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B_Free
05-15-2007, 04:47 PM
Hi Everyone!

I'm slowly trying to get better and faster at LightWave, but I'm curious to know what you've done that's helped you become more efficient?

So far my answer would be "keyboard shortcuts"... but I'm just getting started.

What thoughts or advice do you have? :)

IMI
05-15-2007, 04:59 PM
Probably this is fairly obvious, but for me the most important part of efficiency is deciding on a system of naming for ones files, from the objects to the textures and scenes, to the renders, and a keeping it all consistent.
There's nothing *less* efficient than trying to find the texture you made for your object the night before and searching through 12 gigs of psd, .tga, and .tiff files before you remember 2 hours later that the image that was just right for your object was on your Z Drive in your CoolPhotoshop folder with the name Greatmetaltex_44.a.2.tif. ;)

bluerider
05-15-2007, 05:02 PM
Actually thats great advice, file arrangement.

BeeVees lectured me so often because of my awfull fill management that its begining to sink in.

Set up a sensible heirarchy for your project files. :)

Bytehawk
05-15-2007, 05:34 PM
you are lucky to have BeeVee lecture you ! never forget that...
:)

jameswillmott
05-15-2007, 05:43 PM
Definately a good file and naming structure is number one.

Second for me, sensible and personal menu setups, for example, all my Select type operations are stored on the right mouse context menu in Modeler, so it's very quick to select elements without having to go to the sidebar or set up hundreds of keyboard shortcuts.

Third, set up libraries of reusable items like surfaces, models (furniture, nuts/bolts, generic vehicles etc), multishift profiles and scenes.

IMI
05-15-2007, 06:04 PM
Also, in a less-technical, non computer-oriented but probably equally-important light, your workspace is important: A large desk, some pens and paper for jotting down notes, minimal clutter....
And, reference material - books, photos, whatever - somewhere to place it all comfortably so you can look and read easily while you work. Peace and quiet - OR - loud obnoxious blaring music, whatever it takes to be comfortable while doing what you do.

SplineGod
05-15-2007, 07:03 PM
Working freelance :)

Animapper
05-15-2007, 08:01 PM
Amen to that! Of course the next thing is simply put the time in. Take all of Larry's, Dan's, Van der Byl's, Boughen's, Albee & Warner's tutorials. Then do them all again -- thirteen times. Check back with us along the way as you pursue this three year full-time plan!!

No really, do as many tutorials from as many different people to get the feel for how they work and their mindsets so you can develop your own.

Regards,

Surrealist.
05-15-2007, 11:51 PM
Hi Everyone!

I'm slowly trying to get better and faster at LightWave, but I'm curious to know what you've done that's helped you become more efficient?

So far my answer would be "keyboard shortcuts"... but I'm just getting started.

What thoughts or advice do you have? :)

I would say learning the interface, but learning your tools. Learn what all the tools do, then MODEL - A LOT! That's how you get faster. You will eventually find that you do the same things a lot with tools that are all over the default interface. Then make up your own custom tab or tabs for the things you grab for most often so they are in one place. You could make a tab for basic model creation and editing for example. Mine has tools from the Create, Modify, Multipy etc. tabs and other tools and plugins from here and there that I use a lot. Such as add edges, bandsaw pro, multishift and so on.

Some things I do by shortcut others I like to just grab the tool from the interface. I also have modified the bottom interface to make things visible and easy to select.

In the default interface Mouse Origin Selection and Pivot are on a dropdown and other things are there that I use as shortcuts. So I removed those and put the action center modes so I can see at a glance which one I am in.

oDDity
05-16-2007, 02:33 AM
AS far as 100% efficiency in Modeler (ie, where you don't have to think about interface at all) it's all down to your custom hotkey setup.

Extent
05-16-2007, 05:20 AM
Beyond file organization and naming conventions, for my latest project I've moved my entire project directory into an SVN repository. It's let me keep my project files even more organized, is the best way to keep my two workstations synced up, and it doubles as a separate physical backup as well.

Matt
05-16-2007, 06:31 AM
I have a set number of tools that I work with all the time, they are placed under a CTRL SHIFT + Right mouse menu. Really quick and simple!

BeeVee
05-16-2007, 06:33 AM
In Layout, make sure you have a mouse with a wheel (does anyone still have one with just two buttons? It's much faster to roll the wheel to move between move, rotate, size, scale than pick the shortcuts, or heaven forfend use the buttons :eek:.

