Avid Technology’s Softimage Co. today announced SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7, the latest version of its professional 3D animation software for games, film and television. The update will introduce a transformative open platform called ICE, which will allow artists to explore, learn and modify the library of particle-based visual effects and deformation tools that will ship in SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7, or simply build new ones from scratch. The software will ship with a free training DVD with material provided exclusively for the newest version by Digital-Tutors. Softimage will also offer many ICE tutorials and demonstration videos that will be posted on the SOFTIIMAGE|NET community training page at www.softimage.com.
‘High-quality 3D content plays an increasingly important role in today’s films, games, and TV productions, and Softimage understands that content producers’ visions are larger than any 3D package can deliver out-of-the box,’ says Marc Stevens, general manager of Softimage and VP of Avid Technology Inc. ‘Until today, trade-offs had to be made between fulfilling all creative intent and the cost of extending existing 3D packages via scripting and plug-in tools. The Softimage ICE platform will allow content producers to easily create, modify and deploy complex tools and effects more efficiently than ever before. Powered by our Gigacore II engine, ICE will utilize all the available processing power on today’s multi-core workstations for ultimate scalability’maximizing the return on hardware investment.’
Powering the ICE platform in SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7 software will be the GigaCore II, a parallel processing engine that will deliver optimum performance on any modern workstation. Designed from the ground up to take advantage of multi-core workstations, ICE will directly scale with the number and speed of processing cores available. Softimage will also offer numerous pre-built, production-ready ICE “compounds” for particle-based effects and deformations. Customers who create their own ICE compounds can share them in their facility or with the global community on SOFTIMAGE|NET, in either an open XML format or a locked binary file to protect their intellectual property.
Other new features of SOFTIMAGE|XSI inclde support for mental ray v.3.6 with new rendering stand-ins that will allow users to offload objects along with rigged and animated characters to the disk until render time, resulting in light-weight scene assembly for much larger rendered scenes, and optimized controls for final gathering and global illumination. Delta II is a major update to the lightweight referencing system in SOFTIMAGE|XSI, with enhanced support for clusters and cluster properties, including materials, textures and UVs. A new Real-Time Shading architecture will allow fragment and vertex shaders to exist in one node, and will be programmable and controllable from any ICE attribute.
SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7 is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2008. Content creators will be able to pick up SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7 Essentialsfor the suggested retail price of $2,995, and SOFTIMAGE|XSI 7 Advanced for $4,995. For upgrade pricing and maintenance pricing, contact a local Softimage reseller or Softimage sales representative at: www.softimage.com/buy/.