Ok in order to clear the air, I have decided to post a series of threads
where ideas on how to improve Lightwave can be posted in an organized fashion.
The idea is to provide an one stop place where developers (from Newtek, or independent)can come in and get ideas.

This thread along with its sister threads:

[b][b]HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Character Animation
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: SDK and plug-in development
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Interoperability with other apps


…will be used to provide input on ho to move Lightwave back into the forefront of CG graphics.

But in order to keep things positive (glass half full), and make it something
worth while, there are some rules for this thread:

Please dont provide rants, just provide your ideas.
No bashing Lightwave or any other app. I mean it.
If new research is pointed out, please provide links to it.
Show us real life examples on how your idea would help you.
Please along with your comment, provide suggestions of how to
implement the concept or idea on the workflow. Workflow is one of the
things that make Lightwave what it is.
The can do attitude is what made this community once great, cynicism is
killing it. Someone once told me “Optimism is an act of defiance”.
PS Ill post the other threads later today.


real edges


Support for N-gon Subpatching.


This is more from plug-in writers perspective but what the heck: There should be some sort of a system in Modeler that prevents user from creating >1024 point polygons (possible with several tools, for example with Rounder - causes immediate crash) by either just limiting the operations or automagically splitting the >1024 point poly to two smaller ones. Also faulty geometry should be handled better, for example four point triangles and such are a pain in the ass every now and then.

  • a really good bevel tool

  • error free meshes (LW especially bad with large poly meshes)

  • artisian paint like Maya’s

  • OPENGL OPENGL OPENGL OPENGL OPENGL OPENGL - Lightwaves openGL performance is awful as it stands now


Here are a few features I think could realistically be realized for 8.5 that would make Modeler much nicer:

  1. supra keys - From XSI. Supra keys allow for the speed of Pshift, yet can be applied to any and all tools! Instead of completely dropping a tool to use another tool simply press and hold the hot key to temporarily activate the tool. When you release the key, you snap back to the initial tool. Supra keys make for a smooth, speedy workflow, especially for selections.

  2. Solid face selections- the edge outline of a selected polygon is sometimes not clear enough. Give us solid shaded face selections so we have no doubt.

  3. More toggle hot keys - Toggles make it so I don’t have to memorize so many hot keys. For instance there are nice toggles for Top/Bottom and Front/Back viewport displays. We need more. Among other toggles I want one for Show/Hide Selection. With such a toggle I could make my selection in the viewport and then tap the toggle to hide the selection while I am transforming so I can more clearly see my model. To be clear I am not talking about completely hiding points and polygons. I want to the hide the display of selections of points and polygons not the points and polygons themselves!

  4. Nix the need for unwelding - Unwelding a mesh in order to arrange UVs has been a source of much strife and many headaches over the years. The biggest problem is that when we unweld a mesh we cannot see how it will be displayed on a subdivision surface.

  5. Shaded Background Display- Often those wireframe background layers are not enough. Give us shaded background layers please!

  6. Ngons

  • edges
  • subd n-gons
  • edge weighting
  • snapping (2D, and 3D)
  • instances
  • construction history
  • more powerfull Layer-manager with layersets etc…

And please integrate Layout and Modeler! I would choose this over all other features.


  1. Less tools.
    Because of it’s plug-in / upgrade policy lately, LW has many tools that do very similar things, just a little differently. Take the cut tool. there is Bandsaw, Bandsaw Pro (dog slow), the new Cut tool, and a few others that basically split polygons in a similar way. From a workflow point of view it would be much better if all the tools in Modeler were looked at, and where possible combined into single tools, the different fuctions being activated by hotkeys or numeric pannel switches.

  2. Edge support.
    Editing is just so much faster with them.

  3. An edge to curve tool.
    A tool that would allow you to select an edge loop or series of edges (provided suggestion #2 was impemented), and automatically generate a curve from it, including linear curves. The generation of linear curves in this way would greatly enhance architectural work by allowing extrusing along curve to generate a wide range of detail.

  4. Non-destructive Extrude along Curve.
    At the momment if you don’t like the end result you have to undo the fuction, alter the curve, reapply the fuction and repeat until satisfactory. So much easier to be able to adjust the curve dynamically and see the end result instantly.

  5. Instances in Modeler.
    I’m thinking of a model of a building with a lot of identical windows. I could clone a base window in Layout and move it into position there, but the translation tools in Modeler are so much easier to use.

  6. Snaping options.
    Using the above window option from suggestion #5, it would be a lot easier to position all those windows into the wall openings if we could snap them into position.

  7. Working planes.
    There are a couple plug-ins that I use a lot that will allow you to select a polygon and it will temporarily rotate and translate the model so that the polygon is centred and aligned to the origin, and when your finished working it will translate the entire model back to it’s original position, including any new geometry you have created. If the function were integrated though, there would be the possibility of saving various working plane presets that you could easilly switch between.

