Lightwave .lwo exporter: available now


EDIT : There is now a Blender 2.80 version available.


Hi there!

This post is aimed at all those interested in having a Blender 2.70 exporter for the Lightwave .lwo format.

I have started work on updating and revamping the old 2.49 exporter but to allow me to continue and finish the job I am looking for funding through donations. I am aiming at a 200 euros donation total (and more is welcome). Those rushing to their wallet are welcome at the top of this page (the “Donate” button).

Also this thread is a good place to discuss features needed/wanted for the exporter and ideas in general about .lwo export.

1 Like

I have donated into the account. I wasn’t sure before if this was just for you or others. I trust that you sent and email to motorsep, because he was the one who first asked for this, and he posted it as a job his group needed. Glad you have taken this on.

There was a time i’d have jumped at this!
but haven’t needed lightwave in a long time…

Glad that you’re taking it on though I always had a softspot for lightwave… although I am curious what need you’re trying to fill here…
I remember exporting to fbx and importing that into lightwave layout worked a treat last i tried ( a couple of years ago)…

back when I did use lightwave i would have hoped for roundtripping from blender to lightwave and back supporting models with robust material support, endomorphs, vertex maps, multiple uvs etc… basically something more bespoke and tailored to lightwave/blender workflow… (back when I was xperimenting with messiah and modo the level of lightwave support used to make it feel native)

so probably some sort of standard for layers support/LWS or something… though that is non-obvious from a design POV… I guess a start would be 1 blender object to 1 lightwave LWO model layer though IIRC that would only have objects and offsets, not rotations…
maybe best to offer export to a multilayered LWO or export to an LWS with multiple LWOs…

you could get really fancy and batch export objects to lwo and using the existing mdd export the animation whilst writing an LWS referencing it all together… an amazing level of interoptability… basically something taht teh PMG guys did to get there animation back into lightwave back in teh day before they had a renderer…

Worthy of note if you go the LWS route would be the lights/cameras being special cases going from lightwave because blender’s ones default to face down z! thsi means they come through to Lightwave from fbx rotated out by 90 degrees…

The goal is to export static mesh with most attributes supported by LWO format. This project is to enable modders to bring their assets into Doom 3, Doom 3 BFG, Rage, etc. any idTech 4 / idTech 5 based projects.

My main requests would be:

  • seamless round-trip editing for static models between LW<->Blender and Blender<->LW.

  • multiple UVs.

  • vertex groups and morphs retained.

  • layer support (up to 20 seeing Blender has a limit). And an option to put all the layers of the LW object into a empty object with the meshes parented with the names of the layers retained. Pivots for each layer should be retained as well.

  • base material settings should be retained.

  • image textures should be maintained as much as possible. Automatic loading of image maps.

  • additionally, some form of Lightwave Scene File format support would be awesome, so LW scenes can be directly imported and (ideally) Blender scenes into Layout.Cameras, lights, and empties supported. Static scene support would be fine, I think, since we already have the mdd importer/exporter. Each object should retain its layers through an empty with parented meshes.

I can’t spend too much atm, but I sent 25 euros to support this.

At the moment multiple meshes/materials/textures/uvs/vertex colors/weights(vertex groups)/morphs are working in the exporter. Textures are not saved in the .lwo (which is not possible) but referenced by a relative filename. Ill be adding layers later today, but can only see their use when exporting multiple objects to one .lwo file (or am I wrong here?). Also theres a batch export option (for saving selected objects to separate .lwo files).

LWS support will not happen, maybe though if I get really much donations?

Also, motorsep is out on the deal since it seems the idTech4 engine is rather picky about its .lwos (the exported ones wont load) and troubleshooting that is too long-winded. I tested with LightWave and 3DCoat and they load files fine.

Also user feedback on the exporter will be much appreciated after initial release to finetune its capabilities.

Layers in Modeler are also used to control pivot points for objects made up of multiple parts.

Ok, pivot points will be added too.

Awesome! Thanks!


The exporter is ready.

Get it here.

Donations are still welcome.

Briefly tested the new exporter, and it works! It feels kinda odd to be able to import the Blender generated lwo directly into Layout without a round-trip into Modeler first. Thanks so far!

I don’t use Lightwave, but like Mike I have a fondness for the package. Its certainly good to know there is an exporter just incase one needs such a feature(I’m sure there are many who do!).

Good work!

Excellent! Thanks for doing this. Donation sent. :slight_smile:


A new version of my exporter is online now featuring idTech compatibility (its a setting in the file dialog) and support for more Blender material properties to get it in line with the importer.

Also iPLEOMAX agreed further development of both exporter and importer (Im adding textures and UV maps) would be in my hands.

EDIT : well, the current importer is someone elses work, but Ill be working on it nonetheless

Be sure and rename all files accordingly for best coding practices and compatibility. Ideally there should be a folder called, io_scene_lwo, which would contain a file, and the two files for export and import. I created this and got the importer working, but as I stated elsewhere, I couldn’t get the exporter fixed, with my current coding skills. Best to you. Now that you are “in charge” I hope this stays updated and feature rich. I will try to send along another donation when I can, I will test it again. Thank you.

I tested his new 2.8 enabled plugin and exported to lwo and apparently got a scrambled UV map.

This is a very ‘old’ thread. Someone with decent coding skills needs to update the Import/Export scripts for Blender 2.81 to work with .lwo files. I don’t have the skill set, but would appreciate any assistance to getting this working again. Good luck with your efforts.

The 2.8 conversion doesn’t seem fully functional indeed. Sadly I currently can’t put any time in adapting the addon, let alone converting the importer. Sorry guys. Added problem: I don’t have a LightWave lincense…