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Softimage Hints At New Products, Highlights XSI

On April 23, 2001, at NAB, the annual international conference of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, Softimage demonstrated version 1.5 of its SOFTIMAGE|XSI software and hinted that a new release would be ready for SIGGRAPH in July. "I can't say much more," program manager Michael Smith commented, "but this next release will be big." Softimage introduced its "INNOVATE::CREATE::COLLABORATE" tagline and displayed the power of XSI with images of Manta, a 3D character created in XSI. Utilizing the architecture of XSI 1.0, new capabilities and performance enhancements have been incorporated into 1.5, including a new polygon mesh modeler, subdivision surfaces, a new texture UV editor, dynamics and Net View, a fully integrated Web browser. Subdivision surfaces in XSI 1.5 allow animators to model, texture and animate complex, one-piece characters, while keeping resolution low until it is time to render, while dynamic simulation includes particles, softbody and cloth dynamic simulators. Simulation also allows the animator to determine and refine the relationship between characters and objects within a scene, enabling lifelike motion, actions and reactions. Net View provides artists with access to a fully integrated HTML browser within XSI 1.5. Conducting research on the Web for materials and linking to the Softimage user community is now possible without the need to leave the Softimage interface. Drag and drop features also allow scene components to be added directly from the Web into XSI 1.5. With SOFTIMAGE|XSI 1.5, animators can also take advantage of the following new features: polygonal modeling tools, animation mixer improvements and texture UV editing.