The Death of Softimage

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April 14, 2014 is a sad day for some as it saw the final release of Autodesk’s 3D content creation software, Softimage. Softimage 2015 will be the last in its long line since the initial creation of Softimage|3D in 1988. Originally crafted by Softimage, Co in Montreal Quebec and then bought by Microsoft in 1994, acquired by Avid in 1998 and then finding its final place under the control of industry titan Autodesk in 2008; Soft has changed many hands and has influenced animation in a huge way.

Autodesk is discontinuing Softimage in favor of their more successful products Maya and 3DS Max, incorporating features from Soft into them including ICE; which stands for Interactive Creative Environment. ICE is a visual programming tool used for advanced particle effects for things such as fire, water, dust, and other special FX. ICE was unique and revolutionary because it applied a new solution to creating advanced 3D FX without the need for scripting, instead opting out for a more visual node based system making it much easier to grasp and create something truly beautiful.

Softimage has been quintessential to the CGI in many successful blockbuster films such as Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Thor, Transformers, District 9 and Elysium. It has been used by many video game companies, including Valve who used it in the creation of titles such as Left for Dead and Portal. A free version of Soft was created in conjunction with the XNA toolset to help the modding company develop indie titles for the Xbox 360.

It is really sad to see Autodesk giving this amazing piece of Software the axe. It’s an incredibly user friendly, easy to grasp and a complete joy to use.

Softimage 2015 will be supported by Autodesk until the year 2016, upon which users who own it can migrate for free to 3DS Max or Maya.


Zachary Green

Zachary Green is an award winning 3D artist currently working in Simulation Design and Development for the Oil and Gas Industry.

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