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Danner
10-18-2006, 03:48 PM
Some boring background.
I have been a proponent of lightwave for years, I pretty much defend anything NewTek makes with a religious passion, I own two VT4 suites and I realy do think it's the best editor in the industry. I have also used Lightwave since the Amiga VT days, version 1. It has done everything I need with ease and quality and I have become known in my small niche market as someone who people can turn to when they need quality animation.

The nitty gritty.
I have to learn Maya.

As much as I have put that off becase I have always thought that my time would be better spent getting to know Lightwave or Zbrush more deeply. I have no way around it now. I will begin giving a 3d animation course at a local visual arts school and the lightwave learning versions in packs of 5 are nearly $800 usd and Maya learning edition is free. Lightwave is a hard sell at the school.

I'm wondering how often this happens around the world..

SplineGod
10-18-2006, 05:49 PM
In that case you should talk them into using blender. Its free and its free for students. Its also come a very long way and has become quite powerful. :)

Exception
10-18-2006, 05:56 PM
Have you contacted newtek to discuss this with them?
I'd strongly suggest doing so. I speak from experience.

TomT
10-18-2006, 07:03 PM
Many of the students coming to our firm are schooled in Maya. I think NT has an education program, try pinging Kurtis.

I find Maya one of the worst for newbies with a pretty steep learning curve.

-T

UnCommonGrafx
10-18-2006, 07:23 PM
Umm,

Puguglybonehead
10-18-2006, 08:02 PM
Up here in Canada 80% of the schools teach nothing but Maya in their 3D animation programs. Tried a short introductory animating course on it in 2000. (Maya 3, I believe) Crashed it on the first keyboard shortcut I used. 8~ Liked the timeline editor, but the rest of it just baffled me. I decided not to sign up for a fulltime course.

The remaining 20% of the schools here teach either 3DStudioMax (for the game crowd) or XSI (only thing besides Lightwave that I would maybe like to use), or the odd Houdini course. I really wish there were some schools here teaching Lightwave. We need a DAVE School North or something.

Sad to hear that you plan to drop Lightwave. The choices in education seem to be thinning out again.

lesterfoster
10-18-2006, 08:12 PM
I understand where you are coming from. I too may have to switch software packages. I use LightWAVE for reverse engineering and product development. My problem is that the government is starting to watch the company that I work for. Sooner or later, the government is going to discover that I am the person who is using a computer to make the tools to make the parts that we sell. I know that the government is going to want to know how big and the dimensions of the objects that I make with my computer are.

LightWAVE is capable of doing reverse engineering and product development. But as there are no good tools or plug-inís available for doing simple CAD like dimensioning from with in LightWAVE, I canít provide dimensions, and I am afraid that I am also going to have to switch software packages. :thumbsdow

I hope that NewTEK takes your concerns into consideration and helps not only you as a educator, but other schools. Lets keep LightWAVE in the classroom and beyond.. :)

P.S. Do other 3D modeling and animation packages have dimensioning tools in them??..

TomT
10-18-2006, 08:51 PM
I've used Archicad (Graphisoft) before. They have a lot of what you might be looking for.

I'm pretty sure they used to have a connector for C4D, so they might have a LW connector which would allow you model in LW and then tweak in in Archicad for dimensioning. Even if they don't have a LW module direct, you might pick up a copy of C4D cheap on the internet, and do a LW -> {Brief Stop in C4D} -> Archicad route. (Probably too much hassle, but if all you need is dimensioning, it might be easier than learning a new package.)

For 2D dimensioning HotDoors CAD Tools is pretty cool if you already know Adobe Illiustrator.

FormZ (now V6) is popular with many packaging and industrial designers. It has a "Drafting Module" which should do all the dimensioning you could want. I hear it's hard to get into (I have touched FormZ since V3, so I'm pretty out of touch with the latest developments there.) Looks cool though . . .

-T

UnCommonGrafx
10-18-2006, 08:57 PM
Hold on, my friend.

Dimensioning IS coming. I am testing it right now and have permission to say so. LWCAD WILL have dimensioning in the 2.1 version of SOME kind. Right now, it's just numbers but Viktor is working on giving us the lines, e.g., <----5'6"---->.

It's not far off.

Please, state what it is that you need more of and I will include that in my correspondence. You can't and shouldn't be lost for that simple a reason, regardless of what NT does. The software is capable of giving you what you want and need.

TomT
10-18-2006, 08:59 PM
Dimensioning IS coming. I am testing it right now and have permission to say so. LWCAD WILL have dimensioning in the 2.1 version of SOME kind. Right now, it's just numbers but Viktor is working on giving us the lines, e.g., <----5'6"---->.

