View Full Version : Why do you use Lightwave (long)

04-18-2004, 02:38 AM
I've done my share of LW/Newtek bashing on this forum lately... and I stand by my statements... [personal attack removed by moderators]. That said, why do I continue to use Lightwave? Why do you? Maya Complete is priced competitively. Max and Maya come with Mental Ray. Cinema 4D has emerged as a contender. So what's up? If LW is so bad, why do we bother?

I'll get the ball rolling. Reasons why I keep coming back to Lightwave:

1) Value. There is no other package that gives as much bang for the buck out of the box. Maya 'Complete' at $3k lacks particles, dynamics, cloth, fur. Max needs countless plugins to match the feature set of LW. XSI at least is honest in their pricing... just a bit too rich for my blood.

2) Simplicity. I'm a professional effects animator, which pretty much makes me a generalist in a studio full of specialists. If I'm lucky, I'm allowed to solve problems with whatever tools I can muster. Most often, however, I'm forced to use a combination of Maya/Houdini/in-house tools to solve problems so that they're 'safe' for the pipeline. Lightwave is the most 'generalist-friendly' 3d application I've ever used. I can spring between modeling/surfacing/animating/rendering quicker than in any other application.

3) Innovation. OK. So every app has some sort of global illumination solution by now. LW had it first. Sub-Ds? LW had them first. And just try to alter your model in Maya after you've created morph targets and animated it. Simple in LW. Swapping models, interactive displacements, realtime channel auto-keying... keeps me coming back.

4) Support and Community. Newtek has a top-notch support team. And the community of users can't be matched on any platform.

So that's why I subject myself to the abuse, why do you?


04-18-2004, 03:02 AM
well, at the point where i started (just a year ago) 3d and decided i want to buy one of the big programs i tought about cinema 4d (wich is very famous here in germany), but as you said. lightwave has the most out of the box for its money. so i gave the "demo" a try.

a) the modeler is soo great and intuitive, i could make things wich i would never have believed i would be able to do so fast

b) nearly everything is in the box and it is also relativly easy to use

c) i love really clean interfaces

d) there was the unbelievable summer special. i paid 950 Euros (about 1140$) for lw 7.5 incl. 8 incl. 5 character model dvds by todd graham and, what i didn´t know at this time uvpro :-) that was the main reason at the time i bought...

e) saslite out of the box

f) nowadays: fprime !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

g) the greatest community i ever saw

h) lots of free or cheap plugins

man this list would be endless. i´m really happy that i decided to buy lw...

04-18-2004, 04:03 AM
1. Point grade upgrade pricing (free)
2. Modeler (but dammit, give me edges and better subD texturing in the 8.X upgrade!

04-18-2004, 04:26 AM
1. Free point upgrades.

2. Easy, intuitive and tool rich modeller.

3. An understandable surfacing system (I'm learning maya at the moment and surfacing just gives me nightmares there)

4. Extremely high quality renderer.

5. The community, so many free tutorials :D

6. Lightwave seems to be made by Artists for Artists so everything you need you can see, anything else takes a back seat and we can just get the job done without having to learn another language, of course you can if you WANT to.

04-18-2004, 04:34 AM
My first contact with a 3D software was back in 93 when I tested Imagine 2 on the Amiga... I was hooked. I think my first contact with Lightwave was back in 97.. I was hooked again.

I like LW for it's straightforward approach.
You don't have to scroll through a mile of menu's to find what you looking for.

I'm only a hobbyist so I don't have the energy to switch app. that doesn't say that I would. I think you can do most of the things in LW that you can in other apps.

Elmar Moelzer
04-18-2004, 04:57 AM
Hey James!

1. Have you ever met Tim?
I have and I can tell you, that he is a great character, who loves LW just as much we both do.
I dont think, that it is fair to say anything like that.
NAB was traditionaly the place where NT promoted the VT3 more than LW. Siggraph is the show where LW gets more presence
This has always been the case and will always be the case. I have no problem with this.

2. The old dev- team left NT for very different reasons...


04-18-2004, 05:54 AM
1. Value for Money. I payd around 800$ for LW7.5 + Updgrade to 8 + DFX+ + UV Edit Pro
2. Interface. Most tasks are easyer than in other packages
3. Buisness practice. I really like that point updates are free and really do improve the software. I also really like that I am able to sell LW if I dont like it anymore.
4. Community. You Guys rock!

