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MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 09:35 AM
All right guys,

Here I am with a question that could seem strange when in fact it's very important for me.

First, a little bit of presentation:
My name is Mauro and I am a professional Maya user since it's very first release on SiliconGraphis Irix ( Maya 1.0 ) which means back into 1998.

Before Maya I had been using Softimage 3D Extreme and Lightwave ( on the Amiga 4000, then on PC ).

Don't get me wrong: I love the software ( Maya ), it does everything I need to produce ( well, almost ) and it definitely is second nature for me as a 3D generalist artist.
The problem is Autodesk: they just ruined this package filling it with half developed features, integrated plugins, and so on and so forth.
They introduce new bugs and keep touching things that really didn't need to be touched because they always worked wonderfully; now even rock solid Maya native features show little bugs or glitches that weren't there before.
The icing on the cake is the really really bad Autodesk customer service, something so bad that it really is like non existent.
This to me looks just intolerable, especially as we are talking about Maya, a software that costs Ģ 2,900 ( electronic download! ).

The end of the story is: I need to switch to another solid, reliable and professional application;
I don't want to spend a fortune and it must be well supported by both a good customer service and facts ( not things like "take this because in the future release it'll have that feature..." )

I am looking at two softwares: Modo and Lightwave.

1 ) Lightwave has almost everything that could be useful in a complete pipeline, as far as I am aware ( at least so it was the good old Lightwave I knew ), but I don't know what it turned into in its latest release ( v 11.5 ).
I have seen tons of videos that definitely convinced me about its overall quality and efficiency. To cut a long story short: it looks promising and it is relatively cheap.

2) Modo is a modern application, absolutely impressive as well as its own features.
But it lacks things that, as far as I understand, Luxology adds every time a new release is announced ( like the audio support, which should have been a standard since the first release seeing that all other 3D professional software have it from ages ).
I really like the fact that Modo is so adaptable to the user ( Lightwave is not at all: you learn its way or you just don't use it! ) and it's quite customizeable ( not as much as Maya, but a good amount nonetheless ).

So, I am willing to take a small risk with one of these two applications if I need to, but it must be worth.

Now, my question ( which should be almost clear by now ):

Why should I buy Lightwave instead of Modo?
Can you professionals give me a bunch of valid reasons?
I really need unbiased opinion and, most of all, advices from you.

What I don't need is unprofessional fanboys in love with their beloved piece of software and trying to convince me to buy something, without thinking to really help me in this choice.

Thank you very much in advance for your answers.

I wish you all all the best!

Mauro

RebelHill
03-16-2013, 09:50 AM
Hows about you tell us the clincher...

What do you want it for? Architectural, game development, stills, animations, big FX creature shots with lasers on is heads... anything and everything?

ConjureBunny
03-16-2013, 10:37 AM
For me, the big draw is the whole enchilada being in one package, and it's somewhat consistent. Before LightWave, I used Blender. I got pretty good at it, but I'd used everything under the sun before that. The reason I was good at Blender, IMO, is that I memorized all of the key shortcuts, and kept them on a cheat sheet. Then I hid the UI. But in Blender, at least at the time, things were *not* consistent.

I do the same for LightWave. I can't stand 3D app user interfaces, most of the time, because there just aren't easy ways to convey some concepts via icons. LightWave is unique in that regard, due to its text based UI. But even then, one word names for things don't always convey what they do.

One thing I really, really like about LightWave is that I've never found a thing I just couldn't do. It has everything in it, at least everything I've needed, somewhere.

-Chilton

Ryan Roye
03-16-2013, 10:48 AM
I can't give you a comparison because I have never used modo. However, I can tell you i've used Lightwave for years to create an animated series (http://delura.tanadrine.com/?page_id=31). I do nearly all of my work in Lightwave. When people talk about Lightwave's weaknesses concerning character animation (my specialty), they are usually referring to the challenge of achieving proper complex deforming (poor weight mapping workflow), dynamics, and other procedural/misc animation tasks.

As for the visual aspects, I will leave it to others to give their commentary as that's not where my focus is. Either way, I hope you find the 3d package that fits best your workflow!

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 10:50 AM
Hows about you tell us the clincher...

What do you want it for? Architectural, game development, stills, animations, big FX creature shots with lasers on is heads... anything and everything?


As I stated in my previous post, I am a 3D Artist Generalist.
I worked as TD Generalist in an 3D animation movie pipeline when I was in Italy, almost 4 years ago.

Now I am the senior 3D guy in the company I am currently working for.

My background, as far as concern 3D, is thorough and so I want the software of my choice to do pretty much everything, which is exactly what Maya makes you able to do ( in Maya you can achieve the same result in ten different ways, but I am not necessarily asking for this of course ).

In the end the answer to your question is: anything and everything.

One thing I noticed though: Lightwave doesn't support dual monitor configuration, which is kind of annoying to be honest ( try to put layout and modeler one into a different monitor and see Lightwave die ).

RebelHill
03-16-2013, 10:57 AM
In the end the answer to your question is: anything and everything.

In which case the answer is LW. You can easily argue the nitty gritty details of this feature or that workflow between the 2 apps, but the simple fact is that LW is a more rounded, complete package, and its capable of *more* than modo (in a varied types of projects sense). Id hang onto your maya though... I can guarantee there's gonna be stuff u miss, or find that neither modo nor LW can touch maya for.


try to put layout and modeler one into a different monitor and see Lightwave die ).
Works for me..?

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 10:58 AM
I can't give you a comparison because I have never used modo. However, I can tell you i've used Lightwave for years to create an animated series (http://delura.tanadrine.com/?page_id=31). I do nearly all of my work in Lightwave. When people talk about Lightwave's weaknesses concerning character animation (my specialty), they are usually referring to the challenge of achieving proper complex deforming (poor weight mapping workflow), dynamics, and other procedural/misc animation tasks.

As for the visual aspects, I will leave it to others to give their commentary as that's not where my focus is. Either way, I hope you find the 3d package that fits best your workflow!

Well, I have seen that Lightwave now has that Genoma system for rigging which should get rid of the main weakness of the software, shouldn't it?

As an old, and I mean really old Lightwave user ( think of something like the time when VideoToaster 4000 was the top notch technology available, on the Amiga 4000 and you get the idea ), the idea of getting back to this software makes me quite excited if you ask me.

Also, having seen the improvements Lightwave has gone through I can't help but think that it could be the solution for everything, or at list almost everything I could possibly need as a single artist.

Anyway, thank you for your answer, and congratulations for your works.

Mauro

philthorn
03-16-2013, 10:59 AM
As RebelHill stated it would help to know what you do with it.

I own and use both but lately (since 11.5) I've been 100% LW for what I do.

Both have their strong suits and weak points. I've been using LW since Toaster 1.0 and Modo since 101 and can probably give you a fair idea of where the differences are.

My thoughts without knowing your specific needs (My subjective opinion):

Modeling - Slight edge Modo when it comes to SubD. This has changed somewhat in LW 11.5 as I am growing to love the new tweak and line tools.
Animation - LW - I've always had difficulty getting Modo cameras to behave how I want them to.
CA - LW - I got excited with Modo 501 rigging/ca tools but for me the deal killer was trying to paint weights in Modo. Anytime I find myself trying to use the paint/sculpt tools in Modo I give up do to the extremely slow screen updates.
Rendering - LW has one of the most beautiful outputs of any 3D software generally speaking.
Texturing - LW - In all the years of using Modo I still hate the "stack". I prefer LW's approach of a complete set of basic texture editing plus the power of a node editor

As you say you want a comparison of what it here and now - not in a future release - that said unless you need to make the move immediately Modo 701 will be out very soon now.

As far as dependable track record - Newtek is coming back from what I consider a serious hiccup with the LW10 thing but the team that is in place now are super-helpful and have what I consider to be the clearest vision of what the software should be.

Lux has been great at adding features and has similar issues with bugs/gripes lasting for multiple versions as the new features seem to take precedence. Not sure how being acquired by The Foundry will effect the development/customer service at Lux. Time will tell.

-Phil

RebelHill
03-16-2013, 11:01 AM
Well, I have seen that Lightwave now has that Genoma system for rigging which should get rid of the main weakness of the software, shouldn't it?

Sadly... thats a no.

If you're used to CA workflows, and especially character rigs done in maya... boy r u gonna hate LW (and/or modo) by comparison.

philthorn
03-16-2013, 11:03 AM
In the end the answer to your question is: anything and everything.



OK then. LW hands down. :-)

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 11:14 AM
In which case the answer is LW. You can easily argue the nitty gritty details of this feature or that workflow between the 2 apps, but the simple fact is that LW is a more rounded, complete package, and its capable of *more* than modo (in a varied types of projects sense). Id hang onto your maya though... I can guarantee there's gonna be stuff u miss, or find that neither modo nor LW can touch maya for.


Works for me..?


Well, I thought you could have answered something like this, which encourage me to go for Lightwave.

As I stated before: Maya has one big major flaw which is called Autodesk. I don't want to have anything to do with them anymore, they just don't listen to their user base. I mean, how the heck is possible that they messed, for example, the lights attribute editor since Maya 2009 on?
How can I accept things being messed ( not because of an improvement attempt, just messed ) for no reasons at all? I don't play, I work with my software and I cannot take the risk of not being able to deliver on time just because I have to find workarounds for things that in previous versions of Maya used to work just fine. Again, this is not acceptable.

About the two monitor: may be is because I used the 30 days evaluation version of Lightwave?

This is the configuration of the machine I have been using so far:

HP Z800 Workstation
24 GB RAM
2x NVidia Quadro 4000
2x 24" HP Displays
1 130 GB SSD system
1 1TB HDD storage

Windows 7 Pro x64, Operating System.

Well, as soon as I opened Modelere and moved it to the second display Lightwave hung ( not completely, but enough to make it unusable and force me to quit the task through the task manager ).

Anyway, this isn't a deal breaker to be honest.

Thank you for your help!

Cheers

Mauro

Spinland
03-16-2013, 11:20 AM
I don't have the depth of experience with the other apps (though I did use Maya as a student and decided never to do business with AD afterwards), but as to the two monitor problem: I encountered a bug with 9.6 on the Mac where if my second monitor were to the left of my primary, instead of to the right, I would get frequent crashes if I tried to have windows open on the left. I couldn't physically swap the monitors (for various reasons) but I got around it by re-configuring them so the primary was on the left. I think it was a bug related to thinking screen co-ordinates to the left of zero were negative, but I have no real evidence.

Anyway, That may have no bearing on your setup but I thought I'd toss it out there.

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 11:25 AM
Sadly... thats a no.

If you're used to CA workflows, and especially character rigs done in maya... boy r u gonna hate LW (and/or modo) by comparison.


As long as the system works flawlessly I don't mind if it turns out to be more complex than the one currently present in Maya.

Also, I can tell you that the skinning tools in Maya, although very advanced and fast, can be a real pain in the arse: mirroring skin weights could be a nightmare sometimes for example.
Maya doesn't have any bi-directional constraint at all!
For you to achieve something that is close to a bi-directional constraint you have to spit blood with MEL, nodes and any sort of workaround. Well, I'd rather go for something less advanced but that makes me focus on the task instead of how to sort a situation out.

- - - Updated - - -


OK then. LW hands down. :-)


Yeah, I am starting to think that this is the right move ;-)

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 11:28 AM
I don't have the depth of experience with the other apps (though I did use Maya as a student and decided never to do business with AD afterwards), but as to the two monitor problem: I encountered a bug with 9.6 on the Mac where if my second monitor were to the left of my primary, instead of to the right, I would get frequent crashes if I tried to have windows open on the left. I couldn't physically swap the monitors (for various reasons) but I got around it by re-configuring them so the primary was on the left. I think it was a bug related to thinking screen co-ordinates to the left of zero were negative, but I have no real evidence.

Anyway, That may have no bearing on your setup but I thought I'd toss it out there.

Hi,

Thank you very much for this explanation, I think is really useful indeed!

I didn't think about swapping the primary and secondary display via software. I definitely need to try this out.

Cheers

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-16-2013, 11:37 AM
Guys,

You know what?

I didn't expect such a prompt feedback from a forum, and this makes me think a lot.

A lot of good things of course.

A software needs a good and helpful professional community that contribute to even raise the value of the software itself.
You guys are demonstrating just this.

Lots of answers, all useful and all very very sensible.

I have to be honest, I asked the exact same thing in the the Modo community forum and guess what? Nobody answered yet.
I did this because I wanted to be sure of two things:

1) To have answers from both communities and suitable for both Lightwave and Modo.

2) To test the communities themselves about how alive they could have been.

The same thing goes on in the Autodesk official forum, Area, where you can kill yourself and still nobody will answer you so promptly like you guys did here.

I really appreciate what you have created here, and now I am even more convinced about the huge value of the whole lot: Lightwave + community + support, which is what it should be all about in my opinion.

Mauro.

RebelHill
03-16-2013, 11:43 AM
As long as the system works flawlessly
It doesnt Im afraid. Ofc thats not to say that rigging in LW is no good, far from it, but its not without its own problems or idiosyncrasies.


I can tell you that the skinning tools in Maya, although very advanced and fast, can be a real pain in the arse: mirroring skin weights could be a nightmare
LWs a lil two fold here. First off, the skinning tools CAN be very fast and easy to get along with... but are also quite limited in what they can achieve. The deform system is old and clunky and vastly outperformed by other apps. As for weighting... well that ties into LWs ability to use minimal weights, vis a vis its internal skinning system, so whilst you can very often do with very little weighting work, if you do need or want to do more complex weighting... nightmare (mirroring doesnt even exist for example).

Maya doesn't have any bi-directional constraint at all!
And neither does LW... nor can u have multiple constraints on a single item. Ofc, there are clever workarounds for this stuff, which largely involve cheating LWs motion system evaluation order. Fortunately, once u get the idea of how that stuff all works, its very easy to grasp... no messing around in scripts or the like... but still, not a picnic.

RebelHill
03-16-2013, 12:05 PM
A software needs a good and helpful professional community that contribute to even raise the value of the software itself.
You guys are demonstrating just this.

That may sound special to you... but for us, its par for the course.

LWers take care of one another.

OnlineRender
03-16-2013, 12:11 PM
best advice download the software and play around with it https://www.lightwave3d.com/try/ ...

if you need content to play around with or want to learn some stuff go here http://lightwiki.com/

if you want to learn about rigging and CA Rebelhill is probably the best in the business in this regard and generally wont ***** foot around giving you it straight up

as for modo 701 is coming out and looks very good.

akademus
03-16-2013, 12:13 PM
Guys,

You know what?

I didn't expect such a prompt feedback from a forum, and this makes me think a lot.

A lot of good things of course.

A software needs a good and helpful professional community that contribute to even raise the value of the software itself.
You guys are demonstrating just this.

Lots of answers, all useful and all very very sensible.

I have to be honest, I asked the exact same thing in the the Modo community forum and guess what? Nobody answered yet.
I did this because I wanted to be sure of two things:

1) To have answers from both communities and suitable for both Lightwave and Modo.

2) To test the communities themselves about how alive they could have been.

The same thing goes on in the Autodesk official forum, Area, where you can kill yourself and still nobody will answer you so promptly like you guys did here.

I really appreciate what you have created here, and now I am even more convinced about the huge value of the whole lot: Lightwave + community + support, which is what it should be all about in my opinion.

Mauro.

This is where you are absolutely right. LW is well known for its community and helpful people. And that's a HUUUGE thing. Every time you get stuck somewhere, ask it here and it WILL be answered for you. Everytime!

As for workflow, we use LW for everything in conjuction with maya for CA and some specialty things and it works great in production. It just does the job and for the price of it you won't get anything better.

So I say LW all the way.

Snosrap
03-16-2013, 12:30 PM
As a long time professional user of both apps (LW since 5.6 and Modo since 101) I can say that both are great and you couldn't go wrong with either choice. Modo on the surface seems to be the strongest modeler but I find myself modeling in LW most of the time because for me it's a faster modeler for what I do day in day out. And now with the new ABF UV unwrapping in 11.5 I'm UVing everthing in LW as well, even though modo has much a much stronger UV toolset IMO. Both renderers are great, LW offers the simpler layer shading system as well as the more powerfull nodal system. Modo just has the crappy shader tree. If 701 has a simpler easier to use shading system I'll be real tempted to jump in, but my general thoughts over the last few months has been that 601 provides most of what I need and probably would not be upgrading my personal license or work license. LW is just so familar and the recent 11 and 11.5 upgrades have been fantastic. At work we have a floating license of Modo that we use in conjunction with the CAD Loaders plugin (which is great BTW) and I thought that when we purchased it we could slowly ween off of LW and maybe become a Modo shop, but the guys have not taken a liking to it so far. Partly because they just don't like change as well as we always seem to be under the gun to get stuff out the door and switching/learning would just kill us in getting the work done. I'm proficient in and know each modeling portion of each app really well, LW is the faster of the two for the things I do everyday. However I think Modo is the more modern and feature rich modeler of the two, just not the fastest. :) On a feature comparision chart both would be missing features that the other has, so it really comes down to your own personal/work needs and whether LW or Modo provides the tools to accommodate them.

Surrealist.
03-16-2013, 12:40 PM
I'd say get both.

Or Cinema 4D, Hundini, or XSI.

Keep Maya, and don't expect to get a replacement by spending half the money.

Both LightWave and Modo are presently up and coming with strengths in each app. With probably the most promising new releases in the next two years.

Then I would also look into what Blender can give you in the way of Character Animation and rigging. It really is a pleasure in that department. As another alternative to animating and some other cool effects, consider Messiah.

In short I think you are selling yourself short by narrowing your search to decide on one application. If you really want to replace Maya look to expand your tool set. That's what I'd do.

nickdigital
03-16-2013, 02:07 PM
You could also look at messiah to compliment your character animation needs.

Here's another good bit of info that may push you to LightWave. You state that you a user from a looooong time ago. If you still have that registered copy you should be eligible to upgrade to 11.5 for the upgrade price. NewTek doesn't do that subscription nonsense and you can upgrade from any version for the one upgrade price. There's no penalty or tiered price structure depending on what version you have. So as a user you never feel punished for not keeping current. At a user group meeting, Rob Powers, the president of the LW group, said if you do not feel the next version is worth buying then they haven't done their job on making it worth your money. You should upgrade cuz you want what they've done. Not because you have to. If you don't feel the upgrade is worth your money, then wait for the next one and buy in on that one. You won't get punished for bypassing an upgrade.

bobakabob
03-16-2013, 02:36 PM
Some advantages to Lightwave:
Its workflow is fast and capable of good results quickly
LW 11.5 feels very stable and reliable.
The preview renderer VPR gives quality feedback for surfacing and lighting
The new team are enthusiastic and listening to the user base as well as innovating e.g. The modular multirigger Genoma, great for complex characters.
Excellent renderer with fast GI
Nodal surfacing or Photoshop style layers, whichever you prefer.
Loads of great plugins e.g. LW CAD, RHiggit, Messiah as well as awesome free stuff such as DP Lights and nodes.
Great forum: very inclusive, no silly pro vs hobbyist snobbery.
Economical upgrades compared to other software.

Can't speak for Modo, it's a respected software made by Lightwave's original creators, though it looks like price increases are on the way. Personally never felt a need to invest as Zbrush is a brilliant complement to Lightwave.

Celshader
03-16-2013, 02:38 PM
Why should I buy Lightwave instead of Modo?
Can you professionals give me a bunch of valid reasons?
I really need unbiased opinion and, most of all, advices from you.

Greetings. I've used LightWave in production since 1999. My current job is to glue multiple packages together with Python and (in the case of After Effects) JavaScript. Here's my take on LightWave and modo from a pipeline standpoint:

LightWave pipeline pros:


(ASCII file format) - If you've ever had to rely on *.ma files for pipeline reasons, consider that LightWave offers an ASCII-based scene file format (LWS) that references binary file formats. In turn, these binary file formats have been almost completely documented in both the SDK and online: LWO (http://content.gpwiki.org/index.php/LWO), PFX (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.dstorm.co.jp/dsproducts/developers/Technical_Data/PFXFileFormat.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpfx%2Bformat_version%26hl%3Den%26biw% 3D1920%26bih%3D995&sa=X&ei=o8BEUfjOF4OyyAGy-IDABA&ved=0CFwQ7gEwBQ), MDD (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.dstorm.co.jp/dsproducts/developers/Technical_Data/MDDFileFormat.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmdd%2Bsite:dstorm.co.jp%26hl%3Den%26b iw%3D1920%26bih%3D995&sa=X&ei=1sBEUbSnHoizyAGK2ICQBQ&ved=0CDIQ7gEwAA), XML (http://images.autodesk.com/latin_am_main/files/2144863_Autodesk_WP_XML-at-Autodesk.pdf). The only other non-Autodesk packages I know of that offer ASCII file formats are Terragen and Poser. The LWS file format can be hacked with any text editor or sliced-and-diced with a Python script. modo uses a binary scene file format that cannot be hacked with a text editor. As I understand it, the modo LXO file format is documented -- it's just not hackable with a common text editor.
(Autodesk Maya interchange) - LightWave can directly load and export the Autodesk XML file format for deforming meshes. At work this meant that we could directly load Maya deformations into LightWave for creature shots in Terra Nova (http://www.wired.com/video/culture/movies--tv/1281721644001/terra-nova-vfx-reel/1281770048001), Grimm, Hunger Games (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8JJsNQoIDc) (the hand-keyed wasps right before the nest falls) and The Amazing Spider-Man. modo does not load or export XMLs at this time. Both LightWave and modo support FBX and OBJ.
(RealFlow support) - LightWave has better integration with RealFlow than modo at this time:
NextLimit offers a set of RealFlow plug-ins for LightWave (http://support.nextlimit.com/display/rfkb/Connectivity+Plug-ins+FAQs), but not modo. This means you cannot easily add RealFlow water to a modo scene, since you cannot directly export the modo scene to RealFlow's SD file format.
RealFlow can directly import LWO objects, but not native modo formats. You would have to export OBJs or LWOs out of modo.
RealFlow can directly export mesh sequences in LightWave's native LWO file format, which LightWave can load as an object sequence. These objects also have embedded speed "endomorphs" (a vertex-level blendshape embedded within LightWave objects) that can be vibrated for simulated motion blur in LightWave. modo can load object sequences, but I do not think there is a way to get RealFlow's embedded motion blur to appear in modo at this time.
modo's sole support for RealFlow comes from 3rd-party scripts (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=37&t=27345) (which cannot load the motion blur of object sequences as far as I know) and a native particle loader that ships with modo 601 (http://www.luxology.com/tv/training/view.aspx?id=614).
I have tips for artists on LW<>RealFlow surfacing (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?122826-Realflow-2012-Learning-Edition&p=1196030&viewfull=1#post1196030) and motion blur (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?126188-Realflow-RFRK-2-5-now-for-Cinema-4D&p=1254166&viewfull=1#post1254166) if you choose to use LightWave for your work.
(one example of LW<>RF) This LightWave/RealFlow skull-splash effect (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTNfGZTnp3c#t=00m48s) made it onto the SIGGRAPH 2010 reel.

(After Effects support) - LightWave 11.5 can natively exchange (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Bz0RiS5o4) cameras, nulls and lights with After Effects. modo artists can do this, too, but they need a third-party script (http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2010/12/afterfxio-interchange-between-ae-modo.html).
(third-party support) - LightWave has more (https://www.lightwave3d.com/third_party/) third-party developers than modo (http://www.luxology.com/store/plugins/) at this time.
(easier surfacing) - LightWave offers the option of using layers or a Node Editor to define surface properties, and layers and Nodes can be mixed-and-matched. LightWave also ships with material nodes (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here) that can make basic surfaces like glass, gin (https://www.lightwave3d.com/static/media/uploads/gallery_images/advertising/motion_theory-tanqueray_3_glasses_ad.jpg) and metal easier to create. In contrast, modo has a Shader Tree (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=32&t=67766) system that my co-workers find difficult to use.


I have not had any problem with using LightWave across two monitors at work or at home.

I do not know if modo or LightWave has a better native EXR solution at this time. At work we use the third-party exrTrader (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/about) by db&w for all LW->AfterFX and LW->Nuke output. I have a video presentation about what exrTrader can do here (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/videos). At work we do not use multichannel EXR files. We use exrTrader's option to export AOVs (http://renderspud.blogspot.com/2010/05/arbitrary-output-variables-aov-and.html) to separate folders instead. I do not know if modo can export AOVs to separate folders at this time.

