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Images, Graphic Design, and Digital Photography Discussion of all things graphics.

wanna learn 3D cg, is Lightwave 3D a good choice?

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Member Since: Jan 17, 2007
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I want to learn 3D cg. I wonder lightwave 3D would be good for beginners
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Member Since: Jan 22, 2007
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When I worked in 3D, I had the opportunity (via a best friend's mother, who was employed at a university) to start with 3DSMax5.

Extremely powerful, steep learning curve, and very versatile.

If you have the opportunity and funds, I don't personally see any reason to bother with anything else (some prefer Maya out of personal preference, but I'm sure its equally as capable in most aspects). I don't know how much it costs now, though. A pretty penny, no doubt.

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I started with Lightwave, and have used it a fair bit. Haven't recently, as I was on Lightwave 7, which was only an OS 9 version. Anyway, I really enjoyed using Lightwave. It's one of the big 3 (or so) animation packages. The other major ones being Maya and 3D Studio Max.

One of the biggest differences between Lightwave and the others, is that it's broken down into two separate apps. One to create, model and do most of the texturing, and the other to animate and render. This has both advantages and disadvantages. One advantage, is that it can be easier to learn where and how to do things. If everything is lumped into a single app, it could be pretty overwhelming. On the other hand, it can mean a lot of switching between apps. In newer versions, this isn't so much a problem, as you can 'jump' between them, so I think changes are carried over. Much like how linked images work in Indesign. I think Lightwave 9 is out now, which was supposed to be considerably faster and more powerful in almost all aspects, and should give you more freedom to model what you want and how you want it. In previous versions, you couldn't subpatch models if you had polygons with more than 4 points; now, I believe you can.

So, each app has its own strengths and weaknesses. A good idea would be to check out galleries and forums for each of the software packages (found through the company's site) This should give you a clear idea of what can be done through each app, and you should also be able to find a great range of tuts to get you started.

If you don't want to spend a whole lot of money, I suggest checking out Blender 3D. It's free, for mac and PC (I believe intel is also supported) and I've seen some fantastic images produced in it. The downside, is that it was so different to Lightwave, I really had no idea where to begin. It seems quite powerful though, and with some good tuts and manuals, could be just the start you need, especially since you won't need to pay anything.

Good luck!

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Another possibility would be Strata 3D. The have been writing this software for Mac for ages, adding features to it. And they were the first to have radiosity render for a very decent price (well below the $1000 mark).

Way back when there was Electric Image which, in the pre-OS X era, was the bees knees in 3D but it didn't have radiosity rendering and I think you had to buy an extra third-party rendering engine. Last time I looked, which was about 5 or 6 years ago, it still seemed like EI lacked that rendering feature. Now they do have it.
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If you wanna do 3D on a Mac, I'd highly recommend Cinema4D. They update the fastest out of anyone on the Mac platform:

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Member Since: Jan 17, 2007
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thank you for all your advice, they're really helpful!
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Member Since: Nov 19, 2006
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Well, I would also try out Blender, it's free, HUGE support if you get stuck which you will. And it's an all in one suite. It is a modeller, animator video sequencer, video editor, it has a game engine (bullet engine), and couple of more things. Sure the learning curve is steep but which 3D app isn't? You also did not mention if you want to go pro with CGI, if so then Blender is a great app that will get your feet wet in CGI. Give it a try it's only 9 MB...
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