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twkelsey
03-18-2007, 09:15 PM
I have spent the last couple of months evaluating 3D computer graphics applications, and I have finally narrowed my choices down to two: Lightwave and XSI. I am really struggling to make my final decision and I was wondering if some of the Lightwave users would be kind enough to answer a few questions.

First, a quick background…

I have been a software developer for the past 16 years, but I have always had an interest in computer graphics. I have taken several computer graphics courses at the graduate level, so I am at least familiar with the concepts of 3D. However, I have no experience using a 3D animation packages (except for a short stint with TrueSpace years ago).

My primary purpose for buying a 3D app is to render stills and animations as a hobbyist. However, I also enjoy programming game engines like Torque and C4 and I would like to select a tool that allows me to create content (models/animations) for at least one of them.

After trying all the demos I could get my hands on, I kept finding myself coming back to LW. Somehow, I just find the application easier to use and more intuitive that the others. Also, the LW community seems to be the most helpful of the bunch, and there is an abundance of learning material available for LW.

However, most of what I read on CGSociety is that LW character animation is way behind the times, and that the code base is so old that there is no hope, Modo or XSI is the only way to go, doom, etc., gloom, etc., I’m sure you have all heard it before. But then I see on NT’s web site how entire scenes in major movies are still made entirely with LW and I ask myself how things can be that bad. Am I so new to all this that I am simply overlooking something simple here, or is LW as good of a choice for a beginner as I think it is? Is the character animation really that far behind? I didn’t have enough time during the eval period to get too deep into the animation tools.

My only real concern with selecting LW would be it’s compatibility with game engines. I know that there is a DTS exporter for the Torque game engine, but I can’t seem to get an answer as to how well it works and whether or not it works with 9.x. The C4 game engine will import Collada files, but it doesn’t appear that LW will export them.

XSI is very appealing at $500 as well, but somehow I get the strange feeling that I will really need the $2K or $7K version to do everything I want (of course I will probably need some plugins for LW also so maybe it all evens out).

I guess what I am really asking is: If you were just starting out to learn a 3D computer modeling & animation, and your budget allowed you to select only one tool $2K or less, would you select LW and why?

Thanks for any input,
Tim

Stooch
03-18-2007, 09:22 PM
go with XSI since its more intelligently organized and pretty easy to get rolling without sacrificing functionality. If you want to do hair, you have hair solutions, if you want to do cloth, have at it. The mental ray render engine is powerful and pretty standard as far as naming convetions so if you get a hang of it, you can get a hang of anything. overall though you should just try the demos and see what makes the most sense, pricing isnt an issue if you are just getting into 3d since xsi comes with a very accessible learning edition. And its litest version gives you enough to get you going should you decide to get a commercial license at a very competitive price. Plus xsi is built on a very solid foundation that is already established and will only improve with time, its market is growing rather then shrinking so its a good long term platform to learn and your knowledge can be transferred to any other application. have a look at c4d as well, its geared completely for people who arent a hardcore 3d user in the first place. If you are interested in specificall character animation, xsi is hands down the best choice at the moment.

ShawnStovall
03-18-2007, 09:30 PM
As a beginner myself I find LightWave the easiest to pick up and learn out of any animation package. I have tried several different programs and would have to say that LightWave is the most appealing. The aspect I like best about LightWave is how intuitive the Modeler is, products like Maya and 3DS MAX seem to be hiding the modeling tools, I just have a hard time finding them. LightWave, IMHO, has the easiest to pick up render engine too. Unlike other products you can get a decent render by just loading a scene and hitting F9(Single Frame Render Shortcut). And like you have already said the LightWave community is the most helpful bunch of people I have ever seen.

StereoMike
03-18-2007, 09:57 PM
Character animation is a weak spot of LW, but for everything other LW will get you quick results and an easy access. The surface layer system is _very_ easy, and if you want to make more complicated stuff, use nodes.
Regarding weak spots: You get many plugins for LW, I bought Maestro recently to fill the CA gap, there's also Messiah and hehehe, buying XSI foundation just as a CA tool.
Also nice to know, LW will get an overhaul on the native CA tools.
Right now there's some cool stuff coming with 9.2 (better GI, motionblur, AA).