Most of what I know about modo right now comes from friends and co-workers who use modo occasionally for modeling/UVs. They do not use modo outside of that context. Here are some possible modo pipeline advantages:

(better native multichannel EXR support?) - if you do not purchase exrTrader (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/about) for LightWave, you must rely on the native EXR output of both programs. It looks like the native modo EXR solution allows users to rename channels (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=32&t=43235), while the native LightWave EXR solution does not. This difference disappears with exrTrader, which does allow users to rename channels.
(native render pass system) - LightWave does not ship with a render pass system at this time similar to Maya render layers. modo started shipping with a native render pass system (http://www.luxology.com/training/video.aspx?id=616) in version 601. At work we use a custom-built render pass system for our LightWave 3D output, but other LightWave users rely on a third-party render pass system called Janus (http://faulknermano.com/janus/overview.html).
(deeper referencing?) - I've relied on LightWave's rock-solid, basic referencing since 1999. It's unbreakable, but the references are restricted to one level of mesh data (two levels if you consider the images referenced in turn by those meshes), particle caches, and deformation caches. LightWave cannot reference cameras, animations or arrangements from other scenes at this time. It can import cameras, animations and arrangements from other scenes using Load From Scene, but it cannot reference them. It looks like modo referencing goes deeper (http://docs.luxology.com/modo/501/help/pages/modointerface/ImportReference.html) than LightWave's referencing at this time.
(easier UV mapping?) - my co-workers can't stand the modo Shader Tree, but they will use modo to UV map their LightWave models. LightWave 11.5 ships with an ABF UV unwrapper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB6IzVi0mPk), and the plg UV tools (http://homepage2.nifty.com/nif-hp/index2_english.htm)for LightWave are useful. However, it's possible that modo still has easier UV mapping than LightWave. I don't know for sure, since I have not used modo myself.


That said, you should make your final judgement after trying each package. I'm glad you're trying the demos of both packages. Better yet, find friend(s) who have copies of each package for a longer test drive. If either package meets your needs, go with the one that "sings" to you.

paulhart
03-16-2013, 02:45 PM
MannaTheBerserk, Hello...
I mostly agree with the postings here, as I use both, and have for some time, and for the past two(2) years include Blender. The point of my response is to talk about the dual monitor aspect. I recently moved my entire platform OS to Win7 Pro64bit, as most of the software I use was not yet available (stable?) on the 64bit side, and a recent project brought my 32bit stations to a slow crawl. I have had the 64bit hardware for several years. I have always run Layout on one monitor and Modeler on the other successfully (1920x1080 dual ASUS monitors). One of my stations started "coughing up hairballs" (BSOD) in the transition, and I was all for blaming any number of things, including the Lightwave dongle. Eventually discovered that the graphics driver (nVidia) update was the culprit. Over the next two days I persisted, and found that a somewhat earlier driver from nVidia is now stable on this station, but the Windows update to WDDM 1.1/1.2 still generates a BSOD and I am not installing it, as the graphics driver, screens and all of the software work fine on this station. My second station, different graphics nVidia card and driver, no such problems. Graphics card drivers are more often the problem than we generally imagine. Maybe this will help your quest. While Genoma is excellent development, invest in Rebelhill's character rigging tools, he knows what he is doing!!
Good luck in your transition.

shrox
03-16-2013, 02:52 PM
Honestly, MannaTheBerserk sounds like a real artist! It's the skill set that makes the tools work. The tools in Lightwave are sharp and flexible, and keep their sharp edge over time.

hrgiger
03-16-2013, 03:46 PM
I have used LightWave for many years and was using Modo for the last 3 or 4 years since Modo 401 came out. I have criticisms of both LightWave and Modo but for the money/value, ease of use, workflow, I have to say that currently LightWave better suits my needs. In fact, I sold my Modo license about 4 or 5 months ago because I had been waiting for sometime for character animation in Modo and when they released 601 and their answer was to incorporate a third party IK tool as one of their headline features for CA in Modo, I just didn't feel that's the direction I had been hoping they would take. I also don't like the shader tree in Modo and quite honestly, I just never took to the way things work in Modo as easily as I did with LightWave. Granted I am always curious about Modo development and if I ever thought that Modo would better suit my needs, I would use it again, either as a replacement or in addition to LightWave. Both Newtek and Luxology have a talented group of programmers working for them and honestly, I root for both of them to do well because its about time Autodesk had some serious competition.

Granted, LightWave has a whole other bag of issues that frustrate me often but what software is perfect right? I suppose my main concern about LightWave is the integration issue. Supposedly the plan is to eventually merge modeler and Layout into a single application although you won't hear Newtek talk about this much, they are pretty tight lipped anymore about their future direction. But I'm concerned with when integration will happen, if it will happen, and when and if it happens, will it be done correctly? On the plus side, LightWave 11 in comparison to LightWave 10 is a tremendous value with good usable features and so for the time being, LightWave fills most of my needs.

After that, you may wonder if integration is so important to me, why wouldn't I prefer Modo since it is an integrated application. Well, because even thought Modo is a integrated application, I wonder why things like modeling operations aren't animatable? I also wonder why they didn't go with a modifier stack or some other method to allow a non-destructive workflow. I'm also concerned too with their recent merger with the Foundry. I've received a few emails from them, I guess I'm still on their mailing list and they are all from the Foundry. Seems they're really running the show or at least that's how it looks. So I wonder in the long run if that will be a good thing or bad. I'd just be concerned about buying into Modo at this point without waiting to see how all that will go.

safetyman
03-16-2013, 04:24 PM
For me, it's Lightwave's renderer. There's no other 3D app out there that makes it as easy to get a great render in no time flat. Texturing is also quite easy and intuitive. I've been using Blender a lot lately for modeling and rigging (haven't used Genoma yet), but I always go back to LW for final lighting and rendering. Nothing can touch it.

dwburman
03-16-2013, 05:46 PM
I just thought I'd chime in about a couple of things that have already been mentioned.

Like Nick Digital said, there hasn't been any of that subscription/maintenance plan nonsense and you aren't punished for skipping an upgrade. The exception to that is for people who upgraded during a specific period where one of the perks was a reduced upgrade price for the next 5 upgrades. If I skip a version (or two or three), I'll lose my $200 discount, and I'll just have to pay the normal upgrade price.

Like hrgiger said, the developers are new very tight lipped about new features, etc. The current model is to not talk about features until they are in place and working (though they still may need development time between the announcement and a shipping product). The LightWave Group doesn't want to announce something they can't deliver. This makes some people nervous, and we don't like being left completely in the dark, but it's better than being disappointed in something that was announced but not successfully implemented.

Serling
03-16-2013, 06:09 PM
One thing I noticed though: Lightwave doesn't support dual monitor configuration, which is kind of annoying to be honest ( try to put layout and modeler one into a different monitor and see Lightwave die )

I run Lightwave on dual monitors all the time and have never had it crash for this reason. I'm running dual 20" monitors at full 1600x900 resolution using an Nvidia Quadro FX 1800 card and Lightwave never gives me any probelm with video display.

I don't know enough about character animation or rigging in any package to tell you which one is best, but Lightwave 11.5 (64bit here) is fast and stable. Unfortunately, I'm going to DAVE school for a year to learn Maya, so I've kinda' put Lightwave on the back burner for now. Good luck.

Doctor49152
03-16-2013, 07:19 PM
I think every 3d package really has it's pros and cons and only you can decide them based on your needs. Some will say CA, other modelling and for me its rendering. But in the end I find that it's how it integrates into your pipeline that really matters. I've found that LW works amazingly well if your pipeline is set up solidly. The interchange tools are getting better with every update. The GoAE is such a life saver I can't even begin to describe. If you use Zbrush its the same. If you use mudbox, fusion or Nuke not so much.

I find the customer support and community to be amazing. It's not a big as say Mayas community but I find that everyone will jump in and help you if you have a question. There are also a lot of good training videos for free (by newtek and on youtube). Yes it is quiet from NewTek about what is being developed for the next version. But I will also say they will not release it until they are 1000% sure everything works. LightWave 11.5 is the proof of that. There are some amazing 3rd party plugins too. I just purchased the octane renderer and am loving it.

If you are used to LW from amiga 4000 days then you'll have to learn about all the new ways of doing things. I've been doing things the same way for 20 years almost since 1995. I still use the classic scene editor even though the Dope editor is super amazing. Old habits die hard I guess. There is always the debate about combining modeller and layout into one app. As it is I like the two different applications. Their cross communications could be a little better though. Modeler is pretty amazing and rock solid but it could still use a little love (like better OpenGL). Again 11.5 is heading in the right direction.

For what it's worth I am using LW11.5 across 3 monitors at the moment without any problems.

Ryan Roye
03-16-2013, 08:09 PM
Concerning the dual monitor crash thing...

Is your graphics card drivers up to date? I remember having some issues with Lightwave that were fixed upon updating my drivers. Worth a shot *shrug*

shrox
03-16-2013, 08:56 PM
I had Lightwave running on two 24" monitors in 2009.

Rayek
03-17-2013, 02:11 AM
I'd say get Lightwave, Blender, and 3dCoat. Those should cover the bases quite nicely, including motion and object tracking and great sculpting/texture painting when required. Mdd works great between Lightwave and Blender. 3DCoat works great with both, and supports ptex.

Keep your old Maya handy, just in case. I still use my old Cinema4d license for certain tasks (xfrog mainly).

Are your screens connected physically to one 4000 each? Some applications have trouble with that.

Darth Mole
03-17-2013, 03:16 AM
If you went to the Modo forum, I think you'd get precisely the opposite answer you have here. Modo users are a zealous bunch and very supportive of their app. I have it and don't really like it. I hate the sharer tree and the app is still quite unstable - I can't remember a single session I did not encounter some weirdness or a crash. The sculpting/painting tools don't seem to have been worked on at all to make them more useable, and while it's a very powerful SDS modeller, there's really not much I can't do in LW.

The one thing about Modo is the link with The Foundry; this will no doubt take Modo in a much more production-friendly direction, with closer ties to Mari and Nuke and better interop overall. But one thing I have noticed is how Modo is becoming more and more complex to use, while LW retains a general simplicity. I'm not a professional so I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing; but I do know I can just get things done with LW without having to seek our one of Brad's video guides.

Of course there's always Cinema 4D, which - to a some extents - is better than both LW and Modo... (Discuss)

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 07:31 AM
best advice download the software and play around with it https://www.lightwave3d.com/try/ ...

if you need content to play around with or want to learn some stuff go here http://lightwiki.com/

if you want to learn about rigging and CA Rebelhill is probably the best in the business in this regard and generally wont ***** foot around giving you it straight up

as for modo 701 is coming out and looks very good.


Thank you for the advice OnlineRender!

I had the chance to try the eval version of Lightwave ( it was v 10.x I think )but not the latest one.

Now that you posted a useful link to some content to play with I will certainly get the most out of the evaluation period.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 07:41 AM
As a long time professional user of both apps (LW since 5.6 and Modo since 101) I can say that both are great and you couldn't go wrong with either choice. Modo on the surface seems to be the strongest modeler but I find myself modeling in LW most of the time because for me it's a faster modeler for what I do day in day out. And now with the new ABF UV unwrapping in 11.5 I'm UVing everthing in LW as well, even though modo has much a much stronger UV toolset IMO. Both renderers are great, LW offers the simpler layer shading system as well as the more powerfull nodal system. Modo just has the crappy shader tree. If 701 has a simpler easier to use shading system I'll be real tempted to jump in, but my general thoughts over the last few months has been that 601 provides most of what I need and probably would not be upgrading my personal license or work license. LW is just so familar and the recent 11 and 11.5 upgrades have been fantastic. At work we have a floating license of Modo that we use in conjunction with the CAD Loaders plugin (which is great BTW) and I thought that when we purchased it we could slowly ween off of LW and maybe become a Modo shop, but the guys have not taken a liking to it so far. Partly because they just don't like change as well as we always seem to be under the gun to get stuff out the door and switching/learning would just kill us in getting the work done. I'm proficient in and know each modeling portion of each app really well, LW is the faster of the two for the things I do everyday. However I think Modo is the more modern and feature rich modeler of the two, just not the fastest. :) On a feature comparision chart both would be missing features that the other has, so it really comes down to your own personal/work needs and whether LW or Modo provides the tools to accommodate them.

Hi,

Thank you for your feedback!

Unfortunately it looks like Modo is currently lacking more tools than Lightwave does, and this is not good at all.

Here is the answer I got from another user on Modo community:


Hi Mauro,
i think you should wait with your decision till 701 is shipping. i dont know what your focus is in 3d, but if its character animation or animation in general i would not count on 601. luxology really took a big step foreward from 501 to 601 in animation (deformers were introduced, bones were integrated the first time (by the way its not called bones in modo, but i just forgot what they call it)), but there were a few glitches, which did not make it a pleasure to animate with modo. for example editing multiple channels is in need of improvement. since now it is, as i know, not possible to manipulate multiple key handles at once. of course you can link channels or build a rig to avoid this issues, but there are also some other weaknesses, like cloth simulations (i think its not really possible at the moment in a streamlined character animation workflow) or dynamic hair and hair in general. there are also issues with performance and the responsiveness of the viewport and the preview renderer in big scenes.
for me 601 was a great release, even if there were some issues and halfbaked tools, 601 showed me the direction luxology is heading. it seems like luxology is following some kind of masterplan. the sneak peeks of 701 approved my impression. the new particle system assembles features, which are build in since 401 and it seems to me, as far as i have seen, that most issues i have talked about above are taken care of in 701. against the background of the merger with the foundry and its investor the carlyle group and the philosophy of the luxology team, i think it is not implausible that modo is heading in long-term to become market leader. of course you'll never know and its maybe wishful thinking.
regards,
samu

So, on a feature comparison chart Modo looks the weaker, although I know it is a more modern software and it is also very powerful.

Modo, as far as I can see, cannot be used alone from a 3D generalist like me, whilst Maya and Lightwave yes, they can both live as unique 3D apps in my software set. Am I right?

Thank you

Mauro.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 07:59 AM
I'd say get both.

[QUOTE]Or Cinema 4D, Hundini, or XSI.

Cinema 4D is good, we have it at studio, but it's far less powerful than Lightwave.
Houdini: I have a friend who constantly works with this software ( he's a TD in Framestore ) and told me that it requires quite a good amount of scripting skills to get the most out of it ( I don't have time to do this honestly ).
XSI: it's even more expensive than Maya ( I am looking for a software to buy by myself, not through the company I am working for ).



Keep Maya, and don't expect to get a replacement by spending half the money.

Quite frankly I have to disagree: the owner of a CGI/VFX company called "Spark Digital" ( an Italian company ) switched to Blender and Linux many years ago, and guess what? They switched from Maya.
So the not only cut the costs to... nothing ( Blender is free ) but they also got rid of the worst software house customer service ever: Autodesk.

Finally, I already wrote the reasons why I don't want to have anything to do with Autodesk and Maya anymore, reasons that brought me to the decision I exposed in this forum and in the Modo community as well.


Both LightWave and Modo are presently up and coming with strengths in each app. With probably the most promising new releases in the next two years.

The difference so far is that Lightwave is a more complete package than Modo.



Then I would also look into what Blender can give you in the way of Character Animation and rigging. It really is a pleasure in that department. As another alternative to animating and some other cool effects, consider Messiah.

In short I think you are selling yourself short by narrowing your search to decide on one application. If you really want to replace Maya look to expand your tool set. That's what I'd do.

Blender is a really good application, but unfortunately its tools are far from being as straight forward as the ones of the other packages ( I hate the way to move the pivot point, for example, because it just doesn't get the job done like it should be... But there are so many things that are too odd, I don't want to write a list ).
Not to speak of it's stu.pid UI.

I have a license of Messiah Studio v6, so yes, I think I can include it into my tool set.

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 08:06 AM
You could also look at messiah to compliment your character animation needs.

Here's another good bit of info that may push you to LightWave. You state that you a user from a looooong time ago. If you still have that registered copy you should be eligible to upgrade to 11.5 for the upgrade price. NewTek doesn't do that subscription nonsense and you can upgrade from any version for the one upgrade price. There's no penalty or tiered price structure depending on what version you have. So as a user you never feel punished for not keeping current. At a user group meeting, Rob Powers, the president of the LW group, said if you do not feel the next version is worth buying then they haven't done their job on making it worth your money. You should upgrade cuz you want what they've done. Not because you have to. If you don't feel the upgrade is worth your money, then wait for the next one and buy in on that one. You won't get punished for bypassing an upgrade.

Unfortunately my old Lightwave license ( I think it was v 4...? Can't remember really ) gone with my old Amiga 4000 T and the Video Toaster hardware long time ago.
I suppose I made a huge favour to thew guy who bought the whole lot.

Anyway, I never rush when I have to buy something I need for work and I am not going to rush this time as well.

In my own career I switched from many 3D packages to other just because of their tool sets and their learning cuve of course: I still remember when I switched from Impulse Imagine to Lightwave.

I don't mind skipping update also: in fact I haven't been using Lightwave since my Amiga version. Instead I went for Softimage 3D Extreme ( then Power animator... then Maya as a natural evolution ).

This time around I feel I can go for another software again though.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 08:14 AM
Some advantages to Lightwave:
Its workflow is fast and capable of good results quickly
LW 11.5 feels very stable and reliable.
The preview renderer VPR gives quality feedback for surfacing and lighting
The new team are enthusiastic and listening to the user base as well as innovating e.g. The modular multirigger Genoma, great for complex characters.
Excellent renderer with fast GI
Nodal surfacing or Photoshop style layers, whichever you prefer.
Loads of great plugins e.g. LW CAD, RHiggit, Messiah as well as awesome free stuff such as DP Lights and nodes.
Great forum: very inclusive, no silly pro vs hobbyist snobbery.
Economical upgrades compared to other software.

Can't speak for Modo, it's a respected software made by Lightwave's original creators, though it looks like price increases are on the way. Personally never felt a need to invest as Zbrush is a brilliant complement to Lightwave.

These are all quite a bunch of very good reasons to go for Lightwave indeed.

The only thing that worries me, after having seen a couple of videos about the render engine, is the actual speed against the final quality. I have seen things like rendering a couple of simple objects in almost 5 minutes to get a good polished render...
...I mean, 5 minutes for two objects? This is a totally counterproductive render time.
With Maya/Mental Ray, same scene, same resolution, same final quality ( probably even better than the one showed in the video ) it could take around maximum a minute.
Maybe the guy was just trying to show the various possibilities that Lightwave gives you to tweak the render settings ( in that case I can totally understand what he was doing there ).

I also had a look in this forum thread about the render speed and hardware configurations, and to me those times look crazy, especially if compared to what machines the scene is running on. I don't know, I want to try the same scene on my PC with Mental Ray and see what happens.
I am probably wrong, or that could easily represent some sort of extreme situation.

Surrealist.
03-17-2013, 09:09 AM
[QUOTE=Surrealist.;1309384]I'd say get both.



Cinema 4D is good, we have it at studio, but it's far less powerful than Lightwave.
Houdini: I have a friend who constantly works with this software ( he's a TD in Framestore ) and told me that it requires quite a good amount of scripting skills to get the most out of it ( I don't have time to do this honestly ).
XSI: it's even more expensive than Maya ( I am looking for a software to buy by myself, not through the company I am working for ).




Quite frankly I have to disagree: the owner of a CGI/VFX company called "Spark Digital" ( an Italian company ) switched to Blender and Linux many years ago, and guess what? They switched from Maya.
So the not only cut the costs to... nothing ( Blender is free ) but they also got rid of the worst software house customer service ever: Autodesk.

Finally, I already wrote the reasons why I don't want to have anything to do with Autodesk and Maya anymore, reasons that brought me to the decision I exposed in this forum and in the Modo community as well.



The difference so far is that Lightwave is a more complete package than Modo.




Blender is a really good application, but unfortunately its tools are far from being as straight forward as the ones of the other packages ( I hate the way to move the pivot point, for example, because it just doesn't get the job done like it should be... But there are so many things that are too odd, I don't want to write a list ).
Not to speak of it's stu.pid UI.

I have a license of Messiah Studio v6, so yes, I think I can include it into my tool set.

Thank you very much for your feedback.

Mauro

Good to hear you have Messiah. I'd take another look at Blender though. I have been using it for 4 years now and it really is a great app and a wonderful tool to add to LightWave. It did take a while to get used to the interface, but then so did Zbrush and I hate the ZB interface! Still! But the tools rock. Blender is in that kind of class. You have to work with it. Once you learn it, you see the light - likely. I would not count on it to replace Maya - that's my opinion. But animating is easier than LW.

Also I agree on Houdini - just tossing it out there. Don't know enough about Cinema 4D so retracted for now. Softimage is cheaper than Maya. But that is a moot point I guess.

But regarding LightWave I don't think you'll be disappointed as an app but I am not sure you'll be happy with its limitations coming from Maya. My opinion which is what you wanted.

And again about Lux, your call.

In either case, if you come back to LightWave it can not hurt to have it in your pipeline regardless of what you do. It will be a great addition. So my suggestion. Yeah. Get it. It does great things, simply.

Just don't toss all of your eggs in one basket at this point. I think that would be a mistake.

Just my opinion.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:10 AM
Greetings. I've used LightWave in production since 1999. My current job is to glue multiple packages together with Python and (in the case of After Effects) JavaScript. Here's my take on LightWave and modo from a pipeline standpoint:

LightWave pipeline pros:


(ASCII file format) - If you've ever had to rely on *.ma files for pipeline reasons, consider that LightWave offers an ASCII-based scene file format (LWS) that references binary file formats. In turn, these binary file formats have been almost completely documented in both the SDK and online: LWO (http://content.gpwiki.org/index.php/LWO), PFX (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.dstorm.co.jp/dsproducts/developers/Technical_Data/PFXFileFormat.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpfx%2Bformat_version%26hl%3Den%26biw% 3D1920%26bih%3D995&sa=X&ei=o8BEUfjOF4OyyAGy-IDABA&ved=0CFwQ7gEwBQ), MDD (http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=ja&u=http://www.dstorm.co.jp/dsproducts/developers/Technical_Data/MDDFileFormat.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmdd%2Bsite:dstorm.co.jp%26hl%3Den%26b iw%3D1920%26bih%3D995&sa=X&ei=1sBEUbSnHoizyAGK2ICQBQ&ved=0CDIQ7gEwAA), XML (http://images.autodesk.com/latin_am_main/files/2144863_Autodesk_WP_XML-at-Autodesk.pdf). The only other non-Autodesk packages I know of that offer ASCII file formats are Terragen and Poser. The LWS file format can be hacked with any text editor or sliced-and-diced with a Python script. modo uses a binary scene file format that cannot be hacked with a text editor. As I understand it, the modo LXO file format is documented -- it's just not hackable with a common text editor.
(Autodesk Maya interchange) - LightWave can directly load and export the Autodesk XML file format for deforming meshes. At work this meant that we could directly load Maya deformations into LightWave for creature shots in Terra Nova (http://www.wired.com/video/culture/movies--tv/1281721644001/terra-nova-vfx-reel/1281770048001), Grimm, Hunger Games (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8JJsNQoIDc) (the hand-keyed wasps right before the nest falls) and The Amazing Spider-Man. modo does not load or export XMLs at this time. Both LightWave and modo support FBX and OBJ.
(RealFlow support) - LightWave has better integration with RealFlow than modo at this time:
NextLimit offers a set of RealFlow plug-ins for LightWave (http://support.nextlimit.com/display/rfkb/Connectivity+Plug-ins+FAQs), but not modo. This means you cannot easily add RealFlow water to a modo scene, since you cannot directly export the modo scene to RealFlow's SD file format.
RealFlow can directly import LWO objects, but not native modo formats. You would have to export OBJs or LWOs out of modo.
RealFlow can directly export mesh sequences in LightWave's native LWO file format, which LightWave can load as an object sequence. These objects also have embedded speed "endomorphs" (a vertex-level blendshape embedded within LightWave objects) that can be vibrated for simulated motion blur in LightWave. modo can load object sequences, but I do not think there is a way to get RealFlow's embedded motion blur to appear in modo at this time.
modo's sole support for RealFlow comes from 3rd-party scripts (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=37&t=27345) (which cannot load the motion blur of object sequences as far as I know) and a native particle loader that ships with modo 601 (http://www.luxology.com/tv/training/view.aspx?id=614).
I have tips for artists on LW<>RealFlow surfacing (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?122826-Realflow-2012-Learning-Edition&p=1196030&viewfull=1#post1196030) and motion blur (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?126188-Realflow-RFRK-2-5-now-for-Cinema-4D&p=1254166&viewfull=1#post1254166) if you choose to use LightWave for your work.
(one example of LW<>RF) This LightWave/RealFlow skull-splash effect (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTNfGZTnp3c#t=00m48s) made it onto the SIGGRAPH 2010 reel.

