LightWave 3D has been used in the television industry for a long time and it is one of the big players on the 3D animation software market. Especially designed for professional artists, it comes bundled with advanced modeling and rendering tools.
Just like other professional-level animation suites, its complexity makes the learning curve a bit steep for beginners, but that is a minor drawback compared to its complete set of features.
Providing Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR) functionality, LightWave 3D allows you to get an idea of the final look of your projects as you work. The advanced editing tools enable you to modify scenes, surfaces, images and graphs to create realistic customized graphics, models and amazing animations.
Among the advantages of the program is its capacity to seamlessly integrate with similar software, allowing you to import and export objects from and to other modeling applications.
The software can design tri-dimensional objects, add gravity and wind effects, simulate lighting effects (refraction, reflection, etc.) and configure motion paths. Populate scenes with incredible details using multiple instances of a certain item and create realistic natural motion effects with the Flock controller.
Especially designed for game developers, the integrated Bullet dynamics engine can help you build complex animations, featuring 3D collision detection and real dynamics. Together with the Fracture tool, it enables you to fine tune breaking objects, such as explosion pieces.
The application comes with a wide range of rendering options (wireframe, texture, shade, stretch and more) and a powerful particle engine that makes it easy to create detailed and photo-realistic animations. In addition, you can set the program to run rendering tasks across networked PCs, thus saving time.
Togerther with Lscript, the application also supports Python, C, C++ or C# programming languages, which makes it a versatile development tool.
LightWave 3D is an all-in-one must-have tool for every 3D modeler out there. Its professional modeling features and the virtual camera, together with the powerful rendering engine makes it a complete solution for creating 3D scenes. All the tools are there, the only limit is your imagination.
LightWave is the backbone of efficient 3D pipelines. Groundbreaking. Innovative. Proprietary. Whether you work alone or play well with others, LightWave is integrative and immersive.
LightWave gives 3D artists advancements that deliver robust stereoscopic camera rig and VPR functionality. With LightWave, you can easily create your own customized graphics and amazing animations. LightWave is super fast and ultra flexible.
Here are some key features of “LightWave 3D”:
· Instancing lets you create mass duplication of objects in a scene, with very little overhead. Previously, you would simply run out of memory. Now, with the ability to have huge ‘virtual’ polygon counts, artists can populate their scenes with incredible detail, and yet retain reasonable render times.
· While instances can be thought of as clones of the original source objects, they don’t need to look identical. They can be randomly scaled, positioned, rotated and even surfaced completely different from the source. This means you can use instancing for any number of uses.
· Use the Flock controller, which calculates crowd avoidance of neighbors, target alignment, and cohesive attractions, to create realistic natural motions, with ease.These are the three elements of any flocking system.
· This new Modeler tool was designed specifically to compliment Bullet dynamics in LightWave Layout. It allows the artist to pre-fracture objects ready for destruction.
· There are a number of different methods and associated settings to fine tune the look of the pieces as they are broken up. You also have the ability to create an Endomorph of the resulting fracture, which means you can animate the explosion, with or without using dynamics.
· Weight maps can also be applied to the source object to control the density of where the fracturing takes place, making Fracture a flexible tool for creating breaking objects in LightWave.
· Bullet is a fast, production proven, open source physics engine that is used in many high profile, effects-driven films and real-time game engines. Bullet features 3D rigid body dynamics originally created by Erwin Coumans.
· LightWave features the Bullet dynamics engine directly in Layout so that it can be used with the new Fracture tool in Modeler to create compelling physics-based animation. Things like collapsing buildings, explosions, and even natural placement of items in a random pattern, would otherwise be difficult to do by hand.
Virtual Studio Tools:
· The Virtual Studio Tools first made an appearance in LightWave 10, as a way of using third party controllers to animate items in your scene.
· The GoZ implementation in LightWave Layout and Modeler is robust and fully featured. It allows you to exchange model data, along with all the associated texture maps. The Modeler implementation even lets you use ZBrush for sculpting Endomorphs for things like facial morphs.
Render Buffer Enhancements:
· Saving and viewing the various buffers produced by the render engine to make up an image, is now more powerful and much easier in LightWave.
· Python is an industry standard programming language prevalent in most CG pipelines. The inclusion of Python in LightWave allows even further integration of LightWave into studio pipelines, as those familiar with Python can quickly begin writing tools for LightWave.
· FiberFX now has a new volume rendering mode. “Stroke” is the original shading method for volumetric rendering. When set to “Solid,” the user can apply shading and material like any normal surface. This lets you create very complex looking fibers, easily, and perform parametric cylinder rendering of the fibers.
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· Duplicate a vast number of objects in a scene without experiencing memory overhead
· Scale, position, rotate and surface randomly cloned objects for realistic detail
· Animate realistic motion of grouped objects such as such as birds, fish, insects, animals, aircraft, spaceships and more using a new motion modifier
· Calculate crowd avoidance of neighboring objects, target alignment and cohesive attractions with the motion modifier
· Pre-fracture objects that are ready for destruction with a new Modeler tool that is designed to complement Bullet Dynamics in Layout
· Animate explosions without using dynamics and control the density of fractures by applying weight maps to objects
· Deliver physics-based animation with the Bullet Dynamics engine in Layout and the new Fracture tool in Modeler
· Collapse buildings, create explosions or quickly place objects in a natural-looking random pattern
Virtual Studio and Interchange Tools: