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Softimage

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Softimage was a computer graphics application, originally for SGI IRIX.

Release history

Version O/S Release date Price Notes
Softimage 4.0 May 2002
  • Added multi-UV texturing, vertex colors. Final release
Softimage 3.9.2.2 May 2001
Softimage 3.9.2 December 2000
Softimage 3.9.1 May 2000
Softimage 3.9 March 2000
Softimage 3.8 SP2 August 1999
  • Mental Ray 2.1, Surface Continuity Manager, DropPoints & SlidePoints, GoWithTheFlow
Softimage 3.8 SP1 January 1999
  • First Avid release
Softimage 3.8 Announced April 1998, IRIX62 build date June 1998, shipped July 1998

New features in version 3.8 provide better data management and more efficient game production. Feature highlights of the new version include the following:

  • Animation Sequencer. Implemented through the DopeSheet, the Animation Sequencer provides high-level animation control for rapid, intuitive animation of segmented characters. The Animation Sequencer also allows users to create and save “actions” for each character and to build libraries of actions.
  • Interactive Polygon Reduction. This tool allows animators to interactively control model polygon count by simply moving a slider. The tool also provides users with direct control over surface attributes, such as vertex colors, shading normals, etc.
  • Resolution-Independent Enveloping Tools. These tools allow animators to copy, paste and transfer weights between envelopes of different resolutions.
  • 3-D Paint. With 3-D Paint, animators are now able to paint directly on all geometry types (NURBS, patches, polygons and MetaClay).
  • Includes Mental Ray 1.9.11.17 of 29 June 1998
Softimage 3.7 SP1 Announced August 1997, IRIX 6.2 build date 2 October 1997 Softimage 3D about $7,995, Softimage 3D Extreme about $13,995

Production Tools

  • Selectability. Make objects selectable or unselectable.
  • Transparent Ghosting (Shade View). View ghosted objects that are shaded with points, lines, highlights, etc. visible on the back faces of the object.
  • Hidden Line Viewing Options (Shade View). View all shaded objects in a pseudo-hidden wireframe mode.
  • Grid Lock in the Schematic View. Lock element icons in position in schematic view.
  • Enhanced Rotoscopy View Mode. Choose between .pic files and SGI movie files for rotoscopy.
  • Editing Shader Fcurves. Access function curves for shaders (e.g., camera lens and output, light, material, volume, shadow, 2-D texture, 3-D texture, volume shader [atmosphere]).
  • New update options when manipulating Fcurves. Have an object update in another window while manipulating or editing its function curve.
  • Chain Behavior tool. Determine the behavior of a chain by specifying the general orientation of its resolution plane depending on a specific position of its end effector.

Mental Ray Workflow Tools

  • FXDirector. Quickly and easily create special optical and lighting effects, such as lens flares, volumetric lighting, star filters and slide projectors, using mental ray shaders.
  • ToonAssistant. Create inking and painting special effects that simulate cel animation.
  • Preview in a window. View a mental ray preview in a separate window.
  • Enhanced conversion from cylindrical/spherical textures to UV textures. Convert a cylindrical or a spherical texture map into UV coordinates without having to save a duplicated image on disk.
  • New supported shaders. Bionic_Volume, Bionic_Light, Bionic_Lens, Cptn Nemo, Cylindric, Dense, Dusty, EZ_Env_atmosphere, Frosty, Hot Stuff, Shadow Matte, Sprite, Static Cling, Strauss, Toon Wire, Toon Soft, Toon, TriSpec, XmasBall
  • New shader presets. EZ_Environment Atmosphere, Environment Horizon Night, Environment Horizon Day, Lens Flare