B

Animapper
05-16-2007, 06:42 AM
I know we all have varying setups but wouldn't it be nice if we all shared our configs? It couldn't hurt to load them and if they work, use 'em, huh? My main workflow is attached: all the swirlys are broken down so the tab menus show all the possible items. All of LWCAD 2.1 is in 1 tab. This is setup for a 2560x1600 resolution with a 1600x1080 second pallette monitor so be careful...

Regards,

Lightwolf
05-16-2007, 06:59 AM
It's much faster to roll the wheel to move between move, rotate, size, scale than pick the shortcuts, or heaven forfend use the buttons :eek:.

Either that or use the largest key on the keyboard to switch.... the space bar ;)

(Yeah, I use a wacom :D )

Cheers
Mike

Matt
05-16-2007, 07:02 AM
(Yeah, I use a wacom :D )

He does, I've seen the man in action using that! Impressive! ;)

I tried a Wacom once (not in LW though) couldn't get on with it! Lord knows how you use that in LW Mike!

Lightwolf
05-16-2007, 07:07 AM
I tried a Wacom once (not in LW though) couldn't get on with it! Lord knows how you use that in LW Mike!
Practice. It takes abit of time to get used to it, but I think it is well worth it.

Hah, this will be my point for this list:
I got myself a nice A5 widescreen wacom to speed up my work :D

Cheers,
Mike

Phil
05-16-2007, 07:43 AM
From a usability point of view, a custom tab is really useful to keep your frequently used tools as accessible as possible (it also makes importing your changes into fresh configs much easier). The production studio menu preset is a good base to start from. Save configs frequently, use redirected configs and guard them with your life. When they get killed, it really hurts.

Given LW's propensity to sling every addon into the blackhole that is 'additional' or 'generic plugins', it's worth investing effort into kicking them into alphabetised submenus (e.g. A-D, E-I, etc. on a user tab). Duplicate this under the mouse menus if you like (by exporting and importing this part of the interface).

Give your stuff decent, descriptive names and versions. If your project folder looks like a bomb site, try to organise it if possible. If not, learn from your mistakes :)

If you use Hypervoxels, don't use light the volume using raytraced lights. Duplicate your key lights, exclude them from everything in the scene except your volumetric object. Exclude the original key lights from your volumetric object. Instant boost in rendering speed.

If you need to use the classic camera, parent a subdivided 100% transparent plane to the camera. Adjust aspect ratio to match your camera and move it so that the edges of the plane lie just outside of view. Enable raytrace transparency and adjust the recursion level to suit. Turn off the cast/receive shadow options under object properties/render. Bump your thread count up to match the number of CPUs you have. This old trick (not mine) makes a significant difference to render speed, but is not always suitable.

Use Relativity to control large numbers of identical properties (e.g. lights) via nulls. It makes quick adjustments much easier to deal with when dealing with huge numbers of parameters. Much faster than spreadsheet/scene editor.

From a software standpoint :

Don't try and use the CFM version of LW on an intel Mac. That's a huge efficiency gain. Roll on UB.

Don't render to animation formats.

Try to render to OpenEXR via exrTrader if you can, just in case you suddenly need to adjust something. Re-rendering is a pain.

FPrime is also a godsend for surfacing, especially with the complexity of Nodal.

Captain Obvious
05-17-2007, 04:21 AM
I find myself working quite a bit faster with a Wacom than with a mouse. I love my 6x11 Intuos! Heck, I even learned how to use it in my right hand, despite being left-handed!

Bog
05-17-2007, 04:56 AM
Bought a huge, great, ginormous monitor with tonnes of resolution, tidied my desk, and quit drinkin'.

Animapper
05-17-2007, 06:14 AM
I use the 6x8 sometimes with the mouse but most often with the pen. Right clicks were the hardest to get used to without screwing up the model. I'm much faster overall with the tablet, especially in Final Cut and AE.

Captain Obvious
05-17-2007, 06:50 AM
Bought a huge, great, ginormous monitor with tonnes of resolution, tidied my desk, and quit drinkin'.
You did WHAT? :screwy:

Twisted_Pixel
05-17-2007, 06:57 AM
You did WHAT? :screwy:
That one shocked me too. :p


Some decent pointers here, though most are common sense.