It's not far off.


Very nice!
-T

Puguglybonehead
10-18-2006, 08:59 PM
LightWAVE is capable of doing reverse engineering and product development. But as there are no good tools or plug-in’s available for doing simple CAD like dimensioning from with in LightWAVE, I can’t provide dimensions, and I am afraid that I am also going to have to switch software packages. :thumbsdow

This is something you should ask WTools about. If you explain what your needs are, perhaps the next release of LWCAD (2.5 ?) might be able to meet your needs?

Oops. Just noticed the above reply.

digital verve
10-19-2006, 01:41 AM
In that case you should talk them into using blender. Its free and its free for students. Its also come a very long way and has become quite powerful. :)

But Blender is not "a industry standard". Colleges and universities want to teach the packages which are mainly used in the industry such as Maya and 3D Studio Max. Maybe LW if you are lucky.

oDDity
10-19-2006, 02:22 AM
Don't get too invovled in Maya either, since it's not clear what Discreet plan to do with it.
Maybe XSI would be a better solution.

SplineGod
10-19-2006, 02:52 AM
But Blender is not "a industry standard". Colleges and universities want to teach the packages which are mainly used in the industry such as Maya and 3D Studio Max. Maybe LW if you are lucky.

Blender doesnt have to be industry standard. Blender is probably more like Maya then LW. Schools hate shelling out for software. Theyll pay for training but not much else. From an economic standpoint blender makes more sense for a school because its free and students can take home copies for free. Theres a lot of schools and many may take the approach to teach what is industry standard. Many dont care and prefer to teach the principles since there are so many packages. Years ago I sold alot of video toasters and LW into many schools so Im somewhat familiar to the mindset many have. If a salesman can demonstrate that LW, Blender etc can do what the industry standard ones do but at a lower cost etc then its not that hard of a sell. Most schools dont really have a clue as to the difference.

Part of the problem is that you have to have dedicated outside sales people who understand the educational market. Its possible to get dealers make sales calls on schools but you have the same problem of dealers having dedicated outside sales people who know schools. Plus they need to be able to demonstrate and support the software. This was a process I was intimately familiar with. :)

faulknermano
10-19-2006, 05:24 AM
I'm wondering how often this happens around the world..

happened to me. like TomT wrote, Maya has a steep learning curve, and i was helped by knowing how to script in LW before i started learning maya. maya is a bit more procedural: you have to think "technically". good luck to you. you have a long hard road ahead of you.

digital verve
10-19-2006, 07:20 AM
Part of the problem is that you have to have dedicated outside sales people who understand the educational market. Its possible to get dealers make sales calls on schools but you have the same problem of dealers having dedicated outside sales people who know schools. Plus they need to be able to demonstrate and support the software. This was a process I was intimately familiar with. :)

I agree with this. Newtek has limited marketing in the UK. It is Autodesk who go to the Universities selling (or giving away) their software. When uni lecturers ask around what software the majority of fillm/video production companies use, the answer is Maya or MAX. So that's what they get, since that is what the graduating students will most likely use when they find their job in the industry. When learning and developing a showreel, we know it is the finished stills and animations that are created that proves the talent, as any monkey can learn software. Nobody in or very few institutions are aware how powerful Lightwave is. Same could be said about Blender.

Maybe Newtek should hire you Larry and ship you over to market LW in the UK.
:)

SplineGod
10-19-2006, 07:33 AM
Set me up with some pie and chips! :)

I think Newtek could take two tacts:
1. Try and convince institutions that LW is a professional application and worth teaching students because it will get them jobs

2. Convince schools and students that the reality of this business is that positions at studios are rarely long duration and therefore you need an application that is professional, affordable, powerful, easy to learn (aka Lightwave) for those times when you will be freelancing or starting your own business.

Part of going into a school and pushing 3D software (or any software) is to show HOW it is a solution to them. A big part of that is knowing how much of the 3D industry is entertainment related, medical/architectural/industrial and scientific visualization.I used to not only get this across but show how 3d software can be used by teachers to create educational content in the form of animations and videos that can be added to their libraries. Part of that process is to get students involved producing content for the teachers etc etc. I also showed several schools how to use 3D and other graphics apps to produce images for T shirts that they could sell etc etc. Its just a matter of showing schools creative things they can use the software for their own needs and teaching students new skills that they can use in the real world.
Its unfortunate that I dont see it happening.

