A question about the general workflow of LW


So, going to LW from Maya isn’t too easy job, hard to let go of some of the principles. I’m learning the camera-keys though :wink:

So, been playing around with LW for a couple days now, and there are some things I really don’t understand, and would like to know how you more experienced people deal with 'em.

  1. LightWave doesn’t let you pick edges? Damn, this is a hard one to me. I mean, doing something normal like Wings/Mirai/Nendo-connect doesn’t seem to be possible in LW. Sure Bandsaw works if you need to do a loop around the whole model, but if you want turns or split triangles, and such, it’s not possible with it.
    I found the plugin which let’s you add and remove edges (EdgeTools was it’s name, I think?), but it seems to be rather unstable. Like it let’s you select edges behind your model, so at times it tries to make something which is impossible, resulting a crash. That’s somewhat risky to play with, I think :wink:
    So… any more good edge-editing tools?

  2. How do you bevel stuff? I don’t mean the fake LW-bevel which is just a renamed extrude (:p), but the tool to i.e. round edges. I’m not even sure how this would be possible to do in LW, because it doesn’t support edge selecting, but beveling is just so mandatory thing. There must be a way you LW’ers bevel your edges to catch highlights and look more natural, etc.

  3. Normals. Is it possible to modify the face/vertex normals in LW? Maybe trough some LScripting? LW quite nicely keeps the normals in control, unlike Maya, which nicely screws up most of the normals after a few extrusions :wink:
    But with games, smoothing is controlled with normals, how do you control what get’s smoothed and what doesn’t? (Maya offers quite nice tools for adjusting normals)

Ok can’t think of anything else besides these, maybe later then :wink:

Edit: Actually…
4. Snapping. This question propably deserves the RTFM -answer, but anyways. How can I snap verticles to things? Like for an example to other verticles, the grid and such? I tried the Snap tool, but it doesn’t seem to work too well, or atleast like I’d want it to (;)). And it seems to be only for snapping points to points, and I’d like to be able to snap things to the grid aswell. Is this possible, and how?


Most of your questions can be answered by reading the manual or by looking on Flay.com for script/plugins.


First off, indeed you’ll find all your answers on things you can (and canNOT) carry over from Maya by going throught the manual a few times.

Now, I do suggest you give LW a fair try. On one hand, it does seem to force you to go the looooong way for some things, compared to Maya. But I’m guessing it will quickly grow on you, like it did with me.

I have come to a conclusion. Approximately 80% of the things I am still trying to bring over are indeed do-able, but apparently it takes a… high-level LW guru to know how. It feels a bit like reinventing the wheel, but stick with it… :slight_smile:

BTW, LW’s biggest plus, IMO, is its renderer. It’s as much above Maya’s native, as Maya’s workflow is above LW’s…

/me runs and ducks :slight_smile:



Well… so you don’t get discouraged… the answer to most of your questions is that out of the box you simply can’t do it… or you can with difficulty or using round about methods. – Flay can provide a solution to a lot of the things you mentioned… but othewise you sorta zoomed right in on some of LW’s limitations. – After a while though… you learn to work with things that they really aren’t that limiting… but that’s the over-arching learning curve that takes time… aside from just the other stuff you read in a book.



You’ve got to read lots as you make that transition. :shrug:

A plug called mentory will help your beveling needs. As well, there seems to be an interactive one coming out soon.
MB, a moderator for this forum, has shown ways to use bandsaw in limited zones. (If my memory serves me well tonight.) As well, he seems to be proficient with the edgetools.

I’ve no idea what you really NEED as regards your normals question outside of saying pick the offending polygon and press ‘f’.

Truly, RTM. It doesn’t get enough to add the F. :eek:

Robert Wilson
UnCommon Grafx


“It’s as much above Maya’s native, as Maya’s workflow is above LW’s…”

Maya’s workflow lacks in alot of areas where LW’s doesn’t. Modeling, texturing, and rendering is far better in LW than it is in Maya. However, doing some stuff is better in Maya though–mostly animation related stuff.


It’s all a matter of preference.

I still haven’t found the do-all be-all package though, and I’ve been with MAX, LW, and Maya, each for 2-3 years (well, more with 3DS). They each have their strengths and weaknesses. I plan soon to dive into XSI and give it a long stretch as well, when schedule permits…

For this thread, IMO Maya’s workflow wins over. LW always feels quite more constricting. It just takes too much effort to do some simple things. Its strongest aspect, and the reason I ever gave it a shot in the first place, is its renderer, and the fact that it had a -very- decent, though again simplistic/constrictive, SubD implementation very early on…

On a side note topic : I’ve seen more than often Maya and 3DS users express disklike/disappointment with their selected platform, but I also have a LW-using friend that actually takes such criticism personally. Almost like telling a vi user that there are easier ways… :slight_smile:

Botton line is you can do your work, aside from some very specialized requirements I suppose, on any platform. It all comes down to how deep you’re willing to dig, and what you can afford…


  1. Edgetools work for me most of the time. I use it constantly to add edges and remove edges. You just have to get used to it.

  2. Get Bevel ++ --cost a little money, but well worth it. You can Bevel with it like you did in Maya until Kingdom come.

  3. “Unify Polygon” or Align should solve this.

  4. Cman has a snapping pluging.

I am surprised you haven’t mention character animation part of LW yet, you’d love it coming from Maya! (maybe not!) :slight_smile:


What choo talkin’ 'bout, Willis?!



Thanks for the replies, and first of all I’m not going to ditch LW because I don’t like it… I bought it because I don’t have the money for a full Maya license (Student…) and the educational license seems to be impossible to get, so now I’m an LW’ist and that’s it. Wether I like it or not :wink:

Oh and about LW’s renderer being better than Maya’s… well, MR seems to be the default one for now on (If you want), and it’s good, really good.

And I’ll try out the suqqestions posted, thanks.

If I don’t like the modeler of LW, I can always try to use Wings3D with it. Atleast with Maya it was a perfect solution, the obj importers and exporters of both apps worked so seamlessly that it was a pure joy to work with, maybe I’ll try it with LW too.


just about the “features list” way of think. From the Interview with Softimage’s Michael Isner


Sure other companies will try to write feature lists with similar items, but that’s not the point. The point is the clarity of the design process.

example : -you have soft selection in Max, LW and Maya. In Maya you have to deal with nodes, define curve or use mel Script + the answer from the tool is slow…In LW you have magnet or pole. The tools are very quick but not very predictable. In Max you have the better soft selection at the moment, i think. You can see fallof in real time, you can change interpolation curve quickly and you have gyzmo…

  • You can paint weight for bones deformation in Maya,LW and Max. In this area there nothing like artisan ( i havn’t try XSI) for me…

  • You can find Bandglue in LW and Maya ( reduce edges ). In Maya the answer from the tool is very slow + you have very strange result often…In LW this very quick and easy.

-You can find a modifier for relax vrtx in this 3 apps. For me the better is the one you have in Max ( In Maya you have average vrtx —>not very good but you have also artisan which is very good for smoothing in local area )…

-In LW or XSI you can find Drag…This tool is pure ergonomy


Let’s not forget, the artist makes the program what it is…not the other way around. Anything new is going to take time to learn. LW, like Maya is a very deep program. It’s a beast that can’t be tamed overnight…if you really want to understand it, get comfortable with it, and good at it, then spend the time in it. LW and Maya have their strong points…but I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other. Look at companies like Digital Domain. There is a reason they use LW with Maya (have you seen the new Adidas commercial?) in production.

Furthermore, check out Rustboy.com. This guy is amazing and he’s doing this with inexpensive, off-the-shelf software, Carrera I believe. So like I stated above, it’s the artist, not so much the program that produces great work. LW , Maya, 3DS, etc… are just tools in our tool box. The better we know them the better we can make our visions come to life.


So there’s my 2 cents. Just my opinion. But before you pass judjement on an app. like LW, do some research, talk to people, be patient and learn.


-wt-, if you are a student, look into JournedEd.com. They sell stuff for students.
You can get a Educational Version Student License of Lightwave for $395, license lasts indefinitely.

Or you can get Maya for $495, but license expires after 1-year.

Or you can get XSI Student for $495, license now lasts indefinitely like LW.

I work at a school, that’s how I know about them. You just need to provide your current official schedule or Student ID. Afaik, they do check.


-wT- most of the modeling problems you encounter are because LW requires a different modeling method than most programs out there. To make edge tools more stable you can try selecting just the polys you want to split, this will make a huge difference if you’re working on a very high polygon model. You can also try bandslice for bandsaw-like operations that aren’t in a row or loop.

LABuzz, not sure if you already know this but soft selection in LW is more than just a few tools like pole and magnet. First off, you can use the right mouse button to draw the falloff zone for any of the regular soft selection tools and you can use the numeric panel to adjust the falloff curve and type. Also, almost all of the modify tools can use weight maps to define a soft selection if you need to be very precise.


Originally posted by Hamish
Furthermore, check out Rustboy.com. This guy is amazing and he’s doing this with inexpensive, off-the-shelf software, Carrera I believe.

If he was using Lightwave, he would have been done by now.


I know this already DaveW, fallof just pop up everywhere in LW, but i am talking here about a more specific fallof feature ( the nearest if you want). In my opinion you loose a lot of benefice because you dont have a good gyzmo ( + visual ref with colors on vrtx ). In max you can use fallof more easely in perspective view for organic modeling.


Just interesting how many times u use pole or magnet /dragnet ?
I think i used these tools only 3-4 times in all my LightWave career ( i’m with Lightwave from ver. 5.5 )


Hey Eugeny,
I dont use Pole ( very strange and funny tool. Maybe this useful for animation but…we are not in the layout…) but i am using magnet and dragnet quiet often for sculpt and i think this tools could be a lot more useful with better visual ref ( Display of the direction of the effect when i am moving the mouse vertically and horizontally, gyzmo, colors for fallof effect). But beyond this there 's the problem of the way LW manages deformation in modeler ( bend, twist, shear…) where the axe of deformation is always perp to the screen ( you can change the orientation of the gyzmo after but its time consuming because we dont have snap for help), for me there’s no intuitivity in this way of working + you have to deal with multi view for a better visibility of your deformation…Now you have spline guide, this tool is a lot more predictable and intuitive. I hope in LW8…:slight_smile:


Just a quick comment on Maya and LW, and no I don’t want to start a software war here, just seems funny hearing someone struggling with LW modeler !

I own Maya v4 and LW 7.5. Don’t get me wrong Maya is good.Some features are very good ( Hotbox,MEL, Paint Effects, Artisan,animation tools ) but nobody seems to mention how bad the modeling tools are.They’re awful. You get a horrible,slow,implementation of Subdivision surfaces, no decent soft selection option, nothing like bandsaw or ‘action centre : mouse’ in LW. It is the most unintuitive modeler I have ever used.The only good point is the extrude/bevel gizmo.I have no reason to be biased, owning both if Maya was more productive I’d be using it, but since I got LW, Maya has been sat gathering dust. LW is software made for artists where Maya seems to be more geared for technicians or programmers. I’m currently doing the best modeling I’ve ever done ( some of which I hope to post soon :slight_smile: ) , stuff that I never got close to with Maya because I was always fighting the tools.


how come this turned into a lw vs maya discussion. I take it that WT wants to know how lw works. And lw works differently. To the point:

  • In lw
  1. bandsaw can be worked on selected poly loops by flipping the poly loops first then bandsaw them and flipped them back. Or you can triangulate one of the quads that is in the path of the poly loop, then will stop bandsaw at the triangles. Edges can be either spin with the native spin quad for quads and spintri to spin triangle. And there’s a all in one spiner script out there that spin any combination of triangle\quad
    gons. You can turn off the display of those circle gizmos when using the add edge tool if you bring up the numeric panel. You may limit you edge tool to only selected polygons too.

2.Extrude is extrude, it’s not bevel. There’s bevel and smooth shift tool that’s probably what you are looking for. The smoo tool from Cman foots the bill for beveling multiple polys. It’s free.

  1. I haven’t really had the need for snapping to grid because once you zoom in and out the grid changes. but you might like to check out the display option panel and click on the units tab. there’s your snapping options.

Lastly, I personally don’t like to recommend scripts and plugins that cost $ to newcomers, unless it’s something like Shave or Realflow, etc. Small scripts and plugin that enhances workflow are usually free and can be found in flay. Plus I think learning the native tools first and then seek out the little enhancers is the way to go.