View Full Version : Lightwave Books, whats good?

11 November 2002, 05:25 AM
Well I have started my venture of learning Lightwave like it was the back of my hand, which will happen some day :D My question is what are good books to buy on Lightwave for modeling or just lightwave in general? so far I managed to purchase "Inside LightWave 7" Find it at Amazon ( .. Its BIG enough to be the only book I need but for the future ..what books are good?



11 November 2002, 06:26 AM
You found the all purpose book

There is also a rigging book, LightWave 3D 7.0 Character Animation

That is really about it for descent LW books

If your main interest is characters than you are in luck,

It is kinda expensive but you will learn what you need to

11 November 2002, 06:52 AM
Don't forget LightWave 3D Applied by Dave Jerrard for when you get to the texturing part.

11 November 2002, 07:18 AM
At times, the tremendous online tutorials, support and forums offer clearer, newer and richer learning experience, which complements and sometimes surpasses what is offered in those books. Please don't underestimate those resources.


11 November 2002, 08:15 AM
Yeah, you'll get pretty much the same responses from this post on:
Inside Lightwave 7- Dan Ablan. I don't own it but have read it...
Lightwave Character Animation- Timothy Albee. Own it, it's gold.
and there are plenty more!
Congrats on wanting to learn LW, you'll never regret it!:buttrock:

11 November 2002, 08:42 AM
I just went to Amazons site and I hapenned to come acros this review of Albees book

Is this true

Do you agree with this person

I was so suprised seeing this because so man people here have recommended it in the past

This book is not for mid level to experienced animators looking to learn character animation on Lightwave. I am trying to migrate to Lightwave from Maya for charcater animation purposes only. Any animator serious about his/her trade already owns books specifically written for non computer related animation techniques (ie the animators survival kit, disneys illusion of life, etc.) to fill a book called "LIGHTWAVE character animation" with generic animation exercises and mediocre history lessons is deceiving. I was completely dissapointed with the lack of Lightwave specific functions I thought this book would supply, like detailed graph editor information, morphing exercises, etc. About 30 percent of each page in this book is filled with white space, or huge notations in a box that have very little purpose other than to filibuster about some (relevant?) history of how an IK got started... Is this a history book, a techniques book, or a lightwave book? By the end of chapter 2 The only thing the book accomplishes is building a 2 bone ik chain.. thats it.. then, strangely enough, chapter 3 starts out with "You've got your character all ready to go...."... Huh? if i'm missing something, someone please write back and let me know. I have respect for Mr Albee and his efforts to create this book, I know it must have been a daunting task - but i assure you, not as much as trying to go figure it out.. Sorry, but I have to give this book an "F"

11 November 2002, 03:50 PM
I don't agree with what this person said regarding Albee's book, it has helped me out a lot. But, I can simpathize with his point of view. I can't tell you how many books I purchased that didn't live up to my expectations. I recently purchased the book "Digital Fantasy Painting". From the blurb on Amazon I expected the book to be focused on 2d painting techniques. In my estimation the book was nothing more than an advertizement for just about every 3d app out there. Lots of cool pictures with little or no actual meat. It now sits on my coffee table where it belongs collecting dust. All I can say is buyer beware.

- ub52

11 November 2002, 03:51 PM
I do agree with the comments to some extent. The book holds some important, hidden, valuable ideas to do an animated rig. But character animation is more than that. It's about the timeline, non-linear animation, multi-character animation, keyframe and timing diagrams, speech, range of emotions through facial and body expressions, morphing, clothing, soft and hard dynamics, eye movements, breathing, hair movements against wind or water, hooking characters with particles). The book is so short on those contents. Rigging a character should be a given. We wish the author will give us examples of other important areas (e.g. the use of morphing and motion designer/mixer). For example, how to do a walk and blend in to a sit down on a chair and how to do a solid, large fight or interaction scene with hundreds of characters. Something more concrete and not abstract.


11 November 2002, 05:48 PM
Don't forget about the great training CD's that are available from Spline God and Lost Pencil.....watching these guys work is faster and gives you more content then reading....

but I also love my LW books. It really depends on your style of Learning. Timothy Albee's book is the best LW book I own....