(After Effects support) - LightWave 11.5 can natively exchange (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0Bz0RiS5o4) cameras, nulls and lights with After Effects. modo artists can do this, too, but they need a third-party script (http://aeportal.blogspot.com/2010/12/afterfxio-interchange-between-ae-modo.html).
(third-party support) - LightWave has more (https://www.lightwave3d.com/third_party/) third-party developers than modo (http://www.luxology.com/store/plugins/) at this time.
(easier surfacing) - LightWave offers the option of using layers or a Node Editor to define surface properties, and layers and Nodes can be mixed-and-matched. LightWave also ships with material nodes (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here) that can make basic surfaces like glass, gin (https://www.lightwave3d.com/static/media/uploads/gallery_images/advertising/motion_theory-tanqueray_3_glasses_ad.jpg) and metal easier to create. In contrast, modo has a Shader Tree (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=32&t=67766) system that my co-workers find difficult to use.


I have not had any problem with using LightWave across two monitors at work or at home.

I do not know if modo or LightWave has a better native EXR solution at this time. At work we use the third-party exrTrader (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/about) by db&w for all LW->AfterFX and LW->Nuke output. I have a video presentation about what exrTrader can do here (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/videos). At work we do not use multichannel EXR files. We use exrTrader's option to export AOVs (http://renderspud.blogspot.com/2010/05/arbitrary-output-variables-aov-and.html) to separate folders instead. I do not know if modo can export AOVs to separate folders at this time.

Most of what I know about modo right now comes from friends and co-workers who use modo occasionally for modeling/UVs. They do not use modo outside of that context. Here are some possible modo pipeline advantages:

(better native multichannel EXR support?) - if you do not purchase exrTrader (http://www.db-w.com/products/exrtrader/about) for LightWave, you must rely on the native EXR output of both programs. It looks like the native modo EXR solution allows users to rename channels (http://forums.luxology.com/topic.aspx?f=32&t=43235), while the native LightWave EXR solution does not. This difference disappears with exrTrader, which does allow users to rename channels.
(native render pass system) - LightWave does not ship with a render pass system at this time similar to Maya render layers. modo started shipping with a native render pass system (http://www.luxology.com/training/video.aspx?id=616) in version 601. At work we use a custom-built render pass system for our LightWave 3D output, but other LightWave users rely on a third-party render pass system called Janus (http://faulknermano.com/janus/overview.html).
(deeper referencing?) - I've relied on LightWave's rock-solid, basic referencing since 1999. It's unbreakable, but the references are restricted to one level of mesh data (two levels if you consider the images referenced in turn by those meshes), particle caches, and deformation caches. LightWave cannot reference cameras, animations or arrangements from other scenes at this time. It can import cameras, animations and arrangements from other scenes using Load From Scene, but it cannot reference them. It looks like modo referencing goes deeper (http://docs.luxology.com/modo/501/help/pages/modointerface/ImportReference.html) than LightWave's referencing at this time.
(easier UV mapping?) - my co-workers can't stand the modo Shader Tree, but they will use modo to UV map their LightWave models. LightWave 11.5 ships with an ABF UV unwrapper (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB6IzVi0mPk), and the plg UV tools (http://homepage2.nifty.com/nif-hp/index2_english.htm)for LightWave are useful. However, it's possible that modo still has easier UV mapping than LightWave. I don't know for sure, since I have not used modo myself.


That said, you should make your final judgement after trying each package. I'm glad you're trying the demos of both packages. Better yet, find friend(s) who have copies of each package for a longer test drive. If either package meets your needs, go with the one that "sings" to you.

Hi Celshader,

This feedback of yours is indeed very very useful!

As a Maya user I am used to work with ASCII scenes file formats of course. They are the most reliable file format for peace of mind and flexibility and helped me in so many occasions that I really don't know how could I have done without.
So, ASCII support is definitely one big point that favours Lightwave.

All the other points are indeed a big plus.

One thing that I am glad of is that Lightwave UI is not changed so much since the last time I was using it: this means I don't have to start completely from scratch ( which normally I wouldn't mind to do, but it is better not having to do it, isn't it? ).

Thank you, really good technical post that I hoped to read sooner or later.

Mauro.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:15 AM
MannaTheBerserk, Hello...
I mostly agree with the postings here, as I use both, and have for some time, and for the past two(2) years include Blender. The point of my response is to talk about the dual monitor aspect. I recently moved my entire platform OS to Win7 Pro64bit, as most of the software I use was not yet available (stable?) on the 64bit side, and a recent project brought my 32bit stations to a slow crawl. I have had the 64bit hardware for several years. I have always run Layout on one monitor and Modeler on the other successfully (1920x1080 dual ASUS monitors). One of my stations started "coughing up hairballs" (BSOD) in the transition, and I was all for blaming any number of things, including the Lightwave dongle. Eventually discovered that the graphics driver (nVidia) update was the culprit. Over the next two days I persisted, and found that a somewhat earlier driver from nVidia is now stable on this station, but the Windows update to WDDM 1.1/1.2 still generates a BSOD and I am not installing it, as the graphics driver, screens and all of the software work fine on this station. My second station, different graphics nVidia card and driver, no such problems. Graphics card drivers are more often the problem than we generally imagine. Maybe this will help your quest. While Genoma is excellent development, invest in Rebelhill's character rigging tools, he knows what he is doing!!
Good luck in your transition.

Hello Paul,

I will look at the NVidia drivers and try to find out what is the good one ( wish me luck! :D ). I also am sure that the issue is on the drivers side and not Lightwave.

Also I'll have a go with RH character rigging tools.

thank you for the advice!

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:18 AM
Honestly, MannaTheBerserk sounds like a real artist! It's the skill set that makes the tools work. The tools in Lightwave are sharp and flexible, and keep their sharp edge over time.

Well, the reason that pushed me to make Maya my 3D package of choice the first time I saw it is this claim ( apart from the impressive tool set of course ) that turned out to be true:"Maya: 3D Tools for Artists Minds".

More or less it sounded like that ;-)

nickdigital
03-17-2013, 10:20 AM
Unfortunately my old Lightwave license ( I think it was v 4...? Can't remember really ) gone with my old Amiga 4000 T and the Video Toaster hardware long time ago.
I suppose I made a huge favour to thew guy who bought the whole lot.

Anyway, I never rush when I have to buy something I need for work and I am not going to rush this time as well.


If you go the LW route do this. Find an old version and buy that. This person is selling their 9.6.1 license.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?134097-LightWave-9-6-1-SpeedEdit-Commercial-version

If you're concerned about transferring licenses between users don't worry. This happens all the time and NewTek allows it. If you really wanna challenge your bargain hunting skills you could see if someone is selling their old copy and any plugins that they've bought. Then you'd be getting an even better deal.

Right now there's a promo where if you upgrade to 11.5 you get LWCAD for free. If you do arch-viz stuff you not only need this but you will want it. Even if you don't do arch-viz stuff they're an amazing set of tools.
http://wtools3d.com/

There's also a LW user group promo for TFD that'll expire in a month (if my memory is working right).
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133047-TurbulenceFD-LightWave-User-Group-Purchase
http://www.jawset.com/

So if you go the LW route you could be jumping in at the perfect time to pick up some great tools at a great price.

Here's a quick list of 3rd party plugins that are out there.
https://www.lightwave3d.com/third_party/

There's also this as a plugin resource.
http://lwplugindb.com/

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:28 AM
I have used LightWave for many years and was using Modo for the last 3 or 4 years since Modo 401 came out. I have criticisms of both LightWave and Modo but for the money/value, ease of use, workflow, I have to say that currently LightWave better suits my needs. In fact, I sold my Modo license about 4 or 5 months ago because I had been waiting for sometime for character animation in Modo and when they released 601 and their answer was to incorporate a third party IK tool as one of their headline features for CA in Modo, I just didn't feel that's the direction I had been hoping they would take. I also don't like the shader tree in Modo and quite honestly, I just never took to the way things work in Modo as easily as I did with LightWave. Granted I am always curious about Modo development and if I ever thought that Modo would better suit my needs, I would use it again, either as a replacement or in addition to LightWave. Both Newtek and Luxology have a talented group of programmers working for them and honestly, I root for both of them to do well because its about time Autodesk had some serious competition.

Granted, LightWave has a whole other bag of issues that frustrate me often but what software is perfect right? I suppose my main concern about LightWave is the integration issue. Supposedly the plan is to eventually merge modeler and Layout into a single application although you won't hear Newtek talk about this much, they are pretty tight lipped anymore about their future direction. But I'm concerned with when integration will happen, if it will happen, and when and if it happens, will it be done correctly? On the plus side, LightWave 11 in comparison to LightWave 10 is a tremendous value with good usable features and so for the time being, LightWave fills most of my needs.

After that, you may wonder if integration is so important to me, why wouldn't I prefer Modo since it is an integrated application. Well, because even thought Modo is a integrated application, I wonder why things like modeling operations aren't animatable? I also wonder why they didn't go with a modifier stack or some other method to allow a non-destructive workflow. I'm also concerned too with their recent merger with the Foundry. I've received a few emails from them, I guess I'm still on their mailing list and they are all from the Foundry. Seems they're really running the show or at least that's how it looks. So I wonder in the long run if that will be a good thing or bad. I'd just be concerned about buying into Modo at this point without waiting to see how all that will go.


I agree with everything you said about Autodesk ( they own basically all the industry standard main 3D packages, and this is no good ).

I also share your feelings about The Foundry taking over ( yes, this is what I am under the impression of ) Luxology.

About integration: well, it's since the time of Lightwave 4 that I hear people talking about Layout and Modeler merged together but it never happened and I don't think this is going to happen, and honestly I can't see why it should happen seeing how well tested and reliable is the current system.

I mean, I just don't mind the way Lightwave is organized, to be honest.

Thank you for your answer.

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:35 AM
I just thought I'd chime in about a couple of things that have already been mentioned.

Like Nick Digital said, there hasn't been any of that subscription/maintenance plan nonsense and you aren't punished for skipping an upgrade. The exception to that is for people who upgraded during a specific period where one of the perks was a reduced upgrade price for the next 5 upgrades. If I skip a version (or two or three), I'll lose my $200 discount, and I'll just have to pay the normal upgrade price.

Like hrgiger said, the developers are new very tight lipped about new features, etc. The current model is to not talk about features until they are in place and working (though they still may need development time between the announcement and a shipping product). The LightWave Group doesn't want to announce something they can't deliver. This makes some people nervous, and we don't like being left completely in the dark, but it's better than being disappointed in something that was announced but not successfully implemented.

You Sir have a great point here: announcing something that will not be successfully if not at all implemented in the final release is somewhat disappointing.

Well, this is exactly what happens EVERY time a new Maya version is announced and then released. I can tell you even worse: sometimes they don't put the new stuff in the new release because they put it, at a not fully complete stage, in what they call SAP ( Subscription Advantage Pack ), which means that you have to pay a Subscription on top of the price of the software itself.
How does this sound to you?
To me it sounds rubbish.

So I agree with you: I'd rather be in the darkness not knowing any anticipations about new tools and then see them fully integrated and perfectly functioning in the final release of the 3D package, then having to tolerate something like Autodesk is constantly doing.

Nicolas Jordan
03-17-2013, 10:41 AM
I have used both modo and Lightwave extensively for architectural visualization work mainly. I have been rendering in modo the past few years because that's what we decided to use at work. I absolutely hate the Shader Tree system modo has. Things can get screwed up very easily in large scenes that have 100s of materials etc and can take hours to figure out what went wrong when there is a deadline looming. I spend much of my time keeping everything organized in both the shader tree and item list. Modo is really a love/hate relationship for me. I like how many of the technologies seem to be more integrated with each other in modo some features it has make life much easier making up for it's negatives usually. Modo seems great for relatively small to medium sized projects but I would say Lightwave is much more efficient at handling large projects and scenes. I have been doing tests in Lightwave 11.5 with some current projects and may end up rendering some stuff in Lightwave again eventually if I can get it to do all the things I require. Both programs have pros and cons and that's why I own both.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:42 AM
I think every 3d package really has it's pros and cons and only you can decide them based on your needs. Some will say CA, other modelling and for me its rendering. But in the end I find that it's how it integrates into your pipeline that really matters. I've found that LW works amazingly well if your pipeline is set up solidly. The interchange tools are getting better with every update. The GoAE is such a life saver I can't even begin to describe. If you use Zbrush its the same. If you use mudbox, fusion or Nuke not so much.

I find the customer support and community to be amazing. It's not a big as say Mayas community but I find that everyone will jump in and help you if you have a question. There are also a lot of good training videos for free (by newtek and on youtube). Yes it is quiet from NewTek about what is being developed for the next version. But I will also say they will not release it until they are 1000% sure everything works. LightWave 11.5 is the proof of that. There are some amazing 3rd party plugins too. I just purchased the octane renderer and am loving it.

If you are used to LW from amiga 4000 days then you'll have to learn about all the new ways of doing things. I've been doing things the same way for 20 years almost since 1995. I still use the classic scene editor even though the Dope editor is super amazing. Old habits die hard I guess. There is always the debate about combining modeller and layout into one app. As it is I like the two different applications. Their cross communications could be a little better though. Modeler is pretty amazing and rock solid but it could still use a little love (like better OpenGL). Again 11.5 is heading in the right direction.

For what it's worth I am using LW11.5 across 3 monitors at the moment without any problems.



Well, it's hard to talk about "pipeline" when you are about to buy a software for your own business ( like freelance stuff, or even just working from home during the spare time ).

I work full time in a studio where Maya is the main 3D app, but the point is that I want a software which is for me to use outside the work environment most of the time ( yes, it could happen that I bring it into my workplace, but it will not be the standard... ).

Thank you very much for your feedback!

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:47 AM
Concerning the dual monitor crash thing...

Is your graphics card drivers up to date? I remember having some issues with Lightwave that were fixed upon updating my drivers. Worth a shot *shrug*


Yes, my graphics card drivers are up to date. I could check if something newer is out though.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:53 AM
I'd say get Lightwave, Blender, and 3dCoat. Those should cover the bases quite nicely, including motion and object tracking and great sculpting/texture painting when required. Mdd works great between Lightwave and Blender. 3DCoat works great with both, and supports ptex.

Keep your old Maya handy, just in case. I still use my old Cinema4d license for certain tasks (xfrog mainly).

Are your screens connected physically to one 4000 each? Some applications have trouble with that.

Hi,

I don't like Blender at all, although it is a great piece of software I find it too messy, with an awful UI and a really not intuitive tool set. Blender requires you to completely change your way of doing 3D, which is not always good, like in its case.

For sculpting ( and also painting ) I prefer MudBox much more: photoshop compatibility, photoshop layering system ( on both sculpting and painting sides ), great native PTex integration, support for multi-UVs and more than one UV space ( something that ZBrush cannot do for example ), and most of all it is 64 Bit.

No problems with Lightwave I suppose considering the fact that the native Mudbox object format is OBJ.

About my screens: yes each screen is connected to a different video card ( they are two identical Quadro 4000 ).

Thank you

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 10:58 AM
If you went to the Modo forum, I think you'd get precisely the opposite answer you have here. Modo users are a zealous bunch and very supportive of their app. I have it and don't really like it. I hate the sharer tree and the app is still quite unstable - I can't remember a single session I did not encounter some weirdness or a crash. The sculpting/painting tools don't seem to have been worked on at all to make them more useable, and while it's a very powerful SDS modeller, there's really not much I can't do in LW.

The one thing about Modo is the link with The Foundry; this will no doubt take Modo in a much more production-friendly direction, with closer ties to Mari and Nuke and better interop overall. But one thing I have noticed is how Modo is becoming more and more complex to use, while LW retains a general simplicity. I'm not a professional so I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing; but I do know I can just get things done with LW without having to seek our one of Brad's video guides.

Of course there's always Cinema 4D, which - to a some extents - is better than both LW and Modo... (Discuss)


Well, you would be surprised about how many Modo users actually suggested me Lightwave when I stated that I needed something "complete" tool set wise.

Yes they are quite protective about their software of choice, but the real professionals do accept the facts and realize what's better in certain situations.

I was surprised I must say.

paulhart
03-17-2013, 10:59 AM
MannaTheBerserk, Hello...
I have always been the one to have the latest nVidia drivers on board, however, this transition to 64bit did not go as smoothly on the one station. I am stable with the 297.03 driver for my Quadro FX1700, the more recent ones (307.45, 311.15, 311.35) do not install without the BSOD and none of them like the Windows Update of nVidia - Graphics Adapter WDDM1.1, Graphics Adapter WDDM1.2, Other hardware - NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700 January, 2013, which I am choosing not to install currently. Good luck with the search.
Paul

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 11:04 AM
If you go the LW route do this. Find an old version and buy that. This person is selling their 9.6.1 license.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?134097-LightWave-9-6-1-SpeedEdit-Commercial-version

If you're concerned about transferring licenses between users don't worry. This happens all the time and NewTek allows it. If you really wanna challenge your bargain hunting skills you could see if someone is selling their old copy and any plugins that they've bought. Then you'd be getting an even better deal.

Right now there's a promo where if you upgrade to 11.5 you get LWCAD for free. If you do arch-viz stuff you not only need this but you will want it. Even if you don't do arch-viz stuff they're an amazing set of tools.
http://wtools3d.com/

There's also a LW user group promo for TFD that'll expire in a month (if my memory is working right).
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133047-TurbulenceFD-LightWave-User-Group-Purchase
http://www.jawset.com/

So if you go the LW route you could be jumping in at the perfect time to pick up some great tools at a great price.

Here's a quick list of 3rd party plugins that are out there.
https://www.lightwave3d.com/third_party/

There's also this as a plugin resource.
http://lwplugindb.com/


Good news, really good news!

Thank you so much for this precious information.

I am going to look for an old version of Lightwave on the internet and see what I come up with.

Mauro.

MannaTheBerserk
03-17-2013, 11:07 AM
I have used both modo and Lightwave extensively for architectural visualization work mainly. I have been rendering in modo the past few years because that's what we decided to use at work. I absolutely hate the Shader Tree system modo has. Things can get screwed up very easily in large scenes that have 100s of materials etc and can take hours to figure out what went wrong when there is a deadline looming. I spend much of my time keeping everything organized in both the shader tree and item list. Modo is really a love/hate relationship for me. I like how many of the technologies seem to be more integrated with each other in modo some features it has make life much easier making up for it's negatives usually. Modo seems great for relatively small to medium sized projects but I would say Lightwave is much more efficient at handling large projects and scenes. I have been doing tests in Lightwave 11.5 with some current projects and may end up rendering some stuff in Lightwave again eventually if I can get it to do all the things I require. Both programs have pros and cons and that's why I own both.

Thank you Nicolas,

I appreciate your feedback and I can see what your points are.

Celshader
03-17-2013, 11:10 AM
I also had a look in this forum thread about the render speed and hardware configurations, and to me those times look crazy, especially if compared to what machines the scene is running on. I don't know, I want to try the same scene on my PC with Mental Ray and see what happens.
I am probably wrong, or that could easily represent some sort of extreme situation.

Dave Jerrard designed the Benchmark Marbles scene to test modern CPUs. This benchmark scene is not representative of typical LightWave production shots.

I do recommend porting this scene to mental ray, since a port will reassure you that it is a true benchmark scene. As soon as you ask mental ray to deliver Monte Carlo with multiple reflection/refraction bounces + DOF, you will get similar render times. To quote the author:


From http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here&p=1298526&viewfull=1#post1298526

See that swirly marble to the left? He's the bastard. He was designed to push the machine. Each one of those glass swirls in it has a different refractive index. Then there's the reflections of the marbles in the floor. This was not designed to be a fast render. On the original scenes I did, this frame took over 11 hours on my quad core. This version is made to be LW 11 native - no third party plugins.

nickdigital
03-17-2013, 11:20 AM
What OS are you on? Just keep in mind that you'll have more options with the pc route.

For example, we use this plugin a lot and it's pc only.
http://www.lwplugindb.com/plugin/unreal-xtreme2/

nickdigital
03-17-2013, 11:26 AM
As a Fyi the LightWave renderer is itself. It's not a third party one like MR for Maya. You also get 999 render nodes per bought copy so you don't have to worry about licensing extra render slaves. I believe Modo just adopted this setup too though I'm not 100% sure. Aside from news blasts I haven't kept up with Modo since the 100 versions.

digitaldoc
03-17-2013, 11:27 AM
I have had several instances of Layout, plus Modeler, plus Photoshop open and working fine with 3 monitors, 1- 27" and 2- 24"

paulhart
03-17-2013, 11:38 AM
MannaTheBerserk, Hello...
I have always been the one to have the latest nVidia drivers on board, however, this transition to 64bit did not go as smoothly on the one station. I am stable with the 297.03 driver for my Quadro FX1700, the more recent ones (307.45, 311.15, 311.35) do not install without the BSOD and none of them like the Windows Update of nVidia - Graphics Adapter WDDM1.1, Graphics Adapter WDDM1.2, Other hardware - NVIDIA Quadro FX 1700 January, 2013, which I am choosing not to install currently. Good luck with the search.
Paul

Rayek
03-17-2013, 12:45 PM
Hi,

For sculpting ( and also painting ) I prefer MudBox much more: photoshop compatibility, photoshop layering system ( on both sculpting and painting sides ), great native PTex integration, support for multi-UVs and more than one UV space ( something that ZBrush cannot do for example ), and most of all it is 64 Bit.

No problems with Lightwave I suppose considering the fact that the native Mudbox object format is OBJ.

About my screens: yes each screen is connected to a different video card ( they are two identical Quadro 4000 ).

Thank you

Mauro

I thought you were moving away from AD? That is why I mentioned 3dCoat - and arguably the one of the main reasons Mudbox is often still used for sculpting by users is because the interface reminds them of Maya; AD has not given much love to Mudbox the last couple of years either, unfortunately. For painting it's good, though for sculpting I'd say there are much better tools. (At this point with dynamic tessellation added to Blender I would almost dare to say it might outperform Mudbox now... heresy! ;-)

3DCoat can handle far more geometry than Mudbox, , has awesome (re-)topology tools, and also offers everything you want (photoshop layering for both painting and sculpting, ptex, full 64 bit, multi uv, custom brushes based on actual 3d geometry, easy interface, and one-click integration with Photoshop, Lightwave, etc. The newest version 4 (available as beta) has much improved performance, and the price is very, very affordable.

Anyway, Mudbox is AD, so...

Another nice alternative for 3d painting is Mari - too bad about the pricing though!

hrgiger
03-17-2013, 01:05 PM
About integration: well, it's since the time of Lightwave 4 that I hear people talking about Layout and Modeler merged together but it never happened and I don't think this is going to happen, and honestly I can't see why it should happen seeing how well tested and reliable is the current system.

I mean, I just don't mind the way Lightwave is organized, to be honest.

Thank you for your answer.

Mauro

Well yes Mauro, the topic has been around for a long time. But back at Version 4, many of the people who now make Modo were making LightWave. Things have changed quite a bit since that time. 3-4 years ago, Newtek decided to start rewriting LightWave from scratch (LightWave CORE). Well, long story short, that idea was scrapped in favor of continuing to develop LightWave as most of us know it. But many of CORE's features are now coming into LightWave (Bullet, VPR, python, instancing, etc...) and when CORE was scrapped, we were told that even though the method of development was differing, that the destination was still the same- as in an integrated application, node based, etc... It was also mentioned in an interview with Rob Powers that they were working on a 3 year development roadmap and that one of the things that was on the table was the inegration of modeler and Layout. I don't think that implies that within 3 years we would see a 'final' integrated application, just that they had the direction they were moving towards for the next 3 years and that was part of it. But things change all the time so who knows if that's still the plan or not. But personally, I think they'd be crazy not to work towards that end. There's too many reasons to merge the applications and not many good reasons for keeping them seperate. Just because its been this long seperate doesn't mean its a tested and reliable system. It just means that people have gotten used to working with the limitations of a seperated application and I think too many people don't see the benefits of integration.

metahumanity
03-17-2013, 10:22 PM
All right guys,

Here I am with a question that could seem strange when in fact it's very important for me.

First, a little bit of presentation:
My name is Mauro and I am a professional Maya user since it's very first release on SiliconGraphis Irix ( Maya 1.0 ) which means back into 1998.

Before Maya I had been using Softimage 3D Extreme and Lightwave ( on the Amiga 4000, then on PC ).

Don't get me wrong: I love the software ( Maya ), it does everything I need to produce ( well, almost ) and it definitely is second nature for me as a 3D generalist artist.
The problem is Autodesk: they just ruined this package filling it with half developed features, integrated plugins, and so on and so forth.
They introduce new bugs and keep touching things that really didn't need to be touched because they always worked wonderfully; now even rock solid Maya native features show little bugs or glitches that weren't there before.
The icing on the cake is the really really bad Autodesk customer service, something so bad that it really is like non existent.
This to me looks just intolerable, especially as we are talking about Maya, a software that costs Ģ 2,900 ( electronic download! ).

The end of the story is: I need to switch to another solid, reliable and professional application;
I don't want to spend a fortune and it must be well supported by both a good customer service and facts ( not things like "take this because in the future release it'll have that feature..." )

I am looking at two softwares: Modo and Lightwave.

1 ) Lightwave has almost everything that could be useful in a complete pipeline, as far as I am aware ( at least so it was the good old Lightwave I knew ), but I don't know what it turned into in its latest release ( v 11.5 ).
I have seen tons of videos that definitely convinced me about its overall quality and efficiency. To cut a long story short: it looks promising and it is relatively cheap.

2) Modo is a modern application, absolutely impressive as well as its own features.
But it lacks things that, as far as I understand, Luxology adds every time a new release is announced ( like the audio support, which should have been a standard since the first release seeing that all other 3D professional software have it from ages ).
I really like the fact that Modo is so adaptable to the user ( Lightwave is not at all: you learn its way or you just don't use it! ) and it's quite customizeable ( not as much as Maya, but a good amount nonetheless ).

So, I am willing to take a small risk with one of these two applications if I need to, but it must be worth.

Now, my question ( which should be almost clear by now ):

Why should I buy Lightwave instead of Modo?
Can you professionals give me a bunch of valid reasons?
I really need unbiased opinion and, most of all, advices from you.

What I don't need is unprofessional fanboys in love with their beloved piece of software and trying to convince me to buy something, without thinking to really help me in this choice.

Thank you very much in advance for your answers.

I wish you all all the best!

Mauro

I have equal experience with Modo and LW, and while Iīm a big fan of LW it doesnīt come close to Modoīs usability.

Modo has taken its time to get where it is now, so thereīs a lack of character animation examples to judge it.

But if you take a look at the Modo Auto Character Setup version and compare it to LWs counterpart (or the more recent RHR rigger) it becomes clear that Modo is the superior package for CA...or at least will be very soon. Already you can weight, add compensation morphs and model directly on the deforming model in a much more streamlined and effective way than in LW.

It was a big mistake to put LWīs unification on hold. Real modeling in a Layout environment is incredibly powerful.

It becomes even cleare if you look at the 701 sneak peeks. Thereīs a particle video where Brad models and modifies a particle stream with regular modeling tools.

Cons: Shader tree, as already mentioned here, is inferior to LWīs surface mangement.
Some performance issues in sculpting. No good cloth.

All of these are expected to be taken care of, and are (IMHO) minr stumbling blocks in an application that now is showing much more promise than LW. The unified foundation is simply 10 times better for advanced work.

And it is becoming quite feature complete, make no mistake about that. Not that much missing now.

I feel a bit like troll right now, and I really used LW for years with great enthusiasm. But looking at both programs right now I donīt feel thereīs even a competition. Not since 601 was released, at least.

m.d.
03-18-2013, 12:42 AM
Your not a troll....everyone is entitled to opinions...
Now I want to go check out those modo videos :)

erikals
03-18-2013, 02:30 AM
third party plugins are a good reason alone >
turbulence4D
realflow
dpont plugins
lwcad + pictrix
messiah (though this goes for Modo too, i didn't fancy using a seperate app for just CA though)

more > https://www.lightwave3d.com/third_party

also you got cloth / particles / RBD / flocker
great modeling tools, alright UV tools. great shader.

afaik, much better render setup compared to Maya Mental Ray.
bit better renders too. (+Octane +soon Kray 3)


as for today, since you are a generalist, i'd choose LightWave,
still keeping an eye on Modo though

madno
03-18-2013, 02:57 AM
Just for fun,

dual monitor works here ;-)

112707

prometheus
03-18-2013, 08:16 AM
some fast thoughts about some stuff..

I have tested Modo before ..but that was some versions ago, they have this ridiculous 15 day trial V.S Lightwave 60 day trial, you can Buy into a 30 day trial which is even more ridiculous, canīt
for the life of me figure out that poor marketing.

Anyway..the recent modo version seem to have incorporated a voxel engine that seems both faster and more featured since you can use full geometry item as volumetric item, where in lightwave
you can only use points/particles/vertices for volumetrics, the voxel enginein modo also has a different illumination model and also faster depth shadows, you can also sculpt points directly in the scene.

The bullet type dynamic engine in Modo called "recoil" the users at luxology seem to be complaining about it not being as robust as Lightwaveīs bullet engine, and we do now have soft bodies and also the older
softbody/cloth fx system.

Particles in Modo? well ..havenīt seen anything there yet matching Lightwaves, Lightwaves particle system need enhancement , but they are quite capable anyway for a lot of things.

Modo fluid/fire and smoke....well it doesnīt have anything at all for that stuff, for lightwave you can get turbulenceFD for additional cost to cover Maya fluids, itīs not as well featured and implemented with other tools
as in maya I guess, but very very capable and with great results.

As a product viz tool, I think Modo might deliver the upperhand though, especially with itīs cooperation with Assault systems (solidworks) letting you import sldasm,sldprt files directly, you
also have cad loaders to import and clean up geometry to quads etc.

For animation and effects...I think Lightwave has the upperhand.
Michael

m.d.
03-18-2013, 08:23 AM
I think within days modo will have much much better particles.....

Surrealist.
03-18-2013, 09:38 AM
I have equal experience with Modo and LW, and while Iīm a big fan of LW it doesnīt come close to Modoīs usability.

Modo has taken its time to get where it is now, so thereīs a lack of character animation examples to judge it.

But if you take a look at the Modo Auto Character Setup version and compare it to LWs counterpart (or the more recent RHR rigger) it becomes clear that Modo is the superior package for CA...or at least will be very soon. Already you can weight, add compensation morphs and model directly on the deforming model in a much more streamlined and effective way than in LW.

It was a big mistake to put LWīs unification on hold. Real modeling in a Layout environment is incredibly powerful.

It becomes even cleare if you look at the 701 sneak peeks. Thereīs a particle video where Brad models and modifies a particle stream with regular modeling tools.

Cons: Shader tree, as already mentioned here, is inferior to LWīs surface mangement.
Some performance issues in sculpting. No good cloth.

All of these are expected to be taken care of, and are (IMHO) minr stumbling blocks in an application that now is showing much more promise than LW. The unified foundation is simply 10 times better for advanced work.

And it is becoming quite feature complete, make no mistake about that. Not that much missing now.

I feel a bit like troll right now, and I really used LW for years with great enthusiasm. But looking at both programs right now I donīt feel thereīs even a competition. Not since 601 was released, at least.

I tend to agree on these points. For me Modo was not quite there yet as of 601 but it is showing great promise. I think 701 will be a great release.

This is why I said and stick to the idea that it would not be an either or issue for me. And that both programs are in a phase right now where the future releases are going to be very exiting. It took 10 years for Modo to do what it will take the LightWave team at least as long or longer. But on the LightWave side, the dev team gets it. There are limitations to the old code and they are working hard to do 2 things. Continue to rebuild the core and second introduce practical functionality along the way. This will translate to some exiting features along the way on a slow methodical road to recovery.

What this means is you could conceivably handle a good deal of the pipeline in Modo. And then use LightWave to fill in the gaps. Or the other way around. And in either case reap the benefits of two up and coming apps.

The other options mentioned are adding Blender and/or and Messiah.

jeric_synergy
03-18-2013, 10:27 AM
One thing I noticed though: Lightwave doesn't support dual monitor configuration, which is kind of annoying to be honest ( try to put layout and modeler one into a different monitor and see Lightwave die ).
Dood, works fine here, and has for ages. (Windows)

OnlineRender
03-18-2013, 11:05 AM
Dood, works fine here, and has for ages. (Windows)

I don't think I could actually go back to one monitor these days.

erikals
03-18-2013, 01:26 PM
I think within days modo will have much much better particles.....

i'm not so sure, but hopefully.

prometheus
03-18-2013, 01:36 PM
i'm not so sure, but hopefully.

Revisiting what I said before about modo not having a particle system to talk about...

man..I just saw the particle sneak peak of modo 701, the first video was horrible (at least the music and the explosion stuff)
But the sneak peak 2 with the particles looked nice.

I can see a couple of stuff here already looking better than Lightwave particles, you seem to have a better openGl presentation, you have turbulence fields that seems to work better than wind turbulence, and it works to push dynamic rigid bodys down, wich we do not have currently in Lightwave particles.
the forces seem to be node controlled too...the turbulence force is very similar to that of Houdini and how it flows.

Even though it was a nice release of lw11.5 the voxel engine and now particles from Modo seems like modo is running away and leaving lightwave behind...sadly.

I think I need a lww.11.7 release with free upgrade with a particle system improved to work with bullet, and new nodal forces, better opengl and more efficient rendering, along with improved hypervoxels.

Michael

Celshader
03-18-2013, 04:31 PM
...seems like modo is running away and leaving lightwave behind...sadly.

Those with experience in using both packages can answer this question: how does modo's stability compare to LightWave 11.5's stability at this time?

prometheus
03-18-2013, 05:20 PM
Those with experience in using both packages can answer this question: how does modo's stability compare to LightWave 11.5's stability at this time?

Well yeah, justified question, but I was isolating it feature wise on very old features payed little attention to, and where modo had none previously ...but now implemented those
tool quite well it seems, stability aside though..since I canīt test and compare only going for the presentation feedback here.

We have been ranting for years for particle enhancements and hypervoxels enhancements, but not much has happened there, so I can only hope there will be some
attention very soon.

Michael

erikals
03-18-2013, 06:47 PM
i know NT is looking at it, though not sure what their agenda is.
particles could be better in every app imo, unfortunately i don't see an app that is way ahead of the other.
except for Houdini, if you have the $... xSI has some cool stuff, but still not quite there.

i've been considering for a long time to get an AD app just for the sake of the dynamics,
but it's just not there yet, to me it's not a "must have"... not yet...
so what can i do, but to sit on the fence... 112726

ivanze
03-18-2013, 08:24 PM
Those with experience in using both packages can answer this question: how does modo's stability compare to LightWave 11.5's stability at this time?

All programs have bugs, we already know that, but I remember a thread in Lux Forum titled "Modo crashes like that's its main function or something", and that was exactly what happened to a friend of mine when 601 was released. Eventually, it got better with the Service Packs, but still a lot of crashes sometimes.

prometheus
03-18-2013, 08:25 PM
All programs have bugs, we already know that, but I remember a thread in Lux Forum titled "Modo crashes like that's its main function or something", and that was exactly what happened to a friend of mine when 601 was released. Eventually it got better with the SP but still a lot of crashes sometimes.

I have started to experience more crashes with lw 11.5 than I had with 11.03 unfortunatly, a little worried about that, both modeler and layout.

Michael

ivanze
03-18-2013, 08:31 PM
Too bad, 11.5 has been very stable here for the things that I do, but I've read some people here having problems with it, mostly Mac users. I guess it depends on the tools we use. I don't work with CA, for example.

prometheus
03-18-2013, 08:39 PM
depends on..sometimes tweaking fractals with vpr on..when it occours, or modeling with dpont tree plugin etc...might be that the plugin itself hasnīt been up to date properly.

Michael

ivanze
03-18-2013, 08:40 PM
GoAE has been a great thing for us. These were done with 11.5 and After Effects by a friend and I for a regional channel. Ahh, and we used DPkit by Dpont, also. Thanks Dpont!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LqddSmWmlY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMKMt-vER8U

Nicolas Jordan
03-18-2013, 08:42 PM
Those with experience in using both packages can answer this question: how does modo's stability compare to LightWave 11.5's stability at this time?

The most recent version of modo 601 SP5 is probably just as stable as Layout 11.5 at least on my machine. I find modo to be more stable to use than Modeler 11.5. I guess it really depends on what type of work is being done. Modo seems to be very sluggish with large scenes that have many items but the upcoming 701 is supposed to be much better at dealing with large scenes.

ivanze
03-18-2013, 08:43 PM
Hmm, sometimes 3rd party plugins are the culprit of many crashes.

ivanze
03-18-2013, 08:46 PM
....

metahumanity
03-19-2013, 05:16 AM
Hmm, sometimes 3rd party plugins are the culprit of many crashes.

modo has no 3rd party plugins to speak of for now.

...which might be of relevance to this conversation, too. ACS is really the first commercial plugin *collection(, but man does it look good!!

as to stability, 601 didn]t crash once for me.

ivanze
03-19-2013, 07:31 AM
Actually, I was talking about Lightwave plugins. I don't know a lot about modo. I've been using Lightwave since version 1.0 with the Amiga/Video Toaster and I feel just fine with it for the things that I need. And latest versions have been great for me.

prometheus
03-19-2013, 10:04 AM
modo has no 3rd party plugins to speak of for now.

...which might be of relevance to this conversation, too. ACS is really the first commercial plugin *collection(, but man does it look good!!

as to stability, 601 didn]t crash once for me.


Cad loaders?

chikega
03-19-2013, 10:45 AM
Hi Mauro,
I started perhaps around the same time period as you, maybe a couple years afterwards, with my career in 3d using Softimage at work and Impluse Imagine at home. Those were the days! I turned to LW shortly after the demise of Imagine back in 1997. I used LW almost exclusively until about 2003 when I started to wander and experience other apps. I was a beta tester for messiah. I had Cinema4d but if you miss a couple upgrades, they will charge you full price. A page from Autodesk? I bought into Modo when it first came onto the seen for it's modeling. But I also bought into Silo which I believe still has one of the best modeling paradigms to this day, even though it's development has all but ceased.

I have mostly been doing illustrations for medical journals. But now there is a calling for me to do some animations for the dental school where I work. I tried to animate a dental "drill" or handpiece in Modo. I thought it would be simple enough since I had purchased and viewed most of the videos in the "Master Rigging class". I just wanted the bur to rotate. Boy was I wrong. The bur was off-axis (it being a contra-angle handpiece) and it had some serious issues. My issue was never resolved on the Modo forums. I then turned to the LW forum for help. I asked how I would do the same animation. I was not only shown step-by-step how to approach this but several people, namely Chilton and Lino Grandi stepped in. Chilton actually rigged it for me. And Lino actually created the video "Mechanical rigging with Genoma" in response to my request since there were not a lot of recent mechanical rigging tutorials in Lightwave.

I still do most of my modeling in Modo. But some things are broken such as it's symmetry feature. Also painting using displacement maps is broken (Look both of those up on the modo forums) It's well known that Nvidia cards work best with Modo and I have an ATI Radeon which makes using the sculpting/painting tools painful at best. I also don't really care for the Shader Tree (stack-based). It's OK for simple scenes. But if you have a medium to complex scene it can be a nightmare trying to figure out where the problem is. I much prefer nodal workflow. So, I use Silo and modo for most of my modeling with some Zbrush and 3dCoat. But I would have to say that some of the new modeling tools in 11.5 are rather brilliant. Lightwave is my go to app for texturing, animation and rendering.

My only caveat for you coming from a Maya background is that both Lightwave and Modo do not have an "object" mode similar to Maya. Modo has implemented something like it. But in Lightwave especially, you essentially work in layers, or select connected to move an "object" and if nothing is selected, everything is selected. I think Corey's intro video will show you some of the fundamentals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAbH234ejkI&feature=share&list=PLBscyc2_NuEA-emc2W5RTvMNpcgfosLYU

I would whole heartedly recommend video tutorials from RebelHill (Craig Monins) for Nodal Training and Rigging. I would recommend Dana Burman's tutorial on Gradients. Also Conjurebunny (Chilton) for modeling. Not to mention William Vaugn's, Lino Grandi and Cody Burk.

The Lightwave community is great and the company is not trying to price-gouge you. They will let you upgrade an older copy of Lightwave unlike Autodesk or Maxon.

prometheus
03-19-2013, 10:55 AM
Hi Mauro,
I started perhaps around the same time period as you, maybe a couple years afterwards, with my career in 3d using Softimage at work and Impluse Imagine at home. Those were the days! I turned to LW shortly after the demise of Imagine back in 1997. I used LW almost exclusively until about 2003 when I started to wander and experience other apps. I was a beta tester for messiah. I had Cinema4d but if you miss a couple upgrades, they will charge you full price. A page from Autodesk? I bought into Modo when it first came onto the seen for it's modeling. But I also bought into Silo which I believe still has one of the best modeling paradigms to this day, even though it's development has all but ceased.

I have mostly been doing illustrations for medical journals. But now there is a calling for me to do some animations for the dental school where I work. I tried to animate a dental "drill" or handpiece in Modo. I thought it would be simple enough since I had purchased and viewed most of the videos in the "Master Rigging class". I just wanted the bur to rotate. Boy was I wrong. The bur was off-axis (it being a contra-angle handpiece) and it had some serious issues. My issue was never resolved on the Modo forums. I then turned to the LW forum for help. I asked how I would do the same animation. I was not only shown step-by-step how to approach this but several people, namely Chilton and Lino Grandi stepped in. Chilton actually rigged it for me. And Lino actually created the video "Mechanical rigging with Genoma" in response to my request since there were not a lot of recent mechanical rigging tutorials in Lightwave.

I still do most of my modeling in Modo. But some things are broken such as it's symmetry feature. Also painting using displacement maps is broken (Look both of those up on the modo forums) It's well known that Nvidia cards work best with Modo and I have an ATI Radeon which makes using the sculpting/painting tools painful at best. I also don't really care for the Shader Tree (stack-based). It's OK for simple scenes. But if you have a medium to complex scene it can be a nightmare trying to figure out where the problem is. I much prefer nodal workflow. So, I use Silo and modo for most of my modeling with some Zbrush and 3dCoat. But I would have to say that some of the new modeling tools in 11.5 are rather brilliant. Lightwave is my go to app for texturing, animation and rendering.

My only caveat for you coming from a Maya background is that both Lightwave and Modo do not have an "object" mode similar to Maya. Modo has implemented something like it. But in Lightwave especially, you essentially work in layers, or select connected to move an "object" and if nothing is selected, everything is selected. I think Corey's intro video will show you some of the fundamentals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAbH234ejkI&feature=share&list=PLBscyc2_NuEA-emc2W5RTvMNpcgfosLYU

I would whole heartedly recommend video tutorials from RebelHill (Craig Monins) for Nodal Training and Rigging. I would recommend Dana Burman's tutorial on Gradients. Also Conjurebunny (Chilton) for modeling. Not to mention William Vaugn's, Lino Grandi and Cody Burk.

The Lightwave community is great and the company is not trying to price-gouge you. They will let you upgrade an older copy of Lightwave unlike Autodesk or Maxon.


Sorry for this, if you didnīt check up what card to use for 3d? when I looked at graphics card some years ago, I saw lotīs of warnings for using ati cards, and I constantly see guys having that issue
as you now have run in to, that is a lesson you have learned now I guess, go with nvid.

I think a object mode might be useful to in Lightwave, or maybe more correct segment mode, that is all polys connect will be selected with a one click mode once you are in that selection mode. This could probably be improved on with the selection tool such as double click on a poly and it selects connected or something like that.

Michael

chikega
03-19-2013, 11:28 AM
Indeed! Lesson learned. From my own belated research among various forums, Nvidia is the way to go for most 3d apps including Blender. Plus, should I ever get Octane, it would require CUDA cores.

Actually, this is exactly what modo does. If you double click (in polygon mode), it will select connect the entire object. It also works in Point mode. In edge mode, double clicking selects a loop.

prometheus
03-19-2013, 11:44 AM
Indeed! Lesson learned. From my own belated research among various forums, Nvidia is the way to go for most 3d apps including Blender. Plus, should I ever get Octane, it would require CUDA cores.

Actually, this is exactly what modo does. If you double click (in polygon mode), it will select connect the entire object. It also works in Point mode. In edge mode, double clicking selects a loop.

yepp ..important to check a lot of hardware before choosing, and check what areas you would like to work on, I had in mind fluids (turbulenceFD can use cuda)and realtime rendering physx and saw so much about cuda etc, along with warnings of ati card going on for years, so it was a no brainer.

After effects will benifit from it too, some fractal generators like the wonderful free fractron 9000
http://vimeo.com/15289600
http://vimeo.com/16141739

yes the modo double click select connected is simply better thought out, canīt be that hard to script, maybe most guys use a shortcut for it, but that requires extra brain processors in mind, rather
than knowing it as inituive double click, I saw one guy here on the forum talking about fixing that in a script, but havenīt seen any result of that.

Michael

dwburman
03-19-2013, 12:41 PM
I usually use the keyboard shortcut for select connected ']' although I sometimes get a bit confused with 'shift-]' & 'shift-[' which are expand and contract selection and '[' which is the shear tool which I do use fairly often in modeling. Double-click to select all does sound nice... and possibly to select loop in edge mode.

3D Coat is also a CUDA app.

Thomas Helzle
03-19-2013, 12:56 PM
Go for LightWave.

Some random ramblings:

Modo looks more shiny, but Lightwave is more "production ready" for an allrounder.

The shadertree in Modo is okay for 10 or 20 materials, but for real stuff, it's a pain.
The Lightwave Render Nodes are very good and allow for easy experimentation without regrets.

Lightwaves renderer beats Mental Ray in my experience hands down for almost everything.
And there are tons of clever things to be found in this renderer.

Rendernodes are free.

Modos Antialiasing needs a special degree - the only renderer I ever used where increasing the samples can give you more grainy results. I don't need that.

A lot of things in Modo are overdeveloped. Like 20 action centers. I don't want that.
As flexible as the interface may be - I don't need that either - I want a well layed out app with a simple structure.

What I found really sad is, that Modo basically has all the weaknesses of Lightwaves Modeller. No history and a basically purely polygon-based one-shot approach.
It actually shares most of the basic modelling tools and concepts (well, the developers just took them and put them in a shiny interface I guess, after leaving Newtek).
So what I miss is for example things like extruding a real spline and then change the spline - or animate it even...

At first I was excited when I bought Modo 601 a year ago (as a replacement for XSI in my case, which Autodesk also ruins very nicely), but more and more I found that half the features didn't work, or were too complicated or not really thought through.

So in the end I returned to Lightwave (which I use since 5.6) and I if the development continues like with 11/11.5, I guess I'm here to stay this time around.


It will be hard to get used to some of the concepts, but I guess from what you write it could work out for you if you want it strongly enough ;-)

Cheers and good luck with the most complicated decision out there,

Tom

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 12:57 PM
What OS are you on? Just keep in mind that you'll have more options with the pc route.

For example, we use this plugin a lot and it's pc only.
http://www.lwplugindb.com/plugin/unreal-xtreme2/


Hi guys,

I am so sorry for not having replied to all your answers, but I am not receiving email notifications any more, and I don't know why.

So, I am back and I see that there are sooooooo many new pages! O_O

Anyway, here are my laptop general specs:

Dell Precision M6600

CPU: Intel i7 2820-QM Quad Core 2.30 GHz
RAM: 32 GB DDR3

System: Windows 7 Pro x64

Discs: 2x SATA3 750 GB HDD, 7200 rpm


About the plugin: I'd rather test what Lightwave can do out of the box, seeing that Maya comes with Mental Ray out of the box.

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 01:07 PM
I thought you were moving away from AD? That is why I mentioned 3dCoat - and arguably the one of the main reasons Mudbox is often still used for sculpting by users is because the interface reminds them of Maya; AD has not given much love to Mudbox the last couple of years either, unfortunately. For painting it's good, though for sculpting I'd say there are much better tools. (At this point with dynamic tessellation added to Blender I would almost dare to say it might outperform Mudbox now... heresy! ;-)

Believe me: Blender doesn't outperfom anything. Mudbox is an absolute beast, it hold much more polygons than any other sculpting package out there, ZBrush included ( although ZBrush has slightly more powerful sculpting tools ).
The industry standard in sculpting are Mudbox and Zbrush, and that's it.
About 3D painting: the industry standard is Mari, followed by Mudbox, and for many good reasons.

Blender is an all rounder 3D package with sculpting features integrated, nothing more to be honest.

I want to go away from Autodesk, yes, but this is true most of all about Maya and 3D general purpose packages that come from Autodesk. Mudbox is stil an excellent, easy to use and extremely powerful product.



3DCoat can handle far more geometry than Mudbox, , has awesome (re-)topology tools, and also offers everything you want (photoshop layering for both painting and sculpting, ptex, full 64 bit, multi uv, custom brushes based on actual 3d geometry, easy interface, and one-click integration with Photoshop, Lightwave, etc. The newest version 4 (available as beta) has much improved performance, and the price is very, very affordable.

I really don't agree. Mudbox has not only much much much much more powerful tools, but it can handle a ridiculously greater amount of geometry than 3DCoat, not to speak of the multiple UVs and the superior PTex integration.
I tested all these new sculpting programs and they simply cannot cope, there is nothing to do.
Also, 3DCoat in particular I find it has poor tools compared to ZBrush and Mudbox.
I know it is much much cheaper, but you know, we have to work, not to play ;-)



Anyway, Mudbox is AD, so...

Another nice alternative for 3d painting is Mari - too bad about the pricing though!

Yep, and it is not an alternative, it is the current industry standard ;-)

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 01:15 PM
I have equal experience with Modo and LW, and while Iīm a big fan of LW it doesnīt come close to Modoīs usability.

Modo has taken its time to get where it is now, so thereīs a lack of character animation examples to judge it.

But if you take a look at the Modo Auto Character Setup version and compare it to LWs counterpart (or the more recent RHR rigger) it becomes clear that Modo is the superior package for CA...or at least will be very soon. Already you can weight, add compensation morphs and model directly on the deforming model in a much more streamlined and effective way than in LW.

It was a big mistake to put LWīs unification on hold. Real modeling in a Layout environment is incredibly powerful.

It becomes even cleare if you look at the 701 sneak peeks. Thereīs a particle video where Brad models and modifies a particle stream with regular modeling tools.

Cons: Shader tree, as already mentioned here, is inferior to LWīs surface mangement.
Some performance issues in sculpting. No good cloth.

All of these are expected to be taken care of, and are (IMHO) minr stumbling blocks in an application that now is showing much more promise than LW. The unified foundation is simply 10 times better for advanced work.

And it is becoming quite feature complete, make no mistake about that. Not that much missing now.

I feel a bit like troll right now, and I really used LW for years with great enthusiasm. But looking at both programs right now I donīt feel thereīs even a competition. Not since 601 was released, at least.


Thank you very much for your feedback metahumanity!

Please don't feel like a troll, I understand very well your points and I can agree to a certain extent.

Anyway, I have some time that allows me to wait a bit until I make my decision.

If Modo 701 keeps lacking very important things ( no matter how good it is at the moment, I really don't care ) like: cloth, reliable audio tracks management, an improved shading system ( the shader tree cannot be tolerated if you ask me ) and so forth, I am afraid I will have to go for Lightwave.

M.

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 01:17 PM
Just for fun,

dual monitor works here ;-)

112707

Hehehehe

By the way, today I have sorted the dual monitor issue out!

I plugged the two displays to the same video card, I updated the drivers to the latest version compatible with the HP workstation and everything went alright!

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 01:32 PM
Hi Mauro,
I started perhaps around the same time period as you, maybe a couple years afterwards, with my career in 3d using Softimage at work and Impluse Imagine at home. Those were the days! I turned to LW shortly after the demise of Imagine back in 1997. I used LW almost exclusively until about 2003 when I started to wander and experience other apps. I was a beta tester for messiah. I had Cinema4d but if you miss a couple upgrades, they will charge you full price. A page from Autodesk? I bought into Modo when it first came onto the seen for it's modeling. But I also bought into Silo which I believe still has one of the best modeling paradigms to this day, even though it's development has all but ceased.

I have mostly been doing illustrations for medical journals. But now there is a calling for me to do some animations for the dental school where I work. I tried to animate a dental "drill" or handpiece in Modo. I thought it would be simple enough since I had purchased and viewed most of the videos in the "Master Rigging class". I just wanted the bur to rotate. Boy was I wrong. The bur was off-axis (it being a contra-angle handpiece) and it had some serious issues. My issue was never resolved on the Modo forums. I then turned to the LW forum for help. I asked how I would do the same animation. I was not only shown step-by-step how to approach this but several people, namely Chilton and Lino Grandi stepped in. Chilton actually rigged it for me. And Lino actually created the video "Mechanical rigging with Genoma" in response to my request since there were not a lot of recent mechanical rigging tutorials in Lightwave.

I still do most of my modeling in Modo. But some things are broken such as it's symmetry feature. Also painting using displacement maps is broken (Look both of those up on the modo forums) It's well known that Nvidia cards work best with Modo and I have an ATI Radeon which makes using the sculpting/painting tools painful at best. I also don't really care for the Shader Tree (stack-based). It's OK for simple scenes. But if you have a medium to complex scene it can be a nightmare trying to figure out where the problem is. I much prefer nodal workflow. So, I use Silo and modo for most of my modeling with some Zbrush and 3dCoat. But I would have to say that some of the new modeling tools in 11.5 are rather brilliant. Lightwave is my go to app for texturing, animation and rendering.

My only caveat for you coming from a Maya background is that both Lightwave and Modo do not have an "object" mode similar to Maya. Modo has implemented something like it. But in Lightwave especially, you essentially work in layers, or select connected to move an "object" and if nothing is selected, everything is selected. I think Corey's intro video will show you some of the fundamentals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAbH234ejkI&feature=share&list=PLBscyc2_NuEA-emc2W5RTvMNpcgfosLYU

I would whole heartedly recommend video tutorials from RebelHill (Craig Monins) for Nodal Training and Rigging. I would recommend Dana Burman's tutorial on Gradients. Also Conjurebunny (Chilton) for modeling. Not to mention William Vaugn's, Lino Grandi and Cody Burk.

The Lightwave community is great and the company is not trying to price-gouge you. They will let you upgrade an older copy of Lightwave unlike Autodesk or Maxon.


Hehehe, hey man, yes, those were days! Waiting a week for a raytraced bouncing ball to render and then realizing you made a mistake... SBAM! Hehehehe if I loved that! :D

Anyway, I see what you mean and I remember the way Lightwave deals with selections ( after all I still remember something since the ol' gooddays! ).

One more world for the people complaining about instability: dudes! I mean, DUDES! Be happy with what you have :D
Seriously though, do you want me to shoot a video demonstrating how many times and in which awful situations Maya let you down with an epic crash? You'd be rolling on the floor laughing for days! :D
And we are talking about a software that costs more than double of Lightwave.

Thank you very much for your feedback!

M.

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 01:44 PM
Go for LightWave.

Some random ramblings:

Modo looks more shiny, but Lightwave is more "production ready" for an allrounder.

The shadertree in Modo is okay for 10 or 20 materials, but for real stuff, it's a pain.
The Lightwave Render Nodes are very good and allow for easy experimentation without regrets.

Lightwaves renderer beats Mental Ray in my experience hands down for almost everything.
And there are tons of clever things to be found in this renderer.

Rendernodes are free.

Modos Antialiasing needs a special degree - the only renderer I ever used where increasing the samples can give you more grainy results. I don't need that.

A lot of things in Modo are overdeveloped. Like 20 action centers. I don't want that.
As flexible as the interface may be - I don't need that either - I want a well layed out app with a simple structure.

What I found really sad is, that Modo basically has all the weaknesses of Lightwaves Modeller. No history and a basically purely polygon-based one-shot approach.
It actually shares most of the basic modelling tools and concepts (well, the developers just took them and put them in a shiny interface I guess, after leaving Newtek).
So what I miss is for example things like extruding a real spline and then change the spline - or animate it even...

At first I was excited when I bought Modo 601 a year ago (as a replacement for XSI in my case, which Autodesk also ruins very nicely), but more and more I found that half the features didn't work, or were too complicated or not really thought through.

So in the end I returned to Lightwave (which I use since 5.6) and I if the development continues like with 11/11.5, I guess I'm here to stay this time around.


It will be hard to get used to some of the concepts, but I guess from what you write it could work out for you if you want it strongly enough ;-)

Cheers and good luck with the most complicated decision out there,

Tom

Hi Thomas,

this of yours is indeed a very useful experience, for me to know. thanks for sharing.

I do agree with most of the things you wrote.

As far as concern Mental Ray though, it really depends how good you are at using it, because Mental Ray is one of the most tedious renderer to tweak and set up in order to get a good result.
I use it from the very first release and now I can achieve almost any result, even better than V-Ray and other "famous" easy one-click-good-render engines out there, no problems at all.

I want to try the test scene you guys are using in the render speed thread, but I cannot find it, can you help me to download it?

Thank you very much for your answer!

Mauro

nickdigital
03-19-2013, 02:18 PM
I want to try the test scene you guys are using in the render speed thread, but I cannot find it, can you help me to download it?



It's with the 11.5 Demo Content. You should be able to download it from your Registration page (provided you made one and that the Content is available to demo versions of the LW).
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here

MannaTheBerserk
03-19-2013, 02:27 PM
It's with the 11.5 Demo Content. You should be able to download it from your Registration page (provided you made one and that the Content is available to demo versions of the LW).
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here

Thank you Nickdigital!

Much appreciated!

erikals
03-19-2013, 03:15 PM
as for CA, metahumanity might have a good point on Modo having an advantage and being easier,
i wouldn't neglect Lightwave though, as it still has some good CA features, and Genoma is pretty cool.

as for general animation, Lightwave is more powerful, has more features.

so on that area it depends on if you want to focus heavily on just CA, or both CA and general animation.

metahumanity
03-19-2013, 04:39 PM
just wait to see the sneak peeks that are coming out tomorrow. enhanced animation curve editing and channel hauling directly in the 3d view-port. for me itīs settled,quite frankly.

erikals
03-19-2013, 05:15 PM
me too, these reasons pretty much sums it up for me >
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?134352-Professional-Maya-user-why-Lightwave-and-not-Modo&p=1309761&viewfull=1#post1309761

it really depends on what's needed. if VFX is important, i wouldn't blink, i'd go Lightwave.

jwiede
03-20-2013, 04:54 AM
just wait to see the sneak peeks that are coming out tomorrow. enhanced animation curve editing and channel hauling directly in the 3d view-port. for me itīs settled,quite frankly.
Indeed, for animation in general I think 701 looks very impressive, esp. in terms of workflow. The new particle engine also looks great, seems to work smoothly with >mega- particle populations, and is sporting some workflow boosters I've not seen in any other pkg (w.r.t. flow modeling) that look incredibly useful.

I definitely recommend anyone considering or just interested in modo watch the 701 sneek peek videos.

MannaTheBerserk
03-20-2013, 06:18 AM
Indeed, for animation in general I think 701 looks very impressive, esp. in terms of workflow. The new particle engine also looks great, seems to work smoothly with >mega- particle populations, and is sporting some workflow boosters I've not seen in any other pkg (w.r.t. flow modeling) that look incredibly useful.

I definitely recommend anyone considering or just interested in modo watch the 701 sneek peek videos.


Yeah, I have seen them, but as always: better wait until all those features are proven to work flawlessly, because one thing is a demo and another is the practice.

lardbros
03-20-2013, 07:36 AM
Yeah, I have seen them, but as always: better wait until all those features are proven to work flawlessly, because one thing is a demo and another is the practice.

Spoken as only a burned Autodesk user can!! :)
They STILL, after all these years, get me excited about 3dsMax updates, and then I try the new 'features' and want to cry... I'd imagine they do the same in Maya.

Welcome to the forum though!

I can't help with Modo info at all, aside from trying the modelling tools briefly, and it was very nice in that regard.

LightWave is BEAUTIFUL for shading, lighting, and rendering things quickly, and very efficiently. I LOVE the nodal editor... it's so lovely to work with!
I'm sure I'm not adding much to the mix, but the areas it fails for me are interchange using FBX from 3dsMax. Odd duplications of materials that should be the same, pointcache files come back into 3dsMax at odd scales (could be an Autodesk issue mind). Alsok, cameras don't come into LW or go back to Max with a perfect match... but Maya works perfectly!


So, sorry I couldn't help too much... but atleast it's definitely an unbiased view as I use 3dsMax daily. Couldn't agree more about the support from Autodesk... it's abysmal. In here you can write a question, and get a decent answer in minutes most of the time... I've been spoilt by the speedy responses in this place, I expect it everywhere! :D

So, how is your demo of 11.5 going? Have you given it a go yet? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Tim

MannaTheBerserk
03-20-2013, 08:05 AM
Spoken as only a burned Autodesk user can!! :)
They STILL, after all these years, get me excited about 3dsMax updates, and then I try the new 'features' and want to cry... I'd imagine they do the same in Maya.

Yeah, the do exactly the same thing with Maya ( maybe a little bit less ).

Welcome to the forum though!


I can't help with Modo info at all, aside from trying the modelling tools briefly, and it was very nice in that regard.

LightWave is BEAUTIFUL for shading, lighting, and rendering things quickly, and very efficiently. I LOVE the nodal editor... it's so lovely to work with!
I'm sure I'm not adding much to the mix, but the areas it fails for me are interchange using FBX from 3dsMax. Odd duplications of materials that should be the same, pointcache files come back into 3dsMax at odd scales (could be an Autodesk issue mind). Alsok, cameras don't come into LW or go back to Max with a perfect match... but Maya works perfectly!

I can tell you this: it is 3DS Max FBX plugin which is kind of broken ( we use also Max at work, version 2011, 2012 and 2013 ). If I export a scene, or an object with the FBX stand alone converter, or with Maya, Lightwave has no problems whatsoever, and vice versa from Lightwave to Maya or FBX stand alone.
Every time we pass a scene to the freakin Max or vice versa we got problems, from minor to major ones.
I can't give you an idea of how many times and for how long we, as a company, have been asking Autodesk to fix the damn plugin! I mean, how much effort could it take to fix a stupid plugin? :D



So, sorry I couldn't help too much... but atleast it's definitely an unbiased view as I use 3dsMax daily. Couldn't agree more about the support from Autodesk... it's abysmal. In here you can write a question, and get a decent answer in minutes most of the time... I've been spoilt by the speedy responses in this place, I expect it everywhere! :D

So, how is your demo of 11.5 going? Have you given it a go yet? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Tim

I have been surprised with the incredible reactivity of this community: really a big, big, big PLUS.

I haven't got much time to test Lightwave, but to be honest I really need to test Modo the most, because is the software I know less among the two.
I am playing with the UI ( Lightwave ) and during these days I am going to test everything else ( modeling tools, nodal workflow which I am sure I will love, coming from Maya which is completely node based ).

Also, I want to wait for Modo 701 to come out and see what is like! ;-)

MannaTheBerserk
03-20-2013, 09:10 AM
I have found the "LightWave_11-5_Content" in my account, under "registered products" :D

It's time to do some comparisons guys!

Just pressed F9 on the workstation I use at work. After this I will attempt a conversion from Lightwave scene to FBX, load it into Maya and then fire a Mental Ray render up, and see what happens :-)

stevenpalomino
03-20-2013, 09:50 AM
Yeah.. I've used Max, Maya, XSI and Modo.. honestly.. you can't compare communities at all. XSI has a pretty good community, but small. Modo has the next best I think.. but in my experience it takes a while for answers and you don't get many unless everyone is interested in the topic..as for as helpful people.. I may have figured out the problem longer after I've posted for help and no one answers or just says "read the manual" >.< Although it is helpful to read the manual it's good to know there is a community of people who will help. This community is one of the top reasons I stayed with LW. Awesome users. It's like a family here.

MannaTheBerserk
03-20-2013, 10:17 AM
Yeah.. I've used Max, Maya, XSI and Modo.. honestly.. you can't compare communities at all. XSI has a pretty good community, but small. Modo has the next best I think.. but in my experience it takes a while for answers and you don't get many unless everyone is interested in the topic..as for as helpful people.. I may have figured out the problem longer after I've posted for help and no one answers or just says "read the manual" >.< Although it is helpful to read the manual it's good to know there is a community of people who will help. This community is one of the top reasons I stayed with LW. Awesome users. It's like a family here.

Hehehe, believe me or not, on Modo community one guy answered me: download the demo and figure it out by yourself.

Very, very useful indeed, hahahaha :lol:

Anyway, here is a result obtained by just pressing "F9", without tweaking anything in Lightwave: 52 min 51 sec

112777

112778


The workstation specs are these:

HP Z800 Workstation

2x Xeon 5675 3.07 GHz 6 Cores
24 GB RAM
2x Quadro 4000
1 SSD 120 GB
1 HDD 1 TB

Rayek
03-20-2013, 10:30 AM
Second that: of all the software I've used in my work and hobby two communities stand out in a positive manner: Lightwave's and Blender's. But I like Modo's forum as well.

dwburman
03-20-2013, 01:04 PM
Yeah, the do exactly the same thing with Maya ( maybe a little bit less ).
...

I am playing with the UI ( Lightwave ) and during these days I am going to test everything else ( modeling tools, nodal workflow which I am sure I will love, coming from Maya which is completely node based ).

...


I really like using nodes in LightWave. Nodes are available for most parts of the app and in areas where there isn't a Node Editor specific to the task, as long as there is a [T] button to add a texture, you can add a Node editor as a procedural texture. The down sides are that the UI is not quite as easy to use as say a nodal compositor like Shake, Fusion, or (I assume) Nuke, etc. Of course, I don't know how well some of those things (like easily inserting a node by dragging it onto an existing wire connecting two nodes, or swapping inputs when dragging one end arrow to another) will work in a 3D app as opposed to a compositing app. The big limitation of nodes in LightWave is that the different node environments don't readily talk to each other. There are ways around it, but LightWave is not fully node based like Maya. There are some 3rd party nodes (some free) that allow you to store the data to one node and then use another node to pull out that stored data. You can also link a bunch of nodes to the same thing, like the position of a null.

prometheus
03-20-2013, 03:35 PM
I haven't got much time to test Lightwave, but to be honest I really need to test Modo the most, because is the software I know less among the two.
I am playing with the UI ( Lightwave ) and during these days I am going to test everything else ( modeling tools, nodal workflow which I am sure I will love, coming from Maya which is completely node based ).


Is a 15 day demo enough to evaluate it? I know..Iīm ranting and complaining about this a lot, the only reason I havenīt tested modo out is due to I canīt evaluate it withing such
short demo trial, ergo.. I skip downloading it.


I really like using nodes in LightWave. Nodes are available for most parts of the app and in areas where there isn't a Node Editor specific to the task, as long as there is a [T] button to add a texture, you can add a Node editor as a procedural texture. The down sides are that the UI is not quite as easy to use as say a nodal compositor like Shake, Fusion, or (I assume) Nuke, etc. Of course, I don't know how well some of those things (like easily inserting a node by dragging it onto an existing wire connecting two nodes, or swapping inputs when dragging one end arrow to another) will work in a 3D app as opposed to a compositing app. The big limitation of nodes in LightWave is that the different node environments don't readily talk to each other. There are ways around it, but LightWave is not fully node based like Maya. There are some 3rd party nodes (some free) that allow you to store the data to one node and then use another node to pull out that stored data. You can also link a bunch of nodes to the same thing, like the position of a null.


I hope the lightwave team can find a way to let nodes become more globally connective and communicative, it seems like they arenīt today, maybe thatīs an easy fix ..or not, I donīt know.

Houdini is built up that way to jump in to the nodal container etc, and I think the Core presentation and plans was to have something similar, and as stated in the sales letter, to drive everything with anything type
of statement.

A sample could be creating a tree structure like L-system or with dpont tree that generates nice spreading branches with line segments, drag that in to a velocity node, input that velocity node in to a particle emitter and you would have a particle flow that streams along that generated tree structure, this is impossible today, the closest you could get is to create a collision event and drag through the structure and have it set to
generate by collision event, but it will only be birth generate, not velocity flow.

Edit,a new editor ..global node editor panel where you can acess and jump in to anything else that has been setup by nodes might be a start, so you can find surfaces, displacements etc within that.

Michael

BeeVee
03-20-2013, 04:43 PM
So, sorry I couldn't help too much... but atleast it's definitely an unbiased view as I use 3dsMax daily. Couldn't agree more about the support from Autodesk... it's abysmal. In here you can write a question, and get a decent answer in minutes most of the time... I've been spoilt by the speedy responses in this place, I expect it everywhere! :D


A little off-topic but I'm trying to get into coding with Unity (thanks to LightWave's workflow with that package. See? The link's there, you just need to look for it), and I'm constantly disappointed to have to wait days for an answer with a community numbering in the hundreds of thousands... :D

B

BeeVee
03-20-2013, 04:45 PM
Poxy xx.40 problem with this forum. :compbeati :cursin: :mad: :foreheads :bangwall:

B

erikals
03-20-2013, 11:53 PM
btw, if you want Lightwave version of Turbulence4D for half price, then you got about 1month 1week to decide :]
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133047-TurbulenceFD-LightWave-User-Group-Purchase&p=1308472&viewfull=1#post1308472

jwiede
03-21-2013, 12:24 AM
Yeah, I have seen them, but as always: better wait until all those features are proven to work flawlessly, because one thing is a demo and another is the practice.
So you're no longer comparing it to Lightwave, then? :devil:

spigolo
03-21-2013, 04:05 AM
Hi,
I use Lightwave since v 3.5 and I used modo sinc eversion 501..I switched back to Lightwave and I'm very happy on the actual trend of LW developement.
I do lot of video and animations but also rendering, and for me the biggest issue with modo is the workflow..lightwave may seems rough but is very productive (despite it can improve) but my biggest issue with Modo is that
everytime I tried to animate or to handle a very complex scene the working with the interface became a nightmare.. and i spent days to manage the scene..from this point of view lightwave is step ahead and also texturing mixin nodes with traditional way to do materials is priceless..
Also the lw graph editor for animation is very very powerful while the one of modo is maybe more beautiful but very very poor..
So when i still use modo is sometimes for some subdivision modelling but nothing more than this..(and with the new modeling tools of 11.5 maybe I want use it anymore..)
I'm falling in love with the nodal approac of lightwave and i hope they will devolep more and more..so my suggestion is to jump to the lightwave side..

prometheus
03-21-2013, 04:24 AM
Hi,
I use Lightwave since v 3.5 and I used modo sinc eversion 501..I switched back to Lightwave and I'm very happy on the actual trend of LW developement.
I do lot of video and animations but also rendering, and for me the biggest issue with modo is the workflow..lightwave may seems rough but is very productive (despite it can improve) but my biggest issue with Modo is that
everytime I tried to animate or to handle a very complex scene the working with the interface became a nightmare.. and i spent days to manage the scene..from this point of view lightwave is step ahead and also texturing mixin nodes with traditional way to do materials is priceless..
Also the lw graph editor for animation is very very powerful while the one of modo is maybe more beautiful but very very poor..
So when i still use modo is sometimes for some subdivision modelling but nothing more than this..(and with the new modeling tools of 11.5 maybe I want use it anymore..)
I'm falling in love with the nodal approac of lightwave and i hope they will devolep more and more..so my suggestion is to jump to the lightwave side..


I wonder why people react to the Ui that way, I too like modo UI aestheticly, but in the end it seems to get clunky and confusing, so what part of it makes Lightwave feel easier to work with?
If you do think such that is?

Michael

erikals
03-21-2013, 04:34 AM
in short, you move the pointer less "miles" when testing stuff with Lightwave.
(because of how the UI is built up)

and having windows that can't be moved is not always a benefit.

might be one of the secrets to why i test so much stuff in Lightwave, it's easy / fast.

spigolo
03-21-2013, 04:43 AM
I wonder why people react to the Ui that way, I too like modo UI aestheticly, but in the end it seems to get clunky and confusing, so what part of it makes Lightwave feel easier to work with?
If you do think such that is?

