NEWTEK LightWave 3D in 3D Animation Software

Real-time Collaborative LightWave to Unreal Engine

LightWave 3D enters the present Age for exchange with this workflow link between the Unreal Engine and LightWave 3D, focusing on LightWave driving Unreal changes iteratively. Multiple LightWave seats can connect to the same Unreal Editor simultaneously to enable real-time collaboration between artists. The bridge uses NewTek's proven NDI network discovery mechanism for easy automatic configuration, and can be limited to single project use in Unreal, or installed as a general plugin for use in all Unreal projects.

FBX and New Interchange Bridge

  • Work with industry standard FBX data on a whole new level via the new Interchange Bridge.
  • Interactively choose what to import / export and how.
  • Add to existing FBX files from Layout and Modeler.
  • Build LightWave 3D® assets from many FBX files.
  • Easily revisit FBX files via workspaces.
Support for:

Vertex Caches, Morph Mixer,Vertex Maps, Smoothing Groups, Animation Layers, Animation Baking, Bones, Hierarchies, Meshes, Pivots, Mesh Freezing

Shading Model Customization Tools

The ability to pull materials apart and build them to one tastes is new to LightWave 3D® 2019. There is access to Fresnel Functions, Material Components and Material Integrators. The Material Tools Group has been updated with new nodes to support this capability.

OpenVDB Content Creation

LightWave 3D 2018 introduced the ability to import and render an OpenVDB fog volume. New for LightWave 3D® 2019 is a set of node tools that allow OpenVDB content creation. It can create OpenVDB grids from meshes, particles, and even the shape primitive distance estimator. The tool kit allows for live Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) operations, grid filtering including level set tracking, smoothing, dilation and erosion. Solvers are included that allow for fluid simulation and smoke and fire effects.


Metamorphic is a multipurpose animatable mesh sculpting and vertex map manipulation plug-in for LightWave 3D® 2019 that works in Layout, and takes full advantage of the new capabilities of the modifier stack.

  • Freeform animated sculpting
  • Built-in undo/redo system
  • Fully-multithreaded sculpting using all available CPU cores
  • Pen pressure support for brush size, strength and hardness (Windows only)
  • Nodal brush texture support
  • Three modes of animation
  • Non-linear interpolation of sculpt animation keyframes
  • Supports converting sculpt animation keyframes to Endomorphs
  • Predictive corrective morph sculpting that works after deformers with built-in driver/driven controller
  • Full Motion Blur support

Display Scaling

  • Support for scaling many UI elements for HiDPI and large-screen displays
  • Independent scaling options for multi-monitor setups

Bone System Improved for Game Development

  • The new Bone Type option, Limited Bones, allows the animator to set a limit in Layout on the number of bones that affect a given point to match the limit in the target game engine, and engages real-time optimizations to more closely match the performance game engines expect from a rig.

Edge Shader Node

A node for simulating beveled or rounded edges at render time, to give more realistic results without increasing geometry.

Patina Node

This node can add Wear (a convex shader) to a surface, or Dirt (concave) based on a radius and offset.

Procedural Shader Node

This node encapsulates a chosen legacy system LightWave 3D® or third party procedural texture and exposes it with the typical nodal inputs and outputs. Previously, such procedurals were only available inside a Procedural texture layer of a texture stack.

Image Caching

LightWave now uses smart caching with very high-resolution images, allowing artists to use them for textures and other uses, regardless of the memory in the computer system.

New Compositing Buffers

The new Rho buffer is for extracting lighting and shading information from the direct and indirect buffers. A new Weight buffer contains the value of the surface shader settings for both direct and indirect buffers. These are useful for heavy compositing work.

NVIDIA OptiX Denoising

A new Noise Filter option uses the NVIDIA OptiX™ library for AI-accelerated noise reduction when rendering still images. Requires NVIDIA card.


This new Renderer option is a tool for reducing or removing "fireflies" in renders.

Physical Sky

An Environment plugin to replicate physically accurate skies and create otherworldly skies, with equal ease.

Physical Sunlight

A new Light Type that simulates a sun using state-of-the-art scientific methods.

Enhanced UV and UDIM Mapping Workflow

Modeler has added a suite of new tools for working with UV maps as well as UDIM tiled mapping:

  • FlipUV-U, FlipUV-V, MoveUDIM, Turn Poly UV, SelectUV Island, SelectUV overlap, SpreadUV, Rectangular UV Grid
  • New view modes for working with UVs: Sketch, Scale, Angle, Overlap

Smoothing Groups

Modeler now supports the creation of smoothing groups within a mesh. Smoothing groups provide a way to create creases and hard edges, and more precisely control regional contours on model. It is no longer limited to a single smoothing angle, adding extra control geometry, or breaking model into parts to achieve the look it desire. Smoothing groups can be created automatically using a vertex normal map, imported with OBJ files, by using a smoothing angle threshold or manually. Smoothing groups can be exchanged with other software that supports the format.

Empty Volume Shape Primitive

LightWave 3D 2019 adds the new Shape Primitive, Empty Volume, which can be used for creating procedural surface shapes. In addition to being directly useful in scenes, the Empty Volume primitive is helpful in workflows that need to convert meshes to volumes or vice versa. Empty Volume can also provide for real-time Boolean operations in Layout.

New Tools for Shape Primitives

The Empty Volume shape primitive allows advanced users to write their own distance estimators for rendered SDF shapes and volumetrics.

Other new nodal distance tools include:

  • Mobius
  • Capsule
  • Shape CSG (Constructive Solid Geometry)
  • SmoothMin, a soft blending node.

Expanded Layout Undo System

The Layout Undo System has been expanded to many of the systems involving Transforms & Keys. Unlimited Undo is now available in:

  • Graph Editor
  • Scene Editors, both new and classic
  • Dope Sheet
  • Many Layout navigation tools

Popup Menus

  • Menus can now be navigated via keys (arrow, mouse wheel, home, end, etc.)
  • Large popup menus can be navigated with filtering and searches
  • Regular expressions can be used in filters
  • FLAT MENU: It can now call up a flattened version of every entry that exists in the main menu with the keyboard shortcut CTRL Space. Doing so presents a list of all available commands in Layout or Modeler (with their associated keyboard shortcuts). As with other LightWave menus, It can type to narrow down selection and the cursor keys and Enter can be used to choose the required command.

Node Graph UI Options

  • Tidy Nodes Command: A tool to make 'cluttered' node trees 'straight' and easier to read from left to right automatically.
  • Background Grid: It can adjust the brightness and color of the grid in the Node Editor
  • Snap to Grid: It can turn on this tool to make the nodes 'snap' to a user settable grid size.

Online Documentation

Responsive layout - the LightWave 3D® documentation now fits on any device for care to use it on.


LightWave 3D is a 3D computer graphics software developed by NewTek. It has been used in film, television, motion graphics, digital matte painting, visual effects, video games development, product design, architectural visualizations, virtual production, music videos, pre-visualizations, and advertising. NewTek LightWave 3D software is reasonably priced, comprehensive, simple to learn and well recognized as one of the leading 3D systems in the market for producing attractive photo-real renders as well as incredible anime. This comprehensive out-of-the-box 3D animation solution offers real-time collaborative 3D interactivity through a bridge to Unreal Engine.


NEWTEK LightWave 3D detailed analysis

Product Maturity
Company Maturity
Product Features and Functionality
Breadth and Depth of Product Offerings
System Requirement
Support and Services


NEWTEK LightWave 3D has chosen it’s strengths in these 3 territories
  • Niche Quadrant

    All-Middle East and Africa

    8 Participants

  • Niche Quadrant


    13 Participants

  • Niche Quadrant


    17 Participants

North America Middle East and Africa Latin America Asia-Pacific Europe
  • Product Maturity / Software / 3D Modeling
    Newtek Lightwave is very flexible and versatile in terms of modelling, image correction, scene layout, texturing, lighting and rendering. Show More
  • Product Maturity / Software Features / Other Software featur...
    Innovative features
    The software comes with many innovative features such as built-in instancing, Bullet hard body dynamics, and Flocking along with new workflow options such as GoZ support for Pixologic’s ZBrush software and the Unity game engine development platform. Show More
  • Product Maturity / Software / 3D Animation
    Capable to implort open Vdb
    LightWave 3D 2018 has a capability to import and reduce an OpenVDB fog volume. LightWave 3D 2019 is a group of node tools that permits OpenVDB content creation. It can create OpenVDB grids from emmeshes, particles, and even the shape primitive distance estimator. Show More
  • Product Maturity / Number of Supported Platforms/OS / Others...
    Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG)
    The tool kit allows for live Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) operations, grid filtering including level set tracking, smoothing, dilation and erosion. Show More
  • Product Maturity / End-Users / Animator
    Update the Material Tool Group
    LightWave 3D can pull the materials apart and develop them as per the requirement. It also provides the access to Fresnel Functions, Material Components and Material Integrators. It update the Material Tools Group with new nodes to support this capability. Show More
  • Product Maturity / Software
    3D Modeling
  • Company Maturity / Effectiveness of Organic and Inorganic Gr...
    No. of Joint Ventures
  • Company Maturity / Effectiveness of Organic and Inorganic Gr...
    No. of Partnerships and Collaborations
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    3d animation
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    3d Rendering
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    Digital Painting
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    Dynamics and Effects
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    Motion Graphics
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    Other Software features offered
  • Product Maturity / Software / Other Softwares
    Separate Feature
    Lightwave is a bit out of date 3D animation software. The separate feature of Modeling & Layout creates has a big drawback in workflows. The software is full of legacy stuffs which results in a steep learning curve for beginners. Show More
  • Product Maturity / Software / 3D Rendering
    Software support
    Lightwave doesn’t support major 3d rendering software such as Vray. It also lacks the file type support of standalone 3d rendering software like Keyshot. Show More
  • Company Maturity / Channel Strategy and Fit
    Strategy to Address New Target Audience
  • Company Maturity / Channel Strategy and Fit
    Strategy to Manage Distributors
  • Product Maturity / Software Features
    Pipeline Integration
  • Company Maturity / Industry Verticals
    Architecture, Construction and Engineering
  • Company Maturity / Industry Verticals
    Healthcare and Life Sciences
  • Product Maturity / Number of Supported Platforms/OS
  • Company Maturity / Industry Verticals
  • Company Maturity / Vision Alignment
    No. of New Products Launched
  • Product Maturity / Number of Supported Platforms/OS
    Others(AmigaOS, AROS, MorpOS, FreeBSD, Android)
  • Company Maturity / Vision Alignment
    R&D Spend
  • Company Maturity / Viability
    Revenue Growth Rate (Y-o-Y)
  • Company Maturity / Viability
    Total Revenue
  • Company Maturity / Industry Verticals
    Other Industry Verticals
  • Product Maturity / Medium of Delivery of Support Services
    On-Site Support
  • Company Maturity / Partner Ecosystem
  • Product Maturity / Services offered
    Consulting Services
  • Product Maturity / Services offered
    Integration & Deployment
  • Product Maturity / Software
    Other Softwares

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NEWTEK LightWave 3D Presence in 3D Animation Software

Questions & Answers


Looking for 3D Animation Software? Get help
Head - Product Management,Buyer Healthcare
Head - Product Management, Buyer Healthcare
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“Best Feature"

One of the best feature I like about lightwave was it has a distinct platform for rendering and animation. You can simultaneously work on different programs rather running the scene in one window. It make the entire editing process simple by drag and drop the model into an animation editor.
Global Head - Service and Product Development,Company Name Classified
Global Head - Service and Product Development, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews


I like the simple process of creating and setting scenes. It allows a flexibility to work, one can apply different methods in order to complete the work quickly specially for visualization.
Business Analyst,Company Name Classified
Business Analyst, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“Surfacing Capabilities"

Lightwave 3D animation software has one of the best surfacing capabilities such as nodal editor, renderer and modelling. I personally like the separate screen for modelling and layout. The other thing which I like about the tool is the customization options.
Chief Product Officer,Company Name Classified
Chief Product Officer, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“Support Third Party Software"

The best part about the Lightwave 3D software is it supports third party software and addition of LW CAD tools as built-in tools.
Vice President,Company Name Classified
Vice President, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“Easy and Simple"

Lightwave 3D animation software is easy and simple to learn for a new user. It is very flexible and versatile and have a wide range of tools to convert your thoughts into reality.
Global Head - Service and Product Development,Company Name Classified
Global Head - Service and Product Development, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“If budget is your concern, Lightwave is the product for you"

(*)(*)(*)(*)( )4
Truth be told, I did consider switching to programs with better features and more all round benefits. But I could not seem to be convinced to shell out a high price for them. With LW, I get all the features that I actually need, at 1k. Would I like to have more? Of course! But not at such high a cost, definitely.
Other,Company Name Classified
Other, Company Name Classified
#2 in 3D Animation Software 7 Reviews

“Easy to use and flexible"

Let me start by saying that though LW is not compatible with other 3D rendering software, that seems to be the only drawback for it. Because its own rendering is not very strong. And you have to convert files. Everything else works like a charm for me. It is simple to understand and use, especially for a beginner to 3D modelling. This is because, since you can work on different functions in different windows, you can get a better and clearer idea of your work.