NewTek has released Lightwave 3D version 8. The company claims that the latest version of its 3D modelling, animation and rendering tool offers significant enhancements including a wide range of new character animation tools and dynamics.

LightWave's character animation system is enhanced with faster inverse and forward kinematics. Improved import and export functions for character rigs make it easier to apply rigs to new meshes, according to NewTek. The company also claims that the product has been enhanced with the ability to cut, paste and adjust hierarchies with speed and ease.

The company also claims that rigging in LightWave 8 is now much faster, with the setup and control of character animation being more flexible and intuitive.

Rigid body dynamics have been added to the LightWave toolset. Cloth and soft body dynamics tools have also been enhanced for greater speed and easier setup and control, NewTek claims. New ‘sewing’ features allow the user to tear or separate sections of cloth in response to dynamic events.

Dynamics can also now be applied not only to meshes but to character skeletons, useful for modelling collisions between characters and objects.

The LightWave 8 update features enhanced modelling tools, including a variety of edge tools and filleting and chamfering functions via the new Rounder tool. A variety of other means are provided for creating new geometry in the modelling of organic, architectural and mechanical forms.

NewTek adds that workflow has been enhanced with a powerful new scene editor with spreadsheet and dopesheet, a dopetrack view, a node-based expression editor, and enhanced OpenGL displays for the viewports in both Layout and Modeller.

Lightwave 3D 8 is available in the US now for $1595 (around £880); an upgrade pack is available from previous versions for $495 (£275). UK pricing and availability is not yet available.