View Full Version : Need answers for potential user

08-09-2007, 03:48 AM

I have been using 3dsmax since v1(yost group days). I cannot justify the cost of max anymore with their upgrades and I hate the way they wedged mental ray in. I am a student but do side work for money so I would not be able to buy a student license.

My current workflow:
I use Realsoft3d for modelling
I bring it to max for cleanup, zbrush for details and back to max for final rendering.

I need a program to fill the Max gap.
The requirements I need and hopefully lightwave can fill:

I need a uv editor that can manage multiple uvs on a model

I need to be able to bake a models texture so it go out to Adobe acrobat3d or Microsoft silverlight.I need the baking to be able to handle a whole scene or specific objects in a scene.

My needs for ik animation is limited.
Example:I model the lower limbs of skeleton .I wrap muscles around it and I show how the muscles are effected by the motion of the limbs.I usally do this in max with bone+ deformers and weights.

can this be done in lightwave without going through hoops?

When I am doing print work or animations my models do not exceed over 150,000 polys because I use normal maps.

I have been following Lightwave since the management reshuffle(seems like a good thing happened there). Lightwaves point .01 releases has been a 1.0 release for Max.

I need to be proficient(not a master) with lightwave within 7 months.

I use a x2 3800,2 gigs a ram and xp pro.Is this setup goos enough to handle what I need in lightwave?.

Sorry for all the questions but I need to get an idea of what I am getting into.The demo was taken down so I could not test it and I have to buy it at the end of august.


John L

08-09-2007, 05:12 AM
Well Lightwave is certainly cheaper. I first started in 3Dstudio, but like you cannot justify the cost now even for a midpoint update. I started tinkering in Lightwave at v 5.5 but really started to use it at v 6.0.

Almost anything you can do in max can be done in lightwave, some take a little longer and are more round about but it can be done. The render is fantastic for an out of the box solution.

There are a few UV editiors out there, there is a huge community out there offering free plugins (www.flay.com) and many free tutorials.

As to learning in 7 months, to do what you want to do its no problem, like most packages there are some things that are implemented better in max and some better in lightwave. No one is ever a master, we all learn new things all the time and with the updates in the lightwave 9 cycle alone keeping us all busy learning, but its a very exciting time. Lightwaves CA, modeler and interface is getting a good overhaul in the 9 cycle as well as these are areas that really need it.

You also get all the updates point to point for free and they are comming think and fast, we have had over 20 updates since v 9.0. Cant really say to much about it as there is an NDA.

Overall its the best thing i ever did, there are a few free packages out there that shpould also not be overlooked. Check out blender, there interface IMHO is terrible but there are some great features that put some high end packages to shame, including lightwave.

Pound for pound lightwave i believe offers the best bang for you buck, thats why its used by alot of tv companies because it offers a high turn around on work unlike films that have months or years to do there work.

Hope this helps a bit.

Regards, John

08-10-2007, 01:30 AM
I don't have as much experience in Lightwave as John and others on this forum... but I too have come from a 3DS Max background for similar reasons as you.

I'm sure you already figured out that Lightwave is set up quite different than Max and that may frustrate you - especially if you compare it with Max or other 3D apps while in the learning process... but I must agree with John that though LW may have some items to address and is not perfect, it does produce some great results!

For me, just tinkering with the Modeler side of Lightwave for the past few weeks I've been able to quickly increase my proficiency in modeling... Speedwise I am still slow as molasses personally, but as I'm getting more confident with the tools and am already building a scene to use for professional purposes (that fortunately for me doesn't have a tight deadline)! :D
In other words, if you apply yourself to learning LW, I have no doubt you will become proficient for your described needs in 7 months.

As for your question regarding animating bones/muscles... check out www.kurvstudios.com for some DVD Lightwave tutorials on the topic for starters.

Also, to help get you up to speed with the rendering side of things... I would recommend Worley's FPrime (instant feedback realtime rendering plugin)... don't have it (yet) myself, but from what I've seen it do, it is a powerful plugin that can't be overlooked.

Another factor in learning quickly is the community forum here on this website (and others) -- it is excellent and very supportive/helpful with particular hurdles you need to overcome.
I hope you find this encouraging.

08-10-2007, 12:31 PM
As another previous 3DS Max user, I'll say you might end up falling in love with the way LW is setup. I wouldn't be afraid of the differences but look forward to embracing them.