LightWave 3D 9.5 Released

LightWave 3D 9.5 is here

Siggraph is over for this year, and as always there’s been plenty of announcements and releases within our industry this week. Vue 7 and ZBrush 3.5 was announced and I’m looking forward to further information about these releases, especially the new ZBrush release, which I suspect will be awesome, once again! The new Mudbox version looked interesting, but didn’t convince me enough to try it out instead of ZBrush. Also Luxology showed an interesting tech preview of the next Modo version, and the new BodyPaint version from Maxon looks interesting as well. And not to forget XSI 7, which is awesome, but comes with a hefty price tag, but I’ll keep my eyes on it in the future and might add it to my pipeline if I can justify the cost down the road. Lot’s of goodies in a short time.

But for me, the major event at Siggraph 2008 was the release of NewTek’s LightWave 3D version 9.5. A massive update to the core package of my pipeline!

LightWave 9.5 has been in beta since February this year, so I have had around six months of time to play with this baby until now. The 9.5 beta cycle has been the most interesting yet, the developers have been very responsive to input and suggestions for each beta release and the progress has been amazing through the months to the cool release it finally became.

This is without a doubt the best .x release of LightWave ever (and could just as easily been labeled a x.0 instead) with all the new major additions and fixes.
I won’t go through every new addition to 9.5 as the complete list is available in NewTek’s pressrelease. But my personal favorite additions that has kept me drooling through these months are:

  • FiberFX, the brand new integrated Hair and Fur system. Based on Jon’s FFIV plugin, but since they brought Jon on board, it has evolved to a completely new beast, integrated into LightWave. For a first release I think it’s amazing, and with Jon on board developing this continously I believe it will have a bright future.
  • Amazing GI improvements, with the once again updated radiosity engine, LightWave now calculates GI with an incredible rendering speed and image quality leaving most other render engines far behind. And one bonus word; Flicker free GI animation. LightWave is definitely again the state of the art rendering application, top of the line.
  • Light API, the new light class, with lot’s of new native and 3rd party light types.
  • Native FBX Import/Export/Merge. Finally, I can get rid of the AutoDesk FBX plugin for LightWave which was for 32 bit only. As a MotionBuilder user I rely heavily on FBX and are very happy to see this go native in LightWave.
  • And so much more, the list can go on and on and on…

And did I mention that 9.5 is the coolest release of LightWave 3D to this date? And it’s a FREE update once again. Very cool of NewTek, an amazing release and value. LightWave might not be back at the top of the line where it once where, but they are definitely heading in the right direction with this release, and if they keep this progress going, I’m very excited to see what LightWave 10 might bring to the table, but in the meantime, congratulations to NewTek and the entire development team for the excellent 9.5 release!

I am a happy camper!


  1. I downloaded the update, but haven’t had much chance to check out the new features. I did notice that the fiberfx documentation wasn’t there. It appears that the NT team implemented all the new features, but won’t finish the documentation until after siggraph.
    Let me know your thoughts on it!

  2. Hey, check your mail, I sent you something.
    And about the documentation, the FiberFX doc is actually already done. I guess NewTek will add the missing pdf to the download as soon as they get back from Siggraph.

  3. Pixerati 11 years ago

    “Native FBX Import/Export/Merge. Finally, I can get rid of the AutoDesk FBX plugin for LightWave which was for 32 bit only. As a MotionBuilder user I rely heavily on FBX and are very happy to see this go native in LightWave.”

    Are you telling me you can actually get this to work with MotionBuilder? Any scenes I try exporting to FBX just hang when I try to open them in MB. I’ve had to go back to the old plug-in to export and merge.

  4. Pixerati, actually no. :)
    It works at a first glance, or so I thought – when doing some simple tests. But when going with a real scene the native FBX I/O in LightWave 9.5 doesn’t work properly. It doesn’t hang for me though, but when I export a character from LightWave the bone rotations are messed up when importing it to MotionBuilder. Heck, the bone rotations are even messed up if you export it from LightWave and re-import it back to LightWave again. So totally broken! When merging an FBX back to LightWave with Load items from Scene and the merge motion options – LightWave mixes up items and duplicates most items wildly. The only one that works somewhat okay is import back to LightWave, but that’s kinda lame and crippled.

    So I am back at using the old Autodesk FBX plugin as well, unfortunately, as it forces me to keep using and having a 32-bit LightWave installed as well.

    I’ve reported all the above FBX problems to NewTek several times, so I hope the next update of LightWave will get them fixed, otherwise I’ll be kinda disappointed.
    Doesn’t hurt if more people report it as well though, to really make sure they prioritize this. Hint hint. :)

    • Just to update my response here. LightWave 9.6 have all the FBX issues between LigthWave and MotionBuilder solved.

      • Hi.
        I must be missing something, I have LW 9.6, but I can’t see a way to import my FBX files. I guess I don’t have the plugin in my input-output folder. How can I get it?

        • Hi Rob,

          The plugin in LW 9.6 that contains all the new I/O functionality (for FBX and Collada) is called Valkyrie.p and should be in your input-output folder.
          If that plugin is there you import FBX files by opening them just as you would with any normal .lws file. ie, it’s not a special import FBX function, but you use the ordinary Load Scene function in LightWave to open a FBX file.


  5. Hi.
    I use the fbx export and load into MB and its ok.
    But I cant merge back to lw.
    I can import back the fbx from mb but its not the same.
    How can I merge back the fbx to the lws.
    I still use the old fbxlw.p but this plugin has a bug that dont export uvmaps.

    • Hi Cesar,

      To merge back FBX files from MotionBuilder with the new built in FBX support in LightWave, you use “Load Items From Scene” in LightWave and select the fbx file you want to merge back.
      When you do that you get a window where you can select which item you want to load into the scene, and at the bottom of that window you’ll find a checkbox saying “Merge only motion envelopes”. By checking that option it should only load in the motion and merge it back to the scene.

      Hope this helps.


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