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NewTek ships LightWave 3D v9.0

updated 01:20 pm EDT, Thu July 13, 2006

LightWave 3D 9.0 ships

NewTek today began shipping LightWave 3D 9.0, the next generation of its professional 3D software. The update is the first in a series of major rewrites and restructuring of LightWave 3D's core, with the addition of comprehensive new features such as a node-based materials editor, optically correct cameras, adaptive pixel subdivision, Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces, sub-surface scattering, and render speed improvements. LightWave 3D 9 features a node-based materials system that adds new shading models to LightWave, such as Oren-Nayar, anisotropic, and sub-surface scattering; improved rendering speed; and enhances subdivision surfaces in Modeler as well as Layout, including Adaptive Pixel Subdivision, which offers users a variety of capabilities for film-quality displacement mapping, normal mapping (including ZBrush support), and level-of-detail control at render time. LightWave 3D 9.0 is priced at $800, and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

OpenGL improvements

LightWave 9.0 enhances Layout workflow via improved OpenGL performance as well as additional OpenGL hardware shader support, in many scenes providing an accurate preview of the look of the final image or animation in real time, without the need to create test renders.

Graphical User Interface

The latest iteration of LightWave enhances the GUI to allow more user configuration than previous versions, and users can adapt the look to fit their needs to provide the best workflow for the ways they use LightWave.


  • Implementation of BSP/KD Tree Algorithm to achieve improved speeds as scene complexity rises.
  • Complete replacement of the original ray tracing core.
  • Improved multi-threading with dynamic segmentation to ensure maximum use of available CPUs.
  • Typical speed improvements at 2.5x over LightWave version 8.5.

Adaptive pixel subdivision:

  • Adaptive subdivision of a mesh based on distance from camera and visibility.
  • Choice of Adaptive Sub-division methods - per object, per polygon and per pixel.
  • Highly optimized mesh, tied to render resolution when using per pixel.
  • Visibly similar to micro-poly displacement.


  • Added Catmull-Clark Subdivision Surfaces.
  • Subdivision level is controllable via numerical values, envelopes, expressions, motion modifiers, textures, procedurals, gradients, and more.
  • Edge selection.
  • Edge weights.
  • N-gons (polygons greater than four sides) for subdivision surface modeling.

Node Editor:

  • New shading models.
  • Support for normal maps from ZBrush 2.
  • Import/export capability for Branches.
  • Math animation nodes.
  • Animated gradient node.
  • Layers in nodes, nodes in layers, layers only, and nodes only.
  • Full support of native controls and envelopes.
  • Available in Layout and Modeler, and maintains context when switching between the two.
  • Full SDK Support for third parties to create nodes (including shading models) and for third party renderers to interface with and query nodal shaders.

Advanced Camera Tools:

  • New rendering technology renders scenes using arbitrary camera lenses and warps.
  • Camera plane deformations.
  • Arbitrary projections.
  • UV map generation.
  • True orthographic rendering.
  • Space warp simulations.
  • Lens distortion duplicating physically accurate real world lenses or non-existent "imaginary" lenses.
  • 360 degree panorama rendering (one camera).

Additional features:

  • Timewarp - Time Re-mapping and Warping shader.
  • CCTV Shader.
  • HV Deformer: HyperVoxel Particle Displacement shader.
  • Stress map.
  • Sketch Image filter.
  • Pixie Dust Volumetric shader.
  • Relativity 2.
  • Quaternion Rotations.
  • Mesh editing in layout.
  • Native 64-bit support.
  • Multiplatform-compatible.
  • Dual and multi-core support.

by MacNN Staff



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