REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 16, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today began shipping a new version of its award-winning 3-D modeling and animation software, Microsoft® Softimage®
3D, for the Windows NT
™operating system. Softimage 3D 3.0 for Windows NT offers the same production-proven 3-D animation environment as Softimage 3D for Silicon Graphics®
systems, while delivering workstation-class performance at approximately 50 percent of the overall system cost. With this breakthrough in price/performance, more animators now can take advantage of high-end 3-D animation software.
For more than nine years, Softimage has provided digital-media artists with an intuitive, creative, production-proven 3-D modeling and animation environment for creating characters and scenes for films, commercials, games, interactive multimedia titles and other productions. Softimage products have helped create many of the world’s most innovative, visual effects-rich productions, including films such as
; commercials such as the Shell Dancing Gas Pumps; and interactive games such as Virtua Fighter and Daytona. Softimage has pioneered many of the advanced animation techniques that are used throughout the industry, including inverse kinematics, spline-based modeling and animation, and motion-capture technology. In 1994, the company merged with Microsoft to help bring these 3-D animation capabilities to a broader audience.
“Today marks an important milestone in making high-end 3-D animation capabilities widely available,”
said Daniel Langlois, senior director at Microsoft and founder of Softimage.
“Because Windows NT offers the same high-performance graphics capabilities as UNIX® -based workstations and all of the benefits of a highly competitive ‘PC economy,’ many more content creators will be able to take advantage of high-end 3-D animation software. And these compelling price/performance figures will get even better over time.”
Similar Performance at About 50 Percent Overall System Cost
Softimage 3D for Windows NT is targeted to professionals with the most demanding visual-effects requirements in the games, interactive titles, film, broadcast and video industries. Customers will experience similar or better performance than with Silicon Graphics’ Indigo2 Extreme (i.e., real-time object manipulation, fast rendering) and all of the sophisticated 3-D modeling, animation, and rendering features of Softimage 3D running on Silicon Graphics systems. This high performance, combined with complete file compatibility and the same graphical user interface on both platforms, means that customers can begin using Softimage 3D for Windows NT immediately in their most demanding productions.
Softimage has worked closely with several hardware and graphics card manufacturers to optimize performance of Softimage 3D for Windows NT. Internal benchmark testing shows that Softimage 3D running on properly equipped Windows NT systems produces similar or better performance than traditional UNIX-based workstations that cost approximately twice as much.
Continued Support for Silicon Graphics Systems Softimage plans to continue developing high-end animation tools for both the Windows NT and Silicon Graphics platforms.
“Silicon Graphics remains a very strategic platform for our products and for many of our cutting-edge projects,”
said Shirish Nadkarni, director of marketing for Softimage at Microsoft.
“Continued support for SGI is especially important for those Softimage customers who require the fastest hardware at any cost.”
Microsoft’s Advanced-Authoring Tools Strategy Softimage is part of Microsoft’s advanced-authoring tools (AAT) group. AAT is developing a new generation of integrated media-creation and authoring products that help fulfill the increasing demand for high-quality digital content used in games, interactive titles and on the Internet, as well as in film, broadcast and video.
“We envision an ever-increasing demand for high-quality multimedia content that can be delivered not only through the traditional film, video and broadcast platforms, but also through the emerging CD-ROM, digital video disk and Internet-based interactive platforms,”
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president at Microsoft.
“The experience and skill set of Microsoft and Softimage provides the ideal combination to deliver both an open platform for media-creation tools and a set of tightly integrated tools that meet the requirements of a broad set of digital-media artists.”
Availability, Pricing, System Requirements Softimage 3D for Windows NT is available today for approximately $7,995 through the Softimage network of value-added resellers (VARs). Special pricing, which starts at $14,995 for hardware, monitor and Softimage 3D for Windows NT, is available until February 29, 1996, from a select group of certified hardware manufacturers. Owners of Softimage 3D version 2.66 or earlier can upgrade to Softimage 3D for Windows NT for approximately $1,995 (hardware not included). Softimage 3D Extreme, which includes features such as mental ray/distributed rendering, meta-clay organic modeling tools and particles, is expected to be available on the Windows NT platform in the first half of 1996.
Softimage 3D requires Windows NT 3.51 (with Service Pack 2 installed), a minimum of 64 MB of RAM, 1 GB of hard-disk space and a supported OpenGL
graphics-accelerator card. Softimage has optimized for performance and certified several
hardware configurations. Additional hardware configurations will be certified in the next few months.
Certified Hardware Configurations
Company Information Founded in 1982, Softimage develops media-rich software for applications including film, video, interactive TV, games and education. Products include Softimage 3D, Softimage Eddie
(compositing), and Softimage Toonz (2-D cel animation). The company was acquired in 1994 by Microsoft Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Windows NT, Softimage and Eddie are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Silicon Graphics is a registered trademark and Open GL is a trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc.
UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company Ltd.
AlphaStudio is a registered trademark of Digital Equipment Corp.
Intergraph is a registered trademark of Intergraph Corp.
Pentium is a registered trademark of Intel Corp.
MIPS is a registered trademark of MIPS Computer Systems Inc.