View Full Version : LightWave or Maya??

05-01-2004, 12:37 PM
A friend and I are wondering if LightWave or Maya is better. I know that this is a LighWave forum, and I am doing this on purpose. Who knows better than LightWave fanatics what faults lie in LightWave.
Essencially, what I'm asking is: for those of you who have LightWave, and have used it for just about forever (that should apply to most of you), would you rather you had used Maya.
Also, do most companies want Maya or LightWave (or any other).

Thank you all,

05-01-2004, 01:23 PM
Mmmmmm! Personally I use Truespace version 1 beta for the main bulk of my special effects work. Those spinning cubes can get quite advanced. Good toolset and rendering plus lovely little cute icons.

Ahhh. Another Lighwave v Maya v C4D v Imagine v 3D Studio Max v Softimage XSI v Basket Ball 3D app thread.

Do a search. Look here. I am so kind I have found some existing threads for you. Starting with the Maya one:


and the others....yawn.......

Which is better?

Lightwave of course, or was it Maya. Can't remember. I know there was something good about Lightwave, and then there was something good about Maya too. Mmmmm.... Just can't decide. I guess you will just have to try them both out for yourselves and see what you like.

ta ta

05-01-2004, 03:08 PM
If you have $$$, get Maya.

If you have a programmer works for you along side, get Maya. He'll tailor Maya to whatever you need.

If you're not rich or not live in a mansion, don't have a personal programmer with you, and don't want to sell your wife and babies, than LW is your best choice.

05-01-2004, 06:10 PM
Alright, so is LightWave and Maya (both), a good option. I have the recources to get both. You see, I am a Junior in High School, and have been fooling around with LightWave for the past few days (the school just bought it). And we're getting Maya (5, i think) pretty soon. So I can use both. To model in Lightwave, and render & animate in Maya (would that be wise...), would I export is a special form, or what??
@Designer -- I would have a programer (myself) to mess with Maya, but I don't think I understand you, do you think you could explain it a bit more. Thanks.

SKUNK -- namarie

Signal to Noise
05-01-2004, 06:14 PM
Since you'll have access to both apps then I think you need to sit down and learn them to their full capabilities (which could take a loooong time). Then you and only you can determine what workflow works best for you and which app will do a particular task.

Maya, shmaya. I'd choose LW and XSI;)

05-01-2004, 07:48 PM
maya 5 should be a little cheaper-not that 6 is being released

05-01-2004, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by alientroll1000
Ahhh. Another Lighwave v Maya v C4D v Imagine v 3D Studio Max v Softimage XSI v Basket Ball 3D app thread.
You forgot to mention Notepad. :)

05-02-2004, 09:06 PM
You are in a very lucky position. You are able to learn both programs, figure out the best and worst of each and when your done are able to put both programs down on your resume. Most people either learn from what they have at work or use what ever is cost efficient in their own business. Most people can not afford to purchase both programs to beable to learn for them selves what your about to learn. I personally can not say which is better for I am in that same boat of what I can afford. So good luck in your learning process and hopefully you will continue on the wonderful journey ahead of you in 3d modeling/animation no matter which program you choose.

05-02-2004, 10:16 PM
You forgot to mention Notepad.

And the always amazing
LW vs Dodge trucks:D

Yep there is one;)

By programmers, he means that alot of the stuff ya might want to do in M*Y*, needs onstaff program writers to get the plugins ya might need.

But this is a LW thread so I say;

Porkfat...errrr...LW RULES:cool:

jin choung
05-03-2004, 01:50 AM
everybody knows my position pretty well so i was gonna steer clear of this thread, but since it's for the edification of our youth (won't anyone think of the children?!?!):

1. seriously dude, enjoy your youth while you got it... it's a familiar refrain but once you hit the working world and you get no summer vacations and stuff, time goes by like a mofo and weeks and months blend into years and all of a sudden you're thirty... or at least i am.

there's some advantages to getting older like having more cash to spend, no homework (this is huuuuuge with me) and more freedom. but there's lots of fun to be had purely on the basis of youth. don't wait for stuff comin' down the road. yuck it up now.

2. pursue your enthusiasms and learn... and learn how to learn. if anything, THAT is the true value of schooling. and learn to love learning.... especially with anything related to computer graphics, ya gotta keep flexible and nimble and absorb constantly like a sponge.

3. if you learn computer graphics FUNDAMENTALS (i.e. what is a 'material/surface', what are the different varieties of geometries [polys, nurbs, subdivision surfaces, solids, etc], etc. and a crap load of terminologies) and know these intimately like the back of your hand, LEARNING ANY APP IS TRIVIAL. well, if not trivial, then at least imminently DO-ABLE.

for this purpose, i highly recommend "DIGITAL CHARACTER ANIMATION 2: VOLUME 1:ESSENTIAL TECHNIQUES" by george maestri.

i've looked at a lot of general cgi books but few have come close in terms of covering so much, so understandably.

don't take my word for it, check it out at your barnes and nobles.

4. in order to learn either MAYA or LW, i recommend "VISUAL QUICKSTART GUIDE" for either... very clearly written... very inexpensive (less than $25). excellent way to get up and running quick. again, check it out at the bookstore and see if it makes sense to you.

5. between lw and maya, i agree that it's useful to know both. but in terms of getting a job, most job ads that list an app list maya or max.... check out job postings and see for yourself.

