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                          Review: Light ROM Gold
  Bohus Blahut- Modern Filmmaker                 

Light ROM Gold

  A CD ROM collection of Objects, Textures, and utilities for NewTek's 
Modeler/Animator LightWave.  

  Graphic Detail
  4556 South 3rd Street
  Louisville, KY 40214
  vox/fax: 502.363.2986

  The Amiga has a rich history of an exceptionally active shareware/public
domain community.  After NewTek's release of the revolutionary Video
Toaster, and the subsequent success of LIghtWave 3D, the Amiga community
responded with megabytes upon megabytes of re-distributable objects.
Instead of you shaking down the Internet trying to find these objects,
Graphic Detail's Light ROM series has become a vital resource in hunting
these objects down.

  There have been three volumes in the LightROM series totalling over 6,000
objects.  Volumes came out every six months or so, and were cummulative;
volume three contained all of the objects from volume one.   This means
that volumes one and two on my shelf aren't really useful any more.
Graphic Detail must have agreed with me because Light ROM 4 will contain
all new material.  Hence Light ROM Gold.  This "Gold" disc has the best of
the previous three collections in anticipation of this all new volume 4.

  Material on this CD is culled from the Public Domain, though several
items are exclusive to the CD.  The contents of the CD are laid out twice:
once for LightWave 3.5 users, and again for LW 4.0 and up users.  LW 4.0
and later has a little-used facility: the Content Directory.  This works
much like setting up an "assign" in your Amiga's startup sequence.  Simply
input CD0: as your content directory, and you can wave bye-bye to that
pesky "object not found" window.  LW 3.5 users can simply load up their
scenes off of the CD by going to the disc's LW3_5 directory.

  This is a multiplatform CD, and with LightWave's migration to PC, SGI,
and now Mac and Sun, an investment in this CD can really pay off no matter
where you work.  The objects are categorized into Anatomy, Animals,
Aviation, Botany, Buildings, Furniture, Holidays, Groceries, Logos, Music,
Robots, Ships, Sports, Space, Toys, Vehicles, Video, and more.  Upon
entering these categorical directories, you simply choose a scene file, and
all of the objects and textures will load into LightWave.  There's also an
"objects" directory that has objects with no associated scene files.

  To aid you in object selection, there's a directory full of rendered
mini- thumbnails.  These are usually a 3/4 view of the object in living
color.  Also indexed in "thumbnails" is another directory of interest: the
"Showcase" directory.  This directory features the work of various
LightWave artists.  These include work by Dean Scott who has created
replicas of the Babylon 5 station and associated ships.  Also you can
peruse the work of Erik Flom who's demo reel is so excellent, that I use it
as an example of superior work in my video class. 

  Also on the CD is a tutorial directory with a massive textfile of
tutorials, and some tutorial objects teaching metaform concepts.  Also,
peer into the LightWave Plug-ins directory.  This is one of the new
features of LW 4.0 and up.  Plug-ins are sub-programs that work from within
LW.  They do everything from sophisticated texture mapping, to adding
complex collision detection to LightWave.  There's an Arexx directory with
some of the best Arexx work ever written for the Amiga.   These Arexx
scripts automate the creation of objects, move entire scenes and change all
associated paths, even automatically explode objects and create the
animated scene path!

  Wow!  What's not to like?  Not much.  The CD is well organized, and the
majority of objects are of outstanding quality.  Even the objects that are
a little simplified serve as excellent starting points for your own work. 
Many is the time that I've had a deadline breathing down my neck, and I've
been able to reach over and grab a LightROM, and use an object there as a
template for my own work.  Get this disc and, like me, you can eagerly
anticipate LightROM 4.