Softimage Certification Program Gains Momentum

MONTREAL, Nov. 20, 1996 — Softimage, a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today released a new list of hardware products that have been certified as compatible with Softimage® 3D in the new Softimage certification program. The products include the new Silicon Graphics® O2™ workstation and 15 graphics accelerator cards for the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system. Silicon Graphics Inc. is a leading supplier of high-performance visual and enterprise computing systems. The graphics accelerators are manufactured by the industry’s leading independent hardware vendors (IHVs), including 3Dlabs, AccelGraphics, Densan, Digital Equipment Corp., Dynamic Pictures Inc., Intergraph Corp., NeTpower Inc. and Omnicomp. Graphics accelerators are now certified for workstations running Windows NT versions 3.5 and 4.0.

The Softimage certification program is designed to assure Softimage customers of reliability and compatibility across the entire Softimage product line, according to Jean-Jacques Hermans, manager of developer relations and third parties at Softimage.
“Softimage customers deserve the assurance that Softimage products will run reliably on the platform of their choice,”
Hermans said.
“The certification tests also give vendors the opportunity to fine-tune the performance of their cards and systems. The certification program reflects our belief that reliability and compatibility issues are the responsibility of all vendors involved, not the customer.”

While the program has focused on the company’s flagship product, Softimage 3D, it will be expanded to include Softimage Eddie and
“Digital Studio,”
the code name for Softimage’s new integrated media production environment.

“Our goal is to expand the program to cover the entire product line,”
Hermans added.
“We are already working closely with hardware vendors for Digital Studio, and we also expect to include plug-in products for Softimage 3D in the future.”

Certified Logo Provided

After completing the rigorous certification process, vendors can display the
“Softimage Ready”
logo on their promotional materials. The logo will provide quality assurance for customers and make it easy to select 3-D graphics platforms when configuring systems for Softimage products. Customers can also access a list of certified products from the Softimage Web site at ( . The list provides links to vendor Web pages, allowing customers easy access to more detailed information on certified products. The Softimage Web site will be updated regularly as new products become certified.

Valuable Benchmark for IHVs and Workstation Manufacturers

Because the powerful features of Softimage 3D can push graphics hardware to its fullest capabilities, hardware vendors have found the certification process to be a valuable test course for their 3-D graphics platforms.

“We were very pleased with the performance of our new O2 desktop workstation in the Softimage certification tests,”
said Todd Johnson, director of O2 workstation marketing, desktop systems division at Silicon Graphics Inc.
“The certification is added assurance for our customers that Softimage products will continue to run reliably on Silicon Graphics workstations.”

Although the focus of the certification tests is on reliability rather than performance, engineers at Intergraph Corp. also found the tests to be a potent benchmark.
“Testing our RealiZm 3-D graphics accelerator with Softimage 3D is like taking a sports car out onto the open road – you can really show off its performance,”
said Steve Pesto, director of workstation marketing at Intergraph Computer Systems.
“In the process, if we can find a way to wring even more performance out of the card, that’s clearly a benefit for Intergraph and Softimage customers.”

Softimage has certified all Silicon Graphics systems, including the following:

  • O2

  • Indigo2 IMPACT™

  • Onyx®

  • Onyx2™

Softimage has certified the following graphics accelerators for Windows NT:

  • 3Dlabs: SX300, TX500

  • Densan: 300DX/A

  • Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc.: Fire GL 2000, Fire GL 3000

  • Digital: Powerstorm series on Alpha

  • Dynamic Pictures: V192

  • Elsa Inc.: GloriaL

  • Force: 3DE TurboTX

  • Intergraph: GLZ1, GLZ2, Intense3D, RealiZm series

  • Omnicomp: 3Demon Pro8, 3Demon DTX88

Extensive Hardware Certification Tests

To become certified for Softimage 3D, IHVs and workstation manufacturers must pass the Softimage 3D Hardware Certification Tests (HCTs), now in version 2.1. The HCTs are a suite of tests dealing with parameters important to the production use of Softimage 3D, as well as specialized tests related to specific Softimage 3D features.

The HCTs are subdivided into two main tests: Softcomp and Regression. Softcomp tests are script-based and verify that the combination of the 3-D graphics platforms will run
Softimage 3D properly. Features tested include NURBS, Bezier curves, keyframing, lighting, textures, and wireframe handling, including animation. Regression tests are run by Softimage personnel to verify other aspects of compatibility with Softimage 3D.

The various stages of the HCTs are performed alternately at the IHV’s own facilities and by Softimage at its certification lab in Montreal. When the HCTs are successfully completed, an official certification is issued.

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. 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.

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, Indigo and Onyx are registered trademarks and O2, Indigo2 IMPACT and Onyx2 are trademarks of Silicon Graphics Inc.

* The certified graphics accelerators are certified for any Windows NT-based certified system. Certification results do not apply to all combinations of operating system versions and Softimage 3D versions. Please consult the Softimage Web page for detailed results.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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