Lightwave 2018 Review

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  02 February 2018
Lightwave 2018 Review

Here are my initial thoughts on the new version of Lightwave. Was it worth such a long wait?

https://youtu.be/TExpoCdBUpI
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http://digital-sorcery.com/
 
  02 February 2018
The things they have added and improved actually look reasonably decent, but yeah, still two apps with a hub between them? I just don't get it.
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Matthew O'Neill
www.3dfluff.com
 
  02 February 2018
I've downloaded the trial version of LW 2018 (I was never much of a LW user in the past).

Positives - the software only costs 1K, there are many new features and the download was just 258 MB in size. Very nice.

Negatives - LightWave really needs a good, new, customizable and unified UI like Maya, C4D or Max. C4D for example sells more on the strength of its UI design, not its technical features.

I can see why that didn't happen in this version - they had tons of technical features to add and also need to merge the code from 2 separate applications and port everything over to the QT UI framework so a more flexible UI is possible.

If and when the UI overhaul happens, I probably will buy LightWave 2019 or 2020 for its price alone - 1K is about what I expect to pay for Pro 3D software in 2018, not 3K - 4K like some other 3D apps.

I hope that Newtek do not make the same mistake as the Blender people, and start kidding themselves that a UI that is more than a decade old now "is good for everything still".

With a fresh new UI and an asking price of just 1K, LightWave will immediately become popular with new 3D users looking for a capable 3D soft without a huge price tag.

I also hope that NewTek don't go subscription only like Autodesk have - being able to buy a perpetual license for LW is a major selling point of LW now. A lot of people, including myself, hate subscription software.
 
  02 February 2018
Originally Posted by bugzilla: Here are my initial thoughts on the new version of Lightwave. Was it worth such a long wait?

https://youtu.be/TExpoCdBUpI
Thanks so much. I was going to upgrade but now, I think, I'll hold until Lightwave 19 or even 20.
Have a nice day.
 
  02 February 2018
A genuine question; For those who use it, why would someone new to 3D today pick lightwave over blender?

There's lots of reason for picking an app, ease of use, tools specifically for your area, fast rendering, engine support, specific plugins, integration with other apps, price, heavy use in an industry. Outside of catering to existing users, what selling points are there to recommend it as a new software for someone?
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Matthew O'Neill
www.3dfluff.com
 
  02 February 2018
Originally Posted by imashination: A genuine question; For those who use it, why would someone new to 3D today pick lightwave over blender?

There's lots of reason for picking an app, ease of use, tools specifically for your area, fast rendering, engine support, specific plugins, integration with other apps, price, heavy use in an industry. Outside of catering to existing users, what selling points are there to recommend it as a new software for someone?


LightWave has a pretty long track record in Film and Television work and has been around for a very long time. But then somehow, Maya and Softimage came along, and LightWave fell behind.

Look at the 3D soft landscape. Maya and Max - subscription only and by Autodesk. Not such a great option anymore. C4D - great UI workflow, but buying Studio, plugins and render engines quickly makes it a very expensive 3D app to buy. C4D is also slow to develop in some areas. Fluids simulation for example. Softimage XSI is dead, sadly. Houdini is too technical for most people and not necessarily something you'd want to use everyday as your main 3D app.

A new LightWave with a completely new, modern UI design would be a breath of fresh air if the price stays at or around 1K.

As for Blender, it would be a viable option if it had a more standard UI/UX design. Bforartists shows how Blender could have been with a better UI. But I wouldn't dream of taking on a large project with Blender, such as an animated CG movie. 5 years from, maybe. But with the current UI, Blender really is not a 3D software I would want to work in 60 hours a week at all. Blender feels ass-backward to me from a UI/UX design standpoint.

The great appeal of the new LightWave is the 1K-to-own-it price, and the really cheap upgrade price. But it really does need an updated UI design, and hopefully soon.

1K is exactly what most hobbyists, generalists, indies, enthusiasts, students, beginners and others who are not super-rich can pay for a 3D software.

