August 8, 2005


LOS ANGELES - Softimage ( showed Version 5 of its XSI animation application at SIGGRAPH last week. The 32-bit/64-bit tool runs on Linux and Windows environments (including Windows XP 64), and has an entry-level price below $500.

"There are three key areas where making a native 64-bit version really makes a difference," explains Softimage|XSI specialist Gareth Morgan. "Performance: the limits of the system are obviously much higher. Precision: 64-bit can handle much more precision in fewer clock cycles. Memory: they can address an enormous amount of memory space. Another area where we've invested a lot is in the core architecture of XSI, to make sure it can really efficiently manage very complex data sets, make the best use of the memory and the hard disk subsystem that's available."

The new release also incorporates richer and more complex shader technology. "Along with the next-generation consoles, and the very fast, powerful hardware-accelerated graphics pipelines the systems are now going to have, you need authoring tools and also ways for creative people to get the most out of those technologies," Morgan explains. "Over the years we've pioneered realtime shaders inside XSI - it's a way to associate these rich rendering pipelines with models and characters."

XSI has been used on the films "Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D," "Fantastic Four" and "Sin City." It has also been used on the games "Half Life 2" (Valve) and "Metal Gear" (Konami).

Pricing starts at $495 for Foundation. Essentials costs $1,995, while Advanced is priced at $6,995.