NewTek LightWave 3D 2018 v2018.0.1




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Powerful. Intuitive. Steamlined. Proven.

When time is short and the job impossible, LightWave 2018 simply delivers. Workflow enhancements and powerful new tools solve your animation and design challenges and streamline your creative process. Direct and robust, LightWave 2018 serves the artist first, for visual effects, motion graphics, game development, architectural visualization, product design and advertising.


New Features Overview

New Lighting Options

The video demonstrates:

  • Visible to Camera option for lights
  • Image option for lights
  • Normalize option, which controls whether the physical size of a light also affects intensity
  • Multiple Importance Sampling (MIS) option for many lights
  • Area Light:
    • Portal lights and how they affect rendering
    • Normalize option
  • Distant Light:
    • Angle setting
    • Texturing in the node editor
  • Environment Light:
    • Full sphere encompassing the scene
    • Lights using the mapped backdrop, with sampling controls
    • Produces specular highlights from the background, which Dome light in previous versions did not
  • Linear Light:
    • Size option
    • Ends option
    • Normalize option
  • NGon Light:
    • Same as Area Light, but has Sides control to set number of sides
    • When Sides setting is less than 3, light becomes a circle
  • Photometric Light:
    • LightWave 3D lights now use Lux as the unit for intensity (One lux = one lumen per square meter), so the .ies file for a photometric light now fully controls all characteristics of the light
  • Spherical Light:
    • Image map option
    • MIS sampling option
    • Normalize option
  • Spotlight:
    • new Size option, that turns the light into an area light with a spotlight cone
  • Primitive Light
    • Any mesh can be used as a light
    • The surface of the mesh can be sampled if the surface is set to luminous
    • A luminous mesh surface has an independent “Luminous Color” setting for the light from the mesh

Physically Based Rendering System

LightWave 2018 features a completely re-written shading, lighting and rendering architecture. The new PBR engine allows you to create images with greater realism and accuracy, yet remains intuitive to use.



Render & Light Buffers

To complement the new shading engine, render buffers for shading have been overhauled to deliver more flexibility and power for working with compositing. LightWave 2018 features new light buffers for breaking out lights and custom buffers that allow you to create any type of render buffer using the power of the node editor, including real-time preview of new buffers in any viewport using VPR.

Light Buffers


New Volumetric Engine

Using the new volumetric engine and primitives, you can specify physically based properties for your clouds and fog. These include, Scattering, Absorption, and Emission parameters, along with the use of powerful node networks to control all parameters.

volumetric engine


OpenVDB Support

New support for the Academy Award-winning OpenVDB library for volumetric data interchange. OpenVDB allows volumetric simulations from other 3D software such as Houdini® or Maya® to be imported and rendered in LightWave using the new volumetric engine.

Open VDB


New Lighting Architecture

The new lighting architecture brings physical lights that can be optionally visible to the camera. Primitive lights turn any geometry or primitive object into a physical light. Portal lights aid interior rendering. Environment light gives the look of Global Illumination without the render time. In addition, there is improved loading of IES web files which allow closer matching to the intensity of real manufactured lights.

lighting architecture


New Surface Editor, Material Nodes & Surface Preview

The Surface Editor has been overhauled for the new shading system with powerful node-based materials under the hood that are presented with a familiar interface including an enhanced Surface Preview feature.

surface editor


New Virtual Reality Camera

Create stunning virtual reality content using the new VR camera: includes both cylindrical and spherical modes with stereoscopic support. Ideal for creating stereo 360-degree renders and animations for VR applications or even to create your own HDR lighting probes.

VR camera


New Modifier Stack & Nodal Modifiers

Unlocks and simplifies the previously fixed order of operations for Bones, Morphs, Subdivision and Displacements. Drag and drop to re-order mesh deformations interactively.

modifier stack


New Cel Shader & Enhanced Edge Rendering

Offers flexible non-photoreal render control over material shading and allows gradient-based cel shading, while Edge Rendering can now use any material available in the Surface Editor to shade any line.

cel shader


Improved FiberFX Integration

Fibers are now generated using the new primitive object architecture. FiberFX is expanded to integrate closely with the new lighting and shading system and can use any material on the fibers.



New Layout-based Parametric Shapes

Parametric shapes allow you to create virtual primitive shapes in Layout that can be displaced, surfaced and rendered without needing any geometry or the memory overhead that comes with highly sub-divided geometry.

Parametric Shapes


New Physically Based OpenGL

Experience impressive real-time visual feedback with the enhanced PBR OpenGL system which includes added support for the new physically based materials, awareness of light exclusions, respect for light Specular / Diffuse toggles, and an accurate real-time representation of the new cel shader.



Noise Reduction Filter

Speeds up render times by using less Global Illumination rays and shading samples, while allowing for clean up of the resulting noise using the NR filter instead of increased render settings.

Noise Reduction


New Modeler Features

A ‘Layout View’ viewport shows the current camera view from Layout. In addition, LightWave 2018 Modeler provides new fully interactive tools including Lattice, Smoothing, Array and Spline Bridge to speed up your modeling.

Lightwave 3D Modeling

What's new

Lightwave 2018.0.1 Changelog



  • Intel® Core™ 2 or AMD Athlon™ II Processor (or better)
  • 64-bit System RAM: 4GB minimum
  • Available USB Port (for users with existing hardware dongles)

Operating System

  • 64-bit: Windows 7 through Windows 10 64-bit Edition



  • Intel® Processor
  • 64-bit System RAM: 4GB minimum
  • Available USB Port (for users with existing hardware dongles)

Operating System

  • Lion® 10.7.5 or better


Minimum Graphics Card

  • NVIDIA™ GeForce® 8400 series or ATI® X1600

Minimum Screen Resolution

  • 1024 x 768 pixels

Installation Requirements


  • All systems require 750MB available hard drive space (excluding content); complete Content library is approximately 3GB.
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