View Full Version : LW import and export sucks

03-04-2004, 03:28 PM
I started to work with LW 1996 and still cant understand why Lightwave after all these years still have one of the lousiest export and import functions in the whole 3D industry.

I have been involved in LW for a while now... I also have a long experience from industrial Cad systems and as far as I know the only three formats LW have supported for the latest 6 years are just the same as the ones LW support today, (lwo), (obj) and (3ds). I do not want to mention DXF as an option because it has got heavy disabilities to handle CAD geometries, and the VRML seems to be very limited.

This is narrow though in every project where I have been working with other 3D artists they always have more and better features when we are supposed to import / export different geometries. Especially 3DMax have a lot of positive capabilities to import and adjust different formats.

I feel like being left behind by the company I have supported for years. Today I had this industrial robot sent to me by ABB that is one of the largest robot manufacturers in the world. Guess if I feel like an amateur when I have to look around the whole internet to find out that other softwares have many opportunities to convert, import or export many different industrial standards.

As an example 3DMax have an integrated workflow with Autodesk VIZ to share VIZ Render files and it supports all industry format exchanges .DWG, .DXF, and IGES. Formats such as (stl), (sat), pro engineer and catiafiles would also be preferable when you want to work professionally with customers from the industrial side of 3D businness.

I remember my first big project when I was a projectleader for a 3D team and were supposed to deliver animations for Ericssons first worldtour. We had many industrial standard CAD formats to deal with. I contacted LW support but it took too long time to get a negative answer, they couldnt help. So I had to ask my youngest team members if they could read the formats and since these guys used 3DMax they didnt have any problems with reading the files.

Hey! This was 6 years ago...

Ive got no intentions to being rude but frankly I think the LW import / export function still sucks.

Juris Salmins
Creative Director

03-04-2004, 04:24 PM
I second that.

03-04-2004, 08:35 PM
I totally agree.

03-04-2004, 11:51 PM
Well, I disagree with you all. It cannot be the goal of a software manufacturer to achieve compatibility with a competitor's product. Basically this is what you are requesting. There are enough other commercial products such as PolyTrans and DeepExploration that do the job quite well and there are also enough free tools that help out in certain situations. I agree however that the import/ export functions that are already there are limited or defunct and need a major overhaul.


03-05-2004, 01:17 AM
What about for games engines though? They aren't competing products.

Anyway, if LW can import and export files from competing products that helps lightwave, not the other products.

03-05-2004, 02:57 AM
You may disagree as much as you have energy to. During the time you disagree time is running out for software companies that doesnt listen to their customers desires. If you got enough money to spend on extra soft for each desire you got, thats ok, but who is gonna put some pressure on Newtek?

Just remember I asked Newtek 1996 the first time about the import and export functions cause it disabled my possibilities to work fast enough for with customers. Many translation softwares have passed since that and I shall not mention all industrial standards for now because it would only be tragical. Maybe I am stupid but I still wait to hear a positive attitude from Newtek in this matter. 7 years is a loooooong time and I must admit I have been working with at least 4 other systems during this time but now I am back in the Lightwave interface and it feels time has frozen.

By the way, if I loose my customers I wont buy any of the stuff out there, right?

I made this short teaser for the customers next vision and it took me about 15 minutes to animate to Brahms Hungarian Dance nr 6. Compared to the 6 hours it took to find a way to convert and reshape this model, my comment is.

I would prefere to be an artist before a technician or converter maniac.



03-05-2004, 03:29 AM
Well, wouldn't you then be better off requesting standardized 3D formats throughout the entire 3D industry? I think blaming "lazy" programmers is too easy an solution... You could quite easily turn this on its head: Is there a need for every new program to introduce a new file format? No. Even if so, wouldn't it be good if all those formats were at least well documented and open? Yes. So there you are. You could blame the others just as much as you can beat on LW. Also do not forget that by its very nature LW is polygonal with a pretty crappy spline implementation thrown in which in turn limits its geometry I/O pipeline to about 30% of all existing formats. After all, file conversion is a art in itself and one cannot expect perfection.


03-05-2004, 06:34 AM
Well, wouldn't you then be better off requesting standardized 3D formats throughout the entire 3D industry

I dont think you got me right there. I said I was busy in earning my bread man. I havent got time or interest in saving the world from different 3D formats.

