Mental Ray
Product Information
Introduction | Specification | Gallery | Ordering
The Projective Rendering(TM) is based on a new advanced camera type, rendering off a custom-defined polygonal object into an UV-mapped texture. MicroWave can be considered a virtual 3d scanner that receives literally everything - any kind of information from one or more scene elements.

The possibilities of Projective Rendering(TM) are virtually endless for both real-time 3d graphics and motion-picture output. For instance, MicroWave can project millions of polygons onto a simple bounding geometry, bake multi-bounce indirect lighting, project timely volumetrics, generate illumination maps, geometry-based normal maps, or render perfect brick-wall textures, full of cracks and detailed bumps.


The work-flow with MicroWave is very simple. This is demonstrated on the following example:

1. Create a tank object ~ 800,000 polys.
2. Model and UV-Map a low-poly version ~ 1300 polys.
3. Project via MicroWave, with radiosity and shadows.
4. Check for the texture detail, real-time in Modeler.
5. Re-render in higher resolution if necessary.
6. Compare the final textured object with the original.

A nice parallel can be found between traditional rendering and Projective Rendering(TM). With usual the camera you render scene into camera-plane, and the output is a 2D picture. Contrary to this, MicroWave projects the scene onto uv-textured geometry and the process results in a textured 3D object, as seen on the pictures above. MicroWave adds a brand new dimension to 3D graphics.

Speed & Accuracy: whether you render an image in LightWave or a texture of the same resolution in MicroWave, both the output and the rendertime will match.

Implementation: the product consists of 3 handlers: pixelfilter - main renderer, shader - normal map simulation, the modeling tool - optional Guide Tool for complete control over the projection shape.

The New Competitive Edge

  • 3D Artists: CG production is mainly about efficiency and getting things done. MicroWave with its zero-rendertime approach will often be the only way to go. The temple scene bellow has been divided into several segments, each consisting of approximately 500 000 polygons, and projected individually onto simple shapes. Without MicroWave, just the handling of such vast amounts of data, would never have been possible. The original scene would have included ~ 6 million polys in total, the images bellow present the 2800-polygon result.

  • VFX Artists: real-time special effects, volumetric baking, and magnificent environments full of details have become a breeze with MicroWave. All LW's volumetric filters such as HyperVoxels, or SkyTracer, can be projected onto custom polygonal shapes, for real-time use. The following images present a real-time volumetric environment (Ogo-Taiki-beta).

  • Games Artists: using MicroWave, game artists are able to design the next-generation heroes, breaking all barriers regarding the level of detail and photorealism. Now, the characters, props and the entire in-game design can match the image quality of feature films while being interactive at the same time.

  • Developers: MicroWave supports 10 unique output layers, with several options for each. The capabilities can be even extended using custom shaders modifying the output layers, i.e. the RGB channel. Any custom-shader output can be projected into textures, and visualized real-time.

    The Texturing Process Redefined

    With MicroWave one can apply all his 3D know-how, into the texture-creation process. The difference between traditional texture painting and MicroWave, means exactly the same as between 2D and 3D graphics. Here is a list of MicroWave's unique texture-creation capabilities:

  • photo-real textures
  • normal maps (tangent / object)
  • high-resolution textures made easy
  • unlimited accuracy, perfectly seamless textures
  • versatility, the same texture projected into different UV maps
  • export of objects as-they-look to other CG applications
  • efficient storage of textures, in form of 3D scenes
  • the output can still be enhanced by common 2D-painting


    Lightwave 7.0 or higher
    WinNT, Win2000, OS 9, OS X
    At least 128mb ram recommended

  • "Impressive!! We are buying more LW licenses so more people can use the MicroWave here, and you can quote me on that! "
    Pancho Eekels / Digital Extremes
    "MicroWave is an insanely powerful tool for games designers, who are going to relish the power to combine high and low res assets within the game environment."
    Benjamin Smith / 3DWorld
    Product Details
    Release Date:
    Latest Version:
    rendering toolset
    Apr 03, 2003
    1.0, Apr 03, 2003
    LightWave 7.x - 9.x
    OS 9 / OS X