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Area 51 Creates "Category 6" VFX with LightWave 3D

3D application power storms and wreaks havok in CBS mini-series (November 11, 2004)

NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced that Area 51 FX relied on Emmy-winning LightWave 3D to create their portions of the epic storms and destruction in the new CBS mini-series, "Category 6: Day of Destruction."

In the mini-series, which is to be broadcast in two parts on Sunday, November 14 and Wednesday, November 17, three weather systems collide over Chicago to form the largest super-storm in the nation's history. Area 51 created 115 effects shots for the mini-series in an incredibly short production schedule of just a few months - a feat that Area 51's artists feel they can attribute to the productivity they can achieve using LightWave.

"We've designed LightWave 3D from the ground up to be the kind of workhorse that lets digital artists meet impossible deadlines," said Donetta Colboch, NewTek's Vice President of 3D Marketing. "And we're immensely gratified when talented artists report that LightWave does just exactly that for them. This project is just one example of how the world's most complete and efficient 3D pipeline meets the needs of digital content creators every day in broadcast and film production."

Area 51's visual effects artists found that LightWave [8]'s new hard body and enhanced soft body dynamics were immensely useful in accomplishing the visual effects of objects colliding with one another or being destroyed. They also made use of dynamics in conjunction with the particle system for tornadoes, dust clouds and atmospheric effects.

Some of the more amazing photo-real shots that were accomplished did not necessarily involve destruction. Digital artists created two fictional casinos and added them into the Las Vegas landscape, using LightWave's fast and accurate modeling and texturing together with its real-world lighting capabilities to blend them perfectly with existing structures in footage shot for the film. "The establishing shot for these casinos is an incredible example of what LightWave allows an artist to do," said Glenn Campbell, Visual Effects Supervisor for Area 51. "Several shots were rendered and composited within LightWave because we had the ability to do so, saving us precious time in delivery deadlines."

"LightWave offers the speed, capability and flexibility that allowed us to meet one of the most demanding production schedules ever for a mini-series," said Tim McHugh, Area 51 Founder. "Our artists were able to work quickly and yet flex their imaginative muscles, with a tool designed to work the way they expect. LightWave has a great modeler, a great renderer and a perfect virtual stage designed from the ground up for the filmmaker."

Pricing and Availability
LightWave 3D [8] is available now for Mac and Windows platforms for $1595US full-version and $495US upgrade. For a limited time, purchasers of LightWave 3D full seats or upgrades in North America and participating regions will receive REALVIZ's ImageModeler 4, a $1380US value, at no additional charge, on CD with electronic documentation.

For more information on the items offered, to locate a reseller, or to purchase direct from NewTek, visit: or call NewTek Sales at 1-800-843-8934, overseas callers dial +1-210-370-8000.

About NewTek, Inc.
With headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, NewTek is a leading provider of full-featured video editing, animation and special effects tools including VT[4](TM), and LightWave 3D®, winner of the 2003 Primetime Emmy® Engineering Award. NewTek launched the desktop video revolution in 1990 with the release of the legendary Video Toaster®. The company's products are used worldwide on projects ranging from home video to feature film. Recent television and film projects using NewTek software include "I, Robot", Spiderman 2, The Manchurian Candidate, Exorcist: The Beginning, Garfield, Hellboy, Van Helsing, Triplets of Belleville, The Last Samurai, Torque, Children of Dune, Battlestar: Galactica, Firefly, Taken, Smallville, Star Trek: Enterprise, Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, Matrix Reloaded, Collateral Damage, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Agent Cody Banks, Daredevil, Spy Kids II, Oscar®-nominated Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Final Fantasy, Blackhawk Down and Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director's Edition DVD. Recent game titles include Doom III, Unreal Tournament, Serious Sam for XBox, Age of Mythology, Civilization III, Dead to Rights, Baldur's Gate II, EverQuest and Escape From Monkey Island.

For more information visit


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Related Keywords:Area 51, VFX, LightWave 3D, CBS, NewTek, Category 6: Day of Destruction, Donetta Colboch, LightWave [8], modeling, texturing, Glenn Campbell, Tim McHugh, renderer, REALVIZ, ImageModeler 4,

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