View Full Version : Simple Lightwave Question

03-08-2006, 07:35 PM
Hello all,

I have Lightwave 8.3 and come from a 3D Studio Max background. After spending over and hour searching through the PDF documentation that came with Lightwave, I can not figure out how to HIDE objects in the Layout module. All I can do is select and manipulate objects, period it seems. This was something that was extremely simple to do in MAX. If the feature exists in Lightwave it is well hidden from the user.

Can anybody tell me if it is possible to hide an object from view and from being rendering in the LAYOUT module? And if so how do you go about doing this?

Also my the web, flash based documentation now longer works that was installed on my computer with the Lightwave program. It worked fine when I bought the software this past summer. It seems that perhaps when I updated my Macromedia Flash software on my computer, it no longer wanted to function. Anyone know how to fix this?

A new and frustrated Lightwave user,


03-08-2006, 07:47 PM
Open your scene editor and there is a little icon there for type of view be it textured, wire frame, or hidden. I believe this is just for layout purposes and doesn't hide the object from the camera for rendering. That is a separate control.

03-08-2006, 09:04 PM
what you said to do appears to only hide cameras and lights from layout view, not objects..

pixel pusher
03-08-2006, 09:50 PM
If you want to hide objects when you are previewing do this:

Select Scene Editor - Open in the items tab
In the column that has the EYE icon click and HOLD on the icon next to the object you want to hide
You should see all the previewing options as you HOLD
choose hidden

This will make your object invisible as your work on your animation and preview

If you want to hide objects when you render do this:

Select your object
open properties (p)
select the Render tab
In the Object Dissolve numeric input field type in 100%

This will make your object 100% invisible when you render your frame or animation

03-09-2006, 03:52 AM
For the Flash part of the query, since others have answered the rest very well, you need to set access permissions for Flash now, even on local content. I give an explanation on how to do it here:

http://www.lightwiki.com/wiki/mediawiki-1.4.4/index.php?title=I_cannot_access_my_LightWave_onlin e_help


pixel pusher
03-09-2006, 07:06 AM
in my last post I forgot to mention an even easier way to hide objects when you render:

Select your Object
Select Properties(p)
Select the Render tab
check Unseen by Camera

your object will not be rendered

03-10-2006, 06:09 PM
Thanks for the responses guys! I will give these suggestions a try.

03-10-2006, 06:35 PM
I dont know anything about the other apps you use, but I think none here pointed out one thing. We have been refering to "objects", however each layer of your model is imported into Layout as an object and has its own settings. So you may need to make adjustments on multiple "objects" if your model has multiple layers.

Please someone correct me if I am wrong or unclear.

03-11-2006, 04:53 AM
Welcome, Litebright, to the 'Light Side'!

Getting used to a new 3D app is always frustrating, but Lightwave operates much more smoothly than Max - I and many people I know learned Max first, and we all prefer LW strongly.

This is a fantastic place to get answers, but I recommend that you also read through the manual and do some quick tutorials in order to get a sense of the workflow. I know a modeling tutorial that will turn you into in Ace.

I and some others know Max pretty well, so don't be afraid to say 'I used to do this in Max, how would I do it in LW?' and somebody should be able to clear things up for you.

Your original question makes me want to explain the differences between LW's scene editor and Max's selection requestor/Pick-list thingie - most of us have the scene editor open all the time, it's where you pick objects, drag-and-drop the parenting, lock items, change rendering style-per-object, and a few other things.

There's other glaring differences that I can explain to you, just let me know :goodluck:

03-15-2006, 09:38 PM

What is this modeling tutorial your talking about that will turn me into an ACE? Right now with Lightwave, I am like a fighter pilot that can't even get his aircraft off the ground, let alone fly it in combat. I tried following a video modeling tutorial on the lightwave site (the one to model a teapot) and I couldn't even get through that one (never made it past the extrusion stage as I could not figure out how to properly select the points to extrude)...though it had no audio and it was not done on version 8 thru 8.5, which made it harder to follow what he was doing.

I am really from an old school 3D background. First 3D program I ever used was Alias running on an SGI system back in 1992. Most of my 3D experience was from the DOS versions of 3D Studio, I never really did that much in MAX but I have used it. I modeled a high detail Tiger II tank back in 1995 using the DOS 3D Studio Release 4 with the 2D shaper and 3D lofter modules (with these it was like building parts with a router and a lathe in a woodshop)...does anybody remember those? Anyway, I've been out of 3D stuff for a while and I can't even model a teapot in Lightwave now...

Here are some images of the Tiger model I built so you can see I'm not a total idiot:

This was a 1998 render.

Another 1998 render made to look like an old war time photo.

This was the first rendering I did with the model right after completing it in 1995. This was meant to look kinda like the 1/35 scale Tamiya plastic model box cover art of the same tank. You might find it interesting that this rendering and the modeling was done on a 486DX2 66Mhz machine with only 16megs of system RAM..

I tried importing this model into Lightwave 8.3 and it comes in as just ONE object and I have no clue how to break it apart into all it's many pieces that it was in under the original .3ds format. Every link of the tracks were made as a seperate piece!! There are tons of polygons in those tracks and roadwheels, no bump mapping on those tracks, all their detail is wireframe geometry. I never did figure out how to animate them...so it was always a 3D "static" model, i never did an animation with it. It also appears that some of the track face "normals" are not facing the right direction, a problem with Lightwave's translation no doubt.

The zimmerit paste was bump/texture mapped on. Cammo pattern was painted on afterward in Photoshop and an even older imaging program for the 95 render. I did it that way because I didn't know how to map the cammo to make it look good and UV mapping didn't exist when I built the model, at least not for 3D Studio (today I don't even know how to export a UV map template of a model to even paint on it).

Lightwave's modeler seems to let you select single points and polygons, but not objects, it's just very strange to me. My definition of an object would be like the gun mantlet, or the muzzle brake, or the gun barrel, or one of the road wheels...maybe lightwave refers to an object as something else?) So the tank model has never been rendered in Lightwave and I've had the software for 8 months now..I need to try to get the Flash based help and tutorials working again. Still need to try what the BeeVee guy suggested to get it working again.

I'm hoping to be able to build a submarine model in Lightwave, when I can figure out how to model something with the software. I was blown away by the Type XXI uboat model that came on the CD, with the moving ocean and the water flowing out of the flood holes. I have tried to dissect what is going on in that seen and I don't understand how the water works, especially the water flowing out of the flood holes. Just so I could render and examine the sub model by itself, I had to delete all the other objects in the scene and resave it as a different file, couldn't figure out how to turn the flowing water and ocean off or hide them to get them out of the layout windows when trying to move cameras around. The propellers show in Modeler but are mysteriously missing when you look at the sub in Layout.. Also it appears this sub model is not broken down into seperate parts (or objects as i call them), like the periscopes and snorkel being seperate objects that can be animated independently of the rest of the boat.

Panning, zooming and rotating in viewports all seemed easier in 3D Studio / MAX, clicking in the little boxes on the upper right and dragging the mouse I don't like at all and makes panning slow to a crawl. Can you select a pan mode and just click and drag in the viewport and pan the view around (like you would use the "hand" tool in Photoshop)?

If you could at least point me to a decent modeling tutorial that is written for someone who is Lightwave illiterate, I'd appreciate it. And maybe help me to understand the Type 21 sub model scene that came on the CD. I rendered the animation from that scene and even put sound to it, but I just don't know how to work with the sub model itself in Lightwave or the water effects.



03-15-2006, 09:59 PM

Thanks for the link on how to fix the Flash based help files. I did what you said and I have them working again!


03-15-2006, 10:40 PM
Can anybody tell me if it is possible to hide an object from view and from being rendering in the LAYOUT module? And if so how do you go about doing this?

The easiest way to keep an object from being rendered is to open (I leave it open all the time) either the Classic or the new Scene Editor and uncheck the checkmark next to the object name. The scene renders as if the object does not exist, no shadow, no reflection, just not there anymore. By the same token if you want to just render specific objects, select them and press F11.


03-16-2006, 01:34 AM
Getting the Flash documentation running again has helped. I was actually able to take an apple model from the CD and turn it into a submarine hull! Kind of like pulling on taffy. You've heard of yellow submarines and submarine sandwiches...now, I have a little apple submarine with the stem as the periscope. A master modeller at work, I tell ya! :boogiedow


I think I see a Uboat in the works at some point, there may be light at the end of the tunnel after all! Though I wasn't quite understanding how to finely control the "taper" tool, which I partly used to make my apple sub.

Thanks for the tips Snos, I will put them to use.


03-16-2006, 02:14 AM
Hi Litebrite, so you are a modeler! Nice tank. Here's the tutorial:
I'm not really a modeler, I can get away with it, but you don't want me to make the hero models, and I'm not happy modeling for more than an hour anyway, but a big chunk of what I know is from this tutorial. It is very very step-by-step. Beginners make models almost like the pros with this, he shows you the easy way to do everything. If something doesn't work, that means you skipped or missed something. I've read through the forum there and everytime someone says something 'doesn't work' he replies 'you missed this sentence...'

In answer to your other questions :
Alt-click/drag (left mouse button) will orbit around perspective views or pan around orthographic views, alt-shift click/drag will pan in the perspective views. Alt-cntrl click/drag zooms in and out.

As far as selecting 'objects' in Modeler, the way it works is that every layer in modeler is a separate object. When you move geometry in a layer you are editing an objects' geometry, not moving the object around in world space. For example you'd put the turret and the barrel in separate layers since you're going to move them separately. Moving objects in world space is done in the Layout application.

If you still want to move different objects on the same layer, you can pick one polygon on the piece you want and 'Select Connected' by pressing ']'. You might be able to separate your tank into pieces by doing this - select connected then cut/paste the parts into new layers.

Have fun with the tutorial, I only went through half it and I still learned all I care to know about modeling :D

03-16-2006, 04:10 AM
Hi Litebright !

I'm late to "party" but if you have more modeling questions just ask :)

Welcome to LightWave

03-16-2006, 04:33 AM
If you have acess to 3ds, try breaking up the tank into it's components then save each one out separately. Then import them into LW and you can parent them back together.
I don't know of an easier way. It's like the programs only vaguely talk to each other to pacify the users. They don't want to get too friendly though. Maybe someone out there knows of another app. or plug in to do the trick.

It's times like this when I wish I could just select a poly and then select similar by texture (like in Photoshop).

Good Luck

03-16-2006, 01:19 PM
Hi Lewis!

I'm still 'pimping' your tutorial, still the best one ever. :hammer:

btw LiteBrite, I only did a Mercedes because I already knew LW really well. I would recommend anyone not familiar with Lightwave to do the same car Lewis does in the tutorial.

03-16-2006, 01:42 PM
Thanks! I will check out the Mustang tutorial! I chose to model a tank back in the day because a car with all it's curved surfaces seemed too daunting of a task.

03-16-2006, 01:58 PM
Hi Lewis!

I'm still 'pimping' your tutorial, still the best one ever. :hammer:

btw LiteBrite, I only did a Mercedes because I already knew LW really well. I would recommend anyone not familiar with Lightwave to do the same car Lewis does in the tutorial.

Heheh, thanks toby :). I'm glad it helped you among few other users aslo ;).

03-16-2006, 03:44 PM

I am having a few problems situating the mustang photos and drawings in the viewports. When I plug in your numbers for resolution, centering and size from the tutorial, my images don't seem to line up properly. I have been trying to jockey them around so they line up, but I don't want to throw off the rest of the tutorial steps as a result of my tweaking.. I would think all the general body lines of the car (the major ones) should line up with each other in all views, is that correct?

The images below explain what I am talking about.



I am using a widescreen monitor so perhaps that is why the side view is running off the right edge of the screen...


My tweaks to fix the off center of Top and Back views:

Top center 0m, -7.5 cm

Back center -23 cm, -2 cm

Side view was unchanged

Also, I made sure that the pixel size of each image is correct per your tutorial.


