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Worley Plugins Come to Mac LightWave
Taft, Polk, Gaffer and Sasquatch get discount through Feb. 9

by Stephen Schleicher
[email protected]

Worley Laboratories has released the long-anticipated Mac versions of their popular plugins for NewTek’s LightWave 3D. These plugins, previously available only for Windows, include Gaffer, Polk, Taft, and the most recent hair plugin Sasquatch. These plugins are identical to the Windows versions.

Worley Laboratories has been known for not releasing plugins before they are fully working as intended, and the Mac versions are no exception. It was previously announced that the Sasquatch plugin would be made available last fall, but fixes to ensure that it would work with the recently released 6.5 have held off the release date. According to Steve Worley, "We've spent a lot of time making everything fully integrated with LightWave 6.5 [and still keeping LW 5.6 compatibility]. We're extremely happy with the result."

Advanced shading, compositing, lighting tools
The first release from Worley Laboratories came in the form of Gaffer, a shader that performs jobs similar to those performed by a production Gaffer. This plugin enhances the specular and diffuse channels already available in LightWave and gives per channel boosting and exclusion controls, as well as area lights, blooming and new tools for compositing shadows on backgrounds.

Gaffer Features include:

  • Selective Lighting: Exclusion of lights on any surface, negative lights, and new falloff options.
  • Specularity Control: Multiple specular reflections, with independent intensity and color control.
  • Anisotropic Specularity: Non-uniform specularity from brushed metals, hair, and threads.
  • Advanced Diffuse Shading: Diffuse transmission, and a new model for rough surfaces like rock.
  • Advanced Shadowing Options: Photorealistic area light shadows.
  • Shadow Compositing Modes: Integration of shadows into background plates.
  • Specular Bloom: Automatic glows around the very brightest reflections.
  • Advanced Interface: Full GUI, shading preview and enveloped numeric controls.

Which Presidents?
The second and third releases where somewhat confusing when first announced, until it was explained that they were named after obscure Presidents of the United States.

The James K. Polk collection is actually a set of 23 plugins and gives improved control when animating objects within scenes. These include:

  • Acid: A shader allowing you to change a surface's texture and bump mapping based on effectors.
  • Poke: An effector displacement plugin with history
  • Blink: Automates irregular but periodic motion
  • Parent: Allows dynamic parenting of objects and bones over time
  • Link: Allows control of complex cycled motion
  • Lens: Corrects or adds lens distortions to LW imagery
  • Wheelie: Automatically rotates wheels
  • Speedlimit: Forces objects to stay within defined speeds
  • Track: Allows any object to align any axis to point at any other item
  • Limiter: Restricts object movement to prevent out of bounds motions
  • Dangle: Automatically animates dangling chains, ropes, and cables
  • Flexor: Allows smooth, dynamic bending of objects
  • Diffuse: Gas-like diffusion of particles over time
  • HSVBoost: Surface shader allowing hue, saturation and value manipulation
  • Enviro: Makes QTVR maps, also spherical, cubical, and orthogonal views of your scene
  • VFog: Ultra-fast ground fog
  • DropShadow: Simple 2D blurred shadows
  • Confusion: Renders depth of field circle of confusion maps
  • Whip: A simple physics simulator for adding dynamic hinges and joints
  • EdgeRGB: The EdgeRGB tool adds a rim of color around the outside edge of objects.
  • ObjBlur: ObjBlur overrides LightWave's normal motion blur on an object by object basis. It can make "Extended Blurs," which can range forward and/or backward in time by any number of frames
  • Polypop: Polypop makes an object to fade into a scene one polygon at a time.
  • Diffuser: Diffuser adds random offsets to an object's position and/or rotation channels
  • Unveil: Creates a "sphere of transparency" around the camera. This allows the camera to fly through objects without "popping" through surfaces
  • SuperQ: SuperQ is a displacement plugin for transforming spheres into rounded-edge cubes, rounded cylinders and diamonds
  • Rayleigh: Rayleigh is a simple fog tool that allows each of the RGB channels to have a separate fog falloff distance. This allows bluing of distant objects and is useful for atmospheres and underwater
  • PathAlign: The PathAlign tool is a more powerful version of LightWave's Align to Path. It allows you to have any axis aligned, not just +Z.
  • BladeBlur: BladeBlur is a surface shader for faking blurred propeller blades
  • VelAccel: VelAccel allows you to keyframe object velocities and accelerations instead of positions

Named after William H. Taft, this collection of six plugins includes the ability to render unlimited over Screamernet, and includes:

  • Camera Match: This is designed to help animators match the LightWave camera to a photographer’s still image (background plate) and helps fix compositing errors.
  • Sticky Front Projection: Uses still photographs to create photorealistic surfaces.
  • Whirly Points: Allows you to move with soft dynamics (an alternative to LightWave’s Motion Designer), creating smooth flowing cloth and other soft deformations of objects. Subpatch and bone-based dynamics to have also been added to accommodate the latest version of LightWave 6.5.
  • Tracer: Designed to create automatic weapons fire without added geometry or particles and without keyframing.
  • Heatwave: Used to create shimmering waves of heat off hot surfaces.
  • Hoser: Create realistic flexible hosing without the long boning and IK process.

Not Bigfoot, Sasquatch
Under development for four years, Sasquatch is a hair and fur effect plugin that adds realistic fibers to any object. Sasquatch also works with the new subdivision patches and multilayer objects, as well as support for multi-cameras and bone motion.

Sasquatch allows interaction between objects. When hair doesn’t move, it gives away a fake animation easily. With wind control, collision detection and more, Sasquatch uses no noticeable computing overhead to create realistic locks for the bald 3D object.

Not only can you use Sasquatch to create realistic hair, it can also be used to create flowing blades of grass, pine trees, and last year’s milk. Rendering times have been reduced as the plugin has gone through upgrades. (Mac users have the most current release.)

As an introductory offering, Worley Labs has lowered prices on these plugins for Mac users. The discount price is in effect for those who order by Feb. 9. Prices are as follows:

Plugin Intro Price Regular Price
Sasquatch $389 $499
Gaffer $149 $199
Taft Collection $149 $199
Polk Collection $149 $199

Mac users can purchase all four tools before the end date for $777. For more information, visit http://www.worley.com.


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