Michael
HAve you tried to work with the item list window in modo when you have very very complex scenes..? it'a a nightmare and also copying a material between 2 object becomes a nightmare..On the otherside I like that modo has a visual browser,something tha newtek should copy..

prometheus
03-21-2013, 05:30 AM
in short, you move the pointer less "miles" when testing stuff with Lightwave.
(because of how the UI is built up)

and having windows that can't be moved is not always a benefit.

might be one of the secrets to why i test so much stuff in Lightwave, it's easy / fast.


HAve you tried to work with the item list window in modo when you have very very complex scenes..? it'a a nightmare and also copying a material between 2 object becomes a nightmare..On the otherside I like that modo has a visual browser,something tha newtek should copy..


Yes..those point of views from both of you is exactly what I think about it too, I hate what I saw with the shader tree, and how to acess lights in modo, havenīt checked it for a while though, but the UI looks the same still.

the module approach is great sometimes, and you can always tab down them, but I think here is where Lightwave can improve, we only need a proper docking modul panel, sort of like adobe has, and also implement
expanding/collapsing menu list within those, we might be half way to manage those module panels with extra plugin windows management tools, but I hate that, build it in directly please.

This module approach gives probably the largest working area in the encountered 3d software world..I think:)

Michael

Thomas Helzle
03-21-2013, 05:50 AM
For me modos GUI is more "the emperors new clothes".
When I first saw the modo GUI and all it could do back when it first came out I was pretty impressed (weren't we all ;-) ).
But I didn't need another modeller...
I tried out every new version, but always was underwhelmed by what it really did.

When 601 came out, I was blown away by the videos, needed to leave Autodesk behind and finally caved in and bought it as a crossgrade.
I played with it for some weeks and found some very exciting areas that worked very well.
But more and more I got annoyed by the complicated underlying thinking.
The videos showed very easy workflows - but it turned out that those only work if you know a friggin lot of stuff you need to avoid, do correctly or in that one specific order.

I ported one of my AoN-Shaders (originally written for messiah:studio, then converted to Mental Ray, Arnold and some others) to see how the SDK holds.
The shader as such was easy enough to implement, but the GUI editor in modo shows very well what I'm talking about.
Yes you can do all sorts of crazy things with it - but man this is one nerds-paradise...
I resorted to writing the needed XML in a texteditor as the easier and more fun alternative - which it's really not... ;-)

More fun finds:
I was shocked to find out that sculpting is gone as soon as you switch SDS on and off once. What the heck? That's just not possible.
All paint related things were sluggish.
The texture locator stuff that I really liked (particles on a surface do a kind of texture bombing) was brutally slow to render.
Baking was very unreliable - I basically gave up on it and went back to other tools.
As I wrote before, render booleans only work for one box intersecting another box - nothing more fancy, and shadows are broken. Unsolved in SP5.
The CA tools were far from being as easy or straight forward to use as the videos suggested.
The whole node editor and how it works feels "strange" to put it mild.
The first release was very unstable and buggy. True you get all those SPs, but they are actually needed very very much to make it usable at all.

I forgot most of the stuff already, otherwise I could go on for some pages I guess ;-)

In the end I figured that there must be people in strategic places at Luxology who think complicated and enjoy to.
Which is bad news for the artist who in the end needs somebody doing the complicated thinking and then come up with an interface to it that makes it easy to use.
That's the real job of a good development team.

As for the community: Brad Peebler, who's basically setting the tone, always feels like a "Steve Jobs for the poor" - he's fun to listen to one or two times, but then it's getting annoying. Being full of oneself and your company is okay up to a point, but I prefer people with a slightly more humble attitude.
Sure there is marketing and community building etc., but those guys really overdo it.

All the _really_ good people I had the honour to work with were pretty matter of fact or even downplaying their abilities.
There's always someone better out there ;-)

So I guess it depends a lot on personal preferences what kind of attitude one prefers.

The Lightwave community had it's own trauma to live through and sometimes it shows, but normally you meet a lot of very capable, helpful and rather humble people here. Guys you would like to have around if the brown matter hits the rotating blades... ;-)

So I would encourage you to give Modo a good workout with some real stuff you want to do and see if it actually appeals to you.
And sure, you need to do the same with LW ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

djwaterman
03-21-2013, 05:54 AM
I found the "Simply Maya" community very very helpful when I was learning it.

MannaTheBerserk
03-21-2013, 06:37 AM
So you're no longer comparing it to Lightwave, then? :devil:

I never did actually.

The point for me is: I have to be able to switch from Maya, which is second nature for me, to Lightwave/Modo. So, the software that has the more straight forward way to do this is the more welcome :D

Buying them both it's not an option, or at least not a clever one: keep it simple and you'll get the job done, this is what I have always thought and done so far in my career ;)

MannaTheBerserk
03-21-2013, 06:47 AM
Hi,
I use Lightwave since v 3.5 and I used modo sinc eversion 501..I switched back to Lightwave and I'm very happy on the actual trend of LW developement.
I do lot of video and animations but also rendering, and for me the biggest issue with modo is the workflow..lightwave may seems rough but is very productive (despite it can improve) but my biggest issue with Modo is that
everytime I tried to animate or to handle a very complex scene the working with the interface became a nightmare.. and i spent days to manage the scene..from this point of view lightwave is step ahead and also texturing mixin nodes with traditional way to do materials is priceless..
Also the lw graph editor for animation is very very powerful while the one of modo is maybe more beautiful but very very poor..
So when i still use modo is sometimes for some subdivision modelling but nothing more than this..(and with the new modeling tools of 11.5 maybe I want use it anymore..)
I'm falling in love with the nodal approac of lightwave and i hope they will devolep more and more..so my suggestion is to jump to the lightwave side..

Ciao spigolo!

Caspita che piacere, un Italiano che usa Lightwave! :)

-------------------------------------------------------

Hi spigolo,

Wow, what a pleasure, an Italian Lightwave user! :)

Well, this post of yours makes it clear to me that Lightwave is becoming my first option, as a choice, more and more.
Today I also watched a very good video about "transition from Maya to Lightwave", very well explained by Cody Burke who actually brought me to remember the typical Lightwave approach at doing things that I usually do Maya.

This is the video:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAbH234ejkI&feature=youtu.be

Anyway, thank you for your feedback, much appreciated! :)

Mauro

MannaTheBerserk
03-21-2013, 06:58 AM
I found the "Simply Maya" community very very helpful when I was learning it.

Yeah, the simply Maya community, although smaller than Lightwave one, it pretty much like this.

They are very helpful and humble ( the guys who do the tutorials don't get scared to ask people for solutions, during the tutorial videos themselves! I mean, this means to be humble and professional! )

Surrealist.
03-25-2013, 03:57 PM
I don't know man.... rather impressive..... if you are on the fence.....

http://www.luxology.com/modo/701/tour/

Just saying.

nickdigital
03-25-2013, 04:12 PM
Very impressive. A little odd that something like the NPR rendering is a separate kit.

paulhart
03-25-2013, 04:36 PM
Nick, Hello...
Yeh! the "separate" NPR aspect annoys me!!! If the discussion is what does Lightwave do, out of the gate, with available free plugins, it beats modo in a variety of ways. I do like the NPR tool kit a lot, but find it annoying to have to buy a separate kit, just to get the NPR look!!! so I don't buy it and rant. Then again, I have been lobbying for years to have Lightwave give the NPR some loving and nada, zip, nothing, yet??? With regard to the animation aspect, I will have to try modo again, but I had a client who uses modo, and they wanted a simple animation with some soft deformation elements, with the animation done in modo, so they could see the solution and tweak it. I wrestled with it for days, even posted on the modo boards and received "work arounds" that were clumsy. I then jumped over to Lightwave and did it all in an hour. I still like the modo sub-d modeling tools, and the UV unwrapping and tweaking are excellent, but after that, Lightwave continues to rock. I will continue to try projects in both, including Blender, as I am app agnostic, "just get there when I want you to," may the best app help me make it to the goal.

MannaTheBerserk
03-25-2013, 05:26 PM
To be honest I don't mind doing NPR shaders by myself.
I am pretty good at look developing, especially if the software has a good rock solid node based shading system ( like Maya has and, as far as I can see, Lightwave ).

An NPR separated kit looks to me more like trying to milk people who are not aware about the fact that achieving a good npr doesn't require a massive amount of efforts.

paulhart
03-25-2013, 05:34 PM
I do a lot of NPR shaders myself, but the look of water color without a lot of temporal "flashing" still is a challenge, but the part that I was alluding to is line quality, not the shader aspect itself. I want that hand drawn line look, with aesthetic control. I use the built in Lightwave lines, meh!, I use unRealExtreme, better but annoying and limited due to translation support issues. I have been using Blender Freestyle, which is expected to "go trunk" within the next couple of weeks, so... I agree on the NPR shader aspect, but good quality lines are more elusive, and a nice watercolor look, the holy grail... Sorry for the derail, now back to our thread.

MannaTheBerserk
03-25-2013, 05:43 PM
I do a lot of NPR shaders myself, but the look of water color without a lot of temporal "flashing" still is a challenge, but the part that I was alluding to is line quality, not the shader aspect itself. I want that hand drawn line look, with aesthetic control. I use the built in Lightwave lines, meh!, I use unRealExtreme, better but annoying and limited due to translation support issues. I have been using Blender Freestyle, which is expected to "go trunk" within the next couple of weeks, so... I agree on the NPR shader aspect, but good quality lines are more elusive, and a nice watercolor look, the holy grail... Sorry for the derail, now back to our thread.

I agree, but I was also referring to my own experience with Maya: it is actually possible ( PFX, MR Contour, ToonShaders, RAMPshaders and MR Contour and contrast shaders ) achieving a very good and beyond acceptable level.

I suppose that with Lightwave, if I will go for it, I'll have to struggle a little bit more.

Thomas Helzle
03-25-2013, 05:47 PM
Well, that NPR toolkit was rather simplistic actually from what I've seen, consisting of mostly things that Lightwave has already or can do with nodes. For that it's quite expensive.
And if you check out the thread about it and look at the Cellshader GUI for instance, it's a huge mess of dozens of sliders - not much love lost on that one.
This kind of thing can be done with any decent Gradient node in a much more visually pleasing and straightforward manner.
And a tool like Unreal 2 beats it by several miles.

The best NPR looks I know from non-dedicated renderers still use the animated subframe-displacement with stepped motion-blur. Something modo can't do (Displacement isn't evaluated in subframes).

Example: http://www.screendream.de/Site/3d-design/illustration.html#/3

Modos ink-lines are multisampled and therefore slow compared to Lightwaves Edges.

For hand-drawn Edges, the above technique combined with Lightwaves Edges can produce very good results and is very controllable.

Cheers,

Tom

BeeVee
03-25-2013, 05:50 PM
I use the built in Lightwave lines, meh!, I use unRealExtreme, better but annoying and limited due to translation support issues.

Have you tried the edge stuff in 11.5 now? There are content scenes in the Rendering folder to show it in action.

B

MannaTheBerserk
03-25-2013, 05:52 PM
Well, that NPR toolkit was rather simplistic actually from what I've seen, consisting of mostly things that Lightwave has already or can do with nodes. For that it's quite expensive.
And if you check out the thread about it and look at the Cellshader GUI for instance, it's a huge mess of dozens of sliders - not much love lost on that one.
This kind of thing can be done with any decent Gradient node in a much more visually pleasing and straightforward manner.
And a tool like Unreal 2 beats it by several miles.

The best NPR looks I know from non-dedicated renderers still use the animated subframe-displacement with stepped motion-blur. Something modo can't do (Displacement isn't evaluated in subframes).

Example: http://www.screendream.de/Site/3d-design/illustration.html#/3

Modos ink-lines are multisampled and therefore slow compared to Lightwaves Edges.

For hand-drawn Edges, the above technique combined with Lightwaves Edges can produce very good results and is very controllable.

Cheers,

Tom

Thank you Thomas!

Very, very, very interesting!
Every time it looks like there could be a flaw, something else comes out from you guys to show me the opposite or a good workflow to get the job done.

I am impressed by this community.

Thomas Helzle
03-25-2013, 05:55 PM
That's Lightwave for you ;-)

nickdigital
03-25-2013, 06:00 PM
When I looked at the NPR stuff for Modo at Siggraph last year it seemed very limited. The edge detection capability wasn't very advanced. And the guy demo'ing it didn't seem that interested in impressing me so that was a further turn off.

MannaTheBerserk
03-25-2013, 06:02 PM
That's Lightwave for you ;-)

Don't tempt me!

I am vulnerable at the moment! :lol:

Thomas Helzle
03-25-2013, 06:06 PM
Don't tempt me!

I am vulnerable at the moment! :lol:
hehehe - no, I'd never do that ;-)

And LW will definitely not solve all the problems in the world of 3D. A lot is missing or rather archaic in comparison to XSI or Maya.
But if the swiss-army-knife approach appeals to you - it's a good choice.

In my case, the limitations make me creative.

Cheers,

Tom

MannaTheBerserk
03-25-2013, 06:12 PM
hehehe - no, I'd never do that ;-)

And LW will definitely not solve all the problems in the world of 3D. A lot is missing or rather archaic in comparison to XSI or Maya.
But if the swiss-army-knife approach appeals to you - it's a good choice.

In my case, the limitations make me creative.

Cheers,

Tom

Yeah, of course I am aware of this.
There is no flawless package around there.

Anyway, yes, the swiss-army knife approach is what I am looking for.

I agree about limitations as well ;-)

Celshader
03-25-2013, 10:11 PM
I suppose that with Lightwave, if I will go for it, I'll have to struggle a little bit more.

I would like to second BeeVee's recommendation to look at the NPR content in the 11.5 content:

LightWave_11-5_Content\Rendering\Edges-InkingTips
LightWave_11-5_Content\Rendering\Edges_Demo
LightWave_11-5_Content\Rendering\Inking_Demo

I've also seen professional anime productions done with LightWave's NPR. Here's the trailer for Coicent:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu2XPqP9arg

The "making of" this production and other LightWave NPR productions (including Freedom Project (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_Du34cHt4E) and Kakurenbo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDpx3mWCl58)) was covered in a "Creator's Summer Session" last year. User phillydee has posted links to archived videos (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?130329-quot-Creator-s-Summer-Session-quot-session-rerun-possible&p=1268904&viewfull=1#post1268904) of this presentation.

nickdigital
03-25-2013, 10:49 PM
This thread shows off a sketchy render style. All accomplished in LightWave, no 3rd party tools.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?89592-Bronto-Sketch-Render

prometheus
03-26-2013, 04:53 AM
I don't know man.... rather impressive..... if you are on the fence.....

http://www.luxology.com/modo/701/tour/

Just saying.

About particles/dynamics
Very impressive, and many things in there that I wanted/suggested quite a long time ago that is needed in Lightwave, animation path seems a little dull compared to this, at least we should have
a draw spline tool in lightwave and make the emitter acess the spline curve and derive the velocity direction from it.

Particle sculpting..very nice, and also how tight it (seems) intergrated with other tools.
Since it creates a mesh from the particles velocity, you could simply use it to create wicked geometry tendrils by inflate or thicken the mesh I guess, a new dimension for creating shapes
based on velocity motion sculpted geometry.

The particle and dynamic mesh interaction is very nice too, I wanted this too of course in lightwave, a couple a years ago :)

Still have to check trough all the vids.
IF modo can get stability, get rid of clunkyness feel and put up a decent trial demo with decent time period, it will definitly catch my eye, the particle stuff/dynamics and volume item alone
is what sells it to me..almost.

For Lightwave 12 I think there is a need to seriously work on particles and intergration to start compite with this, in all onestly..this is the first or second draft of implementing particles over
a few versions in modo, and for Lightwave it has gone 9.6- to 11.5 with what particle and hypervoxels improvement?

Getting particles to work with bullet And cloth would be the first thing, additional forces another, and nodal and spline controllers a third, doubt that we might see that in lw 12, and probably
not as intergrated either, but please prove me wrong.

Sculpting seems to be speedenhanced and if this is matching cinema4D I think I need to switch interest focus from cinema to modo for a second software in my bookshelf.

Would still prefer to work solely in Lighwave thou, just that Modo featurettes seems so more innovative with more new features than what Lighwave presented, even though it was very nice indeed.
Maybe just that they implement tools and workflows that just happens to match my whishes better for a software of my needs.

which one will be the first (lightwave or modo) to get L-systems in there in layout and modeling, you could simply create or have a preset of L-system networks and drag it in to a nodal particle
controller and have the particles flow along it, I suppose Modo can create mesh and derive the flow from that maybe.

Im convinced that these particle enhancements in modo will show up in some upcoming movies very soon, it is very nice.

Michael

prometheus
03-26-2013, 05:09 AM
I forgot that the modo native cad importers and cad loaders is another very strong feature I would like to have.

Michael

Thomas Helzle
03-26-2013, 05:27 AM
But you've seen the price tag on them, didn't you?

I personally prefer Moment of Inspiration...

prometheus
03-26-2013, 05:52 AM
But you've seen the price tag on them, didn't you?

I personally prefer Moment of Inspiration...

donīt think that would be an issue if I were to work for client jobs or had a full time job for visualisation of products, right now I donīt have a full time job, but
the cad loaders and implementation of tesselation to quads would have been very useful at my former work to visualize gym machines from solidworks, at that time
we used other transfer tools.

But yeah..it is too expensive..200 $ would be enough.

and Moi is out of the question, I tried it and it couldnīt handle a single logo emblem due to heavy polycount, imagine trowing in a full machine with several thousands of polys and
with that logo, no Moi couldnīt handle that.

Michael

Thomas Helzle
03-26-2013, 06:05 AM
Interesting. I haven't had MoI choke on anything I threw at it yet
But yeah, a 64 Bit version would be great, but it will be a while since Michael decided that one tedious task is enough per version (for version 3 it was the Mac-Port) ;-)

I don't know which version you tried, but the version 3 beta is now multithreaded for poly-conversion.

But hey, I don't want to sell you on anything here anyway ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

erikals
03-26-2013, 06:12 AM
ViaCAD is another option >
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDZQSC744iQ

Celshader
03-26-2013, 11:57 AM
...for Lightwave it has gone 9.6- to 11.5 with what particle and hypervoxels improvement?

11.0 (re)introduced Blending for surface voxels. I used that feature for the blood-jam VFX in Mockingbird Lane (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2130271/) last year.

scallahan1
03-26-2013, 07:00 PM
Hi Mauro,

I just got an email from Safe Harbor today announcing they are giving away NPR kit free with Modo purchase until April 15th. Of course, we all hope you choose Lightwave. I'm glad I did.

Steve-o

Snosrap
03-26-2013, 09:43 PM
I forgot that the modo native cad importers and cad loaders is another very strong feature I would like to have.

MichaelWe are using the Cad Loaders and Power SubD-Nurbs - they are very robust. It's amazing to see a solid entity in a polygonal app. They are expensive and not really needed if you are just a hobbiest, but if you work in a design to manufacture field they are worth every penny.

fablefox
03-27-2013, 12:06 AM
We are using the Cad Loaders and Power SubD-Nurbs - they are very robust. It's amazing to see a solid entity in a polygonal app. They are expensive and not really needed if you are just a hobbiest, but if you work in a design to manufacture field they are worth every penny.

I think this is what I like about Modo (I own 401. May upgrade soon, now that character animation is available and awesome). Instead of putting everything into a package and costing it an arm and a leg, specially nor everyone is using it. For a game developer, that is paying for a tool you doesn't need, for an example.

But at the same time they managed to package it enough as a KIT not to have the same problem C4D have long long time ago, where upgrading is always a mess to a point they finally end up 3 version now?

Product visualizer doesn't need extensive CA, for the ACS stay as a kit.
Not everyone need cartoon rendering. It stay as a kit.
No everyone want to model space ship, sci-fi model blasting is a kit.
And much much more.

They can combine all this put it as feature point, but they don't. That keep the price down, and as a hobbyist, I think its a good thing.

metahumanity
03-27-2013, 12:54 AM
Manna, do you plan on rigging?

fablefox
03-27-2013, 01:51 AM
And I think previously I was torn between upgrading from LW10 edu to LW11.5 full or upgrading from Modo 401 to Modo 601 (at that time no news on 701 yet). But now my money is on Modo upgrade. LW can wait. Modo have what I always wanted now (sound and character animation). With sculpting, I can save on ZBrush too. I don't need anything advance as I'm just a hobbyist, but I prefer all in one package. Sound and Ca steal the deal. I will keep my LW edu license, and see when LW finally combine it into a single app.

OnlineRender
03-27-2013, 02:22 AM
the sclupting is ok "better than none" but no where near zbrush

motivalex
03-27-2013, 05:35 AM
I have been following Modo since the very beginning. Used the trials but never invested in it as was not a complete app. For "my needs" Lightwave 11.5 is still ahead of Modo 701. I heavily use After Effects and LW now has good integration with it and and Modo doesn't. The Bullet and and particle systems in LW is now decent (still plenty room for improvement mind you) Also the 1990s shader tree in Modo is a deal breaker for me, as it would be a step back in time from Lightwave Nodes. It's still a very good release, but maybe I will add it to my toolset when 801 comes out with a modern node based surface editor at least. So for me LW is still the best all round 3D package for the price.

50one
03-27-2013, 06:59 AM
I have been following Modo since the very beginning. Used the trials but never invested in it as was not a complete app. For "my needs" Lightwave 11.5 is still ahead of Modo 701. I heavily use After Effects and LW now has good integration with it and and Modo doesn't. The Bullet and and particle systems in LW is now decent (still plenty room for improvement mind you) Also the 1990s shader tree in Modo is a deal breaker for me, as it would be a step back in time from Lightwave Nodes. It's still a very good release, but maybe I will add it to my toolset when 801 comes out with a modern node based surface editor at least. So for me LW is still the best all round 3D package for the price.


I think it depends on what type of work you're doing, for me unfortunately Modo 601 won with LW(I don't do CA, just some heavy technical animations with lot's of deformers) and the schematic view to control the animation is great in Modo, also the renderer in my scenario seems to be faster and produce cleaner results.

To be fair I'm one of the few that are somehow disappointed with 701, this whole release seems to be rushed, there's no spotlight videos like in the past and most of the features that were advertised as main selling point of 601 are still broken, plus that most of the requested features are still unimplemented... yeah I know viewport performance and up to 30% rendering speed up, but I'm finding this release a bit lacking.

Having said that I'll upgrade it next week.


BTW. I notice there is a 60 day LW trail in 3D artist mag, well done Newtek on marketing front! Also like the Arch-vis bundle, would be even better to the Kray included in this bundle..maybe in the future...

MannaTheBerserk
03-28-2013, 10:03 AM
Hi Mauro,

I just got an email from Safe Harbor today announcing they are giving away NPR kit free with Modo purchase until April 15th. Of course, we all hope you choose Lightwave. I'm glad I did.

Steve-o

Well, I have just watched Modo 701 videos, and observed every single new feature and improvement: very, very good indeed.

On the other hand though, there are a lot of users, and I mean a LOT, on the Luxology forum that are already complaining about things that for me are fundamental: stability, UI navigation serious slowdowns, and some tools not really working perfectly.
There are also quite few crash reports.

I think that Lightwave NPRish way of rendering, as far as I have been shown here in this thread, are more than enough to not miss a dedicated kit to be honest.

So, yes, I can see Lightwave like more than a simple option now.

- - - Updated - - -


Manna, do you plan on rigging?

Of course I do.

prometheus
03-28-2013, 10:11 AM
Well, I have just watched Modo 701 videos, and observed every single new feature and improvement: very, very good indeed.

On the other hand though, there are a lot of users, and I mean a LOT, on the Luxology forum that are already complaining about things that for me are fundamental: stability, UI navigation serious slowdowns, and some tools not really working perfectly.
There are also quite few crash reports.


I think that Lightwave NPRish way of rendering, as far as I have been shown here in this thread, are more than enough to not miss a dedicated kit to be honest.

So, yes, I can see Lightwave like more than a simple option now.

- - - Updated - - -




Of course I do.

my reflections too, modo is becoming more and more attractive and complete as package, and some innovative stuff in there that has surpassed Lightwave tools, but as mentioned..stability and slowdowns etc are
what scares me a little bit with it, along with the UI not being so useful as it looks to be.

the volumetric and particle stuff looks very sweet though, curious how many particles it can handle compared to lightwave and if it is able to sprite render tiny particles ..right now in Lightwave
I do not know the limit of particles, ivé gotten 8 millions I think, the biggest issue isnt render time but getting particles to cook/and settle when you simulate it or use vector fields.
If I go over 3 millions it takes some time to wait and have it settle.

