LightWave Core Feature List Revealed

LightWave 3D Core

Today NewTek revealed the feature list of LightWave CORE publicly that will be released in Q1 2010. I’m very happy that I joined the beta program of CORE back in march/april and have had the privilege to play, have input, and see this new application develop and take shape during the course of 2009. Very cool move of NewTek to take this route when developing.

One of my most anticipated features is the integration of the Bullet Physics Library in CORE (Most recently noticed for it’s usage in the movie 2012). I am excited about many things Core though, and it’s awesome to see all these great features coming already in a v1 release.

A PDF can be downloaded from NewTek which lines out all the features publicly announced so far. If you aren’t on the CORE beta but are curious and/or interested in this upcoming application I believe it will be an interesting read to spend a few minutes with.

Considering that CORE has only been under actual development for about a year I think the LightWave development team has made a tremendous effort and awesome job building such a flexible framework that CORE is, with so much possibilities for the future.
With modeling, rendering, animation, and dynamics already implemented – I can only imagine where CORE will be when v2 is about to ship and there is one more year of development invested, now when the foundation is in place. Woohoo!


  1. homero 10 years ago

    Using QT library is bad for improving the performance and the reactivity of software interface…. U guess use the only full OGL interface it’s the best solution, because is full GFX accellerated….

    Using Python and modular scripting language is bad, you Waste your time, the best one is SDK plugin development how to do in actual lightwave9 and old&good lscript for retro-compatibility…

    Using bullet phisics library integrated is bad, you integrate multi motion engine support in SDK plugin interface so the user can choose the best one for himself

    You must separate the process of 3d animation development: modelling, shading, animation, rendering…. you must access to all object data in each development state so that you can integrate these with external engine…

    new human hardware interface: interface for wacom tablet, motion capture and other hardware device is the best one for doing more fast the 3d animation developing…3d tracking controller and 3d scanner support is the good too!

    history command is the best one feature in this lightwave core version, this is good….

    render engine:
    lightwave standard render engine is a good one
    fprime render engine is good too
    improve this render and not programming a new one…

    the software of future must be reactive and to support full access to object data for external interface…. You can try CryEngine for game developing for being conscius about this important feature…

    • Thank you for all your comments. But you need to read up on your facts – lot’s of errors in your comment that simply isn’t the reality.
      As far as I’m concerned NewTek have done their homework well and picked the best options of different technologies out there when designing CORE.
      All in all, turning out to be one amazing 3D application.

      Take care, and cheers! :)

      • this is my humble opinion i do not want you waste your time for me,
        i used lightwave from 3.6 on Amiga and so on until to 9.6.1 on Vista-system
        well, lightwave is the best of all in one 3d software because is cheap and full workflow integrated system for modelling, animation, rendering, but it’s not the best one in any of these three part….
        the solid SDK plugin development tools is the force of lightwave release on realease…
        using QT libraries and bullet phisics library and python libraries is the bad way to improve a standard C/C++ SDK development 3d system
        because in this way the system is bonded to other software tecnologies…

        best regards

        homer Josh

        • Hey Josh,

          Well, no worries. :)

          Anyway, let’s see – I hear you, I’ve been a LightWave users since the Amiga days as well, and have used LightWave in production for many years since then and been very pleased with the features and workflow.
          Since 8.x things have not been so joyful though. It’s of course still been a solid app and I’m using 9.6 daily at the moment. But it can’t stand on it’s own anymore, and the latest versions has been more and more like a blanket of patches desperately trying to add new half-implemented features (CC, FFX etc). modo, ZBrush and other apps are taking more and more load of LightWave for me.
          The renderer and node editor rocks the kasbash in LightWave 9.6 though.
          The legacy LW SDK is lacking and hard for NewTek to work further on and don’t forget LW’s GUI that’s just to much old code laying around, some dated all the way back to the Amiga version, to be able to do massive improvements upon on.

          That’s why we finally have CORE. A new fresh start, complete rewrite, to make LightWave modern and state of the art again to be able to go head to head with the competition. And get rid of all the legacy code issues. Have in mind that LightWave has existed for almost 20 years without any real major rewrite. Lot’s have changed how to develop an application in this time.

          So over to CORE then. I don’t know if you’re member of HC, and unfortunately I can’t go into specifics about how CORE works with things that hasn’t been released to the public by NewTek at this time. But I’ll try to give you some information though regarding your comment. :)

          QT is an excellent choice by NewTek, especially considering the flexibility it provides. The customization QT allows is just miles ahead compared to what the legacy LW GUI allows, I simply love certain parts of the implementation already. And I don’t think you need to worry about any performance issues because of QT. OpenGL in CORE is a totally new beast considering performance and options compared to legacy LW.

          About Bullet Physics. Remember that CORE has a completely open and fully accessible SDK – which is something legacy LW never had or could have. Everything NewTek uses to develop CORE is also available to third parties. To integrate bullet physics as the default LW CORE physics system doesn’t in any way mean that other physics engines can’t be added as well, by NewTek in the future or by third parties. To choose bullet as the default engine is a smart move by NewTek though. It’s fast, it’s stable, it’s production proven and it evolves in a rapid speed, so NewTek can use their resources to implement other features while still getting a state of the art physics engine.
          So you don’t need to worry if bullet isn’t your cup of tea, there will be all the possibilities in the world to add other engines if you have the knowledge or a third party decides to implement it.

          Python is a scripting engine that I personally welcome in CORE. Python is a language widely used in CG software already. Today I write python scripts myself for modo, Vue, MotionBuilder and so on – many of the modern 3D apps have Python as their scripting language. As many TD’s already know Python it lowers the threshold to be comfortable making scripts for CORE instead of having to learn a proprietary language that LScript was (Not to mention how much of LW LScript couldn’t access). And Python is just one way to access the SDK, of course you can still use C++ or other languages that support gets added for (as I’ve understood it more or less any language in theory can be used for CORE if they want or any third party wants to add support for it).
          Comparing the new CORE SDK vs the old LightWave SDK – let’s just say, CORE’s SDK is just so much more solid, thought out and faster and easier to work with.

          About the render engine, of course they are not throwing away all the knowledge Mark Granger put into making the blazingly fast renderer available in 9.6. As mentioned in the public CORE PDF the CORE renderer is based partly on the 9.6 render engine, but intended to be taken to a new level of course. FPrime is not needed as VPR is the complete CORE renderer available interactively instead, which means no more problems with that it can’t render everything (like some materials and filters which doesn’t work in Fprime) in the scene or breakage when new render features is introduced (which FPrime suffers from) as VPR is the same as the ‘real’ renderer, just that it works in an iterative mode instead to get realtime feedback.

          Hope this was useful and settles some of the doubts you had about CORE.

          Cheers! :)

    • Huh, What are you talking about? The bullet physics library is an incredibly efficient way to go. Please know that you;re talking about before you post. The render engine you’re talking about is something like FPrime. Fully interactive. Did you catch that part.

      • Lorenzo,
        Yes, he clearly had got quite a few things wrong concerning core. I took the bait and straightened out most of it, also to make sure that no other person searching for core information get misinformed if they come by this page.

        Thanks for taking your time to post. :)

  2. Hi everyone I need to know some technical issues in regards to learning lightwave core, I’m planning to learn lightwave 3D and downloaded 9.6 trial
    am I going to benefit from learning 9.6 and make transition to CORE? or maybe wait till CORE is available for public trial download and Study lightwave CORE..? I know this is a no brainer question for you guys…but coming from 3dsmax transition to LW3D has a lot of work flow to be familiarize and learn…thanks appreciate any response..thanks

    • I’m not a HardCore member yet, but my guess is that the current good ‘ol LW as we know it ‘s gonna stay around for quite some time. And even when CORE gets released I bet there’ll be a lengthy transition period for all users who’ll work both apps simultaneously. So unless you got better things to do, you should download the current version and use the one month trial (which kindly enough is commercially licensed for the trial period, if i’m not mistaken). The deal about LW is that you can pretty much get into it within a couple of weeks once you get the right training material (I know i did) and get productive extremely fast. But I’ll tell you another thing, as a former C4D user: LW is much more than a 3d package – It’s the fastest path to enlightment if you seek a better understanding and unltimately become a better artist. No other software has gotten my hands dirty so fast, my mind so challenged and my spirit that high. If only for the superb video & text material and the ever supporting community. By using only simplified tools (which are easily mastered) it encourages you to think outside of the box, instead of forcing you to learn a vast arsenal of micro modules to handle each and every specific task. Think of MacGyver – Software style, Using only a few simple tools to get a NUCLEAR BLAST. That is where LW excells – getting your problem solving abilities to reach the stars.

      If CORE would follow this simple philosophy it’ll be a bright sunny future for all of us.

      I hope i could help,
      All the best.


      • Whowww blow me down you hit the right words..
        “MacGyver – Software style” I love that..

        anyway thank you very much Kahalany….now I see the light!!!

        this is what I heard about LW community before, very supportive.
        and now I can say that it is true..I’m experiencing it right now.
        thanks a lot kahalany

    • Erick,

      Just some additions to Kahalany’s excellent reply.
      LightWave 9.6 is a complete package (ie, it has everything you expect; modeling, texturing, rendering, animation, particles, volumetrics, hair/fur, rigging/skinning, a huge selection of third party plugins and so on).

      CORE in it’s first iteration (version 1) will not offer everything that LightWave has. Modeling, dynamics, rendering and basic animation is offered in it’s first release. So there will be a transition period while CORE evolves where classic LightWave still is useful. At the same time CORE offers things already in version 1 not available in classic LightWave, like a modifier stack (which you should be familiar with, coming from 3dsmax), compositing and support for OpenFX compositing plugins, interactive realtime rendering (VPR), everything nodebased (if you wish) and some other things.

      CORE will ship bundled with a new version of LightWave (versioned HC, v10 or something, final name not settled yet). This version will bridge the gap until CORE has got all features implemented and can stand on it’s own legs in all aspects. With an easy interchange between LWHC and CORE assets can be moved back and forth to utilize functionality in classic LightWave where CORE is till missing.

      As CORE evolves the need to bundle it with classic LightWave will be naturally phased out. I guess at version 2 of CORE we will see very little use of classic and by version 3 it might be completely phased out (just my educated guess though).

      So if you benefit learning LightWave 9.6? Well, it depends a bit on the kind of work you are doing. If everything you need to do is already covered by the features offered by CORE lined out in the version 1 PDF, you might be able to just skip classic LightWave completely. But if you are going to do more complex animation, rigging, particle effects and so on, learning LightWave as well is a good idea. And non the less, LightWave 9.6 is a very capable and powerful package that works very well today and will continue being useful for quite some time, so no harm in learning it.
      Many things in CORE will take consideration to the familiar “LightWave workflow” so old LightWave users won’t feel lost when switching to CORE.


  3. so when we can buy lw core?

    • Well, it’s targeted for release in Q1 2010 – so that’s when you can get the gold version.
      By getting a HC membership you can get it today already though. It’s of course the beta version, but you will continue getting new builds regularly until the final release. If you’re the kind of person that enjoys having early access to software during it’s development phases with all it’s pros and cons that is.


  4. homero 10 years ago

    Well, i heard that in the replies “LW CORE is the best one of the best ones 3d programs” …OK…THAT’S RIGHT… i do not try the beta version at moment and i guess that you write right…

    but i not am a LW evangelist, so that:

    QT libraries is a good ones but it is not reactive libraries explecially in OGL mode…this is my thought…

    python language is a modern scripting interface but it’s not 3d specific language, in 3d programming you need specific variable type for store vector plane image and so on…, and a solid math command for floating point operation, python it’s a generalistic language and not 3d oriented language…

    if bullet phisics libraries is a add-on and i can access to animation buffer directly SDK way, well it’s really good…and so that i hope might i use motion designer or nvidia physX tools instead of…

    I tried luxology modo VPR and fprime is more precise and reactive interactive render…well if new VPR CORE render is reactive, it will good one…fprime is a good start on…

    all in all: a new 3d software (zero programming start) must have:

    “new human hardware interface: interface for wacom tablet, motion capture and other hardware device is the best one for doing more fast the 3d animation developing…3d tracking controller and 3d scanner support is the good too!”

    You check Z-Brush software…it’s innovative, reactive, with full wacom support to interct with 3d tools…

    “the software of future must be reactive and to support full access to object data for external interface…. You can try CryEngine for game developing for being conscius about this important feature…”

    CryEngine is a full SDK for 3d interactive render animation and shading for large 3d world for gaming development…well it’s all C++ class based and it’s solid and effective engine….with a simple gfx interface and full hardware accellerated support, and full directinput accelerated support…
    it’s a good programming example to start a new one, you can traslate this software model in 3d software for cinema FX effect or TV effect…
    this model is the future of 3d, i guess the world do not need another 3dmax, softimage, maya, cinema3d, luxology modo, and so on 3d software….but a new reactive software one, with support for new 3d hardware device, and full costumizable SDK development system based on solid C++ classes…

    • Jonathan Gerber 10 years ago // reply to homero

      I just wanted to pipe up and address some of your concerns.

      First QT. I understand the concerns considering QT’s Signal/Slot model has a reputation for being computationally expensive, and MOC has a reputation for being a pain in the butt at times. However, Trolltech, and now Nokia, have done an amazing amount of work optimizing opengl performance, and performance in general. Remember, these days, Nuke is a QT app, as is Katana, and soon Maya. Those are some high profile packages, with a healthy user base, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If there is a performance issue, Autodesk and the Foundry will be banging on Nokia, in addition to Newtek.

      Second, Python. Python is as ideal a language as possible to express 3d in (as far as dynamic languages go, excluding scheme of course :) ). Remember, you (or Newtek) can supply wrappers for 3d data types very easily. It has good scientific computing libraries ,not to mention great text manipulation, regular expression support, cross platform support, xml and yaml support, etc etc. I cried tears of joy the first time I was able to type “import maya.cmds” into a python shell…

      As for Bullet ( I confess I work at DD ), having it mated to Houdini really helps. Hopefully, Newtek will look to Houdini for some ideas about procedural paradigms.

      I also hope they think a lot about asset packaging. One of the nicest houdini features is the Digital Asset (or OTL ). Being able to collapse a node network into a node, and expose a subset of internal parameters to downstream users is increadibly important. Houdini does this well, Maya is working hard on it.

      Of course, the success will be in the details. Having used three different Swig wrapped python apis ( mel, maya api, and houdini ), the differences are astounding.

      I really hope that Newtek doesn’t go the Modo way… I hate their scripting environment with a passion. I just want a persistent python shell; I don’t want all the formatted columns a tree widgets getting between me and my scripting.

      Having a lot of experience in domain specific languages like MEL (and bob’s macro language for the real old time lightwavers out there ), as well as general scripting languages like Perl, TCL, and python, I cannot think of a better language to chose. Especially considering that python has become the de-facto standard for pipeline development (bye bye perl), has pyqt bindings, and on and on.


    • Stephen York 9 years ago // reply to homero

      python language is a modern scripting interface but it’s not 3d specific language, in 3d programming you need specific variable type for store vector plane image and so on…, and a solid math command for floating point operation, python it’s a generalistic language and not 3d oriented language…

      Too many people have posted here without any understanding of what they’re saying.
      A scripting language for an API does not have to be specific to the backend API. They way it works is that NewTek create a big class hierarchy which they use to create their Core / LW product. No everything’s going to be exposed for public consumption, but what they do expose is marked in some way as being available. So all the 3D specific stuff Jonathan Gerber is talking about will be available for binding to the external python interpreter where the various 3D classes can be instantiated, etc.

      While I’m here I’d like to point out that Qt is a fantastic way to go. Too many companies end up spending more time on UI specific coding and they want to have multi platform the task gets more complicated. Qt is an extremely efficient SDK all around, the Open GL is just straight native OpenGL code, they’ve not wrapped up every function in the GLUT libraries. What they’ve done is created a base QGLWidget class which just handles window / OpenGL context creation, then in that class everything is straight glXXXX calls to the inlcuded GLUT libraries.

      Who’s to say they’re going to use Signals / Slots exclusively throughout the entire CORE architecture, there is in fact a QEvent class and they can still use direct callback functions if they need to.

      The MVC (Model View Controller) framework is one of the most efficient object models around and Qt’s built in plugin framework is equally fantasmagorical. All this built in stuff that is widely supported in many applications worldwide, including Google Earth, Skype and so many more is going to free up the NewTek dev’s time which can then be spent implementing more of the stuff we want and need. If Nokia ever end up dropping support for Qt then Newtek have the source for Qt so they can continue to use the system indefinitely.

      All the guts of the render and stuff and needs high optimisation can still be written using plain C++ linked in to the CORE system, there doesn’t need to be a scrap of Qt where optimisations are required and I dare say that NewTek will have factored this into their design.

      Another point is that there’s an Embedded version of Qt which would allow Newtek to port bits of the system to Tablet PCs with ease.

      It blows me away why people worry so hard about the inner details, making while assumptions without really understanding the reality of what they’re talking about.


  5. NinJa 10 years ago

    I am an amateur game programmer. What I need is a simple tool to model characters and props in game, and if file format of the tool is free, that’s good enough. I don’t expect that LW evolves more and more simple, but I wish LWO format will be free and comprehensive.

  6. NinJa 10 years ago

    Sorry for my poor Eglish. I don’t really mean ‘I wish LWO format will be free and comprehensive.’ I mean ‘stay free and comprehensive’.

    • Hi,

      That you don’t need to worry about. The LWO format is supported in CORE for opening and saving, but even better, the native format that CORE uses for assets by default is Collada. As Collada is an open standard XML based format, assets and scenes created in CORE will be very friendly for interchange and usage in other applications and for creating props and characters for games.


  7. SakuraJima 10 years ago

    I hope the application will be faster to execute and handy to use. Traditional gray UI with text on buttons of Lightwave is wonderful and meaningful, so please don’t mimic the garish UI of 3ds max and Maya. By the way, I don’t like the black UI with icon on button of core, please remove them. Text is best.

    • Yes, I agree, the current default theme of CORE that’s been shown in the screenshots is a bit on the darker side.
      The good thing though is that CORE is completely skinnable. By using standard CSS CORE’s appearance, colors and graphics can be changed to whatever you like.
      It ships with a couple of different default themes that you can choose from (lighter, darker, classic lightwave and so on). And on top of that there already exists a couple of really fine themes created by members of the LightWave community as well. So CORE is very flexible in the way you want it to look.

      And oh, if you don’t like icons, but text only – that can be toggled in the preferences.


      • Stephen York 9 years ago // reply to Johan

        Another YAY factor of Qt in the backend, although it’s not exactly standard CSS, just very similar.

  8. Glad to read these posts. Very informative and good. I’m waiting for my license to arrive.

    Miguel, CGicore

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