03-16-2006, 04:07 PM
Hi Steve !

Don't forget that i mentioned in tutorial that those Mustang backdrops were made from different sources and they aren't comparable too much. At that time when i was making tutorial (many years ago :)) we couldn't find any better photos or screengrabs and TOP/side views were scaned from Die Cast model so they maybe aren't 100% correct :). Only reason why i did Mustang Cobra is why i had excellent resource photos 'coz Bob McKain (founder of LWG) just had that car in real life so i could get ANY photo for detialing modeling proces and since interior was also modeled that was very important fact :). So don't worry too much if blueprints (in this case more phots/scans) aren't matching 100% and do best what you can. They are basicaly just guides for 3D space and when you learn how to use them properly ou'll manage to model cars without blueprints or just form few photos if you have enough photos/resources to see. When you want reall precise model then you need real blueprints with car dimensions and then ywe can talk about accuracy.

If you are interested i'll send you my Backdrop configs so you will be sure that you have same form what i modeled car.

There is better ways (nowdays) to align all blueprints in backdrop when you have proper blueprint with car dimensions (more automatic way) but back then this was more eyebaling since i didn't have Cobra Blueprints nor dimensions :). Now you probably can find PROPER Cobra BPs (try on ONO's BP page or Smcars.net forum) with car dimensions and i'll explain you how to automaticaly align all three views with few clicks.

Just send me e-mail so that I don't forget to send you my BP configs file when i get home ;).


03-16-2006, 05:13 PM
Thanks for the input Lewis! I sent you an email using the email form on your website.

Looks like you first started in 3D around the time I did, 91-92. I saw on your website that you used the DOS 3D Studio 4 at one time like i did. My first 3D animation was done (in 1993) with DOS 3D Studio 2, it was 1 minute long, 512 x 486 resolution and took 14 days (336 hours) to render the frames on a 486X2 with 16 megs of RAM. The animation was of a red 57 Chevy Bel Air convertible speeding down a highway at dusk, igniting twin rocket engines exiting out the back of the car, and soaring off into space where it arrived at a giant space station. The car was driven by a female in a red body suit and helmet. The wheels retracted into the body after take off. The inspiration for the animation was the opening sequence from the animated 1981 movie, "Heavy Metal".

Maybe you remember seeing a McDonald's TV commercial featuring a red late 50's Cadillac convertible flying around in space under rocket power in the early 90's. This commercial, mysteriously appeared after I had done my animation as a demo reel and sent it off to several companies in California. I remember almost falling out of my chair when I saw it for the first time on TV. Even some of the camera angles and the location of the rocket thrusters were identical to what I had done in my demo reel.

I never got a job out of it, but apparently somebody who saw my demo reel liked the animation enough to copy a lot elements from it. I still have the master for that demo reel on 3/4" SP video tape.


03-16-2006, 06:29 PM

Should I be using the "bezier" tool under "curves" or the "spline draw" tool to make the quarter panel curves?

When I try to build curves using "bezier", I can only construct them and tweak the spline handles and points in the window I initially start drawing the curve in (the right side view in this case). The curve points obviously need to be shifted in 3D space in the other three views, but the program doesn't seem to allow me to do this. Instead I am having to drop the bezier tool, and then move the many little points that are created on the curve. This can't be right as it would take me forever to build the car this way. I read the Flash help on bezier curves and it doesn't show how to do this.

The "spline draw" tool seems to allow the moving of points on the curve in 3d space, but it is not allowing me to trace the shape of the car very well when I try using this tool. This bezier and nurb stuff in Lightwave is all new to me so bear with me. I know how to use beziers in a 2D program like Illustrator or Photoshop with no problem.


03-16-2006, 07:09 PM
Hi Steve !

It's nice to know that we started way back with this 3D stuff ;).