And lots more


04-18-2004, 07:10 AM
1.Ease of use. Easy to learn, easy access to all important tools.
2. Clean interface. Eyefriendly and textbased.
Personally I hate iconbased cluttered interfaces, except the c4d one. Keep it simple.
3. Price, best bang for the buck of all major packages.
4. Nearly everything in there. Especially in the 8 :)
5. FPrime :)
6. Best modeler and renderer for my needs. More for the artist than the technician.
7. Best, fastes and most helpful community :p
8. Proton. This guy rulez ;)
9. Range of free plugins and the people who share them with us.

LightWave rocks :)

04-18-2004, 08:10 AM
I have to use Maya at work and it feels like work.

I used to use 3DS Max at work and it felt like torture.

I used to use Softimage3D at work and it felt 'retro'.

I used to use LW at work and it felt like fun.

I still use LW, for fun...

04-18-2004, 08:15 AM
1) NO ICONS (My nerve center is not symbol-based)
2) Nice GUI ambiance
3) COST (affordable Hollywood-level image fabrication tool)
4) Box makes a nice paper weight
5) Versatile (from easy eye candy to advanced special effects)
6) Forums are incredibly useful and full of useful societal dregs :D
7) Great particle and simulation system
8) Fantastically simple but incredibly powerful modeller
9) Wonderful animation tool set- in spite of a few shortcomings
10) Ultra-Simple and Outstanding multi-functional procedural surfacing system that is system-standard across all sectors of surface or volumetric development (One of my personal favs)


04-18-2004, 08:21 AM
1/ Layout. The interface is all in english, not icons which you forget the meanings of, and there aren't half a dozen places you have to turn something on (okay maybe some effects need something turned on in the object and in the effects panel, but that's about it!) It needs a bit of tidying up, but you can do that yourself with the menu and key editors.

2/ Price, max is WAY overpriced, I would say the same for XSI, it's good, but is it 5 times as good as LW? Cinema 4d I like, but still doesn't have the power LW has until you pay for the full studio, and LW8 is going to kill it. Maya is a lot better now the price has come down, but I use it all the time and I still don't buy that it's much better than LW, unless you buy unlimited, which again is well over the odds, how much??? It seems all too messy behind the scenes.
LW is a good start price and the upgrade prices are well worth it. Can you imagine another company throwing in something like DFX+ or real viz in for free?

3/ Community. The LW community is so supportive, always looking to help each other out. The plugins out there just build and build.

4/ Variety. Everything can be done in LW, the tools don't seem as precise in function, but can be applied in lots of different ways to produce wildly differing effects. There's not a lot I've seen in other packages that can't be done in LW just by taking a different method, but there's so much missing from other packages which I think LW has done so well. Maya I find good for making certain 'high level' things very easy, but doing the every day stuff is not good at all...

04-18-2004, 11:18 AM
My number one reason is I would not be working in this industry as a producer or animator if it werent for NewTek and lightwave!!!



04-18-2004, 11:49 AM
I found it first.

04-18-2004, 12:03 PM
1. Can't beat it for price/features ratio.

2. No Icons.

3. No Icons. Did I say that twice?

4. FPrime.

5. good selection of 3rd party plug-ins.

6. Free point upgrades.

7. Reputation.

8. Great polygonal modeler.

9. Great out of the box render quality (but still scores low on speed, but then, that's why I listed F-Prime in this list).

10. Has been easy to learn.

11. No icons.

04-18-2004, 12:10 PM
Well said, Steve.

1. No icons

2. Intuitive interface

I would say all the major packages are pretty much equally capable with similar feature sets, so it all boils down to the interface for me.

And JamesL, unless you have ever met Tim Jennison, i would say keep your personal opinions of him to yourself.

I suspect you are basing these statements on what you have heard others say, which is pretty bogus.

04-18-2004, 01:26 PM
What do you mean by "No icons"?

04-18-2004, 01:31 PM
1.render quality...
3.free multiplatform support out of the box [apple and windows]
4.you can buy sell second hand
5.usb dongle for simple transporting of the app.
7.you don't NEED plugins..
8.F prime [okay..one plugin!]
9.runs fine on a 12 day old orange plugged into the wall socket!
ie it has not way over the top needs for a 3d app.
10.it's used in all my fav t.v shows and films.:D

tokyo drifter
04-18-2004, 01:35 PM
They lost their core dev team because Mr. Jennison lacked the vision to see Lightwave as anything but a money machine for his dubious vision of the digital video 'revolution'. Do you mind if I ask you where you got this info? Was it from someone in the old dev team or from someone at Newtek?

Or was it from your sister's friend's twice removed cousin's roomate's uncle's coworker's russian girlfriend who overheard Tim Jenision in a supermarket detailing his evil plans to his pet monkey while he shopped for fresh watermelon only to find out that they were out of season and that brought Tim into a rage where he collapsed on his knees and cursed God for letting Lightwave be created when all he loved was the Video Toaster?

04-18-2004, 01:37 PM
I'd go with the second one.:)

04-18-2004, 01:52 PM
1. Two apps
2. Straight forward – on icons.
3. It works for me.
4. Two apps

I would recommend it for the same reasons and the price / if you buy and it does not work for you - you can sell it.

For Architectural Illustrations best modeler bar none.

04-18-2004, 02:02 PM
Originally posted by nerdyguy227
What do you mean by "No icons"?

I meant I hate icons. Words are instantly recognizable, you have to give ZERO conscious thought to understanding them.

If you see an icon of a teapot, WTF does that mean?!? If you use the program enough, you know, but learning what the freaking icons mean should not be part of your learning curve.

04-18-2004, 02:51 PM
The main reason I use Lightwave is this:

I work with Lightwave, and get what I want.
I fight with other programs to try to get what I want.

Call it lack of experience with other programs or whatever, but Lightwave has the most open pipeline of any program out there.
Create a low detail character.. Rig it.. Animate.. Go back and add detail, UV's or whatever. Then go back to animating. No reskinning needed. Go back to modeler, add morphs, animate. Change mesh. Morphs still work!!
A good pipeline is where you are not forced to work in a specific order for things to work. A good pipeline allows you to change stuff at any time, anywhere in the line without forcing you to redo stuff.

04-18-2004, 04:58 PM
1-Definitively, the ergonomy of handling in the Layout. It's so easy and fast. It's the best way of selecting and handling in all 3d applications I ever used for animation (Max 1 to 5 , Maya 3, Softimage3D 3.8, inhouse software named "Global Motion" ...). No wasted time to select, move, rotate...

2-Great versatil tools in both Layout and Modeler.

3-Instances of all your objects in Layout so you can replace, modify on the fly evry thing.

4-Great Community! I just asked few times some people for a plug or improvements and they done it:
"StrechPoint", "PitchCorrection" from Takahiko Date: [email protected]
Improvements in "VertexPaint" with better "Color pallet", "strength" option... from Yoshiaki Tazaki: [email protected]
Improvements in KeyTrak for handling fractional frames, layers, insert frame... from Mark Brown.
And all others great people that share and give you usefull tips.

5-Hyper fast modeling.

6-No icons

7-As many said, the price.

04-18-2004, 11:35 PM
Frankly.... I was going to move... but F_Prime saved LW on my hard drive...

Please LW... say thank you to F_Prime..... !!!

with his little voice "...thank U...":D

04-19-2004, 12:25 AM
I'll chime in with a quick comment, and then when I have time I'll reply to this actual thread.

For those of you bitchin bout J:

JamesL is a great guy, and I'm proud to say he's been a close friend of mine for several years. Everyone jumps on his case for saying out loud the same things everyone else is thinking. I'm sure the roots of what everyone else intreprets as negativity come from his desire to see LW as an industry leader. There are definitely a few things that JamesL mentions that are harsh, but they're "usually" fairly realistic in terms of taking LW to the next level competitively.

In regards to Tim Jenison.

Tim is also a great guy, and I'm proud to say that he's been a close friend of mine going on 14 years or so now. He's hands down one of the most intellectual and intelligent people I've known, but this message isn't about *** kissing. Tim & NewTek have done a marvelous job "surviving" all the nonsense of the past few years. It's a shame that many of the current "developmental" improvements are so long in the tooth, but as NewTek shakes the dust off from the past, the future will really begin to take shape. That's not to say that they're doing everything the way "I" or anyone else think is right, but he does have to do what he thinks is right (even if it may be viewed as darwinistic by us users).

04-19-2004, 01:39 AM
Hey Harlan, stop trying to hijack my thread. :p

As for the Tim bashing, I agree. He's probably a stand up guy that I would welcome the chance to share a beer with (I'll be at NAB next Wednesday-Saturday, Tim?). But I have a right to voice my opinion that LW has never gotten the support that it has needed to make it a major contender. I have first hand knowledge of how they dealt with a studio I worked for, as well as information from numerous third parties that corroberated my suspicions. But I'll try to keep my comments specific and professional from now on...



04-19-2004, 08:27 AM
No, I completely agree with the right to voice your opinion, and I don't think you should tone it down at all. They listen sometimes! ;)

04-19-2004, 09:50 AM
Originally posted by jamesl
I've done my share of LW/Newtek bashing on this forum lately... and I stand by my statements... [personal attack removed by moderators].

You may argue policy all you wish, but you are through with personal attacks.

04-19-2004, 10:17 AM
Not sure how my statements could be construed as 'personal attacks', unless you're including all statements that reference a person. Ah, well... it was distracting from the point of the thread anyhow.


04-19-2004, 11:01 AM

In response to your query:

As an independent artist, I already have a significant investment in Lightwave, so a competing app would have to have something very compelling to make me want to spend the extra dough. Maybe software budget isn't a big deal for big studios, but for us little guys, it makes alot of difference. So, for better or worse, sometimes you've got to stick with what you already have.
Also, it seems to me that big studios and production houses have teams of programmers supporting their artists (with shaders, physical simulations and such) I am not a programmer, nor do I want to be. Again, as an independent, I don't have the budget for a programmer either.

Alias as a company has some bizarre pricing policies. Not just with Maya, but some of their high end industrial design apps as well. (i.e. Studio Tools) I like that when you buy Lightwave you get Lightwave. Not " you want particles? Oh, you have to upgrade to Lightwave deluxe. You want bones? You have to purchase Lightwave Character for that. etc"
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most Alias apps require an annual maintenence agreement. I don't have to upgrade Lightwave if I don't want to, and I don't have to pay rent on the copy that I do have.

(On a side note, I think Newtek has neglected Inspire, which was my entry path to Lightwave. I don't think that I'm alone on that one, and I think Newtek shouldn't overlook that. Are you listening, Chuck?)

I like that I have a USB dongle, and that I can use LW on my Mac in the morning, and on my PC in the afternoon, and on my laptop tomorrow; and I don't need three separate licenses to do it.

Do I stick with LW because it's perfect? No.
Is it good enough to get the job done?

That's my $0.02. (Can't find the freakin' cents symbol on the PC keyboard.)

04-19-2004, 11:55 AM
I own it. Just one of amy tools in my arsenal.

04-19-2004, 02:01 PM
Mainly it's LW's general purposeness. I'm an artist with lotsa things I wanna do. LW's my swiss army knife.

More recently, the community has become a big factor for me. They've been extremely supportive about my search for a job after my layoff.

jin choung
04-19-2004, 04:31 PM
good topic:

1. price/performance (value)

it's GOOD ENOUGH, and cost of purchase (AND OWNERSHIP - that is price and frequency of updates!) is AFFORDABLE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL (namely, ME).

2. is completely knowable by one person

lightwave is not constructed in such a way so that it assumes that you will need separate technical directors to make the thing work to maximum effect. although the lack of complexity can make it kludgy and limited at times, it enables one person to know it inside out and hack out the famous "WORKAROUND" to achieve a needed effect. lw makes good on the claim of a 'one man fx company'.

3. can interchange data with other apps

if it were not for this, i would not be able to use lw professionally. as it is, it can at least be used at work for modeling/uv mapping.


so lw is kinda like warsaw pact military equipment/philosophy vs. much more expensive and complicated weapons of the west....

not an m1a1-abrams but more like a T-90.

i wonder if the cold war credo of 'quantity has a quality all its own' has an equivalent in cgi though....

04-19-2004, 06:15 PM
1 - Way affordable.
2 - It models the way I always thought modeling should be (Well so does Maya, but don't own that yet..).
3 - Easy to use, and I don't need an army to get going
4 - NO ICONS!!
5 - Slim interface

Dave Davies
04-19-2004, 06:31 PM
1) It was the first 3D package I owned. (and that was because it came with the original Amiga Video Toaster)

2) I'm better at it than at any of the others.

3) I haven't found any serious restrictions: that is, I haven't seen any other package do anything that Lightwave can't do. Some may do the same things more easily, but they do all pretty much the same things now.

4) Why would I add yet another learning curve to my life, when I won't get anything more for it? I'm too busy earning money with it.

Dave Davies