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Dan Measel
06-14-2004, 09:23 AM
I am considering trying to learn 3d animation for the enhancement of video projects I work on and have been searching for the right program to get. I was considering lightwave. I have zero experience in computer animation, and as this is purely going to be a hobby I do not have time to go to a university or other program to receive formal training. So, my question is whether this program is something that can be learned via online tutorials or DVDs, etc over a few months (obviously realizing that more advanced animations will require significant time and experience). Or is that just not a practical approach to 3D animation?

lesterfoster
06-15-2004, 07:06 AM
Originally posted by Dan Measel
I am considering trying to learn 3d animation for the enhancement of video projects I work on and have been searching for the right program to get



Look for tutorials first. Newtek has lots on the web
http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/tutorials/index.html
http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/tutorials/videos/index.html

And what are others using

www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/product/projects_list.html (http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/product/projects_list.html)

Check to see if your computer can run the software. And get the demos of the software.

FONGOOL
06-15-2004, 09:54 AM
I'd hazard a guess that there are MANY people on these boards who are doing or have done exactly what you're talking about!:D

Between the massive wealth of online tutorials, several forums just like this one and all the available books and cd's, yeah I think you can learn LW pretty readily without going to school for it.

A few years back, I also was trying to decide which package I should learn. Luckily I had access to either demos or full versions of Softimage, Max and Lightwave and I chose LW for two reasons, 1. back then the quality and quantity of free online tutorial info out there for LW FAR surpassed what I could find for the other two packages

(the Softimage people treated their knowlege like gold and tended to hoard it and the Max tutorials I could find often looked like they were created by seven-year olds. It actually got to be pretty funny when I'd see a tutorial on how to model a "head" and find myself looking at the hideous blob the author wound up with asking myself "why would I ever want to build THAT??" I'm sure it's better now, but that's how it was back in '99.)

And 2. because LW had the most user-friendly interface. I can't even imagine how anyone can write tutorials for Max! "Click on the fifteenth button from the right, you know, the one that looks like a pancreas with a car horn sticking out of it...":confused:

I have used both Softimage and Max at work in a limited fashion, (admittedly, I only used Softimage for a few months about 7 years ago, so I have no idea what it's like today) but I find LW to be by far the easiest and most fun package to work with.

And I think it's still the least expensive too!


Steve

Dan Measel
06-15-2004, 06:26 PM
Thanks for the reply, that's very helpful.

Terrificfool
06-15-2004, 08:49 PM
I agree with the interface. I'm in high school, used Maya 4.5 as a hobby, it was a joke trying to find stuff. Earned up some money, bought Lightwave, and I'm in heaven, and I can do a lot more in Lightwave thanks to the excellent tools(who wants to set 5 values in a copy command to do a simple mirror and merge points???) and the great interface that doesnt have buttons that look like magic carpet, or a large squiggly, or my favorite, two points. Anyways, I'm loving Lightwave, it's definitely worth every buck.

brap
06-16-2004, 08:20 AM
Originally posted by FONGOOL
I can't even imagine how anyone can write tutorials for Max! "Click on the fifteenth button from the right, you know, the one that looks like a pancreas with a car horn sticking out of it

You made me spit coffee on that one! So funny, because it's so true! :)

Andyjaggy
06-16-2004, 04:03 PM
Ditto on that one, I love LW's interface, 3D is hard enough without having to decipher what all the cute little icons do. don't know if there are any Seinfeld fans out there, but it's like that episode where Cramer starts his own phone business by answering question about movie times and places. They go through this whole ordeal using the touchpad and numbers and stuff to figure out what movie the person is talking about, finally he gives up and says "Why don't you just tell me the name of the movie you want to see" similarly, Why don't you just say what the button is supposed to do.

LW's interface is simple, clean and organized, with the exception of having dozens of windows open when you are trying to do something a little complex. Although a have noticed LW's interface seems to be attacked alot, all personal preferance I suppose.

etobiason
06-17-2004, 11:02 AM
I taught myself how to use Lightwave, starting with the tutorials in Ablan's book with version 6.5. You can do it.

-e

Dan Measel
06-18-2004, 02:30 PM
Thanks for the feedback, I think I'm going to buy Lightwave. I checked the minimum system requirements and the only concern I had was the video card. I don't know what Full Open GL support means. I have an ATI Radeon 9800 which meets all the other recommnedations for the video card. Does anyone know if this is going to work or if I need to buy a new video card?

freez
06-18-2004, 03:28 PM
i would suggest a dual monitor setup, it makes life sooooo much easier putting the panels etc on the second monitor, leaving the main monitor for modellor/lightwave, lightwave is also very easy to learn, there are loads of omline tutorials and help available, i usually find the answer i need if i have a problem, this forum is very friendly and helpful

toby
06-18-2004, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by FONGOOL
And 2. because LW had the most user-friendly interface. I can't even imagine how anyone can write tutorials for Max! "Click on the fifteenth button from the right, you know, the one that looks like a pancreas with a car horn sticking out of it...":confused:

I have used both Softimage and Max at work in a limited fashion, (admittedly, I only used Softimage for a few months about 7 years ago, so I have no idea what it's like today) but I find LW to be by far the easiest and most fun package to work with.

