Pixels Digital has released version 5.5 of its Pixels:3D modelling and rendering application for the Mac.

The upgrade adds new lighting effects including ambient light, volumetric scattering, and indirect diffuse light (also known as gather) -- plus a Sky node for realistic background skies. HDR (high dynamic range) renders can be output in OpenEXR format.

New NURBS curves have been added, as has ambient occlusion with bent normals and support for Filipe Barroso's Shellia and the PixelScript Shell.

The new release is more stable, according to Pixels Digital, and the interface has been tweaked to fit more with Mac OS X - including Quartz fonts and system dialogs). Improvements include faster OBJ and 3DS support, adjustable samples for soft raytraced shadows, better pixel filtering, and faster rendering using raytracing and depth-of-field.