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LightWave 2015 Released—New Pricing and Many New Features

The LightWave Group advances its namesake primary software package in new LightWave 2015, adding new features across the board.

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We are catching up on news that came in the 2nd half of November folks and one key item is the latest release of LightWave, now named LightWave 2015, by The LightWave 3D Group, a division of NewTek, Inc.

LightWave 2015: What’s Hot

The new LightWave 2015 succeeds the previous LightWave 11.6 version which Architosh last wrote about back in March of this year.

Importantly with the introduction of LightWave 2015, the product now has a new pricing structure. A new version of LightWave 11.6 was previously 1,495.USD while LightWave 2015 is now 995.USD, a substantial savings in price for one of the most professional 3D software packages utilized in broadcast TV, film and numerous 3D industries. Upgrades from 11.6 or previous versions are 495.USD. And the company also does educational licensing as well which users are free to inquire about.

01 - demonstrating some of the new features of LightWave 2015, all new version for the LightWave 3D Group. The product is now under a grand for a new license. (images courtesy of LightWave 3D Group)

01 – demonstrating some of the new features of LightWave 2015, all new version for the LightWave 3D Group. The product is now under a grand for a new license. (images courtesy of LightWave 3D Group. All rights reserved.)

LightWave 2015 is released for Windows and Mac operating systems and includes both workflow enhancements and many new key features. A summary of those are below:

  • Bullest Constraints—take control of new dynamic simulations with new constraint types, such as point-to-point, hinge, slider, cone twist, etc.
  • Importance Sampling—improves rendering scenes lit with GI and HDR images
  • New Match Perspective Tool—new tool can quickly sync the LightWave camera to an original photo
  • GENOMA 2 Character Rigging System—module rigging system, a complete rigging development kit can be utilized for complex rigs from scratch, very useful for character animations
  • New Edge Rendering—shows edges where geometry intersects, useful for making visible subDs and showcasing meshes within the context of a full render. Edges can also be rendered into their own buffer, allowing for post-process manipulation in compositing software (see image 02)
  • 64-bit QuickTime Support—Loading and saving QuickTime movies is now possible for those using 64-bit versions of LightWave for Windows
  • Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR) updated to include Dynamic Parenting, Textured Falloffs in models, etc

There are many other improvements but these are the key ones for this latest version. FBX 2015 file format is also supported, as is Unity 5, Fiber FX, et cetera.

02 - New edge rendering in LightWave 2015 is a cool new feature to help bring to life complex meshes and SubD surfaces with interesting results. You can also render them out to their own channel.

02 – New edge rendering in LightWave 2015 is a cool new feature to help bring to life complex meshes and SubD surfaces with interesting results. You can also render them out to their own buffer. (images courtesy of LightWave 3D Group. All rights reserved.

The new pricing is much more aggressive and puts this full-featured complete 3D professional software suite under the price ceiling of its key rivals in Autodesk Maya, CINEMA 4D, Autodesk 3ds Max, and others.

Interested readers can download a no-cost 30-day full feature trial of LightWave 2015 at: https://www.lightwave3d.com/try/

Architosh Analysis

This is a substantial drop in price for a very high-caliber 3D software suite that does it all. In addition to it having a very nice renderer optionality where users can obtain very fine results, the program is a tried-and-true winner in the broadcast TV and film markets. While perhaps Maya and others have stole the limelight with big-screen visualization and special effects, this tool still has its legions of fans. Adding Unity 5, FBX and FiberFX adds utility and flexibility with pipeline integrations.

In fact, Akiko Ashley, associate editor at Architosh and a VFX industry veteran stated that “the new enhancements and improvements make LightWave the Swiss Army knife of production” and further noted that it contains all the tools in one “package with better character animation tools for rigging, interactive parenting and Genoma 2 for both games and feature animation…”

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