Lightwave 2020 released

After 14 months of waiting, Lightwave 2020 is now available.

Is this the thinnest full point release ever in the history of 3d software?

I’ll let you decide for yourselves.


It looks like nearly all of the dev. resources are going into the render engine now (with barely anything left over for actual workflow topics like modeling and animation).

The ability to make pretty pictures and decent visuals for animation is not going to help them, especially when everyone else can do it too.


…and leverage GPUs to do so.

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Well, I would not consider it thin if it was not for the fact that it is still the same old LightWave, which needs so many fundamental changes.

But to the point, it is over 2 years now since the release of 2018 which was the first release after a year or more of darkness. which followed 2015.

If we turn back the history machine to the last blog entries from Rob Powers about what they were working on and promising, it illuminates the fact that 2018 delivered only a bare bones start to those promises. That was basically the new geometry and render engines.

And since then, they have only released small enhancements and features to what was 2018.

If you are using LightWave and getting along fine. Then these are not so small. It is great stuff.

But lets turn the history machine back to 2009.

Here is what LightWave needed:

  1. A new Geometry Engine - which makes sense to also add…
  2. A new Render Engine
  3. A unified Layout and Modeler
  4. A new animation and rigging system (which required 3 first)

People started leaving in a large way at that point because of 1,3, and 4. Those who stayed, did so because of 2) and the promise of 1,3,and 4.

1,3 and 4 were the absolute must fixes. And since 2016 or so we have not heard anything at all about them. And worse a promise they will never talk about any development plans at all. Ever. And even worse. They kinda like it that way.

What they have delivered since 2015 is 1) and 2).

So that means that in 11 years since 2009 they have not delivered 3 and 4. Those are the two things that caused people to leave. Those still around are OK with 3 and 4 and even in some ways praise it. That is fine for them. But the majority of the 3D world expects it going in. It is not optional.


Just like last year, this morning I received a LW announcement email about a new version… and just like last year, I immediately deleted it without even reading a word of it. R.I.P. LW.


Waiting for this to happen also lolz. However I do not think they have the resource in terms of money and people to make this happen in a reasonable time frame.

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I’ve said it before, here and on the LW forums: If NewTek had toughed it out and kept working on CORE, they would be in a much better place today.

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I started getting the most angry when nothing went into the modelling tools or the consolidation of those tools. I mean, I had to create something first in order to render it, but I was starting to do it faster in other apps with more well rounded and complete tools in the modelling arena, like Blender. I loved LW, and it’s “sketchy” approach to modelling, and many other things but I was getting more done in less time elsewhere and with more modern tools (here). They have some really smart people over at NewTek in the dev area, so I don’t understand the issue. For me, leaving LW was like leaving an old girlfriend. It wasn’t easy, but I’m glad I did.

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Try as hard as Newtek do to tell their users they’re not interested in the product still come back every year to have their pockets picked.


Yep, this was why I finally bailed, I got fed up of the “next release” promises for modeller which never came to fruition. I am sure there are plenty who will be happy with the 2020 release, but as others have said, the focus appears to be primarily on rendering since way back when, from what I can glean, modeller is still pretty much as it was back in 9.6

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It is true. But also the larger issue is that no matter what the developers did, proposed or projected, it seems clear they did not have the support of management. And I believe that this goes back all the way to loosing the original development team. It is basically the same story repeated over and over.

I think if you look at the dynamics of a company like NewTek, it is easier to understand. NewTek development moves very fast on the video side. Maybe 2-3 to even 5 years max on a major development. In 20 years they have refactored the video side several times over. The Tricaster is hardly even recognizable from the original Video Toaster.

LightWave has been the same old LightWave for 20 years. And each time they try to fix it, they embark on a very short time frame, then fail. And so here we are.

Yes, I am skipping to upgrade, too expensive with vat included that will be 685 USD.
I got lw 10 and up and with core, til Lightwave 2015.3…when I skipped 2018…only to buy in on 2019.

But now…skipping the 2020 release, and will probably not upgrade ever unless the modeling is there in layout and unless the renderspeed drasticly increases.

And the features was of very little interest for me…and again, nothing really indicating of model enhancements in layout, or in modeler for that matter.

No proper UI overhaul, and no CPU implementation or any other seemingly drasticly faster rendering.

