Lightwave's forgotten advantages


I’m dismayed by all the chatter about “X is better than LW” or “Y has this feature and LW doesn’t”. For what I do, LW is by far the easiest solution. And a big part of it are the plugins from Worley Labs. I’m a longtime Max user, and there’s simply no comparison in terms of ease-- setting up a scene using fPrime and G2 is a pleasure next to the process in any other app that I’ve used. And no hair system I’ve used compares with Sasquatch. . .

Just my opinion, but NT ought to find a way to make Steve Worley’s plugins part of LW, both to boost the feature set and to give his stuff access to more of the program code-- having fPrime “see” volumetrics and Sasquatch would be fantastic. Steve’s work is so good, and so different from the run of the mill plugin that I think it would make people see LW very differently to have it integrated.

I also find the Modeller/Layout split to be very helpful and intuitive. Again, speaking as a longtime Max user, I generally find it easier to model, texture, and animate what I’d like in LW than in Max, and Maya (though I have only a slight experience with Maya)

So let’s can the sour talk. . .not good for anyone, least of all those of us who enjoy the application! If you think XSI’s better, then buy it and see. . .


I second this Crocodilian!!


And remember people, you have had editable MetaNurb (sub-d) curves for years. This is listed as new features in XSI and C4D.


I think your thread title is a little misleading. If you would like to talk about Lightwave’s forgotten advantages comparing it to other packages, do want to discuss third party developers? It’s like talking about Maya’s hidden advantages but only mentioning Joe Alter, Byron and different third party renderers.

If you only have a slight experience in different software and are familiar with Lightwave, no wonder you find it easier to model, texture and animate in Lightwave. However, many users use multiple packages, and so do many studios.

With all the development with the other packages, you shouldn’t enjoy using Lightwave less, should you?


Multiple undos were listed as a new feature in Lightwave 8.


You know, we’ve all heard it repeated ad infinitum and frankly it’s getting past the point of frustrating; different tools for different reasons. And above all, it’s the artist, not the tools…

Now, I have used Softimage, Lightwave and recently Houdini; each has their strengths and weaknesses. You deal with those as they come along by finding workaraounds or filling the gaps in another app. Does that make LW, or any other app, less that it’s competitors? Not at all.

And since the original point of the post was the advantages of LW that are often overlooked, I only need point you all towards the community we have. That is what separates ‘us’ from ‘them’, really… we’re less elitist and more open. See if you find this sense of community in the Houdini or Softimage world; you won’t…

Another advantage, although LW8 isn’t proof prime of it, is that LW has always been cutting edge, with competitors following NT in terms of development and feature sets. Granted there have been some issues with the latest build, but really… let’s give the Dev Team at NT a chance to shine. A lot of them are still coming to terms with what is what and don’t have the collective LW-esque that the previous devs did (Lux team now). I think we’ll be surprised in the future, this I do not doubt.

Oh and before I forget, let’s not overlook how cool it is to have SOOOO many FREE plugins and LScripts made publically available for LW… you’ll not find the diversity of tools we have at our fingertips (thanks to the 'net) for other packages; everyone wants $$$ and makes things proprietary (elitist crap), even techniques.

Wake up LW users! You are among the many and the proud… worry less about what the Discreet, Alias, SideFX and Avid people are doing - carefully consider the things you’d like to see in LW, and word you requests appropriately to the dev team for feature requests. Even better, if you’re all so concerned, start some polling or group discussions to find a list (small, 5 or so) of features you’d like to see. Pass it along with a list of names supporting it… numbers matter people.

Plain and simple… let go of the negative and examine your options. There are, after all, many of them…


Personnaly, I find this to be the correct attitude :thumbsup:

See ya,
Joker :buttrock:


i second joker and flashfire:applause:


It’s great to read something positive about LightWave.

There are three reasons why I’ve chosen to learn and use LightWave.