And the community is really really cool. You explain your problem and you can be sure someone will help you finding a solution.
Look, even people like Stooch, who obviously have other favorite apps than LW are still on this board. ;)


mike

Stooch
03-18-2007, 10:04 PM
Look, even people like Stooch, who obviously have other favorite apps than LW are still on this board. ;)


mike

haha im on these boards because i dont have a favorite app. its like, do you ahve a favorite screwdriver? I dont because some screw drivers work better then others depending on what you want to screw and where you want to screw it.

StereoMike
03-18-2007, 10:21 PM
I have a favorite screwdriver.
And a favorite power tool (a Bosch Hammer, I could put it under my pillow, I love it). Sure, I can't cut wood with it, I have to use a buzzsaw for that.
But I enjoy using my Bosch Hammer more than using the buzzsaw.
I bet you like a certain screwdriver more than the others if you think of grip, feel, reliability, quality etc, tho you can't use it on every screw.
It's the same with apps. Sure it's just tools, but absolutely nobody is free of bias and prejudice, no matter in what regard (read: everybody concerning any matter is biased...everywhere)

Stooch
03-18-2007, 10:41 PM
hmm you misunderstood the screwdriver analogy. some screwdrivers simply cannot do the job. they might not be correct type for the job, they might be too long to fit into a space or they might be too small to provide the leverage. what if you need a fine screwdriver to repair your glasses? assemble furniture? get into a really tight space? Favoritism goes out the window.

*Pete*
03-18-2007, 10:46 PM
LW is going through a major overhaul at the moment, the improvements made so far in the 9.x cycle are impressive and Character animation should be addressed shortly.

i cant say if XSI is better than LW since i never tried it, but i have great confidence in Newtek and the future of LW, if you buy LW 9 today with its bad (by reputation) character animation tools, you will hopefully end up having state of the art character animation tools at the end of the 9.x cycle.


you mentioned that LW's code is so old that there is no hope, This is exactly what is changing now, many of us are using the Beta version of 9.2 :D and couldnt even dream to come back to 9.0, the improvements have been major.

in the end the desicion is all yours...but i think that which ever app you choose you will not be dissapointed.

AbnRanger
03-18-2007, 11:12 PM
Most of the plugins that you find for LW are either free or EXTREMELY affordable...especially when compared to other applications. LW is hands down, the best value of the bunch, and it has one nasty secret weapon that none of the others have....FPrime (which is about to release a new update/upgrade with some powerful new features).
The other thing is technical support. As a frustrated Max user, as well (weaned on it in school)...I can tell you first hand that when you need to talk to a tech support rep...
You have to pay $450/yr for tech support at Autodesk.
However, you have free tech support with Newtek. When you need it, you'll be glad you went with LW.

The developers at Newtek are REALLY making some powerful strides toward revamping LW and are dangerously close to turning the corner. You get free point upgrades (don't know about XSI, but not so with Autodesk for sure), and with each one, there are MAJOR improvements...like 9.2 (which is close to coming out of open Beta), has MUCH faster viewport performance in Modeler.

They are working on revamping the Character Animation tools already, and should be available by version 10, if not sooner. The President, Jay Roth, said that they are taking their time in order to "Get It Right." That tells me, that it will no longer be a weak spot, once they are done.
In the mean time, either Maestro or Messiah can hold the line, and then some.
Everything you want to do, you can get done in LW...for a great deal less.
Like I said, FPrime is a pair of "Brass Knuckles" in the hands of a LW artist.
Check it out at www.worley.com

Stooch
03-19-2007, 01:55 AM
when you consider the costs of LW and all those plugins you mention. xsi makes much much more sense. its actually cheap for what you get out of it.

anyway if i was the poster, i would just get a bunch of demos and make the decision myself. Why listen to other people? its obvious that on a LW forum, you are going to get encouraged to use... lightwave...

StereoMike
03-19-2007, 02:02 AM
its obvious that on a LW forum, you are going to get encouraged to use... lightwave...

