syd2.jpg We finished our 8th Episode from Siggraph with an exclusive interview with Syd Mead. Syd was brought down to Siggraph By Softimage to talk at the XSI user group. Part of our interview with Syd can be seen in Episode 8 but we will be rolling out longer versions by request in coming weeks. And not only longer versions of key interviews but a whole host of additional new interviews.

At Siggraph Softimage donated a free copy of XSI Education version to all the Siggraph Student Volunteers and launched XSI 6.5, repackaged and re-priced XSI Essentials & XSI Advanced, and Face Robot 1.8  for game development pipeline.

For more information on XSI, click through to read more…

SOFTIMAGE Press Release:

Softimage announced the latest versions of its 3D animation software packages: SOFTIMAGE XSI 6.5 and SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT 1.8. Softimage also announced plans to repackage its Essentials and Advanced versions of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 software to meet the specific needs of artists and studios, respectively. The latest version of SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT will offer enhancements for game development pipelines, along with hours of new training material. SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 and SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT 1.8 software are expected to be available Fall 2007.

“Since our founding by Daniel Langlois, twenty years ago, Softimage has always prided itself on helping 3D artists unleash their creativity and to make the impossible come to life, said Marc Stevens, vice president and general manager for Softimage.  “Once again, we have been listening to our customers and prospects and we followed their advice when we made these improvements to our features, packaging and pricing. We believe that the changes we are making will set a new standard for value and productivity in the industry

Both SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 Essentials and Advanced software will include more than thirty enhancements that were developed for key customers such as Lionhead Studios, Valve, EA, Animal Logic, Nerdcorps, Pandemic and NCSoft. Some of the new enhancements, which improve production efficiency and meet the specific workflow needs of the game development, visual effects and visualization industries, include:
• HDR (high dynamic range) rendermap support;
• Additional SDK (Software Developer Kit) APIs (Application programming interface);
• UV Editing enhancements (2D image data on a 3D model); and
•  Enhanced audio support.

In addition, each SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 application delivers specific features designed to meet the needs of target customers:

SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 Essentials equips artists with the features they need to create compelling 3D characters and content for games, film and television. The Essentials version now includes Hair & Fur, and Syflex Cloth capabilities. The price for Essentials will increase to $2,995 USMSRP; maintenance remains unchanged at $799 USMSRP, and upgrades remain unchanged at $999 USMSRP. XSI 6.5 Essentials will only be available to new customers and customers on active maintenance.

SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 XSI Advanced enables technical directors and studio IT managers to set up and run a creative animation facility with a robust toolset, including everything in the SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 XSI Essentials package, plus Behavior, a crowd and behavioral simulation system, as well as five additional XSI Batch rendering licenses. The price for Advanced will decrease to $4,995 USMSRP and maintenance will decrease to $1333 USMSRP.

Third-Party Developer Community
Since Softimage opened its rendering application programming interface (API) for the SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6 software, the community of third-party developers for SOFTIMAGE|XSI has shown impressive growth. While mental ray software from mental images remains the deeply integrated core renderer in XSI software, the open API allows rendering technology partners to develop and integrate their respective render engines with a similar level of integration and control into SOFTIMAGE|XSI software. Several rendering partners who are already evaluating integrating their technology into XSI software have announced  or are expected to announce shipping products at SIGGRAPH 2007.

SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT is an advanced software package that delivers life-like 3D character facial animation for use in games, film and television, and offers greater speed and control than any other commercially available solution. SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT 1.8 will offer specific new features that focus on game development pipeline efficiencies, including:
• Crosswalk, MOTOR (motion transfer), Delta Referencing and Animation Layers, all of which are built on the SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6 core;
•  A new shape rig export system allowing users to export entire head blend shapes for use in XSI and Autodesk Maya software;
• Improved game export pipeline offering auto-enveloping, which delivers more accurate and higher quality results;