View Full Version : Cinema 4D/SoftImage 3D user...

steve bump
04-05-2007, 08:32 AM
... and I'm starting at a new internal corporate communications division. I've previously worked in SoftImage and most recently with Cinema 4D (7.3) and I'm going to hopefully be able to requisition a 3D app. for this dept. I'm (obviously) very behind on Cinema, plus it costs just too much IMO. I've heard good things about Lightwave - has anyone else made the transition from another 3D program to Lightwave, and if so - what was your experience? (long learning curves, difficult GUI, etc.)

I'm also used to working on OSX - and they only use IBM laptops here (groan) so any recommended system specs are also appreciated. I'm a technical neophyte so pls explain thoroughly if you can.

Proactive thanks!

04-05-2007, 08:47 AM
I came from 3ds studio max, learned Maya and settled in LW within a 7 year period.

The move to LW was very seamless.
Back then LW had some stuff that 3ds did not have and vice versa ... esp in the Spline area; 3DS had more realtime tools .. but the weird thing was i found myself to be more creative in LW. I also missed using modifier stacks, until I realised that most things could have been accomplised faster without them, tho' there are times it could be very convenient
I also used C4D on my buddy's mac about a year or so ago. Very nice program ... was extremly easy to get into it. Most tools are like LW in respect; just with modifiable settings; and i see now in the latest version the tools have just gotten better :)
However being biased to LW, I do expect a lot of massive growth in many areas ... so it is just getting better.
I will shot Jay in his leg if he disappoints me, and I know he would not; just based on LW 9.2 :D

04-05-2007, 09:16 AM
I have used many 3D apps (Cinema 4D, Truespace, Carrara, Silo ...) I was finnaly able to get Lightwave (still grinning since I got it last week:)) I find it easy to get in to, it just a matter of finding where all the tools are but once you get use to the way it is organized and the hot keys i'm sure you will like it.

My current system specs is
AMD 4000+
Ram 1.5gb
100gb internal HD
Ati x600 256mb shared
15.4" wide screen

This is a Gateway laptop and it works great on it, no issues yet.

Good luck with what you decide.

04-05-2007, 11:57 AM
I moved from Max and my work improved a lot- not because I was any better but because it's a lot easier to get good looking stuff out of lightwave than max.

Lightwave is quirky, in that it's split into two seperate apps- this has both pro's and cons- but overall for most stuff it's accessible and a pleasure to use. Not as all powerfull as a Max or Maya but it gets things done and the renderer really is nice ( and free render nodes!)

04-05-2007, 12:11 PM
I've always wondered what this 'power' is that Max has that Lw hasn't...
I've seen so many people work with max and maya and see such stupid roundabout methods to get the simplest stuff done, I usually see it as lack of power.

Ok, so really, for every day use, what can max out of the box that LW can't?

I know Maya's parametric animation is powerful, does Max have that?

04-05-2007, 12:31 PM
tom, both Maya nad max are entirely designed onto a procedural architecture, so yes they are somehow "more" powerful than Lw, in the sense they have more control over everything and control=power.
LW has a more "artisan" (not maya's one) approach so it is much more immediate and direct, and it has a ton of tools to run around most of its limitations.
The fact that LW's object are dumb point-polys groups has advantages and disadvantages. No topology, no history, no structure, no hierarchy this way, but a much faster editing capability. Anyway, forget i.e. things like Xfrog plugin for Cinema, which rely on Cinema's nesting/stacking architecture.
Another example: drawing a spline and lathing it, then re-adjusting the spline and have the whole mesh adapting, or even animating spline's points on time and having the whole mesh animated, is an example of an underlying (big) power that LW has not by now.
LW will hopefully get in these lands only when modeling will be fully included in layout, so not tomorrow or the day after.


04-05-2007, 02:55 PM
Pavlov said it exactly as is ...

04-05-2007, 03:07 PM
I would say get used to looking for plugins to suit your needs. There are hundreds of free ones that I have needed in the past to get past little dead ends to get the best results. With 9.2 I don't seem to need as many in the rendering and surfacing arena anymore. Animation and modeling is a different story.

04-06-2007, 12:32 AM
Current versions of C4D are way beyong 7.3
If youre doing corporate video you may be doing a lot of stuff in something like Afterfx. C4D exports complete AFX projects better then anything else Ive seen. Thats something to keep in mind.
If you like doing things procedurally C4D has an edge over LW in this regard.
LW is really great in the spontanaety dept. You can simply just do things without being forced into a tedious process. That can be good or bad depending upon your circumstances.

04-06-2007, 03:59 AM
Problem is that some things are doable only procedurally. So, keeping an eye on actual LW's straightness, i hope to see development moving in that direction.


04-06-2007, 07:04 AM
If you're a good enough artist, you can get the results you want from ANY app. The biggie here is how comfortable you are with the package, what 'feels' right to use, and what you could live with every day.

The only way to find out is to download the demos and try them out. As far as I'm concerned it's the ONLY way to access an application.

A package could have all the bells and whistles under the sun, but if you just can't work with it (bad interface/workflow or whatever) then it will just frustrate you.

04-06-2007, 08:01 AM
One example of how "clever" and "stupid" max can be are these:

Clever: being able to draw a spline shape, stack a lathe on top (still able to edit the curve), then whack a cap holes on the thing so that i can have a 260degree lathe but have solid caps, then make another complex shape that i need to cut out of the base of the lathed shape. Add a boolean to cut this complex shape out... all of this i can animate the lathe and the boolean still cuts out exactly as i need it. I couldn't think of any other way to get what i needed done.

Stupid: Creating a cube, squashing it flat, deleting all the polys apart from the top one. This does not, as it may seem, create a plane. It looks like a plane, acts mostly like one, but may cause a bad issue with your model later on down the line.

Lightwave is great in this way, the model you see is exactly what you have, just has major limitations when it comes to interactivity!

04-06-2007, 05:39 PM
lardbros: The clever thing you talk about sound like NURBS surfaces with history. I would love to see NURBS in LW it's so nice for hardsurface modeling especially if you can combine it with the speed of polys (SDS). It can't be that hard to implement either, we already have some basic splines and can patch them. All the major apps have NURBS but LW and modo does not, why?

04-06-2007, 05:59 PM
lardbros: The clever thing you talk about sound like NURBS surfaces with history. I would love to see NURBS in LW it's so nice for hardsurface modeling especially if you can combine it with the speed of polys (SDS). It can't be that hard to implement either, we already have some basic splines and can patch them. All the major apps have NURBS but LW and modo does not, why?The simple fact is that it's used only by a few "Die-Hards." That's why Max hasn't updated their Nurbs tools in ages.

04-06-2007, 06:21 PM
lardbros: The clever thing you talk about sound like NURBS surfaces with history. I would love to see NURBS in LW it's so nice for hardsurface modeling especially if you can combine it with the speed of polys (SDS). It can't be that hard to implement either, we already have some basic splines and can patch them. All the major apps have NURBS but LW and modo does not, why?

No it isn't NURBS, although within the Lathe modifier you can choose between Patch, Mesh, or NURBS if you really want to. As far as i know, the nurbs tools in max haven't changed since back in v4 or 5. I can't think of anyone who really uses them apart from my boss, but that was a few years ago. They are slow, nasty to work with in most situations, and create heavy meshes.

04-07-2007, 03:00 AM
Maybe not many uses the NURBS in MAX but the good thing is that you can take a model from for example Rhino and load it in MAX without convert it to millions of polys, that way the object is simple to handle and animate and surface. That's the real beauty with NURBS support. And that's alot of people doing that, so don't say it's just a few people. The whole product design
world doing things like this. I just want to be able to recomend LW to my friends, but I can't do that because it's a pain to use without NURBS support.

For the boolean thing you talked about, take a look here. http://perso.orange.fr/dpont/plugins/nodes/Boolean.html

04-07-2007, 10:06 AM
A lot of things about LW seem archaic and so 1990. But, LW for me enables the fluid expedition of ideas faster than any other program I have ever used.

And, in my particular business, getting from point A to point B is really a good thing and tends to be more profitable.

This is NOT to say that LW should NOT be incorporating more procedural processes into its core, because incorporating this level of interaction into its existing genius may well turn LW into a true top-drawer 3D software suite. Currently, it IS a great program at many levels... But, in my view, it could be an outstanding application at all levels.

LW is definitely on the up-and-up with Jay Roth on board. The existing development team appears confident and capable. And LW has had an incredible confidence boost donning its new personality.

So hop on board bub... the ride will be fun, we can assure you...

04-07-2007, 08:44 PM
Ive always liked that fact that generally I can do things quickly in LW. Most of the time I havent had as much of a need for the procedural deepness found in other apps. I hope Newtek can preserve LWs spontanaety as they dredge out old channels and build new ones.

Newtek focused on the renderer because thats always been LWs strong suite.
Probably the only part of LW that was ever 'designed' was the renderer. The rest that we like was a happy accident IMO since LW as a whole was never really designed. Hopefully we will see modeler tools consolidated rather then new ones being tacked on. I wish for ever tool that newtek adds to modeler that others are removed by consolidating or removing redundant functionality. Modeler is starting to feel a bit like a bloated pig IMO. Theres just way too many tools.

Hypervoxels need updating or complete replacing. The whole animation engine needs to be carefully thought out and designed so that anything that rides on top like character tools and dynamics will be properly supported. Everything needs to be nodalized. I want to take the output of any node network and plug it into literally anything else. I dont foresee a lot of this happening soon.

Right now Id be very happy to see some basic modeling tools working in layout. Id like points and point groups to show up in the graph editor and be available to expressions etc.