Awesome particle control in modo it seems anyway, and also intergrated with dynamics.


Michael

Thomas Helzle
03-28-2013, 10:27 AM
Yeah, that's the reality of it.
You get green Banana Software and then - if you are lucky - it ripens over the next 5 SPs. Or in the next version. Or not.
If modo works for you and you update anyway, I guess it's not that bad if you just ignore the initial update and wait until SP2 or 3, but I found Modo 601 one of the more buggy things I''ve used.

Their relatively fixed yearly release cycle doesn't help with that - you don't get the software when it's ready, but when it's spring...
A bit too Autodeskish for my taste (Just had a good laugh from Softimage 2014).

I enjoy a very stable LW 11.5 ATM, rendering in 20433 x 14527 pixels for an exhibition display. The fullscreen VPR is extremely fast and responsive, Instances and Rendernodes made the whole project really fun (It's a GUI for a VST Software Instrument).

Grab those nodes (and donate if you use them):
http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/nodes/Additionnal_Nodes_2.html
And LWCAD:
http://www.wtools3d.com/
...and you improved LW twofold. The nodes and tools from dpont cover a lot of ground otherwise missing and LWCAD isn't only for CAD but a godsend for everybody who's using modeller, showing what's possible even with an ancient app.
There's other very cool stuff, but those two I would call mandatory - and sure there's a ton of free Plugins as well.

Cheers!

Tom

fishhead
03-28-2013, 01:21 PM
A lot of interesting stuff has been said here and I think this will everyone watching this thread and possibly thinking about switching apps provide with quite something to think about..
But I am not sure if I missed it between postings: Has the rather odd (or even more of the truth - relatively useless) Undo in Layout been mentioned?
I for one as a long time user can easily live with it, just because I am used to it. But I have more than one coworker here, who are used to Maya/Max but now more and more use LW and every once in a while get a good bit frustrated about it...
I just thought it was worth mentioning, as we probably cannot expect this (due to software architecture quirks buried deep in Layout) to be changing too soon...

All the best and cheers,

Lorenz

erikals
03-28-2013, 02:19 PM
undo in Layout is not useless, but be aware of it not always working in Graph Editor and the Surface Editor.

the Surface Editor lack of undo is not that bad, there are workarounds, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tH0NhDok-A) but i seem to recall the Graph Editor undo lack being kinda annoying at times.

Graph Editor, i don't use it all that much, u might wanna check up on it...

TBC change > no undo
Frame change > 1 undo only
Value change > 1 undo only

not good... http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/smilies/suspicious.gif

MannaTheBerserk
03-28-2013, 03:30 PM
Yeah, that's the reality of it.
You get green Banana Software and then - if you are lucky - it ripens over the next 5 SPs. Or in the next version. Or not.
If modo works for you and you update anyway, I guess it's not that bad if you just ignore the initial update and wait until SP2 or 3, but I found Modo 601 one of the more buggy things I''ve used.

Their relatively fixed yearly release cycle doesn't help with that - you don't get the software when it's ready, but when it's spring...
A bit too Autodeskish for my taste (Just had a good laugh from Softimage 2014).

You know what?
I have thought the exact same thing! I am officially scared ( of Luxology obviously ). :agree:


I enjoy a very stable LW 11.5 ATM, rendering in 20433 x 14527 pixels for an exhibition display. The fullscreen VPR is extremely fast and responsive, Instances and Rendernodes made the whole project really fun (It's a GUI for a VST Software Instrument).

Grab those nodes (and donate if you use them):
http://dpont.pagesperso-orange.fr/plugins/nodes/Additionnal_Nodes_2.html
And LWCAD:
http://www.wtools3d.com/
...and you improved LW twofold. The nodes and tools from dpont cover a lot of ground otherwise missing and LWCAD isn't only for CAD but a godsend for everybody who's using modeller, showing what's possible even with an ancient app.
There's other very cool stuff, but those two I would call mandatory - and sure there's a ton of free Plugins as well.

Cheers!

Tom

As soon as I will buy the software I will definitely grab these two guys, and of course I will donate :thumbsup:

MannaTheBerserk
03-28-2013, 03:34 PM
A lot of interesting stuff has been said here and I think this will everyone watching this thread and possibly thinking about switching apps provide with quite something to think about..
But I am not sure if I missed it between postings: Has the rather odd (or even more of the truth - relatively useless) Undo in Layout been mentioned?
I for one as a long time user can easily live with it, just because I am used to it. But I have more than one coworker here, who are used to Maya/Max but now more and more use LW and every once in a while get a good bit frustrated about it...
I just thought it was worth mentioning, as we probably cannot expect this (due to software architecture quirks buried deep in Layout) to be changing too soon...

All the best and cheers,

Lorenz

I am afraid I cannot remember what the issue is about the undo :-\

In Maya I have a non destructive history ( I am not talking about the construction history ) which its only limit is your amount of RAM ( but even with just 8 GB of RAM you can set the Undo preference to "unlimited" ).

3DS Max has the "stack", that is a pain in the arse.

So, what about Lightwave?

MannaTheBerserk
03-28-2013, 03:37 PM
undo in Layout is not useless, but be aware of it not always working in Graph Editor and the Surface Editor.

the Surface Editor lack of undo is not that bad, there are workarounds, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tH0NhDok-A) but i seem to recall the Graph Editor undo lack being kinda annoying at times.

Graph Editor, i don't use it all that much, u might wanna check up on it...

TBC change > no undo
Frame change > 1 undo only
Value change > 1 undo only

not good... http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/smilies/suspicious.gif


Hummm, yeah, the lack of undo in the graph editor could in fact be a pain.
In Maya I use the graph editor all the time when I have to tweak and fine tune my animations, and if I mess something up ( it's rare, but could happen ) I can always rely on the trusted unlimited undo.

Anyway, I think it's all about getting used to this.

Snosrap
03-28-2013, 03:51 PM
Hummm, yeah, the lack of undo in the graph editor could in fact be a pain.The Graph Editor does indeed have an Undo. :)

BeeVee
03-28-2013, 04:04 PM
You can also leave a footprint and either pick it up, leave it or backtrack.

B

Snosrap
03-28-2013, 04:06 PM
My thing about creative apps is that usually over time one can aquire many different apps that can be used in conjunction with one another and each have their own strengths and weakness. For instance I use PhotoShop on a daily basis for post work and minor touch-ups, but when I need to make original 2D art I always start in Corel PhotoPaint as I like those workflows better.

Rayek
03-28-2013, 04:39 PM
Well, I have just watched Modo 701 videos, and observed every single new feature and improvement: very, very good indeed.

On the other hand though, there are a lot of users, and I mean a LOT, on the Luxology forum that are already complaining about things that for me are fundamental: stability, UI navigation serious slowdowns, and some tools not really working perfectly.
There are also quite few crash reports.

I think that Lightwave NPRish way of rendering, as far as I have been shown here in this thread, are more than enough to not miss a dedicated kit to be honest.

So, yes, I can see Lightwave like more than a simple option now.

- - - Updated - - -



Of course I do.

Modo's videos look nice (software running on a uber-rig though) - and you are correct in saying that users are reporting a lot of issues with 701 on the forums. Some silly bugs as well. For example, 3ds files will not load in the mac version (although to be fair, it seems to be an issue with the Autodesk library they are using on the mac).

erikals
03-28-2013, 05:19 PM
You can also leave a footprint and either pick it up, leave it or backtrack.
B

yep, but it's not efficient though, as you'd constantly have to press Shift+F

Greenlaw
03-28-2013, 05:39 PM
The Graph Editor does indeed have an Undo. :)

But sometimes it's an Undon't. :p

G.

MannaTheBerserk
03-29-2013, 06:53 PM
The Graph Editor does indeed have an Undo. :)

Alright then, one problem less! :)

MannaTheBerserk
03-29-2013, 06:58 PM
My thing about creative apps is that usually over time one can aquire many different apps that can be used in conjunction with one another and each have their own strengths and weakness. For instance I use PhotoShop on a daily basis for post work and minor touch-ups, but when I need to make original 2D art I always start in Corel PhotoPaint as I like those workflows better.

I agree.

for example: I could easily unfold UVs in Maya, because I perfectly know how to do it in minutes, but I prefer to do this in Headus UVLayout, a small and powerful application that does only UVs unfold and it does flawlessly in half the time of Maya.

For 2D stuff I use Photoshop all the time, even for painting ( I tried to use Painter, which is awesome, though ) because after so many years ( I've been using it since version 2 ) it became second nature; so in this case for me it's one software for everything.

MannaTheBerserk
03-29-2013, 07:05 PM
So guys, to wrap this thread up, here is where I am at: during the next days I will be buying my Lightwave 11.5 copy, along with the physical delivery ( yes, I am attached to good old physical packages! :D ).

Let's hope I am doing the right thing, which I am sure I am doing thanks to you people, Lightwave community, who helped me to make this "tough" decision.

I'll let you know what I come up with ;)

MannaTheBerserk
03-29-2013, 07:27 PM
All right, I couldn't wait anymore and waiting wouldn't have had any sense to be honest!

I have just bought it! :D

Rayek
03-29-2013, 07:27 PM
I am afraid I cannot remember what the issue is about the undo :-\

In Maya I have a non destructive history ( I am not talking about the construction history ) which its only limit is your amount of RAM ( but even with just 8 GB of RAM you can set the Undo preference to "unlimited" ).

3DS Max has the "stack", that is a pain in the arse.

So, what about Lightwave?

Lightwave modeling is, for the most part, destructive. No construction history, no modeler modifiers, no parametric objects. This is my main reason not to model certain things in Modeler - however, LWcad is hard to beat, and makes up for a lot of modeler's limitations.

*edit* Good for you - welcome back to Lightwave!

prometheus
03-29-2013, 07:38 PM
All right, I couldn't wait anymore and waiting wouldn't have had any sense to be honest!

I have just bought it! :D

I hope it will fit your needs, and of course the forums here are very helpful for issues you might run it to.

Bookmark these pages of free video training.
https://www.lightwave3d.com/learn/

many of these are probably up on youtube as well...William Vaughan is one of the best instructors out there, and has a very comfortable voice and explains very well the process of
modeling,dynamics,rendering etc.
ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/WV_LightwaveTraining.html

Newtek..official...
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL29F0A1FFB14F5310

Lightwave group official...
http://www.youtube.com/user/OfficialLightWave3D

By the way..if I missed it..what will be your main focus when working with Lightwave 3d?

nickdigital
03-29-2013, 08:12 PM
All right, I couldn't wait anymore and waiting wouldn't have had any sense to be honest!

I have just bought it! :D

Welcome to the club.

:thumbsup:

Snosrap
03-29-2013, 08:25 PM
Welcome MannaTheBerserk! I look forward to your insights with LW and hopefully you'll share some cool stuff soon. Just holler if you have a question. :)

digitaldoc
03-29-2013, 08:55 PM
Best of luck with your purchase and welcome to the Lightwave family!

Megalodon2.0
03-29-2013, 09:04 PM
So guys, to wrap this thread up, here is where I am at: during the next days I will be buying my Lightwave 11.5 copy, along with the physical delivery ( yes, I am attached to good old physical packages! :D ).


You can GET a physical copy?

I asked a short while ago and there wasn't one available - especially since there is now no longer a dongle.

prometheus
03-29-2013, 09:34 PM
11.0 (re)introduced Blending for surface voxels. I used that feature for the blood-jam VFX in Mockingbird Lane (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2130271/) last year.

yes..thatīs about it, but the blending mode I would like to see is the one for volumetrics (like the dynamite tension blend) canīt see any use of new blend functions for volumetric mode,
also ..what should have been implemented is the distance between particle gradient on all channels possible, think that would have worked wonders for liquids.

Michael

Rayek
03-30-2013, 12:47 AM
Btw, MannaTheBerserk(er), that Japanese comic is one of my favourite mangas. ;-)

LW_Will
03-30-2013, 04:56 AM
All right, I couldn't wait anymore and waiting wouldn't have had any sense to be honest!

I have just bought it! :D

yeah!

Welcome to the club!

MannaTheBerserk
03-30-2013, 05:42 AM
You can GET a physical copy?

I asked a short while ago and there wasn't one available - especially since there is now no longer a dongle.

Yep, as simple as checking the box next to "Physical Delivery" and being charged with Ģ 23 ( if I well remember ).

- - - Updated - - -


Btw, MannaTheBerserk(er), that Japanese comic is one of my favourite mangas. ;-)

It is one of my favourite since the first volume as well! ;)

MannaTheBerserk
03-30-2013, 05:44 AM
yeah!

Welcome to the club!

Thanks mate! :D

Now I have just to get back in shape with this software, because my mind has been conditioned with Maya workflow since 1998! Quite a challenge on my way uh?
Well, challenges are what keep you alive after all :)

MannaTheBerserk
03-30-2013, 05:56 AM
By the way..if I missed it..what will be your main focus when working with Lightwave 3d?

Whatever I use to produce with Maya: modeling, UV unwrap/unfold, rigging, dynamics ( fields, particles, fluids... although I know fluids are not yet possible with Lightwave, but you get the point... ), simulations ( like cloth for example ), lighting, animation ( character animation, logo, mechanical, commercial/corporate, motiongraphics... ).

To make a long story short, and as someone else already wrote: swiss-army knife. :)

prometheus
03-30-2013, 01:46 PM
Whatever I use to produce with Maya: modeling, UV unwrap/unfold, rigging, dynamics ( fields, particles, fluids... although I know fluids are not yet possible with Lightwave, but you get the point... ), simulations ( like cloth for example ), lighting, animation ( character animation, logo, mechanical, commercial/corporate, motiongraphics... ).

To make a long story short, and as someone else already wrote: swiss-army knife. :)

yeah..seems like the full works or most general stuff, Fluids ..(fire and smoke) is only available with the TurbulenceFD plugin, but it is quite capable and easy to get fast results I think, maya fluidīs I have tested
a different workhorse indeed and with some more features, such as painting fluids and speed that probablly is faster at least in 2D mode so to speak, but the texturing and smoke seemed harder to acheive
in maya fluids than in turbulence, but it was quite some time I tested maya fluids, have tested houdini pyroFx too, but at that time I still thought that I could acheive the look I wanted faster
with turbulenceFD actually.
some quirks on turbulenceFD still, and Ivé been having some installation issues before and crash with 32 bit, but i think it is sorted out..I need to update cuda drivers though before getting back
to it and test it, still experimenting with the demo only.

I suggest you download the demo too, noo time limit and fully functional, only watermark on renders, but you get the chance to test it and evaluate it.
Theres also a group joining where you can get away with a half the price deal.

heres the download demo link...
http://www.jawset.com/try/

main site...
http://www.jawset.com/

lots of cuda cores preferably to simulate faster is recommended.

MannaTheBerserk
03-30-2013, 05:22 PM
yeah..seems like the full works or most general stuff, Fluids ..(fire and smoke) is only available with the TurbulenceFD plugin, but it is quite capable and easy to get fast results I think, maya fluidīs I have tested
a different workhorse indeed and with some more features, such as painting fluids and speed that probablly is faster at least in 2D mode so to speak, but the texturing and smoke seemed harder to acheive
in maya fluids than in turbulence, but it was quite some time I tested maya fluids, have tested houdini pyroFx too, but at that time I still thought that I could acheive the look I wanted faster
with turbulenceFD actually.
some quirks on turbulenceFD still, and Ivé been having some installation issues before and crash with 32 bit, but i think it is sorted out..I need to update cuda drivers though before getting back
to it and test it, still experimenting with the demo only.

I suggest you download the demo too, noo time limit and fully functional, only watermark on renders, but you get the chance to test it and evaluate it.
Theres also a group joining where you can get away with a half the price deal.

heres the download demo link...
http://www.jawset.com/try/

main site...
http://www.jawset.com/

lots of cuda cores preferably to simulate faster is recommended.

Thank you Prometheus,

I'll give it a shot as soon as possible.
Very useful information!

M.

Thomas Helzle
03-31-2013, 09:00 AM
Ha - cool you did it :-)

I look forward to hear how it works for you.
I find some things quite hard to re-adapt to after years of Softimage XSI, but I'm very determined to make it work this time around and actually enjoy it ;-)

I just finished my first commercial job with LW in years, a huge visualization for an exhibition display of a software-synth-GUI, rendered in 20432 x 14526 pixels, and while there were some quirks, in the end it worked out beautifully.
This is a small version: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=377987

Cheers,

Tom

MannaTheBerserk
03-31-2013, 09:53 AM
Ha - cool you did it :-)

I look forward to hear how it works for you.
I find some things quite hard to re-adapt to after years of Softimage XSI, but I'm very determined to make it work this time around and actually enjoy it ;-)

I just finished my first commercial job with LW in years, a huge visualization for an exhibition display of a software-synth-GUI, rendered in 20432 x 14526 pixels, and while there were some quirks, in the end it worked out beautifully.
This is a small version: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=377987

Cheers,

Tom

Cool stuff mate!

I hope to manage to reach at list half of the speed and quality I have when working with Maya as soon as possible: I can't see the time to produce something with Lightwave from A to Z.

hrgiger
03-31-2013, 01:56 PM
Welcome Manna.

Lewis
03-31-2013, 02:39 PM
All right, I couldn't wait anymore and waiting wouldn't have had any sense to be honest!

I have just bought it! :D

Welcome to the Club :D :).

jasonwestmas
03-31-2013, 03:08 PM
You're not going to get anywhere near the same experience with (Advanced) character effects using Lightwave/Modo as you do with Maya. Maya is the best CA package imo. The only comparable app. that I've seen (non-autodesk) is messiah studio. projectmessiah.com. Messiah is one of those highly underrated applications. There are many reasons why that is but it's not the software's fault (usually) imo.

For anything else, heck yeah, lightwave and/or modo all the way. Lightwave is more well rounded than modo even though modo does do some things extremely well in the way of polygon toolsets. Modo is the best modeler I've ever used. All these companies are frustrating to deal with in one way or another. So the grass is not greener, it's just different colors between the avenue of fences.

MannaTheBerserk
03-31-2013, 06:44 PM
Welcome Manna.

Thank you Sir! ;)

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Welcome to the Club :D :).

Thank you very much! :)

MannaTheBerserk
03-31-2013, 06:52 PM
You're not going to get anywhere near the same experience with (Advanced) character effects using Lightwave/Modo as you do with Maya. Maya is the best CA package imo. The only comparable app. that I've seen (non-autodesk) is messiah studio. projectmessiah.com. Messiah is one of those highly underrated applications. There are many reasons why that is but it's not the software's fault (usually) imo.

For anything else, heck yeah, lightwave and/or modo all the way. Lightwave is more well rounded than modo even though modo does do some things extremely well in the way of polygon toolsets. Modo is the best modeler I've ever used. All these companies are frustrating to deal with in one way or another. So the grass is not greener, it's just different colors between the avenue of fences.


What I meant is that I want to reach the same level of proficiency I have in Maya, and I was referring to my own skill level ( I am a senior 3d artist and I have been working with Maya since 1998 on SGI machines ).

I know what I can do when I use Maya, now it's time to face a challenge and see how long does it takes for me to achieve the same level with Lightwave, despite its limitations :)

By the way, I own Messiah Studio Pro v6 as well: great software indeed, although a little bit messy ;)

erikals
04-01-2013, 02:24 AM
welcome aboard! http://www.en.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/cherna/Cherna-boat.gif

3djock
04-01-2013, 11:54 AM
I think you will really like Lightwave and the community..

chikega
04-01-2013, 12:46 PM
Welcome! I'm just getting back into LW myself after a long hiatus ... I'll be learning and/or relearning along with you :)

jasonwestmas
04-01-2013, 07:12 PM
What I meant is that I want to reach the same level of proficiency I have in Maya, and I was referring to my own skill level ( I am a senior 3d artist and I have been working with Maya since 1998 on SGI machines ).

I know what I can do when I use Maya, now it's time to face a challenge and see how long does it takes for me to achieve the same level with Lightwave, despite its limitations :)

By the way, I own Messiah Studio Pro v6 as well: great software indeed, although a little bit messy ;)


Great to hear. It doesn't hurt to have more people with patience and discipline on board the Lightwave Train. Messiah isn't any messier than Lightwave is. Just messy in different ways. ;)

LW_Will
04-01-2013, 07:13 PM
What I meant is that I want to reach the same level of proficiency I have in Maya, and I was referring to my own skill level ( I am a senior 3d artist and I have been working with Maya since 1998 on SGI machines ).

I know what I can do when I use Maya, now it's time to face a challenge and see how long does it takes for me to achieve the same level with Lightwave, despite its limitations :)

By the way, I own Messiah Studio Pro v6 as well: great software indeed, although a little bit messy ;)

My old teacher in film school in the last century said, about 3D in general that we needed to learn a way of looking at 3D space as it is in the computer. After we learned Lightwave 3D's philosophy, later we would learn (when we got to Softimage or Maya on SGI, you know, REAL computers at the big companies) how to adapt our expectations to the programs. I expect that you should start doing that. Not so much as relearning but learning an adaptation of the ideas you already know. There aren't so many things that you can do in a 3D program. Play and explore mostly...

MannaTheBerserk
04-02-2013, 05:15 PM
welcome aboard! http://www.en.kolobok.us/smiles/artists/cherna/Cherna-boat.gif

Thank you! :)

- - - Updated - - -


I think you will really like Lightwave and the community..

Yep!
I am already doing it.
Great community indeed.

MannaTheBerserk
04-02-2013, 05:17 PM
Welcome! I'm just getting back into LW myself after a long hiatus ... I'll be learning and/or relearning along with you :)

Hehehehe, then you can easily understand what we both are going to go through can't you? :D

Anyway, 3D is 3D, no matter where or what we use to produce it;
now it's all about getting back to our old good friend Lightwave and gaining back what we lost on the long road :)

MannaTheBerserk
04-02-2013, 05:24 PM
My old teacher in film school in the last century said, about 3D in general that we needed to learn a way of looking at 3D space as it is in the computer. After we learned Lightwave 3D's philosophy, later we would learn (when we got to Softimage or Maya on SGI, you know, REAL computers at the big companies) how to adapt our expectations to the programs. I expect that you should start doing that. Not so much as relearning but learning an adaptation of the ideas you already know. There aren't so many things that you can do in a 3D program. Play and explore mostly...

Yeah, I know what you mean! :)

In my case it's all about getting back to that philosophy, refreshing my mind with the old tools and learning the new ones.
At the end of the day a polygon is a polygon, a SubD is a SubD, although in Lightwave I have also the subpatches ( in Maya there are the Catmull-Clark subdivs and that's it, along with nurbs and polys ), edges, vertices and faces/polys are always the same.

It's just that I can't see the time to gain my "shape" back! :D

By the way, I recently bought the two Lightwave 11 and 11.5 up to speed tutorials by Dan Ablan: very very useful to go exactly where I need to.

nickdigital
04-02-2013, 05:58 PM
By the way, I recently bought the two Lightwave 11 and 11.5 up to speed tutorials by Dan Ablan: very very useful to go exactly where I need to.

There's also these.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?77002-Hours-of-Free-LightWave-Training-%2824-Hours-%29

http://www.trhlogos.dk/main.html

YouTube has a lot, some of the people on here have their own channel.

dwburman
04-02-2013, 09:50 PM
At the end of the day a polygon is a polygon, a SubD is a SubD, although in Lightwave I have also the subpatches ( in Maya there are the Catmull-Clark subdivs and that's it, along with nurbs and polys )...

LightWave also has Catmull-Clark SubD (the mode is selectable in Modeler), but there are some limitations. If I'm remembering correctly, they can get slow to work with and I think there are major problems with UV maps. I just thought you should be warned before you get all excited and try to use them. :) I think some people do use them because they work with polys with >4 vertices and the way they sharpen is better or at least different than LW SubDs.

I should also plug http://liberty3d.com as a training resource since I sell my commercial tutorials over there. :)

MannaTheBerserk
04-03-2013, 03:58 AM
There's also these.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?77002-Hours-of-Free-LightWave-Training-%2824-Hours-%29

http://www.trhlogos.dk/main.html

YouTube has a lot, some of the people on here have their own channel.

Hey Nick,

Thank you!
I already had the first link in my bookmark, thanks to this thread anyway, but I didn't know the second one.

Also, I have subscribed a couple of Lightwave focused youtube channels, and there is the official one among them.

