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Sofimage XSI 5 release

Posted: August 04, 2005
3d artist gallery Andyba
At SIGGRAPH 2005, Avid Computer Graphics is very pleased to announce SOFTIMAGE®|XSI® v.5.0, the world's best digital character software designed with a gigapolygon core to handle ten times the detail for next-generation productions and take full advantage of 64-bit platforms.

New features:

Work with Ten Times the Detail

Re-architected with a gigapolygon core that takes full advantage of both multi-processor and multi-core 32-bit and new 64-bit platforms, XSI now handles the tenfold increase in detail demanded by next-generation productions – in tests handling a billion polygons on 64-bit systems. Critical functions are in many cases up to ten times faster than in previous versions of XSI, and a new memory management system makes it possible to render literally any scene that it is possible to load, regardless of physical memory limits.

GATOR - Property Transfer that just Works

Using the new XSI Generalized Attribute Transfer Operator (“GATOR”), easily transfer any surface properties between models, regardless of complexity or topology. Transfer materials, textures, weights, shape animation - even between rigged character models, all attributes and object data can be transferred. Gator can also be used when combining models, allowing completed, textured, animated models to be merged without losing important characteristics.

Film-Quality Normal Map Generation

Going far beyond normal maps, the new XSI ‘Ultimapper’ tool can generate all kinds of cinematic-quality maps from arbitrarily complex models in just a few clicks – all the while taking full advantage of all the sophisticated rendering possibilities of the mental ray v3.4 rendering engine. Ultimapper can generate normal, ambient occlusion, difference, light, and albedo maps all with an instant mental ray, DirectX or OpenGL preview directly in the XSI view-ports. Easy to use, artist friendly and future-proof normal map generation.

Easy Migration from Maya

Long acclaimed for its ease of use, XSI now includes a comprehensive set of migration tools for Maya users, providing menu, keyboard and mouse navigation that lets artists transfer their existing skills and muscle memory to XSI. From familiar workflows through to features like the new XSI Keying Panel, artists will be quickly at home, whatever their previous experience. Migration features include:

* New optional panels to create familiar layouts
* Dedicated keymaps for common commands, based on QWERTY keys
* ALT key camera navigation with Orbit, Pan and Zoom mouse mapping
* Enhanced shelf customization, with optional icons
* Display hotkeys for the current viewport
* Transform Groups that place objects under a single node (null)
* 4-node Satellite Rendering
* Manipulators or directional handles for objects and components

In addition to the interaction modes, Maya users will enjoy the simplicity of XSI’s Dopesheet timeline, parameter connection editor, tweak component tool, bezier curves, UV unwrapping, Shape Editor, construction modes, Render Region and fast subdivision surfaces.

Integrated Tools Development Environment (“TDE”)

A TD’s dream come true - a single unified development environment to create, manage and deploy all tools, plug-ins and workgroups. The TDE contains multiple script editors each with syntax help, breakpoints and external debugging links and includes a tree-based Add-On manager with the ability to create self-installing shaders, events and plug-ins from development wizards using standard scripting languages or directly in C++. Develop inside the TDE and enjoy the refined workflow that XSI artists have enjoyed for years.

Native mental ray v.3.4

XSI and mental ray have evolved together, each taking advantage of the other’s strengths. Now, taking advantage of XSI’s new gigapolygon core, mental ray gains enormous performance benefits. In most cases, mental ray is ten times more memory efficient, .MI render files are ten times smaller, and render times are in many cases around five times faster. The new gigapolygon core means that regardless of physical memory limits, when you can load it into XSI - you can render it out. Take advantage of new 64-bit hardware with access to extremely large memory and take XSI past the billion triangle barrier.

Shape Manager for Easy Shape Creation and Animation

Fast, non-destructive modeling and animation workflow for shapes. A single environment to create, manage and animate a library of shapes. At any time you can edit your original base shapes, create a hybrid-blended shape or view it with additional deformers such as envelopes. With the shape manager there is no need to create separate geometry for each shape (‘morph target’), dramatically reducing dependencies and complexity.

Tweak Component Tool for Fast Freeform Modeling

The all-in-one manipulation tool for fast freeform modeling. With one key you can move, rotate, scale or translate points, edges and polygons as well as loop and range select any component or even slide your selection to match the position of its neighbors exactly. Featuring optional component manipulators and quick manipulation planes making it simple to work to your own artistic rhythm.

High-Performance Rigid-Body Dynamics

Using the state-of-the-art Ageia™ NovodeX physics simulation engine, XSI v.5.0 delivers rock-solid, high-performance physical simulation as much as a 100x performance gain over previous releases. Features include totally new high-precision actual-shape collision handling, and full support for hardware accelerated simulation using the Ageia™ PhysX processor (available separately). Naturally, all simulations can be blended in the animation mixer and layered as animation without the need to re-simulate, enabling the creation and use of simulation libraries.