View Full Version : The Future of Lightwave?

01-24-2004, 05:39 PM
I know this maybe the wrong place to ask, since alot of poeple here do use lightwave, but I will ask anyways: What do you guys think is in the future for Lightwave? I have read alot of poeple saying that lightwave will not last long (which is kinda funny since lightwave has been arounf for more than 10 years, I think), but there was a good point made that most companies what there modeler's to use max of maya. what do you guys think about this.

01-24-2004, 05:54 PM
I'll think of that after a couple of decimal upgrades of LW by the new development team.

If LW 8.5 is too far behind the other packages from a workflow angle, and if LW 8.5 does not show evidences of a breathtaking evolution of the package, I'll make a decision for myself.

01-24-2004, 05:55 PM
PS - I frankly trust Newtek. They'll be able to push up LW above the current mist.

01-24-2004, 06:29 PM
The question to ask is not What is the future of Lightwave or How long will it take Newtek to relize that it shouldn't take more than a year to release an update small or not to their flagship product.

In an industry where companies, trends and technology rise and fall as fast as a nights rain storm; where competitors have released 2 times over and are able to do everything your product does but with more features and can produce everything in half the time.

It makes you wonder how does a company in an industry where there are so many similar products and no major leader that has monopolized to prevent others who might tread in their path survive. Ah, Survival the most important word in business.

Does Newtek have what it takes to amaze new and existing users and are they willing to go down the rabbit hole and navigate through uncharted territories to produce a product that is unimaginable by their competitors? Will Newtek follow or Lead?

That of course brings to the correct question.

What is the Future of Newtek?

01-24-2004, 07:04 PM
As long as it´s robust it will be around. Has to open up to 3rd party renderers, though...at least in the long run.

01-24-2004, 08:28 PM
Open Architecture is always a good thing for developers.

01-24-2004, 08:30 PM
I always assumed their "flagship" product was the Video Toaster...

01-24-2004, 08:52 PM
Well it used to be. Newtek was the VideoToaster company.
Lightwave was just a small part of the overall Toaster product. But now that 3D has become so popular and video is kinda old hat Lightwave has become more popular than the Video Toaster.

Although the new Toaster does look pretty sweet. :D


01-24-2004, 09:10 PM
I would say the the VT is still the flagship product.
I have never read anything to differ with the original intent of Tim Jennison, which was to bring the power of video to the masses.

And since the original Toaster/Flyer, LW was always a part of the Video Suite.
They seem to have split a little with the start of LW5, but there is no doubt that it will always be with the Toaster. And now the VT will come with the same ver as the stand alone, it's back home.

As they way it should be.

01-24-2004, 09:23 PM
The question is which of the two products, VT or Lightwave, has the larger userbase and which of em is, and will be, more profitable. I think there`re more existing LW users, but I could be wrong.

01-24-2004, 09:23 PM
I don't think that Lightwave is going anywhere anytime soon.

Don't forget that Lightwave fills a niche that isn't met by a lot of other packages. It has ever improving high end tools but at a low cost compared to other packages. Cinema 4D is probably the closest package price for features but there is plenty of room in the market for two apps for that price range. Maya complete comes close at $500 more then what Lightwave costs. But then again, when you compare Lightwave's $500 upgrade price, it's free upgrades betwen major releases, and also it's unlimited render nodes licensing, and Maya honestly doesn't really come that close after all. Sure, XSI and Houdini and even Maya boast some impressive tools, but at a cost a lot of artists can't afford. There will always be a place for Lightwave in it's current form. I don't know what's in store for the future for Lightwave, but everything I"ve seen lately looks pretty good.

01-24-2004, 09:42 PM
Let`s hope sofimage and Alias don`t deviate from their marketing and price structure principles. Or the future is less bride for us Lightwavers. Unfortunately the financial state of Newtek is vital for LWs` future and endusers. The more users are switching, the less money for Newtek to spend in new features.
It`s like big supermarkets with a wider range of products(features) and employees ruining little Mom and Pop stores by lowering prices. Actually LW`s still the best cost-value ratio. But how long will it take the others to be on par? The future is uncertain.

