Lightwave Core

Two weeks ago, Lightwave Core was revealed, and I’ve been wanting to comment on it ever since. This is old news, but I’ve been on the road and at conferences and out of internet range, and this is the first chance I’ve had.

So, Lightwave Core is basically an application framework. All the collective code that used to exist within either Layout or Modeler now exists as individual blocks of code that can be loaded as needed into Core. This means that Lightwave is now very efficient, extremely customizable, and easy to develop new code for.

The UI is totally adjustable (and can be replaced by your own CSS), you can talk to the Core through a command line using Python (or any language, really), you can use Layout and Modeler in the same window (or not; your choice), and everything is node-based, so even if you aren’t a programmer, you can build new functionality into Core by simple click and drag.

This new industry-standard open-architecture approach is an excellent strategic move for two reasons; firstly, giving more power to developers is always a good thing, and secondly, Autodesk is not known for easy developer relationships. In fact, even compositing mega-player The Foundry recently lost Authorized Developer status with Autodesk, although it was only a temporary lapse.

Smaller plug-in companies who developed for Maya and Softimage might find it easier going to focus on Newtek’s new wide-open C++ development path and politics-free developer relationships than continue to jump through hoops at Autodesk. Plus, Lightwave’s new HardCore subscription program is perfect for developers who need access to earlier builds to test for compatibility.

So is everything perfect? Probably not; any time an application leaps this far forward it needs a few little staggering steps afterwards to regain its balance. When Newtek rewrote Lightwave for version 6, it wasn’t until 6.5 that it was as stable as version 5. But that doesn’t matter. Lightwave is now future-proofed and in an excellent position to offer functionality that Autodesk can’t.

  1. I see Lightwave Core as essentially a competitor to Blender, though not open source. Both are extensible and customizable almost entirely, and both are continually in open development with new features always be added. The difference is that Lightwave comes into this with an already existing market, feature set, and code base, whereas Blender is attempting to recreate an entire modeling, animation, and rendering engine from scratch (but is constantly making forward progress).

    The entire motion picture industry overall seems to be moving from all-in-one solutions and products to modular systems. Lightwave is now doing this, Maya should be doing this, and so on.

  2. m8 u closed commets for another post, well done, just wanted to tell you that not beliving in gravity wont make you fly… you 4th ape, there is nothing that you can do about it…

    - Tomek
  3. Yes, I’m sorry about that, Tomek. I would have posted your comment earlier but I didn’t want to do it until I have time to reply. I’m a bit too busy at the moment, but I would like to discuss it at some point. My email’s on the sidebar though, and I’m a bit better at addressing those.

  4. First, nothing is future proof. Hardware and software change incessantly so there’s no way to guarantee what works today will work tomorrow.

    Second, LightWave seriously needed this. With Autodesk owning pretty much all of the 3D apps, NewTek needed an advantage. This is it.

    As stated in the post, developers should embrace this openness. LW has always been a serious tool, though seriously under-utilized and under-respected.

    Though LightWave is not free, it is very affordable and packs serious punch right out of the box. Hopefully this new direction brings it the attention it deserves.

    - gern
  5. lw 9.6 is a complete app, lw is one of the best modlers powerfull render and….I think the only things that lw needs is the muscle system and dynamics and character animation tool refinments.

    - ural
  6. If only core would copy the bidped feature autodesk has in animating the walk sequence. Moving bones to walk is the most difficult task to do in Lightwave.

    - moe smith
  7. my question: will core incorporate something like FPRIME – fast reviewer, renderer plus LWCAD Tools? Without these the new application will be truly an ‘infitile’ technological whinge instead of a power tool. I understand that it takes a lot of testing but still if after one year of paid releases/testing one ends up with an app worse in terms of features than 9.6, then NT is in trouble. Deep.

    - nenad
  8. nenad: yes it will.. i am sure of it, but what i am not sure about is when..

    - danchez
  9. I agree with -ural: Lightwave needs the muscle system and dynamics and character tool refinments.
    So when we’ll have Lightwave Core in action?
    I’m looking forward for new powerful dynamic, particles,
    and animation tools, es well as FPRIME!!! I think we’ll get them:))

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