Film Camera Rig for LightWave 3D

I’ve created a film camera rig for LightWave 3D which I’d like to share with the community. The rig is designed to be simple, easy and straightforward to use.

The other day I was setting up a few shots for a scene I’m working on and I started building a few basic camera rigs to get a better motion out of the shots. I had time to spare and was in the mood so I started polishing one of the rigs to be more generic and to replicate traditional analog rigs.

Check out this demonstration video for how to operate my camera rig:

Note: I’ve updated the rig since I recorded the video. The differences are lined out in the changelog at the bottom of this post.

The reason to somewhat try to replicate the controls from an analog camera rig with a stick, boom/crane, rails and so on with all the restrictions that come with it, are simply that the audience are used to the kind of camera moves those restrictions imposes. So it basically helps to sell the shot.

My camera rig comes with a few additional goodies though like a built in Camera Shaker as well as a blendable target for the camera to track.

Feel free to comment, or give me ideas and suggestions for adjustments that would improve the rig. Enjoy!



Version 1.1 – 7 Nov 2011

  • Added a new control, “Release Focus”, which undocks the focal point from
    camera movements into world space. Example Usage: Releasing the focus from
    the camera motion, makes it easy to keep an object in focus while the
    camera moves.
    The focus distance connected to the camera is pickable in the OpenGL,
    CR_focus_distance. While the actual focus point, CR_focus, needs to be
    picked in the object list when released from the camera rig, or by
    unchecking the lock icon in the scene editor to be pickable in OpenGL.
  • Changed the label “Use Noise” to “Shake Cam”.
  • Organized the rig in the schematic view.

Version 1.0 – 21 Oct 2011

  • Initial Release.


  1. Looks awesome. Two questions though: Will this work in LW 9.6? And do you think I as a student of LW not use this rig until after I learn the default camera controls?

    • Hey A.J,

      1) I haven’t tried it in LightWave 9.6, but I’m not using any features unique to LW10 so I’d say it probably works exactly the same in 9.6 as in 10.x.

      2) Well, my personal preference, which is of course very subjective, is that I’ve always tried to learn as much groundwork as I can concerning a subject before I start to use quicker methods and optimize workflows.


  2. Thanks very much for the reply. My atrocious use of my native language aside … I’m usually of the same mind with regard to learning new things: Get the groundwork established, learn the “default” controls, and then look for quicker methods. (The one exception is my use of AutoHotkey to emulate the controls of Maya in LightWave. I’ve tried a lot of 3d apps and I really liked Maya’s k’board shortcuts for the modeling tools. I found LW’s a bit clumsy, so I was very happy to stumble upon AutoHotkey.)

    Thanks again.


  3. Hi!
    Great camera-rig! Thanks!
    One question: do you mind if I upload to this to the Lightwave file repository. It will have all your credits and tutorial video included and its free for download (non financial). I’ve put the link in “website”.

  4. Great rig, many thanks for sharing, I’m enjoying using it!

    What would I have to do to bake all the camera data? I’m trying to export the camera using VFXwizard’s AE Link but can’t get the two to marry up. I’ve tried baking all the expressions but still not right.

    Thanks again. Mark

    • Mark,

      You will need to bake the camera’s motion in World Coordinate Space to free it from the parent rig. What you can do to achieve that on the top of my head, is to get the Output World Coords plugin (the plugin has English interface).

      With that plugin, bake the Camera’s motion to a motion file, unparent the camera from the rig, and then load the baked motion file onto the Camera. Voila, that should probably do the trick.


  5. Many thanks Johan. Unfortunately, I’m mac based and the plugin is an old one plus the Lscript gives me an error in both 10.1 and 9.6. Grrrr…..

    • Found this work around – basically, sacked the targeting and did it using the camera instead. Also, the random script values on the camera shake change every time a change is made so I made it a bit more predictable by adding a bit of noise to the H,P and B and attaching this to the camera: [CR_use_noise.Rotation.H]*[CR_use_noise.Position.Z] (as well as the “B” and “P”).

      Once again, great setup Johan!

      • Ah, you’re on a mac, that can be a bit tougher plugin wise I know. But awesome that you found away to get it working! :)


  6. very creative. i like the idea. this is a big time saver.
    Great work, thank you.

  7. Thanks for making this great rig available, Can you include some stereoscopic 3D tools in a future release ?

  8. Great rig! Very nice of you to share. A always wanted an easily editable focus point! Let alone the realistic nature of your set up.
    I’ll be sure to put it to good use.


  9. Great work Johan!

  10. Hi Johan,
    Any chance of a Preset Base for one’s settings,
    which is switchable?
    Also could you do a preset for a Render turntable,
    would sure save some time.

    P.S. This should be on the new L third Party Plugs Listing

    Lovely stuff Well Done!

  11. Sumdum Gai 7 years ago

    What a fantastic offering to find, thanks Mr Steen, I will use with great responsibility!

  12. do anyone of you know where i can get a free alien rig for lightwave? it was avaliable before.but not anymore.. ^^..

    & ur rig looks nice :)

  13. Hi Johan,
    Thanks a lot for the great gift. It did directly improve my camera movements. Great to get someting for free that will empower you so much!

    I now used your rig following a truck driving on a road. In order to achieve the feeling of movment I used Motion Blur > Photoreal with 2 blur passes. I was very surpriced when I saw the outcome. It was a totally different view. In fact it showed the vue in straight +Z direction. But my vue was about 45 degrees between +X and -Z direction, and I expected an image of the truck driving at speed. But a totally different image.
    Well, I cloned the CR_Camera with its settings and parented it to the truck exatcly as I had parented the CR_rails, and that gave a proper image.

    I must tell you that this scene is rather big made up of 11 714 808 points or 17 003 880 polygons and it says that it takes 2959,4 MB, so that might be the reason that som scripts in your setup not will be executed at the right speed.
    That´s a pity. I think however that if I keyframe the CR_Camera movements after my setup I have all motions there and then just clone the camera and free it from the rig. Because the rig makes it a lot easier to think right when choosing camera positions and movements.
    Your rig is still a great thing when trying to get a real-world look to camera movements.
    At lighter scenes I think it will work well.

    I am on LW10.1 on a ASUS laptop with 16GB memory with an i7 processor on 2 GHZ

    Thank you for this great rig!

  14. Sorry, I forgot to say that what I described above only happened when I used 2 or more passes for Motion Blur. When I only used one pass then the rendering gave the right image. In fact the error could be seen in the Render Status window. When the second pass started the image did change to a view in direct +Z direction. I am convinced this could be corrected in the programming. It is kind of a bug n LW.

    • Hey CayL,

      Interesting find! I was a bit curious to see if I could replicate it, but I wasn’t able to. I saw you were on LW10.1, I tried on LW11.5 though, and many things have changed since 10.x, so maybe the problem you are seeing is not there anymore? Otherwise, it would be interesting if you have some simple scene that demonstrates the behavior, to try it out myself, if you can share.


  15. Hi Johan,
    As you saw, this scene is pretty heavy with more than 17 million polys. And sorry to say the product I try to visualize is still under development and not yet aviailable on the market. So I am not allowed to show anything at this stage. And I don´t think a simple scene will reveal this problem.

    To me it seems that it is about execution order of different commands. As the scene is heavy and the computer is not the fastest I think it will process what is available. LW should need to have a wait for preparation of a second pass of Motion Blur, but I think it will start the rendering too fast. Therefore I could see that the image changed in the Render Status window. I was very surprised to see that the second pass had a quite different camera angle to what it was set to.
    As your camera is a part of a rig it may take a little longer to process the information than with a plain camera. It seems to me that that little difference in execution time may cause the error.

    To me your solution with a camera on a rig should have been natively built in into Lightwave from the beginning. Because it helps a lot to think right when moving the camera and position it. Especially when working with animations. If Newtek added a rig, they also would recognize this error. If I stay with only one pass for Motion Blur, then there is no problem.

    So I am glad I found your rig even if I got this error when it comes to Motion Blur.

  16. Paul Turcott 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for this!! I’m a new lightwave user and I’m looking for 3D party support for it. I’m going to try your rig right away. Thank you!


  17. Dale L. Campbell Jr 6 years ago

    Please up this to work in Lightwave 11.5

  18. DJSTANGE 6 years ago

    THANK YOU! I am a professional and partial to LW…I cannot wait to use this rig. This will save SO MUCH TIME…..and also will adhere to traditional filming techniques.
    Thank you again!

  19. Hey!
    Thanks for this very cool rig! I am having one problem I can’t figure out. I cannot get the Rotate function to respond. All else works as per your video.

    I am using Lightwve v11.6. Any reason it won’t work in this version?
    Or – am I not doing something right?
    My procedure: I select the “Rotate” ball (nothing highlights) and then the Rotate Tool. Doesn’t give the rotate circles. I have trie it the other way around where I pick the Rotate Tool first and then the ball. Nothing.

    Please help if you can

    Many thanks,

    • Hi Art,

      It should work fine in LightWave 11.6 (I just verified in v11.6.2). From what you describe it does sound like you are doing everything perfectly correct. Are you using the v1.1 version?


      • Johan,
        My humble apologies. I failed to realize that one needs to be in “Rotate”
        (as opposed to Move) mode for that to work. It’s not specifically mentioned
        in your Tute (I don’t think).
        I make Tutes myself and constantly have to remind myself not to leave out


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If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.