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LightWave is not dead.

LightWave3D first appeared in 1990 on the Video Toaster 1.0 for the Amiga. That means it’s 27 years old as “LightWave3D” but its origins go back a few years prior. Yes, it’s old. Being old doesn’t mean obsolete. Old doesn’t mean useless. Old doesn’t mean dead. It does mean several things. Mature, battle hardened, but more so than anything; legendary. It’s a survivor of over 2.5 decades of massive changes in the industry, having spent much of the first 10 years of that time leading the way in TV visual effects with the ground breaking work done by Ron Thornton and his team (who would become the iconic Foundation Imaging) on Babylon 5 and then later on several TV series including the Star Trek franchise  (mostly Voyager) and many, many films. That’s just Ron’s work! There are many artists and supervisors such as myself who have had similar success over the course of their careers with LightWave3D, several of which I have worked with personally and we all have a lot invested in LightWave that goes beyond money. Many of us have come and gone over the years. Some to leave, others to return, and a few, very close to home here at having passed on. Ron being one of them as sadly, he is no longer with us, having passed away last year, along with my VFX supervisor on Battlestar Galactica, Gary Hutzel. Yet, the product continues on and artists around the world continue the legacy and the legend. A living legend that makes the impossible come to life, in our hands. Remember that part! That is LightWave. It’s not just software to us. It is indeed our lives. The foundations of our careers in VFX, Animation, Games, you name it. It is in our blood.

Check out VFX work done by Stargate Studios for the Walking Dead using LightWave3D

I’ve personally used it to produce some of the most iconic LightWave (let alone TV) visual effects seen in the last 12 of those years as part of small teams working against the clock with the “we air in 2 days” gun to our heads and we’ve always come through. LightWave has always come through. This, despite the best efforts of some really inept people or those with nefarious intentions, it has survived and will continue to do so. I will tell you this right now. LightWave3D is not dead. So stop with the speculation.  To prove a point, we are having a sale right now for Siggraph week. While there is no “booth” presence at Siggraph for LightWave this year in LA (not a big deal really, Siggraph is not what it used to be), I can tell you that many LW artists, 3rd Party Developers and LWG developers are there, some of whom have flown in from around the world to attend. Now does that sound dead to you? No. It’s not dead. So stop saying it is. Just because the man fucked up (royally) doesn’t mean anything but that he’s a moron (like I told you years ago but many in the community just shat on me for saying). While I cannot attend due to my production schedule, I really wish I could. But hey, that’s how the ball bounces. No matter, we have things to do and that means we keep rocking it, as we always have at, to bring you the goodies.  We have so much stuff coming out and planned for the next 6 months that you would be hard pressed to believe for a moment that we would be doing any of this if we felt LightWave was “dead”. That’s because it’s not. So, with that said… Get 25% off your purchases here at until Saturday, August 6th, by using the coupon code: LightWaveIsNotDead Trust me on this one. Do you think I would let LightWave die? Do you think others like me would? As Larry used to tell me, “Not a chance in hell.” So don’t bet on it. How do you think came into existence in the first place? Perhaps the theme in BSG applies here because I’ve seen it all before a few times now myself with LightWave over the last 27 years. “This has all happened before and will happen again.” LightWave is not dead. Kat

19 Comments to LightWave is not dead.

  1. G. Clayton says:

    Just because you are having a sale doesn’t prove that Lightwave 3D Is Not Dead! It could mean that it’s just one last attempt to make money off of a floundering product.

    Why should we believe otherwise?

    Rob Powers continues to snub his nose at the common LW user by not providing any sort of updates or news. It’s taken LW3DG too long to come up with the NEXT update!

    I continue to believe that any further investment into LW products of any sort is a lost cause and lost money!

    • kat says:

      G. I understand your concern, but consider a few things.
      Do you think we would have gone through the effort in June to update our website and continue to work to get our forums on line while trying to recruit new trainers and expand (I can’t get into our expansion plans right now, but most of it is rather obvious so use your imagination) what we do here at with LightWave3D clearly central to that effort if we didn’t have confidence in the future of the product?

      Too long? How long is too long? Do you remember the LightWave 9 cycle? That ran from 2005 to 2011 almost. That’s nearly 6 years. It also resulted in the most rock solid and technologically advanced update/version to the software since 5.6. So please, take a breath, and understand that there is more to this than “no news”.

      Oh, I agree, rob fucked up and has screwed up royally, having blown it in the 11.0.3 – 2015 cycle. What happened to 11.7? Remember that? I do. I have a copy of it! It’s basically LW 2015. He was warned (by me any many others) to not fucking do what he did and to not do the yearly naming scheme. Marketing bullshit be dammed.

