Softimage Announces Beta Version of SOFTIMAGE|DS Version 2.0
LAS VEGAS, April 6, 1998 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., announced at the National Association of Broadcasters convention (NAB ’98) a new beta version of its noncompressed, non-linear production (NLP) system. The unique modular and scalable architecture of SOFTIMAGE® |DS, in combination with the increased power of the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system, has enabled Softimage to quickly and dramatically expand the capabilities of its revolutionary turnkey system. By combining the functionality of a full post-production company in a seamlessly integrated and cost-effective environment, SOFTIMAGE|DS is already giving companies a competitive edge by enabling digital artists to create more compelling work.
With a wide range of new features, including dual-stream support, SOFTIMAGE|DS version 2.0 will reinforce the product’s increasingly strong position in the production and broadcast industries. Key enhancements to this latest version provide greater productivity, a richer content creation environment and enhanced project management.
“SOFTIMAGE|DS has already made a significant impact on the way we approach the creative direction for projects and the range of services we are able to provide for our clients,” said Pierre Couture, director of post-production for Montreal-based Tube Images Inc. “Undoubtedly, the new release is going to continue to shatter the traditional perceptions of post production and blur the boundaries between offline and online systems.”
The new version of SOFTIMAGE|DS establishes the product as the first and only Windows NT-based system to support two streams of D1 (ITU-R 601) noncompressed video. This functionality, which allows for expanded real-time effects, also combines with other software enhancements such as multiclip drag and drop, match frame and support for external MIDI control surfaces to significantly improve the system’s overall editing speed.
“Digital artists and editors are constantly being driven to produce more compelling content, faster,” said Mike Stojda, SOFTIMAGE|DS product manager. “SOFTIMAGE|DS version 2.0 will continue to answer these requirements by enabling greater creativity while further reducing the time from initial concept to finished project.”
Richer Content Creation
Graphics quality and sophistication can be increased through enhanced color correction, improved digital video editing (DVE) algorithms and a wider range of compositing tools in version 2.0. A new chroma keyer makes it easier to achieve pristine keys while the difference keyer provides users with the ability to create mattes by keying out identical areas of two clips while retaining the portion that is not common to both images.
Customers who want more creative tools will welcome new features such as 3D Warp, filmfx, real-time DVE preview with expanded controls, and the ability to create cutouts from any paint stroke or graphic object. In addition, the Impressionist Effects feature allows digital artists to choose from 150 presets or create their own impressionist-style painting effects and apply them to their images.
Project Management Enhancements
New archive and restore capabilities, edit decision list (EDL) management features and expanded file format support combine to simplify project management in SOFTIMAGE|DS version 2.0. The list of supported file formats now includes Apple QuickTime 3.0 and Adobe Photoshop 4.0 and higher. Digital artists will also note even greater flexibility in the video capture process because of the ability to interrupt and save during capture as well as capture on the fly.
Third-Party Support Expanded
The rapid acceptance of SOFTIMAGE|DS in the industry has lead to an ever-increasing number of third parties developing products for use with the system. In addition to supporting the new Intergraph StudioZ GT for SOFTIMAGE|DS workstation, which ships standard with the new Intergraph ViZfx for SOFTIMAGE|DS video special-effects plug-in, the following product enhancements and additions to the SOFTIMAGE|DS environment will be available:
Artel Software Inc. Boris FX provides additional 2-D and 3-D digital video effects.
JL Cooper Electronics. Media Command Stations (MCS) 3400 and 3800 provide an external surface for tactile control of editing features such as transport control, audio mixing and locating specific time codes.
Matrox Graphics Inc. Digidesktop display card delivers support for wide-screen monitors, as well as improved on-screen video playback quality.
Merging Technologies SA. PCI-based audio processing board Keops supports eight channels of digital audio I/O and provides up to 16 tracks of simultaneous audio playback, as well as real-time mixing and digital audio effects.
Transoft Corp. StudioBoss FC network system allows multiple SOFTIMAGE|DS systems to share common storage, making it easier for people to collaborate on projects.
In addition, several software enhancements for SOFTIMAGE|DS are now shipping. These include Monsters from 5D, Tinder from The Foundry, Photron PRIMATTE S-100 from Photron Ltd. and Ultimatte for Windows from Ultimatte Corp.
Digital Equipment Corp. and NeTpower Inc. also announced today their intent to develop hardware solutions for SOFTIMAGE|DS, with anticipated availability in the second half of 1998.
SOFTIMAGE|DS delivers a comprehensive non-linear production system for creating, editing and finishing videos such as commercials, music videos and TV programs. Running on Windows NT-based systems, SOFTIMAGE|DS seamlessly integrates the functionality of a full post-production company into a single environment at a fraction of the cost.
Pricing and Availability
Version 2.0 software is expected to ship to customers worldwide in May 1998. Existing customers will receive this software upgrade free of charge. Turnkey SOFTIMAGE|DS systems with dual-stream capability are priced at approximately $115,000 (U.S.). Hardware upgrade options that provide dual-stream capability are available for existing users of SOFTIMAGE|DS running on Intergraph Studio Z for SOFTIMAGE|DS workstations.
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
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