Look at it this way:

I buy a new car named "Lightray" that doesnt have a speedometer that hooks up with the polices radar systems or any other cars speedometers. Do you really think I am going to tell the whole car industry to make a standard that fits all, or contact the salesman that sold me my car and eventually contact the production unit at "Lightray" to tell them what I think?

And if they still wont change their speedometers to following international standards lets say "after six years", how many cars do you think they are going to sell?

Read my lips... SIX YEARS without a single major change in the import / export interface to follow the most common industrial standards. That sucks!

I am not saying Newtek must follow each single step in the 3D world of software... But listen again... SIX YEARS, without a major change?

I dont know anything about your age but I am far to old to see the waves passing by, I wanna ride them the whole way to the bank!

But as said before sometimes we ppl live in different spaces even if we are close enough to morph each others brains in a car accident caused by bad speedometers :)


03-05-2004, 11:10 AM
Agree with you, Jaxtone 6 years are alot of time, an there are alot of archi users wich feel the need of best impoprt/export of those formats. hope Nt will adress this soon.
send it to the feature request mail addres as well.

03-05-2004, 12:02 PM

I sure will pass this subject on to anyone that would have a go for more and better features in the LW communication interface.

A little hint about v.8 according to history when companies have new releases..

Experience tell me that no one shall expect to much from the first version, theres always a lot of bugs in there... I usually wait to at least v.1c of any program update. My customers wont see a difference and I save a lot of time banging my head against the support.


03-06-2004, 09:55 AM
I agree with Mylenium,
LW import and export sucks, but LW is not made to import
or export.
if you want to convert a file, use PolyTrans and DeepExploration,
it will do the job better, and you will have a lot more options to choose.
you can't expect any 3D package to support all the 3D file formats
out there.

03-06-2004, 10:58 AM
You can agree as much as you want, that doesnt change a thing in the real world.

If I need a better renderfunction there are heavy engines to buy out there, and if I want a better char. setup function there are probably better functions out there to. If I want better dynamics there are better softs out there to... but you can be sure of that I like the interface of Lightwave very much and will always have desires for the increase of this softwares capabilities. So lets finally say like this... SIX YEARS... man thats a long time for not listening.

By the way, I wish you the best of luck if you ever gonna buy a car. But make sure you always fasten your seat belt and have an insurance, cause there are no guarantees for a safe trip if the designer / constructer doesnt take you seriously.


03-06-2004, 02:16 PM
I think importing objects is not a huge problem, I always find a way to import.. of course it would save me a LOT of time if i could do it directly in LW.
But right now, I would prefer LW programmers
to spend time on their network rendering engine and rendering speed...
LW network rendering sucks a lot compared to other programs..
i think they should hire more programmers to do all those stuff we need. (including import-export)

I know they added a lot of cool stuff in LW8 but I think it
would be nice if LW could come with a better network rendering
application, based from IP addresses and with more control..
without having to buy a seperate network renderer.

I love LW but I wish they would listen more to what their
users need. Especially when those users use LW at their work place.

03-07-2004, 01:27 AM
Yeah... now you got me right!

Thats what its all about, a bad or non functional communication between me as a LW user and the Newtek company, have this changed since I first began about 6 years ago? Well I feel some people at the support are very friendly but still, some people at Newtek doesnt seem to be serviceminded at all. I do not think Beta test groups always gives the correct information about what the different users need out here. I know some guys that always are in the first line to Beta test new softwares, but these guys are more an icon of a technique freak than the average user really are.

I got a question, and this is about LWs network render principles. I always felt that LW had the best options for this matter. Way back in -98 and 2000 I made some huge projects for the industry were I had at least 50 machines engaged during the rendering process. Each machine was easily connected to the network rendering process with a single textfile about 20 kb size only.

The other guys in the team that was running 3DStudio was really jeallous at me since they had to install most of the software on each machine. The guys that ran Maya were directly out of businness since they had to buy an expensive render license for each machine. But this was a few years ago so tell me what have changed and what the limits is nowadays?

Did you mean that there are limits to render through internet? I could imagine you meant that if you wanted to use all your friends machines during a weekend LW doesnt allow you to do that? Am I right or did you mean something else?