      But where is he? Do you care? I don’t honestly anymore because he’s not coding the thing and has no engineering experience whatsoever to make statements regarding anything on that front. So no loss there. Lino? Well, he’s not in charge of development now, is he? So his statement a few months ago was a jerk around. How he got away with that I don’t know. So who do you trust?
      I trust the engineers and I have a really good feeling where this may take us. I don’t see just the technology. I see the solutions and the paths forward for breaking a vicious cycle that has plagued LW for years with the next release.
      You want to help? Call for Rob’s resignation. His paycheck going elsewhere can do wonders for speeding things up.

    • kat says:

      Any thoughts there G?

  2. kat says:

    Hmm. Interesting. G. Clayton has never bought anything from under the email address used. Very interesting….

  3. Steve says:


    Lightwave Group’s decision to go dark has me alternating between frustration to anger to not giving a rat’s behind. That’s BAD marketing in my opinion. With that said – I am very very glad to hear from someone who has some inside connections that things with LW are progressing. It makes me hopeful! Thank you for sharing what you know – we appreciate it!


    ps – I have bought things from you guys (and the products have always been top notch)! 😉

    • kat says:

      Hi Steve!
      Good to hear from you again.
      Yes, it is frustrating. Trust me I know full well considering how Rob had me “exited” out of beta a while ago now. Stupid move on his part for sure.
      Regardless, one has to understand where things are in the 3D industry as a whole. Rob was clueless really and doesn’t understand LWs place in the world so to speak. He kind of does… but not really. not from where many of us stand as LightWave users working out of our homes as well as those who also happen to work from time to time for larger shops.
      It’s been in a very deep slump now for several years as the “factories” keep churning out cookie cutter product while driving the price of effects to below cost in an attempt to try and eliminate the competition. Tools producers are not immune to this problem and while LightWave3D is smaller and has taken a big hit (but not really due to market conditions, but to idiots like Roth and Powers) or few over the years, it’s positioned to do some very interesting things. You just have to know a little bit of where things are headed. Insight? Well… Perhaps intuitive, well-tuned whiskers. Some of this stuff is silly obvious and I just am stunned he can’t figure it out. Maybe he’s in a deep think in one of of his black boxes somewhere (let’s hope so) evaluating all of this.

      For now, I ask that everyone just relax and consider the larger lay of the land. Developers need to do their thing and when they go quiet there is a good reason for it. Also artists go quiet for a while and can’t talk about anything they work on. I’ve done so much LW work over the last 2 years that I can’t even say I touched due to contracts (rescue work similar to iron sky, but rather embarrasign stuff at times for the people I did the work for to save them and they like to keep that quiet… I don’t know.. just how it is). Other stuff is not worth writing home about you know?
      But it puts food on the table and quite frankly a lot of the work a lot of LightWave artists do goes unrecognized because things move so fast and we are on to thenext thing.

      From my stand point is that one has to remember, as a production level artist for over 20 years things come in waves (LightWaves!). The cycles of the industry are predictable (I’ve seen similar stuff in the dance music business that is nearly identical in patterns) and it’s not like we haven’t gone through these kinds of quiet periods before. Hell, I’ve screamed the loudest at times. Where were we 7 years ago with LightWave?
      What comes around goes around. history repeats, certain things happen in the time frames that they do because of conditions that are compeltely out of control of the people that would like to have that control. So…
      Read between the lines here – there is the LWG and then there is NT. Times are a changing, but LightWave lives. The next release is looking very, very interesting. I’m excited about it, but its going to need some time to really get to where it needs to be otherwise we will continue to be stuck in “that loop”.
      Hope that translates. 🙂

    • Ryan Roye says:

      Let’s be honest with ourselves here, Lightwave’s marketing has always sucked… there is little difference between then and now in that regard, and Lightwave also has a history of mismanagement.

      Mismanagement thankfully is a fixable problem. Having your software exclusively controlled by shareholders (IE: almost every other 3d software) is not. Lightwave has a lot of missed opportunities in a 3d software market where users are being forced to rent instead of own their software.

      • kat says:

        Indeed Ryan. Well put.
        That is also in part why, going forward if properly done, LightWave can exploit these changes in the industry to its advantage. The key is effective leadership and having a plan which Rob didn’t (and flat out lied to me when I pressed him on it).
        We know what needs to be done as users and it is the users who have always taken care of business so to speak.

        Let there be light!

  4. Rick says:

    You’re not going.
    Siggraph IS kind of a big deal.
    No Lighwave booth at all?!?

