More to come is the promise, as LightWave prepares for a geometry engine update.
The tools market for content creation is heating up. Unlike other industries such as design, imaging, and publishing, where the users standardize on a single tool, artists tend to like to have a varied palette for their work. The company that comes out with the most coolest new tools is going to get some attention. LightWave, which has spun out as a separate division from parent company NewTek, was looking for a little of that attention at Siggraph this year. The company announced ChronoSculpt, Nevron Motion, and support for 3D printing.
LightWave chief Rob Powers describes ChronoSculpt as sculpting over time. It was developed as LightWave revamps its geometry engine for a future update. ChronoSculpt takes advantage of LightWave’s new Hydra technology, which enables the deformation and manipulation of 8 to 10 million polygons with ease, says LightWave. Using content taken from standard vertex cache files from Alembic, LightWave MDD, or Autodesk Geometry Cache, ChronoSculpt lets users work with files to paint out errors, change animations, or change the look of a character with layered sculpting “clips.”
ChronoSculpt adds a video timeline that looks like what you’d see in a video timeline. The tracks can be layered and frames can be exported back out to a LightWave endomorph or OBJ object file for work back in the native platform. The list of ChronoSculpt features looks like this:
Time Sculpting: Adjust dynamics simulation errors and jitters to sculpt deformations on cache files from most 3D software programs
Sculpting Tools: Sculpt, drag, pinch, and erase to deform and manipulate geometry over time
Transform Tools: Edit individual geometry over time within a dynamics simulation cache, using tools like Transform, Pin, and Bulge
Enhanced Geometry Engine: Handle massive geometry files; 8- to 10-million-polygon objects can be edited with ease
Universal File Support: Supports LWO, OBJ, LightWave MDD, Autodesk Geometry Cache, and Alembic for easy integration into all software pipelines
OBJ Blend Shape and Endomorph Export: Save any frame from the ChronoSculpt timeline as an OBJ for Maya Blend Shapes or as an Endomorph directly to LightWave object files to create facial morph targets and deformation effects
Clip Timeline: Quickly reposition and adjust the length of your “sculpts” anywhere in the timeline or make global changes that apply to the whole animation
The pre-release version of ChronoSculpt is available now for $299. The final version will be shipping Q4 2013.
LightWave also announced tools for 3D printing in LightWave 11.6. The new features enable output to STL, PLY, and VRML file formats. LightWave is also including new geometry clean-up tools to be sure a printable model has been created. VRML files include color information allowing the creation of multi-colored models. Seeing a 3D print of the LightWave alien is cool enough, but the practical use in the M&E space is to be able to create maquettes easily and cheaply. Files can uploaded to sites like Shapeways, and a 3D model can be sent by mail in a day or two. The process is faster and cheaper than hiring sculptors, and yes, there is another job threatened in this modern world. LightWave 11.6 has also new, improved motion capture features introduced with its retargeting software, Nevron Motion. The software enables motion capture files to be retargeted in LightWave layout; positions can be adjusted, for example. In addition, LightWave has added support for the Kinect camera enabling live motion capture, which can be adjusted.