One question

03-07-2004, 07:10 PM
lw network rendering is easy to configure once you know how to do it.
without buying a external renderer, you can not easily
restart a node, change the attribute of scene, split frame,pause,etc...

somebody at work installed 3dmax rendering nodes on our small rendering farm a while ago and we had to install the thing on each machine,
it took longer to install, but anybody could have done it.. it did
not require to look at 254 forums to learn how to do it..

and after it was installed, on the master computer, you had
this nice little program (nothing fancy but compared to Lw screamer, it was beautiful) anyway, with this program you could tell which scene would go on which computer, restart nodes and all other things and the thing I've said before.

Now i don't have any problem rendering on the renderfarm with LW but it took me some time to learn how to install it,
but still now
I wish that even if lwscreamer doesn't change a lot in LW8 , it would be great if it could have another little program which could control a lot more its rendering nodes..

I'm trying to have more people using LW at work , and it's kind of hard to do if you need to be an network engineer to render on the renderfarm... :)

if you are using a LW rendering farm, which network rendering system do you use ? just screamer alone?

03-08-2004, 01:12 AM
Wow... hehehe... as said I used the LW network render options -98- and 2000 so it was quite a while ago. It was in the days of LW v.5.6 and I am not sure I can remember exactly how but if I had to refresh my memory I would visit places like:


Lightwave is still very rare in Sweden, its mostly 3DMAX and MAYA
Between 1996 and 2000 I noticed how easy the 3DMAX guys played around with their software. Almost any action were possible to reach by the mouse and only a few keyboard clicks.

When they saw me typing the keyboard they asked me what the heck was going ont? When they made easy organic morphed transformations with geometry they just laughed at LWs complicated ways of doing the same thing. When I called the Newtek technical team and some real experts in LW they said this was the way Lightwavers always done it???

In the mid 2000 I went directing films and events. I became a Creative Director with a team of animators and film crew. Though many of my customers used Maya and XSI I tried to get into these as well. I noticed that LWs interface were far away from 3DMAX and MAYA. The guys that were relaxed with 3DMAX easily went into the MAYA interface with a smile on their lips. I had to start from scratch just because of LWs different architecture.

I can buy that but not the fact that many things are so complicated when you need things done... and now I am not talking space ships, planets or ray traced surfaces. I am talking about the real world with real customers.


03-08-2004, 02:38 AM
As a CAD'ist I must agree and state that Modeler import export features are very very very behind.

For gods sake DXF is a 3rd party plugin and not even included with LW. Apps liek c4d actually have lightwave format and tout full FBX intergration.

I think Modeler being abe to do DWG format would make many happy. Also LW8 should tout full fbx format aswell.
I hope newtek is reading as if this contiues it will only segregate lw more.

03-08-2004, 03:14 AM
Youre damn right that LW is behind and that they take a risk that they will be even more left behind if they want to keep the ancient historicle aspect of their import / export interface.

Hell knows, they maybe could bid it out and earn a fortune on internet as an antique auction of extraordinary pre historical gadgets :)

After starting this thread in frustration a few days ago I understand a few things more, and I can see a trend in the replies Ive got.

Seems like the youngest guys dont face the problem at all. And that the guys with more experience from the industrial side have more rational input. I mean Newtek doesnt increase their values as a company by only licking their a.... Its the real users who can help by telling what LW could be like and I do not mean to focus on import / export only, but since I havent heard or seen any development of this specified feature in 6 years... I take it personally like a slap in the face on me as a user.

By the way. In 1998 after seen a 3DMAX collegue easily create a growing curve by only a few manouvers when we worked on a huge project for Ericssons first worldtour I wrote Newtek support.
I noticed that it took so many more levels and keyboard actions to do it in LW. I asked if there were any easier and more precise ways to do it than the LW way. A few experts told me that this was the way they always done... hmmm I could never work under principles like that. My customers expect me to do next job better and to improve my skills all the time, and to be faster for every new project. This fact means that my software works under the same principles, fast and easy.

I am of course not the greatest LW guy of them all and theres probably much I dont know about the LW interface but isnt it a strange way of treating a humble question from a user... Thats the way we always done it? I mean I didnt ask them to go for a Nobel price... I was just jeallous at my collegues fast solutions with 3D MAX.

What do yo think?