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ncr100
08-14-2014, 05:56 PM
Is there a guide to "Thinking in LightWave"? I often wish I had a high-level "gut understanding" of LW. Something which would convey enough to get my head around LW's core concepts and how they interrelate...what things plug into what other things. I have a hard time "connecting the parts" mentally and hence get less out of LW than I know is possible.

I feel its architectural concepts could be distilled and grouped. What organizing concepts could be applied to group the following?

MAJOR GROUP A - TOOLS & OPERATORS (mused grouping)

Graph Editor / Envelopes - Expressions, Modifiers
Node Editor
Texture Editor - Image Map, Procedural, Gradient
Surface Editor
Image Editor
Hypervoxel Editor
FiberFX Editor

Scene Editor (+New) - Dope

World
Rendering
Time
Evaluation Ordering (geometry transformation)
Scripting - LScript, Python

Motion Options Editor

MAJOR GROUP B - ENTITIES

Keyframes - Timeline Editor (are keyframes entities or more generic tools?)

Dynamics (BulletPhysics) - Objects, Editor

Flocking - Objects, Editor

Objects - Pivot
Channels
Layers
Maps - Weight, UV Texture, Endomorph, Vertex Color, Selection (not Image Map)
Parts
Polygons
Edges
Curves
Points

Lights

Cameras

Bones / Joints (am unfamiliar with all this)

Dynamic Object (not Bullet)
Emitter - HV Particle, Partigon

Skelegons
Partigons
Powergons
Luxigons

Meta - MetaBalls, Edges, Faces

FX
Custom Objects
Deform / Displacements / Morphing
Instances

Surfaces

Special: Plugins - they can be generic tools or operate on specific entities. I have the feeling LW is just one giant plugin mechanism, offering up some key concepts. And everything else is a plugin.

Perhaps an infographic could be created to express the relationships? https://www.google.com/search?q=infographic&tbm=isch Include multiplicity of concepts and hierarchy?

A side benefit would be for LW marketing to show just how simple it is to use, reinforcing the, "Get it done" message. I learned a lot just coming up with this list.

meshpig
08-15-2014, 02:34 AM
Well you tend to start with the idea of a 0,0,0 vertice becoming a point in a curve or an edge in a polygon and then what can be done with each from there all the way to a scene... like thinking in modeler goes from the bottom up.

- ZBrush for example, on the other hand starts with either a z sphere or a shadowbox. The concepts though are basically the same.

jeric_synergy
08-15-2014, 12:34 PM
Pour moi, a HUGE stumbling block was the concept of Weight Maps-- the name 'map' made me confuse it with an actual graphic entity, when in reality it's just a list of associated numbers. (Right???) ;)

And the idea that only the Points actually had hard numbers, and all the space in-between was calculated/interpolated for that map.

ncr100
08-15-2014, 02:06 PM
Pour moi, a HUGE stumbling block was the concept of Weight Maps-- the name 'map' made me confuse it with an actual graphic entity, when in reality it's just a list of associated numbers. (Right???) ;)

And the idea that only the Points actually had hard numbers, and all the space in-between was calculated/interpolated for that map.

@jeric Yeah! Maps - I think illustrating concepts is a great way to explain things, a picture's worth 1,000 words after all. LIKE: Would need to meditate on / illustrate a 2d image vs a 3d (UV?) vertex array, and how they are similar + dissimilar. Images are so similar to Maps IMO so both understandings described are valid, and it is not obvious reconciling those two strong concepts.

- - - Updated - - -


Well you tend to start with the idea of a 0,0,0 vertice becoming a point in a curve or an edge in a polygon and then what can be done with each from there all the way to a scene... like thinking in modeler goes from the bottom up.

- ZBrush for example, on the other hand starts with either a z sphere or a shadowbox. The concepts though are basically the same.

Yeah - the fundamentals and how LightWave _wants you to work with them_. It exposes many cool features but knowing they _should_ exist, ahead of time, without memorizing the documentation, can be frustrating. So - infographic!

jeric_synergy
08-15-2014, 02:32 PM
When you realize maps are LISTS, some operations become much clearer conceptually, especially things like copying and clearing.

ncr100
08-27-2014, 05:26 PM
Cross-reference @jeric_synergy's post on the value of "make sense of it all for me" documentation: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?142959-What-is-going-with-LightWave&p=1396606&viewfull=1#post1396606



Along these lines, I think LW3dG could do themselves a huge favor and create and/or feature practical techniques for USING the new features, especially those bits that feature significant synergy between the newish features. FOR INSTANCE, there's some subtle stuff in in SPLINE CONTROL that are not apparent at first glance, or are just IMPLIED in the dox. And while nodes aren't new, using them with Instancing can be quite powerful.

I'm probably the worst at this, but IMPLICATIONS don't work for me: TELL ME exactly what can be done with a given feature.

Several times I've noticed power users like RH and Swampy doing things that cause me to strike my forehead and utter "OF COURSE!!" But I would never have thought of them myself. The more examples, the better. Even just a review of how effects are created in the existing content samples would be useful.

While creating tutorials is not an insignificant task, I feel that it is disproportionally rewarding to the LW community.

ncr100
08-29-2014, 12:54 PM
I'd like for the infographic to convey the possibility of doing stuff like this: http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?127828-Can-this-be-done

jeric_synergy
08-29-2014, 01:51 PM
Here's my MOST EMBARRASSING example of 'not getting the implications' --at least I can say it was a LOOOOoooong time ago (but I'm probaby still just as thick)-- first time I've ever admitted this one:


With Lightwave 1.0, tied to a video toaster, I was looking at the falloff parameters on displacement textures, thinking "that's nice, but when would I use it?"

Then I saw a tutorial by Mark Thompson, using falloff to keep 'wheat' rooted while the tops of the stalks waved about.

ONCE I saw that simple example, I could think of dozens of uses for Falloff. Without that example, I'm sitting there making silver cubes on a checkered background.

So, LW3d documentation writers/creators: GIVE US CONCRETE EXAMPLES, don't expect us to see all the implications on our own. All we need is a solid hint, and we're good.

++++++++

BTW, a good example of LW3dG doing it RIGHT is Cody's example of swapping flocking destinations, available on Lightwave3d.com . this tutorial DIRECTLY addresses various mograph examples that C4D does well, but I gotta say I can't imagine it being any SIMPLER than his very cogent explanation of creating it in LW via flocking. :thumbsup:

So, kudos to Cody and management for getting that out there (back in July, I believe). :bowdown:

ncr100
08-31-2014, 10:35 AM
Rockin' - this is exactly one kind of instructional material I also believe is needed.

I'm slowly beginning to draw up a graph correlating some concepts, in hopes of it being useful by creators to mentally work their way through the universe of possibilities LW makes possible.