SOFTIMAGE|DS Receives Wide Support at Launch From Third-Party Developers

NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 1997 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced broad industry support and development commitments from third-party software developers for SOFTIMAGE® |DS, a comprehensive new nonlinear video production system for creating, editing and finishing videos. Developers that showed plug-ins for SOFTIMAGE® |DS at the recent IBC show in Amsterdam include 5D Ltd., Digital Video s.r.l., The Foundry, Merging Technologies, P.E. PHOTRON Ltd. and Ultimatte Corp.

The advanced open architecture of SOFTIMAGE|DS allows third-party developers using the Softimage Software Development Kit (SDK) to create feature plug-ins and entire tool sets for seamless integration into the SOFTIMAGE|DS environment by providing access to the same interface and programming tools used by developers for SOFTIMAGE|DS. SOFTIMAGE|DS, launched in September at IBC, empowers users to redefine and improve the way video content is created and produced. It makes available a comprehensive set of tools for creating, editing and finishing high-end video projects using nonlinear picture and audio editing, compositing, paint, image treatment, 2-D and 3-D effects, character generation and content management – all in a unified, integrated environment with a common interface. By removing barriers imposed by current single-purpose hardware and software, SOFTIMAGE|DS provides new creative opportunities to editorial boutique companies, post facilities, TV stations, cable operators, effects boutiques and games companies.

Softimage pointed to the technical and marketing strengths of the developers using SOFTIMAGE|DS as an indication of the architecture’s momentum in the industry. “We’re seeing a broad, very high-caliber cross-section of third-party software developers coming on board for the SOFTIMAGE|DS phenomenon,” said Daniel Langlois, founder of Softimage. “The enthusiasm and buy-in of these innovative, highly regarded players are a clear confirmation of the excitement in the industry about SOFTIMAGE|DS.”

“We were very pleased with the openness and flexibility of the SOFTIMAGE|DS architecture,” said Marc Dando, sales and marketing director for 5D. “This architecture allows users to seamlessly integrate a wide range of custom visual effects from the Monster plug-ins, within a complete tool set.”

“The video production industry is undergoing tremendous change, requiring ever-increasing flexibility and productivity,” said Rebecca Warner, product manager for third parties at Softimage. “SOFTIMAGE|DS was designed from the start to meet these challenges with an open, extensible architecture through which independent software developers could develop and market new features and entire tool sets quickly and efficiently. It provides customers with a wide range of options for customising and expanding their systems without having to rely on a single vendor.”

Plug-ins launched for SOFTIMAGE|DS include the following:

  • 5D. 5D announced the extension of its Monster product range to include plug-ins for SOFTIMAGE | DS. As a developer for SOFTIMAGE | DS, 5D has already ported a selection of its visual effects range for use at beta sites worldwide. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

  • Digital Video. Digital Video, developer of the leading 2-D animation package Toonz, at IBC announced a plug-in that will provide the functionality of Toonz within SOFTIMAGE|DS. The Toonz plug-in, combined with SOFTIMAGE|DS, will enable users to perform 2-D cell animation alongside editing, paint and compositing applications within a single seamless environment. It will be the first standalone product integrated into SOFTIMAGE|DS. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

  • Merging Technologies. Merging Technologies, a leading provider of high-end hardware and software digital audio solutions, announced a set of digital audio effects plug-ins for SOFTIMAGE|DS. These high-quality audio tools include four-band parametric EQ, three- and 10-band graphic EQs, dynamic processing, sample rate converter, dithering and noise shaping, and scrubbing. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

  • P.E. PHOTRON. P.E. PHOTRON introduced a powerful new plug-in option that adds the highest quality chromakey and image compositing capabilities to the SOFTIMAGE|DS integrated software environment. The new release, PRIMATTE S-100 for SOFTIMAGE|DS, offers an advanced solution for ultraprecision matte-control bluescreen compositing. Using a unique patented process, the PRIMATTE Polyhedral Slicing Algorithm, advanced techniques for extremely fine manipulation of color regions become easily accessible. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

  • The Foundry. The Foundry announced Tinder 2.0 for SOFTIMAGE|DS. Tinder 2.0 is a suite of image-processing and effects plug-ins developed by The Foundry with input from some of the world’s top post-production companies. Proven on a wide range of post-production systems, including SOFTIMAGE|EDDIE, Tinder 2.0 will be available for the release of SOFTIMAGE/DS. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

  • Ultimatte. Ultimatte Corp. announced its new plug-ins for SOFTIMAGE|DS, which are being developed to allow for the flawless compositing of selected images and clips. The new plug-ins add to the existing features of SOFTIMAGE|DS by providing additional capabilities to create and edit seamless blue (green) screen composites from digitized film footage and video clip elements. Tools for Ultimatte’s SOFTIMAGE|DS plug-ins include Ultimatte’s proprietary and patented screen correction, for imperfections in the blue (green) screen; Grain Killer, to reduce film grain and video or compression noise; and the Ultimatte Compositing features, to correct for a variety of image anomalies. Further information can be obtained via the Internet at ( .

About Softimage

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include SOFTIMAGE|DS (video production), SOFTIMAGE|3D (high-end animation), SOFTIMAGE|EDDIE (compositing) and Toonz (2-D cell 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 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 either a registered trademark or trademark of Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

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