Where did Lightwave import/export go in 2.57?

I have been a Lightwave user for many, many years. I am new to Blender and I’m trying to learn how to use it. I started with version 2.49. Just as I was starting to get the hang of things, I ran across a tutorial for 2.57, so I figured I should upgrade. Now I find myself having to start learning all over again from scratch! Almost everything is different, and I can’t find things that I used to use. I’m not sure if they’re gone, or hiding somewhere.:confused:

I went to import a Lightwave model, which I could easily do in 2.49, but the import/export for the Lightwave format seems to be gone. Why!? I have a huge library of Lightwave format models, plus I will probably still be using Lightwave occasionally. I have been working on a model using both Blender and Lightwave.

Can this import/export filter be downloaded somewhere?

When I installed version 2.57, it seems to have replaced version 2.49. Do I have to re-install that?

Just some of the many questions I have.


Preferences,Add-ons,Import-Export,Find the lightwave format and mark the checkbox.

A few things are still missing that were present in 2.49, like render preview for example.
Most of the things are moved around for better organisation.
A lot of new things are added.

Import export formats are mostly add-ons now.
I don’t know why most of them are not on by default, but my guess would be that they wanted to leave only the most used on to avoid clutter.

Thank you!!

Is it possible to have 2.49 and 2.57 installed at the same time?

Where is the box that showed all the preferences for things like the middle mouse button? That window type seems to be gone.

Is it possible to have 2.49 and 2.57 installed at the same time?

Use Zips instead of installers?

Where is the box that showed all the preferences for things like the middle mouse button? That window type seems to be gone.

File/Preferences/Input, i presume.

Okay, I found that, but it only includes Import, not export. Where is the export filter? 2.49 had it. Can this be found elsewhere? I need to be able to send it back to Lightwave, and I don’t want to convert it to some other format.

What do other Lightwave users out there do?

If I export to 3ds or stl I get a model with all triangles! Not good.

I use .obj and usually get good results. Remember you will have triangle issues in Blender on objects that use n-gons. Blender exports and imports .obj and so does LightWave. In some cases, there are extra points that LW finds when importing other file formats and in most cases (careful though) you can merge points to reduce a great deal of them. The extra points will show up even after removing doubles in Blender as well. .obj is a good format to use with most apps, as it is an older format that is supported by all 3D apps and contains material and UV information as well.

Thanks AJM! I wish I’d known that when I started this project. The original modeler gave me .obj format, but I never even looked at it. I instead opened the .3DS formatted model, which was all triangles. Then I proceeded to convert them all to quads, which didn’t work right and I ended up with horrible edge flow. I could have just started with the .obj model and saved myself a lot of headache.

The end product will be saved in .STL format for rapid prototyping. It will be all triangles, but when the edge flow is messed up in the beginning, the triangles don’t smooth right in the end product.

Have there been any updates to help with importing and exporting Lightwave 3D objects?

The OBJ works, sort of, but not as well as I’d like.


Wow this is a bit of a necropost, you probably should have started a new post.

Any way, import lwo was removed from the blender release around the release of 2.80. It was getting so small maintenance, bit was approaching non functionality due to it only having blender internal support and 2.80 is cycles only.

I forked the code about a year ago and made some maintenance edits. It works all the way up to the nightlies now. It has very basic material cycle support, that still needs some work.

If you need it for 2.79, there is a special release for that

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Thanks! I appreciate it.

Mavek, I have tried to install this in 2.82a and it says it’s installed the modules, but then, the add-on doesn’t show up in the list. Am I doing something wrong?

I installed the other earlier version in 2.73 and it installed fine. The object imported, but the textures didn’t translate at all. I saved it as .OBJ in Lightwave and imported that into 2.82a and that worked much better.


I see the same effect as well in 2.82a. If I install and look for the addon via the string lwo, i can’t find it. However if I use Lightwave it does pop up. I think I have seen this a few times previous and suspect a blender issue here. The string that is used in the search is “Import Lightwave Objects” under community. Please review if you can.

As to OBJ, yeah that is probably the more proven way to import a mesh from lightwave. My work is more focused on people who have a lwo mesh and have no access to lightwave so they can’t convert it.

Also there is some replicative fading at every conversion, a straight conversion is more desirable, but I have yet to get a decent conversion for the materials. Though SOP seems to be that even on conversions all materials should be redone any way.


I tried searching for “Lightwave”. That didn’t work either. I also used the filter to show only import/export add-ons and scrolled through the list. It wasn’t in there. Are you using a new build of Blender? or would that have a different version number?

As for the conversion, I was looking for a more direct import. The obj import works somewhat better, but I lose things like weight maps and shape keys and bone rigs. The surfaces worked better, but, of course Lightwave surfaces don’t work at all like Blender’s materials, which I’m still having difficulty understanding. I don’t get the concept of slots at all, which I should probably start another thread on. But the images are mapped correctly. Transparency doesn’t translate, nor did face smoothing. Smoothing in Lightwave is set per surface, and materials don’t seem to have an setting for that, unless I’m missing something. I tried changing the auto smoothing level, but it didn’t affect anything, and I noticed a message saying something about this being ignored if the model had something or other. The message went away.

I haven’t checked this yet, but if your Lightwave importer brings in the shape keys, would it be possible to transfer those to a model imported as obj?

Lightwave import didn’t work very well for my character model, I only get some points with no faces or edges. I’m not sure what causes that, because the character’s hat does import.

Also, I tried that Japanese add-on, and it looks like it has more options, but the menu is garbled due to language, and I can’t tell what any of that means. I got only error messages when I tried that add-on, but I assume my settings were wrong.

Thanks so much for your help!


This will convert LWO to OBJ. Just tried. https://anyconv.com/lwo-converter/

Lightwave can export to OBJ natively.

I am looking for a Lightwave to Blender translation, one which retains all of the UV, weight, and shape keys.

Thanks though.

I see. I guess I answered this the same way, pretty much, 8 to 9 years ago. There is no importer that works for LWO in Blender any more, and that’s partly due to the fact that LWO has changed at least a couple of times, and I don’t think anyone is keeping up with software that a minority uses, save for the 3rd party apps above. So your best bet is OBJ or FBX. Of course Autodesk changes the way FBX works once in a while too, so I get mixed results from varying packages.

I probably should have been clear. This is just the original plugin reworked up to work post 2.80 and fixed a few performance issues, like image search. If it was missing from the original plugin, it is probably not here too.

If you have any meshes with examples of what you want that you can share, and ideally with everybody, a big problem with maintaining a plugin is meshes with the features in question.

I am only a hobbyist so I don’t have much time dedicated to this. I would like to see the imports improved, but it is only on my own time. But without example meshes there is nothing I can do.

Raise feature requests over on github and the specific problems with the addon as is. One issue per topic to get a feel for what is missing right now.

As to your import issue, please have a look at this issue, some one else was having similar problems:


I find it odd that people seem to be saying that Lightwave is dead, as if the company has gone out of business. I had to actually check the Newtek website because I thought maybe I’d missed an announcement or something. It’s still being published, and people are still using it, but yes, it has changed. What surprises me most is that no one has coded import/export plug-ins, neither the Blender community nor the Lightwave community.

The problem with OBJ is that it does not have the capacity to store weight maps, morph targets (shape keys), vertex selection maps, or vertex color maps, and even UV maps aren’t always translated correctly. Surfaces are hit or miss too.

FBX seems to actually be a dead format, from what I see. The converter hasn’t been updated since 2013. https://www.autodesk.com/developer-network/platform-technologies/fbx-converter-archives
I also had no luck with that format.



Thanks for your help. I appreciate it.

Here is a mesh with examples of all of the vertex maps that should be ported over in the translation. I hope it’s helpful.


morph-test.zip (10.8 KB)