View Full Version : YES!! I just recieved Lightwave!!!!.....Now how do I use it?

04 April 2004, 01:24 AM
I just received lightwave and Im all syked up to start making stuff. Now I just sort of need to learn how to use it. Can any one recommend the "BEST" way to learn Lightwave? DVD-book or online coarses. Which products are better than others? I have seen several learning DVD's but I'm not sure which company puts out the better product.I would also like to avoid all the typical pitfalls newbies run into when first starting out. So if you want to tell any "I should have done/learned this first " storys, I like to hear them. Thank you in advance ...BURTON:beer:

04 April 2004, 05:04 AM
When I first got LW I went through these tutorials, one by one:

I also highly recommend getting Inside Lightwave 7 by Dan Ablan. Start at the beginning and go through the entire tomb. By the time you are done, you'll be fairly adept.

04 April 2004, 05:08 AM
aww thought you meant 8.....:cry: all of these post about it is just hurting my heart im young i can take :surprised

04 April 2004, 05:10 AM
Hi Burton,

welcome to the club !

I guess there's no 'best' way to learn LightWave. But rather than spending many $$$ on DVDs or online-courses, you should take a look at the countless free tutorials at the web. The main point to start is Scott Cameron's website here (

Another useful site for free plug-ins is Flay (

Oh yes, before I forgot: Reading the manual also helps a lot ! ;)

Good luck learning !

04 April 2004, 05:24 AM
Timothy Albee's books, "Essential Lightwave 3D 7.5" and "Lightwave 3D 7 Character Animation" are well worth the money.

Rabid pitbull
04 April 2004, 06:28 AM
I think a common pitfall people make is trying to do too much too fast. Also feeling that the only way to learn LW is spending more money on books and dvd's. Read the manual then the free tutorials online, then after all this you will know what to buy. Mind you this should be many months from now. :thumbsup: This forum is also a amazing resource. Just don't forget to search before posting, many questions have already been answered.

Good luck and welcome!

04 April 2004, 08:34 AM
1) read the manual
2) Tim Albees's essential Lw 7.5
3) all the tutorials you can find on the web
4) have fun!!!!!

04 April 2004, 09:25 AM
The tutorials on Newtek are amongst some of the best I've come across.

And I can highly recommend Dan Ablan's book "Inside Lightwave 7" as well. It covers everything from Architecture to Organic modelling, with sections on useful items like Baking Radiosity etc.

There's also some great free movie tutorials to download from

Lots of modeller tips at: (excellent look through Modeller's most useful features.)

It can be hard learning to use "u" instead of "Ctrl-Z" for undo etc. etc. but look into the hotkeys and menu setup so you can get Lightwave looking and working in a way that seems comfortable. You'll probably do this instinctively over time.

But the more you learn about Lightwave and break through little frustrations (LW perhaps needs a little more patience than other packages), the more you'll learn it can do all the things you need it to when the time arrives. Once you're past the pain barrier, using it becomes addictive... :bounce:

04 April 2004, 12:06 PM
I learned from here lewis, and Ethanger thought me wat i know.

04 April 2004, 02:05 PM
I've got 10 Lightwave 6.5 VHS videos by Dan Ablan I will sell you real cheap. Basically 6.5 and 7.5 are going to be virtually identical for the purposes of the videos and learning for a beginner. I sped up my learning curves by 6+ months by watching these videos. PM me if you or anyone else is interested. As I said, they are for 6.5 but VERY useful for 7.5 as well.

04 April 2004, 02:30 PM
When I received my LW & DFX+ package I had these books purchased and waiting...

Essential Lightwave 7.5 by Albee
Inside LightWave 7 by Ablan
LightWave 7.5 Character Animation by Albee
Lightwave 7.5 Visual Quickstart Guide by Howe

I use the manual that ships with LW as a reference and the above books for doing tutorials.

As slipster and ceenda both mentioned the Newtek tutorials are invaluable as well.

Good luck and have fun!:thumbsup:

04 April 2004, 02:33 PM
What really made u decide to go with Lightwave?

04 April 2004, 02:49 PM
For tutorials I like Dan Ablan's 'Inside' book, but would advise skipping the head-modelling tutorial, it's horrible. Splinegod's video tutorials are really good, if you can afford them.

The main thing I'd personally recommend though, is reading the manual, playing around, then reading the manual again. There are alot of features to play with, and most of them are useful and not necessarily mentioned in tutorials.

Have fun playing!

04 April 2004, 02:52 PM
Originally posted by Jaspar
Splinegod's video tutorials are really good, if you can afford them.

I totally agree. Larry (Splinegod) has so much useful information in his CD based video tutorials. He has a bunch of free tutorial videos online as well. I have his rigging CD and I've seen his modeling CD...both are EXCELLENT. Well worth the price.

04 April 2004, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by ages
What really made u decide to go with Lightwave?

I'm taking the above query as a blanket question to anyone here. :)

I chose Lightwave because of mainly three factors:

1. Price. I couldn't pass up the Newtek offer of LW 7.5 w/ free upgrade to [8] and DFX+ w/ 2 modules. To top it off I also got a free 1 year subscription to Keyframe as a result of ordering the bundle through DMG Publishing.

2. Features. In my opinion LW was (and is) the best bang for one's dollar. It is a feature rich application right out of the box unlike most of it's competitors. To get to the same level of LW with an other app usually means having to shell out huge amounts of money to get the "unlimited" package version of the software.

3. Community. When doing research in which app to purchase I got a lot of help in these forums as well as talking to local resellers about the apps. The LW reseller in my area as well as DMG (of which I ended up buying from) seemed to be the most accessible with quick communication and seem to not mind the continuous flow of email queries. Newtek support have been very courteous and quick in response as well if I ever need assistance. Newtek just need to hurry on releasing [8]!

Other factors that also influenced my decision were portability (USB PC & MAC dongle/software) enabling me to easily and freely use Lightwave equally on my desktop or laptop and even a Mac when I purchase my dream G5. And resell-abilty (if that's a word) if I decide to ever sell my LW license there is no problem with transferability. I doubt very much I'll be selling it tho'.:p

Anyway, those are the reasons. I've been using/learning LW for about 6 months now and think it's the best "high-end" purchase I've ever made.

04 April 2004, 03:10 PM
agreed to all above...and get fprime.

04 April 2004, 03:48 PM
Originally posted by Jaspar
For tutorials I like Dan Ablan's 'Inside' book, but would advise skipping the head-modelling tutorial, it's horrible.

Man what is so wrong with the head modelling tut. That was one of the best. Got me up and running with organic modelling.
I just love this method of modelling.

04 April 2004, 05:53 PM
Well for me I found this series of tutorials, in this order, worked for me. You don't have to follow them exactly but the first one is a must to get the feel of how you do things in LW. Once you get past these basics you can start expanding in the direction you want. Save the money first off. why? Becuase there is alot of ground you can cover online that will get you pretty far. Switch to videos/dvd/tapes when you reach an inpass. Books are great for reference and techniques.

Here a few basic tips I wish I knew when I started foolowed by tutorials.

Tip 0: There are two pieces of software. Layout and Modeler. Modeler is where you model and texture/color. Layout is where you animate and render and can also tweak colors and textures.
When saving in layout be aware that any modifications to objects ARE LOST. you must also choose save object or save all objects to save any modifications. You cannot immagine how many times I've lost good work on textures in layout to discover them gone when i reload the scene. REMEMBER TO SAVE THOSE OBJECTS TOO

TIP 0.1: There is a little green icon in the task bar (that area next to clock, lower right of screen. This is used to allow modeler and layout pass information back and forth. So if you make a change to a model in modeler that is also loaded in layout when you go back to layout the object will reflect the changes.
Right click on it and click properties. Set automatic save to every 5 minutes. This saves a copy of only models into a lwhub folder on your hard drive. If you ever get a corrupted file or lightwave crashes and you loose your work check this folder (easiest way is to just do a search for lwhub) you will find every model you ever worked on in here. Sadly it does not save scene files.

Tip 1: when working on a project setup the project by making a folder with the following folders in it.

+Project name

if you use this structure then in either modeler or layout you hit "O" to get to option window and choose the project name folder in the content folder box lightwave will always put models in the object folder and scenes in the scene folder and any images you use as textures you put in the image folder it will know where to find them. Lightwave begins with the lightwave folder as the content folder and if you look in the folder you will see it has images, objects and scenes folders in it. Alot of tutorials will also use this structure. as long as you change the content folder to point at the project you are working in you will find everything opens easily. Read the manual on content folders.

