Tuesday, July 16th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

NewTek ships LightWave 2019.1

NewTek has released LightWave 2019.1, a free update to its 3D modelling and animation software, making a number of “quality-of-life” improvements, including new navigation modes in both Modeler and Layout.

The release also updates a number of the software’s existing features, including FBX import, the Unreal Engine to LightWave bridge, the physical sky system, and OpenVDB support.

Part of a new, more even update cycle
LightWave 2019.1 continues NewTek’s work to smooth out LightWave’s formerly erratic release history, following just under six months after LightWave 2019 itself.

Development seems not to have been significantly interrupted by Vizrt’s acquisition of NewTek in April, and follows three smaller bugfix updates in the 2019 release cycle.

New navigation options in Modeler and Layout, plus ‘quality of life’ improvements
The main change in LightWave 2019.1 is the new navigation options in both of LightWave’s component applications, Modeler and Layout.

These include a new “game-style navigation mode combining hotkeys, mouse and scroll wheel to move within the viewport, adjust the view and move the scene playhead”.

Users can also switch between altenate navigation, selection and timeline adjustment modes – the latter including support for 3dconnexion‘s 3D control devices – via the Navigation Options panel.

Modeler also gets a set of ‘quality of life’ improvements, including new options for selecting, inserting, swapping and freezing layers in the Layers panel.

The tree-style lists in many panels within Layout also get workflow improvements, including the option to resize columns within the tree pane, and new drag-and-drop behaviours.

Other workflow improvements include the option to toggle all non-renderable elements, like light and camera icons, in the OpenGL viewport; and separate config files for both custom hotkey and menu setups.

New FBX and OpenVDB functionality, plus updates to the UE4 bridge and physical sky
Several existing features have been updated in LightWave 2019.1, including FBX support.

New functionality includes the option to overwrite an existing animation with that from an FBX file, rather than simply adding its geometry to the scene.

Users can also now import materials in the Principled BSDF format introduced in LightWave 2018.

OpenVDB support – a focus of both the 2018 and 2019 updates – continues to evolve, with the option to emit particles from the vertices of polygons converted to VDB volumes.

Other changes include support for individual RGB colour channels in the LightWave to Unreal Engine bridge (shown above), and updates to the way the physical sky is displayed inside Layout.

You can find a full list of smaller changes and bugfixes via the links below.

Early user feedback in NewTek’s forum thread has been broadly positive – partly for the fact that LightWave 2019.1 exists at all, the 2018 release cycle not having included a similar update.

Pricing and availability
LightWave 2019.1 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.11+. The update is free to users of LightWave 2019. New licences cost $995.

Read a full list of new features in LightWave 2019.1 in the online documentation

See videos of the new features in LightWave 2019.1 on the LightWave YouTube channel