View Full Version : Is Lightwave 5.6 useful for starting out?

07-03-2004, 11:51 AM
Hi. I'm trying to make the switch to Lightwave after having frustrating experiences with other 3D apps that I've regretably purchased. (I have also switched from Mac to PC).

It seems that in Toronto, to get work you either have to use Lightwave or, more often, one of the mega-expensive applications (that shall go un-named). I don't have the money for school, so self-instruction is my only option (which means not qualifying for the educational version of Lightwave).

Some sellers on eBay have unopened NOS packages of Lightwave 5.6 for sale. Is 5.6 functional enough to get started with? I would at least like to be able to produce a reasonable demo-reel and hopefully seek some freelance work as well.

07-03-2004, 01:04 PM
The software was basically rewritten at version 6 - too many improvements to mention - personally if I was in your situation I would look on ebay for a copy of 6 or above - and buy Inside Lightwave (book) (version to match software) and cancel your social life for 6 months :)

07-06-2004, 04:07 AM
LW 5.6 was good for it's time but now a very old version. I would strongly recommend later versions; preferably LW 7.5. Then upgrade to LW8 when you have the dosh as it is top notch.

07-06-2004, 06:59 AM
It's not hard to find deals like this, if you keep an eye out.


07-06-2004, 11:43 AM
Agreeing with the above, I would say, to answer your question, YES.
For sure , 7.5 / 8 are much better packages, but don't think you can't produce some high quality work in 5.6C, because you can.

It has more than enough for you to get into LW, and Newtek are very good when it comes to skipping versions during upgrades. I still have 5.6C on my system, it's too much hassle to 'update' my older work for LW8.

So if it is all you can afford, yes, get it, but if you can afford to get LW7.0 / (7.5 was a free update), then do so.

And come on in, the waters lovely! :D

07-25-2004, 11:36 PM
Thanks for all the advice.

I decided to go for an NOS version of Lightwave 5.6. It came bundled with Aura 1.0. Most of the sellers selling Lightwave on eBay were either asking almost the full price (beyond my means on a bike-courier's budget) or they appeared to be selling pirated stuff.

I also found a couple of older books dealing with version 5.5/5.6 on Amazon to get started with. I will probably be spending most of my time surfing the old forum archives for info, but I hope to have something to post in the way of artwork eventually.

07-26-2004, 02:29 AM
You'll get a lot of folks saying you need to upgrade, just ignore 'em (I know all about limited budgets for software ;) ).

5.6 is a good package and one of the best books you can get is 'Inside Lightwave" by Dan Ablan (no number on it, but it was v:5.0
also get LW5.6 Applied by Dave Jerrard, a heck of a book and a great project based structure. It's still one of my favourites, taught me a few tricks in modelling that I now use all the time.

Welcome onboard! :D

PS: Actually, for 5.6 (don't forget to get hold of the free 5.6C update from Newtek if it's not with the package), I used to run it on a P350 with 84MB of RAM no problem, it isn't as heavy on the graphics card as the later incarnations.

07-26-2004, 03:42 PM
Thanks, colkai!

I've already ordered those 2 books you suggested (at a very good price through Amazon). Read mostly rave reviews on both of them.

07-27-2004, 07:21 AM
I have to agree with everything Colkai said.
Actually, i was on 5.6 until last year, when the LW 7.5/8 and DFX+ deal showed up, and man, i couldnīt let it pass :)

A very capable version, rock solid, and IMHO better for starting out with LW, as it less complicated than the newer versions.

And still have Inspire 3D installed and using it everynow and then (nostalgia maybe)


07-28-2004, 07:33 AM
My old SGI o2 runs 5.6. I use it for Inventor stuff. I own about 3 books written for that verison. It broke me into LW. I learnt alot about the Bevel tool from that verion.

07-28-2004, 10:04 AM

Before I got the full Lightwave, I got a copy of Newtek's 'Inspire'. I don't see much of it now, so I'm not sure if Lightwave dropped it (it was 4/5 years ago...)

It was dirt cheap, but INVALUABLE in my learning 3D and building up on my Lightwave confidence.

Still, if you have 5.6 now, that would probably be it's equal. Good luck with the software and the learning! The tutorials here on Lightwave really helped me out too; take a look.


07-28-2004, 05:22 PM
I would go for LW6, if that helps. Selecting points in the perspective viewport is a must, for me :) I'm pretty sure LW 5.6 can't do that.

07-29-2004, 02:50 AM
Sure you can, but only when you are displaying the object in Wire mode in the perspective window.


07-29-2004, 03:34 AM
Ah, now I remember,
but not with OpenGL though :)

07-29-2004, 03:48 AM
yesss :D, not even in D3D...

how i longed for such a thing then....


07-30-2004, 06:20 AM
Originally posted by Roundpixel
Sure you can, but only when you are displaying the object in Wire mode

That was something I rather liked about 5.6. If I remember correctly, you could add and subtract from your selections in the perspective window without dropping the tool you were using.


08-01-2004, 04:55 PM
I'm just getting back to using my copy of 5.6 after a number of years and have a couple questions.

I checked with LWTS for an update to 5.6 past "a" and they said that if it wasn't on their site, it didn't exist. I coulda sworn there was a "c", i just can't find it on their site or in my files. I can only find 5.5c and 5.6a in my files.

I'm now using WinXP Home with a Belkin KVM ps/2 switch. What kind of mouse should i use with that setup? I'm pretty sure my old logitech 3-button serial won't work. Belkin recommends Microsoft mice, but MS doesn't seem to have any 3-button mice. Oh, what am i to do?

I've been lost in digital audio workstation land for 5 years. Reintegrating a focus on LW will be interesting. Especially if i upgrade, which i trust will be affordable some day.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


08-30-2004, 10:51 PM
My Lightwave is 5.6C, so there was a C.

I've ended up running it on Windows 2000, hard disk in FAT format. It refuses to save animations in NTFS format. I never tried it on XP, but I've heard there's problems.

I'm not sure if the Belkin KVM ps/2 switch creates any special problems. I'm running a very recent ECS motherboard and using it's PS2 port. I found a cheap 3-button optical mouse (with a scroll-wheel!) that seems to work. Some obscure brand, KEIO? It was $10 or $20 or so. Worth taking a chance on.

PS: thanks, everyone, for your advice. :)