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zippitt
05-15-2008, 11:59 AM
I see some amazing pieces of work but often I have no idea how long the person has been using Lightwave is terms of hours.

I have probably put in maybe 100 hrs over the last 3 years. In reality itís not a lot of concentrated time, but I still get completely lost and frustrated with some of the simplest tasks.

Most of the time has been spent in modeler, and as I branch out into texturing, lighting, rigging, and animation it start to feel a bit overwhelmed. For me it's not so much the concepts as it is just the endless options and ways to create things.

I guess for peace of mind, typically how long does it really take to get a good grasp of Lightwave?

Tony_R_B
05-15-2008, 12:11 PM
Well I think doing it in a concentrated dose does help - as does a good tutorial book. I'm using Dan Ablan's Inside LW9 and I can recommend it. I'm coming to terms with LW now with about 3 days work. Mind you I have been working in 3D of one form or another since 2005. Most of my time has been spent in Poser and Vue 6.

Modeling and the advanced rendering is fairly new to me. Learning slowly is difficult and you tend to forget what you have done in the gaps. I would say a months concentrated work will take me from n00b to 'familiar'.

Nicolas Jordan
05-15-2008, 12:14 PM
It took me at least 2-3 years in my spare time to learn enough about Lightwave to be able to do most things with it. I find if I don't do something for a while like rigging or dynamics it can take me a few hours or days to get back into the groove with it. I needed to set aside 2-3 most days of the week and maybe most of a weekend sometimes in order to really grasp some things and get well acquainted with them. After learning Lightwave I find it is much easier to pick up most other 3d programs now without much of a learning curve.

I have been using Lightwave for at least 8 years now and there is still plenty of things I have not used in the program. :)

Steamthrower
05-15-2008, 12:21 PM
I've been doing 3D for almost four years now, and have owned Lightwave for 2 years now.

It took a year before I could make anything that didn't look like it was modeled by a doped-up Picasso.

It's taken 2 years before I can make anything that didn't look like it was modeled out of Play Dough.

EDIT: And by the way, for the first year I used it only as a hobbyist, I began freelancing after that, about 1-1/2 years I got a 9-5 job in which I use AutoCad and LW fairly regularly, and for the past 2 months or so I've been doing actual "cool" stuff in freelancing...like TV motion graphics and even, right now, some film work. How many hours have I spent in LW? No way to know. Hundreds, or thousands. How proficient am I? Pathetically non-proficient.

Paul_Boland
05-15-2008, 01:16 PM
I'm a long time TrueSpace user, over a decade of time spent with that software. The recent turbulance at Caligari and the uncertain future of the software made me finally close the doors on it and move over to Lightwave. I've had Lightwave for a few years now but I have not been putting the time in to learning it, despite having a lot of books on it. Now that I've moved from TrueSpace (just finishing off projects that were well underway in it prior to the decission to move), I am now putting the time in to learning Lightwave.

One problem I have found is the hardship of being back on square one. I'm no 3D mystro, but I know my way around TrueSpace fairly well. Now, in Lightwave, I'm finding I'm back on square one, learning the basics. This is hard because I want to be creating and not just picking up the basics again. However, you have to learn to walk before you can run, right!

I'm currently working with Dan Ablan's book, Inside Lightwave 8 and it's a great learning step I must say. I've also used some of the tutorials from kurv Studio which are also very helpful in getting to grips with Lightwave fast. I'm eager to learn Lightwave so I can start creating my own stuff with it and possibly persue a freelance career if possible, it's just getting over that initial hump that's hard.

sadkkf
05-15-2008, 01:45 PM
I've learned more from William Vaughan's (can we call him Proton anymore?) videos than I have just about anywhere else. :thumbsup:

Lightwolf
05-15-2008, 02:52 PM
It's taken 2 years before I can make anything that didn't look like it was modeled out of Play Dough.
It'll take you another two to be able to model something that looks like it was made of Play Dough again ;)

I can't really remember, LW was a lot simpler when I started and I had previous experience. I'd say 1/2 - 1 year depending on the amount of time put into it.

Cheers,
Mike

Imatk
05-15-2008, 04:09 PM
If you think the learning curve for Lightwave is steep... don't even attempt Maya :)

I was totally obsessed with 3d when I first started learning it. I spent every spare waking hour in front of my computer. I think the truly impressive works you see come from artists that have that kind of obsession for the work.

Doing it casually or occasionally I don't really think you are going to achieve any level of excellence.

I didn't know what I was doing REALLY until about a good two years of solid work. And then I didn't know what I was doing :)

I started working in film / TV and learned by leaps and bounds because I was working it... doing it 10 plus hours a day.

Everyone is different. I'm sure there are people out there that could sit down in front of LW and be able to create something decent without too much trouble. Others might take longer.

Bottom line... I would say a good SOLID year of working in LW pretty much in every spare hour you have and you'll start to get good, but don't expect to use it every now and then and be able to create and know how to use LW to it's fullest.

WilliamVaughan
05-15-2008, 04:44 PM
I always suggest to have a goal to make something instead of to learn LightWave. meaning. Start with something like a pen or pencil...your goal is to make that pen or pencil...learn what you need to, to reach your goal.

Then make a new goal.

There are so many free resources now that if you were to start there and use this forum as a help site you could be up and running in short order.

Everyone learns different so find what works for you...but remember...your not alone. You have an amazing support team here!

-William

fertilizer
05-15-2008, 05:04 PM
I have probably put in maybe 100 hrs over the last 3 years

I've put in 100 hours in the last 7 days!

:bangwall:

Lightwolf
05-15-2008, 05:06 PM
I've put in 100 hours in the last 7 days!

:bangwall:
I've had weeks like that as well... good luck with your deadline!

Cheers,
Mike

Surrealist.
05-15-2008, 08:50 PM
One thing I find is a balance of application and information. Too much information not enough application. Or too much application not enough information. Either one can be frustrating.

If you find you have too many choices that all seem confusing, you are likely suffering from too much information and not enough application of the information you know.

If you find you are trying to get something done and you just can't seem to find the tools, or you resort to the same old methods that seem slow or only give so so results, you are likely suffering from not enough information.

Also challenges are good. But if you find yourself overwhelmed, likely you are taking too large of a step forward and you might want to cut it back.

Personally if I had a choice I'd rather suffer from too much information. I know that's odd. Most artists are alergic to the manual.

I read the LW 8 modeler manual front to back to full time over about a month. I was trying examples as I went of course. And much of it, frankly I had no idea what to do with.

But the advantage of this approach was that I knew it was there. And if a situation came up, I knew where to look. It has taken a couple of years to absorb much of this information with practice. And eventually many of the things I had no clue what to do with became useful in application once I had the experience.

This is why I recommend these things:

1) Read the entire manual

2) Practice what you have learned from it

3) Do as many tutorials as you can.

4) Work on projects where you have to get something done

5) Be active in this forum

One thing nice about the forum, and I use do this all the time, is it is a great way to find things that need to be done that you would never think of. This is like a lab. I come here to see what needs to get done and try to find a way to solve it. In the process of this, even if I don't have a clue or the experience, by digging in and trying to help a guy, I have a good grasp on what the problem is. Then when someone comes along with the right solution, I can really get why that is and learn from it. Sometimes I am even able to come up with the right solution, other times not. Or I may find my way is one of several that are valid and will work. It is also a great way to test your knowledge because there are so many people here who know more than you. So you can compare your solutions with the guys who have been there and done it. After a while, you can see your progress on certain things and then you become the guy who knows more about that.

This in balance with working on projects of your own over time is a great way to increase your knowledge of the subject and keep your finger on the pulse of what is happening out in the field.

Lightwolf
05-16-2008, 01:27 AM
Personally if I had a choice I'd rather suffer from too much information. I know that's odd. Most artists are alergic to the manual.

I read the LW 8 modeler manual front to back to full time over about a month. I was trying examples as I went of course. And much of it, frankly I had no idea what to do with.

But the advantage of this approach was that I knew it was there. And if a situation came up, I knew where to look. It has taken a couple of years to absorb much of this information with practice. And eventually many of the things I had no clue what to do with became useful in application once I had the experience.
Now wait... that's my sermon :D :beerchug:

Cheers,
Mike

Phil
05-16-2008, 01:38 AM
I like manuals, but sadly the LW ones are annoyingly tedious (too many words to describe simple concepts). Reading them brings back memories of the painful experience of listening to the architect's speech in Matrix Reloaded.

An ideal manual for the user in a pinch would have more images and fewer words - faster to learn, faster to solve problems.

SplineGod
05-16-2008, 02:34 AM
Ive never read the LW manual except as a reference to look up specific things.
I find that just jumping in is the best way to learn. Ive always found that a project based approach is the way to go. We tend to remember things better when its associated with a process. You dont need to know every tool and modeler has become pretty over burdened with redundent tools. Focus on becoming proficient with just the basic tools but be aware there are other more specific tools for somethings as well as many 3rd party plugins.

sadkkf
05-16-2008, 08:03 AM
I've used LW since 5.0 and back then only sporadically. The biggest problem I had was with each new version the interface changed and buttons were put in different locations.

Even now, I still need to hunt a little to find things, but it's much improved and more consistent.

I've even heard some hardcore users make mention of _reducing_ the number of tools available as they are so similar and could be combined into a single numeric panel. With this I'd have to agree. It's a little overwhelming to see all the tools there and wonder what they do and how they differ.

I think the LW manual could be improved, but it might be a good place to start to learn about the tools.

Proton's idea of setting a goal is spot-on. Even a more complex model might okay to start with if you can find the right tutorial or training vid.

Have fun!

zippitt
05-16-2008, 10:21 AM
Thanks for the info guys, it put me at ease. I will keep plugging away and hopefully one day I can put up my jaw dropping pieces. As always you guys are great help!

archijam
05-16-2008, 10:26 AM
Do you know any LW users? One or two sessions with a seasoned LW'er really help.

In my case Exception gave me some amazing insights that I was able to struggle through at the time, but use daily now in arch-viz, but you could never put in a manual (too specific).

That said I've learned a a huge on my own, with the help of a certain forum from time to time ..

j.

BeeVee
05-16-2008, 01:58 PM
At the risk of tooting my own horn, LightWiki (http://www.lightwiki.com) is set up to provide online LightWave help. It is written by many of the experts here and contains many great bits of info.

B

Matt
05-16-2008, 02:15 PM
I always suggest to have a goal to make something instead

I can't agree with this more, find a simple subject to model, light and render. It's always much easier and fulfilling to choose a subject and finish it.

Pick something that is within your means, but still a little challenging.

Giacomo99
05-16-2008, 06:08 PM
I don't even think it's possible to read the Lightwave manual at this point. Phil's comparison of it to the "Architect's" speech in "Matrix Reloaded" was 100% on the mark.

The best introductory material, by a mile, that I know of is the "Essential Lightwave 3D" book by Albee and Warner. Working through the first chapters of that really gave me a solid working knowledge of basic Lightwave principles. Dan Ablan's "human female head" tutorial (it appears in his "Inside Lightwave 6" and "Inside Lightwave 7" books, which you should be able to find used for cheap) was also enormously helpful to me as a beginner learning SubPatch modeling. Those are the best, but there are a LOT of good intro books on Lightwave out there--browse around, buy a few, and commit some time to doing the exercises in them.

KevinL
05-16-2008, 06:42 PM
Ben, toot away (or even a truck horn :) ) I like the concept and wish we had even more contribution to it ....

Kevin