Is it worth upgrading from LW v8 to v11.6 for modelling?

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Old 09 September 2013   #1
Is it worth upgrading from LW v8 to v11.6 for modelling?

I used to do game development in Lightwave8. It was almost entirely done in Modeler with simple basic rig creation in Layout.
I have helped a coder friend out with an iOS project of his a year or so ago using LW8 as that is what all his conversion/game tools are based on. Now he has come back with a request to do a HD version so I though I could just tessellate the mesh (sorry, I cannot remember the real name of the tool, I use Max at work so my head is in THAT space for my sins!). This worked fine except the weight maps didn't cascade nicely over the newly created vertexes, so that brings me to my question.

For a MODELLER, have there been enough improvements and fixes to warrant the outlay to get V11.6?

I know there have been tons of improvements to rendering / work flow/ animation / all the stuff I don't use... but what about making weight maps more useful or visible. What about simpler, less arcane methods of doing basic tasks. Has there been $600 worth of improvements?

Also will it even run on a Windows XP / Pentium 5 laptop? - Ah.. just checked on Newtek site and that is way below min spec... and then there's the graphics card...

Ok so the question is... Has LW11.6 had a big enough set of modeller improvements to warrant the upgrade and a new computer... :-/

Thanks for any help or advice
 
Old 09 September 2013   #2
Lightwave 11.5 brought in some nice new modelling tools. The first update to modeller for a long time. Working with weight maps in modeller has improved since version 8.

Probably worth downloading the demo to find out first hand.

kevman3d gives a demo of the new modeller tools that came with 11.5. Have a look and see if they are worth the upgrade:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPIwySOil2s
 
Old 09 September 2013   #3
Thumbs up

Hello Mr Verve,

At last a modeller update!
Thanks for the video link... Interesting how many of those new tools were in S World many many years ago... Still, cann't complain and Max is only just catching up too (I loved my Synbolics).

I'll download when I get the chance and give it a whirl, though something tells me my clockwork laptop wont be up to it!

Thank you again,

Andy
 
Old 09 September 2013   #4
My best guess based on what you've said is no, but as said, you can get the trial version to check it out. There have been a number of small advances that, when taken together make the 11.x modeling experience significantly better than the v8 one, but nothing really big and the core of it is pretty much unchanged. I don't recall any significant advances on the vmaps front... They have worked hard on import/export though, which could be important if you wanted to move some of the models off to a format Max could read (.obj, .fbx) for UV or additional modeling work.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #5
To be honest, from what I've read, I wouldn't think the update was worth it.
If you have some of the free plugins for modeller and have LWCAD, there is little that would be "wow" enough in terms of upgrades to modelling. The focus for a few releases now has been on the Layout / rendering / pre-vis side. There were many of us who constantly lamented the lack of focus on modeller but to little effect. Maybe LW13 or LW14 may finally bring the attention to modeller, but then, I thought that about previous releases.

If you do have LWCAD with your LW, you've got pretty much the tools to do the job if you're not looking to migrate away from LW. I downloaded the LW11 demo but for modelling, was left feeling "meh" about it. As usual, your milage may vary.
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Old 09 September 2013   #6
Originally Posted by colkai: To be honest, from what I've read, I wouldn't think the update was worth it.
If you have some of the free plugins for modeller and have LWCAD, there is little that would be "wow" enough in terms of upgrades to modelling. The focus for a few releases now has been on the Layout / rendering / pre-vis side. There were many of us who constantly lamented the lack of focus on modeller but to little effect. Maybe LW13 or LW14 may finally bring the attention to modeller, but then, I thought that about previous releases.

If you do have LWCAD with your LW, you've got pretty much the tools to do the job if you're not looking to migrate away from LW. I downloaded the LW11 demo but for modelling, was left feeling "meh" about it. As usual, your milage may vary.

Yeah, LWCad puts the Modeler toolset on steroids -- it really puts Modeler on a higher plane in terms or straight polygonal modeling toolset. Despite the "Cad" in the name, it has many tools that replace similar ones from the native, and has really nice additions for advanced extruding and beveling. It also adds in a proper NURBS curve toolset if you like to use curves as modeling primitives.

If you were interested in coming back to LW on a more regular basis, Layout has VPR viewport rendering which is a huge boon to doing texturing and lighting, though more useful in an off-line render workflow than for real-time. The key advances on the modeling side that I have incorporated into regular use are:
- A couple of very good split tools
- An edge toolset originally developed by Liberty3D which really enhances a faces-and-edges workflow (as opposed to the old faces-and-points workflow).
- A new Tweak tool
- A new transform tool which includes translate/rotate/scale, extrude, and normals awareness to facilitate off-axis modeling (one of LWM's biggest weaknesses)
- I already mentioned workflow with other apps: GoZ with ZBrush, improved OBJ and FBX import/export, so you can take advantage of better toolsets for things like UV mapping in other apps.

You know, I think they have a pretty good upgrade deal going right now. It might be worth it for you to upgrade a seat even if all you are doing is getting your assets out to OBJ or FBX. In terms of that specific weight maps issue when tripling your meshes, the demo should be able to shed light on that. If all you are doing is dividing quads to triangles, that seems like it should work fine. If it doesn't, it would be great if you could report that at least on the LW support forums. Maybe they could take a look at that before releasing the in-progress 11.6. Good luck, and suggest you use the Newtedk LW forum if you want more detailed feedback. This forum is very low traffic now.
 
Old 09 September 2013   #7
Hi Guys,

Thank you for all the advice :-)
I have been using LW8 pretty much neat and out of the box. If the Vmaps haven't advanced much it looks like LWCAD might be a better way to "upgrade".
Basically the vmaps cascade nicely to the new verts over the shoulders but it is on the face and neck bones that the problems occur. I think it might just be that on the low res mesh these verts are controlled 100% by one bone so when the new trippled verts are created Modeller assigns them 100% to the head rather than 50% head 50% face bone. Maybe the shoulders work because there are verts with 2 bones controlling them so Modeller knows what to do with the new ones.
I will do some screen grabs and post them to show the problem.
Thanks again,

Andy
 
Old 10 October 2013   #8
Cool

Well, if there should be a reason to upgrade to 11.5, and soon the free update 11.6, it's because of the modeler tools.

Compared to older versions they're a lot more advanced and more 'en par' so to say with other 3D packages.
But, if you're going to do a lot of modeling, I'd invest in Silo as a side-tool.
It has some insanely great tools that other packages have just started to get in their recent versions.

I tried to do some modeling in Maya 2014 with the "plastered-on" VEX toolset, and I could never use that on a daily basis.

So, the answer to the question is YES. I would upgrade because of the improvements in Modeler alone, knowing that they will get even better any day now with the free 11.6 update.

I was part of the whole "Hard Core" member club and watched the supposedly new Lightwave being developed, but I just concluded with that if this is going to be the new Lightwave, I'd better go learn something that works, so I learned how to use Blender and Silo, which both have incredible modeling tools.

Lucky for us, the "Core" was more or less abandoned and used as a codebase for new tools going into 11.

Lightwave is finally "back-on-track" again, and that makes me happy, because this was one of my first introductions into the world of 3D.

The features they've managed to put into 11.6 is pretty amazing and again Lightwave could be your "one stop shop" for a total production pipeline for a small studio or a freelancer.

I'm doing a review of 11.6 on my blog next month, so keep an eye out for that!
Thoughts Of a MadMan
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Old 10 October 2013   #9
Originally Posted by colkai: To be honest, from what I've read, I wouldn't think the update was worth it.
If you have some of the free plugins for modeller and have LWCAD, there is little that would be "wow" enough in terms of upgrades to modelling. ...
If you do have LWCAD with your LW, you've got pretty much the tools to do the job if you're not looking to migrate away from LW. I downloaded the LW11 demo but for modelling, was left feeling "meh" about it. As usual, your milage may vary.


