Another important new addition is Sasquatch Lite for creating and rendering hair, fur, and grass. This feature is based on Worley Laboratories' Sasquatch for LightWave-"definitely the most popular hair and fur system among users," says LightWave third party manager David Tracy. Sasquatch Lite controls enable users to fine-tune the coarseness, frizziness, length, color, and glossiness of hair, and also to "comb" strands to fall or lean in a certain direction.
Additional features include the ability to use sprites within NewTek's HyperVoxel or 3D pixel technology. This allows users to create 2D slices of HyperVoxel imagery, allowing for quicker previews and for smaller image files in scenes that do not require a full volumetric effect. Other features are a spreadsheet editor that enables users to view and edit all the elements in a scene in spreadsheet format; voxel baking for advanced smoke and liquid effects without extensive render times; a feature called SkyTracer 2 that allows for the creation of a variety of atmospheric effects, including the sun rising or setting; a new depth-of-field filter called Digital Confusion and a host of other new features.
Version 7b, described by NewTek as a maintenance update for Version 7, which launched in August, adds speed increases and optimizations for both the Intel SSE2 and the Apple AltiVec instruction set. LightWave runs on Mac OS 9 and OS X platforms, as well as on Windows 98/NT/2000/ME operating systems running on AMD-, DecAlpha-, or Intel-powered machines. The software costs $2495. (NewTek; www.newtek.com)