MannaTheBerserk
04-03-2013, 04:00 AM
LightWave also has Catmull-Clark SubD (the mode is selectable in Modeler), but there are some limitations. If I'm remembering correctly, they can get slow to work with and I think there are major problems with UV maps. I just thought you should be warned before you get all excited and try to use them. :) I think some people do use them because they work with polys with >4 vertices and the way they sharpen is better or at least different than LW SubDs.

I should also plug http://liberty3d.com as a training resource since I sell my commercial tutorials over there. :)

Yeah, I have seen the pixar Subdivs in Lightwave and I was using them yesterday night during a tutorial: not bad at all.

Anyway, I'll give your tutorials a go as well, thank you very much for having pointed them out ;)

Thomas Helzle
04-03-2013, 04:06 AM
Well, at the moment there is one really horrible bug with CC SubDs: If you use edge weighting and then change topology afterwards however slightly, the weighted Edges tear apart. As if the same edge suddenly had two different weight values. Only solution I found: redo all edge-weighting. :-( In some cases you can select all edges and just increase and decrease the weighting on step up and down (I put that on the numeric + and - keys, very handy). So ATM, it's better not to use the weighting and add additional edges instead (which naturally defeats the purpose of weighting...)...

Cheers,

Tom

MannaTheBerserk
04-03-2013, 04:42 AM
Well, at the moment there is one really horrible bug with CC SubDs: If you use edge weighting and then change topology afterwards however slightly, the weighted Edges tear apart. As if the same edge suddenly had two different weight values. Only solution I found: redo all edge-weighting. :-( In some cases you can select all edges and just increase and decrease the weighting on step up and down (I put that on the numeric + and - keys, very handy). So ATM, it's better not to use the weighting and add additional edges instead (which naturally defeats the purpose of weighting...)...

Cheers,

Tom

Thank you Thomas!

As far as concern polys, subpatches and subdivs, is there a way to convert one type of geometry into one another inside Lightwave?

For example: in Maya I use to work with different type of geometries and eventually convert them into the one that is more suitable to my purpose.

A practical example: when I start modeling a car I always start with NURBS; I create a curves cage, then I produce NURBS patches out of the curves ( so I get normalization, tangency and "all-quads" for free :D ). If the model needs to be deformed I convert the NURBS patches into polygons ( Modify --> Convert --> NURBS to Polygons ) or Subdivision Surfaces.

Is this possible in Lightwave?
And what if I want to export an object in .obj format ( to unwrap the UVs in UV Layout for instance )?

Thank you for any answer I can get! ;)

Mauro

Dodgy
04-03-2013, 05:05 AM
There's only points, edges, polys, splines and subdivision surfaces(which are basically subdivided polys). The closest you'll get to a nurbs surface is EasySpline from TrueArt. It autopatches any splines which make a 3 or four sided shape. I find it really useful for creating hard surface shapes, and you can then turn these into polygons/subpatches.

http://www2.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins

Surrealist.
04-03-2013, 05:13 AM
Dodgy beat me to it....

There is only one type of geometry in LightWave. The only thing even close is curves that you patch. But it is all polygons. Subdivision Surfaces I don't think is really considered a separate type of object like it is in Maya. And you won't find nearly as many options there. Just hit TAB and it is a sub patch model. TAB again and it is polygons. You can only switch this on or off in Modeler. But you can control the subdivision level in Layout effectively killing it if you want.

Look under the file menu for export options. Two of them are fbx and obj. Fbx is also a convenient format to load objects into a scene in Layout.

I have made it a good habit to stay away from CC's in LightWave. Pretty much been years so I don't have a recollection of the exact bugs. But it really is not that great of an implementation IMHO.

Lewis
04-03-2013, 05:22 AM
double post

Lewis
04-03-2013, 05:26 AM
TAB again and it is polygons. You can only switch this on or off in Modeler. But you can control the subdivision level in Layout effectively killing it if you want.


You can Toggle subDs ON/OFF in layout also. There is button called "Toggle SubPatch" and it's effectively same as hitting "TAB" in Modeler.

Thomas Helzle
04-03-2013, 05:46 AM
Well, other than the bug with Edge Weighting, I personally don't find anything wrong with CC SubDees.
Speed isn't much of a concern for me, since I mostly do stills.
The Pros outweight the Cons in that case IMO.
XSI does it a tad better and maybe faster, but it has no LW subpatches to compare it to.

"Conversion" between Lightwave subpatches and CC Subs is rather simple: Hit tab to un-subdivide, switch to the other type at the bottom of the Modeller window, hit Tab again to SubDee with the other type.

Obj import export works great for me - it's got some attention over the last few versions.

As far as NURBS are concerned, I use Moment of Inspiration alongside of Lightwave and my other polytools to do everything NURBSish. It's from the same author as Rhino but with a more friendly pricetag and interface.

LWCAD as mentioned before also helps a lot with hard surface modelling. While it's still polygons, it has a lot of tricks up it's sleeve to make that less of a bother.
While it's mostly intended for architecture, many of the tools can be nicely abused.

What I personally miss most are really good native splines in Modeller and Layout - LW curves are hard to get really smooth.

In my last job I posted above, the cables are such curves, which in this case works fine since cables actually look more real if they have some uneven roundings.
I converted the curves to 2-Point-Poly-Strings and rendered them directly with a trick I found by accident here on the forum: If you enter _negative_ values in the Object Properties -> Edges -> Particle/Line Thickness, it's no longer pixels but real world measurements and the lines are rendered as actual round tubes with proper shading....
That's a typical LW approach. Quirky and almost impossible to find by accident, but brilliant if you know it ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

Lewis
04-03-2013, 06:18 AM
Well, other than the bug with Edge Weighting, I personally don't find anything wrong with CC SubDees.
Speed isn't much of a concern for me, since I mostly do stills.


Hmm speed of what? Speed of rendering them is not a problem (and you always can buy faster machine ;)), it's speed of EDITING them in modeler, that's problem, Make 100k polys BOX, Hit CC subds and then select some polys and drag them in modeler, then you'll see what's wrong with them :D.

Thomas Helzle
04-03-2013, 06:29 AM
I use SubDees to work with low poly cage objects, active modelling I usually do unsubdivided anyway, so it's not much of a problem here.
But yeah, it will be hard for any software to beat XSI in that regard ;-)

Cheers,

Tom

erikals
04-03-2013, 07:05 AM
to speed things up, the trick is to hide polys or move them to another layer...

MannaTheBerserk
04-03-2013, 08:02 AM
Allright guys,

Thank you for all the tips and tricks ;)

Just to refine my previous question: is there any way to convert a CC Subd into a Lightwave Subpatch and simultaneously convert the NGons into quads?

Cheers

M.

erikals
04-03-2013, 08:08 AM
no, you'll have to make it a regular poly model, then hit "w" select ">4 vertices" then use the "Add edges" tool

(manually is usually the best way anyway, as it allows you to make the optimal polyflow)

(alternatively, if it's not that important, you can triple them, for then to use an untriple plugin)
(Merge Trigons X)
(or, simply just untriple after having selected ">4 vertices" )

nickdigital
04-03-2013, 09:20 AM
Or use this.
http://lwplugindb.com/plugin/cm_polydivide/

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Or use this.
http://lwplugindb.com/plugin/cm_polydivide/

erikals
04-03-2013, 09:29 AM
Saved! http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/smile.gif
(then use "spin edge")

prometheus
04-03-2013, 09:35 AM
or freeze it, but that results in a poly denser mesh of course, but that can then be normal subpatch switched if needed.

hopefully some more attention can be put in to subpatched in the near future, like pixars new ones, new ways to convert to quads and tesselate.

thereīs another thread about quads here ..where I wanted to know options to quad close polys...found that tripling the polys first and then running the merge trigons works decently.
Lw-cad has a built in make quad tool, I think you really should look in to lw-cad.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?134643-what-quad-tools-are-there

113264

MannaTheBerserk
04-03-2013, 11:56 AM
Or use this.
http://lwplugindb.com/plugin/cm_polydivide/

- - - Updated - - -

Or use this.
http://lwplugindb.com/plugin/cm_polydivide/


Ok, thanks for this one! ;)

- - - Updated - - -


or freeze it, but that results in a poly denser mesh of course, but that can then be normal subpatch switched if needed.

hopefully some more attention can be put in to subpatched in the near future, like pixars new ones, new ways to convert to quads and tesselate.

thereīs another thread about quads here ..where I wanted to know options to quad close polys...found that tripling the polys first and then running the merge trigons works decently.
Lw-cad has a built in make quad tool, I think you really should look in to lw-cad.

http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?134643-what-quad-tools-are-there

113264


Yeah, sooner or later I will get it.

At the moment I am interested in something more VFX oriented, like Turbulence, but I have to spare some money first :)

prometheus
04-03-2013, 12:55 PM
Ok, thanks for this one! ;)

- - - Updated - - -




Yeah, sooner or later I will get it.

At the moment I am interested in something more VFX oriented, like Turbulence, but I have to spare some money first :)

heres a little more of making quads, the Cm-polyfansubdivide doesnīt work so well on certain shapes, see image...for such shapes you could be better of tripling, and merge trigons..see animated gif.

If I could I would like to have both lightwave and modo, but currently still have to evaluate it someday, for vfx stuff Lightwave and turbulence is a big one, modo hasnt got fluids like that yet, but
Im sure they probably pull that in very soon, Modo just implemented some particle stuff that blows my mind and I would really want something like that in order to shape my
particles as I want and the particle flow..the particle to mesh editing seems so cool, and I suspect that except for sculpting the mesh and switch back and have it flow along that shape, you
could probably also use it to create very cool tendril geometry shapes which derives the shape from the particle velocity path.

Hypervoxels and particle improvement is the dissapointments I mostly have had over the latest Lightwave versions, along with some core tools like sculpting (and in layout scene context) not available yet.
Otherwise I love it though:) but those are some annoyments.

drawing a simple spline curve or several curves and simply connect the particle velocity flow to that would do a lot, with a node control so you can edit scale
along the whole curve, we do have the wind animation path tool, but thatīs not as good as it should be..and a pain in the A to set up with nulls and cloning them to get the path.

Modo seem to have done that right here for that in this version, although it looks a little painstaking with the node ui ..and actually having particles emitt from surfaces is..way more initiuve in lightwave with the birth rate texture channel.

Full sculpting control of particles like in modo would be great, but letīs start with the more basics like implementing drawing of splines in layout and make it connectable with particle flow.
Next would be introducing L-systems where you can create wonderful networks of structures in L-form and and make them connectable with the particle velocity flow.
Sort of like you were to use dpontīs verdure tree plugin in line mode, and send it to layout..connect it to a particle velocity flow operator, this isnīt possible as far as I know of.

You can create a collision event and drag that trough the tree structure and have it set to emitt by collison event so it gives birth to particles once the collision event goes through it, but
that isnīt the same

Ps...second image regarding quads and merging, is an animated gif, 2 sec..let it run itīs course.
Edit..note to the dev team, a quad tesselation tool that natively makes this end result in one go button or shortcut, is too prefer:)

Michael

Megalodon2.0
04-03-2013, 01:47 PM
At the moment I am interested in something more VFX oriented, like Turbulence, but I have to spare some money first :)

If you're looking to buy Turbulence, there is a LW group buy that will save you quite a bit of cash.

Check out the thread here: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133047-TurbulenceFD-LightWave-User-Group-Purchase

erikals
04-03-2013, 02:18 PM
yep, half price to be exact...

Surrealist.
04-03-2013, 02:52 PM
You can Toggle subDs ON/OFF in layout also. There is button called "Toggle SubPatch" and it's effectively same as hitting "TAB" in Modeler.

Right. I completely forgot about that.

Surrealist.
04-03-2013, 03:15 PM
Well, other than the bug with Edge Weighting, I personally don't find anything wrong with CC SubDees.
Speed isn't much of a concern for me, since I mostly do stills.
The Pros outweight the Cons in that case IMO.


If you mostly do stills then this is why you have not run into issues with CC's likely. I won't pretend to remember everything. Nor will I claim I have kept up on the Dev of CC's over the last 5 years. But I do remember that there are some specific gotcha's about the use of CC's in production on the Layout side to do with displacements and I think there is a limitation with UV Maps - that may have gotten fixed.

I also remember finding some cool ways to wrangle polyflow in CC's with clever use of 5gons in facial polyflow, hiding other ngons in places that would not deform or be seen. And overall a much better looking subdivision smoothness with CCs. And I had to ditch all of that and remodel a bunch of characters because of the limitations of CC's that I later found as I moved down the pipeline. It was not a happy day.

So my recommendation is to fully research CC's before committing to them beyond just stills or simply being used in Modeler. If you are using quads only then you'll not have a big issue of course. But I would not start buying into all of the other cool things about CC's with edge weighing and ngons only to find that gotcha. Some of them may have been fixed. But I'd do searches and ask to find out first.

In the end, for me, the most useful advantage of CC's was to toggle and preview meshes before I had gotten all quads. And since I am not a big fan of edge weighing in LightWave, I have cynically over years relegated CC's to this single advantage (of previewing Ngon models in progress) in my pipeline.

CC's are far superior. But the poor implementation has killed the practical use of them in LightWave in my experience. Hopefully some of that has changed.

dballesg
04-03-2013, 03:25 PM
I'm surprised that no one has remembered the old Metaform Plus (Multiply > Subdivide > More > Metaform Plus) to convert N-Gons to quads!! ;)

probiner
04-03-2013, 03:33 PM
Well, other than the bug with Edge Weighting, I personally don't find anything wrong with CC SubDees.
Things wrong with SubD's right now:
■ Performance, I don't know due to what, but the same object with the same end divisions will behave better performance on Subpatch than on CC. For example, in my end, an object with around 50.000-100.000 polys will behave better with Subpatch Level set to 4 (4 divisions) than with CC Level set to 2 (4 divisions) in Modeler.
Two things Subpatch has over CC for sure is that you get smaller step increments on higher subdivision counts. For example, you can have a 24 divisions with Subpatch, while with CC you either go with 16 or 32 to go around that figure. Also Subpatch smooths triangles more than CC (the reverse behavior both have with valence 3 vertices)
■ Edge Weight breaking while modeling, forcing you to redo the weighting all the time. Quite annoying and a bit of a show stopper for anyone avoiding headaches.
■ Edge Weight on open edges is in-existent, which is not terrible, just limited.
■ UV interpolation not working, which is a show stopper if you need to use a 2D painting app.

I still use it all the time though, because I hate to adjust topology and, BAM, see the n-gons break. work with CC, render with SubPatch. Just have to be careful to NOT have the Mesh set up with +7 SubD Level in Layout and then update it on Modeler from Subpatch to CC. Layout will die and I'll need to reboot...

Cheers

erikals
04-03-2013, 03:39 PM
I'm surprised that no one has remembered the old Metaform Plus (Multiply > Subdivide > More > Metaform Plus) to convert N-Gons to quads!! ;)

it does do it, but not in the right way from what i can see...
(edit: ok, merged the points, works, it could be what you want, depending on polyflow) :]

prometheus
04-03-2013, 04:32 PM
I'm surprised that no one has remembered the old Metaform Plus (Multiply > Subdivide > More > Metaform Plus) to convert N-Gons to quads!! ;)

That would yield a haywire of wrong geometry in the samples I showed in my anim gif in my last post, so I donīt see that as a better use than doing it accordingly to that anim gif,
and that is only on a flate shape.

Michael

MannaTheBerserk
04-04-2013, 03:31 AM
If you're looking to buy Turbulence, there is a LW group buy that will save you quite a bit of cash.

Check out the thread here: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133047-TurbulenceFD-LightWave-User-Group-Purchase

Yes, I've read that thread, but it looks like I am late now, and that there is no chance for me to participate and get the discount.

It's alright though, I will wait until I have enough money.

Thank you ;)

Thomas Helzle
04-04-2013, 03:39 AM
Things wrong with SubD's right now:
■ Performance, I don't know due to what, but the same object with the same end divisions will behave better performance on Subpatch than on CC. For example, in my end, an object with around 50.000-100.000 polys will behave better with Subpatch Level set to 4 (4 divisions) than with CC Level set to 2 (4 divisions) in Modeler.
Two things Subpatch has over CC for sure is that you get smaller step increments on higher subdivision counts. For example, you can have a 24 divisions with Subpatch, while with CC you either go with 16 or 32 to go around that figure. Also Subpatch smooths triangles more than CC (the reverse behavior both have with valence 3 vertices)
■ Edge Weight breaking while modeling, forcing you to redo the weighting all the time. Quite annoying and a bit of a show stopper for anyone avoiding headaches.
■ Edge Weight on open edges is in-existent, which is not terrible, just limited.
■ UV interpolation not working, which is a show stopper if you need to use a 2D painting app.

I still use it all the time though, because I hate to adjust topology and, BAM, see the n-gons break. work with CC, render with SubPatch. Just have to be careful to NOT have the Mesh set up with +7 SubD Level in Layout and then update it on Modeler from Subpatch to CC. Layout will die and I'll need to reboot...

Cheers


Thanks guys, good to know there are more gotchas!
I'm just returning to LW myself so I didn't run into all of them yet.
That's actually a pitty - I love CCs from my years in XSI (which has it nailed just perfectly). So I can just hope that Newtek will implement the real stuff at one point: http://graphics.pixar.com/opensubdiv/

Cheers!

Tom

- - - Updated - - -


Yes, I've read that thread, but it looks like I am late now, and that there is no chance for me to participate and get the discount.

It's alright though, I will wait until I have enough money.

Thank you ;)

No, it runs until April 30th ;-)

UnCommonGrafx
04-04-2013, 03:46 AM
It may not be too late if you want to participate.

On another topic, check out sensei's easyspline (http://www2.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins/EasySpline) for as close as you will get to nurbs in LW.

MannaTheBerserk
04-04-2013, 03:52 AM
heres a little more of making quads, the Cm-polyfansubdivide doesnīt work so well on certain shapes, see image...for such shapes you could be better of tripling, and merge trigons..see animated gif.

If I could I would like to have both lightwave and modo, but currently still have to evaluate it someday, for vfx stuff Lightwave and turbulence is a big one, modo hasnt got fluids like that yet, but
Im sure they probably pull that in very soon, Modo just implemented some particle stuff that blows my mind and I would really want something like that in order to shape my
particles as I want and the particle flow..the particle to mesh editing seems so cool, and I suspect that except for sculpting the mesh and switch back and have it flow along that shape, you
could probably also use it to create very cool tendril geometry shapes which derives the shape from the particle velocity path.

Hypervoxels and particle improvement is the dissapointments I mostly have had over the latest Lightwave versions, along with some core tools like sculpting (and in layout scene context) not available yet.
Otherwise I love it though:) but those are some annoyments.

drawing a simple spline curve or several curves and simply connect the particle velocity flow to that would do a lot, with a node control so you can edit scale
along the whole curve, we do have the wind animation path tool, but thatīs not as good as it should be..and a pain in the A to set up with nulls and cloning them to get the path.

Modo seem to have done that right here for that in this version, although it looks a little painstaking with the node ui ..and actually having particles emitt from surfaces is..way more initiuve in lightwave with the birth rate texture channel.

Full sculpting control of particles like in modo would be great, but letīs start with the more basics like implementing drawing of splines in layout and make it connectable with particle flow.
Next would be introducing L-systems where you can create wonderful networks of structures in L-form and and make them connectable with the particle velocity flow.
Sort of like you were to use dpontīs verdure tree plugin in line mode, and send it to layout..connect it to a particle velocity flow operator, this isnīt possible as far as I know of.

You can create a collision event and drag that trough the tree structure and have it set to emitt by collison event so it gives birth to particles once the collision event goes through it, but
that isnīt the same

Ps...second image regarding quads and merging, is an animated gif, 2 sec..let it run itīs course.
Edit..note to the dev team, a quad tesselation tool that natively makes this end result in one go button or shortcut, is too prefer:)

Michael


Hi Michael,

Thank you very much for having taken the time to post these gif images; much appreciated! :)

Mauro

- - - Updated - - -


Thanks guys, good to know there are more gotchas!
I'm just returning to LW myself so I didn't run into all of them yet.
That's actually a pitty - I love CCs from my years in XSI (which has it nailed just perfectly). So I can just hope that Newtek will implement the real stuff at one point: http://graphics.pixar.com/opensubdiv/

Cheers!

Tom

- - - Updated - - -



No, it runs until April 30th ;-)


Oh! Well, this is good to know then! :)

MannaTheBerserk
04-04-2013, 03:58 AM
It may not be too late if you want to participate.

On another topic, check out sensei's easyspline (http://www2.trueart.pl/?URIType=Directory&URI=Products/Plug-Ins/EasySpline) for as close as you will get to nurbs in LW.


WOW!

This is actually cool!

I don't mind the lack of "true" NURBS to be honest, the important thing is that I can at least have something like Bezier or B-Spline ish tools inside Lightwave that allow me to accomplish more than what I could come up with "standard" tools.

Thanks for this link!

It is also quite cheap!

Dodgy
04-04-2013, 04:33 AM
It's well worth it IMHO for that kind of modelling. They can be rendered 'live' but you need to freeze them to a mesh if you want to UV them. Saying that, you can use projection/procedural textures on them live.

lardbros
04-04-2013, 06:19 AM
I realise this isn't nurbs, and not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet, but spline patching can be a good way to model...

A rough-ish vid by SplineGod https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOcyliN80sI

It can be tedious at first, but once you get the techique and its foibles sorted you can do cool stuff.

Megalodon2.0
04-04-2013, 02:51 PM
Yes, I've read that thread, but it looks like I am late now, and that there is no chance for me to participate and get the discount.

It's alright though, I will wait until I have enough money.

Thank you ;)

According to that thread, you should have till the end of this month.

Also, the cost will apparently be HALF of the full price. So... if you are REALLY interested in that plugin, it might be worth buying it sooner rather than later. Half of 400 euros is pretty good.

Good luck!

UnCommonGrafx
04-04-2013, 03:17 PM
Yes. Of ALL of Sensei's plugs, that one is the one I would most want in LW-native.
Ocan even use this with many of the tools in the LWCad suite with all of its precision. The combo is quite powerful.

Easy spline, once you grok the lw way, quick and efficient in how you can arrange your geometry.

MannaTheBerserk
04-05-2013, 03:49 AM
Alright dudes,

I wrote the email to get into the Turbulence LightWave User Group Purchase :)

Let's see what we come up with! ;)

erikals
04-05-2013, 04:18 AM
i've seen some darn cool work done with Turbulence,
can't find find the video atm, but you can get Very detailed smoke...

MannaTheBerserk
04-05-2013, 08:57 AM
i've seen some darn cool work done with Turbulence,
can't find find the video atm, but you can get Very detailed smoke...

On their website there are many videos demonstrating how good is this tools at doing what it does.
Those videos convinced me to buy the product.

erikals
04-05-2013, 09:01 AM
those are actually some darn good examples http://erikalstad.com/backup/misc.php_files/smile.gif
actually, the Crysis one has some of those detailed simulations in the background, that's one of the things that i was refering to , only in 10x higher resolution...

http://www.jawset.com

Rayek
04-05-2013, 10:25 AM
Although I know you may not be interested in Blender, still I would urge you to check out bsurfaces if you are interested in a nurbs-like surface tool:
http://www.blendernation.com/2011/07/25/review-bsurfaces-3d-spline-mesh-sketching-and-re-topology-add-on/

It allows you to sketch surfaces quickly with the grease pencil, and is quite unique. It is now gpl'ed, so part of Blender's standard add-ons.

Blender loads lwo files, you know ;-)

Btw, I read that you started in Sculpt/Animate 4d - same for me!

MannaTheBerserk
04-05-2013, 12:46 PM
Although I know you may not be interested in Blender, still I would urge you to check out bsurfaces if you are interested in a nurbs-like surface tool:
http://www.blendernation.com/2011/07/25/review-bsurfaces-3d-spline-mesh-sketching-and-re-topology-add-on/

It allows you to sketch surfaces quickly with the grease pencil, and is quite unique. It is now gpl'ed, so part of Blender's standard add-ons.

Blender loads lwo files, you know ;-)

Btw, I read that you started in Sculpt/Animate 4d - same for me!


Yep!

Sculpt Animate 4D was one of the first I started with.
There were also Turbo Silver ( that became Imagine after a while ), Real 3D ( I still own a license of Realsoft 3D for PC ) and of course the first release of Lightwave :)