LightWave™ 2020


Defined chapters

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Thank you for your LightWave purchase


All chapters

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Thank you for your LightWave purchase

LightWave 3D® Digital is a complete 3D solution to model, render and animate. LightWave is used extensively in television and film production, video game development, print graphics and design, and LightWave artists have won more Emmy® Awards for visual effects and animation than any other CG artists. Plus, LightWave is designed to be used by a single artist, a small team, or a major facility, with seamless integration into diverse pipelines.


New facilities in 2020 regarding layout


Local Action Centers give new power to modeling.


We have added Random walk multi-spectrum subsurface scattering to the Principled BDSF material. Technicalities aside, this means better SSS for your renders.


New Global Illumination methodology

LightWave has a revamped Brute Force GI engine and has added an Irradiance Cache engine. There's a new baking scheme, including a grid cache bake for scenes when you're not sure where the camera will go next.

Engineering Updates

There are several changes under the hood to improve LightWave. These won't necessarily be of immediate interest to the regular user, but third-party developers should be interested in the new possibilities.

Offset Normal Instances

We have added another way to control instance placement and movement. It comes from a user request to be able to control instances that are not in the camera's field of view, to reduce the workload of having to calculate instances that would not be seen.

New Principled Hair Material added to FiberFx

New to LightWave 2020 is a material called Principled Hair.

New AFC Hair shader for FiberFX

Random walk multi-spectrum SSS in the PBSDF material

In previous versions of LightWave, sub-surface scattering was created using diffuse lighting. New to LightWave 2020 is the far superior Random Walk multi-spectrum SSS. The math is complex and can take longer to calculate, but the result is much better subsurface scattering. The settings in the Principled BSDF Material are similar to those in LightWave 2019 but the effect is far more controllable.

New GI with primary and secondary bounce plug-ins

Mobile NRC monitoring

New to LightWave 2020 is the ability to monitor network rendering on an Android device remotely. This allows you to fire off your render and keep an eye on how it's doing when away from the studio.

Tone mapping

Local Action Centering

Scene / Dope Editor improvements

Streamlining Environment systems

OpenVDB: New Tools

Engineering updates

LightWave 2020 contains the start of a generalized meta-data system. The intent is to attach data to almost anything in LightWave for third parties to access.

We now have attributes, components, and LWBaseFuncs. Attributes are the data storage, components are plugins containing attributes, and the LWBaseFuncs API provides access to these components.

Installing LightWave - Windows

Installing Lightwave on Windows

Installing LightWave - Macintosh

How to install LightWave on Macintosh.

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