11 November 2002, 08:15 PM
Also, if you have access to a copy of LightWave Applied, version 6.5 & 7, check out the extra tutorials included on its CD-ROM and its bonus web tutorial, "Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader." You can access the latter by following the instructions at this link:

"Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader" shows you how to construct a celshaded elf-girl character model from scratch. It features 462 illustrations and over 717 steps, but you can start at any one of 45 starting points, loading the appropriate version of the model from the book's CD-ROM.

11 November 2002, 12:07 AM
I've bought every Lightwave book to come down the pike, and I think I've gotten the most out of Dan's inside series and BOTH of the Lightwave applied books. Although the first edition is for 5.6, I still found it very viable especially to learn some nifty modeling tricks. In Applied 6.5-7, the texturing chapters and Jen's chapter on rigging are standouts. (Thx for the great modeling bonus tut btw! :) )

Having said that....I'd have to admit I'm sort of a video tut kind of guy. I've bought most of those as well and again imho, Larry "Splinegod" Shultz's Character series and all of the Lost Pencil Studios cd's outshine everything by miles. As Kaiser said, Larry's Character series is a bit expensive...but WELL worth every cent of the investment. I seriously recommend it if you're considering any character work.


11 November 2002, 02:07 AM
Thanks Toast!
My character series isnt inexpensive from a certain point of view (the point of view if you dont have any money) and it is inexpensive from another, like the fact that a GOOD class at a school that focusses on character stuff is going to cost a great deal more. Right now you can pay $500.00 bucks for a 2 day hands on class and how much are you going to remember? Ive done LOTS of 2 day hands on classes and the bottom line is the slowest person in the group sets the pace for the whole group. People either feel like someone is holding them back or the class is too fast.
The course I have covers the material in far greater depth Ive seen anything else cover it. The material comes on CD and you get to keep it so you can watch it over and over. Theres a forum where you get 3 months minimum online support. As often as yo post a question or your work for critique it will be answered and critiqued. Its one thing to buy a book or sit in with a group of 10 people for two days and its another to be able to review the material over and over AND have your work critiqued.
That in my mind would be worth a lot.
You can check out examples of student work in progress AND Ive included the critiques at: work
Also on my website are some comments (out of LOTS) from students:

Thanks! :)

11 November 2002, 04:31 AM
$500.00 bucks for hands on training ... I would do that but I might throw up on you in the process and that wont be agood thing ;)

11 November 2002, 04:43 AM
Well I have a lot of experience teaching both hands on classes and seminars. In a seminar a lot of material is covered but the problem can be that attendees have a hard time remembering it all. The solution to that is we put the same lectures on CDs and hand them out to the attendees. These are the same Seminar CDs I sell for those who couldnt attend. The problem with doing hands on training is that its very slow going. 2 days isnt really enough really. Everyone who signs up has differnt skill levels.
Ive taught hands on classes at universities, siggraph, art schools and basically all over. If I said that we were going to cover say, character modeling, rigging, texturing and animating in 2 days it just wouldnt be possible to do it properly. Thats more of a week long kind of deal. For example I taught a hands on class in San Diego...this was a group who was already learning LW in school and everyone had some experience. We could barely get through JUST modeling a head in one day... the reason is like I said...the slowest person in the class sets the pace for the rest. Thats just a fact of life. I for one, wouldnt be happy if I paid $500.00 bucks and didnt come way learning everything I was supposed to learn.
Thats why the distance courses...its self paced, you work on YOUR schedule and you get feedback as often as you want it.
For $500 bucks you would think that you would have the right to throw up on the instructor... :)

11 November 2002, 06:01 AM
Yeah. I attended Lee and Graham's seminar in Dallas. It wasn't really "bad" I didn't feel ripped off or anything. But I got (am getting) a lot more out of your CD. In fairness to Lee and graham- I think it was only their second stop, and they were still finding their groove.

Also- living in "fly-over" country it costs me a good bit of time/money just to get to most seminars/workshops!

11 November 2002, 08:19 AM
Im glad the CD is working out for you. It sure beats taking notes. I was with Lee this time in Dallas on the Next Dimension Tour. Lots of great stuff presented. :)

11 November 2002, 08:40 AM
Inside Lightwave was invaluable to me, starting out. it's a little daunting at first, but as long as you keep plugging away at it, you begin to really move along. The head tutorial in it took me forever the first time, now, however I can bang out a decent face/head in a few hours (though my technique is sort of an amalgamation of the one the book uses formost of the head, and then using splines for lips, nostrils, and part of the ear.) Also, this site and, and the newtek site have a ton of tutorials that all help in one way or another. The hard part in that is finding one that suits your skill level, which is why the book is sort of nice, because it starts simple in each chapter, and lays the ground work/foundation knowledge for you to implement however you like.