01-24-2004, 11:01 PM
LW still has one of the most loyal customer bases in the market -- this is one factor that has kept it in the running for many years, and can spell it's future. To be honest, I use both Maya and LW, and I find strengths and weaknesses in both packages, but feel that both are excellent tools and can work together nicely to breathe life into even the most complex of projects. As long as LW still has a strong foothold in the television/video market, I don't think anyone has anything to worry about.

My only concern with LW is the renderer at this point -- definitely not the strongest nail in the board. When you have mental ray, Brazil R/S, and Renderman out there, LW's native render is quickly becoming outdated, slow and obsolete (which is why all my studio's animation, dynamics and rendering is done in Maya with mental ray). But, on the other hand, LW's modeling tools are top notch, and can't be beat by any other app on the market. More and more, I'm ditching Maya's modeling tools in favor of LW, and find that this trend is still strong throughout the industry -- I will always be a loyal LW user for modeling, as many of my peers are as well.

Kiss Electric Image goodbye, though -- if any app is going to go the way of roadkill, that's the one (bad management, a recent bankruptcy, poor customer service, and slowly evolving product....).

I'm still amazed at the power of LW, and think v.8 has taken extraordinary steps to place this software on equal footing with Maya and XSI in the dynamics and character animation area -- a much needed evolution. Plus, you got cloth dynamics included too, which is a great plus.

For those who criticize NewTek for taking too long on this last upgrade, however, I have only this to say: I'd rather see them take a little longer and create a dynamic, stable, reliable and robust upgrade that satisfies high expectations and runs like a dream, than a quick upgrade to satisfy impatient customers that falls short of their expectations and opens NT up to even more criticism..... Personally, good things come to those who wait. I'm tired of plunking down hard-earned cash every six months or a year for sub-standard upgrades that don't cut the mustard. I stand behind NewTek 100% in their decision to really do this one right, which in the long run is a great service to the most loyal customer base around!!! We've become too impatient as a society lately, and less focused on quality over speed -- I'm happy to say I've pre-ordered LW 8, because I have faith that this one will REALLY be something worth waiting for!

01-25-2004, 02:18 AM
I think Lw will have a good future.

I noticed that Newtek made alot of efforts to improve it, despite all the probs they had at the time of Lux affair. They have a new team now, wich seems to work very hard to give the Lw community what they ask for. its not an easy job, since asking its easy, coding and programming its not easy at all.

I agree that apps like Maya , XSI, Cinema 4D and Max give great tools and in most cases a modern approach in several aspects of 3D creation: As I said many times, they've been totally rewritten at a certain point of their history, while Lw was not for now.

But Lw is easy and funny to use, has a very good pricing and upgrading policy and unlimited render nodes. and there's always a way to accomplish your job with it. Think its enough for solo artists and small studios, and I think also that things can't do other than improve.

From another POV Lw would have a great and very very bright future, with a rewrite, to build a new, modern environment, just because there are things in its old code wich don't allow a smooth and powerful development. in this new environment, simply Lw work philosophy has to be mantained and if possible enhanced and this would bring a new user friendly way to create 3D. easy and powerful.

Since Nt is a small company and its not Alias or Avid, or Discreet I dunno if this will ever be possible, though, so enhancing at the maximum level Lw with its current structure is the way to go right now.

01-25-2004, 05:00 AM
i think you may need to open this up a little...

the future of the current batch of 3d apps.

3dsmax is getting very old with stuff piled hig on top of old code...max was once a snappy program now it wollows around and is quike clunky...i believe that max 6 is the last 3ds max and that discreet are now making a new 3d app.
max is and always has been developed for 3d games maiinly

maya is still a youngish app and has a few years left before it will look very dated.
maya has taken up the game side too and has had good results in turning games studios to maya from max
maya's core use is film and with things like lord of the rings and smegle's oscar wel maya's PR is doing well currently.

xsi is the new kid on the block and runs rings around all the others but has had a hard time getting back up to it's former glory days when softimage3d ruled the roost...before maya came out.
xsi has also had a few studios turn to xsi rather than max or maya for game development though xsi core use is film

cinema 4d has been around for a while but hasn't made any great leaps into film/tv or games but it does have a good app and a loyal user base.

