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NewTek Introduces LightWave [6] For Mac

At San Francisco's MacWorld which ran from January 4-8, NewTek introduced

LightWave [6], the product's most significant upgrade in 10 years. The new

version of the already popular 3D tool boasts more new features than ever

introduced to the product in previous upgrades, many of which have never

been seen on the Macintosh system before. On the modeling side of things,

LightWave [6] introduces a whole new modeling paradigm, which gives users

control over the manipulation and animation of their models to a degree

never before seen in LightWave. The software offers infinite layers of

projection -- procedural, gradient and UV maps -- and these layers can feed

into each other for texture blending and manipulation. On the animation

side of things, particularly character animation, [6] has some exciting new

additions. Unique to LightWave [6] is a new kind of character animation

toolset: InelligEntities. IntelligEntities consist of Skelegons, Endomorphs

and Multi-meshes, which allow objects to carry data well beyond simple

geometry. Skelegons are a type of polygon which appears like traditional 3D

bones, however, as you make modifications to your model, the 'bone'

structure is automatically updated along with it (how useful!). Endomorphs

allow lip-synch and other complex morphs to be created with the greatest of

ease, by simply training a single model. And the final tool in the

IntelligEntities toolset is Multi-meshes, which are hierarchical objects

that can be saved as a single, complete model with all of the user-defined

relationship and pivot data included. The new version of Lightwave also

includes a new hybrid Inverse/Forward Kinematics engine, and a completely

re-written curves editor, giving users ever more precise control over their

animation. And of course, rendering: version [6] introduces a number of new

rendering technologies into LightWave, including radiosity and caustics

rendering; a 320-bit IEEE floating point rendering pipeline; sub pixel

displacement rendering (used for volumerics); and High Dynamic Range

Imagery to name a few. LightWave [6] is an exciting release for 3D

creatives on the Macintosh platform, and if the product can do even half of

the things NewTek says it can, then it will vastly increase the LightWave

user's toolset, and with that, the standard of their work and workflow.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks