View Full Version : where to start?

11 November 2002, 03:44 PM
i've recently started trying to learn lightwave 7, as we have an untouched copy on the shelves in work. i like the feel of the programme and the neat interface, but i find the manuals incredibly random in their structure.

basically my question is what do you guys think is the easiest, quickest and most fun way to learn the programme? would appreciate and suggestions.

also, i'm running it on a mac under osx, the machine's only a dual 400mhz g4, and it seems quite sluggish. does anyone else here run lightwave under osx? if so what hardware do you have and how does it perform?

thanks again!

11 November 2002, 03:55 PM
I would pick a project and work on that.......I find that the best way to learn anything new is to assign myself a project and figure out the program that way.

I would also take full advatage of teh 80+ tutorials here:

The hundreds of tutorials here:

and maybe your first LW project could be this:

and have a look around here....this is a great LW community that will help you get up and going!

Steve Warner
11 November 2002, 04:03 PM
Lightwave is one of the easiest 3D apps to use, but learning all of its features will take time. Getting good at using them will take even longer, so don't get frustrated. Go in knowing that the more time you spend learning the program, the better your results with it will be. This forum is a great place to hang out and ask questions, so you're already off to a good start. :)

I think the first thing you should do is determine what you want to learn and how well you want to learn it. Do you want to know a little bit about everything, or do you want to focus on one particular aspect of the program? If you want to focus on one particular discipline (modeling, texturing, animating, etc.), then I would look for tutorials specific to that discipline. Start by reading this thread in its entirety:

If you would like a good overview of the program, I'd pick up Dan Ablan's Inside Lightwave 7. It's a great way to get into the program and get a feel for its diverse feature set.

And lastly, I know the manuals are a little random, but I can't stress enough the importance of reading them. There is information there that you won't find anywhere else.

Welcome to the Lightwave community! Enjoy the ride!


11 November 2002, 04:52 PM
thanks guys,
i've only had access to cinema 4d up until now,so i'm looking forward to getting my teeth into some serious 3d.

11 November 2002, 06:48 PM
I agree with the rest of the guys here. Get your hands on as many of those tutorials in the lightwave site as you can and follow them.

I jumped into LW from Strata Studio Pro (ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!) the only featured I missed was that you could select an object and make it a "sort of render boolean" with out destroying the actual geometry. Cool animated boolean effects in renders.

Any way. Now I run LW on Mac OSX and love every minute of it.

11 November 2002, 07:00 PM
If you can afford it, I'd pick up a few instructional videos(or dvds--your choice) from The lightwave vids from Brad Peebler are great.

I would also vote for reading the supplied manuals. though they don't mention everything, they're a big help.

--and if you are coming to 3d from a primarily 2d, graphic background(as is often the case with us Mac users), be patient! 3d apps that are production capable(like lightwave) are massive creatures. Lots of different tools and concepts. don't be afraid to not only invest time in learning, but employing a wide strategic scope to learning--manuals, videos, 3rd party books, online tutorials, on-line forums, research and use of 3rd party plug-ins--all play their part.
When I was getting a leg up, using a small 5" x 7" notebook was indespensible for important jottings(including important serial numbers of lightwave and purchased 3rd party plugs). Also buying some binders to store tutorials and manuals printed out from on-line.

I'm sorry if i'm insulting you or sounding too scary--Lightwave is really rewarding and you can create great things right out of the box. I just think you'll learn faster by adopting some of the techniques of a detective or reporter.

I'd be curious what other people found useful when they were starting.

And yes, I'm using LW on Mac OS X. works great.

11 November 2002, 08:05 PM
The way I started (and still am) learning Lightwave was to attempt to re-create real-world projects taht I'd done in the software packages I already use and know.

IMO jumping right in with application specific tutorials teaches you how a tool (or toolset) works, but doesn't give you any workflow ideas outside of that.

For me I just worked with the manuals until I got stumped, then I'd search on the web for tutes that related to what I was trying to do. I'd do the tute, then get right back to trying to finish the project I started.

Because I was re-creating work I'd already successfully done in another package I knew what kind of workflow and results I was expecting, and learned how those ideas could still be used in the Lightwave world.

With the machine you're using I'd suggest a couple of things to speed it up.

If you're not already on it, install 10.2, it's much faster overall.

If you can afford it, install a Radeon 8500. I believe the card in that box is only a 16MB card, which isn't enough for LW.