newsvixen8
10-20-2006, 06:45 PM
I think the best place to pitch that sort of approach is in the broadcast programming arena. Film schools seem to be married to whatever program is commonly in use on the big screen, and right now it's Maya. Broadcasters need to be able to work on deadline and LW is the perfect answer. I started learning several years ago in a broadcast program at my local community college, self-studied since then, but even this week I went back to mentor a student animation team and back-up the instructor. It's taken constant vigilance to keep the program growing, but the benefits of LW for broadcast are just so OBVIOUS!!!

dweinkauf
10-20-2006, 07:42 PM
Here are some other reasons for teaching Lightwave at the college or university level. Before I retired in 2003, I started courses in Lightwave at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. That program continues under my friend and former student Steve Carpenter, a person I consider one of the best Lightwave animators in the country. We chose Lightwave because (1) it has a low learning curve compared to Maya; (2) our goal is to turn out animators who can solve problems; (3) it allows students to do all phases of a single project; and (4) we want students to turn out projects for exhibition and portfolios as soon as possible.

The proof is in the pudding. Our students have absolutely no difficulty getting jobs and picking up Maya where they get those jobs. In all cases, they get their jobs based on their portfolios of work. Here are some of their most recent credits along with the number of graduates connected with those credits - The Ant Bully (4), Jimmy Neutron (6), Ice Age II (2), Chronicles of Narnia (1), Veggietales (1), Jonah (2), Superman-The Return (1), Harry Potter (1), Hitchhiker's Guide (1). Most of these graduates got their jobs right after graduation, and in one or two cases, got job offers before they graduated. Maya is a great program, but if you want software that doesn't have a big learning curve and gets you producing work quickly, Lightwave is it!:lwicon:

SplineGod
10-20-2006, 10:17 PM
Again its all a matter of perception. Ive seen way too many schools take the flash instructor, give him some Maya tutorial DVDs and proclaim him the new 3D instructor. Most schools with 3D programs (and there are exceptions) IMO dont teach this stuff at nearly the level to get people hired.
Most schools go with Maya because of the perceived demand and that it is the industry standard. They dont have a clue how difficult it is to learn and that Maya is really teamware. On top of that who is going to fault a school for using Maya? If something goes wrong its much easier to point at the software used rather then the instructors or their 3D ciriculum in general.

Changing the perception requires someone who can go out and demonstrate LW to these people toe to toe if necessary with someone demonstrating Maya. It also takes someone who can show LW as a true solution and respond to any perceived CONs. It also takes someone who can go show these people what percentage of of the 3D market belongs to entertainment vs medical/scientific/industrial visualization, web design, illustration etc.

Heres some interesting Statistics from about 3 yrs ago. I doubt if its changed that much:

"Understanding which job titles exist in a particular studio/facility can be
especially useful for vendors - especially those in the software or training
business. Animation/FX studios have an average of 2 effects and 4 character
animator job titles. Remember... almost half of all studios/facilities have
less than 5 employees and only 8% have 20+ employees, but these 8% account for
47% of the jobs in the industry.

- Excerpted from the TrendWatch Visual Effects/Dynamic Media Report - Issue
#3, Summer 2003 "

What this says is that MOST of the jobs out there are come from small studios. Most of the big studio jobs will more then likely involve Maya in some way. Lightwave is definately well suited for many tasks at that level even since most big studios rely on compositing elements and we know LW can create and export elements. As I said, Maya works very well as teamware in large studios. Lightwave works VERY well for smaller studios especially since about 50% of them have 5 employees or less and 3% have 6 - 19 employees.
LW has an impressive pedigree chart including several emmy awards.

What this boils down to for me is that the reason LW isnt taught in schools is because it isnt heard or talked about as much in educational circles. Instructors read magazines like everyone else and come away hearing Maya.
Newtek has an uphill battle here. This is why without dedicated outside sales people who can demo the software and answer the questions and show off that pedigree chart its never going to change. As Ive said before, I have direct experience doing this in the past and was able to successfully convince key people to go with Lightwave so I know it can be done.

Riff_Masteroff
10-21-2006, 12:29 AM
3d software is used for more than studio work.
Schools (should) teach 3d applied to this, that and the other thing. LightWave is important in the other thing also.

TomT's postings and UnCommonGrafx's response made my ears tingle. ArchiCAD and Lightwave work very well together. More so than you might at first realize.

In the AEC (architect,engineer,contractor) building industry a leading-bleeding edge 3d revolution is taking place as we speak. Some specific use (i.e. the stuctural steel frame of a building) polygon modelers have evolved into programs that develop blueprints (tradition) from the 3d model and also manufacture directly from the model.

