View Full Version : Is LW 5.6 too old?

01-11-2008, 06:17 PM
I used to dabble with some 3d modeling several years ago but kind of got out of it - wanted to do it professionally, got too busy working and just didn't have enough time. I just reinstalled my copy of lightwave 5.6 and have thought about getting back into it, just to mess around a bit. After all this time, I have pretty much forgotten everything I knew about lightwave so would be starting over.

Now my question, is it worth getting back in with a version of lightwave this old or is there another package that I can start messing around with? How does the newest version of lightwave compare to 5.6? Are there enough free/shareware plugins that I can use with my current version to make it a viable option? Is the upgrade worth it (if you can upgrade from 5.6 - thought I saw the upgrade was for version 6 or higher). Is there another modeling/rendering package that is reasonably priced (not a professional here so don't want to spend a lot to dabble)?

Thanks for any info you all can offer.

Zane Condren
01-11-2008, 06:48 PM
Our upgrades are the same price no matter what version you are upgrading from.

Nicolas Jordan
01-11-2008, 06:51 PM
Lightwave 5.6 is probably still reasonably good to start with if your just getting back into 3d again. I think there are still quite a few 5.6 plugins out there. I would still recommend upgrading to the current version. There have been vast improvements from 5.6 to the 9.x series. If you use 9.x you will never want to go back to a previous version. I haven't even used 9.0 in while since even 9.2 and 9.3.1 are really improved over 9.0. I don't think you will find such a complete 3d package out there for a lower price.

01-11-2008, 07:19 PM
If youre just lookng at messing around Blender is free and MUCH more powerful the LW 5.6 and even does quite a few things the current version of LW wont do and its free. :)

01-13-2008, 05:37 AM
Ahhhh. I have fond memories of LW5.6 - THE most stable release I think there has ever been! But then I remember the excitement of this new fandangled thing called UV apping that came with the release of 6!

01-14-2008, 02:43 AM
5.6 also had Steamer! All later versions don't, and it's still painful to realise this.

However, you have options. You can upgrade LW to a later release, but the learning curve is going to be severe, and you can largely expect that any 3rd party plugins you have for 5.6 will not work in any newer version of LW. A lot of stuff broke when 6.0 was released, and with the substantial changes since then, even more has changed.

You'll also have to expect to make a clean break from your old projects - importing old scenes can be tricky, and whilst newer versions of LW can write 5.6 scenes and objects, it's possible that you will hit problems.

You can run the demo version of LW 9.3.1 by simply heading for register.newtek.com - instructions are in the NewTek Europe link in my signature below (NewTek USA haven't gotten around to this, sadly)

If you are dabbling, and don't want to spend cash, you could also do worse than look at the XSI ModTool or any of the numerous learning editions of Houdini, Maya, etc. Or Blender - although the interface is rather unorthodox; searching for 'Blender Underground' on Google may help here.

01-14-2008, 02:54 AM
For what you get, the upgrade to LW 9 is cheap. Even for a hobbyist. It's changed almost beyond recognition from 5.6.

If you dont want to spend however, I'd second the recommendation for Blender. Just bear in mind that the things that attract people to LW (ease of use, simplistic interface) are definitely not shared by Blender.

But, if you have forgotten most of LW it may be a good time to learn something new.

01-15-2008, 11:41 AM
A new license of LW 9 less than half of what LW5.6 cost, if my memory is correct. I think I paid around $2300 for the newtek graphics bundle (LW 5.6, Aura 1.0, a couple of LW plug-ins and a free upgrade to LW 6.0 when it came out)

Of course, if you don't have the money even cheap can be cost prohibitive. If it's not going to make you money it may not be worth it. Of course, Hobbies can turn into new careers :)

01-17-2008, 10:12 AM
I used to dabble with some 3d modeling several years ago but kind of got out of it

I just upgraded from 6.5 and it's amazing.

I do wonder if I should have spent the time re-learning a new app. The character animation tools from five years ago looks pretty much the same as today, which is disappointing.

But the renderer is stunning, the motion blur is state of the art. Nodes, I use those in compositors so it's a nice addition (albeit very strange coming from 5.6 I'm sure).

Upgrade if for nothing else but your 5.6 stuff will render faster and look better.

01-17-2008, 10:51 AM
5.6 was a disaster for me on Macs. It worked really well on SGI though. I still have 4 Indigos running 5.6. And yes.. Steamer was the bomb.

I don't think there has been a stable version for Mac until 9.3.
8, 8.5 were nearly unusable for me. I was seriously about to write Lightwave off until I upgraded.

It's really a whole new program. Modeler has never been more powerful and the new rendering process is much more refined. Not to mention the surface nodes. Yeah.. I'd upgrade. If you're going to get serious about it, you will see a lot of things on this site that you simply can't do with 5.6 and then you'll upgrade and be lost.