View Full Version : Honestly... Which is better?... Lightwave3d, 3ds max or maya???

12-09-2004, 01:19 AM
I've just heard about lightwave and the feedback says it has a much easier learning curve than other 3d rendering and animation softwares. How true is this?
I wanna learn 3d modeling and animation fast! Is lightwave 3d the way to go?
How does it compare to 3Ds max and Maya??? :confused:


12-09-2004, 03:20 AM
To be honest with you, I think you would be better off asking that question on a non biased forum. Perhaps something like cgtalk. I am sure you will find a few here who have used one of the others, but I have seen this question plenty of times on this forum. It seems to bring up the dander of a few people. In a way I don't blame them, they want to defend what they spent their hard earned money on. So most of the posters more than likely will tell you that Lightwave is the best.
I honestly can not say, as I have never used Maya or 3dmax. But I had heard some horror stories about how much more complicated they are. But then again, they may only be rumors.
Best thing for you to do, it to get a working demo of each and compare them for your self. That way you can see how hard it is to create something. Lightwave ver 8's demo, I don't think it is available yet, it should be soon if it isn't. You should find places that have the ver 7 demo though. I think it is available on Inside Lightwave 7 book, on the CD. I know Maya has a Demo, I have not tried it though, I found that on Unreal tournament Game CD.
So good luck in finding your answers, and one more thing, ask questions in each camps forums and see what kind of response you get when you need help on using the software. Here on this forum, you will find that the people are mostly friendly. I have ran across a few bad apples, but that is the minority around here. Most people are more than willing to help you with your problem at hand.
Hope to hear from you soon,

12-09-2004, 04:18 AM
Good advice from Silkrooster there. Try a non-biased forum for an honest opinion. Even then, everyone has there favourite and it does come down to personal taste.

I have to say though, i did try a few demo's before i decided on purchasing lightwave for all my work. I used 3D studio and Maya but finally decided on lightwave. I personally just found it alot more user friendly.

Why don't you give a couple of demos a try? See which one feels most suited to you.

12-09-2004, 06:31 AM
Like the others have said it's best to try the demos first.

Though i will say personally i've tried the demo for 3DS MAX and found it very confusing. With Lightwave I was able to just go straight into making random objects and adding colours, textures, etc.

Though tutorials will also help to explain the basics, for any software.

What it boils down to is which you prefer. If you are comfortable with the software it is easier to get your work done.

'3DWorld' Magazine is a great source for demos, tutorials and general overviews of all the software available.

12-10-2004, 04:31 PM
Just download demos of Maya, 3dsmax, XSI, Cinema4D, and LightWave and see which one fits you.

You will know which one works for you within a half hour or so...it will be the one which draws you in and makes you want to tweak and push buttons and make things.


12-10-2004, 05:09 PM
If I were to starting now in CG, Personally, I'd go for XSI.

That's because I'm an animator.
However, if Newtek get their butt in gear and make some headway in their animation tools, to make up for the tiny blip, that was L8, then I'd go for lightwave..

It all depends what you want to use it for I guess.

It IS easy to learn.. But that shouldn't be the motivating force for getting it I think.

Chris S. (Fez)
12-10-2004, 06:18 PM

12-10-2004, 09:33 PM
i tried the 3ds max demo not too long ago, even after knowing a reasonable amount about 3d erm...stuff, from lightwave, i was utterly confused, if i had been that confused when i started with lightwave i know i would have given up, much like i did with that 3ds max demo in like the 2nd day...lightwave, yes that, its better in my opinion, and im not defending becuase my money went into it, cos it didnt, my friend just up and gave it to me(hes ...stupid), so i'm possibly less biased i guess..

12-10-2004, 10:01 PM
Well i must say i found XSI's interface to be very clunky, im sure its very powerful but just to plunge into it with no 3d experience. i downloaded a demo for Cinema 4D and XSI. I watched some videos demonstrating Lightwave's capabilities and i was impressed. Maya and 3Ds Max were out of my price range. i had some previous experience with 3d, in a open source 3d software called blender. The transfer from Blender to lightwave was very easy. Blender's interface is harder than most but if you can grasp that you can deal with other software.

