NewTek has shown off the latest update to its 3D application LightWave. Billed as one of the most significant updates in its history, it adds a swath of new features that rival high-end tools such as Maya and Softimage. Key new features revealed at Siggraph in Los Angeles include a non-linear animation system similar to that on Softimage, hair and fur rendering, a massively revamped particle system,and Dope sheet. The update sports hundreds of new features, and sees NewTek aggressively target high-end users with the popular 3D application.
New to version 7.0 is a Motion Mixer - a non-linear animation system for blending any curve track inside of LightWave. The company says the addition makes it ideal for blending motions, endomorphs or any animatable parameter in LightWave. Other Motion Mixer features include animation baking, the ability to load and save hierarchical motion, and users can quickly blend multiple motion tracks together with a user-definable curve.
The Dope sheet allows mass scene changes to be quickly made, which NewTek says is a boon for complex scene management, as well as providing a track view timeline for dope-sheet style timing adjustments. Edit sections include Bone, light, and object properties, the ability to customize workspace for the selection of editable values, and multiple list sorting options.
Also added is a graph editor with completely new channel editing system. An openGL interface allows for the editing of hundreds of curves and thousands of keyframes in real-time, says NewTek.
Excitingly for users, a revamp of the particle effects and dynamics system debuts. Included are simple fluid dynamics and crowd simulation, with new interparticle collision calculations. Particle spawning from parent emitter now allows for a single particle to become a complex emitter. Also new are wind types including direction, explosion, turbulence, sticky, and drag. Swarming and flocking options are also included.
Rendering tools have undergone an equal update. Hair and fur rendering using a light version of Sasquatch is included, as is SkyTracer 2.0 for creating accurate solar positioning. A new depth-of-field filter from Digital Confusion can be applied to scenes, as can a BESM (Big Eyes Small Mouth) shader for cartoon-style rendering. Other features include Caustics and radiosity with a new backdrop-only method for fast global illumination renders.
Modelling tools have been updated, with new rail modelling tools allowing for interactive scale, rotate, and stretch. New productivity modelling tools include Aligner, Sizer, and Dangle.
Tons of other features will ship with the final version, including Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert modes, recently-opened file commands, and an improved SDK.
Full details in the next issue of Digit.