First, the interface isn’t cluttered with icons. When learning to use a 3D program it is much easier and faster to read the names of tools rather than point to each icon and wait for its name to appear. This is especially true when you’ve never used any 3D application before.

Second, the user base is huge, and friendly! Any question I have, any problem I have, or any technique I need help learning are all quickly answered or solved by LightWave’s friendly online community.

Third, LightWave has always supported the Macintosh!


At Siggraph this past weekend there were quite a number of studios at the Newtek booth showing off their projects and talking about them, even taking questions from the audience…this eventual question always gets asks by someone in the audience “Why did you choose LightWave other any other software?” and the answer “LightWave gave us the best toolset to do what we need to do for the time and budget we had…we could not have pulled this off with any other tool set”…now I am just paraphrasing here, but I know here in LA, there are major studios who have small LightWave pre-viz crews along side Maya crews and VFX supervisors are starting to see (and are being blown away) at the fact that a LW artist can do a scene/shot from start to finish all by themselves and in a short amount of time, while it takes more people and more time to accomplish it in another package…LightWave generalists are usually needed so keep up the skills and keep this talent pool filled…OK?


LightWave 3D [8] Enhancements:

[li] Improved workflow in Layout and Modeler[/li][li]Improved Soft Body Dynamics[/li][li]Faster IK, FK[/li][li]More powerful and flexible character animation controls and tools[/li][li]Improved character setup workflow[/li][li]Improvements to LScript™ scripting language and to the API [/li][/ul]

More ground breaking stuff that already existed in the previous version. Faster–than what? More powerful–than what?

The biggest advantage LightWave has just got a cosmetic change and some plugins.


NO MORE NEGATIVE! :slight_smile:

Right now I’m doing what most newbies do, that is try out ALL these fancy programs and figure out which one I’d like to devote my time, effort, and money towards. I’ve tried them all so far and I cannot make up my mind! It seems like I change my mind 2-3 times a day. It’s really frustrating.

I know you shouldn’t judge software by the artwork that the artists have made with it, but I’ve seen some really impressive stuff done with Lightwave (Kaze: Ghost Warrior, anyone?) Yes, I’ve seen great stuff done with other programs like Maya or XSI (don’t get me started on 3ds Max… almost every GREAT picture in the gallery was made using it) but to think about how much LESS Lightwave artists pay to get the tools to make this great artwork I’ve seen is great! For this fact alone I want Lightwave to succeed. Me and a couple of friends are wanting to eventually try to make some kind of short film ourselves, and it seems to be a pretty rare thing to see people using other software packages and succeeding at this.

So, lets all make a list of what Lightwave needs to improve. We can all discuss it here, and then when we get a list we all can agree on we could submit it to Newtek, with our names attached, and then they’ll know exactly what to do! That’s why all the c4d artists are so happy right now. Maxon implemented EVERYTHING the customers asked for in r9.

First of all, I think it’s safe to say that almost every feature in Lightwave needs an overhaul. I think when it comes to the modeler, Newtek needs to look at c4d r9 and/or silo/wings and implement those features and try to surpass them. They need edges… most Lightwave users are used to working without them, and it doesn’t seem to have kept them back. But I think it would add an advantage for anyone coming over from another app.

I think some people like the fact that modeler and layout are seperate apps, but maybe they could at least have an option where it would put the two under one window somehow? Sort of how different programs… lets use c4d as an example, since I’m most familiar with it… they have different modes which change the layout of the program depending on what you’re doing. They have standard, modeling, animation, even a seperate layout for use with bodypaint. Perhaps if Lightwave implemented a feature like this, it could keep the interface from becoming crowded, while still keeping all features inside the same app.

As for Layout, they need to overhaul the character tools and try to meet and surpass something like Messiah. I think you’d see a LOT of people happy with something like that, since probably a majority of Messiah users are using it in conjunction with Lightwave anyways.

