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:

HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: SDK and plug-in development
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: Interoperability with other apps
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE: 2D (Stealing Ideas from 2D Programs)
HOW TO IMPROVE LIGHTWAVE:Latest CG Papers (Tell us about Bleeding Edge

…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.


This is the second time I’ve typed this up, got some server error, so I apologize in advance if there’s a double posting. I’d like to…

  1. Paint skin weights directly in layout, and be able to still paint those weights on a posed character, this would save LOADS of time in the rigging process, being able to change influence on any given bone in a matter of seconds will greatly increase workflow, and control.

  2. Create bones or skelegons in layout the same way you can in modeler. Creating bones in layout if much slower than it is in modeler, if you don’t like the position of some of your bones, you have to either go back into modeler to fix it, or try to fix it directly in layout, simply being able to click and drag the rest postion of bones in modeler is a great time saver, but I’d like to see that power in layout.

  3. Animate points in layout, don’t like the deformation of the armpit on frame 56? easy fix if we had independent control of those positions while in layout. You can make morphs, but, you’d have to make another visit back into modeler, create the morph, back to layout, apply the plugin, and move the slider. It also gives unpredictable results because the bones are fighting over influence. Also, if your character is positioned in a funky pose, there’s no way to accurately represent that in modeler while your creating the morph.

  4. A simple two click IK setup.

  5. Control of large bone chains (like a tail) with a series of points, the control would be much like that of a spline in modeler, the bones will rotate themselves and try to conform to that splin as much as possible.

  6. I’d also like an easy way to control the scale of a bone between two fixed points, and example being two nulls positioned a short distance apart with a bone between them, when you move bone “a” it will not only rotate or position itself, but it will change it’s scale on the desired axis to fit the new distance between the two.

Some solutions to these feel “disconnected” to layout while your animating. LW has done a great job in presenting things to it’s user, and it’s a fantastic tool, it just needs some improvements in it’s rigging dept. :slight_smile:


Perhaps a filled bone option would be awesome for when you render the bones in layout and you want to look through the wireframe. Also a change bone shape option would be awesome too


honestly, why would you really want this? its just for display purposes…it wouldnt change how the joint influences geometry at all…and the diamond/triangle shape is used with virtually every package to display joints.

Things I would fine more useful would be like a couple different IK solvers, a true lattice deformer, better constraint systems, along with a better skinning/skin weighting system.

there are others as well, but I am not going to write a 5 page message about it.



Yes, you are right. It is for display purposes…

And i would like to be able to able to edit those points on the model on certain frames. Or having joint morph in layout.


an interface revamping to simplify the selection of bones / objects when defining the IK Target or when entering parameters in the motion modifiers (expressions, follower, cyclist…)


well, if its just for display, why not model teh shape you woudl like it to be, save that as an object, and then just load them into Layout and parent then to the joints in layout?

thats a pretty easy solution to that. Or, if you are into LScritping, you could write an custom object lscript that would display them like you like, what way its ogl only, no chance of rendering it, and apply that to a null and parent the null to the joint.

I am just pointing out there are ways now to do it.

BUT, I agree with being able to edit the model in layout…part of why I dont use LW too much anymore. I would also like to see a way to animate weight maps on joints, dont ask, long story, but it would be nice :wink:



I stink at scripting…and after using MAX7 for a bit, I may be compelled to try it write a script for that.



My only real positive feedback from using Lightwave is the Joint morph stuff. I believe other programs use Blendshapes? has anyone had any real luck with joint morphing in LW and applying the morphs to expressions etc? Its a good concept but I cant seem to get it to work properly. If it does work can someone point in the right direction to a good online tut? if not I think LW needs some work in this area, this would help a great deal with deformation problems.

Maybe a way to manipulate your mesh in Layout after a bone move? I mean a subdivision dragnet type control and store that as morph data, then use it as a jointmorph directly in layout.


IMHO the single most important feature to improve rigging in LW is to combine LW into a single application.

There are four main areas to rigging, bone layout, weighting, setting up an IK and control structure and tweeking to resolve errors.
Depending on where you layout bones, your workflow will be, Layout, Modeler, Layout, Layout and Modeler, or Modeler, Modeler, Layout, Layout and Modeler.
I know that LW now has a psudo jointmorph workaround “improvement”, but in all honesty it is a total pain to try and create and then refine these in LW when you have to work in two seperate apps to achieve one joint morph.

Other than that LW’s expressions need a major overhaul, partly in their ease of use and documentation, but mainly in the way they “stick” with an item, i.e. apply an axpression to a parented item referencing another item, clone the first object, unparent it, and reparent it elsewhere, repeat a couple times. It’s a standard way else where to save repeat setups of expressions, but you don’t get very far doing it in LW.

IK speed needs a major boost. This maybe seen as an animation problem, but I would argue it is also a rigging problem as it forces me to reduce the number of bones I use in a rig to keep it useable.


I have mixed feelings about merging the apps, on one hand it can produce major benifits, on the other had I like the low overhead that modeler has, becasue it’s just thinking about the modeling functions, it’s speed and how much system resources it uses reflects that.