My main advice, I guess, is to keep at it. Just because things don't go the way you expect, stick with it. You're not going to get this thing down in a day or two. The more time you spend in it, the easier it gets, and before you know it, you'll be talking in 3Dcode, using terms like nulls, modifiers, inverse kinematics, endomorphs, and sockmonkey.

Can't testify to SplineGod's Cd's. Looked at the site, and they sound like they're the way to go if you can afford it. To be honest, I'm tossing around the idea of buying the Rigging Cd.

How involved does the cd get? I downloaded a free rig for a sort of demon/gargoyle figure that uses an ik setup where you stretch a null, and each axis rotates a different finger, and had all sorts of modifiers for bones that I normally just leave alone. It literally is the most complex setup I've seen (granted, I'm still very much an amateur), so if it covers really complex rigs like that, then I think I better start putting some cash aside. I guess what keeps me from buying it, is I don't want to go and spend the money and see only basic setups... does that make sense? It's late, I need sleep,

Good Luck,


11 November 2002, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by Celshader

"Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader" shows you how to construct a celshaded elf-girl character model from scratch. It features 462 illustrations and over 717 steps, but you can start at any one of 45 starting points, loading the appropriate version of the model from the book's CD-ROM.


I have a couple questions for you

Are you the author of the bonus anime tutorial, if so, can you post some pictures of the character ... maybe a few during the process and some completed

Is the tutorial available to dl once you put the code in or do you need to use the browser

Do you need any special plugins to go along with this

11 November 2002, 08:53 AM
Hey Merlin,
The Rigging covers a lot of material and you get support time online with it.
Ive Rigged and animated at 3 studios and have learned the hard way...KEEP IT SIMPLE! :)
I have gotten more and more away from all those auto this and auto that stuff. For the most part its a huge waste of effort. It TECHNICALLY fun to do but in the end a waste of effort. I do show how to do those kinds of setups and then I show what I feel are better ways. Too many people create so called professional rigs that are anything but that. What I show in the rigging cd is to determine what a rig must be able to other words how to you make it as poseable as possible, stable as possible and EASY to work with without creating the frankenstein monster. I talk about principles that a good rig must follow...these principles apply to ANY 3d app. I then show various ways to achieve those principles within Lightwave but you come away with knowledge that will work in any 3d program. Many of the things I show are not found in any LW books or videos that I know of. :)
I also would recommend looking at the modeling part of the course at least because IMO modeling is also a part of rigging.
If the model isnt set up correctly it wont deform properly.

11 November 2002, 02:17 PM
I love the fact that I can view the CD's over and over again.....I can't tell you how many times I've taken notes when watching someone do something cool in LW only to find out my notes missed one key step......The Cd's are a great resource that I keep next to my machine for quick reference.....

11 November 2002, 03:53 PM
Yep, I agree totally that this is the way to go. One of the things that I really like is that the course is completely self paced. I wound up taking some time away to study some anatomy and life drawing books, and was able to go back and apply that to the lecture material on the cd's. I'm sold on video as a learning medium.


11 November 2002, 07:25 PM
Originally posted by Kaiser_Sose

I have a couple questions for you

Are you the author of the bonus anime tutorial, if so, can you post some pictures of the character ... maybe a few during the process and some completed

Is the tutorial available to dl once you put the code in or do you need to use the browser

Do you need any special plugins to go along with this

Yup! I created the "Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader" tutorial. I have pictures of the completed elf-girl here:

I also have a QuickTime turnaround of her here:

You need a browser to see the tutorial. For what it's worth, some folks have used offline browsing utilities to download the entire web tutorial to their hard drive for offline viewing.

You do not need any special plug-ins to follow the tutorial, though I strongly recommend following the "Spline Basics" tutorial on the book's CD-ROM before starting the "Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader" tutorial.

