View Full Version : LightWave Development Update - 02/15/07

02-15-2007, 03:48 PM
Today, we're bringing you information about even more of the new features coming soon to LightWave v9 in its first free upgrade. If you just can't wait to start using these new features, never fear, you don't have to. Registered owners of LightWave v9 are invited to participate in the Open Beta program going on right now. Simply login to your product registration account at http://register.newtek.com and click on the Open Beta banner for details.

Material Shaders

When the Node Editor was introduced in LightWave v9, it paved a new way to quickly create customized surfaces. The Node Editor has been developed even further for LightWave with the introduction of the Material nodes, which duplicate real surfaces.

The Material nodes combine features of existing nodes into a more convenient and easier to use node system. The Material nodes duplicate specific surfaces, but can still access the power of the node system. Several types of material nodes are available.

http://www.lightwave3d.com/newsletters/v4-n02/images/dielectric.jpg http://www.lightwave3d.com/newsletters/v4-n02/images/conductor.jpg http://www.lightwave3d.com/newsletters/v4-n02/images/sigma.jpg

Dielectric is a glass and liquid shader and is physically accurate, using Beer’s law. (Not that Beer!) Beer’s Law is about energy absorption, which occurs when light passes through a surface. The more light that is absorbed by the material, the darker it will look.

If you have a glass and look at the sides, you may notice that it is darker along the edges. It has the same transparency throughout, but it is relatively thicker along the edge, so more light is being absorbed or refracted.

Conductor is a shader node for physically accurate metal, making creating realistic metal surfaces easy with just a single node.

Sigma is another material node which uses subsurface scattering.

Nodes are also available for creating your own custom Material shaders, including a Standard node based on the Surface input node and a Material Mixer node for combining different materials.


One of the major new technology revisions in the upcoming LightWave update is the new antialiasing technology. Aliasing is the stair-step effect you may have seen on a computer-generated image when two different colors are adjacent. This is due to the nature of pixels being rectangular.

Anti-aliasing is used to correct this stair-stepping effect. LightWave will introduce a new technique of anti-aliasing using a single pass to correct for aliasing. Previously, upon alias correction, a render pass was performed for each anti-alias level.

Another improvement includes new sampling patterns, which is the pattern of detecting rays used in the render. In the past LightWave used a fixed-sampling pattern, which tends to result in the tell-tale aliasing. The new Blue Noise is a random-sampling pattern. For a given pixel, Blue Noise will sample a semi-random point on the grid for a ray, which will be a minimal distance away from each other random sampling point. The sampling continues until the difference between two points are within a certain threshold or the maximum number of samples has been reached.

Adaptive Sampling is another improvement coming to LightWave, which will render the image in multiple passes. The first pass will render with the number of anti-aliasing samples you have selected. Each pass after that doubles the number of samples and only the pixels that exceed the Adaptive Threshold will receive additional sampling during each pass.

Details of additional new LightWave features...