    Looks dead to me. Nice plugins tho. Proud owner of Ubercam.

    • kat says:

      It’s not dead. Siggraph is. Well, compared to what it used to be 10 years ago or more. You have to understand that the LWG could pay for 3 or more programmers for a year at VERY good rates for the cost of doing a single stint at siggraph like they did in 2013. (we are talking more than several hundred grand US here in production, booth space floor rental, hotels, flights, food, wages for employees there working the booth and much much more… Do you know how much it is for a simple internet connection allowing for a video stream at one of these convention centers for a couple of days?)
      That doesn’t mean LW devs are not there. They are, attending talks and discussions on white papers and bits like that. Way more important, efficient and effective in than trying to jam out some last minute feature the night before the first day of the show until 6AM trying to get a build going so one can preach to the crowd once a year. my goodness, do you know what I could do with that kind of money applied to LightWave development? Siggraph in 2013 was dead. There were so few people on the show room floor it was sad really. And that show room floor was a 3rd of the floor space its been in previous years. Vancouver’s trade show floor space in 2011 was bigger. That’s how much the business has moved out of LA.

  5. Your sale proves nothing except that you have a good product and are seeing a decent opportunity to market it, neither of which is a criticism.

    NT haven’t updated Lightwave in a timescale that other vendors have moved on one or two full releases. That in itself is a move that further pushes Lightwave in to the hobby market at best. Age old problems and bugs persist in Lightwave that were identified back in the early 2000’s with Lightwave 6.

    If you have a good reason for taking this long to do anything of worth with your product at least give your users an idea, after all it is their money that has been giving you your paycheck each month (NT that is of course).

    Lets assume that Siggraph 2017 is a waste of time and money, then what are NT doing instead to maintain some kind of presence within the industry?

    Lightwave may not be dead, but it’s a pale shadow of it’s former self. They’ll be hard pushed to develop their way back from there.

    • kat says:

      No craig, not exactly. Its’ not a marketing opportunity on our end. We do a siggraph sale every year, but this year people need to pull their heads out of rob powers ass, and call for his resignation (he’s toast, just need to make it official and the best and quickest way is for the LW community to call for him to go and take his pets/pests with him).
      Please don’t confuse NT with the LWG. The LWG is rob, NT is NT. SO rob needs to take a fucking walk now, and we can get down to business.
      Also you assume siggraph has any real weight. It’s a newswire posting place for 3 days of the year for the CG industry. NAB and CES is the place to be for making sales and real industry waves. Not Siggraph. No one outside of the hardcore CG industry pays attention to siggraph because they can’t go. It’s not like comicon or anything of that nature.

      as for “hard pushed” to come back from where? I can turn all of this around in a few months in terms of marketing if given a chance and in a single cycle for product direction. I don’t need 7 years like Rob has had. So figure it out. Rob = disaster, Less disaster = remove Rob. Fix problem = put product into user hands and control.

      Got it? Ok.
      See you in the fall!

  6. Kat says:

    What say you now kitties?

  7. S says:

    LW 2018 announced for Jan 1, which is great. Now, what the hell was the blackout for? Rob is out, but what forced the blackout? Surely if you need to fire a guy you can do it without a blackout. I don’t get it, and doubt NT will talk about it. I would love to know, if you know. Feel free to email me if it is not something you can put here. I understand if you know but can’t talk about it, or simply have no info. I love LW, but don’t like being jerked around, and I would feel a whole lot better if NT had a reasonable, excuse for thins behavior, like Rob filed a lawsuit against them or vise versa.

    • kat says:

      I know much, but only so much I can say. I can assure you no one jerked anyone around including NewTek, except for Rob. Rob jerked us all around including the developers in the LWG. Blackouts come in many forms and from many places. The Black Box got a set of box cutters taken to it. (claws).
      Now we hit the accelerator. Let’s leave that smart ass and the Excelsior behind along with his riding stick.

  8. TaranQ says:

    Lightwave still has all the tools I need! We have all become update addicts. If we don’t get an update every 6 months we pour shit over a product. The same counts for products that aren’t at Siggraph. Does that mean they are dead? I don’t think so. LW still has a strong userbase.
    LW is a mature no nonsense package with a great UI. I must admit I use LWCAD as a modelling addon as I am into archviz. I don’t realy need any update (in fact I am on 11.6.3. still) and that doesn’t mean the product is bad, maybe it was even good from the start.
    Ofcourse the LW team had their share of bad luck with at some point some very important people leaving and starting Luxology (Modo). I would have gladly seen what LW would have been today if those forces would have been combined.
    But still

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