And I think it's still the least expensive too!



and the great interface that doesnt have buttons that look like magic carpet, or a large squiggly, or my favorite, two points

I kibbled too :p

This is EXACTLY how I feel! I am so lucky to have ended up with Lighwave, if it wasn't such a joy to use, I wouldn't have be able to work at it for 12 hours a day 7 days a week, and I wouldn't be a good enough artist to get a job at Digital Domain, who also uses LW - I started last month.

If I had gotten Maya, I'd still be struggling with it in my spare time while working as a clerk in some office. With Max, I'd be doing some really bad 3D for court cases or something.

Maya is the 'Premiere' 3D app, Max has 'all those cool plug-ins!' but in LW we actually enjoy life!

That video card will be just fine.

lesterfoster
06-26-2004, 11:25 AM
Thanks for the feedback, I think I'm going to buy Lightwave.


:) Hi Dan Measel.
Glad to hear that you chose LightWAVE.

I think that MAYA is only out there for the big boys and very big boys with big money and verry big money and don't care about the small boys.

3D MAX dose now know who they are there for.

But Newtek and it's LightWAVE is there for everyone!

That is way I invested into my VideoTOASTER with LightWAVE.
And the best part of my VideoTOASTER is LightWAVE.

Check out this link
VT(3) Intergrated Production Suite (http://www.newtek.com/products/vt/info/index.html)

Dan Measel
07-01-2004, 08:30 PM
I'm going to buy Lightwave next week. Is it a run alone program or do I need to consider purchasing other programs or plugins later? I noticed earlier they were packaging Lightwave 7 with DFX? or something like that. Is that a neccessity? Are there any other programs that anyone thinks I'll need later? I plan to do mostly special effects on video but also hope to eventually create some background scense and eventually moving animations.

Jalle
07-02-2004, 07:40 AM
No, there is nothing more You need, but add FPrime to Your wishlist ;)
http://www.worley.com/fprime.html

/Jalle

Tom Wood
07-02-2004, 08:08 AM
Originally posted by Dan Measel
I'm going to buy Lightwave next week. Is it a run alone program or do I need to consider purchasing other programs or plugins later? I noticed earlier they were packaging Lightwave 7 with DFX? or something like that. Is that a neccessity? Are there any other programs that anyone thinks I'll need later? I plan to do mostly special effects on video but also hope to eventually create some background scense and eventually moving animations.

A year ago I was exactly where you are now. It depends on what you want to end up with, but to do 3D well you need three sets of features: 3D, Compositing, Editing. And when you say 'special effects' do you really mean 3D? Because a paint program like Mirage can do 2D effects and create 2D animations.

Different software packages will specialize in one feature set and also offer some parts of the other feature sets, but it's best to get a dedicated program for each set of features. For example, it's -possible- to composite backgrounds in LightWave, but it's easier in a dedicated compositing program. And, you can't add audio to LightWave itself, that is best done in the editor, but most compositing programs will do that too. (You can -use- audio in LightWave to do synch, but the animations don't directly play audio.)

I bought VT3 since it comes with all three feature sets. Aura is really a video paint program, but it can do simple compositing. I replaced it with Mirage, also a paint program, but it works best for me since I don't work with camera-video anyway. The DFX deal is the other way to go and is intended to plug that need.

Download some demos and play around with them.

TW

Dan Measel
07-02-2004, 11:50 AM
Thanks for the feedback, I really do appreciate it and apologize for my ignorance on this subject.

I want to create backgrounds that I can use to chroma with people against a green screen. It sounds like a compositing program would be best for that.

I also would like a program that can be used to add effects to video (light sabres, etc.) as efficiently as possible.

I also am looking for one that can be used to erase wires or unwanted items in a scene shot on digital video.

Ultimately I also want to be able to create animations like a space ship battle (I assume that requires 3d rather than 2d but again I am very ignorant about all this). As for lightwave I can render the final animation as an avi and then add sound in a video editing program can't I?

Buying 3 programs is out of my price range at this point (since I am just considering this as a hobby) so I was hoping there would be one program that had it all.

Anyway, sorry so long, any additional feedback and recommendations would be greatly appreciated. And I will definitely download some demos and play around a little.

Andrew Sweet
07-02-2004, 02:00 PM
Check my work out, fully self taught!! NO SCHOOLING, but you do need the drive and time!!! because things can get very tricky indeed..

Good luck

Andy

http://www.raph.com/3dartists/artgallery/ag-ap.php?aid=237

http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/lw-gallery/displayimage.php?album=15&pos=7

Old stuff btw

Tom Wood
07-02-2004, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by Dan Measel
As for lightwave I can render the final animation as an avi and then add sound in a video editing program can't I?

Yes.

Although it is 'common practice' to render image sequences so that if there is a breakdown mid-sequence, you can always go back and finish the sequence. With an AVI you have to start over. Not a big deal on short pieces.

TW