  8. An Add Edge command that will allow cuts into the middle of polygons.

  9. N-gon support for Sub-D’s.
    Yes I know “clean” models are meant to be mainly quads only, but this mainly applies if you are going to deform the mesh. There is no reason not to have this feature if your building a hard surface model. Also even if you are building a mesh for deformation it is a lot quicker to make cuts and edge deletions on a sub-d model without it freaking out because of the tri/quad rule, and then correct the n-gons once you have the basic flow you want.

  10. Edge weighting.
    I can think of far more examples of where edge weighting would be a lot more use than point weighting.

  11. Texture deformation.
    At the momment you either have to go to Layout, apply the texture deformation then do a save transformed, or else you have to convert the texture to a weight map in Modeler and then do a scale with a weight map falloff. A lot of hoops for a simple operation.

  12. Real cameras in Modeler.
    If Lightwave isn’t going to be integrated (something I would really wont, but believe it unlikely), then being able to have a copy of the Layout camera in Modeler (possibly controlled trough the Hub) would be extremely useful for creating camera projection stand in’s (shadow/reflection catchers).

  13. Constrain to background object.
    Reciently I had to model a high resolution car tyre. I did the modelling in XSI because of this feature. Basically I was able to lathe out the basic shape, draw a sample tread shape in the top view, then using the constrain tool and move tool, snap all the tread shape’s points onto the body of the main tyre.

  14. Instances (2)
    Using the above tread on a tyre example. Once I had got the single tread sample to my liking the next stage was to radial aray it around the tyre. No surprise it didn’t meet up correctly first time. Being in LW thinking mode I undid the area, altered the tread shape and re-applied, still not quite right. It took a couple attempts before I realised XSI had instances, so the next array I arrayed the tread as instanced copies, from there I was able to adjust the shape of the original cop, and all the other copies adjusted at the same time. This way I was able to get a perfect fit within a matter of seconds.

  15. Temporary keys (as already suggested by somebody else).
    Both XSI and Modo have this, and it makes editing really fast. Basically if you are in one tool, say Move, you can hold down the hotkey for that tool and it will alow you to adjust your selection, release the hotkey and you are back in the Move command. The version in XSI is the better implementation as it will allow you to be in say the Move tool, teporarilly switch to the rotate, scale, or even extend command, and then on release you are back to moving. With this ou can create and adjust geometry at a fantastic rate.

More later.


Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • A more interactive way to place background images. Able to drag and resize with mouse.
  • More support for importing CAD formats such as DWG
  • Modeller and Layout as two modules living inside a proper core module
  • The ability to animate modelling like extruding etc

Some of the similar modelling tools could be simply replaced by one good interactive tool, which will remove the clutter and speed up work flow.


Definately !!
I know it’s a total pain in the @$$ to try and support the DWG format, mainly because Autodesk guards it jealously and changes it every other release, but if Newtek want to get on the Arch-Viz bandwagon (biggest growing 3D sector), then they need to make the effort.

The biggest client I work for has just swapped from 5 seats of LW to 8 seats of MAX, purely on MAX’s ability to support the DWG format (no surprise when you consider who the parent company of Discreet is).


And for christ’s sakes, fix the SDS UV distortion problem! I really hate this part of the modeling… or better yet I had an idea called Metaform UV…

If you want to have a production ready character, instead of Using metaform on the mesh (which screws it up), you should be able to do it on the UV Map without losing texture detail…of course that idea would be highly unlikely…

And as far as SDS is concerned, give us an option to the kind we want to use, such as Catmull-Clark, etc…


fix simmetry for tweaking the mesh!! make all tools work fine with simmetry.

give us a small handle, wich signales the direction in wich we are moving items when in persp view. it’s handy IMO. make ith similar to Maya’s but with the possibility to disable the fact of actually having to click onto it, but rather continue to work like now, but direction will be signaled to the user. you will wpork into a more confortable way.

for all the rest i completely agree with Yog and the others. Hey Yog : great post. :scream:


More interactivity (like bandsawpro and magic bevel)
there could be :

  • a real intercative clone tool
  • a real intercative extrude tool
  • a real intercative patch tool

After you can add :

  • Symmetry in the 3 axes
  • All the tools working in symmetry mode
  • Background constraint
  • N-gons
  • Ls commander in modeler


I’d like to at least see subpatch ngon support in modeler, even if layout don’t support it, that way I could cut geom on a mesh without losing polys along the way… it’d be a nice start.

I’d like to see the mouse become completey configurable so that I could set up my zoom, pan, roate just like Wings. As a matter of fact, the way the Winds handles menus in general is really sweet.

While I’m on my Wings tangent, there are some other modeling tips that LW could get from Wings. It’s selection mechanism is really nice too. If I could emulate Wings (for box modeling) completely with LW that would be cool. For poly by poly modeling, I think 8’s integration of Ikeda’s tools went a long way.

