View Full Version : What's happened to N, LW, Newtek, etc?

bamburg dunes
06-27-2003, 07:39 AM
Hey all, first post here.

I used to use LW years ago but stopped just after version 6 came out since our studio moved to XSI.
Now I'm using a Mac at home and was looking for 3D software for it and thought of LW, my wee question is really just about catchign up on the LW scene. What's the deal with Newtek and Luxology?, is LW now being made by Newtek and all the programmers off to Luxology?

Can anyone point me in the direction of some info as to what happened and all that?

Cheers for any help.

06-27-2003, 08:41 AM
So, you're basically trolling? If you are serious about wanting more info, feel free to search the forums, it's all there.

bamburg dunes
06-27-2003, 08:53 AM
Originally posted by mattclary
So, you're basically trolling? If you are serious about wanting more info, feel free to search the forums, it's all there.

Lol, trolling, nice intro; like I said, I also asked for links too, not just on this site.

Last time I checked asking normal questions wasn't called trolling.

Doug Nicola
06-27-2003, 09:10 AM
Wait exactly one month, and you'll find out everything you need to know at siggraph.

bamburg dunes
06-27-2003, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Doug Nicola
Wait exactly one month, and you'll find out everything you need to know at siggraph.

Looking forward to it. 3D software options on the Mac are pretty limited compared to the PC, but given the competition, LW seems like the better option for me, just hope it's a big upgrade.

06-27-2003, 11:39 AM
currently your choice on mac is:

electric image universe
maya complete 5 [unlimited is not available for apple mac]
lightwave 7.5
bryce 5
poser 5

motion builder
and soon...
luxoloy's app's [whatever they all will be..]

steve g

07-03-2003, 05:29 AM
Originally posted by bamburg dunes
Looking forward to it. 3D software options on the Mac are pretty limited compared to the PC, but given the competition, LW seems like the better option for me, just hope it's a big upgrade.

Give Cinema4D a good look: www.maxon.de

07-03-2003, 09:03 AM
Cinema4D would be my choice if Lightwave were to cease to exist.

I've been seriously, hardcore thinking about getting a license so I can expand upon my toolset.

But it's quite a bit different from Lightwave, and a bit more expensive once you push all the options that Lightwave includes (though the Interface in C4d's a bit more integrated (and intuitive as far as dynamics, etc. go) for the options).

Lightwave is still the bomb though :D

07-04-2003, 08:26 PM
Your best bang for the buck would be Maya for the Mac. I use both LightWave and Maya in my own studio, and between the two, I have all the modeling and animation power I could ever want. Plus, with mental ray incorporated into Maya 5, you have the best rendering engine on the market, plus cool features like 3D Paint, Paint Effects, extensive dynamics, exceptional character animation tools, etc.

I found that by buying Maya Complete, and adding on cool plug-ins and 3rd party functionality, like Joe Alter's "Shave and a Haircut" and Next Limit's "RealFlow2 & RealWave2", I have a full suite that's just as good (if not better) as Maya Unlimited, but for thousands less.

For LightWave, you can get RealFlow & RealWave as well (which will give you awesome fluid dynamic capabilities -- if I'm not mistaken, you can get this software for Cinema 4D). Unfortunately, for full hair & fur, however, you're stuck with Sasquatch. In addition, you'd have to purchase a license of mental ray if you wanted a more robust rendering engine (as good as LightWave's rendering engine is, it's become outdated and surpassed by mental ray).

Check out the "Classifieds" section of the discussion forums here for great deals on second-hand LightWave licenses-- if you're on a budget, and want to stick with LightWave as your 3D app of choice, you can get a great deal here......

Elmar Moelzer
07-04-2003, 09:40 PM
Hehe, if there was no LW, my choice would be XSi.
AFAIK Maya is already loosing popularity again.
Cinema might be an interesting thing at the first look, but its interface is just plain ugly and it still has many, many flaws...

