DreamWorks Interactive Uses Softimage Technology to Develop Spielberg’s Directors’ Chair

REDMOND, Wash., April 15, 1996 — Softimage Inc., the world’s leading high-end 3-D animation software company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced that DreamWorks Interactive will use technology available in the Softimage®
Software Development Kit (SDK) to create Directors’ Chair, a real-time digital scene-editing tool. Directors’ Chair will be used throughout the DreamWorks organization to help produce interactive games and feature motion pictures. The project was initiated by DreamWorks SKG co-founder Steven Spielberg.

Using joysticks, tablets and an easy-to-use graphical user interface, Directors’ Chair allows DreamWorks creative professionals with little or no computer-animation experience to manipulate virtual scenes in much the same way they control live action scenes. Creative professionals immerse themselves in the scene and in real time can control lighting effects, camera angles, zooms and other scene elements. Through the immediate feedback and the nontechnical interface, creative professionals will have virtually unlimited control over the computer-generated scene.

“The key to Directors’ Chair is that virtually all creative professionals – directors, producers, cinematographers, actors and writers – can work together to create and refine computer-generated scenes,”
said Glenn Entis, head of DreamWorks Interactive.
“We believe Directors’ Chair will allow DreamWorks filmmakers to design complex shots in a more natural, intuitive way.”

“Directors’ Chair is an excellent example of how the visual-effects industry is changing from computer-driven to artist-driven tools,”
said Daniel Langlois, founder of Softimage and senior director at Microsoft.

“For the first time, computer nonspecialists will be able to control virtual worlds with the same style, creativity and energy as they control live action,”
said David Morin, director of special projects for Softimage.
“We are pleased to work with DreamWorks on this cutting-edge project.”

Using Directors’ Chair

Directors’ Chair will be used for projects throughout the DreamWorks organization. For example, when setting up a dramatic scene in a game or feature film, the director, cinematographers, writers and producers can work together to reposition cameras, zoom in and out, and change from diffused light to direct light until they get precisely the scene they desire. Scene elements can be manipulated using joysticks, tablets, track balls or virtually any other kind of input device. Directors’ Chair provides immediate feedback on how the scene will look.

Softimage is a pioneer in developing real-time 3-D technology and applications, including virtual sets. DreamWorks Interactive bases its Directors’ Chair code on the Softimage Software Development Kit, which is available to all qualified software developers and Softimage customers.

DreamWorks Interactive, a joint venture between DreamWorks SKG and Microsoft Corp., is a publisher and developer of interactive software chartered with creating emotionally compelling entertainment products and experiences. The company is one part of the DreamWorks vision created by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen and which includes film, television and record companies.

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include Softimage 3D (high-end animation), Softimage Eddie (compositing) and Softimage Toonz (2-D cel animation). The company was acquired in 1994 by Microsoft Corp. Additional information about Softimage and Microsoft can be found via the Internet at http://www.softimage.com/ and http://www.microsoft.com/, respectively.

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.

Softimage is a registered trademark of Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Reader contact:

Softimage general information, (800) 576-3846; Internet: http://www.softimage.com/

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