SOFTIMAGE announced that the eagerly anticipated SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5 is now shipping. Building on the highly-acclaimed previous release, SOFTIMAGE have, as Michael David Smith, XSI product manager, says, "touched virtually every part of the software to add new tools and improve existing ones." Utilizing the solid architecture of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.0, a large number of new capabilities and performance enhancements were incorporated into the SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5 version. These include a new polygon mesh modeler, subdivision surfaces, a new texture UV editor, cloth dynamics and Net View, a fully integrated Web browser. "We are enabling all animators and 3D artists to create higher quality work faster," Smith added. "They are spending less time on repetitive tasks and more time on their art. We also want artists to be free to spend more time on the finishing touches and fine tuning of their work and less on basic construction tasks." Responding to the comments of XSI 1.0 users, SOFTIMAGE have added new subdivision surface tools that allow animators to model, texture and animate complex, one-piece characters, while keeping resolution low until it is time to render. Other notable enhancements include Animation Mixer improvements -- a new bridge transition tool, which intelligently blends multiple motions of different frequencies, i.e., smoothing the transition from a walk cycle to a run cycle -- and new UV texture editing tools for both meshes and surfaces. SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5 is shipping now and pricing starts at US$7,995.