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langen
02-09-2014, 09:04 PM
Hi,

I'm a photographer who has lost 3 big clients to CGI in the past year. All these clients make products for home and office- furniture, bathtubs, appliances.
I can see my remaining clients going this route and therefore I'm highly motivated to gain a working knowledge of CGI.

My goal is not to animate but to make photorealistic renderings of room interiors, import CAD drawings or photographs of products as described above, place these objects or photographs in the environments after applying appropriate materials, and also create models of packaging that doesn't yet exist but has artwork (labels and graphics). Eventually I want to create more organic settings into which I can place photographs of people and products.

Even though I'm not at all familiar with this world, I did extensive research that led me to Lightwave and here we are. I should say that I spent 30 hours trying to get on to 3ds Max on the advice of an architect, but it didn't click with me at all and the UI was created by a sadist, not to mention I had never used Windows until creating a Bootcamp partition on my Mac in order to use the software. Don't like Windows as I'm not familiar with it and there's enough learning going on without getting into a new OS.

I've downloaded the LightWave 11.6.1 application and am using the online tutorials for beginners and I'm feeling rather challenged by this new world.
I made a cube (yes, complete beginner) and now that it's made, I can't seem to go back and edit the segments. It seems that this is something that should be easy to do for any object, but I can't find documentation anywhere about this. Also, the menu tab is ridiculously small on my 30" NEC MultiSync and I have trouble seeing the menu items and the keyboard shortcuts that appear beside the menu items- can this menu be enlarged? There doesn't seem to be any documented way of doing this and I've been through the manual and have also looked online. There is no mention of the Content Directory in the manual either and this seems to be the first place to go when organizing a new project. Is there a set way of naming subfolders to put in the project folder? Why is this so hard?

Being stuck at the cube stage is making me feel rather stupid to say the least, given my goals. But I am committed to going this route, even if I later decide to hire a 3d artist to help with the modeling.
I am also interested in Maxwell Render as it appears to enable lighting of environments and objects in a way that is familiar to me.

I'm running OSX 10.8.5 on a 2012 Mac Pro with 12 cores and 28 gigs of ram. The GPU is an ATI Radeon 5770 with 1 GB Ram.

I guess the real question is: what's the best way to learn this software? Lynda.com only has tutorials on version 10 and several things have changed since then.

Needless to say, any help would be appreciated.
Thanks

geo_n
02-09-2014, 09:31 PM
Start with modelling. Tutorials like these go through the tools and let you see their practical use.
http://www.3dtotal.com/team/Tutorials/infinite_nissan/infinite_nissan_01.asp

Then go on to general techniques
http://www.3dtotal.com/ffa/tutorials/tutorialslwave.php

spherical
02-09-2014, 09:32 PM
Well, that's a big wish list but we'll try to set you on a good course. Obviously, there are more options available on the Windows OS. Some of the things we may mention may not be available to you unless you either build/buy a Windows box or run Boot Camp. That said, I'll jump in.

LightWave's renderer is pretty darn good and you can go a long ways with it but, if you want to do really realistic scenes AND you are a photographer--having that experience, an external unbiased (physically based) renderer is for you. Yes, this will add to your education path. Best to stick with LightWave first and branch to the external renderers, once you learn your way around LightWave. The two that I am most familiar with are Thea Render (http://www.thearender.com/) and Octane (http://render.otoy.com/). Their cameras operate like real-world cameras, having f-stop & ISO settings, etc., that are familiar to a photographer. LightWave cameras do not work that way. These renderer's lights respect real-world values, as do their materials; such as glass (Dielectric), chrome (Conductor) and wax (SSS - SubSurface Scattering) types. Both of these renderers have Mac versions, so you're good there.

These are all somewhat in your future, however, as you are just starting out from scratch. Best place to start is: https://www.lightwave3d.com/learn/ and hit the "Beginner" section. That will get you pretty far in learning the UI and how to create basic models and scenes. From there, you can choose different areas of interest to tackle next. There are also many very capable users here who do tutorial videos on specific areas of interest that are quite good. All in all, there is a ton of hours of training available that you can take at your own speed.

I am a photographer and used to work with a colleague of mine in setting up complex studio shots; doing everything in-camera—usually large format. Now, having this capability, some of the sets that we used to create, most of which took days to set up in order to get a slick product shot, are now a comparative walk in the park.

Most users have their own conventions as to Content Directory structure. It is pretty much a matter of personal preference. LightWave looks for a standard directory structure per project in which to place the assets, but that project root directory can be anywhere you like. So, I create a root directory uniquely named for each individual project and under it are, as a minimum:

/animations
/images
/objects
/renders
/scenes

Each project has at least these, sometimes more, depending upon the asset types needed. Other users will have different setups.

Oedo 808
02-09-2014, 09:34 PM
Hello,

LightWave has a very capable native renderer, though there are plenty of options for renderers, for interior design you might want to check out the Kray Tracing (http://www.kraytracing.com/) third party renderer for LightWave if you can take the cost, gallery here (http://www.kraytracing.com/joomla/gallery). For modelling I would seriously consider adding LWCAD (http://www.wtools3d.com/) to your arsenal, then again it comes down to whether you're prepared to make that outlay just yet. As well as architectural modelling it's general tools are very useful, LWCAD tutorials (http://www.wtools3d.com/online-help.php).

There is no history stack in LightWave currently, so you can't change creation parameters currently, it's coming (apparently), LightWave Core was to be the new messiah for LightWavers but alas such a massive project wasn't looking production ready in any reasonable timeframe so history stack and unified application is going to be worked in to existing LightWave, what signs of it will we see in 12, I've no idea I'm afraid. What you would want for segments is Julienne, I like Mike Green's (Dodgy) JulienneRT (http://www.mikegreen.name/Lscripts.html) plug-in for interactivity, or try Bandsaw Pro. You can use the Edit > Edit Menu Layout, search for a tool someone suggests then click Find to locate it, such as with Julienne it will jump to the Multiply tab and you can see from the menu editor that it's in the More drop down menu under fractilize at the bottom.

To get the basics of nodes in LightWave I'd recommend watching RebelHill's nodal foundation set (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1C4072533A16B807), at then buying the more advanced training if you feel it would benefit you, it was worth it for me.

And there's also LightWiki (http://www.lightwiki.com/) with tutorials and scenes you can download and pick apart.

Though not product or interiors, a couple of photography related topics that might pique the interest of a photographer getting into LightWave, here (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?137009-Timelapse-animation-using-Lightwave-3D-and-fisheye-lens) and here (http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?140059-free-sIBL-HDRI-sample-of-Dutch-Skies-360%B0-Vol-5-workflow-notes).

ernpchan
02-09-2014, 11:00 PM
I would suggest looking into Kuzey's surface preset pack. It'll help you get up and running quicker. I believe there's a leather pack on the horizon which would probably definitely help you if you're doing a lot of set type work.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?115195-Node-surface-library-preview

This forum is incredibly helpful. If you find yourself stuck on a model feel free to post the file. It's not uncommon for someone to correct your file so you can compare the results. Some users even go so far as recording their process.

UnCommonGrafx
02-10-2014, 04:11 AM
Any old tutorial will work, conceptually; the problems come with name changes and UI relocation.

On a mac, the menu at the top is... limited in functionality. Use the stuff on the left as that is where you will find menu-like items.

Alt-f12 = select a content directory
d = config panel -> go to path tab. Here, you can make all the directories needed for a project automatically appear in the content directory you picked above. Best used this way if you've just made a new folder that is empty.

Get a windows keyboard or 90, 95% of further angst will be that the keyboard shortcuts don't work for you. Even turning all the snazzy stuff off for a mac keyboard hasn't lessen my angst much. I hope someone more knowledgeable corrects me.

Check out the native renderer before you invest in another renderer. If you've never rendered before, some baseline is needed; let that be the lw renderer. The only purchase I would recommend is a new Lighting tool, http://www.hdrlightstudio.com/ , as it appears to be coming to LW, soonish. There was a vid shared recently, the link of which I cannot find at this time.
Texturing, lighting and the rendered image can be quite a tight fit with VPR rocking like it is.

Play with your LW lenses.
Get your best use of what you see by using the "Match Perspective" command in the third viewport dropdown.

The day should be full of learning. Enjoy!

djwaterman
02-10-2014, 05:10 AM
I think you will be hiring a modeler because the learning curve is lengthy in any package, if you could get a handle on setting things up in Layout with lighting and rendering at least you could get over that pretty quickly.

But to your immediate box example.

In Modeler go to CREATE/BOX and drag out a box, while it is still active with the colored corners hit N to bring up the numeric panel.

In there you will see all the inputs for size and segment divisions and even rounded corners. Once you hit ENTER the box is made and you can't go back to change those settings.

Once you have your box, hit the TAB key, the shape will become rounded and smooth, welcome to Sub-D modeling. Probably you should stick to polygonal modeling to start with, at least you can make walls and floors and basic shapes to start with. It's a long road but you can find a lot of stuff on YouTube

I think Layout is what you need to concentrate on as that is where you would be outputting your image components and as you said, you can always hire a modeler for the products. Pack shots can sometimes just be box shapes so you could practice making them and learning how to apply UV maps or planar maps for the graphics. It's the lighting and different light types and different rendering techniques you should be trying to gain knowledge of, things like the color space, Hint, use the RGB preset in Color space options when in Layout, it will basically render a RAW image like your camera so might seem washed out but that is what Photoshop is for.
I would seriously get an object from somewhere and throw it into Layout, sit it on a ground plane and start experimenting with lights and camera, Global illumination, environment maps and just see what you can get out of it. I think a photographer needs to master Layout before they master Modeler.

I've been testing the Beta of HDRLightStudio and haven't said anything as I thought it was all hush hush, But the native renderer is amazing and HDRLight Studio is just a speedy and intuitive way of placing lighting in a HDR Light map, not something you will need until you are comfortable in Layout.

UnCommonGrafx
02-10-2014, 05:21 AM
Oh yeah,
It was a youtube lalwug video.

I concur as to the put off of purchases until some learning set has been accomplished.

JonW
02-10-2014, 05:40 AM
There are a lot of tutorials here.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?77002-Hours-of-Free-LightWave-Training-(24-Hours-)

I do architectural models, photo montages & 3d. 3d is a very steep learning curve & after a decade I am just scratching the surface & I think pretty much everyone here will say the same.

1. Lots of practice.
2. simple real projects you follow through to the end.
3. Make lots & lots & lots of mistakes, this is most important because there is no 1 way of doing something, usually at least 10 ways! The mistakes give you ideas for how to build other things.
4. Learn keyboard shortcuts for all your commonly used tools at the very minimum is a must.
6. Good texturing & lighting is about putting in the effort which is really no different to photographing in the real world. You can set up the best camera but if the texture is shot to pieces it's no help, & vice versa.

50one
02-10-2014, 05:55 AM
I remember a story about a photographer who never touched a 3D app yet he was working on Babylon5 and was quite successful:)

langen
02-10-2014, 10:52 AM
Thanks you Geo, that's very helpful and one of the reasons I went with Lightwave, incredible user community.

Snosrap
02-10-2014, 11:00 AM
I should say that I spent 30 hours trying to get on to 3ds Max on the advice of an architect, but it didn't click with me at all and the UI was created by a sadist, I love your humor! The first thing you need to do is make a commitment. If your are not committed to learning and don't have the desire it will be a uphill battle. And that goes for just about any 3D app. The first thing to do is NOT go about buying or adding any plug-ins to the basic package, get to know the package and then 3 to 6 months if you feel there are some gaps than start to consider such things. I've included a simple studio set-up that you use to start playing with lights and cameras and surface settings. Good luck and just ask anytime you get stuck.

langen
02-10-2014, 11:05 AM
Spherical- thanks you so much for this, very helpful.
Since learning the LW renderer will take some time, should I just start by learning an unbiased renderer plug in like the ones you mentioned? There's enough to learn without relearning a new renderer later on, as they seem to really change the UI regarding cameras and material editors in addition to lighting.
How long did it take you to reach the stage where you could produce images in LW that worked for your business?

- - - Updated - - -

Snosrap, you are too kind in all regards!

langen
02-10-2014, 11:15 AM
Mr. Waterman, thank you for this. I had a quick look at HDRLightStudio and it looks like something I can understand. I'm still wondering if I shouldn't just go ahead and purchase a renderer that is suited to someone like me who is used to lighting in the real world (photo studio) rather than learning LW's renderer and then inevitably switching to something else. There's more than enough learning going on!

langen
02-10-2014, 11:25 AM
There are a lot of tutorials here.
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?77002-Hours-of-Free-LightWave-Training-(24-Hours-)

I do architectural models, photo montages & 3d. 3d is a very steep learning curve & after a decade I am just scratching the surface & I think pretty much everyone here will say the same.

1. Lots of practice.
2. simple real projects you follow through to the end.
3. Make lots & lots & lots of mistakes, this is most important because there is no 1 way of doing something, usually at least 10 ways! The mistakes give you ideas for how to build other things.
4. Learn keyboard shortcuts for all your commonly used tools at the very minimum is a must.
6. Good texturing & lighting is about putting in the effort which is really no different to photographing in the real world. You can set up the best camera but if the texture is shot to pieces it's no help, & vice versa.

I'm very grateful for your advice. Should a 55 year old even attempt this? If it takes ten years to learn this, I'll be up and running by the time I'm retired- not that I'll be able to afford retirement! Regarding point 2 in your post, how would you suggest I start doing simple real projects?

langen
02-10-2014, 11:27 AM
Thanks for this Uncommon. Can you just plug a Windows keyboard into a mac and get all the function keys to work with Lightwave?

langen
02-10-2014, 11:36 AM
One more thing Spherical- do you ever miss actually walking around like we used to do in the studio?
:)

Snosrap
02-10-2014, 11:49 AM
Should a 55 year old even attempt this? If it takes ten years to learn this, I do all the LW training for our new hires and it's two weeks in duration. After that the the new hire is expected to be able to design, model and render new product concepts. --- Slowly---- There are tons of questions that come up and lots of how to's, but essentially they are productive. Granted I only train them in the things that directly relate to new product development so that eliminates almost all animation aspects of LW. I would guess that if you are able to devote 4hrs. a day for the next month you should be on your way. Lighting and shading is so much easier to learn now with the real time feedback that VPR gives - that alone will save you a boat load of time. Back in the day I can remember waiting over night just to see what I was gonna get! :) My advice would be to stay away from third-party renders and modeling tools when first starting - you need to get a good handle of the basics first. It's just like learning to play golf - get a cheap set of clubs at a garage sale and after you have become somewhat proficient than move up to a nicer set. Good golf clubs won't make a crappy golfer good!