lightwave has been around for along time and has a huge userbase...last time i looked it was second to 3ds max.
lightwave has been thru a hard time in the last year or so with it's old dev team leaving and a new one being put in place and lightwave 8 due out "soon" we can guage how well lightwave 8 is recieved by the usrs and press.
one thing that's always kept lghtwave up there is it's capabilities "out of the box"...no extras it can deliver top film/t.v fx shots that rival ilm or pixar from smallish studios and even though some slag off the renderer as old and falling behind it still kicks out some of the best renders on this planet, even maya studios who make nike adverts took heir maya scenes and rendered them in lightwave rather than maya/renderman or mental ray....they wanted photoreal "now" and without having to buy multiple leicences for mental ray or renderman....999 free lightwave nodes look way faster than 1 free mental ray 3.2 node.

with lightwave winning last year's emmys and ALL of the entrants were lightwave well..i beieve that the wave will continue to bowl over viewer for some considerable time.

thinking ahead...

apple and pixar....

apple have introduced renderman onto the apple platform..what next?

they might add a full 3d program in the future for apple....

64 bit cpu's and o/'s....

who's ready for 64 bit?

xsi yes
lightwave...working on it.

will there ever be a "photoshop" of 3d?

possibly...and the current leader for post that would be maya.
though discreet's new 3d in the works app may change that...

it all depend's on the PR of the app and maya has the best PR so far.

01-25-2004, 05:42 AM
Originally posted by cresshead
3dsmax is getting very old with stuff piled hig on top of old code...max was once a snappy program now it wollows around and is quike clunky...i believe that max 6 is the last 3ds max and that discreet are now making a new 3d app. You're right here. 3D Max is wallowing in old code. That's why they can't take it cross platform.

They need to cater for the two main UNIX based operating systems, Mac OS X and Linux. Without these Discreet is losing sales to Lightwave and Maya, plus they won't gain much acceptance in Hollywood.

Discreet's biggest mistake was not having a multi-platform application.

At launch time for Lightwave 7, Mac LW sales for the first time exceeded Windows LW sales. Lightwave boosted its user numbers by being cross platform.

01-25-2004, 05:52 AM
IMO I think the future is bright for Lightwave the old school left at about the right time and although there has been some delay and talk of Newtek dropping the ball with 8 I feel they are back with avengence!

I think with the release of 9 and maybe 10 could see it on top of the pile, the main thing all the interviews I read with the big studios is they need an application with open architecture allowing them to add there own custom tools, shaders etc.. To keep them one step of the game against the competition and push what we see on the big screen.

I think if lightwave it to gain users from the "highend" market it must include a rewrite within the next two paying releases to address this once and for all (open architecture) . As for other issues 8 will see it back upto speed with character animation, the renderer well thats down to personal opion I think it is the best BUT it needs a major speed upgrade, there again renderers are NEVER fast enough :)

So over all as a one man band or a small studio Lightwave as it stands is if not the best, is one of the best packages out there but to make big gains in the major studios it must open itself up in future releases.

There again what do I know :D

01-25-2004, 06:34 AM
and as for others and also rans....

L**, time will tell but my gut feeling currently is that they've missed the boat if all they release is *o*o and it's $500 well they'll sink without a trace they ave to make a maya killer just to keep their chin above the waterline or make it priced alongside silo...

messiah animate looks real good but the studio [renderer] need to be pushed more and do more to make it a viable proposition
for most people thinking about messiah.

motionbuilder has just added a proper renderer...when/if it gets a mental ray node it could start to look more like a end solution rather than a halfway house that it forfills currently..personally if i need to go outof my main app i do not want to have a trip back into it again later..motion builder is nice but i'd prefer t just move an asset once and not play shuffle board whith a project...that also says somthing about *ux with their modular approach..i'm not convinced it's a good way to do stuff..though we havn't seen it yet so i coud be VERY wrong!

silo..nice but has some work to do to make it worth buying when there's wings3d for nothing.

truspace..cheap hobby market app...
carrara..cheap hobby market app...
poser cheap hobby market app...
bryce cheap hobby market app...

lightscape..retired but still in use with architect forms
Viz a new version is comming out soon.

electric image..by all accounts it's in trouble and may disapear or be bought up by someone like apple or adobe.

01-25-2004, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by Beamtracer

Discreet's biggest mistake was not having a multi-platform application.

I'm not sure their ultimate success or failure is based on whether they have a multi-platform application. Sure, they lose customers that want a Mac application, but it hasn't stopped them from being a leader in the games market by any means.