07-04-2003, 11:28 PM
XSI is still extremely expensive, and for the money, I think Maya is equally as competitive. Whether a software package is popular or not is not the reason to purchase, IMHO. I only take into account what the application offers as far as options and versatility, as well as what is used by my clients, or what potential customers need in the finished product. Price is also a factor, as my studio is very small and bottom-line driven.

LightWave is excellent for modeling (the best of the lot, I think), and is the core application used by my studio in this area. Maya has a killer toolset and rich features for anything from 3D paint to complex dynamics, so is my choice for visual F/X and rendering (mental ray).

XSI is an awesome package, but still carries a hefty price tag, and doesn't have all the extras that would make me switch from my 2 fav apps -- LW and Maya. To be honest, I think the industry as a whole is pretty fickle and trend-based; I've decided to stick with what works for me, gives the results me and my clients want, and allows the versatility necessary for add-ons, etc.

If both NewTek and A/W were to go out of business today (which, thank God is not going to happen), I think I would still stick with what I've got for the time being and would keep creating with LW and Maya until client demand forced me to switch. What's "cool" is not what popular applications you have in your arsenal, but what you produce with them. I think we're seeing the "more expensive is better" mentality surfacing again in the industry, which is a false 3D economy. It crashed once, and extremely high-priced apps will only continue to have a slim margin of the marketplace.

Even Pixar recently dropped RenderMan's price down to about $3K -- unless you have a fat wallet with lots of extra to spend, people are not plunking down mucho thousands for 3D apps or rendering software anymore (with the exception of publicly traded or highly successful major studios).

XSI and Houdini are still the most expensive apps on the market. No one can convine me that Houdini (with all the full extras) at around $17-$20K is a good buy these days. And, with one of the smallest market segments of all the packages, I think is proof of that.

XSI is a robust application, but not better than LW and Maya combined with a few extras (Shave, Real Flow, etc.). Screw what's popular -- that doesn't matter at all, except if you're showing off to each other to see who's got the bigger one.....

Elmar Moelzer
07-04-2003, 11:51 PM
Hehe, thats exactly what I meant...
I dont care whats popular and I am pretty happy with LW, which has always been pretty stable in its popularity IMHO.
I am just tired of hearing how great MAYA is, just because ILM chose it as their main tool for a few years which gave it a great push in popularity. Well as it happens, the ILM- folks are now swtiching to XSi and slowly getting rid of their MAYA- seats.
Hehe, shows how fast popularity can vanish. On the other hand they still have a few LW- seats there (and always had), mainly for previz...
Personally I dont care how popular an app is. Here in Austria LW is as good as unknown. Still, I can blow away the entire competition in my country in terms of quality, speed and price, no matter whether they use MAYA, MAX, or Xsi. I just use pure LW (I even try to avoid using plugins). I am not saying that I am that great an artist, but for the jobs we have got here, LW is the best tool there is (and noone can complain about LWs pricing, right?).
BTW, I would favour XSi not because of its popularity, but actually because its interface is the most LW- like of all the other apps (and I love LWs interface)...

07-05-2003, 12:31 AM
Agreed, Elmar!

Learning Maya was a challenge, especially after using LW exclusively for several years -- the interface is dramatically different. I added Maya to my portfolio because it had features I desperately wanted that LW didn't have (and NewTek showed no signs of adding), and because my main clients use it, which makes my work compatible and interchangeable with theirs. Also, I really like the versatility of having 2 programs to choose from, and find that in most cases, I hybridize my work by fusing the two programs together via translation software.....

07-05-2003, 12:57 AM
>>...Well as it happens, the ILM- folks are now swtiching to XSi and slowly getting rid of their MAYA- seats.

Where did you hear that?

SI press release? Forget it.

Some guy from ILM told that SI made some crazy deal just to make that PR.

He also told that they evaluated XSI for ONE project.

07-05-2003, 01:10 AM
Just add my words...

