More Lightwave praise… I’m not kidding, this is going to be Good!

I’ve ben praising Newtek and their 3D Suite “Lightwave” on a couple of occasions. This time I want to point the ones in doubt onto a track of future optimism and, hopefully, a shitload of fun.

The upcoming Lightwave Core, scheduled for Q4 2010, will incorporate seamless connectivity against the most promising standards out there, and will eventually include support for components mentioned in this text.

I’ve received questions by artists, or say, budding artists, that is in “serious” doubt about the big changes between the current (open beta) 9.6.1 64-bits Mac/Win release that uses the separation between the Modeler application (modeling) and Layout (everything else). Core will by default merge the different tasks into one application by dividing the UI into “workspaces”, without the need of “The Hub” for synchronizing data layers and plenty of other stuff. No more F12 for switching apps.

BUT, you can if you insist use the same workflow as in LW 9.x, this is a matter of preference settings. So no worries, your training won’t be “outdated” in a year.

The following workspaces will be available:

• Model

• Surface

• Setup

• Animate

• Render

• Composite

In addition to the above, the following items are also presented as aspects of the Animate workspace:

• Creation Tools

• Deformation (Subset)

• Transforms

• Dynamics (Collision Detection, Etc.)

• Constraints

• Scripting


LightWave 3D with CORE technology offers two different flavors of rendering: Viewport Preview Rendering (VPR) and CORE rendering.


The CORE viewport rendering engine allows for direct interaction with elements in the rendering, from the rendered view. Any viewport can switch to VPR, and even portions of viewports can be specified for viewport rendering.

VPR is essentially the CORE rendering engine operating in an iterative, interactive fashion. Whatever CORE can render, VPR can also render. The results will be virtually identical, with some exceptions, as VPR does prioritize to deliver on speed and interactivity.

As VPR is a complete version of the CORE rendering engine, not a subset, it can render global illumination interactively, however, with less interactivity due to the amount of performance required to produce GI renderings. Fortunately, the CORE rendering engine is fully multithreaded, another benefit leveraged by VPR.

The more processors you have available to you, the faster VPR will render.

Now, to the juicy stuff:

The Composite workspace in CORE is capable of image manipulation and compositing via a selection of internal tools, as well as available third-party plug-ins that support the OpenFX standard (OFX). OFX is an open source plug-in standard for developing 2D digital visual effects.

The Foundry (, Re:Vision Effects ( and GenArts ( and several other prolific plug-in vendors offer a variety of image processing and manipulation plug-ins in OFX format.

Core uses the industry standard file format Collada for scenes, as it handles cross pipelines, and the Collada format offers all the structures a combined application needs.

The optional Modifier Stack (Lightwave finally has memory!)

The CORE modifier stack is an attribute of each mesh item. Every CORE mesh item has a modifier stack behind it. The modifier stack is a living record of all of the geometric operations applied to a specific object. Operators in the stack can be rearranged (doing so can produce notably different results), enabled, frozen (so as to be un-editable or “flattened”), muted and deleted on command.

Every expression in Core are Python based.

Industry-standard Python forms the basis of the scripting in CORE (currently version 2.6). The Python implementation is layered into CORE via SWIG. SWIG is a language-interfacing layer that allows the CORE SDK to be accessed through languages other than the factory Python language that ships with CORE.

Now to the really Juicy stuff:

CORE integrates the popular Bullet Physics Library (

into the CORE unified dynamics solver. Bullet supports both rigid body and soft body collisions. Bullet plans to offer OpenCL support in the future, which fits with the development of CORE.

The Bullet Physics Library offers the following benefits:

Open source C++ code under Zlib license and free for any commercial use on all platforms including PLAYSTATION 3, XBox 360, Wii, PC, Linux, Mac OSX and iPhone.

• Discrete and continuous collision detection, including ray and convex sweep test. Collision shapes include concave and convex meshes and all basic primitives.

• Fast and stable rigid body dynamics constraint solver, vehicle dynamics, character controller and slider, hinge, generic six degrees of freedom and cone-twist constraint for rag dolls.

• Soft Body dynamics for cloth, rope and deformable volumes with two-way interaction with rigid bodies, including constraint support.

In CORE, you can use dynamics for simulation, modeling, or interaction with scene items. Animation created in CORE can be exported into LightWave Layout (and other applications) via the MDD file format.

Modeling with dynamics example: Consider an alley scene with crates. You can choose to place the crates (and other debris) by hand, or you can choose to use the dynamics tools to help streamline the process.


