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9780735709195

Inside LightWave 6

Ablan, Dan

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LightWave 6 is a revolutionary release from NewTek. It promises to have groundbreaking new architecture, revolutionary rendering technologies and amazing character animation and modeling tools for lifelike animation. In order to keep pace with the software changes, New Riders presents its second Inside LightWave book, this one covering all the technology advances that are introduced in LightWave 6. Inside LightWave 6 takes the reader beyond their basic knowledge of the features in LightWave, to learning how to apply that knowledge to create professional-level scenes and animations. Inspirational graphics combined with real-world tutorials and insider tips make Inside LightWave 6 a must-have for every LightWave user. The CD-ROM features the material you'll need to work with the author as he walks you through Lightwave's feature set and capabilities. You also get dozens of sample files and demo versions of plug-ins: explore, create, and expand your skill set!

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Review:

NewTek's LightWave has been a dominant player in the 3-D animation tools genre since its origin on the Amiga platform, and the latest version really shows its developers' commitment to keeping it at the head of the pack. Inside LightWave 6 sheds light on the many new features for the experienced LightWave user, and it's also a solid learning tool for new users.

The author is an experienced LightWave user and author--he's written two widely respected books (LightWave Power Guide and Inside LightWave 3D). His savvy is evident in the construction, layout, and content of this guide.

An introduction to LightWave--along with workflow and style--makes up the first part of the book. This section also covers features that are new to version 6, but because there is so much that is new (NewTek rewrote the program from the ground up) you won't find a simple list of what's been changed. Instead, the book approaches the program from the beginning, describing in detail how the two separate modules--Modeler and Layout--work together to form a powerful animation system.

Experienced users might find themselves skipping this section, but they might miss out on something important if they do. After all, this section gives a solid background of features that are particular to LightWave 6--the Surface Editor, Modeler, Layout, Graph Editor, and LightWave 6 Cameras.

The next two sections speak to those with some experience. Part II discusses modeling and the features of the Modeler, using lights, creating environments, and methods of character construction. Part III covers features of Layout, the part of LightWave in which scenes are constructed, including models, lights, cameras, render options, skeletal structures, kinematics, and compositing.

Appendices A and B wrap up the book with discussions, explanations, and examples of LightWave's Expressions and LScript features. Expressions are mathematical formulas bound to a section of a model that can be used to free the animator from the mundane task of key-framing every last element. LScripts are used for automating and repeating a given set of LightWave actions.

For new LightWave users, and for experienced users who are upgrading to LightWave 6, this book is a handy resource and clear guide to most, if not all, of LightWave's features--a must-have reference. --Mike Caputo

About the Author:

Dan Ablan is the founder and president of AGA Digital Studios in Chicago. He has been using LightWave for over nine years, and for the past four years, has been an authorized LightWave trainer. Mr. Ablan's clients include Coca-Cola, Kenny Rogers, NBN Navistar broadcast network, Disney and more. Dan is a contributing editor to 3D Design magazine and the author of Inside LightWave 3D and LightWave Power Guide, both from New Riders Publishing.

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