I recommend downloading and playing with blender if you new to the whole 3d "scene" try to grasp that then look at the big boys.

Blender Official Website (http://blender3d.org)
elYsiun- a great blender community (http://elysiun.com)

Try that program and play with it, get good at it, then.... I would look into Lightwave.


12-11-2004, 04:31 AM
Your first task will be to find a TRUELY nobiased forum :)

12-11-2004, 10:58 AM
Virtually impossible task there splinegod : )

12-11-2004, 01:03 PM
at least he has balls to come here asking... he he you need big balls these days ! :D :D

12-11-2004, 01:30 PM
I have a non biased opinion ;) hehe

I think LW is truly awful for animating - but everything else - modeling, rendering, ease of use is top notch. It all depends on what you want to use it for and what you are trying to learn.

For serious character animation work - Maya or XSI..
For viz work - Max (simply because of renderers like Vray/ FR etc)
And for general 3D work - and the hobbiest - LW can't be beat.

Ohh and if you like re-creating dumb sci-fi shows (no offence) then LW is good for that too :)

I use all four packages and spend most of my time in LW.

12-12-2004, 02:45 AM
I am impressed Lunacarmel... you learned allt hose tools.... ! woaw call me Jasmin... in 6 years I think I know about 50 % of LW... are U learning while U sleep... ;) did U win the lottery... :D ;) ;) (no offense)

12-12-2004, 09:40 AM
I wish I won the lottery :)

I have worked at a variety of studios and over time have been been introduced to all of those packages - I started on LW at age 13 on a Toaster system. Eventually I began using Wavefront at my first job in broadcast television - eventually I moved into commercial television where I used Maya and Softimage (and a little LW). And more recently I have been using MAX (ugh!) for arch. viz work. The few people I work with who use LW have moved over to XSI or Maya - so I'm kind of forced to be familiar with the major 3D applications if I want to make a living.

I am by no means an expert in every app but when you think about it they all pretty much do the same thing - some just have different strengths.

12-12-2004, 09:45 AM
I follow you on that... :cool:

12-13-2004, 09:42 PM
I think LW has the advantage over the other higher end apps of having a no nonsense interface and is very straight forward in that respect. This is also true for it's surface editor which in my opinion is the best around (and most logical). It's ease to learn. While Maya has cute little icons / shelves that would make you think it's easier, this isn't particularly the case. Maya is a very large program that may take a considerable amount of time for a newbie to be comfortably acquainted with. I have worked with Maya before and so I am familiar with it. I like it a lot (especially the idea of having history) but for someone starting to learn it, it could be daunting. If you remove the ngon and hierarchal SubD capability from Maya's modeling features, I think LW is a better modeler in the overall sense but it needs to catch up on some of these fronts. You may want to download Maya's PLE and see what you think compared to LW. I like the way Maya handles lattice deformation.

12-14-2004, 04:10 AM
Wich is better?

As long as people need to ask those kind of questions, Blender or demo versions are best option for them... (or pirated 3dsMAX, depends on point of view :rolleyes: ).

The whole point of getting (buying) something (not only software) is when you NEED it, not when you THINK you need it.
So, razordevil, if you need LW buy it... if you need Max or Maya, buy them instead. It's really as simple as that on our part. You have to do the learn & research part for yourself, we've all been there and done that sometime.

12-14-2004, 07:43 AM
I cant beleive i had just wasted my lunch break reading all those replies, I bought lightwave 6.5 many moons ago the program is not without its faults, but the real thing about lightwave is the community, so should you walk into a wall when trying to use it
just get online and ask, you nearly allways get a reply from some of the best 3d artists
around i cant possibly comment on other 3d communities, but this is a good one

12-15-2004, 10:43 AM
From what I've seen/used:
Note: I've used XSI some, but not enough to place it in this list of babble.

Best overall: Lightwave
Best rendering/time ratio: Maya on an SGI, but that takes a hefty budget, so other than that: Lightwave
Best animation: Depends on your style, each one has a different style of animation.

