Is Lightwave the worst rigging software out there?


I have spent years and years pulling my hair out when using lightwaves bones and weightsmaps to try and deform realistic looking models!! anyone else out there agree? let alone setting it up for IK/FK etc


Oh boy this thread is going to go downhill fast…


If this is the stage you are having problems at, then you will have problems in other packages too. Creating bones and weightmaps isn’t that different from package to package. Some packages do a few things or have a few tools that make certain steps easier, but it sounds like you are running into trouble before you get that far.


Ok, dont wanna start off a huge debate or arguement . . . plz I would love to know of any great examples where Lightwave has been used to pull off very realistic Human character deformations. I understand all the basic’s of Lightwaves setups etc but I never seem to get great results that is what I am saying, just asking for abit of advice really. Low poly setups for game characters I have found easy but highpoly and realistic control is hard, I find anyway. . weight maps aarrgghh !!:scream:

Point me in the right direction and I will be quiet! :slight_smile:


Im going to have to agree with Shade01 on this one, honestly perception is reality and the preception that rigging and animating in Lightwave is either hard or non intuitive or insert x issue is just B.S., there is a learning curve in all applications.

True enough, there maybe some downfalls or wanted features that you might see in other applications. And there is always going to be the grass is greener on the other side deal. But at the stage you having issues at which is “basic level” doesnt really have too much to do with Lightwave…it’s just you until you getter familar and better with it in time.

Actually think about what your saying here, how hard is it to actually create skelegons in modeler? Or how hard is it to actually create bones directly in Layout? Have you even tried IKBoost?..

Ok how about this, how hard is it to open up property panels and setup IK if you know what your doing? seems like point and click to me, if you know what your doing? Where most people have issues usually seems to be with weightmapping and actually using their “IK” setups when their done. It’s just a matter of understanding the subject, nothing a little light reading and experimentation couldnt and wont cure.:slight_smile:

Trust me on this, if you cant rig in Lightwave, set up weightmaps and build IK chains which for the most part are your beginning foundations to it all, then dont go wasting your money on something else because your still going to have problems without that knowledge. I just cant see how Lightwave makes that difficult :shrug:

Between Jonny & Timothy who are the authors of some pretty good darn books on the subject, have actually laid to rest afaik that Rigging and Animating in Lightwave is a pain or the worst. They have actuall proven that to me at least that doing it in Lightwave is actually a kick a$$ process and fun at that.

I have Messiah Animate 5 and have used Motion Builder, I have also rigged in 3DSMAX 5 and Maya 5. Out of all of those Lightwave is a sight for sore eyes imho. It’s the least technical of them all. Max was the worst (didnt use C.S. with it). Messiah Animate was ok but it was a little heavy on the technical side too. If I had the chance to do it over again based on what I know now about Lightwaves animation tools I would have spent my money that I used for Messiah on FPRIME :thumbsup:


Just spend more time with the application, Just look at Newteks site or Spinquad. There is always some good animation located their using HighPoly stuff. Either your new to Lightwave and the community or the internet. Most of the animations I have see with Lightwave have been high poly…just keep practicing.


Yup…practice will help you a long way… :slight_smile: Rigging in Lightwave is a snap now after playing with it…


For a single character I would have to say that LW is a major pain in the butt, and a lot more convoluted that most other apps out there. Two examples, weighting and joint morphs, both done in a completely different application to the rest of the rigging and test animation. Then you have the optional extras like springy bones and latices for controlling skin sliding, possible in LW, but you’ll lose a lot of hair getting it set up. Then there is saving out custom built rigs, LW has it’s new Rig format, but it doesn’t let you save out controllers and expressions like most other apps do.

However, LW does score highly when it comes to rigging a lot of similar characters. The ability to cut body parts from one character and merge them onto another character, keeping weighting and endomorphs in tact is a stroke of genius.



I find it easy to rig…my problem is with the IK solving itself. I’m not sure about other software(maybe some of you can clarify this), but LW’s IK is twitchy. Sometimes foot jiggle is at an almost unusable level. Does Maya, C4D or XSI have IK that is a pain to get “wobble-free”?



WOw! some good replies there guys, cheers for the info, maybe you guys are right. Abit more time and a few more ‘years’ practice I might get there. I have always hated rigging and animating to be honest. I have always seen it as Artist - Animater - Coder from a gam dev perspective anyway. You either have it or you dont. Rigging and animating has never interested me. Modelling - texturing - lighting has and always will do. . .