It happened that I have to work with Maya. I am LW fan, I love it`s interface and workflow, especially modeller, since I do modeling jobs at most...
So. I convinced my bosses, that I can model faster in Maya than their fastest Maya modeler, so I can work with LW for modeling, but Maya for animation. I found that there are PLENTY of features in Maya, that are superior to LW. The viewport is faster, much more comfortable, and it has wire on textured display as well...
Maya`s animation capabilities are really fantastic...far superior to LWs...Somehow it`s faster, and more comfortable to work with...
I have XSI EXP at home, I like the user interface, but I missed the flexibility Maya has.

I hate the hype around Maya, but Maya is REALLY good. And I`m sure that with proper use it can overcome almost every app. But no LW in modeling!

07-05-2003, 03:21 AM
Hi Jester :)

well it seems that we are pretty much in teh same situation...i was hired for some LW modellling and i used to think that i could be faster for modelling with LW...actually its is almost true but i have to accept the fact that modeling in Maya (once u are used to it) can be much more fun (and finally as fast or faster in certain situations)...the Open Gl is just fantastic and pretty fast with large models...once u have plugged some cool mels that gives ya bandsaw and knife tools (and others) polygonal modeling is cool even though i still prefer LW for the poly/subpatch workflow...but splines tools in Maya are just amazing either if u are usin them for poly outpout or Nurbs outpout....i found also history, instancing and layers pretty neat durin the modeling sessions, also like the way u can easily switch from global to local mode or the Normal move for any kind of components (this alone is just great for modeling) and the pivot snapping...well overall i think that Maya modeling is far from being bad ...not so sure LW is better in the modeling area it really depends what kind of modeling u are doing...if u need accuracy and a very large efficient toolset i will say that Maya is best...for organic frreform modeling then LW is maybe not better but faster for sure (because of the subpatch workflow)...this said i personally dont think that a modeler should be evaluated from the "charcater" modeling side...usually modeling a charcater (by experience) requires a very limited toolset (hey u need to extrude, split/knife move points, bandsaw and smooth maybe a mirror and the rest is in ur hands) for industrial or hard surfaces modeling u will often have to be able to deal with imported Nurbs surfaces (coming form other packages) large uses of splines (nothin better than Nurbs splines imho) measure tools that make sense (Maya's measure tools are not great but bettre than LW for sure) the possibility of normal move, construction planes, proper snapping , make live , surface projection plus the regular poly tools u use for character modeling etc...to give ya an everydays example i usually create poly surfaces after using nurbs splines editing tools including the filleting tools, blends or arc drawing tools ...this are great time savers !! all this is not vital for charcater modeling but can be a hell not having them if u need accuracy...what i also miss from LW are the clean booleans...i found Maya's poly booleans not as good...but in those cases i use the Nurbs booleans (wich are great) and then convert to poly :D

07-05-2003, 05:44 AM

I found my reasons why I don`t model in maya:

1. In LW almost everything is a tool. So I don`t need to dance with options, to achieve a certain result. If I want to move along normal, use "move normal" tool, or I want to scale along vertex normals, use "Smooth Scale", or any similar tool downloadable from Flay. In Maya you use one tool, with setting plenty of options (ok, I found an axisControl.mel, which displays the transform tools options constantly).

2. LW toolset makes almost no harm to UV with adding points, adding edges (with EdgeTool.p), etc.

3. In LW you have easy, and PRECISE access to components. Not like in Maya...I haven`t found any proper way to edit point data, without scripting.

4. In LW almost every tool is PRECISE even micrometer level...including Knife tool.

5. Etc.

Anyway, I would welcome in LW the definition of shell, as an entity, local axis of shells, or layers, wire on textured, and many others.

I like maya`s texturing, the excellent Sew and Move is a must in LW. I began to wrote a script in LW to do the same, but is Maya is much simplier...

I think that with proper scripting knowledge Maya`s modelling can be turned into similar to LW. I`m not sure. What I know, that in LW i can model a 5k poly character in a day or so, model a well built human head in 3-4 hours. In Maya I couldn`t do that.

I`m afraid, that one day I will be forced to decide whether I continue with LW, or use Maya.

07-05-2003, 06:42 AM

U can configure every action to be a tool or every tool to be an action in Maya just look into the preferences...

Set value: u can in the channel editor click on "cv" (even for poly vertices) and give relative x,y,z coordinates to ur points....its half assed but it works....the prob is (havent found yet) for absolute values...then u can use a mel on highend 3d

what i dont like in Maya is that its impossible to create a point in space alone....i love this in Lw

i understand about the micrometers precision...in LW it is far more intutive since u type mm or m ...in Maya u can achieve that but u are talkin "units" so if the 1 units= 1 meter u know what to do....0.0001 and that is it :) not a big deal i think notice that in Rhinoceros (wich everybody agrees is pretty accurate) u set the unit display once en then u talk "units" so it works the same not displayin the mm, m or cm doesnt means it is not accurate :)

in the otrher hand in Lw there is no way to draw an arc between 2 or 3 snapped points unless there is some script out there...even though it was possible in LW it is not possiible to dynamically tweak it usin history (changing radius for instance) history is great sometimes :) u cannot intersect spplines...nor create chamfers or fillets....u cannot offset a curve in 3d

those are for me some accuracy tools that i dont find in LW i think that u are talking about the ability to work in micrometers (wich doesnt makes sense since a model has to be proportionated the absolute size not meaning anything

I just started workin with Maya a few ago....everyday i find new commands and tools that are in Maya's out of the box toolset...i never noticed for instance that even in the perspective window u can lock ur modeling axis...and even some longtime Maya users never noticed that u can snap ur polys or curves to an arbitrary 3d view !!!! the same goes with lofting poly edges...that we find out when a LWaver tried to find a way to bridge polys ....just select edges and do a loft...(undocumented AFAIK) teh same goes for edge snapping....did u know that u can snap a vertex so that u move it only on rthe edge? just press "c" while moving it with the MMB... not everythings i s perfect in Maya but there is much to be discovered...lots of stuff are undocumented and many things u can configure to work excatly as in LW (no need to deal with lots of parameters u can keep the for instance extrude options in the menu and set once for all an special extrude tool with ur favorite option and map it to a key so u dont deal anymore with the options. Just take the time to make a personal shelf....

as a last opinion i have to witness the fact that i also thought that LW modelers were faster than Maya modelers...i can now say that this is untrue...we had excatly the same time schedules (LWavers and Mayamans) and there was in both camps the same models done in the same time (more or less) no conclusion could be found at the end of the day...in some situation they were faster and some others they werent but at the end of the day the job was done...for some specific task the production had to dispatch some models exclusively to Maya artist (camera modeling stuff) what LW modelers could do so MAya modelers could but no necessarily the opposite (load an iges file and tweak nurbs surfaces for instance) btw this is how i came to launch that program that i used to "hate" as a LW fan...and since then i learned to like it :)

Elmar Moelzer
07-05-2003, 09:56 AM
Oh yeah the units...
You know noone models to scale once they have to define the "units" for themselves. I still remember what that was like with those "MAX- units" we had in that MAX- production- environment. In the end we never could just drop in an object from another project simply becuase it was all of a sudden 1000 units big and should have been 0.5 unts big, well one then had to scale everything down, but it never really was precise...
Then people from the US or the UK of course define one unit as one foot etc... LW translates between the systems outomatically and no matter what unit- system the modelers use, the objects work well if modeled to scale.
I always model everything to exact scale in LW. The result is that I can simply drop the objects from my (meanwhile huge) object- database into my scenes and they always fit perfectly well.

07-05-2003, 10:31 AM
well if unit in Maya is set to meters and u make a box of 1 units in x,y,z then u have the same thing in Lw and Maya....dont see the point....unit)= the unit u set so apart from the fact that u have to know what ur scene measurement was set to...1 meter = 1 meter and a foot a foot :) dont think a Lw meter is more accurate than a Maya or Rhinoceros meter...a meter is a meter ;)

and Cim :) yes scripting works great in both programs to create those helpful tools we all need....what is much more urgent imho to revamp are those things impossible to fix with one of those great plugins wich are modeling in the camera view, Nurbs core, history and a tree based shading system (not even talkin about nodes or stuff like that) there are other things as well but this are the most important for me :) other users will find other stuff more important...

