View Full Version : Chicago Users Group

11-23-2004, 03:19 PM
A group of Chicago LightWave users met Thursday night (11/18/04) to discuss forming a LightWave users group. Alter Image and Eric Tobiason were generous enough to host the meeting.

About ten people attended this initial meeting. There was some time to find out about the work that various people were doing with LightWave (lots of interesting stuff going on!) and some thoughts about what people would like the group to become. There was interest in learning and expanding skills, finding people with the right skills to augment production staff, collaborative projects, and sharing information about LightWave related resources.

The group tentatively decided to have monthly meetings on Friday evenings. The date of the next meeting is still not determined, but we hope to meet again before the Christmas holidays.


11-24-2004, 03:01 PM
As it stands now... our next meeting will be Friday Dec. 10.

More info to come.

12-07-2004, 04:26 PM
Hi, Whit! Nice to finally meet you virtually. That's kind of reverse order from the usual, isn't it...?

12-07-2004, 09:01 PM
Thanks. Yes, I seem to have gotten ahead of myself again :^ )

At the first meeting we talked about each person bringing a resource to talk about for a couple of minutes (book, software, etc.). Did we decide that we were going to do that at the next (Friday, Dec. 10) meeting?


12-07-2004, 09:04 PM
Yup, as far as I know that will happen. If some people don't, I suppose they can always do that next time....

12-08-2004, 11:42 AM
Hello everyone, happy holidays...
Just a reminder for Fridays meeting.
Alter Image
15 S. Aberdeen

As discussed last month:
Everyone will bring in a LW resource which they find useful and we'll discuss each.
Also, Eric will demo a project which he has already completed.

I know there are many holiday parties going on and I would like to get a head count of those that will be at the meeting. So, please send me a response letting me know if you will be attending. For those of you that have already let me know that you can not make it... disregard this.


12-10-2004, 09:43 PM
Well! The second meeting went off smoothly I believe, with Whit, Obie, Dave, Hiromi and Deg in attendance (as well as myself) here at good old Alter Image. We scheduled quite a bit for ourselves so the gathering went a little late. Not that I mind (I'm still here typing this!) but I didn't want to keep people too long. It was Hiromi and Deg's first meeting with us, which is great. Thanks for coming, guys. Yoku kite kuremashta (EDIT: took out the "i" between "sh" and "t" because the software thinks I'm typing the word **** and puts in the astericks you see there instead of what I typed...).

We showed each other materials we felt were useful in learning LW, and it seemed to me that we all pretty much knew about what was out there to learn from with two notable exceptions: Whit showed some interesting (if a little nascent) possibilities for 3D within Director that went over my head and Obie brought out Ablan's book on cinematography within 3D that I always wondered about but will now buy.

Then I went through some projects I did, demonstrating how I used bones to simplify with texturing an object (sounds weird I know), weight maps for seamless texture blending, and morphing an object before capturing UVs to optimize the captured UV shape, and how I baked shadows onto image maps to apply to Sasquatch coloration to simulate said shadows and lower render times.

One thing I forgot to mention, guys, in the butterfly animation...I animated a fluttering and resting sequence for the butterfly that lasted several seconds, and then baked it to a motion in Motion Mixer and duplicated it several times, squashing and stretching it to randomize it, in order to animate the butterfly's flight. There. Now I mentioned it...! Like I said, we scheduled a lot for ourselves and did a lot of talking and getting to know each other so I was kind of worrying about keeping people too late and didn't cover everything I wanted to get feedback on.

Next meeting Johnny will give us the run down on some of his projects, and then after that it will be someone else's turn or maybe we'll do a modeling challenge. January meeting TBD, but will not be Friday the 7th. Location also to be decided, maybe Johnny's work or maybe he'll bring files here, it's all up to him.

Chime in if I forgot anything.


12-11-2004, 07:15 AM
Thanks to Eric and Alter Image for hosting another meeting. I really enjoyed seeing some of Eric's "real life" projects. I haven't learned much about texturing and Eric has inspired me to spend some of the Christmas holidays reading Leigh's book.

It was great to meet some new people. I'm looking forward to the January meeting.


12-11-2004, 01:29 PM
No problem, Whit.

One thing did occur to me that we could do better at the next meeting...I feel that I may have been a little didactic when I was presenting my projects. Too verbose. In an effort to be thorough, I was probably explaining things that everybody knew, wasting time blabbing on.

Next time I present I promise to not talk so much, maybe have others guess how I must have done parts of my project, let these others do some of the talking, and then only go into how I did things differently than they thought, and then only go into why if it isn't readily obvious....

But I'm looking forward to January and Johnny, and also looking forward to my next turn whenever that may be because I have several other projects I could get into. And not just from a mechanical "how I did it" standpoint but also from a practical "dealing with clients" standpoint.


12-11-2004, 03:19 PM
I thought that your presentation style was perfectly suited to your audience. It is hard to know what to explain when your audience ranges from amateur to pros. I found it very interesting.


12-11-2004, 04:48 PM
Hey guys,
I'm looking forward to meeting all of you at the next gathering in January. After the 7th works well for me -


12-12-2004, 11:54 AM
Is there any room for Lightwave amaters like me?


12-12-2004, 12:09 PM
There's plenty of room for everybody! Come on down!

01-25-2005, 09:57 AM
Hello there, It's time for our 3rd meeting. I've sent an e-mail out so I'll keep this one short.
Fri, Jan 28
Alter Image
15 S. Aberdeen St.
Chicago IL

01-25-2005, 03:48 PM
This post just went up guys...!


Alter Image (http://www.aichicago.com) is a photography and retouching house located in Chicago, Illinois that specializes in creating the photoreal. Recently we've added 3D in the form of, well, me. And I have too much work to do!


We're looking to review demo reels/online portfolios. We are looking for freelancers, so let us know your rate as well. While we intend to give out only freelance work at first, we definitely want to hire someone full time in the very very near future. Obviously, this would require someone who lives in the Chicagoland area or is willing to relocate. Foreigners are more than welcome to work as freelancers, Lewis (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/member.php?u=102) did a wonderful car (http://vbulletin.newtek.com/showthread.php?t=30467) for one of our projects, and he lives in Croatia. We are expanding, and we get a lot of work, so even after we hire someone we will keep farming out work to freelancers as needed. We have a video person on staff already, and our goal is to add full-fledged animation/post-production services, so there will be more hirings in the future as well.

Our primary goal for the present however is print, because that is where the bulk of our work lies. If you are interested in freelancing only, we will be most interested in your examples of photoreal still images. We will be doing more and more animation as time goes by, so for those interested in transitioning to full time we will pay close attention to any animation samples you have as well, photoreal or not.

Please be clear with your submission whether you are interested in a full time position in the future.

Send materials to: Alter Image, ATTN: Eric Tobiason, 15 S. Aberdeen, Chicago, IL 60607. E-mail URLs to online portfolios and questions to: [email protected]


Alter Image has a laid back, very relaxed atmosphere, except for the death (http://www.ghostrecon.com/us/), destruction (http://www.unrealtournament.com/ut2004/) and mayhem (http://pc.ign.com/objects/481/481847.html) that often occurs via LAN during lunch and after hours... though I often spend my time a little more conservatively (Yahoo! Chess). There is a lot of support from the photographers and retouchers, from shooting textures and reference to putting the finishing touches on renders in Photoshop, and converting to CMYK for print. The office space is cool too, with a lounge area that has a pool table, sodas and lots of free candy and munchies... okay, the free munchies consist of the muffins and so on that went untouched by clients who came in for photoshoots...but it's still free munchies, alright??

Like most design-oriented businesses, Alter Image is Mac-based. We may add some PCs in the future...or we may just install Windows on some of the Macs (after all, a photography studio that does 3D work should have HDRShop (http://www.ict.usc.edu/graphics/HDRShop/) at least...).

It's a great place to work. Even with my current insane work load, I've never been happier at a job than I am here. They even let me host the Chicago Lightwave User Group meetings here!

'Nuff said!

01-25-2005, 07:03 PM
I am going to try to make it.
Down town locations a bit tough but I will try.


01-26-2005, 08:36 AM
Alter Image has a parking lot.
I think it's on the side of the building... does someone (Eric) know for sure?

01-26-2005, 06:02 PM
We are just west of 90/94, exit at Madison and go west for about a minute. Maybe less. Since Madison is Chicago's 0 N/S street, and our address is 15 S. Aberdeen, we are south of Madison (left from the expressway).

Turn down the alley next to our building, and make a left into the parking lot. It is across the alley from our building, and the first available left turn.

01-28-2005, 10:52 PM
Third meeting went smoothly. Johnny demonstrated how post work can simplify the work you have to do within Lightwave and often makes revisions easier. I'll let him speak about that in more detail if he wants to. Hiromi returned for her second meeting, as did Tom, who came to the first. Obie and Dave were in attendance yet again.

We all missed one of the core members, Whit, who unfortunately was not able to be with us due to a death in the family. God bless.