You can preview the table of contents for the "Character Modeling and the Super Cel Shader" here:

11 November 2002, 08:15 PM
Ive known Jen for awhile now. She definately knows her stuff...ESPECIALLY when it comes to CEL shading. Shes got some great information on how to model with the end result (cel shaded) in mind. Good stuff! :)

11 November 2002, 03:47 AM
Celshader/Jen Hachigian, the author of the Elf Girl, Kara, was the first modeling tutorial that I did in Lightwave. That character chapter single-handedly got me into Lightwave. It's well-written - once you finished model and celshading, it looks exactly as advertised. The steps are clear; the result, astonishing.

But you will have to buy the book to learn how to model that character.

To let the methods sink in forever, you may have to try to do the modeling yourself the second time without the chapter's help.


11 November 2002, 03:54 AM
Sounds good

So I gather this was done with the supplied celshader in LW and not the plugins on the net

Which celshader do you use now

I t looks like you model with the same approach as Larry ... splines

11 November 2002, 03:59 AM

You just need the book, the link to the model's tutorial website, and some free time. No plugins needed.

I think the more modern celshader, which was not used but mentioned in the book, is BESM (Big Eyes Small Mouth).


11 November 2002, 04:07 AM
and BESM comes with LW :)

so your set !

11 November 2002, 04:09 AM
Jens a smartie! We worked together back when she got her first job out here in Hollywood. We spent a few hours together where I showed her how to model with splines. She caught on quickly and soon applied it to her celshading and she does some awesome stuff. She would be the first to agree that splines in LW are VERY underrated. The type of nice smooth mesh you get from spline modeling creates surfaces that work very well with celshading. As she puts it, the splines show where you will get ink lines.

11 November 2002, 04:31 AM
Although it is important to learn all methods, I am becoming aware that spline method is emerging as my preferred method because it gives us the overall shape, tone or definition very quickly. Thus, it guides us where to place our next shape with less guessing.

The box method, for me, is like a sculptor chiseling a slab of hard concrete into a beautiful structure or model.

The extender method, shown in Dan Ablan's Lightwave head chapter, is similar to placing slowly pieces of plaster or cast-like material onto a person or model, adjust corners here and there, let it dry, and then we have the hardened model. This method, as I find out, also creates tremendous-looking head.

The spline method feels, for me, like a clay artist, having neither a concrete slab nor the plaster sheets, uses clay (a forgiving material) and wires to create the shape. The wire is used as a guide and the flexible clay is used to give it form. Thus, it feels like a hybrid of the two methods above, just as the clay is the flexible element between the concrete and the plaster materials.


11 November 2002, 05:00 AM
I know what you mean....splines used to be my preferred method but now I use splines where theyre best suited and other methods where theyre best suited. I dont like the so called box method because you have to deal with the WHOLE head at one time which is what you have to do when working with clay or stone. The computer lets you pick and choose what works best.
This head started out as a single poly and Im able to quickly work it into a head. This is about 20-30 minutes. Splines taught me a very important to get form AND flow. Now that I understand what flow is and how to get it I can apply the same principles that I use when spline patching to working with SubDs. This head is done using the method I teach on my Character CDs.

11 November 2002, 05:14 AM
Yes, you have to adapt to different situation or needs. You cannot bring a long staff and fight in a phone booth. We can term this method as the whatever-works method (e.g. plugin-buying, contracting-out methods).

I remembered reading this Zen saying earlier, "Before I study zen, a mountain, to me, is just a mountain. A tree is just a tree. While studying zen, a mountain is no longer a mountain. A tree is no longer a tree. But after understanding zen, a mountain is just a moutain and a tree is just a tree."

You can simply say this while working with Lightwave, "Before I study modeling, a model is just a model and a tree is just a tree. While I study modeling, a model, to me, is no longer a model and a tree is no longer a tree. But after understanding modeling, a model is just a model and a tree is just a tree."

... Rock

11 November 2002, 05:29 AM
...and little furry creatures from alpha centauri are still little furry creatures from alpha centauri...

11 November 2002, 05:31 AM

Can you check your PM

11 November 2002, 06:03 AM
Im not sure if I can check my PM in public....what PM? :)

11 November 2002, 07:44 AM
private messages ... on the bottom of the forum home

11 November 2002, 08:46 AM
Your PM is full. :)

11 November 2002, 12:44 PM
I cleaned it out a few days ago

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