, but the art of lighting hasn't changed since the dawn of photography and film production. Large parts of the fundamentals of texturing hasn't changed that much either... especially if you're painting your texture maps. The new features are built on top of the old features, so if you're looking for fundamental/foundational skills, it doesn't hurt to know how things were done 6 to 10 years ago. Of course, you don't want to frustrate yourself trying to translate a tutorial written for a slightly different UI, and you don't want to fill your head with unnecessary workarounds. Of course, when you start to run out of RAM on your fancy new computer (or you try to get the scene to run on a secondary computer for rendering), then some of those workarounds come in handy. :)


LightWave does not have a built in camera tracker.

Most of the time, camera tracking is done in external applications and then exported to project files for 3D apps to use. The 3D trackers that I'm aware of are VooDoo (open source, and therefore free, but I haven't looked at it lately), SynthEyes (http://ssontech.com/index.html) ($400 to $600 USD), PF Track and PF Matchit (http://www.thepixelfarm.co.uk/) ($1,500 and $480), BouJou 5 and BouJou Silver Bullet ($10,000 and $5,000) (http://www.vicon.com/boujou/index.html), and I think some people have been working on one for Blender. Match Mover was gobbled up by Auto Desk so it ships with Maya and maybe their other apps.

I'm curious about the tracker in After Effects. There is a way (AE script or plugin to export to 3D apps) to get that motion data from AE to LW, but I don't have CS6 so I haven't tried to match a track to footage in both apps. It sounds like LW11.5 will have AE data transfer that'll go both directions, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

allabulle
01-01-2013, 11:48 AM
On compositing, I have the following:

- Matchmoving: The Invisible Art of Camera Tracking (by Tim Dobbert)
- Compositing Visual Effects: Essentials for the Aspiring Artist (by Steve Wright)
- Digital Compositing for Film and Video (by Steve Wright)
- The Art and Science of Digital Compositing, Second Edition: Techniques for Visual Effects, Animation and Motion Graphics (by Ron Brinkmann)

Those books are not about the 3D aspect of it, but rather on what you mostly do before and after. So you know what would you need to carry with you once you leave the 3D application (LightWave, for instance) for the compositing one. And, sure, what to consider before you even touch the 3D application. You probably already know that, but anyway, there you go.

You can, though, do some compositing inside LightWave. But most of the time you'll find yourself using LightWave to produce elements to composite outside of it, in the compositing application (After Effects, Fusion, Nuke, etc...). Nonetheless, the great Gerardo (gerardstrada is the name used here in the forums) has some excellent tutorials, tricks and techniques about compositing and even colour grading using just LightWave and nodes. So it's doable.

It's hard to know wether those books will suit your needs, but they deal with the subject quite well in my opinion. By the way, I'm only sharing what I think might work out for you but, honestly, you may find what's really best for your needs by yourself, comparing and, most of all, practicing :)

Sebasvideo
01-01-2013, 11:53 AM
I'm curious about the tracker in After Effects. There is a way (AE script or plugin to export to 3D apps) to get that motion data from AE to LW, but I don't have CS6 so I haven't tried to match a track to footage in both apps. It sounds like LW11.5 will have AE data transfer that'll go both directions, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

Right, if 11.5 has that AE data transfer feature, wouldn't it be as simple as tracking the footage in AE and then sending the tracking information to LW? Of course I'm just guessing here, since I guess the only way to achieve that would be if LW 11.5 could open AE CS6 project files, otherwise there would have to be another plugin.

I'm told that The Foundry's camera tracker plugin is better than the one embedded in CS6, but I haven't tried it myself.

erikals
01-01-2013, 01:34 PM
Right, if 11.5 has that AE data transfer feature, wouldn't it be as simple as tracking the footage in AE and then sending the tracking information to LW?

it might...

aidenvfx
01-04-2013, 06:50 AM
I would recommend starting with some of Adam Gibson's training. He has lots of basic training and project based training. The nice part about his training is he does not go real fast which is great for someone just learning. He also has several videos just covering each tool. The other interesting part of his videos is he will make mistakes and then correct them. This adds some nice value. The other great resource for project based training is Simply lightwave. The training moves fast they don't explain much or why they do certain things but you will learn several tricks that work well especially hard surface modeling. For Simply Lightwave I recommend the Super Structure series

Also once you want to go into texturing then the very best video series I have found is by CG Masters they explain how it works and you will learn lots./ It is the making Materials video series

http://www.learn3dsoftware.com/
http://simplylightwave.com/lightwave-tutorials/modeling-and-projects/
http://online.cg-masters.com/videos/software/3

sami
01-04-2013, 09:55 AM
Yeah... the 9x series tuts Kryslin mentions are a great start... and dont worry about getting a book made for 10 or such... things havent changed all that much, extra newer features here n there sure, but nothing in the "basics".

Now as for finding some kind of "foundation" for 3d computer graphics in general... good f'ing luck... Gotta say, this is something that's been weighing on my mind in recent time...

Speaking of the basics, it may not be what the OP is interested in, but for other colleagues getting into 3D have found this very helpful for character animation: http://www.jefflew.com/ It's old and not exactly LW focused but it was easy enough for beginners to get it.
Especially if they don't come from an animation background and understand traditional techniques. Also the Preston Blair books and old school stuff is certainly something to look in to for the basics that really help with a good fundamental base to jump off into LW. But I imagine you are also talking about real 3D basics like teapot, cow, mirror ball checkerboard stuff...?