A little over 10 years ago, this review of XSI 2.0 appeared in 3D World, with the tag line “…is this the Softimage we’ve been waiting for?”.
Back then, XSI Essentials cost $8,200 US. Today, a Standalone license of 2012 costs $2995 US.
XSI Advanced costs $12,300. Now, a Network license costs $3745.
Here’s the intro:
Softimage has gone through a turbulent period over the last few years. It’s been tossed between parent companies (Microsoft and Avid) and seen its lead in high-end 3D animation wane, not least thanks to the popularity of Alias|Wavefront’s Maya.
The long-awaited and long-overdue upgrade to Softimage’s 3D animation system, the legendary Softimage|3D, was XSI 1.0, a somewhat lacklustre release in so much as it still relied heavily on Softimage|3D. There was no polygon modelling, import or exporting had to be done via Softimage|3D (and still does actually) and NURBS features were limited. However, it did feature two very important new technologies.
The first was Twister which was the seamless integration of Mental Image’s mental ray rendering system within XSI, complete with visual shading network and finalquality interactive preview rendering. The second was the non-linear animation system, the Mixer, that enabled artists to mix and blend animation clips as if they were mixing tracks of video.
The updated 1.5 version introduced polygon tools and Subdivision Surfaces, which helped workflow considerably. With version 2.0 it seems that Softimage has finally produce the version of XSI that everyone has been waiting for. It’s a beast, and frankly Alias should be worried.