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Thread: Longevity of Lightwave, Worried about future investment in program

  1. #1

    Longevity of Lightwave, Worried about future investment in program

    Sorry if some people already know the answer to this, but does Newtek/Visrt realise that they now own the only end to end solution for a small studio to use without having to resort to using Autodesk products. Every other 3d toolset apart from Maya or Max
    has problems in one area or another when it comes to creating an efficient pipeline straight out of the box. ie character tools, render nodes, particle simulation etc. Please continue to develop Lightwave all we will all end up on Blender after the dust settles from all these aquisitions that seem to be occuring have run their course. I had to switch over to Lightwave from Softimage as i found that it was the only complete solution left on the market that made any sense to use due to its no nonsense ui and layout. some of the other applictions could learn a thing or two from the way your ui works. I think that lightwave is a really great application and i hope i can continue to use it long into the future. yours sincerely, Mark Manning from Adelaide Australia.

  2. #2
    Blender is the most complete end to end solution out there and it's free.

  3. #3
    I'll bite.

    I'm not sure what you base your information on, hand's on? Hearsay? But Maya & Max (for -not really- "end to end solutions") aren't devoid of shortcomings. All packages have pros & cons.

    I too relied on Softimage back in the day. Still use it from time to time as I keep 2015 loaded on old laptop. I continue to use LW, just upgraded to 2020, and will continue to use it. However, I have been getting more enamoured with Houdini. I pay for Indie and it has come a long way in usefulness, not just for FX and Simulations now. Houdini modeller still lacks compared to other software, incl. LW, but I can actually get by with it. Houdini w/ Mantra (I also use Renderman) can be a very good "end to end" solution for a small company methinks. So you don't have to fall to the Autodesk demons.
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  4. #4
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    Just for to be fair, I'm certain there are many who would argue your "only" end to end solution point, especially those that would point to a very popular piece of open-source freeware.

    Personally, I think the intent from Vizrt is to continue supporting the development of Lightwave.

    I don't necessarily have much to go on, although I was encouraged by the inclusion of Lightwave in a recent Newtek live stream on Vimeo that featured Deuce Bennett (https://vimeo.com/427773662 - Mr. Bennett starts at around 17:37).

    Honestly, I think is the first time a Lightwave developer has made an appearance of this kind in maybe five or six years.

    I do have to say, I wish he had perhaps approached the questions at a more novice or introductory level. Something as simple as stating up front that Lightwave was a 3d modeling suite; that would have been important for those unfamiliar with Lightwave that tuned in for other Newtek information or even someone who just ran across the video.

    Then he could have worked in all the implications for the follow-up questions, especially the one about typical graphic design workflow (although that question was very broad).

    BUT again, it was encouraging that Lightwave was represented.

    Personally, I think I have a grasp on where Lightwave development is going. It's not a short development road, but I'm here for the long haul and I think next year's release is going to be chock full of surprises.

    So like you, I hope they continue development and I will continue to support them.

  5. #5
    I don't think we have to worry.

    If anything I see them combining the Tech, changing the name and jackn up the price.

    Hopefully when the time comes they will do like Epic with the Unreal Engine, as far as pricing and usage rights.
    Or create a new model for consumers so that they can increase the user base.

  6. #6
    I think Lightwave will likely continue to be developed at the current casual pace and will go on like this for many years to come or may potentially be sold off to another company willing to pay enough for it. I think Lightwave is easily still holding it's own and will likely continue to do so as long as people are willing to pay for the upgrades.
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  7. #7
    Just another thought. I don't consider Lightwave an end to end solution especially these days. Maybe it was at one time but not anymore. In my opinion an end to end solution will have fairly robust sculpting and painting tools included.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas Jordan View Post
    Just another thought. I don't consider Lightwave an end to end solution especially these days. Maybe it was at one time but not anymore. In my opinion an end to end solution will have fairly robust sculpting and painting tools included.
    It's almost impossible for NewTek to add those features with the size of their development team. That's one reason why when we get new features they never get developed further than when they were first released. It's hard to feel good about its future when you don't see growth in the number of developers. I was really excited to hear about Metamorphic coming to LW2019, but when it became clear that Jamil Halabi was not included in that transaction it was less exciting. They need devs - without more devs expect more of the same. On a side note, I spent a good day and half in 3DSMax last week and it gave me a new appreciation for LW on the ease of use front. Although it's not hard to see how powerful a unified app can be a great boon, even for the most simplest things like copy and paste! In Max you can copy and paste as an instance. How I would love for Modeler to be able to do that. Maybe if it could it wouldn't be so dog slow. Anyway props go to LW for probably being the easiest 3D software to learn. The text based UI is a dream for learning. It just needs to get in the 21st century in all other areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Foxtare View Post
    ... but does Newtek/Visrt realise that they now own the only end to end solution for a small studio...

    ...Every other 3d toolset apart from Maya or Max
    has problems in one area or another when it comes to creating an efficient pipeline straight out of the box...

    ...some of the other applictions could learn a thing or two from the way your ui works...
    From my experience it's the complete opposite. LW lacks many features and the ones it has lack depth and are outdated in most parts.

    Most if not all tools for example in Cinema are much more refined and run circles around LW. Many things are completely missing like Motion Tracker, Texture Painting or Sculpting, sub poly displacement, various animation features, non-destructive modeling and destruction tools, dynamic LOD and poly reduction, snapping and much more.

