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  1. #1
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    Question Houdini vs lightwave for beginners

    Hello,

    First I'd like to apologize if I posted in the wrong section.

    Second, I have a few questions (a lot in fact but I'll restrain myself), I hope you can answer them.

    I'd like to learn CG as a hobby, no plan on trying to find a job in that field. I'd like to do short movies and if I'm skilled enough, to do some special effects on my friends' movies (I know it's hard and all but I didn't specify a time frame for my becoming skilled enough )

    I'm totally new and I'm wondering which software I should use.
    I'm attracted by Lightwave and Houdini. For Lightwave, I can't explain why, I just like it. For Houdini, I like the system of nodes and procedural thinking. I am a programmer so maybe it has the same mindset.

    But then, what would you advise me, regardless of the price of the software? (I know houdini is free or cheap for non-commercial use).
    Can houdini render reel? (Is it the right term for "look real" composition?)
    Also, Which one do you think is easier to learn?
    Which one would be the best regarding the knowledge it would teach me?

    Last, more about your general opinion, do you think, according to your experience that I could, with time, manage to do something good without learning in a school? (I'm 29 and can't go back to school for cheap ...)

    This website has very nice video and I'm looking forward to trying Houdini but If you think I should focus on lightwave, please let me know. (I'm planning on learning both as I'm still hesitating)

    Sorry for the long post.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Welcome to the site!

    I like Houdini but, having not tried lightwave, can't really comment on which does what better...
    Quote Originally Posted by kurisutofu View Post
    Can houdini render reel? (Is it the right term for "look real" composition?)
    "render realistically"
    Bear in mind that the completely free Apprentice version has limits on output size & a fairly large watermark - amongst other limitations... But, in a word, yes!
    Last edited by fatgav; 02-10-2011 at 08:47 AM.

    I found
    my current avatar on google, so props to THIS GUY who created the original...

  3. #3
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    Thank you FatGav for your reply!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Tough question. I don't know of any limitation in Houdini that would prevent a realistic render. I think the Houdini HDRI vtms show that. Houdini scripting is much better than Lightwave in my opinion, but I like modeling in Lightwave much more than Houdini. I would check out some of the Houdini Fast Track videos on this site and look at some of the tips and tricks videos at Newtek to get a feel for how Lightwave works: http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77002
    A few years ago I made a Hovercycle video modeling, animating and rendering in Lightwave and using Houdini to composite. Near the bottom of the page here(second from the bottom): http://www.clintons3d.com/demoReel/index.html
    So bottom line is I say learn both.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    What program to use? Um....tricky.

    Ok in 25 words or less here we go. Generally speaking if you want to do a lot of modeling you should use Lightwave since it has layers, which artists love, and its boolean ops are very robust and efficient. If you want to do special effects then use Houdini since its node approach to 3D is perfect for a programmer and its physics are very impressive. However, there are some other programs you should consider. First of all there is Modo which is a creation by the original programmers of NewTeks Lightwave that left over artistic differences. Then there is Blender which is free and does physics, games and editing as well as all the rest. Finally there is Maya which does everything and that is why it costs so much. They use to have a personal learning edition but Autodesk canned it. Maya use to be owned by another company called Alias/Wavefront I believe. So which one should you use?
    One of the things that drove me mad about Lightwave was the constant upgrading that cost me as much money as the original license did so I use only free open source software now. But I did love using that program on my mac. I was using Houdini for physics stuff 'cause they have their free version but I am mostly programming in Unity now so I have not done much in the world of 3D lately. To answer your original question the best one to use depends on you. I would just try out the free slash demo versions and see which one you like. If you can't make up your mind just use Blender till you are sure then decide. Either way don't stress it. Good luck with your choice. Oh was that more than 25 words?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by clintman View Post
    Tough question. I don't know of any limitation in Houdini that would prevent a realistic render. I think the Houdini HDRI vtms show that. Houdini scripting is much better than Lightwave in my opinion, but I like modeling in Lightwave much more than Houdini. I would check out some of the Houdini Fast Track videos on this site and look at some of the tips and tricks videos at Newtek to get a feel for how Lightwave works: http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=77002
    A few years ago I made a Hovercycle video modeling, animating and rendering in Lightwave and using Houdini to composite. Near the bottom of the page here(second from the bottom): http://www.clintons3d.com/demoReel/index.html
    So bottom line is I say learn both.
    Thank you for your reply and the videos.
    One question though ... what is 'compositing'? (I will check on google but if you don't mind explaining, I'd appreciate)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodman7 View Post
    Ok in 25 words or less ... [or more]
    Thank you very much for your reply. And it's ok if it's more than 25 words

    I have tried maya but didn't like the interface (well, it was 3 years ago so it might have changed) and same for blender, though the latest version (2.5 I think) where they changed the UI looks nice.
    The thing with blender is that I haven't seen very good realistic videos (if you have some link, I'll take them ).

    Is it possible to do the modeling in lightwave and the effects in Houdini?

    Also, where does soft like zbrush fit in? Can I import zbrush objects in lightwave or houdini? Would that slow things down because of the high details from zbrush?

  8. #8
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    Jan 2003
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    I am a huge fan of Houdini and have used it for quite a while now. If you have programming experience you will find it's workflow very logical. For just straight modeling Lightwave would be a bit faster for most people but the advantage of Houdini is that it is not really a Model-Texture-Animate-FX-Render workflow. Everything is integrated to a level that is truely amazing. You can do things like use the COPs(compositing nodes) and SHOPs(Shader nodes) to shape the geometry. You can even bring in Audio and have that drive to shape, motion, or color of your object. To really utilize the power of it the user really has to break free from the conventional workflow as Houdini runs outside the boxes that typicaly define the use of most 3D software. Being an efficient(lazy) person I like to reduce workload werever possible and nothing I have used comes close. The nodes act as more than an infinite undo list, you can literally jump back in the process to tweak something and the rest of the workflow updates!
    Zbrush and other programs like that are not used for modeling from scratch very often. They are used mostly for refining a model that has been made in a different app. The big advantage is that you can work with extreme detail that would need millions of polys and then bake out normal/displacement maps that make your low poly model look like it is very high poly. An optical illusion which will greatly improve your workflow.
    As for modeling in Lightwave or any other app and then importing to Houdini it does work fine but you lose much of the power of integrated nodes I mentioned above.
    Last edited by jjstanley; 02-10-2011 at 08:37 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you jjstanley!
    You made me very excited to try Houdini! I'm looking forward to trying it! As soon as I can install my video card, I'll be on it!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurisutofu View Post
    Thank you for your reply and the videos.
    One question though ... what is 'compositing'? (I will check on google but if you don't mind explaining, I'd appreciate)
    It's the process of stacking and color correcting layers of video. I guess the simplest example would be rendering an image sequence from something like Houdini and then layering that sequence on top of a video you shot with your camcorder or shooting someone in green screen, removing the green and layering them on top of the video.

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