A New Era in SpecialFX

WaveGuide© is dedicated to LightWave 3D and especially to those hundreds, perhaps thousands of amateur artists who've found LightWave a little difficult to master. It's especially aimed at new starters and wannabe renderers, people who want to get into 3D, but haven't a clue where to begin. For those people, WaveGuide may provide some inspiration. As for me, I was hooked on LightWave long before I could aspire to owning it. I saw LightWave pictures in magazines and I was just blown away by their beauty. And of course the nineties heralded a new era in SpecialFX. Film makers were no longer using paper and plastic models, but creating them in cyberspace, thanks to LightWave 3D.

Remember the Mimbari Wars?

This technological advance engendered a new breed of movies, especially but not exclusively in the sci-fi genre. Films like Terminator2 and Babylon5. Remember how spooky it was when that guy came out of the floor tiles? - That was done with LightWave. Remember when Babylon5 first appeared on tv? Remember the Mimbari wars? Were you impressed? You bet! But there's much more! Who could forget the superb aerial shots of Titanic! Remember all those people milling around the decks? - They were all LightWave models. Remember the underwater shots, when the Titanic's hulk slowly comes back to life? - yep, LightWave. And there's a wealth of new stuff too. Movies like Tomb Raider 2, The Matrix Reloaded, Blade 2, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Last Samurai - they all used LightWave's specialFX. And there are thousands of tv ads. There's the Colgate man made of toothpaste and Cadbury's luxurious melding of chocolate and cream. They were all created in LightWave 3D. Well it inspired me! I wanted LightWave, 'cos I wanted to do it too! So I did and the result is WaveGuide......Where I focus my effort. Where I continue to learn.

I Learned the Hard Way

Now I have to say, if you're a 3D professional or a LightWave enthusiast who's progressed through versions 5, 6 and 7 or perhaps moved on to Maya, there's little here to impress you! Realistically, few amateurs can afford a piece of software costing from two- to fifteen-thousand pounds no matter how brilliant is is! No, my audience is more likely to be looking out for LightWave4 second hand, or perhaps they've even picked up an early edition at a car boot sale. That's exactly how I started out with LightWave 3D. It was a typical case of running software without the instructions. Difficult! So I learned the hard way. Eventually, I managed to get LightWave4 (second hand) and later version 5. And thus I learned some more. In fact I learned so much in just trying to understand NewTek's literature, I decided to write my own manual, my LightWave Guide

I have a Confession to Make

But before we get too far down the line, I have a confession to make. I use an Amiga to run LightWave5. Unless stated otherwise, all the stuff you see on this site is created on an A1200 using little more than its native word processor. Indeed all the stuff I mentioned about Babylon 5, Terminator and Titanic was created on Amigas running LightWave 3D. And in The Abyss starring Ed Harris, that wobbly 'water creature' was created with an Amiga running TurboSilver (perhaps better known as Imagine). Now if you've never even heard of the Amiga, stick around! You'll be surprised at what can be achieved with eight or sixteen Megabytes of RAM and an operating system you could fit on a postage stamp!

They're Slim, they're Sleek and they're Value for Money!

Maybe that's why Amigas have been used by NASA to handle their spacecraft telemetry. Check out The Secret in Hangar AE and prepare to be amazed! The UK's Royal Navy uses 'em too! In fact Amigas are to be found managing airport and rail station information systems, interactive displays in museums, lighting rigs in theatres and in dozens of other 'public' applications we all take for granted.

For a comprehensive account the Amiga's contribution to film and television, sport and business, commerce and communication, to life in general, check out this link, then come back to learn more.

So, welcome to the world of Amiga! And if you're a fellow Amigan you're doubly welcome. Amigans are spread quite far and thin these days, but they're an enthusiastic bunch and many will know the unique role the Amiga has played in the evolution of LightWave 3D.

Anyone for Toast?

Way back in the mid-80s, when LightWave was first used commercially, it required a specially designed computer to go with it. They called it the Video Toaster. The LightWave/Toaster system took the FX world by storm and its fame spread. Soon, 3D enthusiasts around the world clammered for LightWave, but without a Video Toaster, few were lucky enough to use it. Eventually in 1994, LightWave was released to the public and you only needed an Amiga to run it. That was version 3, followed quickly by 3.1 and 3.5. Again only the Amiga would run the programme. NewTek, the owners of LightWave, developed the software on the Amiga platform because of its low cost video capabilities. And so it was for a considerable time. That's why I mentioned the Mimbari wars from Babylon5. Not only were those FX the most visually impressive seen since Star Wars, they were created using Amiga 4000s.

The Amiga's Movers and Shakers

I bet you'd like to know more about the Amiga? Well now's an excellent time to check it out. A brand new generation of the platform, the AmigaOne, is now available. This will soon be accompanied by the latest operating system, OS4 produced by Hyperion Software. A new concept in operating systems, the Amiga Digital Environment, together with hardware independent Amiga Anywhere, are already here. These are finding their way into mobile phones and PDAs, to provide unimagined capabilities. Go to the Amiga Inc web site for all the latest on the Amiga revolution. And if you run an x86/Athlon/Pentium PC, there are some excellent new emulators which will 'convert' your machine into a virtual Amiga. This allows you to run Amiga software, including what is arguably the most user-friendly operating system there is, Amiga OS3.9. For example, Amiga OSXL and Amithlon, from Haage and Partner, allow you to boot into the Amiga OS. This will make you realise what every Amigan already knows. There's a much easier way to do things! Also, You may care the visit Eyetech in North Yorkshire, UK. They're prime movers in the AmigaOne hardware scene. The Classic Amiga range is also well supported by people like Elbox in Poland. They're introducing new ways of doing things all the time.

OK, let's get back to WaveGuide.

I've got Balls

WaveGuide is my attempt to promote LightWave on the Amiga platform. That explains the checkered beach balls ('Boing' balls is the official term!) You'll find 'em wherever the Amiga is topical, but please don't let that put you off. LightWave is for anyone fascinated by 3D art. Whether or not the Amiga is for you, I hope you'll find something to inspire you in The Gallery. WaveGuide is also my way of helping you understand LightWave's functionality and maybe solve a problem or achieve a special effect. You may find this handy for various reasons. Maybe, like me, you don't actually have the official manual. Or maybe you find the manual confusing or lacking in detail. Both have been said about NewTek's literature over the years and my own experience supports that. So, if you've managed to get past page one, but you're struggling with page two, take a look here or just ask. I hope I can make the site relevent for people with questions about running LightWave 3D. If you have a query mail me and if I can help, I will. If your question has broader interest, I'll put your (anonymous) question and my answer on the site. The same thing goes for any tips you may like to share. After all, I'm still learning too!

So, where would you like to go?

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