Yeah, that's why I was so irritated about your post.

btw... I got your analogy, I just think it doesn't work like you tried to use it.
Right, certain tools for certain jobs.
But if I ask you in which application you have the most fun (assuming you live in freedom without a gun to your head to force you to work), you will give me your favorite application. I doubt you haven't one...
I know people who left 3D (LW and XSI) to do nothing else besides video editing cause they like Shake so much.

mike

Adrian Lopez
03-19-2007, 02:20 AM
My only real concern with selecting LW would be it’s compatibility with game engines. I know that there is a DTS exporter for the Torque game engine, but I can’t seem to get an answer as to how well it works and whether or not it works with 9.x. The C4 game engine will import Collada files, but it doesn’t appear that LW will export them.Lightwave does not support Collada, but forum participant "turbo" developed Krabbit World (http://www.krabbitworld.com/faq.px) using Torque and Lightwave. Other than that, Lightwave doesn't seem to me like the best choice if you're looking for out-of-the-box support for game engines. The best thing to do in that case is to look at the game engines available to you and decide which 3D package to get based on that.

PS - You could write your own export plugin using the Lightwave SDK (http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/developers.php), but so far I've found the process to be a bit of a nightmare. Nevertheless, with 16 years of software-development experience you should be able to pull it off if you have enough patience.

Ztreem
03-19-2007, 05:59 AM
I most say that even if Lw's character animation tools isn't at the top, it's not useless. It's actually quite nice and because you're a beginner I think it's good enough, then in while when you're start to be better LW will be updated with new tools so it's no problem. :)
Lightwave is a very good allround 3D package and very suited for one man productions. Some say it's just tools but you'll notice that LW is a passion not a tool. :)

Dirk
03-19-2007, 06:02 AM
@twkelsey:

I did use Lightwave for character animation in games (mostly in-game animations + loops), and the standard IK did handle even large scenes with several thousend keyframes pretty nicely. The IK has a problem with characters far away from the world origin, but that's not a problem for game animation. However, I mostly did use pretty basic IK setups (all-time IK for legs with a single goal for the feet, FK or part-time IK for the arms), so I cannot tell You in what problems You will run when You want to do more complicated stuff.

I don't know what Your engines can import, but maybe You might want to try the Dstorm DX Exporter:

http://www.dstorm.co.jp/english/plugin/object.htm#DirectX2

I think the makers of serious sam do a lot of their 3D in Lightwave:

http://www.croteam.com/

For rendered character animation, there's also the option of using either Messiah or XSI together with Lightwave. Messiah has a direct connection to LW, and it's said (I haven't tried) that Point Oven works very well with both of them:

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64213

During the 8.x cycle, I was very disappointed with the development of Lightwave. However, LW9 is a good step forward, and LW 9.2 is pretty close to release and looks already like a *BIG* step forward. Also, a new version of Worleys Fprime is close to release (probably only waiting for LW9.2):

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65429

Dirk
03-19-2007, 06:08 AM
Oh, I nearly forgot this one:

http://puffandlarkin.com/lightwave/tutorials/character_rigging/

This is a good tutorial about how to use LW for character animation in games.

Ztreem
03-19-2007, 06:17 AM
Here's a link to a very nice and simple character rig and it's free as alot of LW plugins. SimpleRigger (http://www.animationsnippets.com/plugins/index.html)

pooby
03-19-2007, 06:45 AM
If you can afford it, Buy LW Fprime3 and XSI. XSI is just amazing for rigging and animation and LW with Fprime is amazing for rendering.

mattclary
03-19-2007, 06:50 AM
haha im on these boards because i dont have a favorite app. its like, do you ahve a favorite screwdriver? I dont because some screw drivers work better then others depending on what you want to screw and where you want to screw it.

