LOS ANGELES - NewTek is at this year's SIGGRAPH with Versions 8.5 and 9 of its LightWave 3D application. Version 8.5 will be released within the next few weeks while V.9 is expected to begin shipping before the end of Q4.
For the first time in LightWave's history, the application has a graphics card requirement. NewTek says the system will operate well with a card as inexpensive as $60.
The V.8.5 release brings a 64-bit port to Windows XP Pro x64. The upgrade is free to all registered V.8 users. The company is including a 32-bit Windows version, as well as a 32-bit Mac version on the same disc and users are permitted to run all three applications on different workstations for the all-inclusive price of $795, down from the previous price of $1,595. Upgrade pricing has been reduced as well, from $495 down to $395.
The forthcoming Version 9 implements a major rewrite and restructuring of LightWave's core with the addition of mesh editing capabilities to Layout, consolidation and enhancement of tools in Modeler, and the extraction of the renderer from the Layout module. The release will also feature a rewrite of the raytracing routines to newer, faster algorhithms, and the implementation of adaptive mesh subdivision based on distance to camera and visibility. The Modeler toolset is being updated with true edge support.
Additional features that will appear in V.9 include the ability to show procedural textures in OpenGL, the ability to change lenses on the fly, and a 3-4x improvement in rendering.