Bytehawk
05-17-2007, 07:11 AM
I use the 6x8 sometimes with the mouse but most often with the pen. Right clicks were the hardest to get used to without screwing up the model. I'm much faster overall with the tablet, especially in Final Cut and AE.

yep,

tablet here all the way. Much faster for modeling and much better for your wrists

liquidpope
05-17-2007, 09:20 AM
...and quit drinkin'.

No one likes a quitter.


Watching less TV would be good for me. Most days I don't get started 'til 10pm or so. Wife goes to bed, I go to work.
Actively, I've done a few things. I started a library of parts that I can reuse. Basically they're more complex primatives. Tire treads, fender flares, various windows and doors, all kinds of stuff.
That, and I keep lots of well labeled elec. notes on my desktop. Since I primarily work between 10pm and 3am, I tend to forget things that aren't written down. Not having to relearn or rethink is a good time saver.

mattclary
05-17-2007, 09:40 AM
yep,

tablet here all the way. Much faster for modeling and much better for your wrists

Are y'all using a pen with the tablet? I've thought about using one, but just seems really odd. I cut my teeth on a digitizer in ACAD 12 for DOS and the thought of not using a mouse-like object to do this stuff baffles me. Painting is one thing, but everything else....

Lightwolf
05-17-2007, 09:44 AM
Are y'all using a pen with the tablet?
I am... otherwise I could just use a mouse ;)

Cheers,
Mike

jameswillmott
05-17-2007, 09:54 AM
Tablets are wonderful things.

Bytehawk
05-17-2007, 10:07 AM
yep pen, don't even have a mouse around

Phil
05-17-2007, 10:14 AM
Hmmm. I mulled over playing with a tablet, but can't find a bricks-n-mortar store around here to test / buy one from. Irritating. Lots of mice (and I do really like my Logitech wireless laser mouse), but no tablets.

I'll be in the UK next week so maybe something will catch my eye.

sammael
05-17-2007, 10:40 AM
I would have thought most people here would be using wacom's... Sure not specifically for navigation but how can anyone texture anything efficiently without one?
I would be lost without my tablet, I would suggest get a tablet thats the thing that made my life easier and setting up short cut keys as everyone is saying.
Tutorials and a lot of experimentation are the other key factors for me... and nagging on this forum :D

Bog
05-17-2007, 11:22 AM
Pfft. Tablets. Wussies.

http://dev.nsta.org/evwebs/2017/pics/brainplug.jpg

Brainplug me, baby!

sammael
05-17-2007, 11:33 AM
I find that picture somewhat disturbing... Why do you need a tube in your neck to operate a brain plug? I still want one though, model at the speed of thought indeed :)

nemac4
05-17-2007, 11:48 AM
It's good to take a few moments to think about what you are doing before you start,.. think about the best approach. It can save a lot of time in the long run.

Captain Obvious
05-17-2007, 02:30 PM
Ever since I learned the ancient secrets of Vertex Kunst, I've become a much more efficient modeler.

Earl
05-17-2007, 02:41 PM
Are y'all using a pen with the tablet?
Count me in too. I use a wacom and pen for everything - not just texturing, but modeling, animating, editing, and of course gaming. :D I don't even own a mouse anymore (and the one that comes with the Wacom just sits in a drawer some where).

The only trouble I have with the pen and LightWave is using the little icons for rotating/panning/zooming in the viewports. If the icons are located near the edge of the screen then there's not enough "tablet real estate" to use the icons. So I've just become accustomed to it and found better ways to navigate.

iconoclasty
05-17-2007, 02:49 PM
You can't use the little icons to navigate. You need to use the ctrl-alt-shift combos. That's the only way.

While I love the Wacom and use it for any texturing type work, I rarely use it for nav or modeling. The pen just doesn't have enough buttons for me.

Anunnaki
05-17-2007, 05:18 PM
I purchased FPrime 3. Even on my older Dell machine with a 2.4 Ghz single core processor, Fprime renders very fast. Lighting and texturing has become efficient and more enjoyable.

Vincent D. Brumback

bluerider
05-17-2007, 05:22 PM
you are lucky to have BeeVee lecture you ! never forget that...
:)

:) :i_agree:

musick
05-18-2007, 01:54 AM
Hmmm, the biggest thing to help me become more efficient (read: less useless) has been learning the keyboard shortcuts. Yeh yeh i know... baby steps.