They should overhaul the dynamics, particles (hypervoxels), cloth, hair, fluids… I personally think they should try to get Sasquatch FULL integrated instead of Lite. It’s way better than Shave anyways. As for cloth, you’ve got two competitors now… c4d’s clothilde and Syflex. Again, Lightwave should try to meet and surpass both of these. No less than MEET the features and functionality. As for fluids… maybe you’d be better off with something like RealFlow anyways? Maya’s fluids I hear aren’t even that good, so who knows. Maybe if Newtek had time, lol… they could try to meet and surpass RealFlow, or even just MEET Maya’s fluids.

The interface… I think a lot of people could care less, but I think it really does make a difference. First off, in my opinion, they need to design the interface so that it looks and FEELS like it belongs on Windows XP or OSX. It just looks so old. They need to streamline the workflow, and get rid of that “bolted on” feel that it has. The interface should be customizable, too. C4D can be made to look like any program you want it to. Not that I would ever make C4D or Lightwave look like Maya or XSI, but it gives you the flexibility to layout it all in whatever you want it to, whatever way it helps you work faster and more efficiently.

And of course the renderer. It needs to be FASTER! They need to bring it up to speed and features so that it can really compete with Renderman and Mental Ray.

That’s my list I guess. It’s pretty generic I know, but maybe you guys can fill in the details! I just thought I’d hit all major points to get the ball rolling. BTW, don’t take any of this as an attack on Lightwave. I REALLY want Lightwave to be on top again, and KEEP that hansom price, lol. For an all-in-one solution, Lightwave’s by far the cheapest, and it could be the best again! :thumbsup:



Someone started a feature request poll at the newtek forums.

ditto on everything you said except the interface. I seem to be one of the few who actually dig Lightwave’s interface, even more so in [8]. Though I wouldn’t oppose an update…please, no icons!! I cringe when I have to open up max

I would love it if Newtek implemented Worley’s plugins, namely F-Prime and Sasquatch.


I, like Kyan, am not really bothered by the interface either. It’s better than all those icons that other apps use.
In MHO the most important areas that Lightwave 9 should really address would be 1) CHARACTER ANIMATION: Both in the process of building characters and in animating them. Perhaps have modeler support five-point polygons in subpatch mode. Make animating characters easier and more versatile and intuitive --including better cloth and muscle simulation.
2) PARTICLE EFFECTS: More powerful and versatile particles that render quicker and feature more controls.
3) RENDERING: A faster renderer with more options and features to compete better with other renderers like RENDERMAN and such.
I think these areas, if addressed by NT in the next version of LW, could really give LW
a more competitive edge. Long Live Lightwave! :buttrock:


I’m just like you right now as well. Trying out all the apps and trying to settle on one that covers most of what i need. I’ll use one for a few days and work on something and then always hit a brick wall where i’m saying “jesus this is frustrating, why can’t this have ‘insert some feature or tool here’ like ‘x piece of software’ does”. I wish i could mix and match the features i wanted. I’d like a robust nurbs toolset so I could model advanced mechanical objects like cars and planes without having to worry about all the stuff you have to take into consideration when doing something like this with SubD, it’s just easier for me in nurbs as that’s how i think.

Lightwaves interface feels like a jumble of plugins that were mishmashed all together in some random order. There’s too many tools, some do nothing useful or are extremely situational, others I have no clue what you’d use them for. One thing i get tired of in lightwave is constantly going up to the tabs and switching everytime i need to do something.

I love that lightwave and modeller are 2 different apps though, it lets me focus on one thing at a time, but layout just gives me a headache.

At this point i have no idea what software i’m going to settle on as nothing fully meets what i need and want, but I know lightwave just isn’t cutting the mustard anymore for me as zbrush is one app i’ve definately settled on for organic detailing and lightwaves renderer just isn’t sufficient. Right now I’m leaning between 3dsmax due to the huge amount of resources available for it, both in plugins and training or XSI but everytime i try and do something in XSI i just can’t get my head around it. Everytime i’ve tried to model something my head starts hurting, it’s just so frustrating to model in that app. I’m honestly leaning towards max more.