01-25-2004, 10:22 AM
if you leave strata3d, truspace and lightwave out of the userbase figures then ALL of the rest of the 3d progams left such as maya, soft, elec image cinema etc do not add up to just the max usersbase...it's huge..reasons?

runs on windows..ran on win95,98 and winme for a long time as well as win NT,win 2000 and winxp pro so everyone can run it....and it's the most copied 3d software [stolen] bar lightwave and maya.

and it's very "WINDOWS" so it's easy to learn..like you say though it is limited to intel and windows and can never run on irix or mac due to it's heavy reliance of windows api calls for the progam and now that most film fx houses are using linux and apple o/s for films that naturally excludes windows so that was/is a main reason for max not taking off in film to a large degree..

dont forget that lightwave ran on:

irix [sgi]
sparc [sun systems]
alpha [fx 32]
intel pc
and mac

lightwave's now down to just intel and mac...i'd be much happier if lightwave also ran on linux as this is where major fx studios would prefer to run to cut costs for render farms and workstations.

01-25-2004, 11:11 AM
Yeah, I'd love to see a linux version of Lightwave as well. I should be getting into Linux next semester at school.

01-25-2004, 11:46 AM
Sorry to be rough, the discussion on the multi-platform power of LW is only to convince you to have made the good choice.

The question is : "Is LW a viable choice for studios and users as a whole in the future?"
There is only one answer possible : LW is a viable choice if it does not cost more than any other software package.

From this standpoint LW has two main assets :
==> free render nodes
==> cheap and free upgrades.

But, today, January 25, 2003, just before [8] is released, it has huge drawbacks :

Rendering : I am not criticising the quality of LW renderer. It suits me very well. And we all know that the best renderer is between the chair and the computer.
==> poor architecture and no connection with external production renderers,
==> slow renderer,
==> very poor render farm management system.
I think that if LW does not improve this soon, it might be more cost-effective to purchase 50-100 additional MR nodes than working with LW.

Animation :
==> Character animation. before the release of [8] it seems to me that it is much easier to animate anything with Maya, XSI or, using an external application like Motionbuilder or Messiah. I own motionbuilder. I only use LW for the calculated animations (PFX, Cloth... although it could be interesting that the calculation algorithm could be run on several machines). It does not come to my mind to animate a character with LW even with the Motion Mixer. It is thousand times simpler, faster and more exciting to do it with MB. Moreover, MB is real-time and this is a real plus compared to LW. If MB had a powerful rigging tool alla Messiah and could generate soft/hardbody dynamics, I would have not bought [8] anyway. I hope LW IK-boost and other tools have improved the workflow.

==> Rigging characters. The process of rigging a character is awful. We spend time switching between Layout and Modeller to tweak the weight maps, create the endomorphs and so on. I had the rotate skelegon/smartskin tools plus the skelegon editor and all the free plugins. The only good tools I have worked with are ACS4 and Ortho. But even with Ortho, we are far from the tools available in the other packages. The time spent to rig characters is awesome. OK we can do everything but we need to tweak/ cheat... while other packages can do it in one click (exagerated). Rigging in LW is very expensive...

Scripting : The power of Maya today is MEL. I would say it is its only force IMHO. Max force in the gameworld comes mainly from its SDK.
I have tried to do simple things with LW SDK (a VMap Manager)... I thought I was going back to my old Fortran machine. I gave up. I had too few control on almost everything. I do not imagine how complicated it would be to manage a real-time discussion protocol between external program (renderers for instance) and LW... Apparently [8] has been a bit written to improve that (remember the last feature on the list).

Modelling : Modelling is the last encouraging feature of LW. Few are the unusual things and LW is very straightforward. Nevertheless, it misses two things that seriously increase the workflow: the n-gons subdivision and working in local coordinates. We spend too much time fixing N-gons in areas which will not be deformed. The rest (edge weighting and so on... for me it is not a serious improvement, it is almost useless).

Ok... To conclude... [8] seems to offer a very promising future to LW. This needs to be confirmed in [8.5] or after. It seem to increase the workflow. But let us not stay on laurels, [8] is still far from Maya and equivalent.

01-25-2004, 12:01 PM
.... well as Chuck always said.... "the future of Lightwave is bright"..... and I add... "... bright like the sun in California, yes Gentlemen !"