But the old UI design needs to get ripped out re-designed for use in the late 2010s and 2020s.
 
  02 February 2018
Originally Posted by skeebertus: As for Blender, it would be a viable option if it had a more standard UI/UX design. Bforartists shows how Blender could have been with a better UI. But I wouldn't dream of taking on a large project with Blender, such as an animated CG movie. 5 years from, maybe. But with the current UI, Blender really is not a 3D software I would want to work in 60 hours a week at all. Blender feels ass-backward to me from a UI/UX design standpoint.


As someone who moved from Lightwave to Maya to Blender, I don't really get the complaints about Blender's UI. Yes, right click to select is weird, but it's trivial to set Blender to left-click selection. I occasionally miss having shelves, but in practice I find that anything you have on shelf you really should have a hotkey for. Other then that, nothing seems that odd, especially compared to Lightwave's two app approach.
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Last edited by Meloncov : 02 February 2018 at 08:10 AM.
 
  02 February 2018
Quote: As someone who moved from Lightwave to Maya to Blender, I don't really get the complaints about Blender's UI.

I think it's down to personal preference. For example, the UI in zBrush is pretty much universally criticized, but I've never had an issue with it. Even I can't stand the Blender UI. I know Blender, and I can use it to a fairly high degree, but after learning C4D with its amazing UI layout (IMO it really is the best UI layout available today), Blender's UI just feels cumbersome and irritating. I don't often complain about the UI since A. it's a free program, and B. they've made it clear they aren't going to change it, but, like Skeebertus, I dread the time that I would need to spend a 60 hour week in it.

For those who use Lightwave (especially the new one) -

Outside of price, do you feel it fills any niches that other available software does not? Is there anything that it does uniquely well, or just plain uniquely? At the price, I'd consider it since I'm still looking for something to replace XSI for my personal work (and can't afford C4D Studio).

Last edited by Crotalis : 02 February 2018 at 04:41 PM.
 
  02 February 2018
I was considering Lightwave too recently. I get disenfranchised with C4D every release. It seems to be so far behind the field that when I look at things in the cold late of day, I wonder whether C4D would ever have any success if it entered the market place today. Obviously, existing customer loyalty plays a hand, as well as established pipe lines; but C4D is hugely over priced in my opinion, and if I am honest, not all that - unless expensive plug ins make up the short fall.

I recently got into Houdini. If you have time and inclination to learn, then without any doubt what so ever, it is the best bang for buck package out there for the little guy - an incredible piece of software at and incredible price. But it is not artist friendly. It is not enjoyable to use - no flow. It is hard to stay motivated.

And this is why Lightwave entered my thoughts. It seems to offer the same ethos as C4D - the little guy can use it with out a team of technicians. And that price - 1K. Yes I could easily get down with that.

But like Blender, I have to wonder why folk seem to react so strongly to the UI. I know folk always pop up and say " the UI is great!! what's the problem? " - but it still polarises folk to this day. There has to be some truth in it whether folk like it or not.

OP - thanks for the review btw - appreciated.
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Posted by Proxy
 
  02 February 2018
If you want a developer that is 'adding-stuff-like-crazy' then yeah Side Effects are really the only ones.
I think their secrete is also what makes them procedural-Houdini is so fundamentally modular that they can add a new feature brick-by-brick like lego-
without breaking everything else!
So maybe the very first incarnation of a new feature (fluids comes to mind) is hard to use because its introduced with a few obscure pieces with an unrefined workflow.
But they can keep building, adding nodes, refining the workflow -until today- they have the best solution in the industry for fluids with minimal regressions along the way.
Therefore they are the most adaptive and flexible to industry desires.
Other examples -Remember Disney's Frozen snow sims? Sand sims in Spiderman 3? Houdini can do those today. But can you name anyone else that can?

Everyone else-Lighwave included-are often working with an old core-that is so convoluted and patched together there maybe some things they can never fix without a house-of-cards-thing happening.
Just a thought if you are wondering why some things seem to and may never change in your favorite 3d software...and this is why some attempt to build all new software from scratch instead.

Last edited by circusboy : 02 February 2018 at 07:07 PM.
 
  02 February 2018
I got a seat of lightwave 2015 seat, really cheap, over a two years
ago,however based on this review( and others)
it looks like I will be skipping LW2018 after all


The reason I even Got LW2015 because it supports
MDD import natively and I can send My Iclone animated DAZ
Genesis meshes & clothing sims to LW
as I am now doing with my ancient C4D studio R11.5 and riptide pro

I was a lightwave user when I was foolishly all Mac OS based
back in the Lighwave version 6&7era
thus it is not totally strange to me.
But alas the separate modelor set up still frustrates.


I was playing with the Blender principled
shader this morning building some materials
and man... what an elegant thing of beauty!!

so far Lightwave node based shader system continues to elude me
I can not seem to find any really comprehensive documentation on it.


To be fair C4D's scene object management tools are unmatched
IMHO particularly when you get alot of items in your scene.


Blenders outliner makes zero logical sense
and Lightwaves large scene management options appear to
have been designed to punish some horrible criminal .




I am early retired at 54
only doing this for fun and the mental challenge&exercise
so not upgrading an app for several years
is not a problem for me.
 
  02 February 2018
several years ago, when LW2015 came out, I was disgruntled with C4D with its lack of quality upgrades along with the cost of MSA and especially the PUNISHING cost if you skipped just one upgrade. If I remember correctly Newtek offered a cross platform upgrade so the cost was far less than MSRP. I downloaded the demo played around with it and couldn't wrap my head around the clunky interface and two programs, so I gave up on it and stuck with C4D. for reasons not germane to this, I sold my C4D studio last year and got into Houdini. It is a steep uphill learning curve but the price was beyond terrific and I like the procedural method. "IF" Lightwave gets their act together and cleans up the UI and the modeling/rendering two programs thing then I will take another look at LW especially if they keep the price low.
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IT IS TWO MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
 
  02 February 2018
C4D has a far better UI/UX design than almost any other 3D app available. So it is definitely superior to LightWave in that respect, and in my opinion also Maya and Max.

Buuuuuut - C4D has been very slow over the years to add some much needed features (like fluids simulation for example) and has a high price considering that C4D itself is expensive, and you need a fair amount of plugins, 3rd party render engines and such to get feature parity with, say, Maya.

LightWave with an improved UI would interest me very much because I like doing 3D CG, but am not, in 2018, willing to pay 3K - 4K for a 3D soft license.

LightWave 2018 has good features technically. But I don't want to work with the now very old LightWave UI. The free Blender fork Bforartists, for example, has a better UI than LightWave, even though it is a really young project at this point.

I hope that Newtek create a killer UI design for LightWave 2019/2020, and that the price doesn't go over 1.5K or so after that.
 
  02 February 2018
Even C4D stalwarts often agree that C4D's 'strength' is that it is an easy to use 'hub' for other plug-ins and renderers now. I don't think this is actually an endorsement, but they seem too.

I'll say it again - If it never existed, C4D would never be able to enter the market now at this price point and with this lack of development - sometimes basic development.

But R20 is supposed to be the big turn around so we'll see if C4D can finally be more than just a 'hub'. Let's hope a new version of LW doesn't turn up in the meantime and ruin the party for them.
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Posted by Proxy
 
  02 February 2018
Originally Posted by imashination: A genuine question; For those who use it, why would someone new to 3D today pick lightwave over blender?

There's lots of reason for picking an app, ease of use, tools specifically for your area, fast rendering, engine support, specific plugins, integration with other apps, price, heavy use in an industry. Outside of catering to existing users, what selling points are there to recommend it as a new software for someone?
I also have Kray engine and Newtek, in general, take good care of relationswith render farms. I would rather start from another side: What are your needs regarding 3d software and then try to find one which will ut you fine.
 
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