View Full Version : From MAX to LW

06-09-2005, 05:06 PM
Hi All,

This question is directed more towards those who made the switch from MAX to LW (or at least started with MAX). I've been using MAX since 3D Studio Rel. 2 (so long ago, I can't even remember when that was). Anyway, a couple years ago, I was tired of the exhorbitant upgrades for MAX and bought LW 7.5. To this day, I still use MAX 5 and am completely lost in LW.

Now, my 3D gigs are few and far-between, so I can get by with MAX just fine, but I still love the quality of renders in LW and know the power is there if I can get a handle on it. So, are there any MAX>LW converts who know that it can be difficult getting used to the different workflow/interface/tools and might have suggestions on the best way to go about converting? Any tips (besides the obvious - RTFM and just playing). My time is limited, so an hour or two per evening is the best that I can do...so, an efficient learning strategy is what I'm looking for.

Iknow...kinda crazy question, but I'm kinda crazy.


06-09-2005, 05:50 PM
I used to be a big time MAX user since version 3, and made the switch to LW between version 4 and 5 (of MAX) i reckon. Reasons i made the change were the same as yours, the renderer and how nice looking (still even now) the LW renders look. Also the icon based interface of MAX drives me nuts. 3dmax has improved its rendering 100-fold since back then though, but i'm hooked on LW for some reason.

It's ALWAYS tough learning a new package, but the hardest part for me was getting past the "God it'll take me ages to learn it all" frame of mind, and moving towards the "Right, if i stick this out for a month solid, and do everything i did with 3dMAX when i began, i can compare workflows."

Slowly but surely things will click, but they only will if you mess around with it (the last thing you wanted to hear :D ). I'm in a similar state right now, wanting to give MAYA a go, but am afraid it's well out of my depth. This is the hardest part, trying to convince yourself you might get used to it soon (even though it feels like it's impossible). Start off with the typical bouncing ball that everyone does at first. Despite being simple it will get you used to the workflow of simple modelling,surfacing, layout, and animating. If animating isn't your bag, set out to model simple-ish things like a cup/pen/book. Most of the terminology in 3d software is similar (apart from XSI) so you just have to look for the extrude button, or knife one, or click on one that sounds like what you're after. If it doesn't do what it says on the tin, undo, but atleast you know what the wrong one does now! :D

Good news though, now i can use 3dMAX and lightwave but now feel much more comfy in LW, especially modelling.

06-09-2005, 06:15 PM
What do you mean with apart from XSI, aren't the basic terminology of all 3d apps the same? perhaps they use a different nomenclature but the principles of 3d are solid right?

I'm thinking of getting XSI so. :)

06-09-2005, 06:41 PM
What do you mean with apart from XSI, aren't the basic terminology of all 3d apps the same? perhaps they use a different nomenclature but the principles of 3d are solid right?

I'm thinking of getting XSI so. :)

Errrm, the principles are more or less the same, but the basic terminology is slightly different, i just found XSI confusing. Calling "move", "transform" or was it translate? (translate makes more sense, i guess) is the start, and it went downhill from there for me. I have used loads of different software, but XSI was just odd for me. It reminded me of Imagine3D, using terms that clearly are scientifically based as opposed to engineering or artistic. Some software goes this route, so it works for many people, just not me in the slightest. Maybe if i was of a programmer type mindset i could use it? If you like XSI then buy it, it's bloody powerful.

Anyway, off topic, sorry wikid3d! :o

06-09-2005, 08:51 PM
Thanks for the advice (and encouragement). I know it comes down to what you're used to. MAX isn't intuitive, but I've used it for so long, it all just flows naturally for me. And yeah, I was looking at Maya...downloaded their PLE and ran it for awhile and I'm pretty much lost with it too. I also bought trueSpace some time ago and their interface is supposed to be so intuitive and it drives me freakin nuts...

What was really cool with MAX, was when they came out with version one and I was trying to adjust from having used 3D Studio for so long, was their tutorials. Half the manual was starting out with the sphere, then adding materials, lighting, and so forth. It gave you enough of a taste with the various tutorials that you could just jump into modeling right after.

I guess that is what I'm looking for now and haven't really found it. And yeah, ego plays into it...knowing that I've modeled cars, castles, etc. in Max and can't even create a bent cylinder in LW. I'm willing to start from scratch; I just don't know where that is.

If you can recommend a tutorial set or book that might make the process a bit easier, I'd appreciate it.


06-10-2005, 05:54 AM
God, i knew i forgot to put something down, and it was a decent book. The manual is typically only good for reference when you are stuck with something you are working on. It doesn't run through any simple tasks to get you up and running!

The best books for me have been the "Inside Lightwave" series, by New Riders and Dan Ablan. I have 6 and 7 and want 8. His way of teaching is so thorough that you can't really go wrong. I bought the version 6 book before i had even touched Lightwave, just so i could read it. He goes through each aspect of LW and the whole book is tutorials based, taking you step by step through the simpler processes. Then as each project goes on he incorporates something new while teaching you about it. It covers pretty much everything i needed to know.

I have a couple of his free training videos too, (they might be the free ones with LW8, but not too sure where i got them) and if i could find where to get them, i would buy his training DVD's. (not sure he sells any aside from the courses he does). Just a very good and simple way of teaching.

Also, if you want stuff for free, check out tutorials at Flay.com (http://www.flay.com ) they have tuts covering most things and plenty to get you started. Plus a huge list of plugins for Lightwave, the latest LW news and some jobs if that's what you're after?

And another place which i use even more often is:
http://members.shaw.ca/lightwavetutorials/Main_Menu.htm It lists many similar links to Flay.com, but for me they are easier to search through.

06-10-2005, 07:51 AM
I have been using LW now for about 3-4 years. Before that I had used Max. I even taught Max one summer at a local college. Teaching MAx made me realize how cumbersome the Max interface can be.....drill down x-number of levels to get the multi-tabbed dialogue box with x-number of options......oops did not get what I wanted ....do it again. I wound up running LW in class to show my students the differences.....some loved Max and some LW....to each his own.

I read an interesting article on "learning" anything.....hitting a ball, driving a car, using some new complex software, chess, etc... It's author says it takes the average brain 1000 hours of an activity to have that activity become second nature or start operating on the sub-conscious level. In other words it takes around 1000 hours to get "good" at doing some task, some less and some more.

06-10-2005, 10:53 AM
Moved to proper forum...