BTW i realized that lots of LW users find XSI closer to LW...well i had a chance to try it and let me say that i found even more differneces between LW and XSI than LW and Maya !! most of the users stop at the way the XSI interface looks...that is the ONLY thing in common between those porgrams IMHO

07-05-2003, 12:02 PM
CIM: Your sewing tool is great, I use it on daily basis. But Maya`s sew works as follows:
1. select the the edges where you want to sew the UV parts
2. click Sew and Move, and voilá, one of the separated parts fit to the other along the edges.

I attach my script, feel free to correct it, because it has a problem and I stucked...

Elmar: That`s the best about LW. PRECISION!!! And what a wonder, everything is working properly. I`ve experienced in MAX that some plugin requires cm unit even if you set meter or feet as a working unit...

07-05-2003, 06:22 PM
Need to clarify an error in Elmar's previous post about ILM --

ILM is NOT eliminating Maya from their pipeline and replacing the seats with XSI. ILM incorporates a wide variety of tools in their production pipeline, which include: Softimage, Maya and XSI. They may be adding XSI seats, but are not abandoning Maya (a friend of mine works for Lucas, and he works exclusively with Maya on all projects).

07-06-2003, 12:08 AM
XSI came into focus at ILM since most of their character animator is Softimage user. If you check the making-of videos of ILM films, you will realize, that character animation was done almost exclusively with Softimage, while Maya was used for environments, simulations, and scene creation. So it was not a wonder that they selected Softimage XSI as their primary character animation tool.

I`m always laughing when I read about exclusivity, migrating, etc. Just look at LW. It was used in almost every film, game, etc. But it was not mentioned. Exclusively MAX games or Maya games are also using LW a lot, even Unreal, which has Maya PLE bundled was created almost entirely with LW.

I think nowadays it`s the best if you learn every package, first of all, you will know the strengths, and weak points. Second, it`s a great advantage, that you have a certain knowledge with those package. For me, I`m a LW user, I always mention LW as my primary tool, but I am familiar with Maya, and now learning XSI. I have a 5 years of strong MAX user background, so I`m sure that I can find my way in the industry, regardless of the tools.

Anyway, I`m waiting Siggraph. I do think that it will be the most important event in LWs history.

Elmar Moelzer
07-06-2003, 05:37 AM
Ok, I stand corrected then, even though I am pretty sure I was not mistaken, when I heard about ILM migrating to Xsi. I am not saying that they have replaced all seats by now, this would take many years, I would also think that MAYA will always stay part of the pipeline there.
Concerning Xsi and LW- likeness, well the interface- design is the most important thing for me in this regard.
Oh and J3st3r I am completely with you on that exclusivity- thing. Large studios use many packages for their projects. LW very often is one of them...

07-06-2003, 06:09 AM
At first it sounded like you said, Elmar. But it was sourced from softimage site. But later ILM itself said that this involves only character department. As far as I know. To be honest I was glad when I read that they choose XSI for their primary weapon. But later it was clarified that no Maya seats will be replaced, but SI3D will be updated or migrated to XSI. This is because Maya is excellent for technical animations (with the ability to connect every attribute to every attribute), while XSI (formerly SI3D) is excellent for character stuff

07-07-2003, 10:55 AM
ILM has always used (and will continue to use) SoftImage for character animation -- that's no secret. Maya is firmly entrenched for environment creation, dynamics, particle effects, etc.

But, Lucas's empire is much bigger than just ILM -- LucasArts, for instance, uses Maya exclusively for all game creation. They're doing awesome stuff, too!

LightWave's place in ILM is in the Rebel Unit; I'm sure it's used more than they advertise -- in fact all over the board throughout the industry, I'm sure LW is a modeling powerhouse that's used quite frequently......

Oh, BTW, XSI is NOT a replacement for Softimage 3D -- 3D still exists (version 4 is now available), and is dubbed by Softimage as a "Character Animation Suite". This gives potential customers, and existing ones, options to choose from.