LightWave plug-ins are divided into categories called classes. For those familiar with the formal classes supported by object-oriented programming languages, this term may have unintended implications. The class of a plug-in simply defines what kind of plug-in it is, what it does, and how it interacts with LightWave.
- Load and save files containing animation streams, e.g. MPEG, QuickTime and AVI files.
- Channel handlers can be applied to any animation parameter that can vary over time. They modify or replace the value of the parameter.
- Provide a user interface for selecting colors.
- Modeler plug-ins that can do almost anything the user can do through the interface.
- Layout plug-ins that add custom drawing to an object in Layout's interface. These are often used to add visual feedback for the parameters controlled by null objects, but they can be used with any object.
- Deform an object during animation by moving its points.
- Replace the render backdrop, for procedural sky and ground rendering, for example.
- Provide a user interface for selecting files (an alternative to the host system's default file dialog).
- Provide a display or a device interface for rendered frames.
- Provide services to other plug-ins. See the globals section for information about LightWave's built-in globals.
- Image post-processing of rendered frames.
- Load and save files containing still images. Support for a number of image file formats is provided through plug-ins of these classes.
- Animate the position, size and scale of an item.
- Miscellaneous utilities, Layout commands.
- Interactive custom tools in Layout.
- These receive event notifications from Layout and can control the behavior of other plug-ins based on those events.
- Modeler plug-ins that create and modify geometry at the point and polygon level.
- Mesh editing with full user interactivity.
- Load the 3D geometry data in non-LightWave object files.
- Replace the geometry of an object during animation.
- Modify or replace the value of each pixel sample during rendering.
- Procedural textures are just functions, like fractal noise, useful for adding detail to the appearance of an object or for modulating an item's motion.
- Loads the animation data in non-LightWave scene files.
- Modifies the appearance of an object's surface.
- Creates volumetric rendering effects, including transmission and scattering through transparent media, and hypertexturing.