• Enhanced Compositing Workflow with New Render & Light Buffers - LightWave 2018

    Features In-Depth

    See the Latest LightWave Features in Action

Unreal | LightWave 3D

LightWave 3D® Bridge to Unreal Engine

Real-time Collaborative LightWave
to Unreal Engine

LightWave 3D® enters the Real-Time Age for interchange with this workflow link between the Unreal Engine and LightWave 3D®, focusing on LightWave driving Unreal changes iteratively. Multiple LightWave seats are able to 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 New Interchange Bridge | LightWave 3D

Improved FBX Interchange

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.
  • Append assets to or replace the animation data for existing scenes
  • Option to import materials as Principled BSDF
  • 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 | LightWave 3D

Shading Model Customization Tools

Shading Model Customization Tools

LightWave 3D® 2019.1 brings artist the ability to pull materials apart and build them to your tastes. 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 Creation | LightWave 3D

OpenVDB Creation

OpenVDB Content Creation

LightWave 3D® 2018 introduced the ability to import and render an OpenVDB fog volume. New for LightWave 3D® 2019.1 builds on that with a set of node tools that allow OpenVDB content creation. You can now create OpenVDB grids from meshes, particles, and even the shape primitive distance estimator. Meshes can now be used to create a particle system, with support for collision velocity. 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 | LightWave 3D

Metamorphic Animated Sculpting/Painting


Metamorphic is a multipurpose animatable mesh sculpting and vertex map manipulation plug-in for LightWave 3D® 2019.1 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 | LightWave 3D

Display Scaling

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 Games | LightWave 3D

Bone Enhancements for Game Development

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.

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

Edge Shader Node | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

Edge Shader Node

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

Patina Node | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

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 | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

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 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

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 | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

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 | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements

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.

Despike | LightWave 3D

Shading and Rendering Enhancements


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

Physical Sky and SunLight

Physical Sky | LightWave 3D

Physical Sky and Sunlight

Physical Sky

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

Physical Sunlight | LightWave 3D

Physical Sky and Sunlight

Physical Sunlight

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

Game Development Enhancements in Modeler

Enhanced UV and UDIM Mapping Workflow | LightWave 3D

Game Development Enhancements in Modeler

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 | LightWave 3D

Game Development Enhancements in Modeler

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 your model. You are no longer limited to a single smoothing angle, adding extra control geometry, or breaking your model into parts to achieve the look you 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.

New Primitive and Tools

Empty Volume Shape Primitive | LightWave 3D

New Primitive & Tools

Empty Volume Shape Primitive

LightWave 3D® 2019.1 offers 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 | LightWave 3D

New Primitive & Tools

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.

Workflow and UI

Expanded Undo Layout System | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

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
Node Graph UI Options | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

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: You can adjust the brightness and color of the grid in the Node Editor
  • Snap to Grid: you can turn on this tool to make the nodes 'snap' to a user settable grid size.
Enhanced Configuration Control | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

Enhanced Configuration Control

  • Layout and Modeler both now have separate Key and Menu configuration files.
  • When the app asks for configs to be cleared, only LW2019.1.cfg, LWM2019.1.cfg, Extension Cache-64, and LWHUB2019.1.cfg need to be deleted and rebuilt. Customized hot keys and menus can now be preserved.
  • Reset Configs command plugin clears the files mentioned in the previous item, preserving customized hot keys and menus.
VPR | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI


Optional progress bar added on the bottom bar of the Layout window; if multiple viewports are set to VPR, the progress bar will split into multiple bars, to show a bar for each viewport set to VPR.

New OpenGL Viewport Option | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

New OpenGL Viewport Option

Hide all non-renderable elements - grid, motion paths, camera, light, bone and null icons, etc.

Layout and Modeler Navigation and Panel Enhancements | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

Layout and Modeler Navigation and Panel Enhancements

  • New game-style navigation mode combining hotkeys, mouse and scroll wheel to move within the viewport, adjust the view and move the scene playhead.
  • Alternate control subjects and styles can be engaged from the Navigation Panel – View: Grab/Orbit/Helicopter/Walk; Current Item: Grab/Helicopter.
  • A variety of new functions have been added to “tree-style” list panes in many panels to allow more customization of the view and easier drag and drop re-ordering and hierarchy adjustments (Scene Editors, Graph Editor, Configure Keys, etc.).
  • Enhancements to Modeler Layers and Vertex Maps Panels for more flexible and convenient management of layers and maps.
Online Documentation | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

Online Documentation

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

LightWave License Server 2019.1 Option | LightWave 3D

Workflow and UI

License Server 2019.1 Option

A new licensing management option for large facilities, this is a specialized build of the LightWave 3D® applications wherein licensing of LightWave 3D® is controlled through a managed portal. Purchase is by special arrangement.

Free 30-Day Trial

Don’t take our word for it — try LightWave 2019, unrestricted for yourself. Download and register to unlock a full-feature trial version of LightWave 2019 for Windows & Mac today.

Try Now

Learn More

LightWave 2019 gives you the tools you need to deliver any project on time and on budget.
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Add the power and efficiency of LightWave 2019 to your pipeline today. And start creating with a stable, streamlined, effective workflow.

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System Specifications

For a greater experience.