Soft Image

http://www.softimage.com/

They make three incredible products:

They also have SoftImageEddie?, which is actually made by some else, and SoftImage3D Extreme, which is SoftImage3D with MentalRay and a particle system.

BTW, the particle system is sprite based. I found that odd.


SoftImageDS is a video editing system. It is sold only bundled as a turnkey system, bundled with 2 21" monitors, a dual processor system, special video Io hardware, and a 12x12 graphics tablet. It reportedly does everything under the sun.

SoftImageXSI on the other hand is their next generation modeling and animation program. It features flashy new features like Non Linear Animation, a feature that seems like a WellDuhWhyDidntTheyDoThatEarlier? feature.


SoftImage3D is a modeling and animation program. It is available for NT and IrixOs. It has tons of tools that work very well, but no features that aren't standard in other programs as well. Still, it is worth the cost for how finely tuned it is.

Now (Winter 2001), SoftImage 3D costs just 3 grand, which, if memory serves me, is where 3DS Max is priced. This makes SoftImage a viable alternative to LightWave and ThreeDeStudioMax?.

In fact, I think that SoftImage3D is one the best written programs ever. Sure, it does tend to strain PC hardware in some odd ways, and true, it's license manager is a real pain, but it shows a careful attention to the details of making sure that the tools you need are close at hand at all times. It does look a bit scary at first, but that is because people are used to the infrequently used but flashy tools being presented first, and then the everyday ordinary tools are hidden away. That very philosophy is what drove me away from 3D Studio Max R2.x. If only more people would look towards SoftImage3D as a shining example of UserInterface design done right.

The Riva TNT cards, and presumably the TNT2 and GeForces? are all certified to work with SoftImage. Well, rather specific cards are certified, but my understanding is that virtually all work though uncertified. If you have a Voodoo3 or ATI, then you are probably out of luck (in general, OpenGL programs seem to work badly on these cards, although Max and LightWave run with acceleration just fine on these brands). I think some Matrox cards might be certified but I'm not sure. Also, Softimage used not to deal well with multi-head displays. Don't know if that's been fixed.

The license manager is a pain. It means that you will need to have an ethernet card if you don't already.


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