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

…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.


one of the first things to do to improve Lw workflow, is to organize better the UI. Lw 8 is not bad on this field, some things has been made, but here a couple of things to address :

  1. pls, put in rendering option panel, all things related to rendering : AA, resolution and more. camera properties should be there, as a nested panel or something. or, even better u could duplicate those options to have at your disposal into 2 different places : rendering options amd camera properties too.

  2. pls make plugs and shaders list consistent ! make Lw list them automatically in alphabetical order. plus 'i’d suggest a scrollbar on these often long lists so that we can choose plugs and shaders easily.

  3. another little but annoying (for me) thing why the heck i have to go in the left lower area of modeler UI to deselect things with LMB ? i’d put the option to click on the viewport, or even better to click on bars wich separate viewports (some user couldn’t like clicking on viewport.)no, don’t tell me to use the keyboard shortcut, ok?

  4. give us a better layer editor in modeler. be inspired by Photoshop way to manage layers with all the options it provides, plus give us good options to rename and number multiple layers and grops of layers, just as it happens to be in the great skelegon editor. pls do it!!

  5. minor but important for final users let us easily store configs without the -c trick. just give us a panel from wich save and load configs, all things done automatically by the app.

  6. do as above for all UI colors. give us options for them, and while u’re here give us font UI options as well. possibility to store layouts (here workflow improvement returns, because users will be happy to use different UI layouts to work more confortable) and change them on the fly.

  7. if u want to go sci-fi, give us weight maps painting for CA in layout. so rigging will work better, all in layout. great workflow improvement.

there are alot of things to suggest but i have no time so that’s all for now. :scream:


I only have one whish for Wokflow improvement:

  • integrate!



I’ve always enjoyed using Lightwave as two separate applications, until the day came where I had a cloud of points for a plane to fly through. How can you easily identify and delete/move individual points that are in the way of the plane’s flight-path in Layout? Solve this connundrum and that would go a long way to improving Lightwave’s workflow.


Second that :thumbsup:


Make your pointcloud a particle emitter (Nozzle=Points), then move/delete whatever particle you want using Edit_FX. This is obviously only valid since LW8.

I’d like better layer management in modeler and would love to see some form of grouping in Layout, where you can assign settings (status, visibility, expressions, modifiers, etc) to the group master, and all children would inherit the setting.


Totally agree, this would make 90% of lightwaves issues disappear. Come on newtek rewrite LW9!!!


Thanks evenflcw, I’m using 7.5d though and it’s still a bit of a workaround.


· move the Parent in place to motion panel.

· remove the lw_rla and deluxe rla from the output coz they don’t work. replace them with the RLA/RPF extented from the image process.

· Add a “Load Image” in “Image World”

· Replace the “additionnal” and “generic” with a plugin searcher that can find all plugin and tool (third party or internal) like a google search with case sensitive.

· merge the camera panel and the render options panel… i mean give the possibility to setup all data for a render in one panel.

· load all internal plugin automaticly when installing Lightwave.

· setup default config to something more actual (segment memory, Grid AA, etc…)

· Undo for all, not only move/cale/rotate (undo in texture editor, undo after delete object,etc…)

· possibility to setup all color of the interface. (Like 7.x and less) I mean actually Backdrop color in Hub.cfg don’t affect the tool bar color and the panel color.

· a more readable highlight a selection (light lw5.6 or Modo, more orange than light yellow)

· a better look Interface… (lot of unfinished detail, lot of unused space, chaotic feeling cause of boundingbox around text, etc…)

· It actually hard to slide a gradient marker to 100%, everytime 98.32%… u have to edit manually…

· force Alert Message or Info Message to be on top of Lightwave. Then we can close it with keyboard and don’t have to click it before.

· Work in Progress bar for all… then we now when lightwave is really freezed.

· Stop the content directory madness and remember directory separately for plugins, mesh, image, etc…

· Group in Curent Item list! sometimes i must scroll a so big item list…

· Possibility to adjust the size of all panel from everywhere, not only bottom right like new scene editor…

· maybe more…( maybe i’m wrong on some parts, please tell me)


Voice activated tool selection. Its an idea


also be able to use the wheel part of the mouse to maybe change to different settings or axis etc., of the same tool while its activated.


This is going to sound controversial but-

I strongly recommend merging the .LWO and .LWS file formats into one unified format. So you could put points and polygons into “scene” files and keyframes and expressions into “object” files. LW started heading in this direction when they made object layers appear in Layout as independent items. This is the logical conclusion. It would help my workflow tremendously. This doesn’t mean unifying Layout and Modeler; you could keep them separate, just unify the file formats.


I agree, basically integration becomes necessary now… :buttrock:

My suggestion is that, optionnally, LW’s integration should be in a way similar to what can be found in CAD programs. When you want to edit an object, you double click on it and that is fine, a new window pops up and you work in another environment.