JonW
02-10-2014, 01:36 PM
Regarding point 2 in your post, how would you suggest I start doing simple real projects?

Start with your lounge for internal & the outside of your home & build the objects. You also have lighting that you can come back for reference. The lighting in lightwave is similar you may need a fill light for a dark corner & watch your highlights if you use too many key lighting.


One more thing Spherical- do you ever miss actually walking around like we used to do in the studio?
:)

I use to photograph physical architectural models for photo montages. If the model was well made with lots of detail it would look like it was already built. But I prefer doing 3d, also the eyesight is not what it was & a 30" monitor is a lot easier.


You need to turn off the TV for the first few months & do a few hours every single day. Not too much in a day but a bit every day. Getting away from 3d to give your head a break is a beneficial as learning each day.


CAD drawings, over here 95% architects work in 2d & 2% still hand draw. Just did 3 montages recently from hand drawn drawings. You just put an image in the background of Modeler & scale it & build your object over it, I quite often first build some very simple boxes to see the scale & to quickly visualise the building in the 3d space. I don't want to build a section of a building & then find when I come around the corner that if I had approached it differently I could have saved a lot of time, but all this comes from practice. To date I am yet to get a good set of CAD drawing from architects. I just redraw what I need for LW.


Watch the tutorials even if you think it is unrelated. It maybe useful for something later on & seeing someone use the various tools helps a lot. Watch, say 2 of them each day & find the same tools & write down the keyboard shortcut to help remind yourself.



Should a 55 year old even attempt this? If it takes ten years to learn this.

The day you stop learning you may as well kick the bucket.

dickbill
02-10-2014, 01:48 PM
True, age doesn't make things easier. I am 50 and it wasn't easy for me to get on LW. It helped a bit that I used other 3d app before, namely 'Imagine' and a couple others but the drawback of that is that I had to deactivate my conditioning from these software.
It became quickly obvious to me that LW was huge in terms of functionalities, but the bottom line is that nobody needs to learn all of it. Geometrical (fit for architectural) modeling, plus the rendering basics, is all you need to know for still rendering. That may be less than 50% of LW, but you should be able to grab that in a few months of practice.
The rest, rigging characters for animation, the rendering subtleties and using the nodes may come later, if ever you need it.
Organic modeling? possible in LW, sure, but not for me ( I went zbrush, which has also a big learning step) .
Actually I started like you with the intention to sell architectural visualization, for still images of indoor store/studio style. Naively I thought I had a secure project. It turns out the project flopped and never concretized into a firm offer.
In your case, if you are absolutely sure to have secure projects, then you may consider to get one plugin almost dedicated to projects of these types: LWCAD, obviously.
Give LW modeler one or two weeks to create basic shapes like a house with windows and then try it with LWCAD, You'll see.
But as the other said, if you are just exploring and curious, don't spend extra money too quick.



Well, if you are absolutely sure that you gonna have a project soon, then there must be at least one plugin that your

langen
02-10-2014, 02:45 PM
I would guess that if you are able to devote 4hrs. a day for the next month you should be on your way.

Snosrap: If it's not too much to ask, how would you suggest using that time?
And Ohio isn't too far from me- how about I sit in on those training sessions? ;)

ccclarke
02-10-2014, 02:55 PM
I was the in-house Lightwave trainer at my last job and after five days my customer's students could model and texture simple objects, light, render and move them around in Layout. I supplied them with pre-built models and instructions to animate them. A year later, they would return for more advanced training, and 75% of them were very proficient.

That being said, since you want to do this professionally, it's well worth your time to either find someone in your area to tutor you in the basics or invest the money to take one of the very few formal Lightwave classes remaining at Future Media Concepts (FMC), which have training centers in many locations. With an experienced Lightwave guide, you will learn more in one week than six months of trial and error using tutorials on your own. There are a lot of tricks and tips that you will pick up from someone who has a lot of LW experience. In the beginning, you're clueless as to what's important or not. A seasoned LW user will reinforce the good habits and correct the bad. The days of self-taught, professional CG artists are rapidly dwindling. As mentioned previously, LW has a steep learning curve before you can begin to be productive, though the curve is much flatter than the majority of professional-grade apps out there. Once you learn the basics, you have to practice them constantly to increase your speed. As you're well aware, time is money.

As a photographer, I found LW's workflow to be intuitive and easy to pick up. I attended both of FMC's LW courses back-to-back (six in-seat days) and got a lot out of it, but I had been reading books and banging through tutorials for six months before I took the classes, which made it easier to ask meaningful questions and grasp the significance of the shortcuts and techniques the instructor demonstrated because I was attuned to how valuable they were and how much time they would save me. After that, I was lucky enough to attend the DAVE school, which at that time had THE best LW training available. On the first day of class, our (modeling) instructor said, "Pay attention, take good notes, practice diligently, and in three months you'll know more about LW than I did after six years of trying to learn it on my own."

Case in point: Try using the Rounder tool without contemplating suicide for an hour, a day, or a month. The documentation and online tutorials make it seem simple and straightforward to use, until you get a meaningless error message and don't have a clue as to what it means. The documentation is of little use; it just exacerbates those nagging feelings of inadequacy. "Why can't I make this tool work!??" Then have an experienced user show you the rules Rounder adheres to and you'll find how easy and useful it really is. Such is the power of a tutor. Online forums, books and tutorials are great, but they can never replace someone showing you the ropes in person.

Long story short: There is no substitute for instructor-based training when trying to learn something as complicated as LW, unless you're sitting in a studio with lots of help nearby, which doesn't sound like your situation. The training money invested will pay off in increased productivity as long as you follow up with lots of practice. LW is the most complex thing I've ever dealt with outside of love. I will always be a student, no matter how much time I spend with it. The learning never ends!

Good luck to you!
CC

langen
02-10-2014, 03:40 PM
Thanks ccclarke_- This is very very helpful. You're right, time is precious and I don't want to be sitting at the computer for months every evening trying to figure out the basics and posting questions and waiting for answers. I'd rather be trained by a seasoned pro and then spend my nights practicing good habits. It's worth it to me to pay money for that kind of training since I'll get it back in the long run, and perhaps keep what's left of my sanity…
Unfortunately even though I work very close to the US the FMC's training centers are too far away for this training to be practical. I'll try to find someone in Toronto who might be able to train me.

ernpchan
02-10-2014, 03:53 PM
I recently finished some online training for a program that was done through GoToMeeting. It was a really pleasant experience a great way to learn.

Maybe you can find someone who wouldn't mind doing that way for some beer money.

geo_n
02-10-2014, 11:19 PM
The first thing to do is NOT go about buying or adding any plug-ins to the basic package, get to know the package and then 3 to 6 months if you feel there are some gaps than start to consider such things.

Agree. The best artists stick to a few toolset from each category sometimes even after years of being a master. Whether its mastering the lw render engine, kray engine, vray engine. Know the software as much as possible. The jack of all trade types seldom accomplish work to the higher levels jumping from software to software.

spherical
02-11-2014, 04:52 AM
Spherical- thanks you so much for this, very helpful.

You're welcome. Coming from a similar background, I know that it may seem intimidating. But, I'm a Renaissance person; having abilities in many areas. I applaud you for taking this step. You read the landscape and realized that it had changed. This happened to me when Challenger and her crew left this space-time continuum. It was very difficult, on many levels.


Since learning the LW renderer will take some time, should I just start by learning an unbiased renderer plug in like the ones you mentioned? There's enough to learn without relearning a new renderer later on, as they seem to really change the UI regarding cameras and material editors in addition to lighting.

