learn light wave  




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, OD Tools, LWCAD, Deep Rising FX, RHiggit, 3rd Powers  , db&w Tools, True Art. and SyFlex, among many others. It also includes hundreds of other plug-ins, many of which are free and equally useful such as DPont's.  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 2021, 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.

The work of LightWave 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 of Avatar (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. It was also used extensively in the film, Sin City, which won an award for technical excellence at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005.

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.

But wait! There's more. LightWave is also used by freelance and independent artists such as René Falk Thomasius(LightWave Guru), Marjan Moghaddam, Simon Smalley, Eugenio Garcia, David Aguero, and many others outside of Hollywood. In fact, in June 2020, Eugenio Garcia and David Aguero won first and second place respectively in CG Boost's highly competitive monthly challenge.

And if you are still doubting the value of LightWave, check out this list of projects where LightWave was used.

So yes, it is fair to say that LightWave is still of great value to artists and independent filmmakers and still more than capable of being used in major feature films and many other successful projects.

iron sky


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 cautiously optimistic.

New Tek and Vizrt appear committed to (at least) 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. The most recent statement by Vizrt supports this idea that they are committed to LightWave and will continue to "support" it and at the least, keep selling it. We have no reason not to take Vizrt by their word, so we trust there is a future for LightWave, even if the road ahead gets bumpy and things stall. In a worst case scenario, we would hope Vizrt sells the program to someone willing to continue its development. This is exactly the scenario that happened with Sony Vegas Pro, which stalled development at Version 13, then sold it to Magix, which has made significant improvements to it and is now on Version 18. 

LightWave 2020 was released on April 23, 2020 and allowed all existing users to upgrade for a limited time at a discounted rate. The new features list includes new GI illumination engines, two new shaders, and new production tools for VDB. The most current version of LightWave was released in May 2021 and updated the Unreal Bridge to 4.26.

lightwave 3d


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 Bullet and 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 is, even if it is a so-called free program, all 3D programs require expensive hardware and valuable time to study. But even with all the potential controversy over which program to use, you have nothing to lose by learning LightWave. It is a solid and very capable 3D program.

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 obtained.

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 LightWave Salvation, who has been consistent in making very helpful videos. It is a small way of saying you appreciate their efforts. Anthony Hall, from LightWave Salvation, also maintains an active and very informative Facebook page here. Also, since we see the future of LightWave as a companion tool to Unreal Engine, and LightWave has a bridge to Unreal, we are now creating tutorials related to Unreal Engine here. And finally, you can donate to Mark Warner here. He has been consistently sharing his LightWave knowledge for free for years.


David Ridlen (Showcase)

LightWave Guru (Emo Reel)

What's New in LightWave 2020 (Liberty3D Kat meow)

Mark Warner

Antti Järvelä

Learn LightWave 3D

Rebel Hill

Greg Sullivan

Cosmic Ninja

Spacial Katana

Simon Smalley

Alex Hartley's tools

pro biner

Bryan Phillips

Yunus Oz

Phil Nolan

James Roger (reducing crashes, clearing config files)

Hawaii Film

LightWave Salvation



db& w



Intro to Python for LightWave (this will help you to understand Python in LightWave)

Bosschaert (Radiosity) (this will help you understand Global Illumination)

Bosschaert (HDR) (this will help you understand HDR)

TRH LOGOS (lots of useful modeling tutorials)

CG Meetup (nice assortment of tutorials)

erikals (playlist on tools NOT to learn in LW)

pro biner (nodal setup series)

Lightwave Guru (self-explanatory)

David Aguero (landscape creation)

Ivan B (oldies but goodies)

William Vaughn (more oldies but goodies + going over topics you won't find anywhere else)

Simon Smalley (another showcase from a talented LightWave artist)




Antti Järvelä https://www.youtube.com/user/anttijarvela77/videos
Bryan Phillips / bryphi https://www.youtube.com/user/bryphi77/videos
Mikael Burman / Cageman https://www.youtube.com/user/TemalCageman/videos
Carm3D https://www.youtube.com/user/carm3d/videos
Champ Lein / LookingMercury3D https://www.youtube.com/user/LookingMercury3D/videos
Chilton Webb https://www.youtube.com/user/chiltonwebb/videos
Chris Jones https://www.youtube.com/user/chrisjonestube/videos
Craig Monins / RebelHill https://www.youtube.com/user/RHLW/videos
Digital Mind https://www.youtube.com/user/DIGITALMINDSL/videos
Dana Burman / dwburman https://www.youtube.com/user/dwburman/videos
Erik Alstad / erikals https://www.youtube.com/user/erikalst/videos
David Agüero https://www.youtube.com/user/davidaguero3d/videos
David Ridlen / Mr Rid https://www.youtube.com/user/Xurgonic/videos
Fabio Annunziata https://www.youtube.com/user/ilchupacabras/videos
Greenlaw / Little Green Dog https://www.youtube.com/user/LGDTestTube/videos
Greg Sullivan https://www.youtube.com/user/gsullivanjr/videos
Kevin Phillips / kevman3d https://www.youtube.com/user/kevman3d/videos
Larry Shultz / SplineGod https://www.youtube.com/user/SplineGod/videos
Lino Grandi https://www.youtube.com/user/linograndi/videos
Louis du Mont https://www.youtube.com/user/mrlouisman/videos
Marco Valenzuela (OPEN VDB) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ86cpZQaik
Martin Zapata / NeonZ https://www.youtube.com/user/NeonZEntertainment/videos
Michael Ivarsson / Prometheus https://www.youtube.com/user/PrometheusPhamarus/videos
Mike Green / Dodgy https://www.youtube.com/user/dodgyb2001/videos
Rene Falk Thomasius / LightWaveGuru https://www.youtube.com/user/safarifx2010/videos
Ryan Roye / tnd Studios https://www.youtube.com/user/tndStudios/videos
Steve Clarke https://www.youtube.com/user/Escelce/videos
Steve White / hrgiger https://www.youtube.com/user/35hrgiger/videos
Teddy René Hansen / mis https://www.youtube.com/user/mistube/videos

If you have any channels or links to recommend, please email info to: admin@server808.net

light wave

surfaced studio


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:
LightWave Modeler


And now a little humor. This is a post from the LightWave forum on May 5, 2020. LightWave