Major LightWave Upgrade Announced at SIGGRAPH

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The LightWave 3D Group announced today LightWave 11.5, the most-recent version of its Emmy-winning 3D modeling, animation and rendering software.

A complete 3D pipeline, LightWave 11.5 adds 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, major workflow enhancements and more.

“LightWave 11.5 elevates artistic freedom with innovative new features and workflow enhancements that are designed to streamline productivity,” said Rob Powers, president, 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.”

LightWave 11.5’s new features and enhancements include:

  • Genoma: 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. Complete rigs for biped and quadrupeds can easily be customized using Genoma.
  • Modeling Tools: 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.
  • Soft-Body Bullet Dynamics: 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.
  • Flocking: 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. Neutral flocks do not chase or chase but still affect other agents for collision avoidance. Other new features include Plane, Pursuit and Arrive directors and the addition of node controls.
  • Interchange Tools: A new GoAE button allows you to select elements in a scene and see them in Adobe After Effects—including animation, lights and camera setting. Changes can be made using Camera Tracker in After Effects before returning to Lightwave. GoZ technology for Pixologic’s ZBrush allows you 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.
  • Instancing: Now 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.
  • ViewPort Preview Renderer: VPR transforms how artists work in LightWave with fast interactive onscreen rendering. LightWave 11.5 now supports depth-of-field and motion blur effects and stereoscopic rendering in VPR.
  • Pricing and Availability: Purchase or upgrade to LightWave 11 for $1,495 and automatically receive LightWave 11.5 at no extra cost when 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 $1,495. Educational pricing is also available. Visit www.lightwave3d.com to purchase or locate an authorized LightWave reseller.