|We speak to an industrial
designer who uses LightWave for all his visualisation
work. He also created the LightWave vX project that
got a lot of people talking, but, all things considered,
he would rather be playing Dragon's Lair.
I've just hit the big three-O!
Tell us a bit about yourself
and who you work for.
I'm a Northern lad at heart!
I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, which is
where I studied 3D design at Jacob Kramer College
of Art & Design. From there I enrolled on
the product design course at Coventry University.
After graduating in 1996 I started work for Creactive
Design based in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire,
which is where I now live.
Creactive are a product design
and engineering company, we design and help manufacture
products for all sorts of market sectors. It's
an interesting job, each project is always different,
plus it offers me many opportunities to render
the stuff we design!
did you see LightWave for the first time?
At a friend's house a long
time ago! He'd bought it after it was first separated
from the Video Toaster. He showed me some animations
he'd done on his Amiga 2000. They were of a drop
ship entering earth's atmosphere, I remember it
looking very real and I asked how he'd done it,
from what I remember it was a disc morphed around
the ship in the shape of the heat flare, the metamorph
amount was increased as it entered the atmosphere,
fractal noise was used with falloff to create
the flames, it was very good!
It left a lasting impression
on me, I remember being fascinated with LightWave
after that! I used to watch Babylon 5 and seaQuest
DSV just for the LightWave sequences, pointing
out they were done on the Amiga to almost anyone
who'd care to listen! Which was quite sad looking
did you first start using it?
I started using LightWave
properly after we decided to bring rendering and
animation in-house at Creactive, about 4-5 years
ago. We were looking at other packages but I insisted
we used LightWave, I knew it was capable of producing
the kind of images we were after.
We started off with v5 on
the Mac, but things got a lot better when we upgraded
to v6.5. Eventually we were forced to move over
to Windows because I needed to be using SolidWorks
(mechanical design software) which unfortunately
I doubt will ever be available for the Mac.
In the process we updated
LightWave to v7.0, the move was made much easier
with NewTek's decision to go multi-platform with
the dongle, a wise move on their part I thought.
Version 7 has been rock solid, and has easily
paid for itself many times over.
do you like about the package?
When you know where things
are in LightWave it's pretty easy to create fantastic-looking
images with little effort, you can rough out a
scene very quickly before you start to sit and
tweak lighting/textures etc. The render engine
still creates some of the best-looking images
I've seen, especially since radiosity was introduced
in v7. 'Backdrop radiosity', which I use the most,
has made it very easy to create stunningly realistic
images which are essential for product visualisations.
The fact LightWave can handle
large numbers of polygons is also essential in
our line of work, most of our objects are imported
from other modelling packages, as a result the
poly count is usually un-necessarily high, LightWave
just eats them up!