NewTek LightWave 11, the latest version of its Emmy Award-winning 3D modelling, animation, and rendering software, includes new features like instancing, flocking and fracturing tools, and flexible Bullet Dynamics, writes David Fox.
New technology includes the Virtual Preview Renderer (VPR) for onscreen realtime rendering, and Anaglyph Stereoscopic Preview for realtime interocular, red-blue anaglyphic separations.
With Instancing (pictured above), it can duplicate a vast number of objects in a scene with very little memory overhead (where previously it would run out of memory), create huge, detailed polygon groups while retaining reasonable render times, and scale, position, rotate, and surface randomly cloned objects for realistic detail.
Flocking (pictured) allows it to animate realistic motion of grouped objects, such as birds, fish, insects, animals, aircraft, or spaceships, using a new motion modifier. It can also calculate crowd avoidance for neighbouring objects, target alignment, and cohesive attractions with the motion modifier.
Its Fracture tools allow it to pre-fracture objects that are ready for destruction with a new Modeler tool that is designed to complement Bullet Dynamics in Layout, animate explosions with or without using dynamics, and to control the density of fractures by applying weight maps to objects.
It can deliver physics-based animation using the Bullet Dynamics engine in Layout and the new Fracture tool in Modeler, so that it can collapse buildings, create explosions, or quickly place objects in a natural-looking random pattern.
It also gains support for new controller types, including the Sony PlayStation Move, allowing users to easily control and record the results with a LightWave channel. It can also import and export model and texture data to Pixologic ZBrush software with GoZ technology. It supports Autodesk Geometry Cache and FBX, including pixel-perfect camera matching with Autodesk Maya cameras.
Other new features include powerful new render buffer capabilities, robust Python scripting functionality, FiberFX enhancements, and user interface improvements. It will ship soon for £949, with upgrades from earlier versions at £439. A pre-release version is available to LightWave 10 users.
“My career in television began by building physical models for the BBC's Doctor Who. Thanks to LightWave's power and ease of use, I was able to quickly transition to the world of 3D for Babylon5,” said Ron Thornton, Creative Director, Red Earth VFX Studios (pictured).
“LightWave is the one tool that allows artists to be artists instead of technicians. The advances in LightWave 11 are impressive and artists around the world have reason to celebrate.”