Dan Ablan's Inside LightWave books are the acknowledged reference for professional users of NewTek's 3-D modelling and animation software. Inside LightWave 7 has been virtually rewritten from the ground up, the only survivor from Inside LightWave 6 being Stuart Aitken's updated chapter, "Organic Modelling" (the one where you create the female head featured on the cover). All of the other tutorials are brand spanking new.
The first section includes an overview of new features and interface modifications introduced in versions 6 and 7. The bulk of the book's 1,000 plus pages is taken up with two sections-"A Project-Based Approach to Creating and Building 3-D Scenes" and "A Project-based Approach to Animating Scenes"--followed by a shorter section devoted to post-processing effects and output.
These projects are not the stuff of an afternoon's dabbling. "Creating and Building 3-D Scenes" contains five project-based chapters each of which, rather than concentrate on a specific technique or feature or detailing the construction of a specific object, covers every aspect from modelling and texturing to lighting and environment.
This approach requires a high level of commitment from the reader, but the benefits are a much broader understanding of how the whole thing fits together, as well as the importance of attention to detail in creating realism. Smaller chapters, like Lighting and Atmospheres, Realistic Lighting Environments, Nonlinear Animation and Motion Designer help to break the monotony.
It looks forbidding, but if you start at the beginning there's nothing that will be beyond the grasp of anyone who puts in some time with the software manual and completes a few basic projects. The lack of colour illustrations means it's not as eye-grabbing as some other books on 3-D CG, but there's more to achieving LightWave mastery than looking at pretty pictures and much of it is to be found in Inside LightWave 7. --Ken McMahon
From the Back Cover
Dan Ablan, award-winning animator and LightWave author brings you his best book yet. Inside LightWave 7 has been written to bring you up-to-speed and enhance your productivity with NewTek's LightWave 3D software version 7.0. No other book brings you as much comprehensive information. Work through clear step-by-step tutorials and pick up helpful tips along the way. As the most comprehensive book on NewTek's latest technology, this book teaches you how to enhance your skill set and utilize all of LightWave's functions.
About the Author
Dan Ablan is president of AGA Digital Studios, Inc., a 3D animation company in the Chicago area. AGA has produced 3D animation for broadcast, corporate, and architectural clients since 1994, as well as post-production services. Dan holds a B.A. in broadcast journalism from Valparaiso University, with a minor concentration in photojournalism. He is the author of four best-selling international LightWave 3D books from New Riders Publishing: LightWave Power Guide (v5.0), Inside LightWave 3D (v5.5), Inside LightWave 6, and LightWave 6.5 Effects Magic. He has released an on-going series of LightWave training videos through Christie Entertainment (http://www.classondemand.net) and has written columns and articles for LightWave Pro magazine, Video Toaster User magazine, 3D Design magazine, 3D World magazine, and NewTek Pro magazine. In addition, Dan was Technical Editor for Jeremy Birn's Digital Lighting & Rendering from New Riders Publishing. Dan has been teaching LightWave seminars across the country, since 1995 including at AGA Digital Studios, Inc., an authorized NewTek LightWave training facility. Visit http://www.danablan.com and http://www.agadigital.com.
Dan authored Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 (revisions for LightWave 7), 11, 12, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and the appendixes.
For the past seven years, Jarrod Davis has spent almost every waking moment slaving away at the computer, constantly trying to improve his skills in 3D animation and effects. And what has it gotten him? A fantastic job at Foundation Imaging working on shows, such as Roughnecks, Max Steel, and Dan Dare, nationwide commercials, and the fulfillment of his dream to work on Star Trek. With the support of his wonderful fiancée¿herself an aspiring animator¿he intends to proceed with his plans to conquer the world...when he gets some free time. Jarrod Davis is affectionately known as J-Rod. Jarrod authored Chapters 14, "Expression Applications," and 15, "Animation with Expression."
Stuart Aitken is currently head of 3D at Axis animation¿a company he co-founded along with several colleagues in 1999 with the aim of eventual total world domination of the 3D CG industry. Although often plagued by the lingering notion he really should be somewhere else by now, he still lives and works amid the gritty iron and sandstone landscape of Glasgow, Scotland. Stuart has been using LightWave for nigh on seven years now and amazingly still isn't bored. His particular emphasis is on organic 3D modeling, texturing, character setup, and expanding waistlines. Stuart created the cover image for Inside LightWave 6 and 7, and he authored Chapter 10, "Organic Modeling," for Inside LightWave 6. That chapter has been updated for LightWave 7.
Randy Sharp is currently a 3D animator at Digital Domain in California. He spent two and a half years at Foundation Imaging working on a number of productions, and was a supervising modeler for his last year there. Prior to working at Foundation Imaging, Randy worked at Applied Materials for 10 years, leaving as a manufacturing engineer. Randy authored Chapter 8, "Architectural Environments." There are many people that Randy could thank for the opportunities he's been given, but none of it would have happened without the love and support of his wife, Kathleen. Spending countless hours behind a computer monitor is hard, but having someone that supports him in every way imaginable is what gives him the strength to do it. Without her, Randy says, he would never have had the success and opportunities he has enjoyed. Randy would like to say thanks to Kathleen for helping him realize a dream.
Bob Cazzell holds a degree in electronic engineering and is the chief information officer for REZN8 Productions, Inc., an Emmy Award-winning graphic design, animation, and visual effects studio in Hollywood. Bob has been fooling around with computer graphics since the early 1990s and joined REZN8 in 1997 when he decided that the healthcare industry was not a fun and exciting career choice. He also thinks Bugs and Daffy are the greatest comedy duo in history. Bob supplied the technical references located at the end of Appendix B, "Lightwave 7 Plug-in, Tool, and Technical List.