Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 Posted by Jim Thacker

WTools3D ships LWCAD 2018.3

WTools3D – aka developer Viktor Veličko – has released LWCAD 2018.3, a major update to its popular LightWave modelling plugin, introducing a new core representation for geometry within the software.

The new Mesh TR system makes it possible to UV map NURBS surfaces, enables multi-threading on multi-core CPUs and provides “significant” speed boosts.

The update also introduces new tools for generating 3D models from 2D drawings like floorplans and for editing NURBS surfaces, including tools for converting geometry between NURBS and quads.

Powerful polygonal, NURBS and Boolean modelling tools for CAD artists and general users alike
A fixture of many LightWave artists’ toolboxes for over a decade, LWCAD provides a set of CAD tools within the software, although the plugin is also widely used for general-purpose modelling.

It includes tools for editing both polygonal geometry and NURBS surfaces, plus a real-time Boolean system.

The software is also now available for 3ds Max and Cinema 4D.

Updated 7 January 2020: The 3ds Max edition of LWCAD has now been discontinued, with Veličko citing rates of software piracy and high development costs as contributing factors.

New Mesh TR system provides a faster, more stable representation of polygonal and NURBS geometry
LWCAD 2018.3 moves the plugin to a new core representation of geometry: Mesh TR.

The system divides geometry into a set of smaller “special cases”, shown above: for example, there are specific representations of tris and quads, rather than a single representation of polygonal geometry.

Veličko says that the new system makes it easier to optimise tools for specific geometry types, resulting in improvements in speed and stability.

The release notes don’t put a figure on that speed boost, but the new system is “multi-threading ready”, which should enable operations to run faster on modern multi-core CPUs.

In addition, it is now possible to UV map NURBS surfaces, shown at 04:00 in the video at the top of the story.

The Mesh TR system is “100% compatible” with the old Smart Mesh system, and legacy versions of all of the tools are still available alongside their new Mesh TR equivalents.

New tools for generating 3D buildings from problem floor plans
In addition, LWCAD 2018.3 introduces a new set of tools for generating 3D models from 2D drawings like floorplans, shown at 05:30 in the video.

It includes tools for breaking geometry into smaller elements like line segments or faces, or unifying smaller elements into connected geometry.

The toolset is describes as a “complete pipeline” for generating 3D models from 2D drawings that contain errors that would otherwise render them difficult to work with.

New NURBS tools include option to convert quad geometry and terrain to NURBS surfaces
There is also a new set of NURBS tools, shown at 21:00 in the video.

They include Quad to Patch, for converting quad geometry to NURBS patches; and Terrain Patch, an experimental tool for generating NURBS patches matching polygonal terrain within a scene.

In addition, the update includes updates to projection snapping and the option to enable soft ends on splines. You can find a full list of new features via the links below.

Pricing and availability
LWCAD 2018.3 is available for 64-bit LightWave 9.6+ on Windows 7+ and 64-bit LightWave 10+ on Mac OS X 10.9+. You will need to be running 64-bit LightWave 2015.3 or higher to see NURBS surfaces inside Layout.

New licences of LWCAD for LightWave cost $349. The 2018.3 update is free to 2018.x users.

LWCAD 2018.3 for Cinema 4D is available for 64-bit Cinema 4D R18+ on Windows 7+ or macOS 10.12+, and costs $175.

Read a full list of features in LWCAD 2018.3 for LightWave

Visit the LWCAD product website