CORE is written in C++, and designed as an object-oriented application. CORE uses several different technologies and libraries to deliver state-of-the-art performance. For the user interface, CORE uses the Qt libraries from Nokia. The Qt environment is fast becoming a standard throughout the software development industry. It is available on all platforms, allowing for a single codebase development process, which is very important when you have more than one host operating system to support. By using Qt, Newtek can offer LightWave CORE for Linux as well as Windows X and Mac OS.

Lightwave is capable of every stage of production, from modeling to physics and animation. It’s priced at a fragment of other products that can deliver the same feature set. This makes it a perfect mach for wallets, individuals and small to medium studios.

Did I mention the 999 free network render nodes?

Need I need to say more?

Go get it!


Maya 2010 on Linux, and Mac, plus answer to 64 bit Mac question

Yep. New version. 2010. In the house, running happily on my Mac and Linux machines.

The procedures are nearly identical for installing the 2009 version, with the exception of the built in extra packages. I’ll Post a step-by-step instruction for installing 2010 soon, and answer the question about “Why is there no 64 bit version of Maya for OS X”, that pops up at about every g.d forum I visit.

Short answer: Maya is Carbon. Carbon is not 64 bit, because Apple decided that’s a waste of time and resources. So. If there will be a 64 bit version for Mac, the WHOLE application must be re-written in Objective-C in native 64bit Cocoa Framework (this is the only way to program native 64-bit applications on the Mac), vs. the 32 bit Carbon C++ API, that’s as mentioned is abandoned by Apple Inc.
Don’t think we’ll see that happen. Maya has some years on its back… But who knows?

Only the future will know.

Think that actually sums up part two of this post.

Happy living!

A list of required Maya 2009 dependancy packages in Linux

Many people out there, are doing great after following my tutorial, but those that does not run Ubuntu, often run into problems.

Before you post questions to this blog (post anywhere else if you want 😉 ) Make sure you install these packages either in .deb, .rpm or compile the shit from source. The names may differ slightly between distributions, so, search for something similar. The package manager and Google are good friends:

Shell Dependencies
• tcsh
General Dependencies
• glibc
• libpng
• libjpeg
• expat
• libICE
• libSM
• fontconfig
• freetype-
• e2fsprogs-libs
• zlib
• mesa-libGL

X/Motif Dependencies
• libX11
• libXext
• libXi
• libXt
• libXpm
• libXmu
• libXp
• libxcb
• libXdmcp
• libXau
• libXrender
• libXft
• libXinerama

Installer Dependencies
• glibc
• libstdc++
• libgcc
• expat
• libxcb
• libXdmcp
• libXau
• libXfixes
• libXrender
• libXrandr
• libXcursor
• libXinerama
• libXft
• freetype
• fontconfig
• libXext
• libX11
• libSM
• libICE

That should keep you busy for a while!


Getting Java plugin + applets to work on Linux 64 bit

Many folks out there are having a hard time getting their 64 bit Firefox browsers to run Sun Java plugin to do home banking via secure applets etc.

So, here comes a recipe that works (for me anyhow).

I use Ubuntu 8.10, but the procedure should not differ much on other distributions.

download the early access java jar file from sun from here:

By the time of writing the direct url is this:

Make sure to download the 64 bit .jar for Linux!

Uninstall any Java versions you might have laying around, like openJDK, IcedTea plugin, GCJ etc..

Install a 64 bit version of the Sun JRE from standard repositories, to run the .jar file correctly, and execute the following command from the location of the .jar file:

sudo java -jar [path_to_jarfile you downloaded]

choose to install in /usr/lib/jvm/ from the GUI installer that pops up.
This gives you a new directory below /usr/lib/jvm, in this case /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_14/
now make all files in the new directory executable (as mentioned on Sun’s site):
sudo chmod +x /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_14/lib/amd64/*

then link the needed file to the right directory with the following command:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_14/lib/amd64/ /usr/lib64/mozilla/plugins/

This is intended for 64-bit Firefox, using the new plugin format from Sun.

Make sure to use complete file paths when creating symbolic links, or you will get a cyclical link referring back to itself, in other words, it wont work. (too many levels of symbolic links error)

Restart your browser and check with about:plugins in the url field, that the plugin is in fact installed! 😉

In Ubuntu the Java executable is referenced from /etc/alternatives/java, so we need to update the link to the new version:

sudo rm /etc/alternatives/java

Than we need to symlink the binary from the new installment:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/jre1.6.0_14/bin/java /etc/alternatives/java

You can now check that the new version of Java is in use by the system by issuing:
java -version
From a terminal. This should now be:
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.6.0_14-ea-b03)
Java HotSpot(TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 14.0-b12, mixed mode)

That should be it!
Happy Java browsing.