Friday Flashback #54


It now goes by the name “Autodesk Softimage”, but before that it was “Softimage XSI”, and before that, during development and beta, it was code named “Sumatra”. So where did the name XSI come from?

Originally, XSI was the name of a file format used to SOFTIMAGE|3D scene data. The file format was based on the Microsoft DirectX .X file format, so we used the file extension .XSI (“X” + “SI” for Softimage), and that’s where “dotXSI” came from too. The XSI File Format was part of the SOFTIMAGE|GDK; here’s a page from the documentation (which I wrote, btw):

From a 2002 xsibase interview with Michael Sheasby, then the Softimage Business Dev Manager:

What does “XSI” stand for?
When Microsoft owned Softimage, the directX “.X” format was extended with modern templates such as IK, enveloping, and constraints. This enhanced version was labelled the dotXSI format, which stood for .X – Softimage. The name was clean enough to adopt for the product itself, to reflect the central nature of data pipelines to 3D software.

Here’s some of the suggested product names that didn’t make the cut when we were looking for a product name to replace the code name “Sumatra”. These suggestions came from both internal and external people…


Suggested Names ‘2000

  • SOFTIMAGE | 3D eXTC
  • SOFTIMAGE | 3D SUMA
  • SOFTIMAGE | 4X
    …because you wouldn’t give a XXXX for anything lesss
  • SOFTIMAGE | Acid
  • SOFTIMAGE | ACME
    You would have to ship it in a plain crate with ACME 3D
  • SOFTIMAGE | Alchemy
    For obvious reasons…. The name conjures up a notion of magic and special effects – this is what a 3D package does… It also sounds cool.
  • SOFTIMAGE | Ani / motion
    it’s an invented word. Covers motion, feeling and has a punctuation mark which is always cool.
  • SOFTIMAGE | Animation Factory
  • SOFTIMAGE | Artamus
  • SOFTIMAGE | Avatar
    a variant phase or version of a continuing basic entity
  • SOFTIMAGE | Catalyst
  • SOFTIMAGE | Continuum
    Continuum is used in “Space time Continuum” this constitutes openess and and never ending.
  • SOFTIMAGE | Cosmos
  • SOFTIMAGE | Cyclus V1.0
    sounds like movement
  • SOFTIMAGE | DIVA
    Two people suggested “Diva”. One because “…it is a short, sexy, memorable name that means lead performer and has creative connotations in several languages. DIVA also sounds good with AVID, DV, Digital Studio, etc.”
    The other because it is Avid spelled backwards.
  • SOFTIMAGE | eclipse
    because it surpasses (or eclipses) the competition – it’s at the top of the field
  • SOFTIMAGE | Elixir – ZD
    Elixir for the Z Dimension
  • SOFTIMAGE | Elixir
  • SOFTIMAGE | Escher
  • SOFTIMAGE | EUPHORIA
  • SOFTIMAGE | EXTC
  • SOFTIMAGE | Factory
  • SOFTIMAGE | Generator
    Another way to go around the widely used word of Genesis
  • SOFTIMAGE | Helix
  • SOFTIMAGE | Hyperion
  • SOFTIMAGE | IMAGO
  • SOFTIMAGE | Kama Sumatra
    All the flexibility you need…
  • SOFTIMAGE | Mantra
    Inspiring. Linked to your mind. Maje reach the next level.
  • SOFTIMAGE | MOJO
    Its magic
  • SOFTIMAGE | Nliven
    NL – Non Linear Enliven…well, you get the idea
  • SOFTIMAGE | Nucleus
    Radioactive package
  • SOFTIMAGE | Praxis
  • SOFTIMAGE | Primal
  • SOFTIMAGE | Revolve
  • SOFTIMAGE | Revolv
  • SOFTIMAGE | Samsara
    The extinction of desire and individual consciousness
  • SOFTIMAGE | Tethys
  • SOFTIMAGE | Tonic
    Add more life to your animation
  • SOFTIMAGE | Turbo
    the acceleration of CG work
  • SOFTIMAGE | Velocity
    Do everything faster. Get where you want to go at a higher speed.
  • SOFTIMAGE | XTC

2 thoughts on “Friday Flashback #54

  1. and of course there was this one: Softimage|NL3D…(Non-Linear 3D) that made a lot of waves on the beta back then and it almost made it with marketing until someone laughed at the obvious quoting a famous Pixar character by saying: “To infinity…from behind.”

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