In spite of age-old promises to the contrary, LightWave remains two distinct applications. It is both Modeler and Layout.
For starters, the modeler is where you create your geometry. And Layout is for everything else, rendering, animation, lighting, and so forth.
Throughout the years, NewTek, owner of the software, released updates to the software that allowed it to remain a key player in broadcast television production. It also enables you to film visual effects, video game development, print graphics, and visualization.
A feature LightWave is not really going to impress many people. However, it made a massive impact on a project, especially in your business.
All of the character assets in the world are modeled, textured, rigged and animated with LightWave 3D. Hence, it is a proven tool in your production pipeline.
One of the most groundbreaking and user favorite features introduced in LightWave 10 is the Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR). This feature allows you to turn any of your Layout viewports into a real-time interactive renderer.
Furthermore, VPR gives you real-time feedback as you adjust items in your scene and is a massive time saver.
Lightwave includes a powerful polygonal modeler that also produces polygon-based subdivision surfaces that NewTek calls “MetaNURBS”. Despite that name, Lightwave does not support NURBS modeling.
MetaNURBS is a trademark NewTek uses for its subdivision surfaces. Moreover, the model lacks associatively, which consequently makes some types of revisions much slower and does not allow many undo steps.
However, it still does perform well, is simple to learn, and it allows you to create a high-quality work done with it.
The animation still has a lot of catching up to do with Maya or Softimage. Still, it is a workable solution for the average company’s animation needs.
The tool also renderer is a well-regarded raytracer. This includes Image Based Lighting and global illumination support.
Additionally, it renderer is used for many commercials and TV programs. Smaller companies also contribute opening title sequences, monitor screen graphics, and other smaller parts of a film’s CGI.