What Killed Lightwave?

It has been a while since I read the manual on it but the answer to the question would likely be here:

But this is probably the most fundamental thing to get your head around with Blender.

Everything comes from that. And I think that a lot of the confusion with how Blender works and is organized and how the Outliner works (or fails to work as you expect) comes from this fundamental structure of what is in a Blender file and how the data blocks are organized, stored and can be accessed as well as shared.

This fundamental structure is also behind how the interface interacts with Materials and Images (which are data blocks and the data).

In another discussion we were talking about Material Slots. And also about “Image Slots”, as it relates to other software you use. Can’t remember the name of it, but it is catchy, so I should. But it is dead so…

In Blender, I think if you first get your head around Data Blocks and how they work, and most importantly how powerful of a system it is (comparable in many ways as well as patterned after Maya and XSI), many things will start to make sense.

There are flaws. It isn’t perfect. Some implementations fall short. But here is to hoping it is one of the things that will improve.

(edited my incomplete thought)

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You’re right. Blender user since 2000 here. Have used “scenes” maybe about two times :slight_smile:
I do use view-layers extensively, to set up the visibility of collections for different renders.

The parent-child relationship is a completely seperate hierarchy system, and doesn’t really mix well with collections. So I do indeed switch the outliner between “Scene” and “VIew Layers” as needed.

For me, it is conceptually easy to use Scenes as a radical form of Local View (gahd, they are SO bad at nomenclature) if the mesh datablock is the same as in the entire file-- just the one mesh centered in a Scene. It’s almost like popping over to LWM. I could edit in situ, but there’s usually a lot of clutter in the way.

What I’d really prefer, and maybe this is possible (but I’ve asked before), is to essentially LINK meshes within a single blend file , with the main scene meshes being lockable, and solely editable within their ‘home’ Scenes. Kind of like Photoshop “Smart Objects”. Users would be allowed to unLock meshes when convenient, but in general they’d be protected, and linked to their solo Scenes for quick access.

You could do that with collection instances.The collection instance could be placed in any scene.Or you could place it in the same scene. But keeping it in one scene and then creating a collection instance of that collection in another scene would do what you are asking.

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There’s today’s study plan sorted. :+1:

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So keep in mind a couple of basics. The original instance of course has no transforms. Unlike Maya or other where a Group also has transforms. The instance itself has transforms. And it is a transform for the entire collection.

So what changes you make on the transforms of any objects at the object level will propagate to the instance.

The instance center will always be the origin center, 0,0,0, of the original scene from the original group. (by default - but check this great post which explains more options) The instance can then be placed anywhere and its local transform in the new scene will be the relative center of the old scene.

So keep this in mind when placing your original objects. Unless you always want them the same relative distance from the instance center no matter where you place the instance, keep them located at 0,0,0 in the source scene.

So this brings up two basic scenarios. You can have collections that establish a spacial boundary like walls and so on, or furniture in a room, or even an animation through space. And that entire space can then be placed anyplace in the target scene.

Or you can have objects, think of LW Layers that are always at 0,0,0 and then individually loaded into a scene and then transformed.

This in essence would be the way to replicate LightWave’s layer system in Modeler as it relates to Layout.

Your source scene becomes Modeler with your collections being layers and your target scene is layout with the difference that all transforms, animations, deformations could only occur in Modeler on individual objects. It is both limited and more powerful as your needs dictate.


Thanks. --That’s going to take a while to digest… :+1: :astonished:

Clarification question #001: I take it that Collections do not (cannot) have transforms, but Collection Instances can/may?

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This might help.

Looks like it cut out for some reason. But I think you get the idea.

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In this video Daniel Bystedt shows a good way to use collections and collection instances.

It starts around 09:10.

Back on topic, it is interesting how much I still think about LightWave. Us old timers all have their nostalgic moments I guess. There was a time when LightWave was this maverick, bold, game changer. I still think about that video I used to watch before I bought my first Toaster. And how they talked about the paradigm shift.

Hilarious now looking at it. Especially the VO.

But, think of it this way. All of us looking at the Toaster at that point and in particular LightWave as a 3D production tool, it really was as advertised. It was a game changer.

LightWave never got good enough to surpass other production tools, such as those used on Jurassic Park 1993.

But it did not have to. It revolutionized another sector of production, TV:

Campy as it seems now, before this, you were not seeing these effects on TV. And honestly as far as sci-fi space footage goes… much of it still holds up pretty good.

LightWave also moved into more visual effects and film but never really surpassed Maya for animation and then the history of LightWave starts to reach the sunset from there on out.

While LightWave was never really the go-to tool for shops like ILM or Pixar and so on, it did not have to in order to make an impact.

And particularly in the beginning. And this should sound familiar with another software…


While you can say that it has never or maybe even will never become a production tool of choice in top-end studios, it does not have to to have an impact. And a huge impact it has had. And it is not stopping or showing any signs of slowing down.

Unfortunately we can not say the same for LightWave. It is dying a slow death of neglect. But people still using and swearing by LightWave; I don’t think they should feel they have to defend that fact. If you still use LightWave and will keep using it long after it is dead, is fine. Who can argue with that?

But the broad industry-wide truth, no matter how many studios still use it, is that it is on the way out as a platform. It is certainly a testament to its original design, and the fact it did solely create a revolution in CGI, that it has lasted this long and has gained as many strong roots in the industry. It really did make a large splash and over two decades it permeated film and TV FX.

What LightWave did for CGI in the 1990s and part of the 2000s Blender started doing since about 2010. Blender put professional level 3D tools not just in the hands of people on a modest salary, it put it into the hands of everyone. You could say prior to 2.5 that Blender was capable. But it was still a very closed-nit group. But in the last 10 years it has accelerated at a very rapid pace and over time has gradually mined out various niches in the industry. And to this day Autodesk is still reeling from loosing those small pockets of the market. Now it is starting to encroach on the professional market and eventually larger studios.

So its growth is very different than LightWave which started out with a large splash and kind of grew for a while and then fell away due to neglect by the owners.

Blender on the other hand has gradually, slowly and steadily moved ahead. Kind of like the turtle I suppose. But now it is on pace to make some splashes.

RIP LightWave, you paved the way for a lot of us old timers, and we appreciate what you brought to the table.

But it is time for Blender to take the stage.


What a poetic respond :slight_smile:

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It is official now, Lightwave is a zombie app.

Why do I say that, because the changes over the last year are equivalent to what a single Blender dev. can do in an hour. Lightwave follows in the footsteps of Realsoft 3D and other blasts from the past where a crumb is thrown now and then to make the remaining users feel it is still active.

Impressive, that’s bound to give people hope that the new company are taking LW development seriously. --sarcasm off-- :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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LW has been on life support for a quite a while now. Not sure how much longer it will be before they pull the plug and let it die.

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And the Blender that I first used is nothing like the Blender of today. I think that the single most important thing that was done was to completely rewrite and re-imagine the user interface layer. Gone were the “Control + Alt + Shift + Scratch-your-nose” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: key sequences that nobody could remember. Suddenly, program functions could be searched-for and retrieved by name, and assigned to “hot keys” to suit your fancy not someone else’s. Over these many years, it became much easier to use the software, even as its capabilities continued to increase. The tight integration of the Python language interpreter into every aspect of the product has also been a very big win.

Nearly 4 years since they have “broken the silence”. Amazing track record. Keep it up VzTek!

Aww, come on, be fair, they’ve added a UE4 bridge,I’m sure everyone is super-excited at the development pace and will be praising their efforts to the max. :crazy_face:

I am just super exited that they have been completely transparent and told us exactly what they did after they have done it - for nearly 4 years. If that does not end the cry for “end the silence” I don’t know what will. They are on a roll here.

And right on time. Here they added one feature and fixed one bug and… Bamm! Press release. Full disclosure. Amazing!

I am on the edge of my seat until the next point update when they come out and say something about LightWave again. I guess that means they are still developing LightWave.

I imagine when the development stops entirely the press releases will stop as well, since there will be nothing left to say.

A sad day we will never know even happened.

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well there is C4D Maya 3DMax Blender Modo Houdini

those are all pretty strong competitors.

I agree it is sad to see another one go but in the end we are still left with choices

If you read the Lightwave forums, some users actually see this dinky release as a promising sign that the app. is in good hands. That groundbreaking new release with a brand new core is coming, and unlike the last two releases this is the real deal, any year now. I understand the desire to be an eternal optimist, but when your favorite app. ceases to even compete with FOSS then you have to wonder if it is time to bite the bullet and transition away.