Autodesk Softimage 2011: Advanced Character Animation and 3D Procedural Effects

Automated Lip Sync in Face Robot and Innovative Rigs with Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) Kinematics Set New Bar for Character Animation

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., March 9, 2010 - Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) announced Autodesk Softimage 2011, a comprehensive 3D application featuring a unique, multithreaded GigaCore architecture and innovative tools: the Interactive Creative Environment (ICE) and Face Robot facial animation toolset. Softimage is also an ideal companion product to both Autodesk Maya and Autodesk 3ds Max software pipelines with its easily programmable effects simulations, advanced character rigs and lip-synched facial setups.


Rendering 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.


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.

"Softimage provides a flexible, high-speed and efficient solution to help create stunning and complex character animation and procedural effects. Technical directors, visual effects artists and computer graphics supervisors are cheering the unique combination of innovative rigging tools, particle, dynamics and rendering openness," said Stig Gruman, Autodesk vice president of digital entertainment. "Softimage is a great addition to Maya or 3ds Max pipelines helping to expand creative capability and increase productivity."


Automatic Face Robot Lip-Synching - 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.


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.

Key New Features in Autodesk Softimage 2011 Software

  • Rendering Sandbox - Automatically hosts external shaders and renderers without the need to build a custom shader user interface (UI) or other tools.
  • ICE Kinematics - Aids creation of advanced rigging elements with custom inverse kinematics, spines, constraints and dynamics tails. The visual graph-based structure of ICE helps remove trial and error and enables easier examination of rig construction, facilitating troubleshooting and rig debugging.
  • Automated Lip-Synching in Face Robot - Allows for quicker generation of facial animation based on an audio file. Features a new dedicated view for controlling the visemes and phonemes with function curves to help modify their contribution.
  • Rendering Enhancements - The new mental ray 2011 renderer offers increased stability and faster renders. Up to one hundred new mental ray shaders enable easier simulation of a wider range of materials. Helps save time rendering multiple cameras for each pass, and the new Camera and Render Slate functionality shows useful information in the viewport or renders.
  • 100 New ICE Compounds - Provides predefined compounds covering several areas: Kinematics, Arrays, Curves, Debugging, Deformation Effects, Hull Deformers, Skinning, Verlet Integration, Geometry Queries, Math, Particle Emissions, Particle Getters and Setters, Testers, Strands and Strand Dynamics.
  • PhysX 2.83 - Helps artists create meshless deformations in ICE with the latest NVIDIA PhysX rigid body library. Provides new support for springs and dampers. New library also offers accelerated performance when using the optional addition of an NVIDIA CUDA enabled graphics processing unit (GPU).


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.


PhysX 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.

Beta Tester Testimonials

"ICE has a great user interface and gives great flexibility to artists, helping us save time in production. We're looking forward to using the new ICE kinematics to create ever more complex and dynamic rigs." - Aloys Baillet, Research and Development Lead, Animal Logic

"ICE kinematics will change the way the industry does rigging, it just doesn't know it yet! Rig complexity will be reduced to the simplest representation, bones won't be needed at all and rigging that was simply impossible for technical directors to attempt before is now possible." - Eric Thivierge, Technical Director, SpeakeasyFX

"Rigging using ICE is going to change everything. Not only did character technical directors just get access to scene information at a much deeper level, but they got it within a framework that allows logic structures and programming far beyond anything possible using existing tools for constraints, expressions and relations." - Bradley Gabe, Senior Technical Animator, Janimation

"This is hands down the most powerful rigging framework on the planet. When I look at traditional rigs now, they just feel so awkward and clumsy." - Phil Taylor, Independent Contractor, Motion Mechanic

From March 11-13, 2010, visit the Virtual GDC event on the AREA community site to watch new Softimage 2011 product demonstrations and customer presentations live from the Autodesk Game Developers Conference booth. More information is also available on Mark Schoennagel's Planet Softimage AREA blog.


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.

Pricing and Availability

Autodesk anticipates that Softimage 2011 will be available in English and Japanese in April 2010. The Autodesk suggested retail price (SRP) for an Autodesk Softimage 2011 stand-alone license is US$2,995.* The price to upgrade from Softimage 2010 to Softimage 2011 is $1,495** SRP. Autodesk Subscription with Gold Support is available for purchase simultaneously with the product or upgrade purchase for $795 SRP per year.

* International pricing may vary.
** The price to upgrade from Softimage Advanced 2010 to Softimage 2011 is $295 SRP.


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.

About Autodesk

Autodesk, Inc., is a world leader in 2D and 3D design, engineering and entertainment software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk continues to develop the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art software to help customers experience their ideas digitally before they are built. Fortune 100 companies Ø as well as the last 15 Academy Award winners for Best Visual Effects Ø use Autodesk software tools to design, visualize and simulate their ideas to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation for competitive advantage. For additional information about Autodesk, visit http://www.autodesk.com.

Autodesk, AutoCAD, Face Robot, Maya, Softimage and 3ds Max are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. Academy Award is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. mental ray is a registered trademark of mental images GmbH licensed for use by Autodesk, Inc. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

© 2010 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.


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