NewTek Inc., makers of 3D animation and video products, has announced the release of LightWave 6.5b. Primarily a maintenance upgrade to improve speed and stability, this version also includes some new features.
Changes in this release include:
Speed and Stability increases program-wide
New Alert Levels for Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced Mode for error message displays
Open GL textures can now be displayed at a resolution of 1024 x 1024
Modeler’s bank of layer buttons in the main window can now be set to reference different sets of layers, making layer management much easier.
The new “Noise Reduction” tool in Layout greatly improves the render quality of zero-tolerance radiosity and area/linear light shadows. This allows for much higher quality radiosity output at lower radiosity settings, resulting in greatly reduced render times.
“Volumetric Antialiasing” in the effects panel allows the user to disable the antialiasing of volumetrics. This allows for much lower render times when utilizing volumetrics.
There is now an “Unparent” button, which allows the user to quickly and easily unparent an item.
There is now a global intensity control for radiosity. The default, 100%, is the physically accurate setting, but there are now no limits. By using this setting, the user can amplify the effects of bounced light rays.
There are many workflow optimizations in the Graph Editor, allowing for better navigation and content management.
The Volumetrics tools have many improvements, including a new “Cast Shadows” option in the volumetric lights panel, which will cast shadows caused by the light opacity.
New HyperVoxels effects are included for Velocity Translate, Dissipate, Dissolve, and Dissolve and Expand
New bones settings allow for much more intuitive and accurate control when working with bones.
The LScript system is more robust, easier to use, and is now directly integrated into the core LightWave system.
There are new Custom Objects in LightWave including CameraMask, FrameRate, RangeFinder and Speedometer.
There are also two new plug-ins available in LightWave 6.5b:
Decimate — a polygon reduction modeling plug-in
Vertex Paint — a vertex painting tool
is available for Macs running Mac OS 9.x; a separate download is available for Mac OS X users. You must have LightWave 6.5 installed to order to use this update.