Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Autodesk® Softimage® 2011 is announced!

Woohoo!  Softimage® 2011 introduces innovative new rendering and animation tools that help artists create more complex, high quality characters and effects in less time. Enhancements include an advanced new shading architecture and editing environment, support for kinematics in ICE (Interactive Creative Environment), and automated lip-syncing* in the Face Robot® facial animation toolset.
Softimage 2011 is scheduled to ship on or after April 7, 2010.
Read more for details on the new features.



1. Shader Sandbox

Technical directors, shader writers, and third-party developers can now take advantage of a completely new shader authoring environment that automatically hosts external shaders and renderers without the need to build custom shader UI or any other tools. Shaders and renderers automatically get access to the powerful Softimage rendering features—Render Passes, Render Region, Shaderballs, Render, Tree and Material Manager—and can be exposed in Softimage via a single .dll. For example, simply drop a cool new NVIDIA shader into Softimage and begin using it immediately.

2. ICE Kinematics:

More easily and rapidly drive the movement and behaviors of characters and scene elements using the flexibility of ICE (Interactive Creative Environment). With ICE kinematics, TDs can more easily create advanced rigging elements: custom inverse kinematics, constraints and dynamic tails. The visual graph-based structure of ICE helps remove trial and error for technical directors, and enables them to more easily examine the construction of other users’ rigs, and to troubleshoot and debug rigs.  And, using ICE kinematics helps remove the need for intermediary objects as references, helping reduce complexity and speeding up the rig’s evaluation.

3. Automatic Face Robot Lip-Syncing:

Quickly generate facial animation based on an audio file with new automatic lip-syncing in Face Robot. A new dedicated view for controlling the phonemes and visemes offers function curves to help modify their contribution. With this new functionality, the Face Robot toolset delivers a more complete, automated solution for facial rigging and animation.

4. 100 New ICE Compounds:

Select from up to 100 new ICE compounds to more easily create a vast range of effects. Compounds can be used directly as presets, or as starting points or learning tools for artists creating their own ICE effects. The new compounds cover several areas: Kinematics, Arrays, Curves, Debugging, Deformation Effects, Hull Deformers, Skinning, Verlet Integration, Execution, Geometry Queries, Math, Particle Emissions, Particle Getters and Setters, Testers, Strands and Strand Dynamics.

5. 100 new Mental Ray Shaders:

Enhance rendering creativity and productivity with up to 100 new mental ray® shaders: .mi and .mip production shaders, that enable artists to simulate a wide range of materials.

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6. Phsyx 2.83:

More easily create meshless deformation simulations in ICE with the latest NVIDIA® PhysX® rigid body library. With new support for springs and dampers, artists can more easily achieve a wide range of effects such as jelly-like and plastic deformation. The new library also offers accelerated performance, enabling artists to focus on the creative process when creating and refining dynamic simulations. Even faster performance is possible with the optional addition of an NVIDIA® CUDA™ enabled GPU.

7. Camera and Render Slate:

Show useful information in the viewport or renders: scene name, camera, render pass, and frame numbers with the new Camera and Render Slate functionality.

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8. Multi-Camera Rendering:

Save time when rendering passes from multiple cameras. Now each pass can render a sequence for all cameras, eliminating the need to setup a separate pass or scene in order to render from another camera.

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9. Mental Ray 2011

What? Yep! Take advantage of a more robust production environment, together with an overall increase in stability, and faster renders due to enhanced performance in BSP2, with the new mental ray 2011 renderer.

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10. UV Unfold Enhancements:

Create symmetrical results when unfolding, and unwrap local UV islands in the Texture Editor, with enhanced UV Unfold technology.

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11. Additional New Features and Enhancements:

ICE String Type: Technical directors can now use a string node to track custom information and set external paths inside an ICE tree.

Windows® 7 Operating System Support

Viewport Object Opacity: Control the opacity of an object in the viewport to aid easier selection and manipulation of occluded scene elements.

On-Screen Viewing and Editing of Clipping Planes: See and modify where camera clipping planes start and end with a visual cue in the viewport.

Crosswalk 5.0: Transfer Softimage content in and out of Autodesk ® 3ds Max® and Autodesk® Maya® software pipelines using the latest dotXSI, COLLADA, and FBX standards.

Highlight Playback Range: More easily see where the timeline starts and ends in the background of the fcurve editor, dopesheet and animation mixer.