I agree with that…I have used Max7 on the pc at work and it is still slow.


I used to feel the same way until I kept hitting so many roadblocks and convoluted workarounds.

I agree that MAX is a very bad example of a unified interface. On the otherhand Maya and XSI are examples of how IMHO it should be done. Depending on what you are doing (modelling, animating, dynamics or rendering), the interface changes to just reflect the type of work you are doing (just like Modeler and Layout), the only part that doesn’t change are the viewports.

Plus it’s not just rigging, it’s a whole raft of features like point level animation and camera viewport modelling for set extensions. I know some diehards will say both these examples can be done with the FX-Edit workaround, but it would take a real diehard to try arguing that it is more efficient and quicker to use the workaround than do it in a unified app.

Then again I don’t really see the unified app happening. It used to be argued that LW was never unified because the rights were held by two different people, but NT haven’t had that excuse for a few years now. I think the main reasons are that in a tighter price point market, unifying the apps would just cost too much, NT have already said they have no plans for big drastic changes, instead favouring the small and often approach to upgrading, plus I think they just like the novalty element of being different, no matter how limiting it might be.


I am like halo on this. I support it and I dont.

if done correctly, then it could be cool. something like a psuedo shell where layout and modeler could both exist, and then some shell command to just open the modeling tools as well, that would cover both basis.

Also, it needs a serious improvement on how it names things when you load multiples of the same item…like a predefined suffix that can be assigned to a scene or a model in both layout and modeler…

so say you have ship.lws which contains the geometry and all the rigged controls and lights for a space ship. at the top of the hierachry, you have a null, called SpaceShip, and a child null named _SPS

When you load from scene it or add in additional load from scenes, all nodes in the heirarchy would automatically get a _SPS#(where # is the currect number of ships, ie 1, 2, etc)

Expressions would also need an update to be made self aware of which # it belongs to…so an expression would have to be tied to a null or some geometry, so it can reference tne suffix.

So, NewTek, Are you listening?



I mean, unifying LW could be the “in” thing, but if something goes wrong and it crashes while I am saving, I am screwed. One time, my scene file got corrupted and modeler saved my ass…

I think of Modeler as my set and Layout as a my stage. And I plan on making a CG SHort Film ENTIRELY in Lightwave…


IMHO, it should be nice if by clicking on a checkbox in a preference menu we could swap between integrated and non integrated package.


Mesh Editing tools in layout
so you can edit points AND polygons using local and gobal systems
magnet, drag, scale etc tools in Layout as well AND make them work with the timeline !!

bone strength needs to be animatable this would be a extemely powerful tool

different bone display types This may seem a small thing But WOW it would improve work flow ALOT !!

be able to uses objects AS bones again this would do alot and with bone strength you could do some amazing things

KILL IKB WORKFLOW :twisted: make a IK chain property panel and get the new IK solver into proper LW workflow.

be able to select Bones and Nulls, object at the same time

Speed up LW expression and Motion system so you really can have alot of expressions/plugins on the same rig without slowing down LW to a crawl. and have IK working with these operations instead of against them.

be able to stack your motion plugins expressions, IK etc so you can control which is doing what first and control what plugin then works after it.

make rules in new feature development so we don’t have things like IKB or the odd LW 8 scene editor happen again :sad:

make a Standard IK biped and quad rigger this maybe not be the be end all of rigger but at lest we all work off the same name and bone layout,
basic stuff like spline IK, FK/IK rigging plugins would then have something to work off as a standard rig and even seeing we have a standard skelegon/bone setup you could make many different character riggers picker etc using the same standard Lightwave bone layout. even poses and motion can then be save and reused alot more maybe MOCAP convertors too. and addtional riggers can be added for Wings, tails, dog legs on the biped will be easy again because there’s a standard bone layout in the package to work off. At the moment we’re the only package withOUT a basic guide line for a bone layout.:shrug:


I am not a very good rigger but a few things that I think would be nice:

  1. A way to switch between FK and IK dynamically (maybe a slider??)
  2. The ability to mix standard rigging tools and IK booster
  3. Special bones that have their own dynamics, like springs or muscle bones that always stretch to end points etc…
  4. I would like a more flexable motion mixer, so I can non-linearly combine preset motions with an already animated rig. The pre-made motions can either override keyframes or keyframes can override them.

Maybe I can do some of these things already! I am a novice rigger.


You can do it
create a standard IK bone chain
create a standard FK bone chain
create the deformation bone chain
create a null IK_FK_switch
create a slider
Link the channels of the deformation bone to the IK bones and FK bones with a formula like this

deformation_bone.Pitch (H or B) = IK_FK_switch.X * IK_Bone.P (H or B) + (1-IK_FK_switch.X) * FK_Bone.P (H or B)

configure the slider in a way that at the min value IK_FK_switch.X = 0 and at the max value IK_FK_switch.X=1

the IK bone chain and the FK bone chain should not affect the mesh (strength = 0) only the deform chain should affect it.


there’s even and quicker way without heavy expressions that freak out the noobs down the bottom free FK/IK blending video
simple fast & works well too :thumbsup: