Modeling, Animation, and Rendering Program

In the world of 3D modeling (virtual or otherwise), NewTek's LightWave 3D continues to be the standard for professionals. The latest update (11.5) takes this software to new heights, with features that are over-and-above many designers' wish lists.

The rendering quality is outstanding and now offers greater control over all aspects of your perceivable subject, as well as the virtual environment. Remember that this is an update (not version 12), but its feature-rich set of improvements offers many new features since the release of version 11. The first thing that stands out is the ability to make fine adjustments to surfaces, both hard and soft. In addition, NewTek no longer requires dongles to access many of its features, and offers new options for an easier workflow. And, as one might expect, the performance of everything in LightWave 3D 11.5, including Bullet and the addition of Genoma rigging, offers substantial improvement.

From gaming to full production movies, LightWave 3D not only moves light years ahead of anything in this category, but it makes the process of creating 3D imaging and animation more fluid, functional, and fun. The price for LightWave 3D 11.5 in the sub-$1,500 range ($695 upgrade for current users) is well worth it.

NewTek's LightWave Group brings version 11.5 up to and beyond current standards, with stunningly realistic output, new levels of visual intensity, and more capabilities. From the After Effects Interchange functions to the excellent new modeling tools, and all the tools that its loyal customers already love, LightWave 11.5 is, indeed, an entirely new virtual world.

Company: NewTek Inc.
Price: $1,495 (Upgrade: $695)
Rating: 5
Hot: Dongle-free; better performance; improved fine-tuning