After Johnny's demo he had to leave for a dinner party, so the rest of us discussed a few things: one, we decided not to formalize the meeting time until next month, after the new semester at Columbia starts and Dave and Obie have a better idea of their schedules. Also, I brought up Whit's idea of formalizing group leadership, but of course no vote was taken, maybe next meeting. And, most importantly, we decided what to do next meeting. A challenge!

Make something medieval (http://www.saunalahti.fi/frog1/wavs/medieval.wav). Be creative. Render it. Whether you do a fully rendered scene or just render an object, and how complex the object is... all this is up to you. How much time you spend on your project is up to you as well, but keep track and let us know. The only stipulations: make it medieval and shoot for photoreal (http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/lw-gallery/displayimage.php?album=9&pos=13). Bring the scene, object, textures and renders and be prepared to talk about it.

02-18-2005, 05:55 AM
I just found out about Chicago usergroup. I would love to attend/participate!!!!!
I work close to Lakeshore Drive, about 1 mile south of McCormick Place. It is about 15min drive from Alter Image.

I have spoken to Dan several times over the telephone, recently spoke with Eric about usergroup meeting. It will be pleasure to meet you guys.


02-18-2005, 08:17 AM
I would love to show VT4 with LWConnect.
Its a pretty cool way to join Post and LW together.


02-18-2005, 08:19 AM
Bobt, that would be a great demo... I'd love to see that.
I believe we'll be meeting next Fri but I have to confirm that.
I'll keep you all posted.

If anyone else is interested just send me an e-mail:
[email protected]

02-20-2005, 11:28 AM
Hope to make it this time!

02-21-2005, 07:11 AM
Has February meeting date/time been confirmed yet??


02-21-2005, 10:43 AM
I need to know also so I can drive out that day and drag my VT4 box with me.
(unless there is one there I can play with.)

02-21-2005, 11:00 AM
I just e-mailed Eric to see if this Fri. is ok.

02-21-2005, 11:21 AM
Johnny, this Friday's cool. Sorry, I thought I responded to you about that already.

BobT, I don't know if this friday is the best for your demo. We're supposed to be talking about our medieval assignment, but maybe next meeting you could demo something? I'm worried about time, and having you lug equipment over for nothing...

02-23-2005, 04:07 PM
Can I still come to the meeting?


02-23-2005, 04:14 PM
all are welcome...
I hope you can make it.

02-23-2005, 04:33 PM
Of course you can!!

02-24-2005, 01:42 PM
Time for meeting is 7pm???

02-24-2005, 01:58 PM
7 PM, 15 S. Aberdeen, tomorrow. :D

02-27-2005, 08:09 PM
kinda of surprised on turnout when I went to the meeting.
This is Chicago with 10 mil people in it.
So next meeting maybe I can meet some more of you folks.

02-28-2005, 08:13 AM
Sorry I couldn't make it... I was stuck at work all weekend.

02-28-2005, 09:13 AM
How many went?

Fridays are bad for me I know, and I'm sure many others.

But, when I ran a Chicago LW group years ago (1994 - 1996) there was
always trouble with turnout and particiaption.

02-28-2005, 09:32 AM
Perhaps we should consider changing it to a Wed. or Thur., I know we've discussed it in the past. For me, it seems Fri. is always a deadline day so it's hit or miss if I can attend.

BTW: Would any of you be interested in a group project.

02-28-2005, 09:41 AM
I was sorry that more people couldn't make it. For me it was a good meeting. I made a crossbow for the "Medieval Challenge." I got some good feedback and techniques to make some of the texturing better. I also learned how to make a castle arch from Eric; pretty easy with his technique.

I think it was a problem that there wasn't some email back and forth between members before the meeting. Those emails always helped remind me that a meeting was coming up. It is a little hard to go to the end of this thread for information each month.

To help with communication I have set up a website and an email list for our members (as I promised earlier). As soon as Eric and John (our founding fathers) have had a chance to look at the website, I'll make it available for others to make suggestions. Maybe the email list and website will help get out information about upcoming meetings.


02-28-2005, 10:04 AM
>But, when I ran a Chicago LW group years ago (1994 - 1996) there was
>always trouble with turnout and particiaption.

So what would make poeple want to go?
Thats the good part. I feel that this can be a real positive
thing if we can get together to share and show things but maybe thats
not the point of LW people?
(poke in the ribs) Just asking cause to make a group you have to want
to be a group. Like a band. No one wants to practice but we all made it
there. I learned some real cool stuff from.. (geez cant remember his name)
and I figure others could ahve brought more to the table.

PS the cross bow was VERY cool and disecting it was tremendously
intresting. To hear how to get something donw was a good thing.

So change dats of the week? What will it take. I am in as long as I work downtoen its not hard to get out there.