In keeping with my Wings envy… It would be nice to have seperate shortcut/menu keys assigned to your modes… like point mode could have different shortcuts or mouse menus than poly mode.


Reference art for the background could be more interactive, not dropping out. That’s a tip I recognize.

I don’t get the edge thing, but I supposed this has to do with texturing. When I animate, I switch to points. There is a tool for grabbing a line of points, similar to bandsaw?
There is probably a way for me to keep the same circle of influence for one tool to apply to another and then return to? I could have swortn there was something like this in Inspire.

The tool which apparently the pro’s don’t need – again, my ignorance? – is something to return the object to the original zero position that allows me to swing morph models around to get spherical curving where I want it without using background spheres with BG Conform.

Feel free to reply to this one with all the plug-in’s or keys I should already use…

I don’t texture much. I heard there was a problem using alpha’s with UV’s in competing directions? So that I could do a planar X with one texture, then a planar z, then bake a spherical, or not? Or is that possible? I think I read in the 1,001 that I can copy the object to get something similar?

No complaints, just stuff I might be able to use.


I have posted this before but I’ll try again… and just to clarify, it is ment as a mode you go in and out of, kind of like a tweak mode on steroids (but good kind of steroids, not the kind that makes you go limp in places :slight_smile: ).

Direct Mesh Manipulation Mode
What I am trying to show here is a mode in which you only need to use the mouse to do multiple operations. LMB means left mouse button and is used for selective and modification operations. RMB means right mouse button and is used for the creation of new geometry. MMB (middle mouse button / scrollwheel) is used for selection growth/shrinkage and undo/redo.

Its a preliminary design, so changes will be made I think.

  • Click RMB is creation mode by default.

  • RMB on an empty space, and a vertex (point) is created. Continue to click RMB to create more vertecies and edges, and close it into a polygon by RMB clicking the first vertex. If an existing vertex is clicked, the polygon created will share that vertex with its neighbour polygons. The “depth” placement of new vertecies should be the approximate averate of its parents or neighbours (unless its the first vertex created, which will be created similarily as in Modeler).

  • Click RMB on an edge will start the creation of new edges between each click on a neighbour edge.

  • Click RMB on a polygon and it duplicates (same as ctrl+d in XSI, or bevel in LW without any shift or inset).

  • Click LMB on any of the 3 types (vertex, edge or polygon) and it adds it to the current selection. If a different kind of selection is made, say you have selected 2 polygons, and then click on a vertex, all polyselections goes away and you start adding to a vertex selection.

  • Click and drag RMB on a selected element with any number of other elements selected as well, they get extruded/beveled/smoothshifted/duplicated/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Vertical mouse movement decides length of extrusion and horizontal mousemovement decides inset amount.

  • Doubleclick RMB on an element, and the previous extrusion amount gets applied to that one element.

  • Press and hold LMB on an element will “tweak” that one element or several if multiple elements are selected (same as Drag and Move in LW). Once mousebutton is released no change is made to the selection.

  • Doubleclick LMB on an empty part of the screen deselects all current selections. Spacebar does the same as well as exits/applies any changes done through numeric input.

  • Doubleclick LMB on a vertex or polygon, it selects all connected vertecies or polygons ( same as select connected ] in LW). Doubleclick an edge and it selects the edgeloop.

  • Scroll MMB grows the current selection in a radial manner for both single selected vertecies and polygons, while a selection of 2 vertecies (1 edge) or 2 polygons, grows the selection in a edge/poly-loop manner. (similar to Modo)

  • All operations are undoable, and by pressing MMB as well as scrolling upwards you go forward / backwards in the history stack.

  • Forced work mode can be done by deactivating any of the 3 different types of elements (similar to Wings3D and trueSpace). By disabling edges (by a graphical toggle button), it enables you to work in vertex and polygon mode only.

  • Features such as lasso selection and and box selection can be enabled by pressing a keyboard shortcut, i.e. Shift + LMB and Shift + RMB and perhaps Shift + MMB for paint selection (or Ctrl + LMB). Otherwise, selection is done through clicking LMB on a pr polygon basis.

  • All camera / viewport movement can be done by holding down the Alt-key and using LMB for panning, MMB for zoom and RMB for rotation.

And ofcourse, all these features should be replacable by other plugins/functions (similar to Silo, but one step further).

After having worked with all the major 3D applications, this is some of the principles I would like to see implemented in a modeler.


Most of my requests have been asked for, except:

Bezier Splines that work in the same way they do in Adobe Illustrator, and keep them LIVE until I want to freeze them!


just to add … or have it so you can choose which MB does what in the preferences.


Ofcourse, all settings should be customizable, down to the very last button (be it keyboard, mouse or on-screen-button)