View Full Version : is LightWave right for me?

02-23-2005, 09:32 AM
I have been wanting to purchase a 3d package for some time now and have heard good things about LW. I am an industrial designer and i have pretty much reached my limit with AutoCad's solid & surface modeling. I would like something with character animation and better rendering capabilities than Accurender. Will i be able to take what i have learned modelling in Autocad and use it with LW? I have read that LW can recognize dxf files so i wont abandon AutoCad all together. I need a tool that i can use for my print projects as well as web animations. i would like to produce interactive process flow diagrams of systems that clients can navigate thru on maybe a shockwave or quicktime platform. LW fits in my budget and from what i have read about it, it seems like a cool program. From what little i have told you here, do you experienced users think this a useful tool for me? i will also be building a new system for LW if i go with it, i could use some input on the ideal machine to run it. especially info on your favorite video cards. thanks.

02-23-2005, 10:01 AM
I started with AutoCad many years ago at the age of 11, moving to Lightwave was very easy. I found it's interface simple and straight forward. I've used LW for commercials, prototype work, character work, booth displays, game boards, sales presentations, and on and on.

Been wavin for 8 years now... :D

Intel P4 3.0 GHZ Minimum
1 to 2 Gig of Ram
Minimim 64mb (Recommend 128mb) Video Card

Laptops are another choice: ($1600 Total)
I run an Acer 1662 3.0 GHZ with 2 Gigs of Ram DVD/CDRW Burner and a 60GB HD
It runs Lightwave 8, AutoCad, Solidworks, XSI, Photoshop, Premier (Using an external Firewire drive), Photoshop, and more without a hitch...

02-23-2005, 10:16 AM
Ok! I believe that you are ideal for many 3D packages, but I will say my POV on this theme.

I have always used LW for many years, and always used it like a hobby, but I have several reasons as to why I love this package:
- It's cost. I believe it is not the cheapest software on the market but it gives the value you pay for it. It gives me some extra money to expend on graphic hardware.
- I use it as a hobby as I stated so I have used it from near bare PC's (you know, 128 MB, small HD's, and cheap video cards) up to workstaions (2GB RAM, RAID, Quadro graphic cards) and found it to run pretty well under extreme conditions. Something I had always had problems with other 3D packages, some of which only need 512MB just to run ther interface hehehe.
- It has one of the greatest modellers on the market (maybe Chuck will correct me here saying it is the best), and even though it is one of the easiest to use.
- It's animating interface is pretty straight forward, so it goes well with novice users who need to do simple things, but grows up to advanced animation.
- I don't have much time for my animation hobby so I prefer to use LW, because it is a package which covers from 1 user production flow, up to studio scale production flow. And mainly, it is one of the fastest programs for getting final output to your clients.
- I believe it's surface (material) editor is one of the simplest and easiest to understand (well, Dan Ablan is always helpful on this one -look for him on Amazon books-), although it is by far not one of the most powerful ones (but I know NT is working something on this point).

Ok! now, since I don't sell LW, I just love to use it, let me state some things that you might find not so useful:
- It's got a sun of a gun as a modeller, it is fast, efficient, and uses a powerful concept for smoothing surfaces and attaching some codings into something called "powergons", but I think this will ask you to learn a new kind of modelling (really fun to use, though) skills from you. It is based on poligons, more than the solid modelling you are used to. A second thing to remark is that there are plenty of format converters on the market to use, that are not that expensive.
- You said that dxf is a good thing to have on LW, but I believe it's native importer has some "details" to fine tune (not that I am saying it is a better experience on other 3D packages, even on 3dsmax -which is supposed to be more transparent-) but as I said, there are format converter packages on the market.
- On the animation side, it doesn't has a robust set for character animation, but it excells (may I use this term Chuck?) on all other animation tasks, from flying logos, to demos, to walkthroughs, etc. It's motion designer is not one of the best, but it is included for no additional cost on the package.

Let me say I only use it eventually, I haven't used it on a professional environment, and I am a lonely user, so I have not exceeded from more than a 100 PC's for network rendering, so I don't know if on a professional network it could cause problems, or if there are any quirkies I haven't noticed since I am in charge of the whole production line. My most near experience on simething like you described was on making a walkthrough of a building, which was done in max, viz and lw for final visuals. My point of view is mereley that of a simple user, so maybe somethings are not that precise for I only have my own experience of my personal projects. Hope this helps out. :)

02-24-2005, 08:19 AM
thanks for the input guys...it really helped. i have deided that this is the program for me. i have posted a new thread in this forum on building a machine to run it. thanks again.