Newtek has released a beta of Lightwave 6.5 for Mac OS X, which registered users of the OS 9 version of the 3D app can download from the company’s Web site. The beta runs on the public beta of OS X, which Apple released earlier this year, and includes the full functionality of the OS 9 version. Lightwave 6.5 will be the first professional 3D app to hit the platform, according to Newtek, although the full version will not be released until the full version of OS X ships, which is expected to be in late February or early March. Alias|Wavefront’s Maya will also be released on the platform at this time. OS X has drawn much interest from the 3D community with its combination of Linux’s speed with the intuitive Mac interface. The news follows the recent release of the 6.5 update for Lightwave 6. This free update adds a whole host of additions and enhancements. One of the main improvements in 6.5, claims Newtek, is a huge boost in rendering speed. This has been achieved through optimization of the rendering code and a new vector-based motion-blur system. This replaces 6.0;s built-in, multi-pass motion blur and removes distortions such as strobing artefacts. Newtek claims that this can reduce render times by up to 1,000 per cent. A sprite modes has been added to application’s hypervoxesl – allowing fast sketches of textures to be created by mimicking the hypervoxels in 2D. Bounding areas can also appear in realtime in OpenGl – speeding things up a bit even if you don’t want to use sprites. The update also includes a texture engine to create texture maps and many other minor updates and bug fixes.