But I will defo go and buy Tim Albee’s book ( and what ever else I can find ) because there seems to be evidence that LW aint so bad after all :slight_smile:

would still like to seem some examples of realistic humans that use bones and weight maps etc. never have done. . . . .


Hey I am far from being a character animator but I can write that if you haven’t heard of the Maestro plugin, you should. Its quite flexible and comes with biped, quadraped, and even wing rigs that can be modified to suit your characters. The control scheme also allows you to control morphs from one panel.
Do a search in this forum and you’ll get a real good read on what it can do.


I find rigging in LW to be pretty straightforward and fairly quick to do.
I would have to say that if you go about rigging in the wrong way (usually meaning workflow) its going to be tough. It also depends on how well you understand animation in general and what a good rig should be able to do as well as which tools in LW will help you to create that rig. How you need to animate and what the character needs to be able to do will drive how you rig. If you dont know animation very well then its better to work with an experienced animator who can give you feedback on your rig.

Rigging in LW is a bit different in some aspects. In LW bones are deformers so when you rest/activate them they work immediatly. This being the case its generally better to test deformations before determining what to do to improve the deformations such as adding additional hold bones, using weight maps, endomorphs etc. Because the bones are deformers I find that I generally dont need weight maps or only need very simple ones. Waiting until after adding and activating bones to add weight maps will save you a great deal of headache instead of trying to deal with bones and weight maps up front at the same time.

You also need to separate rigging into two separate aspects:

  1. Animation
  2. Deformation

The animation aspec has to do with a rig that is poseable, stable and stable between poses.
Deformations has to do with joints keeping their volume, muscle flexing, skin, fat etc.

The two arent really related. In many studios someone does the character animation and others do the technical animating which involves making sure that the deformations work with the motions applied by the character animator. This rig can be push onto other technical animators for other types of dynamics such as cloth. Rarely does one person do all that himself. In smaller studios you may have to wear multiple hats. Ive done all of these things in LW and as I said its generally easy to do if approached properly.

Rigging in any app generally isnt easy. Rigging is anything you do to make something animateable and that can be almost anything. :slight_smile:

Anything you can do to keep things as simple as possible will help.


Totally agree.

Maya and XSI’s bones are most definitely “wobble-free.” I really hope a forthcoming version of Lightwave adds IK handles. I like a lot of things about animation in Lightwave, but IK is something I’d rather do in Maya any day of the week. Rigging isn’t necessarily easier, but it’s a simple thing to get subtle, secondary motions with Maya and XSI.

Having said that, if you can’t do a good rig in Lightwave, you won’t be able to in any other app either.


Its strange but I never get any strange twitching or wobbling in LW and as hard as I try I cant remember the last time I did.


c’m on Larry…check out your own FireLizard rig on the free samples page…to be honest it’s a terrible rig, the head shakes when you move the front foot because you didn’t end the IK chain and if you do, the neck starts twitching. The right leg is all screwed up just as the feet.


hi guys?! what’s all about people that say this things about LW rigging capabilities?! i really don’t understand.

i’m a newbie in character animation and honestly…after i read a lot of tutorials and watched video tuts…i can’t ask for anything more from LW bone and rigging tools.

i saw a lot of animations done by professionals in LW and they look just great!!!

there isn’t just one rig that you learn and use it for everything…like a lot of people do. a rig is based on the model, the character, what it is, what it does, how it feels…and you can do anything in LW if you really understand animation and deformations and you really understand how the tools in a package works.(people like albee, splinegod, kretin and many more).

i’s very easy in LW to make a rig for a cartoon character and for realistic characters…you can check maestro…very nice tool(not only for rigging but for automating things for animation)…but…there are some that can pull a rig, made with LW tools and to work perfect.

i was one that looked in all the packages because i thought LW it’s not good for character animation and i was stuned by XSI etc. but as i learned more about LW…now i stick to LW.

i think that in the time that i would checked or start and learn another package…i can learn more LW. hihihi

i stick to my oppinion…it’s not the software that is bad…it’s us who don’t know how the software works.

good luck to all


I think thats LW isn’t the worst rigging software out there…Photoshop or Mozilla a far, far worse !


Photoshop has fantastic character setup tools.
You can choose between different fonts, and you can set them up at will.
Lacks a bit in the animation department so you have to use image Ready or After Effects for that :smiley: :wink:


I think maybe let the thread die quietly, maybe lightwave aint so bad after all:) I NEED MORE PATIENTS!! MUST STUDY TUTORIALS!!:eek:


i think u should get a book or some video tutorials, cause online tutorials are very very good if u have a very good foundation in caracter animation, otherwise tutorials are really confusing.