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Aww167
03-07-2016, 05:23 PM
Hello,
I'm just wondering whether many users of LW here would consider themselves to be familiar with all, or pretty much all of the available tools in modeler, and use them on a regular basis, or whether they find themselves able to accomplish anything and everything using just a relatively small selection, and consider it possible to work efficiently in such a manner without detriment to a good workflow and meeting deadlines ?
I'm curious because, having spent a while now learning to model, and whilst I feel fairly confident about being able to accomplish pretty much anything I want one way or another, in practice I invariably struggle at various points in accomplishing some aspect or other of the task in hand.
I know this is in part due to lack of practice and experience - I'm a relative newcomer to 3D compared to most people on this forum from what I can tell, but I'm wondering whether the shortcomings in my abilities are due more to a lack of awareness of the possibilities inherent in the relatively small number of tools I've become used to employing, or whether it's a case of needing to familiarize myself with as broad a range as possible in order to develop a really solid set of modelling skills that will work well whatever the task?
There's obviously no shortage of expert users here and I feel it would offer valuable guidance in helping develop a better sense of how I need to go about improving my skills, if you wouldn't mind sharing your thoughts....?
Thanks very much in advance.

Snosrap
03-07-2016, 06:22 PM
Well I consider myself to be a fairly advanced user of Modeler and can probably count about a dozen or so tools that I use for the majority of my modeling. I'll start with the obvious ones and work down.

1. Create Box
2. Create Disc
3. Move
4. Rotate
5. Size
6. Stretch
7. Bevel
8. Bandsaw Pro
9. Mirror
10. Merge Polygons
11. Chamfer
12. Multi-Shift

I also use a bunch more but not as often. I use keyboard shortcuts for the majority of my favorites, but also setup a menu for some of the others I use on a fairly regular basis.

132793

hrgiger
03-07-2016, 06:27 PM
Well first, you don't need to know everything about Modeler, throw that right out the window to start with.

You find the tools that work for you, eliminate tools you don't find useful, you may find you only need a small handful of tools to do what you need to.

Its like Zbrush. The interface for a beginner is completely daunting. But when you find that you only end up using maybe 6 or 7 of the hundreds of brushes available and once you find what interface items you need for a particular workflow, Zbrush becomes manageable and downright enjoyable.

Watch tutorials, ask questions when you get stuck. Accept that your models starting out won't be appearing in JJ Abrahams next film but strive to get better as you go.

Ma3rk
03-07-2016, 11:21 PM
Most folk could model circles around me, figuratively speaking. I supposed it really gets down to what sort of work you hope to do.

Some years ago, I purchased an older set of tutorials by Taron http://www.taron.de/ who in my mind is/was one of the best out there when it came to organic type work. I was surprised at how few tools he actually used; just a handful; only one or two others than what Snosrap has listed. Getting really proficient with the basics will get you 90% there.

That being said, you might investigate LWCad when you get to that point. It just adds so much to the basic functionality of LW modeling, particularly now that Viktor has added NURBS.

jeric_synergy
03-07-2016, 11:53 PM
The crucial tool I see used by the best modelers is Persistence.

JonW
03-07-2016, 11:54 PM
Have been using LW since 6.5 for architectural models. I hardly know anything about most of LW, it's simply too broad to know everything, but the longer you use it the better you get, but always learning! There are many ways to build the same project & over time you find ways which are more economical to suit your work flow.

Good administration, filing & naming protocol at every level saves bucket loads of time & this has nothing to do with 3d as such! Even more so if you want to do network rendering in the future.

LWCad is great.

prometheus
03-08-2016, 12:59 AM
Even if you do not need to know every tool etc, and you might want to approach it from a .."what is it I want to do" approach, I think it still might be wise to go through all the modeler tabs..briefly, maybe have a paper and make notes on different tabs on what they do etc.
It wonīt take a lifetime to go through the tabs and test some of it to see itīs type of performance, if you get no result emmidiatly, you could reference the help system.

I would suggest go through the tabs in order of which tab has least amount of tools, then it might not feel so overwhelming, until you get to those tabīs that are more complicated, the I/O, view, layer, and create tab hasnīt got that much in them, go through them first then continue with the others ..it also helps if you have a special interesting in some tools, then you would learn easier.

I would say if you go through the tabs that way, you have covered most of them briefly, then it might be wise to find tutorials going through tools on a per situation/model basis.

Michael

Kaptive
03-08-2016, 02:33 AM
I found one of the best ways to organise and learn about tools in Modeler is to create your own tab (Called My Tools... favorites or something like that). Spend an hour in the Edit/EditMenu Layout panel, going through it all and gathering all of your most used tools in one place. But along the way you'll notice ones you didn't even know were there, or you've never tried. So try them, see if they are useful to you, and if they are, add them to your favorite tab.

Doing this, I found that I could fit most of my common tools easily on one tab. This speeds things up tremendously and helps you explore modelers capabilities.

Beyond this, and this applies to Layout too, it is more important to be aware of the tools available and what they are for... than on how to use them all.
Knowing that there is an easier way to achieve a certain task means that you can look up that tool when needed in that rare moment, finding further information on how to use it at the time.
(This is one of the reasons I really appreciate Erikals youtube channel... dedicated to exploring tools and plugins (worth subscribing!) So I have a knowledge of lots of different things that I don't often use, but I know that if I did... they are there).

It is also worth investigating approaches to modeling certain types of things. Different approaches usually require different tools and methods.

Modeling a car versus modeling a characters face can be quite different, though you can produce them both using various methods. But one will be faster than another, and produce the better results.
For example, I nearly always use patch modeling for characters. One poly at a time, using the extend tool and edges to shape the various features. Slower more plodding, but in the end I have a base model that is exactly what I was aiming for, requiring less tweaking and playing.
With a car model, then spline modeling is probably the best approach. You get good solid lines and curves, that if was done by hand, poly by poly would end up with less satisfying curves and requires more tweaking afterwards.

Of course, the more you become familiar with different approaches, you'll be able to judge what is right for the object you intend to create.

Everyone is different and works in different ways. You'll find your best working method the longer you work.

Aww167
03-08-2016, 12:50 PM
Well I consider myself to be a fairly advanced user of Modeler and can probably count about a dozen or so tools that I use for the majority of my modeling. I'll start with the obvious ones and work down.

1. Create Box
2. Create Disc
3. Move
4. Rotate
5. Size
6. Stretch
7. Bevel
8. Bandsaw Pro
9. Mirror
10. Merge Polygons
11. Chamfer
12. Multi-Shift

I also use a bunch more but not as often. I use keyboard shortcuts for the majority of my favorites, but also setup a menu for some of the others I use on a fairly regular basis.

132793

Thanks indeed for a very helpful list - I was really hoping for such a detailed answer but thought it might be a bit of a tall order requesting it given I hadn't specified my own preferences at all. Interestingly your list mirrors my own very closely with the exception of the chamfer tool which I think I will investigate more closely now. I realise that keyboard shortcuts really speed up the whole process and am gradually working toward establishing a more fully inclusive approach - likewise I see the advantage of customized menus but am probably going to investigate a few more tools first to see what I can most usefully incorporate into my workflow/strategy.

Aww167
03-08-2016, 02:21 PM
The crucial tool I see used by the best modelers is Persistence.

Perfect answer! Yes, thanks!! I kind of know that too but sometimes forget how important it is and how big a difference it can make in the long term.

Aww167
03-08-2016, 02:48 PM
Most folk could model circles around me, figuratively speaking. I supposed it really gets down to what sort of work you hope to do.

Some years ago, I purchased an older set of tutorials by Taron http://www.taron.de/ who in my mind is/was one of the best out there when it came to organic type work. I was surprised at how few tools he actually used; just a handful; only one or two others than what Snosrap has listed. Getting really proficient with the basics will get you 90% there.

That being said, you might investigate LWCad when you get to that point. It just adds so much to the basic functionality of LW modeling, particularly now that Viktor has added NURBS.

Thanks for your advice - which echoes relevant (to me) points made by others here and further reassures me that it isn't just laziness on my part to focus on using a fairly limited tool selection but a rational and pragmatic approach to the question. Yes, LWCAD was a purchase I made a while back simply because of the obvious extension of functionality it gives at such a very affordable price ! Having said that, I've yet to get round to using more than a fraction of the tools on any kind of a regular basis - walls, doors & windows comes most readily to mind. It's certainly on my 'to do' list to explore further and I can't see me shying away from the challenge too much longer. There is obviously much there to be discovered, when I feel I can best take advantage of the learning...

Aww167
03-08-2016, 02:54 PM
Well first, you don't need to know everything about Modeler, throw that right out the window to start with.

You find the tools that work for you, eliminate tools you don't find useful, you may find you only need a small handful of tools to do what you need to.

Its like Zbrush. The interface for a beginner is completely daunting. But when you find that you only end up using maybe 6 or 7 of the hundreds of brushes available and once you find what interface items you need for a particular workflow, Zbrush becomes manageable and downright enjoyable.

Watch tutorials, ask questions when you get stuck. Accept that your models starting out won't be appearing in JJ Abrahams next film but strive to get better as you go.


Thanks for your thoughts. I realise I started watching a few of your tutorials a while back and then lost track of them amongst the rather disorganised and fragmented learning strategy I was pursuing at the time. It's a very pleasant surprise to discover I now know where to find them again, especially the LWCAD ones which I hadn't been aware of until now.

Aww167
03-08-2016, 03:23 PM
Even if you do not need to know every tool etc, and you might want to approach it from a .."what is it I want to do" approach, I think it still might be wise to go through all the modeler tabs..briefly, maybe have a paper and make notes on different tabs on what they do etc.
It wonīt take a lifetime to go through the tabs and test some of it to see itīs type of performance, if you get no result emmidiatly, you could reference the help system.

I would suggest go through the tabs in order of which tab has least amount of tools, then it might not feel so overwhelming, until you get to those tabīs that are more complicated, the I/O, view, layer, and create tab hasnīt got that much in them, go through them first then continue with the others ..it also helps if you have a special interesting in some tools, then you would learn easier.

I would say if you go through the tabs that way, you have covered most of them briefly, then it might be wise to find tutorials going through tools on a per situation/model basis.

Michael


Yes, thanks prometheus. I'm persuaded that your suggestion makes a very rational and practical approach indeed to dealing with what is otherwise just a seemingly problematic and daunting chore. So much easier to see the advantages when the strategy is so simply effective at resolving complexity in really quite an appealing way !! I intend to make the time to pursue this - the idea of just knowing what is available appeals immensely, even if I don't end up using more than a tiny fraction it removes the uncertainty and will give me a clearer picture of where I am when it comes to evaluating the pro's and cons objectively in regard to other software which I invariably find myself considering.

Aww167
03-08-2016, 03:54 PM
I found one of the best ways to organise and learn about tools in Modeler is to create your own tab (Called My Tools... favorites or something like that). Spend an hour in the Edit/EditMenu Layout panel, going through it all and gathering all of your most used tools in one place. But along the way you'll notice ones you didn't even know were there, or you've never tried. So try them, see if they are useful to you, and if they are, add them to your favorite tab.

Doing this, I found that I could fit most of my common tools easily on one tab. This speeds things up tremendously and helps you explore modelers capabilities.

Beyond this, and this applies to Layout too, it is more important to be aware of the tools available and what they are for... than on how to use them all.
Knowing that there is an easier way to achieve a certain task means that you can look up that tool when needed in that rare moment, finding further information on how to use it at the time.
(This is one of the reasons I really appreciate Erikals youtube channel... dedicated to exploring tools and plugins (worth subscribing!) So I have a knowledge of lots of different things that I don't often use, but I know that if I did... they are there).

It is also worth investigating approaches to modeling certain types of things. Different approaches usually require different tools and methods.

Modeling a car versus modeling a characters face can be quite different, though you can produce them both using various methods. But one will be faster than another, and produce the better results.
For example, I nearly always use patch modeling for characters. One poly at a time, using the extend tool and edges to shape the various features. Slower more plodding, but in the end I have a base model that is exactly what I was aiming for, requiring less tweaking and playing.
With a car model, then spline modeling is probably the best approach. You get good solid lines and curves, that if was done by hand, poly by poly would end up with less satisfying curves and requires more tweaking afterwards.

Of course, the more you become familiar with different approaches, you'll be able to judge what is right for the object you intend to create.

Everyone is different and works in different ways. You'll find your best working method the longer you work.


Some very workable suggestions I can see here - particularly the creating custom tabs idea. I've thought of that previously but decided at such an early stage in my learning it would be presumptuous to think I knew enough to make the right choice, but as a strategy to encourage investigation and organise my knowledge it makes very practical sense.
I think the conclusion I'm reaching is that there's really no substitute for actually knowing what the available options are, and therefore no alternative to a thorough and methodical investigation in order to reach the right conclusion. I'm very grateful for your help - as for all the answers here.
Now, a crash course in 'effective time management' wouldn't go amiss!!

Snosrap
03-08-2016, 07:06 PM
. Yes, LWCAD was a purchase I made a while back simply because of the obvious extension of functionality it gives at such a very affordable price !

You should have mentioned that! :) Here is my middle mouse button LWCad used most often list. You don't see Move Snap on that list because I've assigned it a keyboard shortcut. (Alt-T) LW's Move and LWCad Move Snap are used equally as much in my day to day modeling work.

132811

bazsa73
03-08-2016, 11:53 PM
My favourite new tools are slice, thicken, the new transform manipulator tool and sometimes untangle. I use the magnet and pole tools frequently. Drag tool also

pinkmouse
03-09-2016, 02:07 AM
No one mentioned Extender+ yet? :)

Danner
03-09-2016, 04:52 AM
I have made a conscious effort to know what every tool does in modeler, but that doesn't mean I use them all, I probably use 20% on a regular basis, another 50% when I need something in particular and the remaining 30% I never touch. Why is this? well because there are several ways of doing the same thing and some tools are in that way redundant.

Using the right tool for the job will save you lots of time, this sometimes means using a plugin. If you find a particular task too slow or tedious,ask here and we might have a technique or tool to make it faster.

Snosrap
03-09-2016, 06:32 PM
I have made a conscious effort to know what every tool does in modeler, but that doesn't mean I use them all, I probably use 20% on a regular basis, another 50% when I need something in particular and the remaining 30% I never touch. Why is this? well because there are several ways of doing the same thing and some tools are in that way redundant.

Using the right tool for the job will save you lots of time, this sometimes means using a plugin. If you find a particular task too slow or tedious,ask here and we might have a technique or tool to make it faster.

That about says it all. :)

Aww167
03-10-2016, 06:12 PM
I have made a conscious effort to know what every tool does in modeler, but that doesn't mean I use them all, I probably use 20% on a regular basis, another 50% when I need something in particular and the remaining 30% I never touch. Why is this? well because there are several ways of doing the same thing and some tools are in that way redundant.

Using the right tool for the job will save you lots of time, this sometimes means using a plugin. If you find a particular task too slow or tedious,ask here and we might have a technique or tool to make it faster.

I just want to say a big thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to share their valuable experience in answering my request - I thought originally it'd be good to get a range of opinions which would make it easier to figure things out but I see there's a real community spirit here along with a genuine willingness to help, which makes such a refreshing change and has actually completely resolved my previous difficulty!!