ArchiCAD is a 3d polygon modeler that can integrate models from other software into a single model of a building. Polygons are organized into "objects" that have information attached. Very important. This attached information can be written-read by diverse & specialized programs and passed through into many other compliant programs. The only open standard medium of exchange (file format) is *.ifc.

ArchiCAD and its variants (Constructor) call themselves (woo-hoo) 5d programs. Because its geometry manipulation is crippled in the y-axis , I rate its previous version as 2.2 dimensions and the current version as 2.3 dimensions. And to a large extent ArchiCAD is not interactive.

Lightwave is a interactive 3d program capable of handling very large datasets. Currently, I believe, ONLY with Lightwave as an importantant part of the software mix can the work be truly be done. An example is that I can make anything in LW, bring it into ArchiCAD as a SINGLE ENTITY and attach information to that entity (manufacturer's data, for example). And I can take anything out of ArchiCAD and bring it into Lightwave and use that for field coordination and conflict resolution. And I will use it extensively in an environment that it seems not to belong in. It belongs.

Riff Masteroff

TomT
10-21-2006, 08:41 AM
TomT's postings and UnCommonGrafx's response made my ears tingle. ArchiCAD and Lightwave work very well together. More so than you might at first realize.


Glad to hear it. :) I didn't want to testify to the ArchiCAD/LW compatibility because I hadn't tried it. My client was using ArchiCAD/C4D (MaxonForm or some such rename of Maxon's products). If it had been up to me ArchiCAD/LW would have been their workflow, because at the time I knew much more of LW's modeler than C4D. :)

-T

UnCommonGrafx
10-21-2006, 10:31 AM
Lester,
Putting the screengrab of dimensions here to satiate other's curiosity. Yesterday was a long day; my apologies for the tardiness of this example.

lesterfoster
10-21-2006, 11:56 PM
Thanks for uploading a screen shot of the new dimensioning function that is soon to become available to LW. I was going to upgrade to lwCAD, but as I could not see anything that had to do with dimensioning, I chose not to upgrade. Now after seeing this, I think that I am going to have to reconsider my choice

LORDCHILL
10-23-2006, 06:58 PM
The school i'm going to in the spring teaches maya. The way i look at it, the knowledge i learned in lw will shallow out that steep learning curve, and when i enter the job market, knowing both will give me an edge. So, i wouldn't consider it a bad thing to learn maya. I still prefer lw for modelling at this point, (i have the maya le, so far i prefer lw) and will continue to improve myself with it, and now that i am far enough along, i can devote a little more time to learning maya, which i had planned to do anyway. It's win win-win as far as i'm concerned.

colkai
10-24-2006, 04:18 AM
As Larry said, it's easy to think all you need is Maya.

I think if you're looking to get into studios and try to work for "the big guys", you do need to lear nit as it's almost as much a buzzword as it is anything related to real-world use. Kinda like when you do coding, the exams always have shed-loads of acronyms which, in 95% of day to day work, you just do not need to know.

For a small one-man / two-man band, it doesn't matter what you use if you get the job done, LW has been used plenty by folks and in most cases will likely get the job done.

With so much free and super-cheap software out there now too, it seems mad to learn Maya if you're doing fine as is and jsut need the odd extra tool here or there. Why pay more than you need to? (Of course, I AM a cheapskate ;) ).
Now let me make it clear, I am NOT saying LW is perfect and doesn't need new features and a continuing revamp, nor am I saying Maya is useless or inferior.

I just don't see that, unless you fully intend to try and move between FX houses rather than go freelance, that Maya should be the only package to learn.

I'd also strongly agree that until Newtek get the hearts and minds of educational establishments, LW will always be seen, rightly or wrongly, as a little package that is not commercially used by many people. Like it or not, nothing will bias folks like free licenses towards your product and there is no denying, Autodesk have the bucks to write off such giveaways very easily compared to Newtek.
It pays in the long term as whilst they may not get the seats bought by students, their 'public face' is dramatically enhanced and that at times, can be worth far more in the long run.

Iain
10-24-2006, 04:34 AM
If I had the time to learn Maya I would do it.

It's a major string to your bow if you know two major apps so why 'drop' one just because you're learning another?

CAClark
10-24-2006, 05:29 AM
I think the harsh reality is that knwoing LW doesn't do you as many favours as knowing Maya or XSI. If I were to pick today an application to learn, it would be one of those two, not LW, simply based on it's application in the industry.

Cheers!

Puguglybonehead
10-24-2006, 10:10 AM
That does seem to be the reality in Canada. In Toronto, virtually all the post-production shops use Maya as their major 3D app. I don't know what it's like in Vancouver, but I get the impression that they also have a major share of that market as well.

Alias appear to have done some aggressive sales and marketing over the years and gone out of the way to 'help' studios using other packages transition to Maya. Have you seen in their documentation? They have conversion pages for each of the other major 3D apps that show where each function on a given interface has its equivalent in Maya. I've seen a Lightwave to Maya document, Cinema 4D to Maya, 3D StudioMax to Maya, XSI to Maya and there are probably others as well.

Maya's domination of the market didn't happen by accident. People worked very hard to convert as many studios as possible to Maya. They did the same with educational institutions as well. That is what made Alias such an attractive commodity to Autodesk.

If I could actually afford to go to school here, (minimum $10,000 tuition plus another $15,000 in living expenses) I would have no choice but to learn Maya or Max. That's all there is in the schools.

SplineGod
10-24-2006, 10:40 AM
I agree that theyve worked hard to get the software known.
What made Alias attractive to autodesk was there CAD tools. If you look at Autodesks earnings the vast majority is from their CAD products. Max and Maya are just a drop in the bucket.

dweinkauf
10-24-2006, 11:43 AM
What the studios hire are trained animators. My former institution's mission has always been to turn out artists who can think and solve problems first, and animate second. We happen to use Lightwave to prepare students to be animators because it allows them to learn and get work out quickly - much quicker than they could with Maya.

As I said before, our Lightwave-trained students have no difficulty getting great jobs and they get their jobs based on their portfolios of work not whether or not that they know Maya. In all cases, and I emphasize IN ALL CASES, where a particular studio uses Maya, the studio has provided our students with the necessary retraining in that software. By the way, many of my former students tell me that some studios using Maya still use Lightwave for modeling and rendering.

But again, what software you use is irrelevant - it's simply a tool. What kind of software to buy should not be the first question to ask. The more important questions should be.... What kind of animation do you want to create? What kind of character do you want to model? How do you want to move that character? What kind of expressions do you want that character to have? What kind of clothing or surfaces do you want on that character? What kind of setting do you want that character in? How are you going to light it and what mood are you trying to create with that lighting?

These are important questions because when studios get reels, they're bound to add these judgements to what they see.... Can this person model a character? Can this person animate this character? Can this person put expressions into this character? etc.. How do I know this? Several of my former students who look at reels for their studios tell me this.

The next question for the student and institution, then, is what do I/we use to best get me/them there? We've found that Lightwave is a great piece of software to get our students there.

I can agree with you that NewTek needs to do more to get institutions like ours to use Lightwave because of what it has to offer and how well it lets students accomplish animation rather than technology goals. That's its best selling point. Our student's success is due in no small measure to the learning environment created by a dedicated staff of professional animators and Lightwave.

Danner
10-26-2006, 01:28 AM
From the Autodesk website:

"Q: Can Autodesk Maya Personal Learning Edition software be used in schools?
A: No. Autodesk Maya Personal Learning Edition cannot be used as part of any curriculum at schools, (academic institutions) or training centers as a part of an educational program. Educational licenses of Autodesk software must still be purchased in accordance with our educational or training center programs"


Hmm..

UnCommonGrafx
11-02-2006, 08:17 PM
Hey Lester,
Sharing this here as I've done before...
Dimensioning is pretty cool. As well as some of the other fixes and additions.

Sande
11-03-2006, 04:32 AM
As well as some of the other fixes and additions.

I know this is a bit off topic, but I was wondering if you could also reveal if Viktor has been able to get LWCAD's snaptools (translate, rotate, stretch/size) to work with UV-viewport? :)

I discussed about this a bit with him via e-mail, but I don't know if he still plans doing it or if it's even possible.

UnCommonGrafx
11-03-2006, 10:29 AM
Dunno... But I will try it later today and let you know.

lesterfoster
11-04-2006, 10:29 AM
This looks very very cool. Thanks UnCommonGrafx for showing that screen shot. That is so cool. What makes it work. Did you set up some points so that the dimensioning tool can snap to them?

Can you give a small hint as to what is underneath the more button, underneath the -<analyze>- divider on the LW-CAD tab. That menu divider looks interesting.

UnCommonGrafx
11-04-2006, 11:52 AM
Yah,
That's where you get the new permanant dimensions tools.
Distance is ... the dimension tool. That could be its name... hehe
Angles... As the name implies, the dimensioning tool for angles. Hehe, hadn't tried that one yet. Kinda cool...
Analyze curves helps you to identify what's going on with your curves.