View Full Version : COMPLIMENTARY APPS: Modeling (What other programs complement Lightwave?)

08 August 2005, 02:43 PM
We don't live in a vacuum. Lightwave is just one fish in an ocean of 3D apps, and to ignore what they are doing right is not healthy. And trust me there is a lot of BIG fishes. And to be fair, there are ares where Lightwave needs to improve, or use some help.

So in order to clear the air, I have taken the liberty of posting a series of threads where we can spotlight other programs that can complement Lightwave.

The idea of this thread is to provide an one stop place where people can freely discuss how they are solving certain LW problems using other apps.

These are the threads so far in the series:

COMPLIMENTARY APPS: Animation (What other programs complement Lightwave?) (
COMPLIMENTARY APPS: Modeling (What other programs complement Lightwave?) (

(More threads will be added later depending on the success of this thread.)


08 August 2005, 03:18 PM
We'll I'll wade in and suggest wings3d ( as a very capable addition to the lightwave toolset (maya's too for that matter).

Some of the advantages I've found with it so far are:
- edge modelling functions
- nice face/edge/vertice selection method(s)
- context sensitive menu's
- any number of sides for polygon creation (quite easily divided for export later)
- edge loop selection/manipulation (including an ability to slide a loop up/down the geo)
- geometry mirroring (ok same as lightwave, but nice to have it here too)
- intuitive learning curve - I picked it up in a couple of evenings.
- extrememely easy to assign hotkeys (select menu item, press insert, then the new key)
- clever UV mapping tool (select multiple borders in your and go)

but best of all...
- it's free!!

Must admit I didn't take it seriously for a very long time, but just 'discovered' it since learning of it's root's as a Nendo inspired application. And it can't do everything of course, but it's a nice way to rough out a model or fine tune an already LW built one.

Well worth a look...


08 August 2005, 03:30 PM
I will say something extremely shocking here... I sometimes complement LW with............. Milkshape... I know it is the crappiest modeler ever but it has rather good game export tools while LW are awful. Milkshape comes only in the export pipeline...

08 August 2005, 06:24 PM
I'm hoping Vue 5 will compliment LW. As soon as I get it and learn it, that is! (Vue 5 is considered a modeling app per se, correct?)

I've also used, with limited success, AutoCAD and MicroStation (both CAD apps) for modeling where precision is needed.

08 August 2005, 07:07 PM
I hate to use the "M" word, but I do like to model in Modo.
A big part is "fewer tools that do more". Reciently I have found modelling in LW increassingly frustrating, mainly because of the vast numbers of "new" tools that all have similar, but different functions and obviously have been written by different people because they all work differently. If I had one wish only for LW9 it would be streamline and unify.
There are many more very small reasons, which by themselves look trivial, but together do "for me" make a difference.
With the supported LWO format, transfer back and forth is no problem at all.

I do also like modelling in XSI for some things, mainly mechanical/engineering projects that require a lot of organisational control.

Thinking about this has generated another feature request for Newtek.
I've just realised that one of the reasons I like working in both Modo and XSI are their highly customisable interfaces that can be changed at the click of a single button. Example I have a texturing layout for XSI, it looks nothing like the standard XSI layout yet contains all the menus, toolbars shaders and views that I require to work on texturing only.

One aspect where LW still rules the roost (for me anyway), is in spline patching. It's not uncommon for me to spline patch an organic shape in LW and then export it for finishing elsewhere.

With the FBX format (which I still think could do with a little more work in LW) and the continually improving Point Oven, there is less and less reason to just stick with just one app, even for modelling a single object. There is a price consideration for some (but the recient price wars are slowly eroding that barrier), and when your up to your neck in work there is the problem of finding time to learn a new program, but if you can add strings to your bow with a flexible two way pipeline, then life can become much easier.

08 August 2005, 07:39 PM
I have used Gamespace for some export situations, but that app is rather flawed for any sort of modeling (atleast to my taste). It has a nice multi-level-subdivision though, which is very nice.

Nu Visual Science
08 August 2005, 08:03 PM
Like the broken record that i am i'll mention Silo again :)
Also a couple of people have mentioned metaseqoia or whatever its called.

assistant pimp
08 August 2005, 08:15 PM
Not sure if this qualifies. But I recently used swift 3d with a lw object/animation for a cool little cell shaded (dare I say that) cartoon that was used in flash and exported to illustrator for a poster.

08 August 2005, 08:22 PM
I'm definitely looking to support LW with ZBrush when 9 comes out and supports some form of displacement mapping--right now ZB supports XSI :shrug:

I'm also supporting it with Vue 5 (when it arrives :D)

08 August 2005, 08:45 PM
I use Bodypaint, Maya, and Zbrush ( just started) to compliment LW.

Bodypaint is great for texturing characters, I use Maya for it's character setup/uv setup advantages and speed (speed in those two areas), for the longest time I thought I disliked character rigging, turned out I disliked character rigging in LW. I can rigg a simple character much faster and with more control in Maya. Then I port the animation back into LW with pointoven. Animating in LW isn't as bad as most people say it is, I don't have a lot of issues with it's graph editor.

I'll start using Modo when I can afford it, but honestly if the 9 upgrade isn't up to par I will soon switch my pipline over to Maya. LW layout needs a complete re-vamp, from it's surfacing (I'd like to see node based surfacing, with true subsurface scattering) it's character setup tools, rigid body, soft body dynamics, and renderer. Fprime is one of the only things keeping me from using it at the end of my pipeline. It seems like they just keep slapping band-aid's over weak foundation.

Zbrush offers fantastic detail that could otherwise take long periods of time in LW. The only disadvantages I can see with zbrush when it comes to LW are things inherent to displacement maps, like folds.

Recently I've found that one of the main reasons I choose to stick with LW is because I know all of it's weak points and can avoid technical issues.

Being familiar with other packages and using them for their strong points has given me more potential in all areas of 3d, and I highly recommend to any artist that they experiment with any tools they can get their hands on. The time getting them to work together that's wasted, but it's worth it for now.

Tee Double U
08 August 2005, 01:18 AM
Autocad 2006

08 August 2005, 01:26 AM
I've been using Silo for a few months now, and find it's a great combo - Modeler for non-organic, and Silo for organic.

I find having n-gon and edge support speeds up my organic modeling heaps, even when reducing back to quads/tris for lightwave. Having these features allows you to "rough in" details much faster than using traditional Lightwave tools (bandsaw, spinquads).

08 August 2005, 01:43 AM
I just started using MODO along with Lightwave, and I think they play really well together.
I like the versatility of the bend tool in Modo and the ability to select entire edges, rows of points or loops really quickly as well as edge editing. I find some stuff easier in LW and other stuff easier in Modo, so it is good to use both for different tasks. I still find both packages have problems when using the symmetry tool that will hopefully be ironed out in future updates. I am considering getting ZBrush as well -- especially since I hear LW9 will have tighter integration with it. It's great to have all these great tools to choose from these days.

08 August 2005, 02:00 AM
Modo and ZBrush.

I'm really curious what this new ZB support will be. Considering they have virtually no support now, ANYTHING they add would technically qualify. As a Mac user, just having the 16 bit tiff importer would be providing new and improved ZB support. :hmm:

08 August 2005, 02:17 AM
I hope I'm not opening a can of worms here, but "brand of god?" What do you mean? :shrug:

08 August 2005, 03:11 AM
On second thought, never mind... it's way off topic and headed into dangerous territory.

08 August 2005, 07:03 AM
Modo is more than a complimentary tool to lightwave's modeler, it a replacement. Once you have Modo you won't need (or want) to use modeler ever again.

08 August 2005, 08:44 AM
Do you still use Lightwave Sam? You never have anything positive to say about it.

08 August 2005, 09:41 AM
Modo is more than a complimentary tool to lightwave's modeler, it a replacement. Once you have Modo you won't need (or want) to use modeler ever again.Like I said earlier, for me although it's a 80/90% replacement, it's not a total replacement. I still prefer spline patching in LW.

These days with cheep software and easy file transfer (especially at the modelling stage), I don't see why ANY package should be considered the be all and end all of modelling.

08 August 2005, 10:07 AM
I also add a license of XFrog, the latest stand alone release. Now it is a C4D Plugin. It helped me to grow very nice plants and trees.

08 August 2005, 12:03 PM
Sam is right that comparing the LW Modeler we have right now and Modo, there is no comparison.
But hey, Modo is just a modeler right now so of course it's a complimentary app.

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