I wouldn't recommend it at this point. Using one adds additional workflow steps that you don't need right now. They're fairly complex beasts, in and of themselves. Starting from zero, you need to stick within your chosen main application and learn it first. Learn its basics. Learn its strengths. Learn its weaknesses. Then make informed changes and add to it. You probably started out with an Instamatic or similar, not a Sinar with a digital back. I started out with a Hawkeye Brownie and developed my own negatives and prints. Later advanced to more sophisticated equipment. All of that plays into my toolset today; along with a lot of other creative endeavors—some not in art.

Moving to an external renderer right off will only serve to confuse and frustrate at this early stage. You can obtain very good results using LightWave's renderer.


How long did it take you to reach the stage where you could produce images in LW that worked for your business?

Well, that's hard to pin down. Looking back through the project directories, the first paying gig was 3 years after I started. The first projects took a long time, as I wouldn't let up until it looked good, if not excellent. I'd say that, after working with it since my first purchase in 2001, I've only learned 25%-30% of the application at this point; because this application can do a LOT. There are sections of it I may never use but 30% can go a long way if you apply it right. Also, LW isn't my only 3D application. Others, each having a particular strength and use, come into play whenever necessary, but LW is pretty much the center of the assemblage at this point.

But, virtual 3D isn't all we do. I don't devote all of my time to it. We do commissions for magazines, aerospace corporations and space agencies; some are 2D illustrations, most are real 3D, but mostly we are our own client. All of our real 3D commissions are designed and fully modeled and rendered prior to going into production. We use virtual 3D to make better real 3D. So, I guess you could say that we do the work twice. Sometimes, I wish that we could stop at virtual, like most get to do. Making it for real is a magnitude more difficult, because it has to actually work and not be a danger to anyone. Therefore, it is important to know that the design is sound, and also looks good, prior to investing all that time, energy and money in building it. We know, and the client gets a better idea of what is coming.

In no particular order, these are but a few of our product design shots that we have done using LightWave's renderer over the years:

120070 120071 120072 120073 120074 120075 120076

It is very capable.

Waves of light
02-11-2014, 06:27 AM
For Modeling I would also suggest taking part in the Speed Modeling Challenges (here's the current one: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?140020-Speed-Modeling-Challenge-247-What-s-in-your-junk-drawer) by doing this, you will slowly start to learn the basics and see how other's achieve their results (because they have to present the wires for each object entered).

Shortcuts and Keyboard setup - learn the standard keyboard shortcuts. In Modeler go to 'Edit | Edit Keyboard Shortcuts'. Don't do anything in here (for the time being) just go through the menu and have a look. Try and find a cheat sheet, or create your own for the most common used tools. When you are happy you've got the basics, you can then move onto creating your own prefered setup, menus, etc.

Refer to the manual. If you hit F1 whilst in Modeler, it will pull up the web manual (unless you have Google Chrome - it doesn't work). If you have registered an account at Lightwave3d.com you should have access to the PDF manuals too.

Have a look at this part of the forum: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?101465-Free-Speed-Models it has a bunch of free models (all from the aforementioned Speed Challenges) from which you will be able to bring them into Modeler and Layout to see how the artist has created them (poly flow, edge loops, etc.) and what textures were used. There are some bathroom items amongst the free models, so that may be a good starting point. Breakdown their textures, to see how the artist created, say, marble tiles or chrome taps.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. You will find there are lot of friendly and helpful people on here.

Searching the forums.... for a better way to search for something specific (i.e. interior lighting) stick the following into your browser:

site:forums.newtek.com <anything you want to search for in here>

so for interior lighting

site:forums.newtek.com interior lighting

Tutorials - there are so many that it would take an age to list them all. But here's a page that contains some:
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?125893-LightWave-Training-just-a-list&p=1220226#post1220226

Also, check out Erikals (Erik Alstad) youtube site. If you want to see how a specific function works (or in some cases doesn't work - the pitfalls) then he's guaranteed to have made a video of it. http://www.youtube.com/user/erikalst/videos

Look forward to seeing your progress and results.

Ricky.

Surrealist.
02-11-2014, 08:35 AM
I would strongly suggest limiting the learning to the areas you already know in the real world. And even though 3P render solution's (Maxwell for instance) are "easier" to light in. LihgtWave also has its own rendering solution that when you understand how to use it can give you very nice results quicker than a render like Maxwell. I mean quicker in render times.

If not yet provided here is this link:

http://www.except.nl/lightwave/RadiosityGuide96/

I just think the reality of being a real good modeler to do product shots and so on is a long way off. That is from my experience as a modeler who does exactly that along with other 3D tasks of for a living. Not saying this with any competitive angle at all. I just know how long it takes to get good enough to the point people would hire me to do that.

Whereas if you farm this work out you are that much closer to a transition over to this and being able to offer it as a service to you r current clients.

You can find free models and scenes to practice with. Lots of stuff on the web you could even buy for cheap if not for free to practice your rendering and lighting skills even put together a portfolio. Because you have a real world skill it is just a matter of transferring that over to 3D. In many cases not directly but it will be much faster than a person who does not know how to light.

And you can be that much closers to getting a new business model up and running. Otherwise ironically you may wind up retiring first... lol.

My 2C for what it is worth.

And finally I firmly believe that the Mac is the superior computer. And it is my cynical view of life that this is so typical for the best things to get the least support from the masses. But at the same time, my biggest suggestion is if you are going to get into 3D, do yourself a favor and by a PC. Otherwise you will be doing lots of waiting for things to come to that platform as it is always the last thing developers do. I mean almost always. And some things simply never make it because the guys who make them don't use macs. Plain and simple.

JonW
02-11-2014, 02:09 PM
It will be far easier with a PC, virtually all my drawings I get are from a PC. So I don't start a war here I am a Mac person & do everything on a Mac other than LW.

I do all my work in LW & the only plugin is LWCad. But I would just use LW to start with, the last thing you need is more complications at this stage.

I have still not got around to understanding Nodes & do virtually all my surfaces with photographs. Usual story, that is what I know best & laziness.

I don't believe there are shortcuts with learning any 3d program but you probably have the best forum here. You can get professional help to get going. But it is simply remembering all the different things even if you drastically narrow of 3d you want to work with. I use an extremely narrow portion of what LW can do & just in this part of the field I am learning stuff every day.

You will have to put the effort in & spending time every day is best so you repeat the tasks over and over. Even learning keyboard shortcuts to drum it in.

I would knuckle down for a month, ask your other half etc for the time & not be distracted by anything. You will find after about a month things will start to make sense, you will be a long watt off but nevertheless you will start getting an understanding of what is going on & start to remember the key things to get going.

& as a bonus LW is on sale for one day more if you are using a trial version! You can use LW on both Mac & PC at no extra cost so you can get going on your Mac now & if you get a PC later you can use it there as well!

spherical
02-11-2014, 06:11 PM
One other item that I remembered as I drifted off at 04:30 this morning. The training that supplied the first keystone to understanding the concepts and lingo for me was good ol' books. These were all LW version 8 vintage, there may now be updated printings. A lot has changed in LW since then but the basic stuff is still relevant.


