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LightWorks Hits the big 2-0!

LightWorks has its 20th Anniversary, which is a milestone for any company in the tech industry and a big one for this company in particular as its rendering engine technology is at the heart of software solutions powering over 2 million users worldwide.


LightWorks was born in 1989 in Sheffield, England. It was the love-child of four very smart computer graphics experts, who shared a longing for a software that could make high quality photorealistic images from 3D geometry. The problem was such a thing, to the level of their imaginations, did not yet exist. So these four experts got together and made a plan.

Software for Software Makers

At the time what they were attempting to do seemed revolutionary, for many other graphic software companies were only focusing on end-user software. The current idea of designing software for designers by designers or for user by user was unheard of.  Software was designed for the consumer or “end-user”, not for their makers. But these experts got to work revolutionizing that very idea. And thus, the LightWorks rendering engine was completed by its first birthday in 1990. After making its debut and demonstrated at the Autofact exhibition in Detroit, the first licenses were shipped in early 1991.

LightWorks rendering sample in the early years.

LightWorks rendering sample in the early years, circa 1993. This is a very nice image of a conference center in Leipzig.

Over the follow years LightWorks would grow up fast. It would sign its first major CAD developer in 1993 and the first Japanese customer in 1994. In 1996, it  would launch its Machine Tool Simulation arm (now MachineWorks) and its large model product in 1997 (now NavisWorks from Autodesk). By 2000, LightWorks passed the 500,000 end user mark and launched its own content archive format- LightWorks Archive or LWA. New offices were built in Japan and the LightWorks was not so little anymore. In 2006, it’s original parents were looking to retire, and the management team led a buy-out of both LightWorks and MachineWorks businesses. 

LightWorks rendering sample from 2009.

LightWorks rendering sample from 2009. Notice the use of glossy plastic shader, tested circa 2009.

Over the past 20 years, LightWorks has become a worldwide rendering solution with over 2 million users worldwide. It has formed 4 separate stand-alone businesses while remaining financially independent. It is also integrated in over 80 software applications. All grown up, LightWorks continues to grow from the dream of those four very smart computer graphics experts. Now that LightWorks has hit 20, the world awaits what it will do next.

To learn more about LightWorks Design visit them here:

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