As far as bezier splines I'd suggest you to download this small movie I made back then with tutorial to see how i proceed with making Splines with bezier tool. It's little tricky at first but when you master that bezier tool it's pretty handy and usable for outlining blueprints in all 3 axsis at once while draw spline is slower in that area but can be used also :)). BTW try to have numeric panel in modeler ALWAYS opened ("n" key shortcut).


This video is coded with OLD DivX 3.11a and if you have problems with playing it (any new DivX should play it but just in case) try to install that codec from here

Let me know is that short video helping you to understand Bezier tool and if not then i'll try to explain it better.

03-17-2006, 12:41 AM
I was able to watch your video, so I see how to manipulate the beziers in all 4 windows now.

I practiced some on your car, and then tried to make a fender flare for the Ford Falcon model. It took me over an hour to move the points around until I had a semi-decent fender flare shape, it's really tough for me as the points overlap each other in the top and back views. I had to rely a lot on the perspective view and initially grab a point in that view and start to move it so I could see which point was which in the back and top views.

I finally got a fender flair shape made, closed the shape via welding two points together, then selected the polygons that make up the shape in a clockwise fashion. I then hit the "Patch" button, and followed by "Make Spline Patch" and I get an ERROR message "Curves do not cross correctly".:confused:

I thought I would try to just make the fender flare first, thinking it would be easier than trying to make a quarter panel and roof piece....

Here is what the fender flare looks like, at least the bezier spline for it.


I don't know what I am doing wrong.....the fender flare should have thickness to it aslo, as a real one is not paper thin...so I am probably not even going about building it correctly. In 3D Studio I probably would have made this by lofting a cross section of the fender along a spline path.


03-17-2006, 01:08 AM
To fill a patch, it MUST have 3 or 4 sides, joined by ONE point at each corner. What you have in this image is more than 4 splines, I can tell by the kinks at either side of 3rd spline I've numbered here. Create a spline where I've drawn and you should be able to patch the two sections separately, or merge the two splines where they meet at the kinks. Again, each spline must be joined at both ends to the ponts at the corners.

But dude, stick with the tutorial and you'll learn ALL of this, and the thickness too.

03-17-2006, 02:48 AM
I tried deleting the points to make the shape like you show on your 1,2,3,4 sections and it still would not patch, got the same error message.

I'm back to the mustang tutorial, creeping along at a snails pace with it. I watched a little video Lewis made and when he starts a bezier, he somehow manages to place points in the side view that are almost already perfectly lined up in the back and top views. When I place points in the side view trying to replicate what he does, the points are way over in the middle of the car on the back and top views, and i have to manually drag each point all the way over to the passenger side of the car body.

It appears when Lewis did it he is hovering the cursor in the back or top view first, before clicking the first point in the side view, maybe he is holding down a key or something...I just can't tell what he is doing to get the first point placed so well in all three views. This is one of the reasons it is taking me so long to draw my bezier shapes.. I'm not at a stage yet to try the first patch on the tutorial still have more splines to draw.


03-17-2006, 06:37 AM
When you move BEZIER spline handles you need to HOLD LMB while you are doing it. Any ou can move it only by HANDLES (two little blue circles at each end) whiel tool is activated. YOu can't move whole bezier after you drop tool but you can move or drag (ctrl+t) separate points to their desired position if that's easier to you.

Also about your Falcon Splines - you definatelly have/sued more than 4 splines there (look at left bottom corner of modeler where he says how many polygons/points/splines you selected before patching). You can MERGE splines together to fix that fender splines. By selecting two of them and hitting "merge polygon" button (i think it's default shortcut is "shift+z" since i changed mine and i even don't remeber where this tool is under menues since i use shortcuts all the time :)). Splines in modeler are treated as POLYGONS (i can't say why but that's they way how it is :)).

If you still can't fix it post me a LWO file and i'll fix it for you with video tutorial if needed :).


03-17-2006, 06:58 AM
Hi again !

Here is small phot tutorial to show you how i handled my Interceptor when i was doing it ;).

I think all three steps/screen grabs should be selfexplinatory ?

03-17-2006, 10:50 AM
Don't forget this resource for fantastic LightWave tutorials, not free, but very cheap.