LightWave 3D [8] 1001 Tips & Tricks - Wes "Kurv" Beckwith, Steve Warner, Robin Wood
LightWave 3D 8 Texturing - Leigh van der Byl
LightWave 3D 8 Lighting - Nicholas Boughen


I could read them in the order and pace I felt comfortable with and not necessarily be sitting at the screen to do it. Backing up to re-visit a concept is easy. When I got stuck while modeling/rendering, I used the index judiciously for solving problems. Once the initial read had at least passed through my brain, I pretty much knew where to look for something I had seen. Add these to the video tutorials and you're on your way. Still refer to them, from time to time.

JonW
02-11-2014, 08:33 PM
I used some of Dan Ablan's books. Really good. Although the ones I used are very old the same principals apply and a lot of the underlying tools still operate the same way.

http://www.lynda.com/LightWave-10-tutorials/Essential-Training/71924-2.html

Rayek
02-12-2014, 02:56 AM
If you are looking for an easy introduction into professional product rendering, you might want to check out KeyShot:
http://keyshot.com/

Some packages like SKetchUp do make certain types of modeling much, much easier as well for someone starting.

langen
02-12-2014, 12:43 PM
If you are looking for an easy introduction into professional product rendering, you might want to check out KeyShot:
http://keyshot.com/

Some packages like SKetchUp do make certain types of modeling much, much easier as well for someone starting.


Are you able to get photorealistic results in a resolution that is large enough for an A3 sized (around 11X14") 300dpi offset print with sketch up and Keyshot?

langen
02-12-2014, 12:50 PM
I would strongly suggest limiting the learning to the areas you already know in the real world. And even though 3P render solution's (Maxwell for instance) are "easier" to light in. LihgtWave also has its own rendering solution that when you understand how to use it can give you very nice results quicker than a render like Maxwell. I mean quicker in render times.

If not yet provided here is this link:

http://www.except.nl/lightwave/RadiosityGuide96/

I just think the reality of being a real good modeler to do product shots and so on is a long way off. That is from my experience as a modeler who does exactly that along with other 3D tasks of for a living. Not saying this with any competitive angle at all. I just know how long it takes to get good enough to the point people would hire me to do that.

Whereas if you farm this work out you are that much closer to a transition over to this and being able to offer it as a service to you r current clients.

You can find free models and scenes to practice with. Lots of stuff on the web you could even buy for cheap if not for free to practice your rendering and lighting skills even put together a portfolio. Because you have a real world skill it is just a matter of transferring that over to 3D. In many cases not directly but it will be much faster than a person who does not know how to light.

And you can be that much closers to getting a new business model up and running. Otherwise ironically you may wind up retiring first... lol.

My 2C for what it is worth.

And finally I firmly believe that the Mac is the superior computer. And it is my cynical view of life that this is so typical for the best things to get the least support from the masses. But at the same time, my biggest suggestion is if you are going to get into 3D, do yourself a favor and by a PC. Otherwise you will be doing lots of waiting for things to come to that platform as it is always the last thing developers do. I mean almost always. And some things simply never make it because the guys who make them don't use macs. Plain and simple.


You make a tremendous amount of sense. So if I hire someone to make the models (there's a whole other topic), then I can just use something like Maxwell Render with it's unbiased way of lighting, which would suit me fine.
I wouldn't really need Lightwave. And I don't want to spend more money on a better GPU right now, so a renderer like Maxwell that uses the cores sounds good.

Surrealist.
02-12-2014, 01:17 PM
I did not intentionally say the things I said to talk you out of LightWave. But you are the artist and you have to make the call.

It is true that a lot of these render solutions also provide stand alone options. I have not used one in a pipeline before so I can not comment on that. My thinking is that you would still want a good 3D package like LightWave for the most amount of flexibility all around in dealing with assets. It won't take that long to learn surfacing and rendering in LightWave. However LightWave is an animation package so maybe it is overkill. The other thing is that LightWave would open up your client base to people who would also want animated product renders.

But if you are considering options have a look at Lagoa:

http://home.lagoa.com/

I think generally you have the right idea. And my thought is cut to the chase and get those clients back or not loose anymore. Lots of fine modelers out there who do work and what is the difference really? You have to bill them for the time regardless of who does it. At least you stay in business and can still get them on the rendering side. And I mean I work with a lot of people who never touch modeling. It is quite common.

Ztreem
02-12-2014, 01:53 PM
Are you able to get photorealistic results in a resolution that is large enough for an A3 sized (around 11X14") 300dpi offset print with sketch up and Keyshot?

There is no size limit in keyshot, you can render as big as you want and its quite fast too.

prometheus
02-12-2014, 03:49 PM
One thing to keep track on, how many clients or companies are putting out ads regarding what skills they look for? if thatīs the way you go I mean...in such case you might need to check what they look for in terms of skills in a specific software, and as you previously was hinted ..3d max was recomended, and most companies over here at least requires that as skills in their job ads, nothing comes up regarding Lightwave though.
But If you are doing it by freelancing yourself itīs another matter, and for that I think lightwave will fit the bill pretty nice, only contender..and a big one regarding product visualization is modo.

3d max UI is evil...I had some basic courses in 1998, but I never fell in love with it, it all come together in lightwave though, modo however has strenghten itīs stock for a reasonable price too, you have painting tools directly in the program which lightwave donīt, and a more advanced subdivision modeler, and the UI might be easy for you to use, you have presets with thumbnails to load from, you can drag an drop assets so they stick align on a desk or wall or whatever you need, and for import of cad...I think modo might be a better choice and you can accept cad work from solidworks too..which lightwave canīt without external software.

The modo trial is however very short 15 days(yes it sucks) but I would encourage you to check modo on youtube and their site the foundry and all the goodies in there, latest goodies are the plugin called mesh fusion.

For lightwave I would recommend always go through the manual, starting with modeler you need to hit n for numeric panel, and perhaps w for statistics over elements, resize the main window and place and resize the numeric panel and the statistics panel at the side of the main window, directly after that..close modeler and that UI setup will be saved to the lightwave configuration, so the next time you start modeler it will start with those open to the side, it easy for you to
adjust things from that panel, depending on how you select things, selecting points,edges, polys and how to scale and move each element is crucial, and also how you select connected geometry etc...next step is to give different polys
different surfaces, from there you need to go how to load image map s on them, then go to how to make UV maps.

Absolut size is a modifier you really need to be aware of, I think itīs a little hidden and you have to reconfigure the UI, think it is located under transform/more absolut size, so depending on if you select the whole object you can resize that, or only a certain part as the top of the box if you select the top poly, with automatic size you can choose locked and just set one value in one axis and the other axis will scale
uniformly keeping the scale ratio, otherwise you scale them independently.

Focus on modeling foremost, but some intial loading of simple models in to layout, and do some renders, get to now Antialiasing and learn the render panel, how to move camera etc.
The lightwave community is great...testing both modo community and houdini community, I know that I do get answers faster and more over here.

For lightwave extra addition, you might want to look at the octane plugin which have a more physical correct way to work with light and surfaces.
Keyshot is another nice program too, and I used it once for a logo where I actually had a hardtime to produce the metal look I wanted in lightwave, with keyshot the materials behaved realisticly as I wanted it directly
...which was harder to acheive in lightwave at that time anyway..keyshot is a a separate very fast cpu renderer with materials and lights very accurate behaving as in the real world(they brag about that)
Some guys here who knows lightwave well donīt get impressed by that though :) and itīs only for rendering, and it comes at a cost.

