.LWS File Extension

LightWave 3D Scene

Developer LightWave Digital
3.5  |  4 Votes

What is an LWS file?

An LWS file is a three-dimensional scene created with LightWave 3D, a 3D modeling, animation, and rendering program. It contains information about object positions and movements, cameras and their movements, and references to the locations of .LWO files that store 3D objects appearing in the scene. LWS files are saved in the LightWave 3D Scene (LWS) format, which stores scene information in plain text.

More Information

Screenshot of a .lws file in LightWave 3D 2020
LWS file open in LightWave 3D 2020

LightWave 3D is used in various industries, including TV, film, architecture, advertising, and video game development, to create 3D graphics and animations. When you create a scene with LightWave 3D, the app saves it in the default LWS format, which you can close and reopen for further editing.

The LWS format is similar to a CAD assembly file, such as an Autodesk Inventor Assembly (.IAM) or Parametric Pro/ENGINEER Assembly (.ASM) file. Like CAD Assembly files, LWS files may contain references to other files featured in the scene (LWO 3D Object files in the case of LWS files). If you move the location of referenced LWS files, the objects will not appear in the LWS scene when opened in LightWave 3D.

NOTE: NewTek initially developed LightWave 3D, but LightWave Digital acquired and currently develops the software.

How to open an LWS file

You can open LWS files with LightWave 3D in Windows and macOS. For example, to open an LWS file in the Layout utility included with LightWave 3D, select Load → Load Scene.

Opening an LWS file with a text editor

LWS file open in Apple TextEdit
LWS file open in Apple TextEdit

Since LWS files store scene information in plain text, you can also open them with a text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows) or Apple TextEdit (macOS). You may need to rename the file extension to .txt for the text editor to recognize it. Additionally, you may corrupt the LWS scene file if you incorrectly modify it.

How to convert an LWS file

LightWave 3D can convert LWS files to various file types, including the following formats:

  • .FBX - Autodesk FBX Interchange File
  • .DAE - Digital Asset Exchange File
  • .WRL - VRML World
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Programs that open LWS files

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Verified by FileInfo.com

The FileInfo.com team has independently researched the LightWave 3D Scene file format and Mac and Windows apps listed on this page. Our goal is 100% accuracy and we only publish information about file types that we have verified.

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