May 10
LightWave [6] in Short Supply
Resellers say they hope to have it in stock by next week

by David Nagel
Senior Producer

NewTek says it started shipping LightWave [6] for Macintosh yesterday, but resellers say it's not in stock yet. Calls to a couple of resellers yielded answers ranging from "NewTek ran out of manuals" to "It'll be in any day now." Some said they expected the product to be in stock by early next week, while others didn't wish to guess about actual ship dates.

"The bottom line is that right now it's a special order," said one reseller. "If you want to get 6 now, you need to place your order and get in the queue."

This latest version of LightWave, according to NewTek, marks the most significant advances in the product's history. The company says it supports OpenGL and QuickTime and that a Mac OS X version will be available when OS X ships.

In a prepared statement, Brad Peebler, a vice president at NewTek, said: "LightWave [6] ... contains many features never before seen on a Macintosh system. With the new G4 processors, the Apple/LightWave [6] combination represents the fastest rendering solution to provide caustics, radiosity, ray tracing and volumetrics in one system. Combined with the new animation and modeling tools geared for high-end character animation work, LightWave [6] will be head-and-shoulders above any animation system currently available for the Macintosh. LightWave [6] also represents the first animation system to be redesigned from the ground up to take advantage of Apple's operating system advances."

LightWave [6] boasts real-time subdivision surfaces as a modeling and animation tool, radiosity, caustics, high dynamic range image support, 96-bit floating-point rendering, a hybrid Inverse/Forward Kinematics engine and new character-animation technologies: IntelligEntities, Skelegons, Endomorphs and Multi-meshes.

In the area of rendering technology, LightWave [6] introduces several new features, including:

  • Radiosity and caustics rendering for the calculation of indirect light as it bounces from diffuse, reflective and refractive surfaces;
  • A 320-bit IEEE floating-point rendering pipeline; dynamic scaling from 160 bits to 320 bits;
  • High Dynamic Range Image support
  • Sub-pixel displacement rendering;
  • And advanced HyperVoxels for direct ray tracing of volumetric surfaces.

LightWave [6] for the Macintosh is selling for $2,495. Registered users of LightWave 3D 5.6 can upgrade to LightWave [6] for $495. For more information, visit http://www.newtek.com.

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