So, Stooch, what are the things you like about LightWave that make it a useful tool for you? :confused:

Elmar Moelzer
03-19-2007, 06:54 AM
Well, I can only speak from my limited personal experience...
Personally for me, coming from 3ds 3, LightWave was a huge step foreward in my understanding of 3d in general. The very direct modeling (you work with polygons and points, mostly) really helps with the understanding of basic concepts of 3d- animation.
The Surfacing in LightWave is very comprehensive. Both the layerbased and the node based surfacing are very easy to use and understand and you can even mix these to some extent which is nice. Especially the layer based surfacing is very easy to handle for beginners.
The renderer is one of the best in the industry and fully integrated into the application and not a 3rd party product. The advantage is that all effects (filters, volumetrics, etc) integrate nicely with the renderer and work (for the most part) in a logical manner.
E.g. you dont need to convert things into polygons or have problems with shadows etc, as you have with some apps that require you to use mental ray, or other 3rd party renderers for a good result.
There is a huge amount of 3rd party tools and learning materials available for LightWave, which helps as well. The community is also very helpful and supportive and will help you get started.
Now of course there are some things that are not ideal in LightWave as it is with any other tool.
First the separation into two apps can be kinda scary at first. However, this is no different from the workflow of some other apps that really make you want to use a 3rd party modeler. LightWaves Modeler is still excellent, even though the tools need to be consolidated (and will be) soon, since there is just to many of them.
Other hurdles to overcome are the separation of objects and scenes, which I personally like a lot (your models always stay in an untouched state and can be easily reused and replaced in other scenes).
Character animation is not the greatest in LW, as has been mentioned, but it is not all that bad (people tend to over- react here a little bit). The fact that you can easily replace a charactermodel with another and change endo- morphs etc, on a rigged mesh are a real blessing sometimes.
Of course if you want to do movie quality riggs, where the rigging process can take forever allready, LW wont be able to compete, but as a beginner, you will rarely want to do that anyway (and even in the normal day to day studio work it is not happening that often).
Further LW really has everything out of the box, dynamics for cloth, hard bodies, softbodies, particles, volumerendering, etc.
No other app offers that many tools for that low a price.
I would definitely have a closer look at it. IMHO it is worth it.
CU
Elmar

jin choung
03-19-2007, 10:42 AM
one thing -

modo isn't really a full 3d package. it's a modeler primarily though it has rendering features now. it doesn't do animation.

hmmmm... normally, for a person who wanted to learn 3d to get a job, my recommendation is for MAYA... it is absolutely true that other apps get used with 3ds MAX running a close second but the ubiquity of maya in the industry makes it difficult not to recommend that if i'm thinking of the job seeker's well-being.

but for YOU, for your situation, i would actually recommend lw. many lwers and me in particular got into lw because we are kinda independent minded, wanted to be able to computer graphics for our own purposes and wanted a package that allowed us to understand the ENTIRE PROGRAM FROM A to Z so that we could have MASTERY and be able to do anything. ANYTHING.

LW is such a program. and for you, since your prime objective is not to most easily get a job but to TINKER... in that case, lw is perfect.

it is accessible, fairly shallow learning curve (especially if you keep asking questions) now pretty standardized in terms of how things work like enveloping and such.

not sure about the particular export formats you're asking about though. where's a link to it? maybe some of us can give it a try.

as for ancient code base and etc etc.... yah, it is old. and in many ways kind of PRIMITIVE. but in some ways, this is REALLY an advantage. lw enables and sometimes ENFORCES you to work at a fairly low level in terms of geometry, nothing is taken for granted and in that, you really get a sense of WHAT IS GOING ON. this is a huge educational advantage imo.

character animation is serviceable and certainly EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE (just a matter of how much blood sweat and tears is involved)... but it's not great. they have been addressing all kinds of renovations but they haven't gotten there yet. but everyone is hopeful that it's on the way.

finally, a VAST MAJORITY of plugins for lw are free and accessible from a central hub - www.flay.com . i LOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooove that about lw. sure, they have free stuff for other aps at highend3d but i'd wager the list is not nearly as large or genuinely useful as all the stuff we got at flay.com

jin

jin choung
03-19-2007, 10:58 AM
oh. another thing - in terms of OWNING a program, lw is REALLY the way to go.

newtek has a real blue collar philosophy about things which really cemented my love for them.

they know that most of us are hobbyists at heart, even for those of us lucky enough to do this for a living, they know the value of a dollar, they know that by and large, their customers aren't millionaires and they don't pump their customers for vast sums of cash constantly.

