View Full Version : LW 3D vs. Swift 3D???

02-19-2003, 01:38 PM
I am a flash user right now and want to learn more about 3D character animation. What is the difference between LW3D and Swift 3D??

What would you recommend and what would be easier to learn.

Any pros / cons would be great.


02-19-2003, 04:15 PM
I use the Swift 3d pluggins to export my animations from Lightwave to the vector format .swf which I can use in Flash or Director. Seems to work ok and the file sizes are very workable.:)

02-19-2003, 06:08 PM
You have to be more specific in what exactly you want to do. While Swift 3D does have nice rendering, they barely have any modeling tools and no IK or bones for character animation. They do have the ability to import models from other applications by way of .3ds or .dxf and import .eps from drawing applications to extrude and lathe but doing 3D character animation inside of Swift would be nearly impossible. There are plugins for Lightwave, Max and XSI but you are talking some serious money in buying one of those apps and then the $300 Swift plugin.

Also, I own Swift and Lightwave, but Swift 3D for the Mac totally sucks, really. I bought the recently released first commercial book for Swift 3D and the included CD of files for the various tutorials would not open. This is par for the course for this buggy app. It only runs in Classic, they only recently decided to join the party and plan to write a Mac OS X version now after playing coy.

Some advice, if you are on a Mac, use Flash and want to explore 3D then give the folks at Mindavenue a look. They make this wonderful app called AXELedge, the basic app is called AXELcore. This program works well with Lightwave and Max, you can import complete scenes with objects, camera, lights and animation. It also has a full complement of modeling tools. But it is the interactive animation that really make AXEL attractive. Swift for all its rendering, still is somewhat of a one trick pony.

AXEL also has bones, IK and deformations for character animation but I haven't really seen any great examples yet. You should give it a look. It still is an app with a bit of a cult following, which is strange considering it works well with Lightwave yet nobody seems to bring it up much.

But again, for someone doing Flash and wants to incorporate 3D in their work, the best, easiest way is to go with AXELcore. Version 2 will allow you to export out to .swf to bring into Flash. If you want more specifics just ask. Mark

02-19-2003, 07:54 PM
I've only tryed the stand alone application of swift. I bought a copy of the first version which I thought was completely useless. I paid a few hundred bucks for it and I don't even keep a copy on my hard drive. The plugin for Lightwave is much better becuase you get professional 3D modeling and layout apps, but of course LW is not a cheep program. I'm a bit peeved that I can't upgrade my stand alone version for the LW plugin.

02-20-2003, 08:28 AM
Thanks for your time and comments! You saved me a lot of time on research and I'm going to research the programs you mentioned now. I may have other questions along the way.. and will post if necessary.

Thanks again :) !

02-20-2003, 09:37 AM
There was a fairly decent review of Swift 3D LW2 in "Creative Mac" back in February. I can't speak to the tool myself, as I have not taken the plunge financially.


02-20-2003, 03:53 PM
another slightly offbeat way of gettiing a flash version of a Lightwave scene is to use Cinema 4D's R8 flash exporter. just import your lightwave scene into cinema4D, export to flash and bingo, relatively small Flash file,at least it was for the scene I wanted to test. And the core application is not much more than the LW flash plugin.

Darth Mole
02-21-2003, 06:27 AM
For what it's worth, the UK magazine Computer Arts (issue 76) actually gave away a copy of AXEL 1.0.

You can get back issues from:


02-24-2003, 01:41 PM
Swift 3D is only a renderer...not an animation program. I can't speak about the first version, but v2 is pretty damn nice!