Fresh. Fast. Easy. Proven.
NewTek LightWave 3D® makes it possible for anyone to become a 3D artist and animator. The software is affordable, complete, easy to learn and use and well established as one of the leading 3D systems on the market for producing beautiful photo-real renders as well as incredible anime. This complete out-of-the-box 3D animation solution now offers real-time collaborative 3D interactivity through a bridge to Unreal Engine.
Lightwave 3D Features
LightWave 3D® Bridge to Unreal Engine
Real-time Collaborative LightWave™ to Unreal Engine
LightWave 3D® enters the Real-Time Age for interchange with this workflow link between the Unreal Engine and LightWave 3D®, focusing on LightWave driving Unreal changes iteratively. Multiple LightWave seats are able to connect to the same Unreal Editor simultaneously to enable real-time collaboration between artists. The bridge uses NewTek’s proven NDI® network discovery mechanism for easy automatic configuration, and can be limited to single project use in Unreal, or installed as a general plugin for use in all Unreal projects.
Improved FBX Interchange
FBX and New Interchange Bridge
Work with industry-standard FBX data on a whole new level via the new Interchange Bridge.
- Interactively choose what to import / export and how.
- Add to existing FBX files from Layout and Modeler.
- Build LightWave 3D® assets from many FBX files.
- Easily revisit FBX files via workspaces.
- Support for:
- Vertex Caches
- Morph Mixer
- Vertex Maps
- Smoothing Groups
- Animation Layers
- Animation Baking
- Mesh Freezing
Shading Model Customization Tools
The ability to pull materials apart and build them to your tastes is new to LightWave 3D® 2019. There is access to Fresnel Functions, Material Components and Material Integrators. The Material Tools Group has been updated with new nodes to support this capability.
OpenVDB Content Creation
LightWave 3D® 2018 introduced the ability to import and render an OpenVDB fog volume. New for LightWave 3D® 2019 is a set of node tools that allow OpenVDB content creation. You can now create OpenVDB grids from meshes, particles, and even the shape primitive distance estimator. The tool kit allows for live Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) operations, grid filtering including level set tracking, smoothing, dilation and erosion. Solvers are included that allow for fluid simulation and smoke and fire effects.
Metamorphic Animated Sculpting/Painting
Metamorphic is a multipurpose animatable mesh sculpting and vertex map manipulation plug-in for LightWave 3D® 2019 that works in Layout and takes full advantage of the new capabilities of the modifier stack.
- Freeform animated sculpting
- Built-in undo/redo system
- Fully-multithreaded sculpting using all available CPU cores
- Pen pressure support for brush size, strength, and hardness (Windows only)
- Nodal brush texture support
- Three modes of animation
- Non-linear interpolation of sculpting animation keyframes
- Supports converting sculpt animation keyframes to Endomorphs
- Predictive corrective morph sculpting that works after deformers with built-in driver/driven controller
- Full Motion Blur support
- Support for scaling many UI elements for HiDPI and large-screen displays
- Independent scaling options for multi-monitor setups
Bone Enhancements for Game Development
Bone System Improved for Game Development
The new Bone Type option, Limited Bones, allows the animator to set a limit in Layout on the number of bones that affect a given point to match the limit in the target game engine and engages real-time optimizations to more closely match the performance game engines expect from a rig.
Shading and Rendering Enhancements
Edge Shader Node
A node for simulating beveled or rounded edges at render time, to give more realistic results without increasing geometry.
This node can add Wear (a convex shader) to a surface, or Dirt (concave) based on a radius and offset.
Procedural Shader Node
This node encapsulates a chosen legacy system LightWave 3D® or third party procedural texture and exposes it with the typical nodal inputs and outputs. Previously, such procedurals were only available inside a Procedural texture layer of a textured stack.
LightWave now uses smart caching with very high-resolution images, allowing artists to use them for textures and other uses, regardless of the memory in the computer system.
New Compositing Buffers
The new Rho buffer is for extracting lighting and shading information from the direct and indirect buffers. A new Weight buffer contains the value of the surface shader settings for both direct and indirect buffers. These are useful for heavy compositing work.
NVIDIA OptiX™ Denoising
A new Noise Filter option uses the NVIDIA OptiX™ library for AI-accelerated noise reduction when rendering still images. Requires NVIDIA card.
This new Renderer option is a tool for reducing or removing “fireflies” in renders.
Physical Sky and SunLight
An Environment plugin to replicate physically accurate skies and create otherworldly skies, with equal ease.
A new Light Type that simulates a sun using state-of-the-art scientific methods.
Game Development Enhancements in Modeler
Enhanced UV and UDIM Mapping Workflow
Modeler has added a suite of new tools for working with UV maps as well as UDIM tiled mapping:
- Turn Poly UV
- SelectUV Island
- SelectUV overlap
- Rectangular UV Grid
- New view modes for working with UVs:
Modeler now supports the creation of smoothing groups within a mesh. Smoothing groups provide a way to create creases and hard edges, and more precisely control regional contours on your model. You are no longer limited to a single smoothing angle, adding extra control geometry, or breaking your model into parts to achieve the look you desire. Smoothing groups can be created automatically using a vertex normal map, imported with OBJ files, by using a smoothing angle threshold or manually. Smoothing groups can be exchanged with other software that supports the format.
New Primitive and Tools
Empty Volume Shape Primitive
LightWave 3D® 2019 adds the new Shape Primitive, Empty Volume, which can be used for creating procedural surface shapes. In addition to being directly useful in scenes, the Empty Volume primitive is helpful in workflows that need to convert meshes to volumes or vice versa. Empty Volume can also provide for real-time Boolean operations in Layout.
New Tools for Shape Primitives
The Empty Volume shape primitive allows advanced users to write their own distance estimators for rendered SDF shapes and volumetrics.
Other new nodal distance tools include:
- Shape CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry)
- SmoothMin, a soft blending node.
Workflow and UI
Expanded Layout Undo System
The Layout Undo System has been expanded to many of the systems involving Transforms & Keys. Unlimited Undo is now available in:
- Graph Editor
- Scene Editors, both new and classic
- Dope Sheet
- Many Layout navigation tools
- Menus can now be navigated via keys (arrow, mouse wheel, home, end, etc.)
- Large popup menus can be navigated with filtering and searches
- Regular expressions can be used in filters
- FLAT MENU: You can now call up a flattened version of every entry that exists in the main menu with the keyboard shortcut CTRL Space. Doing so presents a list of all available commands in Layout or Modeler (with their associated keyboard shortcuts). As with other LightWave menus, you can type to narrow down your selection and the cursor keys and Enter can be used to choose the command you require.
Node Graph UI Options
- Tidy Nodes Command: A tool to make ‘cluttered’ node trees ‘straight’ and easier to read from left to right automatically.
- Background Grid: You can adjust the brightness and color of the grid in the Node Editor
- Snap to Grid: you can turn on this tool to make the nodes ‘snap’ to a user settable grid size.
Responsive layout – the LightWave 3D® documentation now fits on any device you care to use it on.
License Server 2019 Option
A new licensing management option for large facilities, this is a specialized build of the LightWave 3D® applications wherein licensing of LightWave 3D® is controlled through a managed portal. Purchase is by special arrangement.
2019 – LightWave 2019.1.5
Released 15 January 2020
- 3 bugfixes and feature requests implemented
What’s new in Lightwave 2019.1.4?
This update introduces support for Unreal Engine 4.23. In addition, several issues in Unreal support have been addressed. The Windows installer is fixed to account for a change in Windows 10 on how the version is reported to queries – this caused a variety of issues including that runtime packages required were not being installed.
Added Unreal Bridge support for Unreal 4.23
Fixed UVs being flipped in Unreal Skeletal Meshes
- LB-5705 – Unreal Materials not importing correctly
- LB-5861 Python requires VS2012 runtime (problem with installer under new builds of Win 10)
- LWB-5006 Previews not working consistently (NRC)
- LWB-5515 – Unreal bridge: Skeletal meshes don’t get materials
- LWB-5525 – Can’t send second animation to Unreal
What’s new in Lightwave 2019.1.3?
LightWave 3D® 2019.1.3 is available now in the Registration system as a free update for registered LightWave™ 2019 users. The fix that will affect the largest number of users is a change required for Layout/Modeler/Hub proper linking by OS changes introduced in recent Windows 10 updates that impacted the launch timing of the applications. Fixes in Layers Panel, Network Render Controller, Modeler LScript and for copying the License Key during Mac installs round out this maintenance release.
- Crash in Layers Panel on quit fixed
- LB-5817 Layers Panel – Crash when using the all to ‘F’ layer button
- LB-5842 Lost Node is not removed from Scene queue
- LWB-5381 Internal Modeler Error 2902 (LScript)
- LWB-5394 Layout and Modeler not communicating
- LWB-5412 Does not copy License key file on Mac version Installer
- LWB-5426 Network Render Controller (Mac OS) doesn’t start next scene in queue
- LWB-5474 Very slow Layers Panel
What’s new in Lightwave 2019.1.2?
Update: LightWave 3D® 2019.1.2 is available now in the Registration system. This update covers just two issues that affect a limited number of users:
- The new automatic license mover would fail for users who have a space in their login username for their system
- The LightWave Bridge to Unreal Engine folder for UE 4.22 was not being placed on Mac OS installs
The LightWave 2019.1.2 update is a free download for registered users of LightWave 2019.
What’s new in Lightwave 2019.1?
Workflow “Quality-of-Life” Enhancements:
- Layers Panel
- Rename window is resizable
- Right-click to freeze/unfreeze a layer as selected
- Easy insert/exchange layers option in List mode
- Clicking on the Eye icon on the Object row will select all Layout visible layers.
- Vertex Maps Panel
- Added Name Filter field at top of panel
- New Right-Click function: Select By Map, for all points, edges or polygons in a map
- Delete now allows deletion of multiple VMaps of the same type at a time
New Navigation Options in Layout and Modeler:
- New game-style navigation mode combining hotkeys, mouse and scroll wheel to move within the viewport, adjust the view and move the scene playhead.
- Alternate control subjects and styles can be engaged from the Navigation Panel:
- Current Item
- Activate Twist on Space Explorer or horizontal mouse movement, etc., as jog/shuttle for timeline
Layout Panel List Pane Improvements:
- A variety of new functions have been added to “tree-style” list panes in many panels to allow more customization of the view and easier drag and drop re-ordering and hierarchy adjustments (Scene Editors, Graph Editor, Configure Keys, etc.)
Enhanced Configuration Control:
- Layout and Modeler both now have separate Key and Menu configuration files
- When the app asks for configs to be cleared, only LW2019.1.cfg, LWM2019.1.cfg, Extension Cache-64, and LWHUB2019.1.cfg need to be deleted and rebuilt. Customized hot keys and menus can now be preserved
- Reset Configs command plugin clears the files mentioned in the previous item, preserving customized hot keys and menus
- An optional progress bar added on the bottom bar of the Layout window; if multiple viewports are set to VPR, the progress bar will split into multiple bars, to show a bar for each viewport set to VPR
New OpenGL Viewport Option:
- Hide all non-renderable elements – grid, motion paths, camera, light, bone and null icons, etc.
LightWave Network Render Controller:
- Scene files can now be dropped on the lower window in the NRC
- Node Pick-up allows you to enter an IP address (v4 or v6) to access a machine anywhere on the Internet
LightWave™ Bridge to Unreal Engine:
- Added support for the new Red, Green and Blue channels for the Unreal Bridge.
- Improved performance for sending of meshes for scenes with many smaller objects
FBX Interchange Enhancements:
- The Interchange panel now has two options for the Transfer Mode. You can either Append Assets or Replace Animation. Append Assets was the default functionality from before, but Replace Animation is new, and is used to transfer animation over items that are already animated.
- You can now drag and drop complete scenes or individual elements from one side to the other.
- You now have the option to import materials as Principled BSDF using the FBX Interchange.
- Image and Image Sampler Nodes now offer Red/Green/Blue/Alpha/Luma as Scalar outputs
- Mesh To Volume node can create a particle system from the vertices of the input mesh.
- Solver and Gas Solver now accept velocity grids for dynamic collisions in addition to level set grids for static collisions.
Physical Sky Enhancements:
- Physical Sky background shader now uses a softened horizon line
- Physical Sky now includes a ground; the ground is an alpha channel that can be colored by any items placed above Physical Sky in the Environment list.
Cel Shader Enhancements:
- The new Cel Integrator now supports light color, but differently from LightWave 2015. The gradient is evaluated separately for each light. This allows for per light buffers for cel shading.
- LightWave’s installed Python is now v2.7.16
- PCore Console has been upgraded to Mark II
- Save and copy buttons no longer needed
- Log output is now text; not multiple, separate list entries
- The window is split in two, with log output and command input sections. The division between the two can be moved as needed and can be maximized in one direction or the other
- The command input area is deigned to emulate the python CLI, including syntax highlighting, and command recall that is retained between sessions up to the maximum prompt recalls
- Recall search using Shift-Space
- Command matching
- Fully customizable
- Primary and secondary prompts, even Bash-style
- The Prompt area has two modes:
- Command Prompt: default, immediately evaluates each command when entered
- Editor mode: enter as many commands as you wish; evaluates on return to Command mode
- Custom key bindings can be set, retrieved and inline documentation is provided
We have a playlist showing some of the new workflows in LightWave 2019.1: LightWave 3D 2019.1 Playlist
What’s new in LightWave™ 2019.0.3 (Build 3117)
LightWave Bridge to Unreal Engine: Batching sending of meshes for potentially higher performance in scenes with many smaller objects
- LB-4747 How to confuse the Hub/Layout
- LB-5478 cloned image gets lost on reload
- LB-5650 geometry is hidden behind the grid or the origin
- LWB-4481 Selecting objects in Layout doesn’t always work
- LWB-4597 Frame Slider on Timeline is frozen when a viewport has been added
- LWB-4641 OpenVDB saver not working with one input only (save frame).
