Friday Flashback #228

ACTOR amazes customers
Softimage introduces the ACTOR module. Setting new standards in character animation.

Original article in german from the “Silicon Graphics Performer”magazine for the “CEBIT” Germany. Printed 1992. Translated by S. Constable 2015.

SOFTIMAGE, the animation software from Montreal is already very well known as a kickstarter. The software is targeted to creative artists and comes with fully integrated and powerful modules: MODEL-MOTION-ACTOR-MATTER-TOOLS, that gives the artists full and and consistent control within a single interface.

The new and amazing ACTOR module in Softimage fits perfectly within the other parts of the software.

Animation of characters (humans, animals) as well as any objects is achievable in its natural movement like never seen before. ACTOR lets you play with physical forces and it knows of muscle contraction. ACTOR integrates inverse kinematics, dynamics, skinning (skin-movement) and collision detection. All controllable with keyframing and f-curve editing. ACTOR is aware of physical values like gravity, inertia, wind or friction – and can handle these automatically.

To give life to a bicycler the operator just have to animate the bicycle and constrain the characters hands and feet to the handles and pedals. The ACTOR module computes the movement of the entire body and its joints. It computes f-curves which are editable. To add up or down movement to the body. If the character arms bend, it gives control to muscle deformation as well.

Wind: Intensity and direction is controllable with an icon independantly and it is fully animatable. A wind wheel will react realistically to that forces, dependent on its friction. No need for a physics lesson!

Direct realtime control: An outstanding feature. ACTOR allows to adjust the motion of complex hierarchies easily. The operator can add additional motion to an already animated character with realtime control. It will be automatically saved and also allows fine control after recording. Via mouse, space-ball or dial-box. Up to 100 channels are possible even with additional external devices like a motion control camera.

Customer reaction
Peter Spans, Hamburg, Award winning character animator:

“ACTOR is the only tool that allows to animate characters with so much life, like you could do in traditional cell animation (Roger Rabbit). Even physics can be used, ACTOR isn’t a scientific and clumsy tool. You can make the puppets dance very easily!”

Siemens: Aliens In a computer-generated world, these aliens are beamed down outside a shop called ‘ElectroMax,’ where they admire the Siemens vacuum cleaner in the window and jump through the glass, onto the window display. Shown at the SIGGRAPH ’92 Chicago Electronic Theater

SOFTIMAGE has 70 customers in germany already and is distributed by VGA in Bruckmühl/Bavaria.

Friday Flashback #223

i am 4.
customization • speed • options • power • thought • imagination • integration
SOFTIMAGE|XSI version 4.0 launch 04.19.2004


We used both SOFTIMAGE|XSI and Avid|DS extensively in the making of the Britney Spears Toxic video. The intelligent, fast and intuitive interface in XSI, coupled with the overall speed of the software, meant that we could get the job done faster and in a style that our competitors couldn’t match.” – Amy Yukich, Executive Producer, KromA

make manage move | media

Friday Flashback #222

Ten years ago: 64-bit SOFTIMAGE|XSI previewed
[This screenshot is] actually one we showed at GDC and IDF a few weeks ago. Its the USS Ronald Reagan provided to us by Digimation. The model is 1.5 million polys and there are 36 of them on screen so there are plenty of polys in that scene too. I think that scene is taking up about 3.7 gigs RAM.

The workstations we are using are Dell 670, 380’s and also Intel provided boxes, both dual Xeon and dual-core Pentium 4EE’s with 8 gigs in the dual core boxes and 16 in the Xeon boxes. I was hoping for some SLI goodness but the boxes are single PCIE machines at the moment so we’re running single Quadro 3400’s.
marksch on cgtalk

Avid to Preview 64-bit SOFTIMAGE|XSI Software at Microsoft Conference
WinHEC 2005 – Seattle , WA – April 25, 2005
Avid Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID) today announced that it will be demonstrating a technology preview of a native 64-bit version of SOFTIMAGE®|XSI® 3-D animation software during WinHEC – Microsoft’s annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference – from April 25-27. The technology preview will provide attendees with a first-hand look at a prototype of SOFTIMAGE|XSI software that is designed to take advantage of 64-bit computing architectures in order to streamline time-consuming 3D animation tasks such as modeling, texturing, and rendering. The 64-bit architecture of SOFTIMAGE|XSI software will leverage the increased performance capabilities found in a range of technologies, including Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, Dell Precision™ Workstations with 64-bit Intel ® Xeon ™ processors supporting up to 16GB of memory, and the new Dell Precision 380 with the Intel ® Pentium ® Processor Extreme Edition – Intel’s first dual-core processor-based platform which also features Intel ® EM64T, supporting up to 8GB of high speed memory.

“At Softimage, our customers create incredible CG visuals for feature films, commercials, and video games – and they are consistently delivering greater realism and more sophisticated 3D content,” said Marc Stevens , director of product marketing and research & development for Softimage. “Advancements in 64-bit hardware, like dual core processors, enable artists to work at greater speeds and to produce incredible results in less time. We’re pleased to be a part of WinHEC this year in collaboration with Dell and Intel, and for the opportunity to show how 64-bit applications are poised to dramatically change the creative process for CG artists who create some of the most complex and compelling visual imagery in today’s media.”

André Bustanoby, visual effects supervisor at Stan Winston Digital, a LA-based visual effects shop, said, “At Stan Winston Digital, we are dedicated to delivering the highest level of character animation and visual effects for our projects, often with huge 3-D scenes that can slow software applications as we push system memory to its maximum capacity. With 64-bit technology, we expect that our team of artists will be able to increase the complexity of their 3-D work – without sacrificing time – to deliver greater visual experiences to viewers than ever before.” Artists at Stan Winston Digital have used SOFTIMAGE|XSI to create CG imagery for films including Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Garfield and Cat in the Hat.

The technology preview of the 64-bit version of SOFTIMAGE|XSI will demonstrate increases in performance over 32-bit memory systems. Some of these benefits include greater interactivity and faster rendering of massively complex 3-D scenes, and less rendering required for creating special effects with longer sequences that require layering of 3-D, film, and video content.

Friday Flashback #219

Las Vegas, Nevada, April 7th 2003

Continued Fast Pace of Customer-Driven New Versions Underscores Company’s Unmatched Commitment to Innovation and the Professional 3-D Market

At NAB 2003, Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc., today announced version 3.5 of its SOFTIMAGE®|XSI® software, the industry’s leading nonlinear 3-D production environment.

In addition to including hundreds of new tools and refinements to increase creativity, productivity and reliability in any production, the SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.5 environment also seamlessly and completely integrates mental ray v3.2, the new version of the award-winning rendering technology from mental images GmbH & Co. KG.

The latest version of the XSI environment, which follows less than six months after the release of version 3.0, is driven by the production requirements of industry leading customers, including Capcom, Electronic Arts, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Konami, Mainframe, Pixel Liberation Front (PLF), Sega, The Mill and Valve, and continues the company’s unmatched pace of development. The SOFTIMAGE|XSI v.3.5 environment further extends Softimage’s position as the professional 3-D market leader in innovation, customer responsiveness and return on investment.