01-25-2004, 12:17 PM
I'm very excited about LightWave's future, I think we'll see it grow into a real contender for the high end packages, probably forcing them to drop their prices even further in the process.

(It's not exactly a million miles now, let alone in a year or two)

01-25-2004, 04:53 PM
There was a time when i considered upgrading or not upgrading to lw8. Simply put i looked into it and found that the troubled times of newtek were over and they are steaming forward once again as they always have done.
At the end of the day its value for money. I think that out of the box lightwave knocks everything else away and it is the best value for money you will find in this market. Obviously if money isn't a problem then go ahead buy them all n learn the best bits, but since when was money never a problem?!

Gui Lo
01-25-2004, 05:51 PM
I think the activities of the past year is an indication of the strength of Lightwave.

Most of the dev team left to join a potentially competing company, which puts the development of any product back months if not years.

So what have NewTek done.
They managed to bring in a lot of third party developers who are very well respected and have incorporated their plug-ins. No small feat in itself when all are saying that LW is a dead product! They seem to have strengthened a lot of LW weaknesses. A lot of old requests are now finally being addressed.

It now seems, and I think it will be confirmed with v8 or v9, that Lightwave has been limping allong for years but still managed to pick up major awards and help others to also.

Gui Lo

01-25-2004, 06:33 PM
lightwave is "zero degrees kelvin"
[very cool]:)

01-25-2004, 06:59 PM
I've had quite some itme to work with LightWave Eight and I can definitely say that it is the strongest upgrade I have seen to date. The issues listed above about Rigging, Character animation and more have been addressed and continue to be addressed.

The new team is very excited and driven to deliver the best and nothing but the best. The new features, Bug Fixes, and more that they have delivered is just a taste of things to come.

I have had a peak at the future features for 8.x and all I can say is life is good :)

At the end of the day all the doom and gloom posts about NewTek and the future of LightWave will be seen for what they truly are.....a waste of time and energy.

But that's just my take on it :)

Elmar Moelzer
01-25-2004, 07:00 PM
There were not just plugins incorporated into LW8.0...
A lot of core- work has been done and still is done :)

01-25-2004, 07:12 PM
Ok that's great news Proton and Elmar but when? will the rest of us finally get to see this stuff that you guys have seen for months now? You know the less time from announcement to release leaves much less time for doom and gloom rumors to grow.


01-25-2004, 07:18 PM
I am very please to here that proton. I am very up beat about what Lightwave 8.0 will bring to us. I only hope that the interface can be improved to better the workflow, possibly
by version 8.5 ;) . The interface is really the only thing that has not been improved, that I wanted, from what i can see in the 8.0 screenshots.

01-26-2004, 04:35 AM

01-26-2004, 07:07 AM
I work in a small, 3 person studio for the government. Because of end-of-year spending, we have acquired Maya, Max and Lightwave over the past two years, but we use Lightwave for just about everything. It was easier to teach and it's the only program I have that I find myself stopping in the middle of my work and saying, "what a joy." We also have great success using LW with our small little render farm.

We're not Hollywood, but our client loves the finished product we produce with Lightwave in a timely and cost efficient manner.

We're looking very forward to LW8.

01-26-2004, 07:42 AM
What kind of animations do you produce for the government?
Just curious. The government and NASA in particular seems to really like Lightwave. Specifically related to Dan Maas Spirit rover animation.


01-26-2004, 08:15 PM
I am just getting mad that the 8th version of lightwave is still not out:mad: .

01-27-2004, 09:17 AM
Originally posted by js33
Ok that's great news Proton and Elmar but when?

When you least expect it!! Muahahahaha! :D

will the rest of us finally get to see this stuff that you guys have seen for months now?


You know the less time from announcement to release leaves much less time for doom and gloom rumors to grow.

Nah the gloomers and doomers will always be that way. It's
a personality thing. It's contageous if you're not carefull...
But then so is the positiveness that some people post, ya?.
I guess it's just up to the individual as to what they want or
allow to influence them.

