LightWave is your entry point into a whole new world. You get a ton of cool and useful features right out of the box that puts the competition to shame. No "unlimited" this or "advanced" that, no up sell and no extras. Everything you need is in the box when you buy. Of course, there are many cool third-party add-on products available, some freebies, and some not, but the point is, you can get a long way before you may need any. And, with free render nodes, LightWave grows with your business, and you.
Current Version: www.newtek.com/lightwave/lwtrial/
Unity Documentation: http://unity3d.com/Documentation/Manual/HOWTO-importObjectLightwave.html
Unity Scale Calibration
Subdivision "Level 0": The Holy Grail
Lightwave has an amazing capability to freeze Sub-D's at "level 0". In other words, the smoothing effect of the Sub-D cage is preserved, but no additional polys are added - the polygon count maintains a 1 to 1 ratio of frozen polys to Sub-D cage.
This has tremendous benefits for quickly generating optimized real-time models from a subdivision base mesh, matching the base topology very closely.
All you need to take advantage of this is to set the Subdivision Level to "0" in Modeler's Options Panel (hot key "o") and "freeze" (Ctrl-D).
If you are going to bake a normal map to this model, then set the smoothing angle to 179.5 degrees in the Material Editor. (See Evasion3D Microwave description in "Textures" section below.)
--jake carvey 16:33, 19 December 2008 (PST)
You actually need to set it to Level 1 if you want smoothing. Level 0 has no smoothing. I tend to leave my objects in sub-d mode even during exportation. Most exporters will automatically freeze and triangulate your meshes. --Ramen-sama 21:30, 3 March 2010 (PST)
Evasion 3D's "Microwave"
Evasion 3D's Microwave plug-in solution is one of the most powerful texture baking solutions in existence.
Of special note is it's ability to bake both geometric AND bump map detail simultaneously into tangent space normal maps, even when using dissimilar mapping and shading techniques on the hi-resolution source (multiple UVs, various orthographic projections, procedurals, HyperVoxels, etc.). It can even bake in reflections and specular information from the viewpoint of a user-definable camera!
--jake carvey 20:53, 19 December 2008 (PST)
For proper Animation, you must use weightmaps! you can blend between weightmaps but make sure all the values add up to 100%. Unity does not support negative values either.
--Ramen-sama 21:27, 3 March 2010 (PST)
Exporting to Unity
For best results you need to use the old "Export to FBX" exporter. I've had issues with the built in one. Don't Uncheck anything on the popup.
Bones need to be have a keyframe for the exporter to process them.
Exporters don't support IK, so you must convert them to keyframed animation. You might be able to simple create keyframes for everything every frame and it work fine, if not, BakeIKtoKey will convert your IK into FK, but i find you still should manually create keyframes to get best results after converting.
IKBoost exports properly if keyframed manualy. (I just scrub the timeline and press enter and create keyframes for all items or just some.) However, boosterlink does not function properly as adding keyframes disrupts how it works. So i'd avoid them. Try follower plugin instead.
Plugins on bones can still work if you keyframe them manually. Plugins like follower will work well this way. Setting up a bone to look at another object will also work if you keyframe all the frames needed then turn off the targeting. If you have issues, keyframe it then disable the plugin. it will probably remember the rotations.
If you are exporting an object for use as a character, you'll run into issues with the rotation when it's in unity. To correct this, parent your object in Layout to a Null object. When keyframing, don't keyframe this object. When in unity, change the object's rotation to 0,0,0. At this point your character's rotation will be off. Simply rotate the Null Object to compensate.
--Ramen-sama 21:28, 3 March 2010 (PST)