USEFUL VIDEOS FOR GETTING STARTED WITH LIGHTWAVE 2020
LightWave is a 3D program that makes it
possible to create anything you can imagine. And while it is not open
source, it is open architecture, which means that there are hundreds of plug-ins
and other programs that support it and add features. Some of these are major
plug-ins and include
Octane Render, Turbulence FD,
Deep Rising FX,
3rd Powers ,
db&w Tools, and
SyFlex, among many others. It also includes
of other plug-ins, many of which are free and equally useful such as
All of the mentioned plug-ins work with LightWave 2019, but not all of them are
under active development. For instance, OD Tools still provides support for
their suite of plug-ins, but they are no longer adding new features.
Also, DPont's plug-ins are offered for free, so donations are appreciated.
Please note that since significant changes were made to LightWave 2020, several
plug-ins might not work so well with 2020 until those plug-ins are updated. And since
these are 3rd party plug-ins, there is not necessarily any way of knowing which ones
will be updated and which ones won't. All of the plug-ins mentioned above were compatible
with LW 2019.
It is also worth mentioning that
Liberty3D also sells several current
tutorials and does occasional group buy-ins on major plug-ins. They also runs
periodic specials on their products, so it is probably worth keeping an eye
out for that and buy during discount seasons.
LightWave may not be the
most popular 3D program available in 2020, but it is battle-tested and more than
capable of creating high quality work. As mentioned, it is still supported by many third-party
plug-ins and enjoys loyal and international support among many of its users. It is still used
today by smaller studios and independent and freelance artists. It is not seen
in as many major productions as it used to be, but it is still used on a
project-by-project basis depending on the
artist and studio.
virtuoso, David Ridlen,
was used in Green Book, the film that won the Academy Award for Best Picture for 2018.
LightWave also played a major role in the production
(read the comments section),
which represented a breakthrough in the use of motion capture and CGI and until
mid-2019, was the highest grossing movie in history.
And it is not just the Layout portion of the program that is used in major feature films, it is Modeler too. Jet Cooper, an
exceptionally talented 3D artist out of the United Kingdom, has used LightWave to model
hero props for films such as Star Wars, Thor:The Dark World, and Harry Potter, among many others. Check out his website to see more.
So yes, it is fair to say that LightWave is production-proven and still used in
major feature films.
At this time,
New Tek is actively upgrading the program and adding new features and appears
to be positioning the program for long-term sustainability. In fact, it
appears as if New Tek will be releasing major upgrades on an annual basis going
forward. And, of course, this means that the tutorials will need to keep up to
speed as well, something that has not always happened in the past.
In April 2019,
Vizrt acquired NewTek and while there is no way to know for certain
what the future holds, there are many reasons to be
With the 2019 release, NewTek brought game-changing and much needed
improvement to LightWave, and now with Vizrt,
whose mission is advanced visual graphics for broadcast and storytelling, LightWave would seem
to be a complementary fit. Vizrt's name itself is short for Visualization in
Real-Time or Visual Artist, so again, that is not at odd with LightWave's
purpose. According to the news reports, NewTek and LightWave will retain
their names, will remain based in San Antonio and from all indicators, development
and support will continue as is. One could reasonably speculate that development
might even progress faster
given the resources Vizrt brings to the table.
New Tek appears committed to maintaining LightWave and has now released
new versions of the program for the last three years, 2018, 2019, and now
2020. But no matter what happens in the future, a good
software program is a good software program and as the production-proven software it is, LightWave
remains a more-than-capable tool not only in its past iterations, but in its current
one.And this leads us to the fact that this year LightWave will be 30 years old,
so we remain hopeful that NewTek, under Vizrt's leadership, will remain a
standalone program and be allowed to stay on its
current trajectory and continue to add innovations and
Obviously, we would expect Vizrt to make LightWave fully
compatible with its existing Viz Artist program. Currently, Viz Artist is
compatible with Cinema 4D and After Affects but not LightWave. Continuing to
develop LightWave as a standalone product while seamlessly integrating it with
Viz Artist would create unlimited possibilities, so we hope that is the
direction things go. LightWave could become one of the primary portals into the
world that Vizrt envisions, which is a universal platform for visual
LightWave 2020 was released on April 23, 2020 and is currently allowing all existing users to upgrade
for a limited time at a discounted rate. The new
includes new GI illumination engines, two new shaders, and new production tools
for VDB. The most current version of LightWave is 2020.0.2, and it was released on July 15, 2020. It contained many fixes to known bugs.
Because LightWave underwent major changes with the 2018 version,
including its rendering engine, it can be difficult to know where to start as
many tutorials relate to older versions of the program. Many of the very old
tutorials using Modeler are still relevant today as Modeler hasn't changed much
over the years; however, the Layout portion of the program has changed
dramatically under the hood and many older tutorials about Layout are either
difficult to follow or
obsolete from 2018 and on. With that in mind, the
purpose of this site is to provide some of the
most recent and most pertinent
tutorials we can to help point you in the right direction. Many of the concepts
and principles you can learn in LightWave apply to other 3D programs and in
some ways, many programs are converging, that is, using the same
basic tools and concepts. It can be argued that the main divergence is in the
interfaces, rendering options, and where things are located.
LightWave can be considered not so much as a single thing but rather a modular platform for organizing many tools and plug-ins,
which even includes open-source programs and plug-ins such as
OpenVDB. In addition, you can control, configure, and customize
LightWave's capabilities and interface
in a myriad of ways and in that sense, its specific layout is up to you.
While LightWave is the program we use and enjoy using, we completely understand
that you must ultimately choose the program that works for you and that's
completely fine. But no matter which 3D program that
even if it is a free program, all 3D programs require study and consistent practice to master. But
even with that said, you have
nothing to lose by learning LightWave. It is a solid and very capable 3D
Please note that while many of
the tutorials use prior additions of LightWave, almost all still apply to 2020.
At this time, there are only a couple of videos related specifically to 2020, but
we hope to be adding more in the coming months. The changes made in 2020 are signficant
in that they change how scenes are lit with GI, so that's a definite difference from 2019.
If you are
interested in seeing videos specifically related to 2019, then click
here. New Tek
has devoted a web page solely for LightWave 2019 tutorials, which is helpful.
(Some old but still useful LightWave videos are also
here. )And if you
really want to get up to speed with using LightWave 2019 especially its
new rendering engine and don't mind spending a little money, then Rebel Hill's
Lighting, Shading, and
Rendering tutorial package is definitely the way to go. It is the best $86 you can spend on
learning all the nuances, key settings, and details of the new rendering engine.
The tutorials pay for
themselves in terms of knowledge gained, time saved, and quality renders
Some people believe that training and education should be free, but when you
think about things that you might buy like a guitar or things you might want
to learn like karate, training is not automatically included for free and no one expects or
demands free guitar or karate lessons. There is an understanding and respect for the
discipline and the value
of the information shared. Nevertheless, there are many LightWave users who offer tutorials for free on You Tube, so please consider
subscribing and liking their videos, especially
West Notts, who has been consistent in making very helpful videos. It is a small way of saying you appreciate their efforts. Anthony Hall, from
West Notts, also maintains an active and very informative Facebook page
If you have any channels or links to recommend, please email info to:
QUESTION POSTED TO YOU TUBE: WHY WOULD ANYONE USE LIGHTWAVE?
Mikael Burman replied: Fom the perspective of using LightWave, I have extensive experience with Maya, and I have also done some heavy duty render wrangling in Houdini, mainly Redshift. This question doesn't have an easy answer.... because it is like asking "Why do you like apples? I prefer lemon!"... That said.... for the price I pay, I have unlimited rendernodes... so, no render licensing I have to deal with. I have several machines here at home, and I can use them for network rendering without any additional cost regarding software. The only other package that I know of that does that is Blender. Houdini does it with Mantra, but you have to bake things out to IFD files first. Secondly, I prefer to own a license. When it comes to "what does it offer that any other tool doesn't offer"... well... it can do pretty much everything Maya can do, in some cases easier, in other cases it will involve more work. Then, there will always be those 1% edge cases where you simply can't solve it in LightWave. But those situations are extremely rare for general Cinematic work. Since I started working with LightWave and Maya on a pro level (13 years or so ago, doing cinematics work for games, and I am still going strong) there are no perfect softwares. There are times I bang my head in LightWave, wishing I should have done this in Maya, and then, I sit in Maya, fiddling with something I could have done in 5-10 minutes if I had used LightWave instead. LightWave has some interesting "oldschool" workflows that actually are very solid that I havn't really seen in other applications. But... if I have to give you my number one reason to use LW in the year of 2020... it has to be the render-engine. Especially if you work at a workplace that has many workstations. Without any additional cost, you can have all those workstations help render overnight. Almost all other applications now rely on third party rendering solutions and that can become very costly if you would need 50-60 licenses ontop of what you already pay for the 3DCC app. I should also point out that Maxons Cinema 4D and Blender started on the Amiga. ;)
Perhaps if you don't hear as much about LightWave as you do about other
programs, do not assume the program is not being used or is not as valuable as
it once was. Jet Cooper recently posted this on the LightWave forum:
And now a little humor. This is a post from the LightWave forum on May 5, 2020.