JS And for those wondering, Proton isn't bluffing!
Knowing little secrets is so damn much fun... Muahahahahaha!
And don't even think about asking - All my fun would evaporate
the moment I did - So you know that ain't happening! :D

01-27-2004, 09:38 AM
just been reading the world exclusive review of lightwave 8 in computer arts mag...well actually it's printed as REVIEW on the cover of the mag but PREVIEW in the actual article...

still it's a pretty good writeup of lightwave 8 syaing that it takes lightwave forward and it looks pretty good and is great value with adding decent character tools and new ik plus bone dynamics and cloth/soft dynamics etc..
it does say that there's no ground breaking technology in the new release so there's little point for those that have maya,xsi or max to swithch or add lightwave to their toolset which is about right but it also adds in that lightwave has a 196bit renderer and that's one reason that the renders from lightwave always outshine others..plus they say that lightwave is the only renderer out ther that can do 196bits... at the end of the article that also make the point that you culd get lightwave 8, the video toaster and aura 2 for the price of maya..makes you think!

so lightwave's future according to the press looks pretty good so far.

i'll also post this onthe immentent thread...

01-27-2004, 11:11 AM
Originally posted by cresshead
...that's one reason that the renders from lightwave always outshine others...... and that's one reason that LW's renderer is sometime behind the others...

Sorry fot the sarcasm; LW's renderer is good but quite slow, plus it has some strange muddles like Caustics...

OK I'm starting to beg again:
Please NT consider a renderer revamp!


01-27-2004, 11:20 AM
I don't have too many complaints about the renderer, and I don't even consider speed to be a reason to revamp the renderer when hardware is so dirt cheap. Still, there needs to be a modular support for 3rd party renderers like Max has... just to put this whole question to rest.


01-27-2004, 11:28 AM
a 196bit renderer is obviously quite slow but not a problem: LW's renderer is good!

I was mumbling about the muddles: the major one is about Caustics (discussed many times)!
Take a look here for a simple example:
Little Test!

As far as the 3rd party renderers... agree 100%!


01-27-2004, 12:13 PM
I don't see any problems with those caustics exper?

What was the issue?

01-27-2004, 12:30 PM
yeah... I'm a little confused. I thought you were linking me to an example of bad caustics... that looks great!


01-27-2004, 12:31 PM
Me, Panikos and others had discussed about Caustics many times!

The previous example is good...
but it's quite difficult obtain good Caustics out of LW's renderer,
some examples:
they're too much Scene-size sensitive,
they're not properly light intensity sensitive,
they're often too grainy or have too hard hot-accumulation-points,
they need too much light sources if you want a good smooth/blending control (the pic use 5 point lights).
they don't have any interaction with Radiosity engine.

Ok... this is not a flame...
simply hoping NT will take some time to work on renderer too! ;)

Matt... how sad... I'm bargaining with my company (they're progressively going out of 3D business) for the LW[8] update and probably I'll put out my own personal bucks for it (maybe tomorrow...)! :(


01-27-2004, 02:40 PM
I went out on a limb and bought LW simply because it was/is, the best feature COMPLETE package for the $ - simple and shallow as that.

Having moved over from Max and Maya, I find LW a joy to work with, and although I have had to take different routes, the end results have always been up to scratch.

I do have some issues with Layout/IK/MM/Animation... but it seems most of these will be addressed in 8.. can't wait!

So, a joy to work with, a company which listens to its customers, a very competitive price... now if they would just pop over and do the work for me.........................!!!

01-27-2004, 05:51 PM
Originally posted by Tesselator
And for those wondering, Proton isn't bluffing!
Knowing little secrets is so damn much fun... Muahahahahaha!
And don't even think about asking - All my fun would evaporate
the moment I did - So you know that ain't happening! :D

Tess, tell them to hurry up. :D


01-27-2004, 07:42 PM
Originally posted by cresshead
from lightwave always outshine others..plus they say that lightwave is the only renderer out ther that can do 196bits... at the end of the article that also make the point that you culd get lightwave 8, the video toaster and aura 2 for the price of maya..makes you think!

so lightwave's future according to the press looks pretty good so far.

This is good news. Computer Arts is a highly respected professional mag all around the world. Best marketing you can get!

01-27-2004, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by cresshead

... lightwave has a 196bit renderer and that's one reason that the renders from lightwave always outshine others..plus they say that lightwave is the only renderer out ther that can do 196bits...
Cinema has a 256bit renderer. This is just marketing. The higher the value, the better, although this doesn`t mean the renderer is good or bad and a lot of customers doesn`t know how this value is set together. It's all hollow words.