Lets see…

  1. Make ALL popups have basic filtering functions. Right now its extremely painful to deal with long lists of items. The surface editor has some basic filtering functions.
  2. Everything that can be changed should have an E and T button next to it.
  3. Surfacing between standard surfaces and HVs should be the same. The same presets should be interchangeable.
  4. Gradients should have the same input parameters no matter where theyre applied
  5. Weight maps should have the same affect no matter where theyre applied. Weight maps do differnet things depending on where theyre applied. Consistancy!!
  6. Have expressions available in only one place instead of 3 (GE, motion panel, displacement tab). Make the expressions work when they see the channel theyre referenceing appear rather then stick those ridiculous >> << signs in the expression. It makes it a pain to fix them. Relativity seems to handle this just fine. If you set up some expressions and the items or channels arent there they dont care. They start to work when those items or channels are loaded into the scene.
  7. Displacements should all be available in the same place. Right now they are in the object properties panel or you have textured displacement, normal displacement and bump displacement - Consistancy again
  8. Shadow options should be available in one panel. Right now you have 3 places where you have to change things to get shadows to work properly - Render panel, Light panel and object properties panel. This makes it hard for newbies to figure out and a pain to try and remember.
  9. Get rid of bones. Any object should be able to be a bone. The same with lights. Let any object be a light source.
  10. All motion or channel modifier should have the ability to be locally or globally applied and adjusted. A great example of this is IKBooster. You can easily apply settings to an item, all items, child items or parent items. I should be able to do so with things like follower. Let me be able to apply follower to an item or multiple items and apply offsets and so forth based on the beginning and end of my selections. This should work in the Graph Editor as well
  11. Allow all motion modifiers and expressions to properly work with and see IK.
  12. Instancing
  13. Easily copy motions between items or heirarchies
  14. Improve the HUB so that large objects or objects with lots of VMaps dont bog down or crash LW.
  15. Make it possible to easily manually keyframe items that have expressions or modifiers attached to them.
  16. Control panels that can be easily customised for things like facial controls, item selecting and so on.
  17. Fix selection sets so that the ones in the classic scene editor and the new dopesheet see each other. Make them reloadable when loading from scene or just reloading the same scene.
  18. Allow basic modeling functions in layout
  19. Allow Point Level Animation and allow the points to show up in the GE individually or in groups.
    More to come… :slight_smile:


building on what you said Splinegod…

beef up the scene editor to include a bird’s eye view of the light assignments and shadow assignments. We use this at the studio I work at in Maya.

So SplineGod, imagine you have an interior scene with five characters. the plan is to light them individually (for control) and the backround. So yes, you would get like 3 to 5 lights per character and then say five for the background. So we are talking about 30 lights.

As I recall it I would have to open the light properties and scrol the tab to each light and make my changes.

How about a Light Express menu? It would be user configurable. So say you want to have the light color, intensity ( a multiplyer basically), cone and penumbra angles (if a spot light) accessable at once for ALL lights… with a user tabbed menu so that you can assign tabs to each character so that the List of lights wouldn’t get so long. Selectin the light in the list would enable it to be edited in layout. A handy tool as well is a short cut button to view through the light.

Next would be the light and shadow assignment… basically a list of all of the lights on one side and the surfaces in another, grouped by object. you select the lights on one side and the surfaces, or whole objects or groups, that get affected by it. Shadows would get their own listing, with the geometry side allowing for the self shadowing to be enabled.

I’m tired, I’ll post more later…


I have to do some more digging around in the new scene editor but it seems that a lot of that can be done there. Everytime I mess with it Im more impressed with what it can do. You can customize it to handle selection sets with columns set up to quickly change things like shadows , light settings and so on. That , in fact, may be the answer to some of my suggestions come to think of it. :slight_smile:


Great points Larry. i don’t completely understand when u talk getting rid of bones. they are very useful as an item and they’re in Maya too. I’d simply add the possibility that every object is a bone, so that u could just do like in max and use real pieces of mesh to build a good working skeleton, but i’d mantain current bones u’ll have the best of both worlds! another interesting thing i’d add are bones similar to messiah ones. with different influence zone of bones on geometry that require no weight maps, yet you haven’t to go mad when rigging positioning bones. they simply work better. (yes, in Lw u can use no weight maps, but rigging is more difficult than Messiah)

objects as lights is great thing wich i am waiting for long time :smiley:

I always thought having separate files for objects and scenes is a great help in mantaining scene files size very small compared to other apps like Maya and Max. i see that there’s actually the possibility to merge modeler and Layout, but having different possibilities to store files so that u’ll have the best of both worlds :
one environment, but good advantages when working with those files.

in facts , one thing is when the app(let’s say layout )works on the objects- in fact u have a save all objects function too) and another thing is storing files on disk.

with the current scene file, wich contains pointers to final objets and other things like textures and so on, u have very small and better organized scene files and u can store geometry as a separate file .lwo so thet u don’t loose them if some problem happens.

however, if a complete merging of files type is really needed to merge properly layout and modeler and for allowing lw to be compatible with apps like Maya, i’d not be the one who complains at all :smiley:


Thats what I was saying…just get rid of bones as some kind of separate item. Just let bones be another object property or lights. :slight_smile:

I would say give up both. If I want to save things as separate files let me or if I want a 3rd type of file format (unified) let me have that option too. :slight_smile:


IMHO getting totally rid of current bones is an error. i dunno about max, but maya and xsi currently have them. having both options is the best solution.

different ways to do the same job.

I would say give up both. If I want to save things as separate files let me or if I want a 3rd type of file format (unified) let me have that option too. :slight_smile:

i agree totally!! an option to save them as an unified format can be handy too. :smiley:


My point in saying get rid of bones is that theres no advantage to keeping them a separate item type. Skelegons are objects that get converted to bones. Objects can be parented to other objects while bones cannot. Why not just allow objects to be defined as bones so you get the advantage of bones and objects in the same item. This would also allow the geometry of the bone/object to be used for other things as well such as muscle effectors or collision objects.