Also keep an eye on HDR light studio coming as a plugin for lightwave...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh63mOwYc0Y&list=WL1E6685283726ABE4




hereīs some older training from one of the best instructors for free... select video, then click on link(under launch) that will give you a page that says right click to save video which I recommend instead of launching it over the net.
many of those are also available on youtube so you could try search there, but get good storage and download all render,texturing and model videos you can find and sort them in folders.
ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/WV_LightwaveTraining.html

You are not to old for doing product shots, doing the whole scope as a generalist would have been more demanding, but doing product shots is probably one of the easier things if you commit to it, and you need to
realize it is fun, If you donīt ...I think you should think twice about it...because it will take a lot of hours spent, but if you find it fun it will be so much easier and worthwhile.

Finally I did some product rendering of gym machines between 2010-2012, from solidworks constructions then deep exploration and lightwave rendering ...only modeling was some cusions and some welding in joints..surfacing all done in lightwave, however...today I would seriously probably go for modo with itīs native solidworks import and cad loaders turning solidworks meshes to quads.
the photographer was to expensive...and a lot of heavy duty to set up all machines etc:)

Michael

spherical
02-12-2014, 04:14 PM
So if I hire someone to make the models (there's a whole other topic), then I can just use something like Maxwell Render with it's unbiased way of lighting, which would suit me fine. I wouldn't really need Lightwave.

This may work short term, depending upon the workflow between you and the modeler you hire. If you end up needing to adjust models, which happens more often than you may think, then the iterative process most likely will become a hindrance. LightWave is on special right now. If you're going this route, may as well dive in. You can always sell the seat if you find that you really don't need it. I think you will find that having the ability to make a change and move forward whenever you need to will be an imperative. If you're going to jump, earlier is better. I know it seems intimidating right now, but it's not all that difficult. Once you get started, things fall into place and first thing you know, you'll reflect upon your journey (no pun intended) and realize that it wasn't so bad at all. Only the first step is the hardest.


And I don't want to spend more money on a better GPU right now, so a renderer like Maxwell that uses the cores sounds good.

You don't have to spend more money on a GPU right now. Yes Maxwell is great but I'm sure that you'll read from others that it isn't the fastest. While Octane is GPU-based, Thea is a hybrid, using both CPU and GPU. Use CPU mode until you get a better GPU card. One additional thing I like about it is that it has Relight and Repaint (http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/features/tech-tour.html) capability. Render once, alter the lighting and surfacing afterward, without having to re-render. And it's about 1/3 the cost right now, because it's on special, too.

Use the money you saved in the long run to get that new video card.

prometheus
02-12-2014, 04:26 PM
This may work short term, depending upon the workflow between you and the modeler you hire. If you end up needing to adjust models, which happens more often than you may think, then the iterative process most likely will become a hindrance. LightWave is on special right now. If you're going this route, may as well dive in. You can always sell the seat if you find that you really don't need it. I think you will find that having the ability to make a change and move forward whenever you need to will be an imperative. If you're going to jump, earlier is better. I know it seems intimidating right now, but it's not all that difficult. Once you get started, things fall into place and first thing you know, you'll reflect upon your journey (no pun intended) and realize that it wasn't so bad at all. Only the first step is the hardest.



You don't have to spend more money on a GPU right now. Yes Maxwell is great but I'm sure that you'll read from others that it isn't the fastest. While Octane is GPU-based, Thea is a hybrid, using both CPU and GPU. Use CPU mode until you get a better GPU card. One additional thing I like about it is that it has Relight and Repaint (http://www.thearender.com/cms/index.php/features/tech-tour.html) capability. Render once, alter the lighting and surfacing afterward, without having to re-render. And it's about 1/3 the cost right now, because it's on special, too.

Use the money you saved in the long run to get that new video card.


I think octane standalone will be the cheapest and the fastest solution for the most realism look by just throwing in objects and just render, but it requires him to get all the models correctly from scratch ..otherwise he need to learn modeling and correction of them if he faces other situations.

keyshot is even easier to use with materials etc and lighting, but itīs more expensive, the speed comparison is hard to tell, depends on what cpu and gpu is used, since octane uses gpu, and keyshot cpu.



Maxwell do also have a plugin for lightwave called fire, which makes rendering faster..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPkuIuGCxBg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuIut2Fx8BA&list=PLL1gfjmFBKnVifzunLxMav4b8Qp7m3ram

I would think twice though about just thinking about a render solution and not learn modeling, I think you will have requests of tasks requiring modeling and special stuff, you will limit yourself to much thinking otherwise..I think, why should they hire you otherwise if they just as easy can get fairly cheap rendering software themself.

prometheus
02-12-2014, 04:35 PM
A little tip, in the later lightwave version..In layout under render tab..utilities, you have the print camera, it is helpful for setting the right settings for camera resolution and for best adaptation when
making prints.

load some content stuff, and test it.

Michael

Snosrap
02-12-2014, 05:25 PM
Jens,

My advice would be to just dig in. I've known many software whores - they think the software is the magic bullet to solve the issue so they buy tons of packages thinking each one will do the work for them and they end up with nothing to show for it other than a dwindled bank account. You need 3 packages to move into CGI to help you get more $ from those clients that feel 3D will better meet their requirements - any 3D package with a built-in renderer, Photoshop or the equivalent, and possibly a vector based drawing application. Those three and your in business.

JonW
02-12-2014, 08:24 PM
they think the software is the magic bullet to solve the issue so they buy tons of packages thinking each one will do the work for them and they end up with nothing to show for it other than a dwindled bank account.

An answer to a recent job:

"Thank you for your comments and I am glad you are happy. It is not actually the technology. I was doing the same decades ago photographing physical models so they would look like they were already built. It really does boil down to putting in the effort from carefully taking the photograph & watching the lighting all the way through to the model, whether it is physical or in the computer. Fast computers and expensive cameras help and I always used a Mamiya 6x7 Medium Format camera before digital took over. I have seen a lot of work where people will nevertheless ruin an image will good equipment. One still needs to put the effort in."

I started with 3d Max better moved to LW as someone else said, I didn't like Max either.

Lightwave is very capable. If you go hunting around the forum you will see stuff done so long ago & others will ask where do you get the plugin to do that. Well it simply can be done in LW.

Fortunately still today good work is in the hands of the creator & not a bit of software.


Outsourcing: I have so much that comes back for a change or update. Outsourcing is fraught with danger unless you have a stack of work that it is worthwhile doing.

In the 90s I saw & customer to quote on photo montages. Yes we do photo montages. Got back to the office, said that we got the job. Now we had to buy a computer! You need to jump in the deep end to learn.

3d is another level again but you just have to push yourself & after a few months you will kick yourself that you didn't start earlier.

Surrealist.
02-12-2014, 09:47 PM
Jens,

My advice would be to just dig in. I've known many software whores - they think the software is the magic bullet to solve the issue so they buy tons of packages thinking each one will do the work for them and they end up with nothing to show for it other than a dwindled bank account.

Though I think your comment is in the right place. I think it can be completely misconstrued. And I get to the point where I think we have to put this into perspective. Because so often on forums perspective is lost. Perhaps a person is just trying to make one point, and in this case I can grant that you are not discounting other factors.

So you know, what is the point of having Bullet if we already had hard dynamics in LightWave? Or what is the point of adding instancing?

The point is this is an extremely technical field and so I think there are a lot of things that do matter. My opinion on the proper perceptive is, well, you have to research things as the OP is doing and make up your own mind. It does matter what software you choose. And even though some fools will rush in the fact of the matter is having a different tools can completely change the game. There are many many technical examples. So yeah software can and should some of the work for you. Or to be more precise, should offer the tool set that allows you to perform certain tasks. Because there are a lot of technical A/B comparisons between packages that do matter. And do result in varying degrees of being able to or not being able to do things.