you said you had a $2k budget? well, lw can be had for considerably less than that.

and lw has only ONE VERSION! you pay a low entry fee to get the version that EVERYBODY IS USING! i FING LOOOOoooooove that. you don't get a hobbled, entry level version that's missing the really cool stuff. one fee, one version. love that.

most other apps, $2k will get you the jr. version which just irks me.

also, newtek has had the policy of only charging for WHOLE NUMBER UPDATES. so from 9.0 to 9.99z, you're set. NOT SO for maya! they charge for fing everything!

so in terms of ownership, lw has TREMENDOUS ADVANTAGES. in fact, it's the only app that i would want to own when i consider this. sure, learn and work with other apps but really they cost way too much.

value for money-wise, lw is the uncontested champ.

jin

T-Light
03-19-2007, 11:26 AM
They are working on revamping the Character Animation tools already, and should be available by version 10, if not sooner
Definetely sooner than 10, the all new Character animation is slated for 9.x If you buy LW now, you'll get that for FREE. :thumbsup:
There's a lot of great animators out there who make animating in the current version of LW a breeze.

Loads of feature films and TV productions use LW, (Buffy, StarTrek, Blade etc etc), there's full lists somewhere.

As has already been mentioned, Serious Sam titles are made with LW and I think I'm right in saying Doom 3 was LW.

LW is currently going through a major cycle of improvement and change, no one involved in the current beta cycle are in any doubt of the commitment Newtek have with the new LW. The comment in a CG forum of LW being based on old core code is out of date. Newtek started digging into the core in the 8.x cycle. The 9.2 beta has seen significant changes to the rendering core and this is only the beginning.

Another major plus (as has been mentioned) is the forums, get stuck? you won't be for long :thumbsup:

Best of luck with your decision :)

StereoMike
03-19-2007, 11:33 AM
BurnOut series is Lightwave (they even put the racetracks in layout together).
But then, they wrote the rest by themselves...

mike

bobakabob
03-19-2007, 03:44 PM
Tim, follow Pooby's advice if you can - both LW and XSI can be bought relatively cheaply and they actually complement each other. But the way some people go on you'd think Lightwave couldn't do character animation. Well check out Scazzino's recent film here on these boards Blast Off (http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=58381) and see what you think. No doubt XSI is currently ahead in the animation stakes but Newtek have stated their intention to develop the toolkit and the reason everyone is still here is basically because Lightwave is so utterly intuitive in modelling and rendering.

Trust your own hunches as an artist and forget the politics. Whatever app helps you achieve your ideas the easiest, go for it. No one app is perfect, but they're all good. We're currently blessed in 3D land with so much great software. There's also a lot of snobbery. Like the great 'Fender' vs Gibson' debate it doesn't matter if you can play guitar.

Tiger
03-19-2007, 04:57 PM
Im a hobbyist since many years and I`m sure that Lightwave will turn many heads in its 9.x cycle!

hrgiger
03-19-2007, 05:30 PM
Tim,

Pooby's suggestion sounds good if that is in your budget. Lightwave is a great package and will serve you well but if you're interested in character animation, you will find more power and versatility in XSI.

The Lightwave roadmap has indicated that character animation tools will be revamped in the near future but there is no clear picture on when that will happen and how well these tools will be implemented. If the most recent version of Lightwave (9.2 currently in beta) is any indicator of the dedication and focus of the current Lightwave development crew, then some good changes are ahead. However, for the time being, XSI and Lightwave together would be a good match.