    Then there are missing integration features like Adobe bridge, Substance, Houdini Engine, compositing export (Nuke, Fusion, AE) or proper Alembic support. Industry standard CAD import is built into other 3D apps. Others 3D apps have around 10 render engines available.

    Top plugins for flora / environment creation, physics / particles / fluid / hair / cloth simulation, vehicle / character / crowd animation are not available for LW.

    UI, viewport and architecture wise other applications are two centuries ahead of LW and most likely will always be. Stability, efficiency, performance and backwards compatibility is not the best with LW. Of course no application is perfect but overall most packages have a solid feature set.

    LW offers a lot for its price, has good licensing and can be used for many things but is certainly not a benchmark for 3D content creation.
    Last edited by Marander; 06-25-2020 at 06:47 PM.

  10. #10

    All packages have pros & cons.
    Yep, and with that, i'll hit the unsubscribe button...

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    I think it’s fair to say that the last decade hasn’t been exactly great for lightwave. I really love working in lightwave, and each version is better than the last, but the development pace has been slow and there is a real “two steps forward one step back” dynamic going on.

    As far as product longevity. It is likely that lightwave has found a sustainable balance. It has fewer users than most other programs, but they are paying users, and absurdly loyal users. If we haven’t already jumped ship we probably aren’t going to. The development team is small, and can likely be funded by the existing user base. Lightwave rarely gets new exciting features, but the devs seem to be able to keep lightwave more or less in line with industry standards while slowly improving the software incrementally. If a cause of collapse for software platforms is overextension and debt financed development in the hopes of recouping the investment in future licensing that never materializes, I think lightwave is at least not at risk of suffering that fate.

    If the competition was all expensive paid software there would be no question of lightwave’s longevity, but the elephant in the room is of course Blender which is free and generally more “modern” than lightwave. It isn’t very easy to predict what the long term effects of blender’s rise on the industry will be, because there isn’t really another piece of open source content creation software that is nearly as successful, so blender is kind of the test case. Can a product like lightwave survive when there is a free option that has the kind of support blender has? I hope so, and I think so. 3d software requires an investment in time to learn it that makes the actual licensing cost somewhat less of an issue assuming it is within reason. It takes years to become proficient in a 3d package, and even longer to build a professional pipeline around it. A few hundred buck a year is not really the biggest issue.

    So will lightwave be around for the long haul? Who knows. But it is being actively developed, and has loyal paying users, and a long history of not dying when everyone said it was dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hypersuperduper View Post
    ....and a long history of not dying when everyone said it was dead.
    Please forgive me for finding this amusing - the great selling point to attract new users... LW has a long history of not dying !

    Marander's post re 4D was interesting, but I also think it is fair to ask if LW still has things other software does not, such as those who dabble deep with IKBooster for example. 4D isn't known for it's character animation either, but the native hair and Ornatrix plugin look amazing, and I have no doubt 4D could handle ca. It is not practical to be a power user of every software simply to say, "Ah, I should have chosen that one", so it becomes a case of learning a few and then papering over the cracks as best as possible.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by hypersuperduper View Post
    I think it’s fair to say that the last decade hasn’t been exactly great for lightwave.
    The last few years have been pretty darn good IMO. It was those many years leading up to LW11/2015/2018 that were amiss. If 11 had come out in 2010, Lightwave would have been fairly competitive in the marketplace for what it is. Heck, if Lux and NT hadn't had their spat LW would be stronger yet.

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    In the new corona reality I see that all luxury investments such as external VR development have stopped (usually on a financial shaky basis, little training value for my clients) and that there is only room for projects with internal resources (I´ve limited my Unity applications to 2D screens because I´ve limited time for my productions).
    Where users, like princes and princesses, have turned to external parties and their gold-rimmed products in the past 5 years, they are now returning for fair media products with an old-fashioned healthy economic value. It has its advantages to have a permanent employment contract with a company.

    This situation will continue for years because the bottom of the economic dip has not yet been reached.

    In these circumstances, it is appropriate to take care of software that you own. Software that offers a good balance between price and possibilities specifically for you. Software that does not require long training after every update.

    And with universal multi-core AMD threadripper CPU´s almost at our fingertips for ordinary mortals, I am confident that LightWave will provide a unique yet stable foundation for many years to come. I am convinced that GPU rendering shows us the way in the short term but that the future lies with universal multi-core CPU with parallel processing. The redirection via GPU is expensive and therefore no longer completely in line with my new reality, continuing with CPU becomes fun again in the slightly longer term and could well turn out to be a very good choice.

    I would say: don't despair yet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Parsons View Post
    The last few years have been pretty darn good IMO. It was those many years leading up to LW11/2015/2018 that were amiss. If 11 had come out in 2010, Lightwave would have been fairly competitive in the marketplace for what it is. Heck, if Lux and NT hadn't had their spat LW would be stronger yet.
    I have also been happy with the 2018+ lightwave versions, but the road has clearly been rocky, and the lightwave that we have now is a significantly less ambitious product than ten years ago. there are now fewer users, fewer plugins and much of the exciting new stuff from a decade ago is abandonware now (chronosculpt, nevron motion, and now most likely Genoma) Hopefully the corner has been turned however and things will continue to improve going forward.

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