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Latman
06-12-2003, 03:51 PM
Hi Guys!

I'm a newbie and and oldie a the same time; currently I've changed professions from a software engineering background and am currently an enthusiastic beginner to the world of 3D- (read this as I don't need beginners software; I want the stuff the pros use straight up, I just might not work it as well as them yet :) )

Please excuse me this is a redundant question; I'm honestly curious to know (and yes I realise this is a Lightwave BB) when choosing one of the 3 industry leader products, which would you choose and why?

Do you guys tend to find that... [as with most software in different industries, the playing field for us poor users changes constantly- good thing software vendors realise we're driven by our passions rather than our pockets :0 ] ... you review the other products and consider a change to one of those or do you remain loyal?

Many thanks guys,
By the quality of the information I've seen one the forums, I know that there are a lot of clever people in here!

Many thanks
Steve in Australia

TerryFord
06-12-2003, 04:17 PM
Good source of info in this thread over at CGtalk;

http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=19315

Regards,
Terry

Heimhenge
06-12-2003, 04:27 PM
My choice of LW was based on bang for the buck, which I descerned by reading various forums. Now that I've put 100 hours into LW I can't imagine changing unless I had to. I mean, this is not like learning a word processor ... too much time is invested in learning something like this to jump ship without good reason.

Of course, some will say once you've learned any 3D app the transition to another is easier. That may be true, but why buy into another learning curve unless you have to?

So there's a practical viewpoint to your question anyway.

Bionic Antboy
06-12-2003, 06:03 PM
Linking from the thread TerryFord posted is this one...

http://www.zaon.org/showthread.php?threadid=299

His comments specifically regarding LW pretty much sums it up, when he says...

"my advice is to buy Lightwave. I believe it's the best bang for your buck, and the best all-around solution for any hobbyist or professional outside of a major film studio"

He goes into great details, and does a good job of keeping pretty objective about it.

IMHO LW gives you a great comprehensive package straight out of the box, and is probably the best suited for someone teaching themselves for a number of reasons... the great community where old pros and newbies meet, the vast array of online tutorials, and "one man show" style workflow, in that it's got IMHO the best workflow for one person to go from idea to finished product.

Doug Nicola
06-12-2003, 07:03 PM
Here's some more advice: download and try! You can get Maya PLE and Softimage XSI EXP, which are both great "tryout" editions. You can download and install the latest LW (make sure to install the sentinal drivers!) and run it in demo mode. I'm sure 3d studio has some demo available.

It's a very personal choice... I love LW and also think XSI is great (based on using the EXP trial), but not Maya or Max for me.

I think Antboy's comments (and the link) above are right on target. Heimhenge's comment about a serious investment of time is why it's a good idea to try before you buy.

Also, think about how much you want built-in. XSI is way more pricey, but has compositing, fluid effects, 3D paint, and an extremely powerful rendering system built in. Same with Maya Unlimited.

LW is an incredible, powerful package and great value, but might need some plug-ins to get you further. Keep in mind that the next version of LW will be previewed at the end of July.

wgreenlee1
06-12-2003, 09:58 PM
Originally posted by Latman
Hi Guys!

I'm a newbie and and oldie a the same time; currently I've changed professions from a software engineering background and am currently an enthusiastic beginner to the world of 3D- (read this as I don't need beginners software; I want the stuff the pros use straight up, I just might not work it as well as them yet :) )

Please excuse me this is a redundant question; I'm honestly curious to know (and yes I realise this is a Lightwave BB) when choosing one of the 3 industry leader products, which would you choose and why?

Do you guys tend to find that... [as with most software in different industries, the playing field for us poor users changes constantly- good thing software vendors realise we're driven by our passions rather than our pockets :0 ] ... you review the other products and consider a change to one of those or do you remain loyal?

Many thanks guys,
By the quality of the information I've seen one the forums, I know that there are a lot of clever people in here!

Many thanks
Steve in Australia



:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: (http://www.aliaswavefront.com/en/news/home.shtml)

Latman
06-14-2003, 07:14 PM
Dear list members,

I wish to say a sincere thanks for your time and effort posting to my questions; all postings (although the last one confuses me a little... prepare to meet thy mecca???) did give me product insight and with a bit more reading and researching, I'm definately going to invest in Lightwave.

At the moment I'm looking at upgrading one of my machines to ensure that I can handle the package, it's an AMD 1700XP 512MB RAM, 100GB disk and a Matrox 550 Video card (32MB VRAM) - great for running all of the software in the s/w engineering biz, but not so sure about the 3D rendering etc.... more reading on this topic I feel!

Will keep reading and learning from you all with enthusiasm.

Regards
Steve

Lightwolf
06-15-2003, 05:22 AM
Latman,
If you want to do 3D. drop the Matrox. Their openGL performance (to be blunt) sucks. I'd recommend an nVidia based board, they seem to have the best openGL drivers (especially for a "consumer" board).

Cheers,
Mike

cavalos
06-15-2003, 01:09 PM
You see...now we will have another LW parthner. Welcome to our community Latman! We are very happy to have you here :)

Best
Christian

Bionic Antboy
06-16-2003, 07:26 AM
Hey Latman,

Welcome aboard! You've seen the light :) Your system seems more than adequate to run LW. When it comes to rendering, you can never have enough processor power, but an XP1700 is more than enough for a workstation.

Just like Lightwolf, I'd recommend getting an Nvidia based card. Look at your budget, and see what's on the market, because you don't necessarily need "The Best". Heck I'm still using a GeForce 2 (though it's time to upgrade again, and I'm going to be going for a GeForce 4 at least).

If you have the budget and the desk space, you should really consider looking at a dual monitor setup. Most all Nvidia cards have dual monitor support nowadays. It's probably increased my productivity more than any other upgrade I've ever made, just because you can have your main interface on screen one, and all the controls open on the second at all times. In fact, I'd recommend it over a processor upgrade :)

As you can see, I'm a big fan of dual displays... ;)

vrolfak
06-17-2003, 10:14 PM
dont forget about ATI cards, they are good to. i run LW in a Radeon 9000 pro 128 megs, on dual setup and itīs great.

so look around see price diferences and not only price but the actual technology you are getting. nowadays ATIīs cards are better.

jin choung
06-17-2003, 11:57 PM
if you want to get a software package that will help you get work in the industry, get maya.

hands down. no question. everyone will ask for it. no one will ask for lw.

maya is an extremely well designed piece of software. very conventional in its interface (as i've ALWAYS argued, this is a GOOD THING! INNOVATION is not necessarily something that i look for in an interface! [although they've done that too, but they have redundancies so you can do and access things in many different places - according to convention or according to innovations]). extremely consistent from foundation on up.

bang for buck lw wins hands down. especially if you consider the price of upgrades from everybody involved, lw wins without a question.

it is admittedly a frankenstein's monster of software design now however and lacks the unity of design and purpose that maya has. it is no less capable. but it leaves you scratching your head sometimes.

also hands down the best poly modeler. it is fast and TOOL RICH! maya has a few pull down windows worth of modeling tools. we have an entire executable called modeler that is nothing but modeling tools.

also, newtek and tim jenison (its founder) has a very blue collar, down to earth, grass roots kind of sensibility. its the only one in the running that is privately owned and operated. not a corporation. other will charge you anything they want without batting an eye. newtek will charge you moderately and commiserate with you about the need. personally, this is a big reason why i'm still a 'waver.

but you get no other kind of geometric options. no NURBS. you do get SDS but it is as yet incomplete (though it is extremely useful as a modeling tool it is not quite as robust as polys are whether in modeler or layout).

i hate max. although it too is incredibly well thought out and consistent, it's interface is always layers and layers and layers DEEP! you keep expanding and popping open window after window to get anything done!

it is great for games and have many tools specifically for those who need to access raw data type stuff.

but it's method of smoothing surfaces - although very important for games - is not at all as well implemented as it is in maya (lw simply doesn't support the feature that i'm talking about).

to add insult to injury, max is now also by far THE MOST EXPENSIVE of the three. the fact that it costs more than maya almost insults the sensibility! when the other software companies were dropping prices, max's developer had the gall to actually release a p.r. explaining why it's good to charge so much.

ARGH!

oh, and also contributing to the problem is that although there is less need for it these days, everyone who does character animation in max still uses CHARACTER STUDIO and expect others to use it as well. and at last check, that 'plugin' costs more than lw en-toto!

bad max bad! no bisquet!

so....

to get a job-
1. maya
2. max
3. lw

for self, self production and watching the pocket book-
1. lw
2. maya
3. don't buy max

Psyhke
06-18-2003, 12:22 AM
Latman,

I just wanted to second (or third?) the recommendation for a different graphics card. At one point I had that exact matrox card, and you're right, it's great for 2D output, but I found it frustrating for 3D use because of it's terrible slowness in OpenGL.

Good luck

Matt
06-18-2003, 01:24 AM
a good non-biased reply from Jin there if I may say so! :)

mattclary
06-18-2003, 12:12 PM
Um, no, don't go with an ATI card for 3D work. If you want to play games, get an ATI. If you want to play games AND do 3D, go Nvidia.

meshmaster
06-18-2003, 01:37 PM
you can get truespace 3 for free at www.caligari.com . I just mention this because I spent a few hundred (around 500.00 altogether including the upgrades from 3 to 4 to 5.1sp2) on truespace before going with Lightwave.... It's got a quirky interface, but if you like playing around with the mouse and the right click button, you may want to give it a spin... it's not as good as Lightwave in accurate rendering or rendering power, but it's little quirky interface and icons that change to give you options about what you are doing as you are doing it makes it a really cool supplement to Lightwave's Modeller if you want to make some quick models very fast that you can then import into Modeller for texturing and tweaking before going into Layout.

Ade
06-21-2003, 09:04 PM
good mac for 3d article too mac3d (http://www.zaon.org/showthread.php?threadid=352&perpage=10&pagenumber=2)

dglenn
06-21-2003, 11:28 PM
I've used all three, I currently own Light-wave and Maya as well as Animation:Master and Motion Builder (Film-Box). I also have a copy of Truespace.

Light-wave: I bought this over Maya at the time because Maya was a 7K product. 3D Studio Max never grew on me like Light-wave did.

Maya: I finally bought Maya when the price dropped on the advice of a friend I knew at DNA (in Dallas). They have been using it along with LW. I can see why, it has it's own merits.

Motion Builder: This is a intuitive motion layout tool that used to cost $4K, but you can buy cheaper versions of this now. But this is not a tool that you want to start with, but is useful later on.

Truespace: This used to be a big 3D for the Amiga hacker, but now it's a bargain tool that has fallen from grace over the years.
I don't use this tool anymore.

Animation:Master: This is a very fully packed and very bargain priced tool. It was used by Anime International Co. (AIC) in Japan to do Magical Wichland 3D. It's nice for animation but doesn't play well with other 3D programs and crashes all the time.


Free Advice: If at some point in your life plan to get into the CGI industry, it pays to learn both Lightwave and Maya. %90 of the jobs I hear about ask for one or the other or both. Maya used to be the Big Boy in the block, but I've seen Lightwave rise to equal (if not surpass) Maya's dominance. A:M is a nice tool to learn the basics, but I haven't heard anyone ask for A:M people lately.

Anyway - thats my two cents worth!
Good Luck!

JETKWON
06-29-2003, 03:19 PM
I use Lightwave the most, but when I wanted to get a degree, I was forced to use Max, Its not that I dont like Max, I feel that Lightwave has so much more power and a much more straight foward GUI. I hate having to search for modifiers. But if you want to hit the floor running, I would go with Maya. Just make sure you want to make that kind of an investment.

Good Luck, JETKWON. :D

DoF
07-03-2003, 07:21 AM
I used Infini-D on the Mac for years since about version 3. It had a very Mac-like interface, and it did the job. But then I saw what LW could do. I got the demo, and whilst still using Infini-D for commercial broadcast and print work, tried again and again to get into LW. It was frightening - all those tabs with no icons - I couldn't even get to the stage of being able to render a single sphere in a scene. I would occasionally boot it up, fiddle around for an hour or two, and quit the program in frustration. But what kept me coming back and relaunching the app was the sheer beauty of the final renders I had seen were possible - that, and that alone made me persevere with what at the time seemed like banging my head against a brick wall.

The rest is history: Now, when I look at Maya, or other 'Mac-friendly' 3D apps, I cringe at all the pretty icons and cluttered interfaces. LW may have a plain, workmanlike UI, but I wouldn't trade it for a free copy of Maya or any other 3D application.

If you want to produce photorealistic renders [and blisteringly fast] persevere with LW. It works identically on any platform, and there is Sooo much support out there to answer your questions.

Ask yourself if you want the prettiest UI or the most beautiful renders. If it is the latter, then you have to go for LW.;)

Latman
07-04-2003, 08:40 PM
Hello fellow listMembers,

Thankyou to all of the continued wonderful advice to my original post.

I'm very happy to say that I'm now the proud owner of Lightwave 7.5 as well as Eyeon's Digital Fusion product and I'm so excited about getting into these tools.

As many of you recommended a hardware change, especially from the video card perspective, well that occured as well- went with a Ti4200 card which has both Composite and S-Video I/O; combined with an additional 2GB RAM and a fast WD 120GB HDD, the whole rig just zings.

Coming from a traditional programming/software engineering background, the system is now producing very-fine performance, and I'm very excited about the potential of integrating both sets of industry skills, once I can catch up with the wonderful art I see posted by many people (you) regularly!

I don't think I'll really ever be employed as a designer/3D artist, but do actually have the need, both personal and business, to develop systems/processes/tools or innovations that complement the industry. I am in the process of writing software for a variety of industries that would benefit from what I can see will be a new standard in user interface design and specification- this is an area that I've worked in for more than 10 years.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for everyone's time and courtesy to post.

Regards
Steve

caustic wave
07-09-2003, 01:52 AM
LET ME KNOW IF YOU NEED ANY PLUGINS, I HAVE TONS OF GOOD PLUG INS TO HELP YOU OUT.

OF COURSE, NO CHARGE FOR OUR NEW MEMBER.
WELCOME TO THE WOLD OF ILLUSION




"LIGHTWAVE; LET YOUR DREAMS BECOME A REALITY"

DONGLE THIS!
07-15-2003, 04:25 AM
hey caustic, what type of plugs do you have right now, im new to lightwave 3d animation,
you seem very helpfull, can you help me?

thank you

Boot Guy Joe
07-16-2003, 04:52 AM
A vs. thread! Wow, this one didn't turn into a massive flame war. :)

dglenn
07-16-2003, 05:48 AM
Originally posted by Boot Guy Joe
A vs. thread! Wow, this one didn't turn into a massive flame war. :)

Yea! well I don't like to slam any tool! LightWave has it's place Maya has it place. A carpenter doesn't say "gee, I love my hammer over my saw". A good practitioner knows that all his/her tools are useful for one reason or another.

Boot Guy Joe
07-17-2003, 09:12 AM
Well said. :)

jbavar
07-18-2003, 10:18 AM
If you really want to do 3D work in Hollywood you'll have to move to Canada. Seriously, regarding the debate between Lightwave and Maya; Maya for all its depth and power does not tend to work well for television production because the television schedule is so tight. We have found that working in Lightwave is so much faster though you find yourself doing a lot of work arounds.
It seems like the playing field is so level between the Big 4 (Lightwave, Max, Maya, and Si) that knowing any of them will get you work. If motionpictures is your ambition though, then Maya would be your best bet. But I dosen't hurt to know both.

dglenn
07-18-2003, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by jbavar
If you really want to do 3D work in Hollywood you'll have to move to Canada.


Believe it or not, I cut my teeth doing 3D work in Dallas TX. Even today, most of my work is done outside of Hollywood - Mostly in the Atlanta area. Allot of 3D stuff is done in Canada, but I found that if you play the field and produce a good product at the right cost to the client, that they don't care where its made. Just that its made well.


Originally posted by jbavar
Seriously, regarding the debate between Lightwave and Maya; Maya for all its depth and power does not tend to work well for television production because the television schedule is so tight. We have found that working in Lightwave is so much faster though you find yourself doing a lot of work arounds.
It seems like the playing field is so level between the Big 4 (Lightwave, Max, Maya, and Si) that knowing any of them will get you work. If motionpictures is your ambition though, then Maya would be your best bet. But I dosen't hurt to know both.

I can't agree with you more. Also, I know that allot of people want to work on animation or movie FX, but at D Glenn we also do gaming and simulation content for other companies. One of my biggest clients is the battle lab of the U.S. ARMY. We are quickly becoming their biggest source for Open Flight models and terrain elements for the DOD.

What we have learned form them has helped us big-time in Organic, robotic, and character modeling and animation to the point that we are beginning to be noticed by some of the FX houses and animation studios. So, don't just think Dreamworks, ILM or Pixar. Broaden your scope, try to do your best and you stand a better chance to get work!