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Avid Unveils SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0

Avid Technology Inc. launched version 5.0 of the companys flagship SOFTIMAGE|XSI 3D animation software. This latest version includes new tools that set industry benchmarks for performance and creative flexibility. As a key component of Avid's integrated computer graphics solutions, SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 introduces 3D teams to new features, such as Ultimapper, a map generation tool for producing cinema-quality maps in a few clicks; and GATOR, a unique property transfer system for merging fully textured and animated 3D models. In addition to running on standard 32-bit CPUs, SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 will also be available in a native 64-bit configuration, allowing users to model, animate and render extremely complex scenes in their entirety with billions of polygons and layers of 3D, film and video content.

This latest edition of XSI proves how Softimage is setting the standard for next-generation game development, said Steve Suhy, character modeling lead at FASA Studio, a division of Microsoft Game Studio. Ultimapper blows away existing map generation tools with its ability to easily create multiple map types. Building the necessary high-detail run-time content for next-gen games is suddenly a lot easier. Innovative additions like automatic property transfer and the highly intuitive and unique suite of organic modeling tools eliminate time-consuming, manual tasks and allow artists to concentrate on their creativity.

Customers using SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 will discover that unique character rigs are easy to create and customize, streamlining the process for making modeling, texturing and rigging changes to characters without re-constructing bones, bone weights or shape animation. SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 also includes a comprehensive set of migration tools for Maya users, such as a customizable user interface with new menu, keyboard and mouse navigation properties, all of which make it easy for Maya artists to use their current skill sets within the Softimage production environment.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 has been re-architected to take full advantage of dual-core 64-bit CPUs, which can access large amounts of physical memory to effectively double production throughput during the CG content creation process. In addition, SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 is tightly integrated with version 3.4 of the 64-bit industry-leading mental ray rendering software. Now, users are no longer forced to reduce large scenes into smaller, individual pieces before rendering. Instead, they can create detailed environments with hundreds of lighting effects and shaders, as well as high-resolution models with extensive hair and detailed skin textures and simply render the scenes in their entirety.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 will be demonstrated in the Avid booth (#1401) at SIGGRAPH 2005.

Nicholas Boughen, author and CG supervisor at Rainmaker Animation and Visual Effects, a Vancouver-based visual effects studio, added, When creating visual effects and computer graphics for the film industry, every second is precious. Deadlines are tight, and artists are always looking to deliver a higher level of sophistication on each project. The power Softimage is bringing to the industry with a native 64-bit version that takes full advantage of the performance gains of todays latest hardware, plus a tight integration with 64-bit mental ray, will allow studios to turbo-charge their pipelines

Additional features include:

* Native XSI Hair. XSI Advanced delivers a significant update to XSI Hair with a new grooming tool that gives artists precise creative control for creating and styling realistic content, such as hair, fur, grass and trees. A new instancing system allows users to quickly replicate this content throughout entire environments.* Syflex 3 advanced cloth simulation. XSI Advanced also offers the industry-leading technology of Syflex 3, which incorporates a fast, stable simulation engine that allows artists to create a broad range of cloth effects with ease. * High-performance rigid-body dynamics. With tight integration of the state-of-the-art AGEIA physX physics simulation engine, XSI v.5.0 delivers high-performance simulation, including precise actual-shape collision handling. * New dotXSI v.5.0 export & import with full source code. Using XSI v.5.0, artists can easily import and export the dotXSI v.5.0 file format for XSI models, materials, shaders, animation, skeletons and envelopes. Version 5.0 also adds support for shape morphing, subdivision approximation and blind user-data.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 is expected to be available in September for purchase in the following configurations:

* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 Foundation for $495 from the Softimage website at www.softimage.com/store.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 Essentials for $1,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 Advanced for $6,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI (www.softimage.com) is a complete 3D modeling and animation solution for the film, broadcast, post-production and interactive entertainment industries.

Avid Technology (www.avid.com), headquartered in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, is a world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively and creatively.

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