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LightWave 7.0b

Latest release from NewTek worth the upgrade By Stephen Schleicher
Lightwave 7 LogoNewTeks latest release of LightWave 3D has been out for just over two months, and in that time it has already undergone an update, the Mac version has outsold the PC version, and hundreds of users have been able to generate fantastic images with the new features and improvements. I had some time recently to sit down and work with the latest incarnation and was very pleased with the results.

LightWave Interface
The interface for LightWave has changed a bit compared to L6.5. Click for larger image.
The new and improved
Each new release of LightWave offers something of value to users. This release is no exception as there has been many improvements program wide. Small additions like having a Squash and Stretch tool as part of the animating interface, or improved weight and UV mapping in Modeler make the animators job so much easier. The interface has changed a little bit as well, but these changes were made to accommodate many of the new tools and changes in workflow. Overall, the interface is still as easy to use and navigate as before, but you might have to spend a few moments figuring out where some of your tools have been moved too. Still, this is one of the easier interfaces to work with and can easily be modified to suit your individual needs. For example, there are Beginner, Intermediate, and Expert modes for warnings and system messages, as well as the ability to create favorite sets for cameras.

Saving OptionOn the Modeler side, a much-needed improvement was to add a Save Layer option. This gives many of us who like to create several objects/parts using layers to save the out as a single object instead of separately layered objects. Similar to the way saving worked in LightWave 5.6, a much-appreciated addition.

In addition to interface redesigns, the program itself has become faster. LightWave 7.0b has been optimized to allow best performance from Intel Pentium 4 and Apple G4 processors. This means working with high poly objects in Modeler is easier, and OpenGL performance has increased in both Layout and Modeler to make working in shaded previews much faster. Even once processor intensive renders involving Radiosity and Caustics have improved.

Every program should go through interface and speed improvements in every release, but the "coolest" new features of LightWave have to be Motion Mixer and Sasquatch Lite.

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Related Keywords:NewTek, LightWave 7.0, upgrade, 3d, animation, graphics, shockwave, render, cgi, graphics, digital animators, animators, animation, modeling, render, sasquatch, motion mixer, stephen schleicher

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