Stooch
03-19-2007, 07:22 PM
So, Stooch, what are the things you like about LightWave that make it a useful tool for you? :confused:

my full time job right now involves using LW every day (the layout side).

for serious modeling, i cant think of anything i would want to put up with modeler for, maybe some archvis with LWCAD... but i dont do much of that. If i want modeler style workflow but elegant and streamlined its modo for me. The only reason i would use lw at this point is to render or animate some effects or do a quick composite over live action. Any advanced dynamics, cloth, hair, physics, CA etc and even modeling with history is done in maya for me. Having invested money into LW i simply dont see the sense to drop it, but at this point im not in a position where I feel that I have to wait for anything, if i cant get what i want from LW - i have plenty of other tools at my disposal...

mattclary
03-19-2007, 07:46 PM
my full time job right now involves using LW every day (the layout side).

for serious modeling, i cant think of anything i would want to put up with modeler for, maybe some archvis with LWCAD... but i dont do much of that. If i want modeler style workflow but elegant and streamlined its modo for me. The only reason i would use lw at this point is to render or animate some effects or do a quick composite over live action. Any advanced dynamics, cloth, hair, physics, CA etc and even modeling with history is done in maya for me. Having invested money into LW i simply dont see the sense to drop it, but at this point im not in a position where I feel that I have to wait for anything, if i cant get what i want from LW - i have plenty of other tools at my disposal...

So you only use LightWave because you HAVE to at your job? So you think it may be faster at some effects than those other packages?

So, even though you have a screwdriver that does not have a worn out point like the Lightwave screwdriver, you still want to keep using the worn out screwdriver because you are really thrifty? Did you recently upgrade to "Rubberized grip 9.x" so you can get a little more use out of that worn tip?

Stooch
03-19-2007, 07:58 PM
hmmm. not sure where you are going with your line of questioning. To sum it up, LW has lost alot of the attractive features over time in comparison to the other tools in my arsenal. the original topic of this thread is which is the best app to learn, which i answered already. As far as my justifications and reasons as to why i still use LW - I dont really need to explain myself, all i have to say is that they are declining in number. Anyway as i said before, whats the point of asking others whats best on the forum where people are predisposed to the app its dedicated to?

mattclary
03-19-2007, 08:17 PM
As far as my justifications and reasons as to why i still use LW - I dont really need to explain myself

If you are still using Lightwave for anything in the face of far superior apps, it seems they must be pretty compelling reasons. One would think you might want to share such compelling reasons.

It seems odd you would even hint that you didn't want to disclose the reasons you continue to use LightWave for some procedures over other apps...

Something about LightWave keeps you coming back HERE. Is it that you find this community more enjoyable than the other 3D communities?

AbnRanger
03-19-2007, 08:48 PM
hmmm. not sure where you are going with your line of questioning. To sum it up, LW has lost alot of the attractive features over time in comparison to the other tools in my arsenal. the original topic of this thread is which is the best app to learn, which i answered already. As far as my justifications and reasons as to why i still use LW - I dont really need to explain myself, all i have to say is that they are declining in number. Anyway as i said before, whats the point of asking others whats best on the forum where people are predisposed to the app its dedicated to?Well, because many use other apps too, and often-times openly endorse them...kind of like you're doing. Myself, and Cresshead use Max as well...but don't mind giving Newtek their well deserved props.
Learning LW by itself is no overnight prospect...then you have plugins to learn...texturing tools like ZBrush, BodyPaint,etc. For the love of Peter, Paul, and Mary...let the guy come up for air.
By the time he'd get accustomed to modeling and texturing in LW, the CA tools will likely have arrived.

So Modo is currently a sexier modeler than LW. XSI currently has better CA tools...but consider the steep learning curve involved. You're already at a competent level of proficiency with LW...he's not.

When price is an issue LW+Fprime is a tough act to follow...plain and simple. It'll do everything others can do (with the help of a few inexpensive plugins when needed), for a fraction of the cost, and the goodies just keep coming. Why does one have to be a Fan-Boy to state the obvious?

twkelsey
03-19-2007, 08:59 PM
First of all, thanks to everyone for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is really refreshing to see such a helpful positive discussion instead of the usual flame wars that seem to be prevalent these days. I found all of your input very informative…even Stooch who takes the heat for going against the grain :) Thanks…I found your insights valuable as well.

To answer Stooch’s question asking why even post this question on a board where people are predisposed to LW. The one thing that struck me about LW is how passionate the user base is for the product. Many folks have been using LW for a long time in spite of the fact that there are many other sexy alternatives available these days. It is evident that there is something about the product, the company and the community that makes people very loyal...I was just trying to put my finger on the reasons why. In addition, many of the users here have used other apps and are in a good position to provide a comparison.

As several people suggested, I will purchase LW to use as my main 3D app, and purchase XSI if needed for character animation/game engine compatibility. The way I see it, I have a LOT of learning to do, and by the time I am even good enough to need advanced CA tools, they may already be in LW. Even if I have to buy XSI for animation, the total package will only set me back $1400, well under my budget, and it sounds like it would be a great combination. I really need to check out this FPrime plugin that everyone is talking about as well.

It has been a long-time dream of mine to really dig into 3D graphics and I am really excited to get started. Thanks again…I look forward to being part of the community.

mattclary
03-19-2007, 11:02 PM
Excellent choice, you won't regret it. And welcome aboard! :thumbsup:

jin choung
03-20-2007, 03:43 AM
yah, welcome!

as for:

"To answer Stooch’s question asking why even post this question on a board where people are predisposed to LW."

haha, actually, the thing that has struck me about the lw community is its honesty... even brutal at times. sure, there are cheerleaders here as anywhere but the moderators are not "big brother" enforcing everyone toe the company line and the opinions are actually remarkably informed, frank and fair.

in other words, the wonderful thing about the lw community is that we are here and we love and it is not a result of ignorance.

jin

colkai
03-20-2007, 05:04 AM
The one thing that struck me about LW is how passionate the user base is for the product. Many folks have been using LW for a long time in spite of the fact that there are many other sexy alternatives available these days. It is evident that there is something about the product, the company and the community that makes people very loyal

Very true, it does rather bite us all in the butt at times, but I'd agree, there is *something* about LW that just feels right when I'm using it.

Plus, for all the flaming and snipes at times, overall, it's a heck of a community which is very pre-disposed to helping others.

The first time I got a reply to a question from someone who's work I had seen on TV only the night before, well, that was something special. Glad to say it is still very much that way.

Plus, I really do believe you have joined at probably the most exciting point in Lightwaves development ever. :)

Surrealist.
03-20-2007, 01:18 PM
I have not read this entire thread. Just going to put in my vote for LW. I have been using it at various stages of my filmmaking career. I started out as a filmmaker who needed some special effects shots done. In 1991 I shot a short film and we had some special effects shots that were going to be completed by a company using a special camera set up to shoot with glass plates superimposed over a live stage. We were to composite the actors in real time. The company was a start up and were going to donate the spfx for screen credit. By the time I was ready this company had folded and I was left with about 15 minutes of footage we needed with special effects. So the only options at that time were cost prohibitive. I was aware of the video toaster and a friend had one.I was not however impressed with the keying features and eventually decided to rewrite the special effects to take advantage of what Lightwave could do.

Eventually I got my own Toaster (just for Lightwave) and reduced the animation to about 4.5 minutes and did it all myself. So I went from knowing nothing about 3D to completing special effects in a matter or months. This was not possible on my budget any other way at that time.

Times have changed. Technology has advanced and Lightwave has lagged behind a bit. But with all of the competition out there I still can not see using another package for the work I do now. I also think Lightwave has maintained the same user-friendly aspects as well as pricing that attracted me and actually enabled me to complete my film in the first place.

Image created with LW 3.5 in 1994 was the first sequence I completed for my film. A 530 frame animation for the title sequence.

Stooch
03-20-2007, 06:31 PM
When price is an issue LW+Fprime is a tough act to follow...plain and simple. It'll do everything others can do (with the help of a few inexpensive plugins when needed), for a fraction of the cost, and the goodies just keep coming. Why does one have to be a Fan-Boy to state the obvious?

hmm, its funny but no one called you a fanboy. infact i dont even see why you feel the need to argue with my opinion that XSI is a better choice right now to get into 3D. afterall its just an opinion and im really not obligated to explain myself or feel like im hurting your feelings when discussing mere tools.

AbnRanger
03-20-2007, 08:42 PM
hmm, its funny but no one called you a fanboy. infact i dont even see why you feel the need to argue with my opinion that XSI is a better choice right now to get into 3D. afterall its just an opinion and im really not obligated to explain myself or feel like im hurting your feelings when discussing mere tools.
That was certainly the implication...that coming here, he'd find nothing but fan-boys.
My opinion was that since you already are proficient in a 3D application, let him learn one first, before you start suggesting all the others that you also happen to use.
It's best to pick one...try and harness it; and then, like you, if one feels froggy...Go ahead and jump (Van Halen:rock: ).

Given the criteria he gave, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Lightwave. XSI Foundation is a teaser...and introductory version. And as such it's missing a whole lot of parts. Funny you don't mention that, but instead are cat-quick to mention what Lightwave may be lacking. LW is a complete package, and is marketed as such. XSI Foundation (budget version) is not a complete solution, nor does Avid present it that way.
Chances are high that by the time he's acclimated to LW, the need to learn a whole new application (and all of it's different workflows), simply for it's Character tools...will be lost...and so will be the money he spent on XSI.

Ok, so that's not your case...but the thread is "what's a good application to learn 3D on." Many of us use other applications as well...so why are you getting so defensive when we offer an honest opinion? You recommend a number of others; we recommend one. What's up with this.."I don't need to s'plain myself to nobody" bit?

Stooch
03-21-2007, 01:58 AM
cry me a river man. I hope some day you can forgive me. :)

Actually the best to learn is maya. for many reasons. and the cost of learning isnt an issue even with full features, thats the beauty of personal learning edition. Funny how you kinda glossed over that tidbit. but why write another novel after the man made his choice? is it to prove something to me? The guy is all set man, LW is safe, you can rest now until the next battle.

AbnRanger
03-21-2007, 02:35 AM
cry me a river man. I hope some day you can forgive me. :)

Actually the best to learn is maya. for many reasons. and the cost of learning isnt an issue even with full features, thats the beauty of personal learning edition. Funny how you kinda glossed over that tidbit. but why write another novel after the man made his choice? is it to prove something to me? The guy is all set man, LW is safe, you can rest now until the next battle.
Who's crying? You addressed me. I responded. That's what these forums are for...what it's not for, is trying to come off as a tough guy...you can make your point in a civil fashion without all your sarcastic remarks. Words are cheap, you know. Let's leave the bravado at the door.

Stooch
03-21-2007, 05:37 PM
hhhahaha what the hell are you talking about????

Bog
03-21-2007, 07:26 PM
LW's different from all the other packages, because of the segregation between Modeler and Layout.

This makes it a royal pain in the can, because your modifiers can't be keyframed (by and large). This also makes it incredibly easy to use, because you don't have to attach your modifiers to your object then impliment them in your scene, you just whale the tar out of your geometry. LW, being more forgiving than a grateful widow, will then go on to render your pulverised mesh with the single prettiest out-of-the-box renderer going.

LW is incredibly easy to learn, because you can pretty much see everything happenning as you do it. The tools are there to build any model you can dream of, and them blow it up.

LW is incredibly powerful because there is no impossible task for it, to be honest. Modulo RAM limits and the like, you can build, texture, light and render anything in it. Also, with just a few days with a competent tutor, all the Hidden Mysteries unfold and make a hell of a lot of sense.

Character tools and Dynamics? Buggered. Compared to Maya and XSI, we're impoverished in these areas. For now.. After a fairly stagnant 8.x cycle, we're seeing the NewTek I've known and loved since '93 again. The 9.x cycle is prodding buttock and taking names.

Thing is, being a LightWaver isn't like being another corporate software user. It's counterculture. Most of us forumites are on the Open Beta, so we're got a day-by-day personal investment in the development and direction of our tools. It's a weird relationship, but a rich and fulfilling one. We didn't just buy a package and go home, we became part of the process, and part of a community that reaches from the smallest back-bedroom hobbyist all the way to the silver screen, with branches curling around everyone from NASA to museums by way of pretty much every bit of television effects work, everywhere.

'course, the forum's never exactly quiet. It's a bit more like the mess table on Serenity (in the series, not the movie, gorram it). Stooch here's remindin' me a bit of Jayne right now, but he's got a heart of gold really.

Fetch a fortune on eBay, it would.

;)

xfulcrumx
04-01-2007, 04:44 PM
good info.