LightWave: Understanding Viewport Preview Rendering

LightWave 10, one of the newest in a long line of celebrated and widely respected products by NewTek, promises to bring a host of new features to the table. Apart from the promise to improve the workflow aspects of the 3D modeling and animation jobs, the latest edition introduces the super realistic and the already popular renderer. The Viewport Preview Renderer, better known as the VPR, features photo-realistic real-time rendering right into the viewport of your choice on your workspace.

The VPR (Viewport Preview Renderer) is already one of the most talked about features because it promises to drastically reduce the development time for movies, special effects and game productions by weeding out unnecessary renderings to judge the end results. This directly translates into substantial savings from a computing effort, time, efforts and monetary point of view.

About VPR (Viewport Preview Renderer)

The Viewport Preview Rendering (VPR) on the LightWave software suite allows the 3D artists, animators and modelers to make changes and receive visual feedback on them in real-time. In other words, as a professional 3D artist, you can make changes to your 3D art, model or maps and immediately see the results on your desktop viewports on how the objects and models are reacting to dynamic and interactive lighting. This also extends to the nodal shading and scene set up scenarios.

NewTek has extrapolated the Viewport Preview Rendering (VPR) functionality to a significant extent for the LightWave 10. The newest addition features interactions with multiple reflections, effect of transparency application, along with the minute reflections on changes in shading and radiosity.

Advanced Applications

Using the LightWave 10, you can easily change or switch any of the available viewports to the VPR mode. This may be extended to more than one viewports with each featuring different angles.

The VPR (Viewport Preview Renderer) is directly based on the CORE rendering engine and technology. This ensures that all of the Viewport Preview Renderer views will fully match the final output produced by the CORE render output. Users will find that all of the viewports are independent and completely interactive.

In older versions, the only VPR available was for lens flares that would provide an approximation of your lens flare settings in any viewport using the Camera view. This needed the activation of the OpenGL Lens Flare option on the Display Options tab of the Preferences panel (Display > Display Options). But, this was just an approximation of how the actual lens flare would appear and the actual rendered effect would likely turnout to be somewhat different.


The advantages associated with the VPR (Viewport Preview Renderer) are pretty obvious since enabling of real-time feedback on changes does not make the 3D artist wait for extended periods of time just to see a fault and then render the scene again. This means less development times, reduced costs and increased profitability for studios.