Strong Industry Momentum for New Softimage SDK

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 5, 1996 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced at SIGGRAPH ’96 that more than 45 developers have committed to creating plug-in applications for Softimage® 3D version 3.5 using the new Softimage software development kit (SDK). In addition, many leading customers of Softimage have also begun using the SDK to create custom applications, including Blue Sky Productions, DreamWorks Interactive and R/Greenberg Associates. Nineteen of these applications are being demonstrated in the Softimage booth, 705, at SIGGRAPH ’96.

The cornerstone of the Softimage SDK is the new Softimage Advanced API for Relations and Elements (SAAPHIRE) development environment, a revolutionary new cross-platform development architecture for Softimage 3D. With SAAPHIRE, developers can go deep into the core of Softimage 3D to easily create virtually any type of plug-in application. The extensibility and modularity of SAAPHIRE will also serve as the foundation for future generations of Softimage animation software and plug-in applications.

The Softimage SDK is also the first cross-platform authoring API for high-end 3-D graphics that allows developers to create the same features on both the Microsoft® Windows NT® and Silicon Graphics®
operating systems. Much of the design for the Softimage SDK came out of the vigorous development environments of leading visual effects studios. These same tools will now be available to a broader audience of developers.

“The SDK ensures that Softimage customers can always push the cutting edge of professional 3-D animation production,”
said Daniel Langlois, founder of Softimage Inc. and senior director at Microsoft Corp.
“By providing an open architecture, Softimage is enabling both ISVs and customers to take advantage of the core functionality already built into Softimage to create signature effects. These effects will help their work stand out in an increasingly competitive world.”

The new Softimage SDK, which supports both the Windows NT and Silicon Graphics platforms, provides developers direct access to animation and modeling (SAAPHIRE toolkit), rendering (mental ray toolkit) and motion-capture controls (Channels toolkit) within Softimage 3D. Applications can run as standalone programs or be fully integrated into Softimage 3D for
Windows NT and Silicon Graphics systems. Highlights include the following:

  • Modeling and animation. SAAPHIRE is one of the most advanced 3-D APIs on the market and allows direct access to the Softimage modeling, animation and rendering pipelines. ISVs and customers can create advanced cross-platform applications through dynamically shared objects (DSOs) on Silicon Graphics systems and dynamic-link libraries (DLL) on Windows NT.

  • Rendering. The mental ray development kit enables customers and ISVs to leverage the powerful ray-tracing capabilities of mental ray to create distinctive shaders and render-time custom effects. Animation houses can establish their own signature looks with rendering effects from simple texture maps to advanced effects such as displacement mappings and volumetric lights.

  • Motion capture. The Channels development kit allows ISVs and customers to build on the cutting-edge motion-capture and control capabilities of Softimage 3D. Developers can create their own innovative hardware and motion-control interfaces, including real-time motion devices that support the Softimage-Live virtual set.

A select group of plug-in applications developed by ISVs and Softimage customers is being demonstrated at SIGGRAPH ’96, including 3Dfx Interactive, 4DVISION LLC, Cinema Graphics Inc., Coryphaeus Software, Digital Image Design Inc., Digital Processing Systems, EPTRON Multimedia SA, Hybrid Co-op, kaydara, Lightscape Technologies Inc., Lionhearth Technologies, Marshall Graphics Systems, Motion Analysis Corp., Nichimen Graphics, OZ Interactive, Polhemus Inc., Positron Publishing, R/Greenberg Associates and Virtual I/O.

Softimage Software Developers Connection Program

Softimage has established the Softimage Software Developers Connection program for ISVs that want an extra level of support. Participants receive technical and marketing support, early access to prerelease software, and certification for applications that meet performance and integration criteria. Members can also participate in co-marketing and distribution programs with Softimage and Microsoft.

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 ( and ( , 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.

Reader contact:

Developer information only, (206) 936-6739

Internet (

Softimage general information, (800) 576-3846

Internet: (

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

Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Silicon Graphics is a registered trademark of Silicon Graphics Inc.

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Developers Announcing Plug-in Products for Softimage 3D at SIGGRAPH ’96

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