Well, not everyone use CAD tools when modeling, and for free-form modeling typically done for a game, I see no real benefit of using LWCAD.

But it is a really great (and expensive) plugin if you do a lot of arch-viz stuff...
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Old 10 October 2013   #10
To be honest, I don't do huge amounts of cad work, some arch vis, but LWCAD actually I feel is let down by it's name sometimes.

There is no modelling that doesn't benefit from the 'standard' LWCAD toolset in LW, it just adds things to Lightwave that have been lacking for so many years it isn't even funny. A lot of it is *still* missing from 11.5 from what I can see.

I think once you've had a chance to bring LWCAD into your toolset, you can see it's benefits, but there is that assumption that if you don't do CAD/arch-viz, it's not useful. If you get a chance to play with it on a computer I'd heartily recommend doing so. If you do any hard-body modelling you soon grow to wonder how you used modeller without it, (well I did for sure).

Yep, I'll admit I am a HUGE fan of it, but then, so is anyone who uses it it regularly, which says enough. Just do a search on youtube for lwcad.
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Old 11 November 2013   #11
CGT
sure thing, LWCAD is nice, but sometimes some seem to hype it more than it is worth.

for architectural stuff, sure great.
for modeling a sports car, not so great, though i'm sure it can be used here and there too, with benefit.

people saying LightWave is no good without LWCAD have...
1- either no idea what they are talking about
2- are stuck in a CAD world (which is fine, if you do that stuff, get it, it's great)


and yes, the upgrade is worth it!

for newbies there is a discount now for the full package ($995)
https://www.lightwave3d.com/news/ar...ve-116-software
CGT

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Last edited by erikals : 11 November 2013 at 05:43 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2013   #12
I dunno, strip away the 3rd party plugins from modeller and frankly, it really shows it's age. I still use it for sure, but it's hardly up to other software out there and the lack of updates to it over the years have been, at best, frustrating.

Still, I supposed it's like an old PC, you keep using it because it isn't broken, it may be slow and cumbersome, but when you can't justify paying out for something new, you stick with what you know.
Not the most glowing view, but a reality of life. Still wouldn't say in modelling terms the LW11 upgrade is worth it as again, all the focus seems to be elsewhere. Forgive me if I am not 100% swayed by the argument that the next rewrite will bring untold changes in that area, it's a statement I've seen far too often in the past that has come to nought.

LW9.6 works, with 3rd party plugins, to do most things, these days, I find I can jump my models back and forth between Blender and LW giving me access to features still lacking in LW so whilst it means needing to know more software, it turns Blender into a very powerful Lightwave "plugin", or vice versa.
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Old 11 November 2013   #13
CGT
well, owning LightWave 11.6, i think it is a great upgrade, and i wouldn't be without it.
if you upgrade i'm sure you will feel the same.

even if you decide to wait, LightWave is awesome in the way that you can upgrade at any time from any version.
it's hard to beat a deal like that...


Cgt
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Old 11 November 2013   #14
OH, I'm not denying there are good things in 11.6, but again, most of it is layout centric as the new direction is that way inclined, just after so many releases with promises of addressing modeller, well, one gets a tad jaded.

If I had any income, I may look at it again in future, but life has turned to ensure upgrades are out of the question. Even if I did have spare cash, it would be after any modeller upgrades as that is still where I spend a lot of my time.
Right now, 9.6 + LWCAD + 3rd party plugins + Blender give me the best shot at doing what I need to do. For those living in the Layout section of LW, there are obviously benefits to moving to 11.6 over 9.6, that much is clear.

Lightwave will always be on my machine, I've spent too many years using it for it to not be, it is like an old pair of shoes, comfy and known. Though it is no longer where I spend my time exclusively.
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Old 11 November 2013   #15
Originally Posted by colkai: Lightwave will always be on my machine, I've spent too many years using it for it to not be, it is like an old pair of shoes, comfy and known. Though it is no longer where I spend my time exclusively.


Nicely put!
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