JonW
02-12-2014, 10:07 PM
So you know, what is the point of having Bullet if we already had hard dynamics in LightWave?

I'm one of those who still hasn't used either!

prometheus
02-12-2014, 10:10 PM
I'm one of those who still hasn't used either!

Bullet is fun, and easy to use and quite fast, just need some more features and polishing...for those not in to effects, using bullet as a tool can be helpful for stills too, depending on what you try to acheive of course.

JonW
02-12-2014, 10:12 PM
It's not that I don't want to but there are about 100 other tasks (not LW) which need attention!

prometheus
02-12-2014, 10:26 PM
It's not that I don't want to but there are about 100 other tasks (not LW) which need attention!

Mehh..clean underwear, and fresh water will be enough for some time:)

Michael

Snosrap
02-12-2014, 10:33 PM
Though I think your comment is in the right place. I think it can be completely misconstrued. And I get to the point where I think we have to put this into perspective. Because so often on forums perspective is lost. Perhaps a person is just trying to make one point, and in this case I can grant that you are not discounting other factors.

So you know, what is the point of having Bullet if we already had hard dynamics in LightWave? Or what is the point of adding instancing?

The point is this is an extremely technical field and so I think there are a lot of things that do matter. My opinion on the proper perceptive is, well, you have to research things as the OP is doing and make up your own mind. It does matter what software you choose. And even though some fools will rush in the fact of the matter is having a different tools can completely change the game. There are many many technical examples. So yeah software can and should some of the work for you. Or to be more precise, should offer the tool set that allows you to perform certain tasks. Because there are a lot of technical A/B comparisons between packages that do matter. And do result in varying degrees of being able to or not being able to do things. Very valid comments indeed. So lets do put this into perspective - Jens Langen says "I'm a photographer who has lost 3 big clients to CGI in the past year. All these clients make products for home and office- furniture, bathtubs, appliances. I can see my remaining clients going this route and therefore I'm highly motivated to gain a working knowledge of CGI. My goal is not to animate but to make photorealistic renderings of room interiors, import CAD drawings or photographs of products as described above, place these objects or photographs in the environments after applying appropriate materials, and also create models of packaging that doesn't yet exist but has artwork (labels and graphics). Eventually I want to create more organic settings into which I can place photographs of people and products. Even though I'm not at all familiar with this world, I did extensive research that led me to Lightwave and here we are." - Sure there are plugins etc. out there that can help, but when you look at what he wants to do, LW will suit him well. Sometimes I think we do beginners a disservice by suggesting they look into this or buy this and buy that, when all they need to do is pick a 3D package and pick a paint package. Let's not scare off beginners. :)

prometheus
02-12-2014, 10:36 PM
Very valid comments indeed. So lets do put this into perspective - Jens Langen says "I'm a photographer who has lost 3 big clients to CGI in the past year. All these clients make products for home and office- furniture, bathtubs, appliances. I can see my remaining clients going this route and therefore I'm highly motivated to gain a working knowledge of CGI. My goal is not to animate but to make photorealistic renderings of room interiors, import CAD drawings or photographs of products as described above, place these objects or photographs in the environments after applying appropriate materials, and also create models of packaging that doesn't yet exist but has artwork (labels and graphics). Eventually I want to create more organic settings into which I can place photographs of people and products. Even though I'm not at all familiar with this world, I did extensive research that led me to Lightwave and here we are." - Sure there are plugins etc. out there that can help, but when you look at what he wants to do, LW will suit him well. Sometimes I think we do beginners a disservice by suggesting they look into this or buy this and buy that, when all they need to do is pick a 3D package and pick a paint package. Let's not scare off beginners. :)

Then Ill advice to pick up truespace or blender, they are all free without cost and capable of much, and can do things lightwave canīt.

Sekhar
02-12-2014, 10:38 PM
I don't get it. How exactly does one outgrow LightWave before they even make a cube? Why are we talking about Maxwell, KeyShot, etc. to a beginner? We might be confusing him.

OP: LightWave is INCREDIBLY powerful. I strongly suggest you watch the intro tuts on the NewTek site as some have suggested and try it out for yourself. Yes, it is complex enough to make Photoshop look like child's play, but again that's because of its power. Try the sample scenes to do some quick renders to see the kind of quality you can get.

prometheus
02-12-2014, 10:41 PM
I don't get it. How exactly does one outgrow LightWave before they even make a cube? Why are we talking about Maxwell, KeyShot, etc. to a beginner? We might be confusing him.

OP: LightWave is INCREDIBLY powerful. I strongly suggest you watch the intro tuts on the NewTek site as some have suggested and try it out for yourself. Yes, it is complex enough to make Photoshop look like child's play, but again that's because of its power. Try the sample scenes to do some quick renders to see the kind of quality you can get.

keyshot is extremly easy to use and fast, just load the camera sample and move cam a little and render, voila....instant good looking almost photo of the camera:)
due to the cost though I wouldnīt recommend it after finding out he had not that much to spare.

Michael

Snosrap
02-12-2014, 10:46 PM
Then Ill advice to pick up truespace or blender, they are all free without cost and capable of much, and can do things lightwave canīt. I would strongly advice he picks up any and all trial versions and give them a go to see which one most "clicks" with him. :thumbsup: Free is great but only if it works for him.

Sekhar
02-12-2014, 10:46 PM
keyshot is extremly easy to use and fast, just load the camera sample and move cam a little and render, voila....instant good looking almost photo of the camera:)
due to the cost though I wouldnīt recommend it after finding out he had not that much to spare.

Michael
My point is these are way over the top for someone just starting out. Kind of like talking of special purpose additive synths on day one of a keyboard class.

prometheus
02-12-2014, 10:51 PM
My point is these are way over the top for someone just starting out. Kind of like talking of special purpose additive synths on day one of a keyboard class.
Absolutly not, learning how to use keyshot is way easier than learning lightwave, and not particulary advanced, childīs play if you ask me, but he will still be stuck with facing hard times if he has to model, since keyshot donīt do that.

Maxwell fire renderer is suggested since it acts as a plugin for lightwave and can thus be usuful where a clients asks about realistic materials or similar from that type of standard look and need equal renders, and the fire plugin is a fast previewer for lightwave. It might also help get the look he wantīs faster rather than learning all about surfacing and materials in native lightwave.

Snosrap
02-13-2014, 11:12 AM
Absolutly not, learning how to use keyshot is way easier than learning lightwave, and not particulary advanced, childīs play if you ask me, but he will still be stuck with facing hard times if he has to model, since keyshot donīt do that. Yep Keyshot, Showcase and Bunkspeed are super easy, but super limited too. They were designed with engineers in mind to get a nice picture with little or no fuss, but making photo-realistic renderings of room interiors are pretty much a no go with them. They are designed for the product shot with shiny plastic and metal with lots of nice curved surfaces, forget about wood materials and products that are square - a modern table comes to mind - there just isn't enough control.

prometheus
02-13-2014, 11:27 AM
I just asked about the demo trial for keyshot, it has no timelimt, only watermark.
for cad/solidworks users there is a bridge between the two programs called live linking..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NuXk1hUUXuo

for wood materials, you can simply use wood textures as any other program or use built in wood procedurals...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtWpdJ92QrY

langen
02-13-2014, 11:29 PM
To everyone- you all make very valid points, even though you sometimes contradict one another- which is fine, that's the nature of the subject. I just wish it was easier to do this stuff, that the software wasn't so cumbersome and unintuitive for me. I'm not a technical person who enjoys being in front of the computer all that much except to say that I enjoy photoshop and do spend some time there but I get results very quickly compared to where I'm at with 3d. And the learning will go on for quite some time. My hero and business template is Chris Clor (photographer) who has the unusual ability to do both excellent photography and realistic cg renders and composite them together. His results are what I want, but to be honest I haven't felt the "fun" in CG yet, but it's early days. Once I start rendering and getting results then I'm sure that will motivate me to keep going. So the suggestions to get some models a try rendering makes sense for me. Modeling so far makes me want to slit my wrists. I'm going to look at modo and C4D on the lynda.com site and see which clicks more for me and then do the trials. I don't want to keep trying different things just to avoid committing to a software package, but I'm finding that LightWave isn't clicking for me. Better than max but there is still the cringe factor. But I really haven't given it enough time. Unfortunately I have this feeling that cgi might not be for me. If I could find someone who does a good job with Modeling and rendering I would consider hiring them full time at this point. I'm sure I could keep them busy and vice versa.
This discussion can go on and on. I haven't even touched on another aspect of this which is illustrated by an architectural firm that is a client of mine. They have all their archviz images rendered in China after back and forth discussions including surface ideas and material samples. Back and forth several times and a high resolution render for about $125.00!
Should I spend years learning this when there are talented CG artist in China, South America, Bulgaria, etc who will work for almost free? Is this the best use of my time? And don't you think that sometime soon there will be software available that will be far easier to learn than the current ones. That will be great for people like me, but it will cheapen the CG business in general the way digital photography has cheapened what I do for a living. I'm starting to ramble so will stop now.
But again, this forum is the best and your answers are all very well considered and extremely valuable.

JonW
02-14-2014, 12:23 AM
Should I spend years learning this when there are talented CG artist in China

The same thing applies with physical architectural models. But there are enough people who want a local person and that you can provide a personal service, confidentiality, know your customer subtle needs and fit in with their work flow. Plus give that bit extra that they have not asked for.

The jobs that I have lost offshore I really don't want to deal with those customers anyway. They simply cause you grief on every level all the way to actually getting paid.

Simply not worth the pain.


3d is complex but no more that taking technically competent photographs. I have only ever done one product shot years ago for a business award statue which is still being used today (a shiny metal nightmare). Actually they have reverted back to the original photo which looks better than a layer of CG on top of it.

There are so many aspects of photography that I would not know where to start and don't have the time either.

A recent job the customer didn't like my three shots. I explained the reasons why I took them and said here they are and go and have a look at the site. I am more than happy to re-shoot if you wish. Next day, very happy & I didn't have to take another photo!

3d is part of photography today, getting some skills under your belt in 3d will help your business. You are already a lot of steps ahead already with photography. Setting up camera and lighting is similar to the real world. Have a crap camera angle or poor lighting that does not suit the product and you will kill it but do it right & your are halfway there.

Concentrate on you field of photography and the same in 3d and you will develop confidence and skills quicker than you think. It will take time to refine those skills and develop a broader understanding but you will be surprised in a few months how far you get.

Surrealist.
02-14-2014, 12:23 AM
Well personally I disagree with the notion that you should not be tentative. At this point. And of course made the point that the tool(s) you choose do make a difference. We do sometimes turn at each other rather than help the OP. It happens as we don't often agree. But I think it is better to listen to a person and find out what it is they are needing and in an unbiased way, steer them in the right direction - for them.

Just so you know I have been in 3D for a very very long time. And even so just in the last 2 years or so I went on a search for a new program or set of programs to work with. It took me well over a year almost 2 years to come to a conclusion. I had trial versions, educational versions, I had spent a lot of time in this program and that. Read manuals did tutorials, pulled my hair out, screamed at the computer, asked myself a lot of times, why am I even doing this...? I mean it was just exhaustive and it was not easy. Finally I found a home in a software and all settled. I came out of it knowing myself and what I wanted much better. And the only one who could do that was me. Not a single suggestion online was the definitive answer.

So all that to say, don't feel bad that things are not clicking and don't feel that it is just you. That software X has to be it just because it is for other people. Things are not all created equal.

And no you do not have to get into 3D. You don't even have to know the first thing about it. Although it helps. But you can hire people. You should do what makes you happy at the end of the day. You are the only one who knows you, and what you can tolerate.

Sure LightWave is easy for me. It is easy for a lot of people. That does not mean it has to be easy for you, or that you have just not given it the time etc. If 3D does not click, don't force it.

Hire me.... lol... just kidding.

Anyway, I think you'll be fine as long as you are willing to put in the work, but if it is not your bag that is the end to that.

Waves of light
02-14-2014, 02:15 AM
I had the pleasure of working with a guy who went on to run a start up business in SF. One thing he said, should you not have time or the knowledge, was to outsource. There's nothing wrong with it, if it still allows you to retain your client and within budget. In the early part of your transition you could look towards outsourcing, whilst progressing your 3D skills at a slower, more manageable pace. You may find that outsourcing works so well, that you don't need to invest the time and effort in attaining new skills.

But as Jon said, cheapest, is not always the best option. You're based in Canada, and from recent discussions I was informed that Vancouver has more productions and schools combined than LA for VFX right now. So maybe you can tap into that source too. Failing that, ask. There are a lot of arch viz guys on here, pm some tenders to give you some sort of price comparison.

prometheus
02-14-2014, 04:29 AM
Honestly if it doesnīt click with you and you donīt feel comfortable with spending too muc time in front of the computer, I would say this isnīt something you should pursue.
give it a try for a month or two and test some software...like keyshot, free unlimited time demo, and easy to use.
and lightwave and modo for example, modo comes with more presets and thumbs for object making it easier to find things you look for rather than names in some content folders.

I think itīs a little sad we lost the old way of indexing Lightwave content they used to do some years ago, that would help to simply check any hml page with indexed content then check scenes that might
be just like something you would work on.

But for testing lightwave, go through content scenes and see if it clicks with you when loading content and rendering, so you get some fast insight on how to just do that, then go on with modeling.

Probably a lot of different background here in terms of why we all started to do 3d, some might have picked it up because it was an job opener, but I believe most of us wenīt in to it because we seriously enjoy sitting in front of
the computer and create virtual stuff...and to be creative.
If you donīt have that sense of ...wow I can do this, cool...now let me try that...then itīs not your cup of tee and even though you might be able to do some work, It might not be enjoyable and that might also reflect in the work done.
And yes...spending a lot of time in front of the computer... thereīs no way around that, you have to recognize and be aware of that.

Michael

jeric_synergy
02-14-2014, 10:01 AM
Photography:

If you never click w/3d, I'd suggest that you examine those aspects of photography that will NEVER be subsumed in the rendered image: organic, social, event photography (or whatever). Trying to compete with users who LOVE to model the IKEA catalog is a hard road: concentrate on something that photography does BETTER than renderers.

Learning: my experience is, have a specific project. To make it easy on yourself, start with TEXT. (Sadly, text in LW is extremely primitive).

Photorealistic renders are HARD. You might examine the modeling services for new objects, but that's MONTHS in the future. Just start with the objects that come w/LW.

Good TEXTURING is probably more important than modeling chops. Since you are all about the render, I'd say really concentrate on mastering the LW Lighting tools. Good news there: you can shine 'darkness' as well as light.