3D Artist

LightWave 2018 shows off new features

News & Features
Carrie Mok

LightWave’s rendering, shading and lighting architecture has been rewritten from the ground up

LightWave 2018 shows off new features

After being notably absent from the annual roster of software updates for a few years now, NewTek announced the return of LightWave back in December 2017. Version 2018 was subsequently available from 1 January 2018, introducing a host of new features ideal for physically based rendering, VR rendering and more. It also extends the functionality of popular features like the buffer system, FiberFX, cel-shading, object deformations and others.

LightWave 2018 has already been used in Batman Ninja, and will feature the use of its real-time Cel shader.

Watch the trailer below:

In terms of new features, the rendering, shading and lighting architecture has been completely rewritten, with render and light buffers now previewable in real-time using VPR and having had an expanded workflow to simplify compositing.

Other new features include:

Volumetric Engine and Open VDB Support: Using the new volumetric render primitives, artists can specify physically based properties, Scattering, Absorption and Emission parameters, along with powerful node networks

Light Capabilities: New lighting architecture brings physical lights that can be optionally visible to the camera, and improved loading of IES web files to better match the intensity of real manufactured lights
 LightWave 2018 shows off new features

Surface Editor, Material Nodes and Surface Preview: The Surface Editor has been overhauled for the new shading system with powerful node-based materials that are presented with a familiar interface

Virtual Reality Camera: Includes both cylindrical and spherical modes for creating stereo 360-degree renders and animations for VR applications

Modifier Stack with New Deformation Nodes:
Unlocks and simplifies the previously fixed order of operations for Bones, Morphs, Subdivision and Displacements with the ability to drag and drop to re-order mesh deformations interactively
LightWave 2018 shows off new features

Cel Shader and Enhanced Edge Rendering: Offers flexible non photoreal render control over material shading and allows gradient-based cel shading, while Edge Rendering uses any material available in the Surface Editor to shade any line

More Integrated FiberFX: Expanded to integrated closely with the new lighting and shading system and can use any material on the fibers. Fibers are now generated using the new primitive object architecture

Layout-based Parametric Shapes: Parametric shapes allow for creation of virtual primitive shapes in Layout that can be displaced, surfaced and rendered without needing any geometry

Noise Reduction Filter: Speeds up render times by using less Global Illumination rays and samples, while allowing for clean up of the resulting noise using filters instead of increased render settings

New Modeler Features:
Layout View viewport shows the current camera view from Layout. Also new are fully interactive tools including Lattice, Smoothing, Array and Spline Bridge

Lightwave is $995 for a full commercial licence or $195 for an educational licence.

  • LarryP

    blender has most of that already in some way except the VR rendering, and I’m sure there must be a way to add that, if not now then soon.

  • Kelly Myers

    LightWave has had VR rendering capabilities through a third party plug-in which we produce at liberty3d.com called UberCam, since mid 2015. We are working on version 3.0 now which will add additional cameras (it has 19 currently) as well as some other goodies.

  • John Marchant

    Yeah and i hope Blender continues to improve in leaps and bounds, but it has some way to go and not least the cluttered UI. Its great for people just getting started but for those who have learnt another package its a PITA.