WTools3D – aka developer Viktor Veličko – has released LWCAD 2020, the new version of the popular modelling plugin for LightWave and Cinema 4D.
LightWave users get more tools compatible with the software’s new Mesh TR respresentation of geometry, plus a new mesh topology inspector; Cinema 4D users get better integration with the host software.
The LightWave edition of LWCAD 2020 actually came out last year, but the Cinema 4D edition shipped earlier this week, so this seems like a good opportunity to look at both.
Powerful polygonal, NURBS and Boolean modelling tools for CAD artists and general users alike
A fixture of many LightWave artists’ toolboxes, LWCAD provides a set of CAD tools within the software, although the plugin is also widely used for general-purpose modelling.
It includes tools for editing both polygonal geometry and NURBS surfaces, plus a real-time Boolean system.
The Cinema 4D edition is newer, and supports a smaller set of features for polygonal and Boolean modelling.
LightWave edition: more tools now compatible with Mesh TR
Many of the changes in the LightWave edition of the software are updates to existing features to make them compatible with the software’s new Mesh TR representation of geometry.
Introduced in LWCAD 2018.3, it further divides geometry into a series of smaller “special cases”: for example, quad and triangular polygon meshes are handled separately.
Mesh TR is intended to help optimise tools for different geometry types, and supports CPU multithreading.
Features newly compatible with Mesh TR in LWCAD 2020 include general-purpose tools for offsetting or refining curves and edges, and for freezing NURBS geometry into polygons.
The Road tool, which converts networks of covers into procedural road system, has also been reinstated and updated to work with Mesh TR, as shown at 22:45 in the video above.
The update also introduces a new tool for inspecting the geometry of Mesh TR surfaces, Topology TR, which shows connections between the curves and edges, and the indices of edges, curve segments and points.
It’s intended primarily as a tool for debugging models: for example, to identify disconnected edges.
Cinema 4D edition: better integration with the host software
LWCAD 2020 for Cinema 4D is more of a performance and compatiblity update, with the plugin now fully supporting Cinema 4D n-gons, and more tools recognising Cinema 4D polygon selections.
The update also streamlines the plugin’s auto-parenting system and features “huge speed optimisation”.
Veličko has also announced that the next major update to the Cinema 4D edition, LWCAD 2021 for Cinema 4D, will bring the plugin’s feature set far more closely in line with the LightWave edition.
Feature due to be ported over include the “full NURBS curves system”, and the curves primitives and curves editing tools.
Pricing and availability
LWCAD 2020 is available for 64-bit LightWave 9.6+ on Windows and 64-bit LightWave 10+ on macOS, and Cinema 4D R21+ on Windows and macOS. The old 3ds Max edition was discontinued last year.
New licences of LWCAD for LightWave cost $349; new licences of LWCAD for Cinema 4D cost $179.
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