Worst interface: 3DS/3DS Max -- I can't deal with it. AutoCAD has a better interface for creating 3d models, heck, writting for POVray [scripts] to make the objects/scenes is easier.

The one thing that all these packages need is an included conversion utility for all the other formats that also converts textures if required. I have a conversion utility, but it has problems going from certain formats to certain others, and looses texturing data when going from a format with included textures to one without.

12-15-2004, 12:43 PM
Like people are saying, it depends on what you're going to use it for. And also what they're using where you want to work, unfortunately, can also make a difference.

I worked in a games company as a character modeller/effects artist up until 6 months ago and have used Lightwave for years and Max when I had to (mainly Reactor plugin stuff).

An unbiased look-in to what people were using there:

Character modellers: There didn't seem to be much of an argument any way between Maya, Lightwave or Max - it all boiled down to personal preference. Of the 5 teams, 2 of the lead Character Modellers preferred Lightwave for its execellent polygon modelling tools :) Having personally tried to use Max for simple mesh editing I found it extremely convoluted to push basic geometry around in comparison to Lightwave.

Animators: Pretty much no-one used Lightwave for character animation...that was either down to Character Studio or CAT for Max, and proprietory Maya rigging stuff. I think this is because Character Studio was an out-of-the box solution and games' characters aren't exactly the most complex things to animate.

Environment modelling (Mapping): Over half of the company, I would say, used the company's inhouse modelling software to build and texture maps. Many used Max so they could use an external radiosity solution (I think Lightscape?). Some used Lightwave because of the great poly modelling tools, though they often wanted better texturing tools by way of UV texturing (which Newtek seem to be addressing). I assume some of the other teams used Maya, but I'm not 100% sure.

At the end of the day it often boiled down to where the experience lay. If you had a Max user with loads of experience in Mapping, then it wouldn't take long for him to convince a producer or director that Max was the way to go. Likewise, if your userbase of artists were mainly Max users out there then it was easier to get Max talent to work in the company. Pretty much all down to market penetration.

Forgive me if I'm wrong here, but if it were me and I wanted to get into 3D modelling then I'd choose Lightwave anyday :) Plus it has a great renderer out of the box. If I wanted to do animation (character in particular) and I wanted it quick and dirty, then I'd go for Max, and I wanted to go seriously for animation then I'd go for Maya. However, I'm sure there are tons of LWers out there using it for character animation who will shout me down and I'd bow to their experience - I have never animated characters and this is all down to only what I've seen and other artists I know. If I *were* to get into character animation *personally* then I'd choose Lightwave as I own it, know the way it thinks (mostly) and feel familiar with it. Max gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies!

Look at what you want to do with it. Look at what industry you'd like to work in. And plump for one :)

One more thing. Whilst in the UK you see a lot more coverage for Max than Lightwave, and many more artists using Max...you also see a lot more bad modelling/animating from Max users too, and I do believe that this is down to market penetration through training and piracy that empowers some people who just shouldn't be empowered, to put it politley :) Lightwave, on the other hand, seems to be picked up by people who know very much what they want :)

Of course, this is just my experience and may be completely wrong ;)

12-18-2004, 02:27 PM
Lightwave was the first one I learned on, but I quickly ran into trouble when I was trying to do some more complex types of animation. Then someone recommended Maya. So I tried the demo out and it was able to do those things easy as pie! The thing I like best about Lightwave is its smooth, uncluttered interface. Most animation programs aren't so streamlined and yet still retain such power. I can't speak for 3dsmax, but I hear it's a lot like Maya.

09-28-2005, 12:49 AM
Gota Love Lightwave :)

Signal to Noise
09-28-2005, 09:02 AM
I've tried them all and must admit that LW is the nicest to use as a "do all" out of the box app. I also use Softimage XSI a lot but it does have a steep learning curve, imo. I found Cinema4D (ver. 6)quite easy to learn as far as modeling goes but everything else about it I found clunky or non-intuitive. I tried the Maya PLE but I just never got into it. Some features were cool but decided it wasn't for me based on cost/performance. I used Max (up to ver. 5) almost exclusively before getting LightWave. Max was great albeit buggy. The continued high prices, even for upgrades, turned me off and decided to try something else. That's when I demo'd LW. Never looked back since.

