LightWave 2018

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System Requirements

  • Hardware

Intel processor

  • Operating System

Lion® 10.7 or better

  • Graphics Card

NVIDIA® GeForce® 8400 series or ATI X1600 (minimum)
Minimum Screen Resolution: 1024 x 768 pixels
Minimum Recommended Screen Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels

Upgrading From a Prior Version

If you already have a version of LightWave 3D installed on your computer, you might have a hardware key (USB), also known as a “dongle”. This is no longer necessary for LightWave normally, but can still be useful if you are freelancing at a company that has strict network requirements for instance.

Other than the above noted issues regarding hardware keys, the same installation instructions apply for an upgrade as for new users. The installation program will not delete existing objects, scenes, or images on your system unless an existing item has the same name and is in the same directory as an item that LightWave 2018 installs. For this reason, you should install LightWave 2018 in a new directory.


NewTek strongly recommends that you backup your system before you install LightWave 3D.

Software Installation

Download and install the most current current version of LightWave for which you have a license here: https://www.lightwave3d.com/account/. If you don’t already have an account you can download the trial version found here: https://www.lightwave3d.com/try_lightwave/ and then create one.

Installation Options

Once you have agreed to the EULA and have seen the readme, the path and then the type of installation are requested. The Render node entry is for installing on machines that won't be used for creating LightWave assets but merely for rendering them.

LightWave asks whether you wish to install Python Site Packages, leave them checked unless you have a specific reason to not want them, since they will be expected by third party Python scripts. If you say no to configuring Advanced Options for the NRC Service, you will be asked to provide a name for network rendering for your machine. The advanced options for the Network Render Controller start with the choice between an explicitly-launched Dock application or a System Service (or daemon) that runs at startup. Next you are asked how you'd like your diagnostics output, and the question after pertains to how your machine will be referred to for network rendering. Lastly, there is a question referring to UNC mapping for network drive use. After these questions are answered or ignored, installation will commence.

A symbolic link to the LightWave configuration files will be created in the Documents folder to allow easy access for licensing and clearing configs.


Legacy Plugins

LightWave has a long and rich history and many plugins from that history. If you find yourself needing a legacy plugin for resurrecting an old project or similar, you will find a file called legacy.zip  in the support\plugins folder.

Running the Program

LightWave 3D is started the same way as any other program on the particular platform on which it’s installed. LightWave 3D has two major applications that work together - Layout and Modeler - the icons for which are located in the LightWave folder. Each program can be started independently; however, you may also access them by clicking the appropriate button on their respective interfaces.