3D Studio Max, LightWave, n’at: different names for the same things.

When I first moved to Northwestern Pennsylvania from Maryland a few years ago during my undergraduate studies, I was culture shocked. My fellow classmates seemed to share commonalities with me, though: we were all East Coasters and artists, but I quickly learned that while our common language was the same, the words we used for some things were different. I remember trips to the grocery store with new friends turning into learning experiences.


I’ve wanted to model a dinosaur for a long time, and when I picked up a dinosaur souvenir from the Carnegie Science Museum a few months back, I knew I had a source to draw inspiration from. I’m working on his texture soon, which will include colors and scales.

A friend would ask us, “Yinz wanna put the pop n’at in the buggy?” and everyone would be cool with it, while I’d be holding a bottle of soda wondering what just happened. I quickly caught on and eventually realized that “soda” and “pop” is the same thing, and that “buggies” and “shopping carts” serve the same purpose. I’m not prone to throwing a “yinz” or “n’at” around casually, but if a person was to bring one up in conversation, I could definitely follow their lead.

Working this fall with Studio Max is a lot like moving to a different part of the country.  It’s similar and it’s comfortable, but at the same time, it’s different. Just like with my move from Maryland to Pennsylvania, making a seamless transition from Lightwave to Studio Max takes a little bit of work. It is all about embracing a challenge and getting over the learning curve.  Overall, the processes in Studio Max and other programs I learned at Edinboro are pretty similar, but there are just different names for things.

The other day in class, I felt like a “yinzer” visiting Maryland for the first time. When asking my instructor a question about the points on a model I was working on, my instructor looked perplexed.

“Points? What points?” he asked.

“The points on this model?” I replied while gesturing to points I had made on the screen. In Lightwave, these dots are called points, so I figured this was common knowledge.

He looked relieved and said, “Oh! You mean the vertices. Here, let me show you.” Since we both finally understood each other, we were then able to figure out a solution to the problem I was having.

My chihuahua Glory in 3D Studio Max!

I’m referencing my drawing of Glory I did in Flash for this latest model. When modeling something, it’s crucial to make your model straight instead of posed so that rigging, aka adding the bones/skeleton, later on won’t be a challenge. Just like with everything in life, it’s important, when modeling, to be flexible and allow for things to evolve.

I am embracing this learning opportunity I have learning Studio Max. I know it’s an industry standard, so I’m relieved that I’ve been able to quickly learn the ins and outs of Studio Max. I feel that I’ve become even more flexible as an animator and am more comfortable learning new programs now than I ever have been. For the most part, these programs are all made of the same things; they just have different terms, buttons and commands. They may not all be in the same place, but I know that I’m more than confident that I’ll be able to find them, n’at.

3 responses to “3D Studio Max, LightWave, n’at: different names for the same things.

  1. Pingback: The Art of Working for Yourself: 5 tips to help you succeed when you first begin freelancing | Dorothy Groesbeck·

  2. Pingback: The Art of Working for Yourself: 5 tips to help you succeed when you first begin freelancing | Dorothy Groesbeck·

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