Using Lightwave with other apps


To all LW veterans (5-15 years)
Has Lightwave become your secondary app because the industry forced you to learn another?

What is your new app?
How much does LW stay in your pipeline.

Myself I am learning Modo and I usually go back and forth between maya and Lightwave.


I seem to have found myself in an opposite position. With ADSK going subscription only in 2016, I’ve been forced to turn my back on Maya.

$195/month doesn’t seem like a lot. However, I feel that it’s going to be more expensive for me in the long term. I’m one of those guys who will buy a license and hold onto it for a few years, opting to avoid the risk of introducing a newer, buggier version mid-project. I might hold onto a single version for 2-3 years. On a subscription, in that time frame, that means my cost would be anywhere from 27%-91% above my base investment of a perpetual license. Every dollar counts, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve already got enough overhead and barely tolerate the idea of having to rent the Adobe suite. I do that out of necessity and the recognition that there are few realistic non-Adobe alternatives. On the 3D end, ADSK isn’t the only game on the block. Granted, they’re in the largest studios and have the broadest support. However, those can’t be the only issues for me going forward.

I need to have as much faith in the developer as I have the product. Where ADSK is concerned, they’ve soured the milk a bit; just enough to turn off some long time users. Between that change from sales to rental and the way they’ve handled some of their key non-Maya products in recent years, I’ve lost confidence in them. I’m no longer absolutely confident that they’ve got their customer base’s best interests in mind anymore.

For me, the switch to LightWave was not made lightly. I weighed several options including going back to Cinema 4D, which I had previously used for 8 years, or moving to Blender, which is right on the edge of being ready to play in the bigs. In the end, I couldn’t go with C4D simply because its focus has shifted over the years; Great if you’re keen on motion graphics, but not so great if you’re not. I also couldn’t quite make the leap to Blender because, functionally speaking, “close enough” isn’t quite enough just yet.

I see LightWave as being in a unique position atm. First off, as of 2016, it’ll be one of the few remaining high-end 3D apps to still be sold with a perpetual license. Second, NewTek has seemingly made a real commitment to getting LW’s development back on track, suggested (in part) by their recent switch to annual version numbers. Third, while it might seem a little desperate, their recent price drop suggests that they’re “hungry” for the market share. Finally, they’ve really stepped up their game on feature updates lately, which also shows their desire to compete again.

I’m not being overly optimistic where LW is concerned. I do understand the concerns. NewTek still has a ways to go before they can make up any of that ground lost to ADSK while they were futzing around with CORE. They sorely need to improve their relationship with 3rd parties too; Even Maxon’s 3rd party support is better these days. LW also needs to upgrade or replace a few of their older features. LW als needs to move toward an integrated workflow too. (Not that the modeler/layout workflow is bad. It’s just dated.) LW is far from perfect and could stand some modernization/polish. I don’t deny any of that.

That said, while ADSK maintains overall dominance, I wouldn’t quite count LW out just yet. It’s still a valid option for certain markets, especially TV productions where they have to pump out more and more near-film quality on increasingly anemic budgets. Assuming that NewTek continues on its current path, LW’s future looks the brighter than it has in years.

I can understand why people have made LW their secondary app, but I can easily also understand why some would opt to now make it their primary. For a certain segment of artists, LW might now be the right app at the right time. Plus, with a week still left on their super low $695 cross-grade pricing offer, now’s as good of a time as any. (Even at the full $995, it’s still a steal. LW 2015 offers some pretty solid bang for the buck.)

Do I see myself as still being a LightWave user 5 years from now? Hard to say. I do know that I don’t count myself among the ADSK faithful anymore. They might “be the game,” but it’s gotten harder and harder to play their game in recent years. Rental was the last straw for me. It might be great for large studios, but I’m not a large studio.


What were you using before then? Sounds like it was not Maya or you let it fall back and can not upgrade or that you were using Softimage.

Anyway I had the opposite view a few years back. I left LW development. Not real happy about the future at the time. Still waiting for them to redeem themselves.

But I do see the logic in wanting to use it in production.

If you are looking to use LightWave then there are a few plugins you might want to budget for to bring it anywhere near XSI Maya etc. Depending on your needs of course.

Your budget for plugins could likely add another $500-$1000 bringing it all up to nearly 2K.

Will LW 3D Group fix those things you speak of? The outdated tech? Integrate?

Those are not just small things to consider. They are fairly large and the answers have not yet come in the last 7 years, Core or no Core.

And there is little in the trend to show it will. What you can bank on though is through 3P plugins and developers piling features within the old worlklow - Genoma, Transform Widget in Modeler for example - it will continue to improve and be more attractive.

The developers have an uphill battle; stuck with old code and limited resources. There are some things they can not do. Not that they don’t want to. Just the current code base will not allow.

When they have to balance new features to keep LightWave interesting and more productive, it seems like a very delicate balance to improve old code and add features

If it works for you now, go with that, but don’t bank on anything. But from what you said, I don’t think you are. Just saying.


That’s exactly the point. Everyone’s needs are different. Cookepuss would rather not pay Autodesk. Simple as that.
The app doesn’t determine the skill of the artist anyway.


Nicely said.

I find that artist could use any software and could get the same result. (Almost :))


Sure yeah I think that is a given pretty much. I never understood it as an argument for one software or tool over another though. 3D is highly technical, and dependent on tools.

This is why we have TD’s scripting and 3P developers.

Just a simple case in point. LightWave cloth fx for example. The classic cloth no matter how great of an artist you are, will never work with self-collision. There is a setting. But it does not work. Bullet dynamics does have self-collision. And from what I have seen works.

So it does not matter your artistic skill, you will never have self-collision in Cloth FX.

If you are resourceful you work around it. But it is a limiting factor that has a diverse affect on the results.

Syflex is a step above. nCloth even better from my experience. I have used both. I can also make decent effects in LightWave cloth or Blender. Just about equally. But at least Blender cloth has working self collision. nCloth has great self collision and other nice setting that make working with character cloth so much easier.

And this is not because I am a better artist than the next guy. It is a technical thing that allows me to understand and work with Cloth FX in LightWave. It was 2-3 weeks of solid testing full time.

Technical aspects in 3D are really separate from artistic ones in that sense.

The technical side of tools should allow an artist to express himself with move ease and control.

This is what I was talking about. So, if you go with LightWave from some other app. Get familiar with the plugins that will assist you.

Same as any app really. But LightWave has some specific areas of archaic workflow that plugins like Ringgit help with. If cloth is a big deal to you, consider Syflex.


I agree with you cineartist,

Each software (almost) as a script capability to create what you need, i would say to code only if you know how and have the time for it.

I own C4D and Lightwave, i love both, Lightwave is my newest tool. Why i got it, the price was very good and it was offering more in the capability i had over C4D Prime and the cost was less from C4D broadcast.

But i love every software i got and i try to use what i have and see how i can do something or else find a plugin like you said.

I am like you, i don’t understand the argument over software and tools.

What i find amazing is the artist that show you what can be done and how they did it, that i find amazing.

3D is a hobby for me, so when i have the time i try to practice it, yesterday i learn something new in C4D and the day before it was in Lightwave. I have done work in C4D and now i try to do the same in Lightwave to see how i can do it and learn the software.


Cool yeah. See what you mean.

Anyway the main reason I mentioned it was something to be aware of with LightWave. Lots of cool plugins available to give you what you need. But in some cases it might come at a price tag.

Just depends. :slight_smile:


Yes and thank you for that info, i didn’t know but i am not really into peoples or clothing, i am more into space, spaceship, transportation and building type of guy.

But i do like to know anything in the software i own that if one day i change my mind, at least i know.