6. as for comparing the apps:

- i liken MAYA to western/nato/american war technology. it is very very expensive, it is very very expensive to maintain, it requires tremendous expertise to use to its fullest extent, but it is the best technology bar none and for those who can properly wield it, it is unstoppable.

maya is complex but is an extremely well designed and thought out piece of software. it expands and grows easily because such enormous attention was paid early on to facilitate such evolution. in a word, maya's architecture, its design is ELEGANT.

i think what people mean by maya requiring 'programmers' is that to achieve some effects, you NEED to use MEL (maya embedded language) or even delve into c++. not everything that maya can do can be done with the GUI....

ALMOST 99% of what you and i will do is doable through the gui. but if they're makin' lord of the rings or something, you have a staff of programmers and technical directors finagling things to perfect to the very last detail; and the program is so powerful and deep that it invites people specializing in just a portion of the app.

- i liken LW to soviet/eastern bloc/warsaw pact war technology. i think it was stalin who said that 'quantity has a quality all its own' so they emphasized super cheap, super disposable - very little consideration given beyond the here and now. cheap to maintain and relatively easy to use. and thus, poorer nations of the world are stocked up with soviet technology. they don't have the money, they don't have the resources to train for super hitech stuff and they can't afford to train on the actual equipment either.

for lw, it means that it's pretty damn clunky. its core architecture goes back probably to version 4 and there has not been a 'clean break rewrite' to start from scratch (which maya and xsi are both examples of). so lw does a lot of things in odd ways to maintain congruence with such older architecture that wasn't enivisioned or implemented for such a prolonged evolution and in 2004, it shows.

afficionados call it quirky. and even i admit that it has a charm. but it does a lot of things differently and sometimes uses terminology which no longer reflects the 'mainstream'.

on the upside, it's much easier imo to get your head around initially. and you can get very good, very fast. and the thing that i find that is still appealing about it is that ONE PERSON CAN REALLY KNOW IT INSIDE AND OUT, IN ITS ENTIRETY.

sure, lw has a scripting language too but almost everything worth doing (if not literally everything) can or must be accomplished by the gui. and so, lw delivers on the promise of a 'one man fx house'.

finally, everything that you can do with maya, you can probably do in lw. maybe with more pain, maybe with more 'workarounds', maybe with considerable more cursing. but you can probably still get to the same place.

and so, if you take into account that performance and compare it to the price, it is the best VALUE out there.

and that value is encompassed in initial price of buy in, cost of upgrades (lw is at about $500 now... maya is about $900 for their 'complete' package) and also... FREQUENCY OF UPGRADES.

some people complain that the upgrades are a long time in coming... but that means cost of ownership is lower.

(NOTE: one area where lw is empirically better than maya is polygonal modeling. although maya has several pulldown menus worth of modeling tools, the entirety of lw's MODELER app is full of modeling tools. also, lw lets you deal with the mesh at a consistently low level and it makes you jump through less hoops to get something done. it's better and it's faster. a lot of places keep lw around just for modeling and it's what i have done with it at work as well.)

7. if you want to get a job, learning maya is probably the bigger pay off. but if you were doing your own projects or doing freelance cgi/fx, lw is a compelling value that can't be sneezed at unless you're filthy rich....

8. also, all this technical stuff is just one part. the other is artistry. learn to draw, learn to sculpt, learn art history, learn the principles of animation and not just the tools used to execute it. cgi, like cinema is a weird hybrid beast of an endeavor because it requires a high degree of competency in both art and technology but if this is your cup o tea, you've come to the right place.

but almost everyone agrees that teaching an accomplished artist how to use new tools is relatively easy (and as technology gets better, this will only become more true). teaching a technician the principles of art on the other hand is not only a much longer process but probably more difficult as well.

finally, there are some who have one and cannot get the other... like i said, cinema and cgi are hybrid forms dependent on both art and tech. some people just can't mesh the two. so finding that out is valuable too.... but no shame on such people... that's why we still have painters and engineers after all....

that's it... learn lots. read lots of relevant magazines.

good luck.


05-03-2004, 04:49 AM
What can I say, but I agree with what Jin is saying. For me as a Freelance (and small companies), Lightwave is the best app for the money imho. A lot of studios use Lightwave and Maya together, Some model and render in Lightwave, but do the animation in Maya. AFAIK Battlestar Galactica mini series and Children of Dune were done totally in LW. So LW can do it all.

Some things are faster done in Lightwave and vice versa. If you got the money, packages like Houdini bring even more power. 3D apps are tools. I have played with a wide variety myself until I settled on buying LW and have not regretted it. I could change later on but am currently happy with it at the moment. I will be even happier if my LW8 arrives soon :D

As Jin says :
the other is artistry. learn to draw, learn to sculpt, learn art history, learn the principles of animation and not just the tools used to execute it. cgi, like cinema is a weird hybrid beast of an endeavor because it requires a high degree of competency in both art and technology but if this is your cup o tea, you've come to the right place.

05-03-2004, 10:01 AM
I had the same problem--wanted to but the best program out there and learn the trade. When I asked someone once offerd me this solution," Learn on Lightwave--it will teach you everything you need to know and is a much easier program to learn on, then--once you know the ins and outs of CGI, buy Maya"

So, that is what I am doing! Its cheaper to boot.