Games and Interactive Features

  • Nintendo 64 support
  • Polygon Attribute Editor. Specify Nintendo-specific rendering attributes on a per-polygon basis.
  • On-Target Viewer. View the animation of a Nintendo 64 exported scene (standalone viewer only).
  • Full support for Geometry, polygon attributes, Hierarchy Filtering, SRT and Animation, including Camera/Light Export. Exports the current Softimage scene in a format usable with the Nintendo 64 Development Libraries.
  • Nintendo 64 Development Kit. Includes all the files needed to compile the N64Export and on-target viewer tools and add custom functionality
  • DirectX® 3.0 API support. Export/Import/Viewer support for DirectX 3.0 file format.
  • H1500 support. Use this Ethernet-based device over a network.
  • Vertex color alpha painting. Define the alpha value for all vertices of each polygon.
  • RGB blending control. Control the brush alpha blending.
  • Includes Mental Ray 1.9.11.10 of 11 September 1997
Softimage 3.7 IRIX and Windows NT Shipping April 1997
  • Includes Mental Ray 1.9.10.10 of 20 December 1996
  • 3D Paint
  • NURBS
Softimage 3.51 IRIX 5.3 and Windows NT November 1996
  • Includes Mental Ray 1.9.9.18.1 of 8 August 1996
  • Not fully compatible with IRIX 6.2
Softimage 3.5 IRIX and Windows NT May 1996
  • Particles, Metaballs, Mentalray
Softimage 3.0 IRIX and Windows NT 3.5 Announced January 1996
  • User-interface enhancements: provides hot-key remapping; keyboard accelerators; expanded time-line access to lighting, camera, 2D and 3D material editors; animation-playback enhancements; and stereo display - all providing productivity and flexibility through a single, accessible user interface
  • Modeling: provides enhanced polygonal modeling; NURBS modeling; relational modeling; trimming, which provides powerful modeling that enables the user to choose the appropriate tool for the project
  • Special effects: supports animated modeling operations and animation effects that provide a wide range of special effects for "what if" analyses
  • Instantiation: provides animation replication, or cloning of objects, without extra system overhead
  • Polygon reduction: automatically creates low-resolution models by eliminating data from objects
  • Tangent-to-path constraint: automatically aligns objects to the tangent of the path, which reduces time-consuming key-framing
  • Q-stretch: creates real-time, automatic deformation on the fly to create believable animation quickly
  • Expressions: creates custom, mathematically defined constraints for more control in animating
  • Motion control: adds export animation for event triggering, in addition to motion capture, external robotics, sound, or motion camera-rig control, for added control over external production elements
  • Actor: automatically weights surfaces to speed the process of character animation
  • Matter: now integrates 2D image retoucher into the texture dialog editor to speed texture-mapping process; adds UV texture support including edit and save
  • Tools: provides color reduction for previewing images at any user-defined color depth
  • Import/export object translators and import/export image translators: provide broad access to and from to other operating environments
  • 3D Studio: provides .3DS file compatibility
  • Programming tools: provides a custom environment for integrating customer-defined special effects
  • Particles: provides a pixel-based particle generator using real-world dynamics to create natural-phenomena effects quickly (such as snow, fog, explosions, smoke and fire)
  • Mental-ray rendering: supports parallel and distributed rendering across workstation processors or a network of workstations to take advantage of spare CPU cycles; supports orthogonal-view rendering for creating distortion-free texture maps or images; provides more than 45 customizable shaders to render unique effects such as glows, flares, fog, visible light beams, volume and environmental effects, and more.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.66 July 1994 (CD filedate)
  • Tim Stevenson of Softimage described several bugs in 2.65 and 2.66 in a mail to the Softimage mailing list of 19 August 1994.
  • Several subversions were released, including at least 2.66a, 2.66b, 2.66c. One Usenet post mentions 2.66c being the first stable version, with weeks between the first revisions. Version 2.66c is also mentioned in a Softimage tutorial from November 1994, which seems to indicate there weren't critical bugs which required immediate updates.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.65 1994
  • Expressions, dopesheet, ghost mode, shape interpolation.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.62 IRIX 4.0.5 recommended 26 November 1993 (CD filedate)
Softimage Creative Environment 2.61 7 July 1993 (CD filedate)
  • Liberty Paint v 2.0.si
  • Painterly Effects 1.04
Softimage Creative Environment 2.6 1993 (announced January 28)
  • Meta-Clay and cluster function
  • Adopted mental ray as a new renderer.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.52 1992
  • Equipped with Channels function that allows data input from external devices and DKit that allows plug-in development.
  • Released SOFTIMAGE | Eddie (developed by Animal Logic) with paint and composite functions.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.51 Early 1992
  • Also claimed as first version with Actor IK.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.5 1991
  • Featuring the Actor Module with Inverse Kinematics, Enveloping, Constraints. Enables animators to combine conventional techniques (such as editing and keyframing) with advanced CG tools such as IK, flexible envelopes, and dynamics. The system heralds a revolution in creating realistic CG character motion, and would later win an award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Softimage Creative Environment 2.15 18 September 1991
Softimage Creative Environment 2.1 1990
Softimage Creative Environment 2.0 1990
  • Work on Inverse Kinematics started, later presented at Siggraph 1991
Softimage Creative Environment 1.65 1989
  • Texture mapping
Softimage Creative Environment 1.6 1989
Softimage Creative Environment 1.0 Announced at Siggraph Atlanta 1988, Released January 1989