Admittedly you are going to get a lot of biased opinions here since this is a LightWave forum. Like others have already mentioned, you may want to ask in a "neutral" environment. CGTalk was mentioned but usually when thread subjects like this appear they get shut down pretty quickly due to immature responses. Maybe by phrasing the question discreetly you'll get good feedback but I think you already get several here.

Good luck in your decisions! :thumbsup:

09-28-2005, 09:54 AM
The original poster is long gone. One post just to start this topic back in December. It was just resurected by a troll. :devil:

09-28-2005, 10:34 AM
mattclary]The original poster is long gone. One post just to start this topic back in December. It was just resurected by a troll. :devil
There he goes again....with that cryptic code...or is that a satanic message in numerical form....mua, ha,ha,ha (sinister laugh).
Oh I get it...you're calling an audible from the line of scrimmage :D
4 8 15 16 23 42 ...set..hut..hut

10-02-2005, 09:46 AM
I can ofcourse only speak for myself.

I used 3dsmax for a while with a very slow progress.
Then for some reason i tried Lightwave and I learnt things alot faster, and it was so much more fun and naturall to do things.

But thats just for me.

Signal to Noise
10-03-2005, 01:15 PM
There he goes again....with that cryptic code...
4 8 15 16 23 42 ...set..hut..hut

Whatever you do...do not press the EXECUTE button! (or should you? :eek: )

10-03-2005, 06:47 PM
A fairly unbiased opinion:

Max, great at Viz and Games Development, and okay at everything else...

Maya, Good, steep learning curve, great at animating, and rigging....
and very good all-around at everything else...
Better for large studio's with a team or scripters and programmers,
Some features like PaintFX and Dynamics, and Celshader are standout.

XSI, Excellent, It does many things, lightyears beyond everything else
great CA tools and animating and modeling tools, excellent all-around...
It's also lacking on some of the simple tools, that more mature products have.
And the cost is also a concern for a single MR node.

Lightwave, best all around software, with the distinct advantage in Render nodes, over the competition, LW has aged a little in comparison to the others
over the last couple of years, but it still tends to work well.... And plugins like FPrime keep bumping back to the top of the list.

If i were looking to work in a Studio environment, Maya would be my choice,
(simply because of the amount of work available)

If i were to be a Freelancer or start my own studio, LW would be the easiest choice to make...... (999 rendernodes, plugins, renderer, ease of use, great modeler) The others are expensive and have locked nodes.
(Ease of use LW wins too)

If i wanted to be in the Games industry, Max or Maya......
If Money was never going to be a concern, XSI...

But overall, as cool and has popular as the others are...
LW is the best all-around choice for me, and the others are all good software.

10-04-2005, 09:33 AM
Well I have played with all the applications and I would say if you’re new to 3D LightWave is the easiest app to learn. I was completely new to it a few years ago and Larry had me modeling heads and spaceships in about 2 weeks.

I think all applications have their strengths and weaknesses just like anything else. You just have to find the app that fits your style and workflow. The most important thing when your learning is to pick an application that allows you to learn and learn fast enough for you not to get discouraged.

It is not an easy decision, and it is an investment. But I would analyze what your goals are, what your trying to do and how much your willing to spend to get their in the next 3, 6, 12 months. I say this because the likely hood of you picking up LW, XSI, Maya or Max with out any 3rd party training is difficult. There are a ton of free tutorials for all of these applications, but when you get serious, and get looking at professional training to sharpen skills some of these applications training is very expensive.

LightWave is a great inexpensive (compared to Maya and Max) application. XSI is the closest to LW in price, but IMO is not quite as easy to learn.

The important thing is not to look back when you get started, move forward, meet your goals, and keep after it. 3D is not an easy carrier path, it has a steep learning curve and not a lot of pay per hour return. So if you’re in it for the money, you may get disappointed quickly :).

