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Autodesk to shut down Softimage and ship final version next month
Autodesk announced that it will cease updating its 3D modeling and animation utility Softimage after April 2014.
Posted on March 05, 2014 at 12:45 pm IST
Autodesk announced that Softimage will be no longer. Although there will be a 2015 release of the software - shipping around April 14th - support for Softimage will continue only until April 30, 2016.
Softimage enjoyed a long and beloved history in CG and VFX production, beginning life as the Softimage Creative Environment and used by ILM in many of its early landmark productions. Microsoft acquired the company in 1994 and renamed the software Softimage|3D, before it changed hands to Avid in 1998 and then Autodesk in 2008. Many advancements in the software, which became known as SoftimageXSI, were made over time, perhaps most notably with ICE (Interactive Creative Environment).

Former ILM artist Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, who worked on The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park and several other breakthrough ILM pics, told fxguide about his early experience using Softimage at the studio on Jurassic Park:

“After the first walking rex test that I did in Alias V2.4.1 (forward kinematics),” he says, “we brought in SI V2.6 (inverse kin system). As I was building the rex skin, I was evaluating SI as was Eric Armstrong. We were very impressed and bought 10 licenses running on SGI 420 Indigos. We never used the Alias forward (animation) system again. The last official animation use for Alias was T2. All data was built in Alias then ported across to SI, starting with Jurassic.”

Autodesk is offering Autodesk Softimage Subscription customers ‘no-cost options’ to migrate to either Maya or 3ds Max software as they continue to use Softimage in their pipes. The company has advised these options will be available until February 1st, 2016.
A ‘chained’ T-rex drawing from Williams used to figure out the joint placement with Softimage units. Says Williams: “Mark Dippe’ and I took a 5 foot Stan Winston model, cut it up, drove down to Cyberware, scanned in the pieces. I then rebuilt the data using b-splines (Alias v2.4) then moved all the data to SI 2.6. It took about a month to animate the daylight shot of the rex, skinned and walking.”
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