- LWB-4711 Relativity Rotation in Degrees button partially functional
- LWB-4750 Preview messing up with ui_screen_scale_factors of non whole numbers
- LWB-4820 Bones in LW2018 scenes and earlier with Use Morphed Positions enabled loaded into LW2019 as “Faster Bones” instead of “Full Bones (Morphed Positions)”.
- LWB-4894 This OpenVDB scene works well in 2019.0.1 but not in 0.2. Clamp particles radius to > 0.
- LWB-4899 Instant crash in layout – OpenVDB causing instability. make meshes not available in primitivetovdb node.
- LWB-4903 Connecting nodes in OpenVDB causes hard crash. Fix velocity return.
- LWB-4905 Creating preview skips through frames without resolving
- LWB-4909 Activate Legacy HV crash
- LWB-4911 Motion blur and OpenVDB freakout. Fix MB refresh when the source mesh is animated.
- LWB-4913 Spin Edge Crash
- LWB-4914 LightWave Bridge to Unreal Engine flips the green channel
- LWB-4916 ReplaceObjectLayer command not updating OpenGL with single layers
- LWB-4919 Physical Sky in the popup appears as SunSky in the applied plugin list
- LWB-4920 BandGlue error
- LWB-4921 Background image not rendering in proper color space…
- LWB-4924 Crashing when selecting items in Layout
What’s new in LightWave 3D® 2018.0.6 (Build 3069)
- Bumped product version to 2018.0.6.
- Set the build number to 3069
- LB-4740 Loading From Preset Shelf to Many Surfaces Is Very Slow
- LB-4744 Command Port only functions when the mouse moves (investigated other main loop delays)
- LWB-4122 Keyboard entry to any numeric field = Crash, consistent
- LWB-4131 Crash ModelerTools option mini-slider.
- LWB-4189 NevronMotion 1.0 Kinect rig fails to work in LW2018.0.x
- LWB-4206 Save All Buffers In Image Viewer Not Being Saved
What’s new in Lightwave 2018.0.5?
Mac users: Please download again if you got the update prior to 4:30 PM USCT 3-July-2018. A crash when using numeric entries has been fixed.
LightWave 2018.0.5 will install into its own directory. 2018.0.5 uses the same license as your 2018.0, 2018.0.1, 2018.0.2, 2018.0.3, and 2018.0.4 license – just drag-and-drop the license into the interface of 2018.0.5 when first launching 2018.0.5.
- Bumped product version to 2018.0.5.
- Set the build number to 3068
- Fixed the picking issues in Modeler not working at all with grid scales larger than 5km or so.
- LB-4697 Crash using scene editor plug-in to toggle camera stereo Anaglyph filter on.
- LWB-3641 SyncMesh gizmo picking was weird because picking and drawing were using different scales.
- LWB-3657 morphing (morph target) has weird behavior
- LWB-3715 ClothFX crash
- LWB-3796 LW2018.0.3 crashes on my Mac 10.13.4 when performing certain tasks
- LWB-3883 IKBooster menu no draw on Dope track.
- LWB-3907 OpenGL Update RefreshNow/RedrawNow not working with instances
- LWB-3914 Tree control move func not working (crash)
- LWB-3974 Rendering results in “out of application memory”
- LWB-3987 layout crashes when an instancer is deleted
- LWB-3998 “Not enough memory” error cutting mesh with two-point polygons
- LWB-4007 Memory leak in animation render
- LWB-4033 Shadow Buffer shows errors with Limited region On and the bucket size
- LWB-4065 Object crashes Layout when sending to Modeler
- LWB-4081 Crash when tweaking light samples on Scene editor
- LWB-4083 Deleting a camera could cause a crash because camera evaluators of other cameras in the scene became confused about which cameras they belonged to.
- LWB-4095 The MULTILIST controls require a different kind of value lists than other trees. Added the set_addr_int() function to address this.
- LWB-4101 Layout crashes when you try to access a surface’s node editor
- LWB-4102 Opening the graph editor for an Advanced Camera could crash if no prior evaluation of the camera was done.
- LWB-4103 Modeler crashes when loading object with metalink node
Lightwave 2018.0.1 Changelog