LightWave is a 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software developed by NewTek. Originally created in 1988 as "Videoscape" by Allen Hastings, LightWave has become one of the most popular software applications in the film, television, advertising, and video game production industries. Originally developed for the Amiga platform, LightWave quickly gained a reputation for its rendering quality and productivity.
Today, LightWave is used in many films, television series, and video games. LightWave files are saved with the extensions *.lwo for models and *.lw for animations. They can also be imported and exported to other 3D applications such as Maya, 3ds Max, and Blender thanks to its interoperability.
The 6th version of LightWave was the first 3D software to integrate HDRI and one of the first to use radiosity. LightWave gained popularity in 1990s TV productions, such as The X-Files, Babylon 5, SeaQuest DSV, Hercules, Xena, and virtually all American TV series of the time. Its rendering quality and productivity contributed to its popularity, and many prestigious companies such as Digital Domain or ILM used it on productions such as Titanic or Jurassic Park.
LightWave is also known for its Modeler, renowned for being one of the best. This has made the software indispensable in the eyes of many 3D artists in the industry.
In 1994, due to user demand, NewTek released the Standalone version of LightWave (version 3.5). Since then, LightWave has continued to evolve, and in 2009, NewTek announced a completely redesigned version of LightWave, fully rewritten and named LW CORE. This new version of LightWave promises a fully customizable interface, Python language, modifier stack organization, and open SDKs, offering greater flexibility and interoperability between different software applications.
One of LightWave's strengths lies largely in its ability to interact with other 3D applications. LightWave files can be imported and exported to other popular formats such as OBJ, DXF, 3DS, DAE, FBX, STL, and PLY. OBJ, DXF, and 3DS formats support surface, texture, and UV coordinate information, while FBX format also supports morphing information. Additionally, LightWave allows the import and export of camera and light data to other applications, greatly facilitating the integration of LightWave into an existing production pipeline. Thanks to this interoperability, LightWave users can collaborate more easily with artists working on other 3D applications, expand their skill set, and access a wider variety of 3D resources.
In conclusion, LightWave is a popular and renowned 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software known for its rendering quality and productivity. With its interoperability, it is easily integrable into the production pipelines of other 3D software such as Maya, 3ds Max, and Blender. Since its creation, LightWave has evolved to become an essential tool in the film and video game production industry.
CAD Interop distributes several software applications for preparing, visualizing, and converting LightWave files. See below for a list of our solutions compatible with the LightWave format: