LightWave 2015 has just been launched at a lower price - check out the new features

The latest version of Newtek's animation and VFX tool has been launched at a significantly reduced price. We take a look at some of the key new features in LightWave 2015

LightWave 2015 3D has been released by NewTek, with new workflow enhancements and pipeline features.

Available for for Windows and Mac OS X, it's pegged at a lower price of £636 ($995, previously £940/$1495) for a full license and costs £318 ($495, previously £470/$695) to upgrade from LightWave 11.x or earlier. Euro pricing is €798 and €398 respectively and UK prices are ex. VAT

LightWave 2015 introduces new features aimed for character animation, visualisation, dynamic simulations, and more. It also extends the functionality of popular features like the Genoma character rigging system, Bullet Dynamics (pictured), dynamic parenting, rendering enhancements, and more.

One of the highlights of the new version is the ability to take control of dynamic simulations with new constraint types such as Point-to-Point, Hinge, Slider, Cone Twist, Spring and six degrees of freedom (DOF) constraint types.

Whether it's a car rolling over a terrain with fully working suspension, or a rag doll falling down the stairs, NewTek said the constraints will help to make the movement believable.

Importance Sampling greatly improves the quality of scenes lit by GI and HDR images or background lighting.

Importance sampling intelligently concentrates rays into important areas and eliminates the noise and splotches that arise from highly differing light intensities for cleaner, more predictable renders.

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The Genoma 2 Character Rigging System is a rapid modular rigging system, which at the base level is a complete rigging development kit (RDK), whichh can be used to quickly rig characters for animation without the need to set up complex rigs from scratch.

NewTek said Genoma 2 can create expert rigs and generate custom presets that perfectly fit into any character animation pipeline.

It supports the use of Maths Expressions and Scripts and includes new and improved human, feline, and arthropod preset rigs.

Whether matching plates or simply placing objects in photographs, matching the camera position and rotation can be a time consuming process.

The new Match Perspective tool can quickly sync the LightWave camera to an original photo or plate. 

LightWave 2015 includes new enhancements to the Viewport Preview Renderer (VPR) and introduces many new features and improvements such as Interactive Dynamic Parenting, Fiber FX, GoZ Multi-tool and Unity 5 support, and Textured Falloffs in Modeler (pictured).

It also supports the latest interchange formats such as Alembic 1.5 and FBX 2015.

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Intersection Edges can now be drawn where geometry intersects on the same object and/or separate objects, allowing for more creative control over cel rendering.

You can use Patch Border Rendering to make Sub-Division patch borders visible in the renderer with the click of a button.

NewTek said it would be perfect for modelers who want to showcase their mesh topology combined with the full render. Edge Buffer can be used to render all edges into their own buffer, allowing for post-process manipulation in compositing software.