NewTek releases the long-awaited Lightwave 2018

(Ace Dragon) #1

I have to say, NewTek really upped the presentation on this one.

By the looks of things, it appears the vast majority of features are related to rendering (though it looks to also now have a powerful modifier system that is node-based). Responses on their forums though are a little mixed (with much of the praise going towards the new render engine), but it’s still pretty early and we’ll find out how much of this is marketing (ie. features less powerful and more buggy than presented). We’ll also find whether NewTek becomes more responsive to bringing out bugfix releases (though the first test will come much earlier amid complaints of a broken installer for MacOS users).

In addition, we’ll find out if the departure of Rob Powers amid disagreement from the management did any real damage to the Lightwave product (as for one thing, it’s still up in the air as to the timetable of the unification of their Modeler and Layout apps.).

Is NewTek back, or is this more of the same?

(Herbert123) #2

Meh, more of the same. Undo still not fixed, Modeler hasn’t been touched (it seems perfomance is better now, though), still neurotic split between Modeler and Layout, … if you have a 4K screen in Windows Lightwave doesn’t scale properly - which is kinda inexcusable, in my opinion. Users are experiencing crashes in various parts of the program, but Lightwave always had some issues in that regard.

The new renderer seems nice, though - but that’s mostly what this release is all about. And it’s not quite as polished as one would have expected either, based on the reports of some of the messages posted on Newtek’s forum. And, damn!, SO MANY THINGS ARE STILL MISSING! Things we take for granted in other 3d apps. LW users still need to rely on a slew of commercial third party plugins to remedy some of these feature gaps.

Mind, Rob Powers did reach this milestone release, but with him gone it’s anyone’s guess how Newtek management will proceed - and I mean how they will continue to misunderstand Lightwave.

Many users on the NT forums seem quite happy (who wouldn’t after that wall of silence) that Lightwave survived this round, but as far as I can see they’re being duped by Newtek management (once again).

It’s a shame, really. Rob had a long-term plan in mind, and with him ousted it’s all up in the air again. With him aboard and a steady roadmap/vision, it would have taken at least 5 years to get Lightwave where it needs to be, but without - well, I’d wager a bet that it will take a minimum of 10 years or longer. No wonder Rob posted that message about asking Newtek about a roadmap. I wouldn’t be surprised Newtek taking the money of this release, and then letting it linger and die in the upcoming five years, or so. I don’t trust those people anymore (and I’ve been a LW user since Amiga times!). If I were all those people on the forums I would have waited it out one more release.

As it stands, Lightwave still lags WAAAAYYYYYY behind all the competition. Blender, Maya, Max, Modo, C4D: all light years ahead at this point in time (depending a bit on the specific functionality). And by next year the competition will have jumped to the next level - Blender 2.8 is going to burn some rubber.

I do feel bad for the LW users who still cling to a thread of trust between them and Newtek’s management. They will see that trust betrayed, of that I am absolutely certain. I’ve been in that same position - fool me once or twice, shame on you. Thrice, blame is on me. Well, no more. Newtek will have to prove themselves to release the next version in one year and release timely bug fixes, and show some good progress first.

(Ko.) #3

That feeling when Luke Skywalker came out to Kylo Ren in the eighth episode of the Star Wars.

(thomascheng) #4

Been playing around with the trial version. I would say it is priced correctly at $295. It’s got a new geometry core with a brand new render engine. If they priced it at $500 to $1000. I would say skip it, but the cpu rendering is pretty fast and pretty easy to migrate Principled shader over. I’m getting the feeling they won’t be adding any more features to modeler since it’s probably going to be replaced with modeling directly in layout, but that will probably happen in 2020.

(thomascheng) #5

I do have to say that making the render engine only cpu based was a bad decision, it should have been OpenCL based and therefore able to take advantage of both CPU and GPU. Oh well, I guess the next time they decide to rewrite the render engine I’ll take another look. Hopefully, I won’t be retired.

(JustinBarrett) #6

feels like they were trying to cut their losses on this one.

(colkai) #7

Given that Newtek were promising Modeller would get attention at the next release when 9.6 came out, well, I do not understand those people saying they will give them yet another release to deal with it. I mean, come on, how long ago was that?
I was a LW user from 4.0 up to 9.6, stuck with htem through the ill fated 6.0 “rewrite” and ditto on the LW8.0 “rewrite”, cut them way too much slack. I wouldn’t tolerate that level of service from any other supplier and in the end, even my patience broke.

The fault lies squarely with Newtek management in my opinion, the program itself, as shown by 3rd party developers, was capable of far more, even with the old architecture, but no, they changed direction more than a squirrel crossing the road. I’m sure the party faithful will continue to use it and Newtek are banking, literally, on that.
I don’t think they will ever shift focus from rendering / layout, that’s where it seems most people use it that remain on board with the direction Newtek are going, which I suppose is fair enough. I’m sure some people will be delighted with it.

(Safetyman) #8

They seem like they have no intention to update Modeler at this point – like they feel they are throwing everyone a bone with the new render stuff. Important things that users have asked to be implemented for years (better UV tools, better character animation tools, UNDO) have all been pushed aside. Newtek either doesn’t care about its users or are not able to get LW where it needs to be… either way, it’s a bad situation.

(bugzilla) #9

Wow. After all that time, I can’t believe that’s all they came up with. Forget these small rendering improvements, the entire software needs to be redesigned from the bottom up. Still no integrated Modeler and from the looks of it the animation system is unchanged. I wish they would get their act together. It would be good to have another piece of viable software out there.

(TheGrom) #10

they are still using separate apps for modeling, rendering etc?)

(Herbert123) #11

Yes. Modeller and Layout.

(cet77) #12

Haven’t used lightwave for ages, but I still have to admit that things made with lightwave still look really good tho… Even tho it has it’s quirks…

(SamusDrake) #13

Out of all the full-featured commercial 3D applications, Lightwave still appears to be the most affordable option, for a single user. For a complete package it is very decent, despite its issues.

If Blender wasn’t an option, Lightwave would be my first choice. The way I figure it, its part of a range of Newtek products aimed at the broadcast market, and probably bundled with the other products when a studio is outfitted for the first time, or upgrading. All the broadcast client then needs to do is employ people with Lightwave familiarity, and a proven track record of getting work done.

Had Lightwave been sold exclusively for the film, game and amature markets, it probably would have failed long ago. But being part of a range of products, most likely geared to work together, I would say Newtek has two options; just stick with developing LW or replace it with a new or aquired package.

Don’t get the wrong impression; I don’t do any of this for a living, so someone in broadcast could probably shed more light on the inner goings-on in that field, but making an educated guess based on the comings-and-goings of software packages over the years, I cannot see Newtek not offering a 3D animation package in its catalogue.

(thomascheng) #14

I agree with you. $295 is a very good price for LW and you get a txt license key. No persistant internet connection needed.

(Felix Kütt) #15

I’m pretty sure its $1k for those who aren’t just updating to it. At that point I’d rather go with Houdini indie(then again, I’d rather go with Houdini indie even if they were equally priced).

(colkai) #16

Yep, $295 is if you are upgrading from the last version, if you are upgrading from an earlier version, I think it’s 695

For a hobbyist, I just don’t think there’s a better option than Blender, this is coming from a long time LW user who was one of those “Blender is a joke” guys. Yep, boy am I eating my words! :yes: :smiley:

(thomascheng) #17

Small correction, it is 295 for any previous version of LW. If you get LWCad 5.5, you can get the upgrade and plugin for 350. NT isn’t clueless, they know they still have a long way to go. I think that is why it is priced cheap. Yeah, a brand new version isn’t going to sell at 1K unless you have a pipeline established in LW.

I sorta missed the USB Dongle days. If I wanted to resell the software, I only needed to put the dongle on ebay.

(JustinBarrett) #18

my dongle got stolen at an airport…I had the old serial port plugin dongle…what a PITA…still all things aside…I still think blender is a better choice over LW at this stage.

(Initium Thoth) #19

Lightwave’s modeler is still relevant. It’s very efficient once you’ve memorized
the hot-keys. There are lot’s of free plug-ins.
Blender’s modeler is more complex, but that means it’s a lot
harder to use as a consequence.
But that said. I’m sticking to Blender until NT does something miraculous.

(Ace Dragon) #20

Looking at the Lightwave forum, it appears the vast majority of purchases so far have been from longtime NewTek loyalists (ie. existing Lightwave users) rather than people coming in from other apps. or even people new to 3D.

Even then, they now for sure have lost some veteran users who expected to see updates across-the-board and not just mainly in the render engine (outside of the few new tools in the Modeling app. and the modifier system). What NewTek needs to do is really start an overhaul of areas like modeling and workflow tools and eradicate the mountain of old cruft that users still have to deal with (if they want to have a chance of seeing Lightwave’s return to its heyday as a solid mid-range app. with a large userbase and an industry-leading position in TV).

They will also need to start with regular communication through things like a blog site (and forum activity) and commence with regular bugfix releases (especially if they intend to stick with a 2-3 year schedule).