KINEMA/WAY Crowd Animation Software Qualified by Softimage as Plug-In to Softimage 3D

MONTREAL, May 27, 1997 — Softimage Inc., the world’s leading high-end 3-D animation software company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., has qualified KINEMA/WAY
™, developed by Animation Science Corp., the leader in physics-based animation, as an official “plug-in” to the Softimage® 3D product family. For the first time, KINEMA/WAY will allow users of Softimage 3D to quickly create 3-D simulations of group movements without needing to control each actor individually. Integrated using the Softimage SDK, KINEMA/WAY can seamlessly import and export data directly in native Softimage formats. The Softimage SDK opens up the Softimage 3D architecture, allowing developers deeper access into Softimage 3D to easily create dynamic plug-ins.

“Microsoft has had a long relationship with Animation Science since they created the powerful particle system engine we use today in our Softimage Particles module,” said Craig Mundie, senior vice president, consumer platforms group at Microsoft. “We’re excited to see their dynamic elements – ‘DYMENTS’ – technology for managing complex animation effects. We believe that this technology in conjunction with Softimage 3D will provide great benefit to our customers.”

“The KINEMA/WAY Plug-in to Softimage 3D again demonstrates the power of Animation Science’s physics technology by automatically managing the complexity of large groups of interacting characters moving throughout a 3-D scene,” said Daniel Langlois, founder and president of Softimage.

KINEMA/WAY, introduced at SIGGRAPH ’96, applies DYMENTS to the modeling and study of crowd movements of animated characters (human beings, animals, etc.). Each person or actor is governed by a set of rules and goals, which can be either specific to that person or tied to a group of people. The overall scene is controlled by a physics engine that manages collision avoidance between the actors and the space around them as well as other human behavior patterns such as following a leader, avoiding densely populated areas, etc. Alternative layout scenarios can be viewed and visualized interactively.

“The drive toward enhanced realism in the animation scene has greatly increased the complexity that must be managed by the animator,” said Eyal Cohen, CEO of Animation Science. “KINEMA/WAY helps you manage the complexity of having many moving characters in your sequence. We have simulated in real time up to 80,000 fans entering a new stadium, creating both visual excitement about the project and a practical analysis of its operation.”

Given its broad ability to simulate crowd movement over all types of terrain, including multilevel buildings, KINEMA/WAY appeals to many market sectors. Applications include character animation, games content development, architectural visualization and analysis, public space planning and design, military training, crowd control, and previsualization planning for motion pictures before filming “live” crowd scenes. KINEMA/WAY recently received a 1996 CGW Innovation Award from the editors of Computer Graphics World Magazine and was judged one of the Hottest Products of the Year.

Established in 1989 originally under the name ArSciMed, Animation Science is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. It develops and sells interactive simulation and animation software for the movie, multimedia and video game industries as well as for the industrial markets. Animation Science stands out due to its innovative approach of combining modern physics with 3-D imagery. This visual simulation approach provided by its KINEMA software family and associated services helps increase the creativity and productivity of animation professionals. Additional information about Animation Science Corp. can be found on the Internet at (http://www.anisci.com/) .

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 Toonz (2-D cel animation). Additional information about Softimage and Microsoft can be found via the Internet (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.

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.

KINEMA and KINEMA/WAY are registered trademarks of Animation Science Corp.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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