Avid has announced version 5 of the company's SOFTIMAGE|XSI 3D animation software. This latest version includes new tools to improve performance and creative flexibility. SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 offers 3D teams to new features, such as Ultimapper--a map generation tool for producing cinema-quality maps in a few clicks--and GATOR--a property transfer system for merging fully textured and animated 3-D models. In addition to running on standard 32-bit CPUs, SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 will also be available in a native 64-bit configuration, allowing users to model, animate, and render complex scenes in their entirety with billions of polygons and layers of 3D, film, and video content, according to Avid.
SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 allows users to create and customize character rigs, streamlining the process for making modeling, texturing, and rigging changes to characters without re-constructing bones, bone weights, or shape animation. SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 also includes a set of migration tools for Maya users, such as a customizable user interface with new menu and keyboard and mouse navigation properties.
SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 has been redesigned to take advantage of dual-core 64-bit CPUs, which can access large amounts of physical memory to effectively double production throughput during the CG content creation process, according to Avid. In addition, SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 is integrated with version 3.4 of the 64-bit mental ray rendering software. Now, users no longer need to reduce large scenes into smaller, individual pieces before rendering.
SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 is expected to be available in September 2005 for purchase in the following configurations:
- SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 Foundation for $495 from the Softimage Web site at www.softimage.com/store.
- SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 Essentials for $1,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.
- SOFTIMAGE|XSI 5 Advanced for $6,995 from authorized Softimage resellers.