02-28-2005, 01:14 PM
How about:

Wednesday, 6-9, 4th week of every month.

With other days to be announced.

02-28-2005, 07:51 PM
I can do that. Just let us know!

03-03-2005, 02:23 PM
The Chicago LightWave Users Group now has a web site and an email list to communicate information about the group's meetings and projects. If you were on our previous method of communication I've added your name to the email list. If you didn't get an email from me, I somehow didn't get your email address. My apologies if I missed anybody. You can send me an email ([email protected]) with your email address to be added, or go to the web site and subscribe yourself to the email list:



03-18-2005, 08:43 AM
I'm going to try to make it also...

03-23-2005, 02:26 PM
I can not make it tonight, have to work late. Hopefully next month.

03-23-2005, 02:34 PM
so, who else is going?

03-23-2005, 02:38 PM
Me, Johnny, Whit and more... anyone know who Object is?

03-23-2005, 02:40 PM
I plan to attend :o

03-23-2005, 04:39 PM
The object is Jay Bicknell :)
We met at the first meeting last year.

03-23-2005, 09:26 PM
thanks for hosting a great meeting. It was nice to meet everyone and see your studio.

Oh also, thanks for that "info" :)
I never did believe that good selling meant talking trash about your

03-23-2005, 10:37 PM
Thanks for coming to the meeting, Dan, it was great to meet you too, and nice to have three new faces at the meeting! And I agree; trash is not good, particularly when it is baseless at best and hypocritical at worst. But enough on that.

Just gonna summarize the meeting talking points here, probably for the last time, as we are soon to get forum space on www.lwg3d.org. Once that happens, there will be a link to that forum from our website, www.clwug.com.

We talked about the website and came up with:

- adding, in the Member's Gallery section, a short bio of each member with a few images showing their range of work. I am going to work with Whit to get a template set up, then he will post his bio and mine which will serve as a template for other members to send in their information, thumbnail images and larger images.

- adding different websites to the Members Links page

- adding a Demonstrations section where we can show Whit's great Rope demonstration and any other demonstrations that we do, like that little archway demo thing I did. We talked about calling it a Tutorial section, Whit didn't think that was the right word, and now I agree with you. "Demos" is better, isn't it?

- adding a section for Minutes containing, basically, an overview of each meeting, though I think now that's not such a good idea. A Minutes section in our area of the forum would be better, where the current leader would start a new thread that outlined what happened at the latest meeting and those that didn't attend could ask questions or those that did could add information.

We also decided on an interim leader, which ended up being me. My duties so far include: working with Whit to get the website finalized so that I can begin soliciting free stuff from vendors, being point man for any and all questions about the group, and writing the minutes after the meeting! I will also decide the meeting day for the next six months... after I get input from all members on what days are good for them. I will send an email out to the list tomorrow. My obligations will last for the next six meetings, after which John Hernandez will take over and then Whit. That's a year and a half, and we'll see what happens next when the time comes!

We talked a little about setting challenges like the Medieval Challenge, but ones that have longer-term goals, like an animated short. Each member would work separately on a personal project while receiving feedback and guidance from other members, and strive to hit milestones at each meeting that will keep their project moving. Reception of this idea was mixed. Basically, I think it depends on what members want to get out of the group as a user and how busy they are outside the group.

I would like to concentrate, in the 6 months ahead, on improving our skills drastically. I challenge each of you to come up with a project that you aren't quite sure you can do, and then we can all pull together to make sure each of us learns what it takes to keep moving forward with our project at a reasonable pace, possibly even finishing it. Something else I'll mention in the listmail.

We talked about carpooling to the Milwaukee seminar. Another listmail job. I mentioned canceling next month's meeting in favor of the seminar, which I think is a good idea but not--let's still have next month's meeting, but in Milwaukee. We'll just talk about what kind of project we'd like to do over the next few months, challenge each other to think bigger, try something more difficult, and then set a small milestone for each member to reach by the next meeting. Participation will not be mandatory by any means... non-participating members can continue to come to future meetings and see what people are doing, like with any other demonstration, learning from them and helping with valuable feedback. Even though collaborations seem to be the death of some groups, no one is stopping anyone from lending a hand with some part of another person's project. We just won't set out to do something collaborative, at least not as a whole group and not at this point.

Dan showed us some really cool websites, including an interesting group with quarterly dues whose website I bookmarked (at the office) but whose name I can't remember right now.

That's enough for now, time for sleep!

03-24-2005, 04:56 PM
The official Chicago User Group forum is now setup!


03-25-2005, 08:35 AM
Great! Thanks so much!!