Tip2: Everything has a shortcut. Okay not everything but on every button you will see a charcter in white next to the lettering on each button. This is that button's shortcut. some common ones you will use all the time are listed. The shortcuts are case sensitive so t and T are not the same. t moves things while T tripples things so be aware of this when following tutorials


space bar - accept move/action/etc and also to switch between vertice, face and area editing modes.
Return/Enter - completes action and drops tool
Right mouse button - will drag select. try it.
Deselect by clicking the top window edge or blank parts of the interface. practice this after you select things.
Hold shift to add things to selection
Hold Alt to remove things from selection
Hold Ctrl to constain a tools movement to an axis. try this to understand.

n - brings up number panel to get extra features of any tools
w - brings up list of points, polys
u - undo previous action
U - redo an action that was undone.
d - display settings
o - use
a - center views on object and zooms in to fit the object in viewports
A - zoom and center on selected

t - move whole object or what ever is selected.
y - rotate object of whatever is selected
F2 - moves object to center coordinates.
Ctrl-t Drag used to click and drag point around in the view.
V - Mirror object to other side of mouse so be careful where
you click.
K - knife tool. cuts polys
F - smoothshift kind of a bevel for multiple polys. This will make all the polys extrude out as one part.
b - bevel it extrudes each poly individually
extrude leaves the poly it came from behind so be aware of this as it will give you all sorts of problems down the line. I ususally stick to smoothsift and bevel.

Tip 3: Set both modeler and layout to expert mode when popups get annoying. Especially when welding you will get pop-ups saying yup it's welded. after a while this gets annoying so set it to expert mode will make the message come up in the tool tip area in red text (same area shows you info about any tool your mouse is over) under "O" in both modeler and layout

Everyone else post those tips that saved your ass. These are all the ones that as a lightwave noob I wish I knew.

These are newteks basic interface tutorials, on far left, use them to get familiar with the interface. The next link to MGFX I prefer over these since it also goes into the short cuts. When doing any of these tutorials I suggest having Lightwave open and trying what they show.
LW Tutorials (

MGFX beginners lightwave tutorial. just been updated to lw 7.5
Beginners Lightwave tutorial (

This tutorial really taught me how you use spline patches, bandsaw and doing mechanical modeling
99 mustang on (

This is a fun tutorial site with various starships and such. good for getting familiar with basic modeling and tool use.
Better Space tutorials (

Basic tips and a great place to see lots of little notes on tools and functions for lightwave
Suture's tutorials (

I can't find the others I wwas looking for but these should get you familiar with teh tools. Even if you don't finish the tutorials you can at least learn the basics.

04 April 2004, 09:49 PM
Dan Ablans Signature courseware was a great help for me. Check out ( ) its worth it.

Good Luck :D

04 April 2004, 09:55 PM
Originally posted by skritter
Man what is so wrong with the head modelling tut. That was one of the best. Got me up and running with organic modelling.
I just love this method of modelling.

Nothing wrong with the method, I like alot of the techniques described, but I found it a bit tortuous to follow. That kind of modelling is best to learn from videos, carefully following the text in that tutorial became quite tedious for me (I never finished it, and am now happily using Splinegods modelling tuts).

On a side note, I really wish I had had FPrime when I first started using LW, accurate previews when your not sure how something will look rendered is a god-send.

04 April 2004, 10:14 PM
Great Tips!
I got my copy today! YeHaw!
Ride the LightWave:buttrock:

04 April 2004, 11:57 PM
HEY! Wow, thanks for all the great replys. You have pointed me towards some great places to check out. HA!! I guess I'll have to start out learning to making a "pen" instead of the "InterGlactic Warp Drive powered Battle Cruiser"(With a cool Nebula cloud in the back ground) I wanted to make as soon as I put it on my computer-HA!. Anyway, why did I choose Lightwave? Well I first heard about it having been used for "B5" of which Im a big fan. The price compared to to Maya was also a reason. I downloaded a copy of the trial Maya and did not see any huge differances between the two to justify the price.And Lightwave has a great reputation, lots of support, Web sites with great people like here ;).

04 April 2004, 01:51 AM
welcome aboard,
You can always post questions as you get further in and one of us will try to help you get up to speed as fast as you can absorb the information. Plus you have people like Splinegod who will pop in to answer questions and he knows everything in Lightwave.

04 April 2004, 07:45 AM
Yes is this way, also consider the courses of Larry Shultz (Splinegod), these cover many aspects of LW and he are always around the Forums offering support and experience; his website has several free tutorials too:

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