LAS VEGAS, April 7, 1997 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced at the National Association of Broadcasters PC convention (NAB ’97) that version 3.7 of Softimage® 3D and Softimage 3D Extreme is now shipping for the Microsoft® Windows NT® and Silicon Graphics IRIX (SGI) operating systems. Version 3.7, a full-featured release, continues Softimage’s tradition of putting artistic workflow foremost in its development priorities.
New capabilities such as fully integrated 3-D paint, real-time lighting and animation controls, gestural mouse input, and a MIDI interface that allows control of any animation parameter in the software push the limits of technology while maintaining a focus on the artist.
“Version 3.7 is a powerful extension of Softimage’s core vision, a fully integrated animation, modeling and rendering tool set,” said Daniel Langlois, founder and president of Softimage. “As 3-D animation technology becomes more sophisticated, our challenge at Softimage is to make sure our user interface continues to be a natural extension of the artist, cradling the creative spirit. This is the strength of version 3.7.”
Beta Testers Praise Version 3.7
DreamWorks SKG was so impressed with version 3.7 that it recently announced plans to use Softimage 3D, Softimage Eddie and Mental Ray as the predominant software on SGI workstations for the content creation of its full-length computer-generated film “Shrek.” Bill Villarreal, co-head of technology for feature animation at DreamWorks SKG, said, “We think the 3.7 release of Softimage is a very big step in what will become the next generation of computer graphics software. Other companies are working on architectures that they say will be the future of animation; Softimage 3.7 gives us those capabilities now.”
Softimage 3D version 3.7 is a versatile and productive tool for creating games. In addition to providing cutting-edge animation, modeling and rendering tools, it directly supports development environments for Sega Saturn and SONY PlayStation, and for PC platforms based on the Microsoft Direct3D
application programming interface (API).
“Softimage 3D version 3.7 was utilized even during early beta because it has a range of enhancements that have greatly improved our workflow, such as the UV texture editing, vertex coloring and SDK updates,” said John Rix, technical director, advanced graphics for Electronic Arts (Canada) Inc. “These new features are essential to our game development and production process. With the release of ‘Sumatra,’ Softimage will remain on the cutting edge of technology by providing even more powerful tools for animators and artists.”
The Next Generation
Softimage 3D version 3.7 is the first step on the road to “Sumatra” – the code name for Softimage’s next-generation animation system. Sumatra will be the world’s first collaborative nonlinear animation system. To ensure a graceful transition, Sumatra will be completely compatible with existing Softimage 3D modeling, animation and rendering assets. All software plug-ins developed with the latest version of the Softimage Software Development Kit (SDK) will work in both Softimage 3D version 3.7 and Sumatra. For more information on Sumatra, see “The Future of Animation” backgrounder on the Softimage Web site, (http://www.softimage.com/) .
Pricing and Availability
Available on both SGI and Windows NT platforms, version 3.7 is at the leading edge of hardware developments, fully optimizing SGI’s newest platforms – including the O2 and Octane workstations – and Microsoft Windows NT 4.0-based Intel Pentium Pro and Alpha RISC-based systems. The approximate price for Softimage 3D is $7,995 (U.S.); Softimage 3D Extreme is $13,995 (U.S.). Upgrade pricing varies. Licensed users of Softimage 3D version 3.7 (both configurations) can license standalone Mental Ray rendering seats with prices starting at approximately $2,495 (U.S.) per seat. All products are available through Softimage’s network of authorized resellers.
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 (http://www.softimage.com/) and http://www.microsoft.com/, respectively.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ “MSFT”) 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.
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