In Modeler you might want to set your display options>interface to use "simple" wireframe and points.

In Layout Display Options set your Dynamic Update to "delayed", and your Bounding Box Threshold to around 25000.

This will force geometry to draw as extents when you have more than 25K polys, and the delayed option allows the card to attempt polyredraw at it's speed, rather than holding you up until the whole mesh is redrawn.

11 November 2002, 08:20 PM
Originally posted by mbaldwin

I would also vote for reading the supplied manuals. though they don't mention everything, they're a big help.

Lightwave comes with a manual? Is that the phonebook in the box? :)

Seriously, I don't think I've looked at more than two pages in the 7.x manual so I can't say if it is good or not.

My advice: stay up all the time, no sleep, give up sunlight, and play with every button in the program*. Throw a box on screen and play with the tools.

*except never press the one marked OOBC.

11 November 2002, 10:44 PM
That's not a good suggestion CG.p. He will be inside the hospital soon (little bit exagerating ) :p

11 November 2002, 11:57 PM
OK, every four days take a 14 hour coma-nap.

11 November 2002, 12:54 AM
The only two pieces of advice I'd give is not specific to LW, just 3d in general, and that is BE PATIENT. I'm only speaking from personal experience here, I know some of you guys are very talented and have turned out good work quickly, but for me it took, a long time and many many hours of practise, reading, watching videos ( desktop images / larry schultz ) before I 'got it'. And even when you think you've 'got it' - you haven't ! There is so much to learn that sometimes it's overwhelming. I decided just to focus on two areas, modeling and texturing. A lot of times, you realise you've done some work but it's 'not quite there'. Sometimes it can mean throwing away hours of your work and starting again, but thats how it has to be, because all that matters is the final image/model.

The other thing I would say is that whatever you do, be your own worst critic. We are all a little biased towards our own work, the hardest thing , is to be completely honest and pull your own work apart, but you should, because if you don't you can be damn sure someone else will :). Try to be objective. Oh yeah and if your modeling something that exists in real life, GET AS MUCH REFERENCE AS YOU CAN !
Makes life much easier :)

11 November 2002, 02:04 AM
I would pick a project and work on that.......I find that the best way to learn anything new is to assign myself a project and figure out the program that way.

What Proton said!

11 November 2002, 03:33 AM
Go to LightWave Tutorials on the web...Here's the link that will take to Introduction to LightWave which includes a link for FAQ for MAC users...This is my favorite learning LightWave site...

11 November 2002, 10:11 PM
:eek: Yep I know of the frustration, because I'm there too. I startied in 3d animation many years ago with Imagine on the Amiga and worked a little in Lightwave, but have been absent for over 10 years. I recently purchased LW 7.5 and with all the stuff available for modeling and animation it is extremely overwhelming. I have absolutely NO artistic background or concept of creating objects either. I still consider myself an absolute beginner, but I am trying to be patient and working through some tutorials (ie: Inside LW 7) getting frustrated by not understanding. Then I take a break work on my own modeling ideas, using what I think I've learned and then go back to tutorials etc. Even though I have only had LW 7.5 a couple months I know I have learned a bit. My wife says I sell myself short all the time, but the reality is I know I have a long way to go and the advice on being patient and persevering is right on. I know in the tutorials what I have noticed as lacking sometimes is explaining WHY something is done. In Dan Ablans book inside LW 7 there is a lot of plugging in of numeric values, but no explanation of why and how those numbers were arrived at. But anyhow, I know I'm gonna keep at it and hopefully one day I may even get to the point of submitting something I've done to these forums. So All I can say is hang in there do the tutorials no matter how simple and persevere and someday you'll look back and say WOW I have come a long way.
v:thumbsup: Willax

Soeren Nielsen
11 November 2002, 10:56 PM
I remember when I got into lightwave, the first thing I did was to see how fast I could do a descent detailed face.. I had been working in max for 4 years at that time, and it took me about 5-6 hours in max..

got down to 2 hours in Lightwave and that convinced me to use that instead.. offcourse I looked at some tutorials just to get to know what tools to use. But it didnt take long to get used to lightwave. So thats how I would start, look at a few tutorials, remember what tools are used, and just start working on something.

11 November 2002, 03:35 AM
I would also recommend some courses. I have some online courses and CDs from Lightwave Seminars that have lots of great stuff. You can see some examples of what students have and are doing in the Professional Character Series. Some of the students have never touched 3D before starting this course.

Info about the online courses:

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