LightWave 2018

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UV-mapped surfaces represented by preset objects will show as black, because the UV maps do not have the correct coordinates to attach to. If you are using UV-mapped surfaces, choose Scene Object from the Preview Object Mode list in Surface Preview options.


This dropdown menu offers three choices.

Surface Preview Choices

Floating Window

Opens an additional viewport that can be resized. The Object viewed can be chosen from the Surface Preview Options panel as can the background and lighting.


Uses the viewport that has the Camera icon on it in a multi-viewport Layout.


You can also use the VPR Options button in the viewport menu here:


The object list shows scene objects that can be selected for the Scene Object display mode.
  • Preview Light Mode - Presents three options:
    • Preset Light - A default light
    • Scene Lights - The lighting set up in the scene
    • Selected Light - Uses the Layout selected light

  • Preview Object Mode - Presents three options:
    • Preset Object - Sets the Surface Preview object to one of the five presets in the Preset Object dropdown
    • Scene Object - Uses an object selected from the object list above
    • Selected Object - Uses a Layout selected object. Primitive Shapes don't work

  • Preset Object - Only available when the Preview Object Mode is set to Preset Object. Presents five options:
    • Cone
    • Cube
    • Cylinder
    • Sphere
    • Torus


    This preset objects list is generated with real objects that are stored in the install directory's support/surface_preview_objects folder. New objects can be added to the list or replace existing entries. You should change entries only when LightWave is not running.

  • Background - Presents three options:
    • Layout - Uses the Layout Backdrop settings. If there are multiple Environment plugins, the last one is used
    • Checkerboard - Presents a checkerboard pattern hanging in space behind the object. You might need to rotate the display to bring it into view
    • Color - Uses the color defined in Background Color

  • Background Color - Only available when Background is set to Color

Viewport options

The viewport itself, when in Surface Preview mode, has several menu items unique to it.

At the default size, some menus are only represented with triangles

Now wider, we can see the buffer and preset menus fully

Buffer Menu

By default on Final_Render, all available buffers can be examined individually. If there is nothing in a buffer, it will be black.

Presets Menu

Offers the following options:

  • Load (surface or preset) - Loads a new surface or preset from disk
  • Save to Disk - Writes the surface you are currently viewing to disk as an .srf file
  • Save Preset - Saves to the user's Workspace Preset space
  • Open Preset Shelf - Opens the Preset Shelf window. The Keyboard shortcut F8 does the same