So…from now on, I think I will defintely focus much more on blender…probably also houdini.
That said, I will still Use Lightwave from time to time for some projects, and some modeling tasks I find it easier and faster to do with Lightwave, and I still prefer some volumetrics in there and all the fractal textures I got available…but the time spent in Lightwave I reckon will be less and less.

My lightwave 2019.1.5 will still be very capable for many task should I need it.

It´s been very clear that they seem to struggle a lot since a long time ago to get enough good developers…and this release doesn´t change that perception I have, it just makes the impression more obvious.

Is this the thinnest full point release ever in the history of 3d software?

I’ll let you decide for yourselves."

Very thin I think…hard to judge though.

Is this the dead horse thread?
I brought free baseball bats and sledge hammers for everyone!
I also got some rubber boots in case it gets nasty.


It’s sad really. I used LW for many years and loved it, but it’s not aged well and it’s being passed by orders of magnitude by other tools. I’ve never regretted switching to Blender and its development is getting better with every release.
I did notice on the LW forums concerning this new release: A lot of folks are touting Blender and considering moving to it, along with other tools. To those folks I say, I’m willing to help out in any way I can, as are the wonderful people here at BA. Blender isn’t perfect (and neither are other 3d tools), but once you learn all the great things you can do, you won’t regret having it in your arsenal.

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The horse moved a bit. Just had to make sure.


I think it is interesting to watch people cross the threshold of supporting NewTek and LightWave through thick and thin.

LightWave is such a great name for a 3D Application. And it is such a great legacy. I really wish it was realistic for someone to buy it and take it away from them.

But with what is happening to Blender, no one in their right mind would purchase any 3D product or even brand right now. (Vzrt clearly had no interest in LighWave)

So sadly even that ship seems to have sailed.

What’s happening now feels more like a fire sale.

Oh…I won´t drop it…not yet, still things I very much prefer in Ligthwave than in blender, even modeling tasks…it´s actually more the “layout” side and rendering in blender that attracts me more than actuall model creation, except for the sculpting that is.

But yes, I said on the LW forums that I feel they are not focused enough and it goes in a wrong way sort of…and for me it looks like one of the worst releases so far…in terms that it doesn´t bring much to the table, not that it would be horrible in terms of not working etc.

So my focus will be much more on the blender side, but there also comes moment when I want some volumetrics or daz studio figures to work with, or do a space shot etc…then I would probably jump back for Lightwave.
we´ll see if I can get the time to mockup two websites, one will be about how I wanted Lightwave to go, the prometheus Lightway, and another site dedicated to blender and Lightwave and how it does things differently and similar and how to use together with eachother for those who feels they do not want to drop any tool.

But that is a maybe…I could probably spend the time better by learning blender more instead of doing that and gather info and images etc, but at the same time it will serve as a guideline for me and probably for others when looking back at certain tasks.

Currently for blender I would want…

  1. better fractals, and I do not mean the kind of nested multinodes with in principle the same main noises…I want new ones that can work within a fractal node texture for some tasks…
    See Denis Pontonnier and his fractal textures…

  2. I want a darn dammmit viewport setup like Lightwave has it…I simply loath the viewport setup for multiviews and quad views etc, and don´t give me that crap of…we or I… Or you do not need that…

  3. Camera and Light handling and also item structuring could be nicer including motion path handling I think.

  4. volumetrics working directly on added container/null with direct falloffs and texture setups.

  5. Bullet motors, bone dynamics.

  6. Ik booster kind of control…but I do know too little about blenders tools for something similar.

All that would take a lot of my motivation of going back to lightwave much more easier.

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Personally, I prefer the Blender viewport over LW, I just tend to switch view modes a lot rather than change workspaces, which is not dissimilar to the “mode” view LW9.x used to have, but with far more flexibility IMHO.

I think you have to go out of your lw comfort zone learning blender. Since you obviusly didn’t tried the flight mode on Camera and Light Setup the last time I suggested it to you. Wich is practically similar to what LW provides…only better
Sure its hard and there is a longer timeframe where you won’t be productive at all, but its worth it.

As for viewport…again I think its also a comfort zone thing you live in. Believe me I was on the same page on it, when I started to learn blender. Today I think its the best viewport in the world