LOS ANGELES — The LightWave 3D Group (www.lightwve3d.com), a division of NewTek, introduced Version 11.5 of its LightWave 3D modeling, animation and rendering software at the SIGGRAPH show. A complete 3D pipeline, LightWave 11.5 includes many new features to streamline productivity, including a new Genoma character animation and rigging system for Modeler, predator and prey flocking, instancing, soft-body bullet dynamics, interchange support for Adobe After Effects and Pixologic’s GoZ Fiber Mesh, and major workflow enhancements.
“LightWave 11.5 elevates artistic freedom with innovative new features and workflow enhancements that are designed to streamline productivity,” notes Rob Powers, president of LightWave 3D Group. “From fast interactive stereoscopic rendering in the VPR to physically accurate hard-body and soft-body Bullet Dynamics, LightWave 11.5 continues to reinforce its leadership position as an end-to-end pipeline.”
Genoma is a new modular instant-rigging system that can be used to quickly rig a simple biped or quadruped for animation in Modeler without the need for specialized rigging tools. It offers modular rig presets that consist of skeletal parts such as spines, wings, arms, legs, hands and feet.
New functionality and architectural advancements in Modeler allow for faster interactivity, performance, and tool development. LightWave 11.5 introduces many new tools, like UV Unwrap, Edit Edges, Place Mesh, Slice, Thicken and Heat Shrink that emphasize the system’s power and lay the groundwork for future third-party modeling tool development.
Bullet now includes soft-body dynamics for effects such as cloth, rubber, jelly or other deforming properties. Bullet meshes are also now reactive to bone deformations and wind forces can also be added for rippling effects.
A specialized particle system that allows items to move in very organic ways, Flocking offers new prey and predator behaviors that allow flocks to chase other flocks or have flocking agents seek out and chase the closest prey.
A new GoAE button allows users to select elements in a scene and see them in Adobe After Effects. Changes can be made using Camera Tracker in After Effects before returning to Lightwave. GoZ technology for Pixologic’s ZBrush allows users to send models to and from LightWave with automatic node flows for textures and normal maps. ZBrush styling tools can also be imported to LightWave and attached to objects.
The new release includes per-object control of scale, stretch, offset, rotate and nodal controls, along with new copy and paste functions and path mode optimizations for greater flexibility and workflow.
And the ViewPort Preview Renderer provides fast interactive onscreen rendering.
Those who purchase or upgrade to LightWave 11 for $1,495 will automatically receive LightWave 11.5 at no extra cost when it becomes publicly available. Upgrade pricing from earlier versions of LightWave is $695. LightWave 11.5 is expected to ship Q4 2012 at a suggested retail price of $1495. Educational pricing is also available.