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Softimage Announces SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1

Softimage Co. confirmed the latest update to the companys flagship character production software, SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1. This release offers a range of new features designed to simplify deployment and asset exchange for customers working on next-generation game titles and vfx in mixed pipelines. Feature updates include native COLLADA 1.4 support, enhanced asset exchange with other applications and hundreds of other customer-driven enhancements.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI is the most advanced character software available today, ideally suited for the development of next-gen titles, said Gareth Morgan, senior product manager for Softimage. The unique features in XSI like the popular GATOR attribute transfer tool and the Ultimapper data map generator were designed in collaboration with some of the worlds top games studios. XSI v.5.1 offers innovative character production tools for artists, backed up by the widest range of supported file-formats, standard scripting languages and an extensive range of specialized C++ APIs for everything from plug-ins to pipeline deployment.

Featuring unique, non-destructive workflow, SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 enables artists to make changes to rigged and animated characters at any point in the production cycle.

Highlights include:

* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 now includes COLLADA 1.4 support. Released in January 2006, COLLADA 1.4 is a standards-based interchange medium that enables 3D authoring applications to freely exchange digital assets, enabling multiple software packages to be combined into extremely powerful pipelines. The COLLADA specification is part of Khronos Group of standards. For more information, see the Softimage demo on the Khronos Booth #1632 at GDC or visit * SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 now includes full support for the latest high-level realtime shading languages, including built-in authoring and display of Cg (.CgFX), COLLADA FX, HLSL (.FX) realtime shaders, as well as support for SAS v.1.0, artists working on next-gen projects can visualize the final results in XSI viewports as they work.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 introduces a new custom operator architecture that dramatically simplifies the process of creating C++ and scripted operators. In all, more than 200 new SDK features, commands, classes or functions have been added to improve customizability, including new menu anchor points in the main command panel and view manager.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 includes full compatibility with scenes created in SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT v.1.0, the first production toolset for lifelike face animation. By solving faces for animation and reducing preparation time, Face Robot allows animators to concentrate on sculpting the details of every expression for unforgettable digital performances.* With enhanced support for both import and export of assets from applications such as Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, incorporating SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 into a games pipelines has never been easier.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 is expected to be available at the end of March. Customers who purchased any of the three packages of SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.0 software Foundation, Essentials and Advanced will be able to download the upgrade at

New customers will be able to purchase SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 in the following configurations:

* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 Foundation will be available for $495 from the Softimage website ( or from authorized Softimage resellers.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 Essentials will be available for $1,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.* SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.5.1 Advanced will be available for $6,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.

Softimage Co. (, a subsidiary of Avid Technology Inc., delivers innovative, character creation and effects tools to animators and digital artists in the film, broadcast, post-production and games industries. Its product line includes SOFTIMAGE|XSI, the industry's only non-destructive character production software, and SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT, the first production toolset that multiplies animation productivity while giving artists precise control.

Avid Technology Inc. ( 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.

Bill Desowitz's picture

Bill Desowitz, former editor of VFXWorld, is currently the Crafts Editor of IndieWire.