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NewTek's LightWave software is a great pipeline tool for large studios using popular 3D animation software packages. This software allows you to pull and push models between many of these applications.

The preview renderer is capable of processing in near-real time, which gives you the ability to see what your finished product will look like as you work. The particle engine is speedy and realistic. It is less adept than some other programs when it comes to modeling characters, but you can do most of that in a sculpting application.

NewTek software cooperates well with rival applications, which is unusual among 3D modeling software. The software can export and import objects directly from other animation suites. Although NewTek software is a mature 3D animation application all on its own, it acts as a bridge for other applications that you may already have in your animation toolbox. It is a great addition to existing studios and makes a great independent development tool.

The virtual camera feature is a useful tool. It allows you to film digital scenes with affordable motion-sensing peripherals. The motion sensor acts as a camera lens and gives your footage a genuine human touch. After you record the camera track, you can go in and refine the animations within the scene without re-recording.

The addition of Python support is another great feature. Instead of using its own scripting language, which can be alienating, Python opens the gates for a wider audience to begin developing. Its language support also extends to C, C++ or C#.

LightWave software includes radiosity lighting, which produces photorealistic images by simulating bouncing light. It is also capable of standard lighting effects like refraction, reflection, and complex light ripples like those caused by water or glass. However, it does not support NURBS modeling, so you'll have to stick with the more traditional polygon and subdivision techniques.

NewTek's 3D animation software has been a key tool in producing content for popular television programs ("Star Trek" being notable among them), and it is good for rapid content development and integration with other programs. The preview renderer feature is particularly helpful, giving you a good idea of the final look of your models and animations without having to wait through long render times. The software is not quite as handy for character animation, but it has a versatile particle engine for superb visual effects.