10-04-2005, 05:39 PM

Looks like the game has changed.


10-04-2005, 06:10 PM
Hahaha!! Yeah, this should make the "Is such and such better than such and such" threads easy.

10-04-2005, 06:46 PM
Heh, this was certainly unexpected. I actually figured that Apple would try to buy Maya since that's pretty much the only real hole they have in content creation nowadays.

So what's going to happen I wonder to Max or Maya?


10-04-2005, 06:51 PM
I found it comical.

10-04-2005, 07:03 PM
That is bizarre... So which one was going out of business? LOL Does this mean Maya is going up to max's price, or max is going down to maya's? One of them is going to disappear I guess...

10-12-2005, 08:59 PM
Although I prefer lw i'm forced to sticking w/ max6 do to it's integration w/ cad and the way it handles all objects and layers undr one file. Max8 has virtually nothing to offer for the type of arch-viz I do. Vray is far superior to mentalray and the "new" b.s. adaptive subdivision radiosity, specially in terms of speed (10's to 100's of times faster than mental ray or finalrender ). I've been a loyal max and lw upgrader up until max ver6.

I'm sure that most people have already noticed that there have been really insignificant improvements software upgrades - max, maya, lightwave, but the upgrade pricing has remained high in all but lightwave, which in most cases is free - Which is strange 'cause lightwave is the only package that has the longest track-record of always working as advertized and virtually 'bug-free'. I say this from first-hand experience as I used lightwave scince lw version 4.0 in windows 3.11, when crash happy max1.0 was unveiled. (I had used 3dstudio dos untill the company I worked for switched to windows3.1 os).

After going on my own, I purchased a license of maya3.0 and was delighted with it's ground-breaking features and smooth workflow. It was so much fun to use but it's renderer was problematic - so it was back to lw, at least for rendering.

Then I gave max3 a go , due to it's tighter integration w/ cad. But it produced very flat renders and booleans didn't work, among other things. So it was constantly back to lw, which always worked reliably, and there were tools that max never even heard of and, much to my surprise, still does not have, such as the infinitelly usefull - stencil, solid drill, smooth-shift fast-interactive metanurbs (not max's buggy non-interactive turbo-smooth), fast procedural textures (simbiontmax is slow as ****), not to mention hordes of others.

So why doesn't this dude go back to lw you ask?
One word - Vray. It has saved max from the bottomless pit of badly implemented / stiched code. I do no beleive there is any-one person in this forum that will disagree that what essentially saves 3dsmax is third-party plugins like vray, brazil and, yes, finalrender to some, of which vray is, by far, the best value.

It's no wonder they still use lw in tv and film (battlestar gallactica, stargate, startrek, firefly e.t.c) Even maya is much more pleasurable to work with. I will give maya another go when vray for maya is finally set free! Modo may also be another contender.

I apologize, in advance, for this rant, but I do not believe I'm exaggerating. Perhaps it is because discreet/autodesk has always been more interested in sales that in innovation that they can now afford to buy alias, to the dismay and horror of maya users, i'm sure. If so, kudos to autodesk! Victory is yours... for now.

Most, if not all of my clients still use older versions of autocad for the simple reason that the newer versions are a hindrance to workflow. Why pay hundreds or thousands for 'new', 'awesome' features that a)don't work as advertised b)don't really help workflow as much as autodesk marketing or c)corrupt your files?

This is autodesk. We go way back. Like a fine chick, can't live with them, can't live whitout them. They've got us by the balls. Until something definitelly better, sexier comes along. Modo perhaps?... Who knows? All it takes is a vray port.

To think that a more reasonable upgrade pricing would have kept this rant from ever being posted...

10-23-2005, 10:00 AM
In the end we all have a nice look at the pre- and final render times... in this case Maya sucks...


10-24-2005, 10:26 PM
well how fast you learn depends on your understand of the tools in any given program...the software doesn't make you the artist...3D modeling isn't just about modeling an object. Its about problem solving...whats the best method to achive my goal. Once you understand the rules of whatever software you're using you can model anything.