Installing LightWave - Macintosh

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System Requirements

  • Hardware

Intel processor

  • Operating System

Sierra 10.12 or better

  • Graphics Card

NVIDIA® GeForce® 9 series or AMD Radeon HD 4000 series (minimum)
Minimum Screen Resolution: 1280 x 1024 pixels

Recommended Graphics card: GeForce 10 series or newer at 1920 x 1080 or better

Upgrading From a Prior Version

Those upgrading from an older version of LightWave 3D may have a USB hardware key (or parallel key on Windows systems), also known as a "dongle". LightWave no longer requires a hardware key, but you may still find one useful at times (as, for example, if you freelance at a firm with strict network policies).

Otherwise, the same installation instructions apply for an upgrade as for new users. The installation program will not delete any 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 2019 installs. For this reason, you should install LightWave 2019 in a new directory.

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

Software Installation

Download and install the most recent version of LightWave for which you have a license here: If you don’t already have an account you can download the trial version found here: and then create one.

Installation Options

After accepting the EULA, you will be asked what type of installation you wish to perform. Choose the Render node entry if this installation is intended exclusively for rendering, rather than creating LightWave assets.

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, the 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  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.