Company facts

 

Softimage: "16 Years of Leadership and Innovation"


Contact: Veronique Froment Tel: (603) 537-9248 veronique@bubblesqueak.com

 


Industry History

The birth and growth of 3-D animation industry thus far has been short and aggressive. In less than 12 years, the technology has transcended its "scientific" origins, overcoming numerous barriers of feasibility, affordability, cost-effectiveness, complexity of use, and productivity to become pervasive in all aspects of narrative and interactive media. The resulting computer-generated images have progressed so significantly, that they are not easily distinguished from reality. Softimage has been at the forefront in the development of this industry - taming the technology to provide tools suited for a growing fraternity of digital artists and animators.

 


Company History

Softimage was founded in 1986 by National Film Board of Canada filmmaker Daniel Langlois on the principle of creating 3-D animation systems designed for and by artists. The concept marked a fundamental shift in how the industry viewed visual effects creation and generated a new breed of visual effects artists and animators. Langlois wanted to create animated films but was dissatisfied with the existing technology, which was insufficient for his needs and designed to be used by computer scientists and technologists. Thus, he set out to create a tool that would suit the needs of filmmakers and artists.


From its beginning, Softimage has had a singular focus on its customers - the digital content creators - a vision that remains at the core of Softimage’s corporate culture and business objectives. A vision that drives the production of tools that enable more digital artists to realize their creative dreams; to express their talent; to free them of technological constraints, and to provide them full control over the three dimensions of our world. This vision has successfully driven Softimage to yield milestones that have shaped and influenced an entire industry: the first integrated animation and effects system for the entertainment industries – a de-facto standard for over ten years; on-going development of ground-breaking tools that have become the cornerstone of modern computer animation; the first company to port animation tools to PC (NT) – dramatically increasing affordability and accessibility of the tools; a broadening of integration vision to include post-production – with the release of SOFTIMAGE|DS (now Avid|DS); and SOFTIMAGE|XSI - next generation animation technology that dramatically improves quality and productivity – and again expands tool accessibility to the mass-markets in games and web content industries.


While these milestones are complimentary, the true drive of Softimage has come from a partnership with its customers who have helped to shape the personality of the product and the company – a unique culture, brand equity and sought after leadership position at the high-end of the market.


Softimage customers, numbering over 15,000 worldwide, are the most inspired and creative artists in the world - large customers such as Industrial Light and Magic, Digital Domain, Sega, Nintendo, and Sony. Plus, mid-range and small customers, such as the one seat boutique or even the student just starting to learn – all of who use the product to its fullest and drive its future direction.


The results of this partnership is an impressive portfolio of hundreds of major feature films (Jurassic Park, Titanic, The Matrix, Men in Black, Star Wars – the Phantom Menace, Gladiator, Harry Potter, AI: Artificial Intelligence, Pearl Harbor, Queen of the Damned), games (Super Mario 64, Tekken, Virtua Fighter, Wave Race, NBA Live) and countless thousands of commercial, corporate and student projects. This high-profile content has certainly affected the film and games industries and stands to expand dramatically beyond its current realm.


The Managing Director of this pioneering company is Michael Stojda, who after working for the past seven years at Softimage and Avid and managing a wide range of effects, editing, and finishing products at both companies, was promoted in April 2001. Reporting to David Krall, President and CEO of Avid Technology, Michael provides strategic business and operational leadership for Softimage, Avid’s animation and special effects division.

 


Markets Served

Softimage currently serves users in the film, games and television industries with products focused on 2-D and 3-D content creation.

 


Product Family

SOFTIMAGE|XSI

SOFTIMAGE|3D

SOFTIMAGE| Eddie

SOFTIMAGE SDK

XSI Viewer

SOFTIMAGE|XSI BatchUniversal, SOFTIMAGE|XSI Batch

SOFTIMAGE|Toonz

Toonz plug-in for SOFTIMAGE|XSI and Avid|DS

 

 



1986

Softimage founded on the principle of creating 3-D animation systems designed for and by artists, with or without computer experience. The concept marks a fundamental shift in how the industry views visual effects creation and generates what will soon be a new breed of visual effects artists and animators. Founder Daniel Langlois establishes the fundamental principle and design layouts of the Softimage Creative Environment system. Creative workflow and process integration become synonymous with Softimage’s philosophy.



1987

Softimage President Daniel Langlois and engineers Richard Mercille and Laurent Lauzon begin development of the company’s 3-D application software. Intuitive and productive workflow, and a truly interactive CG environment are about to become a reality.



1988

Launch of Creative Environment 1.0 at SIGGRAPH. For the first time, all 3-D processes (modeling, animation, and rendering) are integrated, providing those familiar with computer graphics with a new way of working and those unfamiliar with the technology with an opening into new possibilities. Featuring advanced tools and the first production-speed ray tracer, the system changes the approach to creating 3-D animation for years to come and sets a new standard for an entire generation of artists. Creative Environment (eventually to be known as SOFTIMAGE®|3D), will become the standard animation solution in the industry with credits in hundreds of major films, games and commercial productions.



1989

Creative Environment 1.65 with texture mapping released, adding realism and vitality to 3-D imagery.



1990

Creative Environment 2.1 released.



1991

Creative Environment 2.5 released, featuring the Actor Module with Inverse Kinematics, Enveloping, Constraints. Enables animators to combine conventional techniques (such as editing and keyframing) with advanced CG tools such as IK, flexible envelopes, and dynamics. The system heralds a revolution in creating realistic CG character motion, and would later win an award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.



1992

• Creative Environment 2.52 released.

• Softimage goes public on NASDAQ.

• Softimage acquires the EDDIE® software and Painterly Effects, providing a complete effects generation toolkit with advanced image processing tools for color correction, filtering, rotoscoping, morphing and painting.

• Softimage opens software to third-party developers.

• Channels performance capture technology offer a new dimension to CG character animation. The technology is used to create a memorable spot featuring 3-D dancing cars and gas pumps for Shell Oil.



1993

• Second public offering of Softimage stock.

• Softimage and mental images announce rendering technology agreement.

• Softimage Creative Environment 2.6 and 2.65 released, featuring: File Management, metaclay, clusters, flock animation, weighted envelopes, channels, open system policy.

• Creative Toonz debuts. The 2-D animation package automates the more tedious tasks involved in 2-D cel animation, such as inking-&-painting, while still maintaining the look of hand-drawn images and characters.

• With computers now able to handle video, Softimage begins development of Digital Studio, as a step towards integrating the 2D/3D production pipeline. The power of a post-production environment in a software-based solution is about to become a reality.

• mental ray® and particles introduced. mental ray, an advanced stand-alone rendering system and Particles, an interactive particle animation system used to create natural phenomena such as clouds, snow, fire, etc. offer new flexibility in visual effects creation.



1994

• Softimage merges with Microsoft Corporation, offering a unique opportunity to explore and develop new solutions for the industry. Development of Digital Studio further supported.

• Creative Environment 2.65 released, featuring: Expressions, dopesheet, ghost mode, shape interpolation.

• IDEAS: Interactive Developer's Entertainment Authoring Software with ProPlay and ProPlay Plus solutions, includes: Softimage Creative Environment, NURBS support, polygon and color reduction tools, dynamic simulations and inverse kinematics. Features: Eddie compositing, video-effects software, distributed ray tracer and 3-D particles kit. The system further supports Softimage’s commitment to games developers.



1995

• Exploiting the power of the Pentium processor, Softimage leads the way developing the first high-end product on a platform of choice (Irix/Windows NT).

• SOFTIMAGE|3D version 3.0 released, featuring: NURBS modelling, relational modelling, trimming, Instantiation, polygon reduction, tangent-to-path, Constraint, Q-stretch, Expressions, Motion control, Actor, Particle, mental ray rendering, Metaclay.

• User-interface enhancements provide hot-key remapping.

• SOFTIMAGE|3D "extreme" version launched featuring: Osmose, Virtual Theatre, mental ray.

• SOFTIMAGE|Toonz version 3.5 and SOFTIMAGE|Eddie version 3.2 released.

• Softimage introduces its Virtual Theatre, featuring performance capture and real-time compositing.



1996

• SOFTIMAGE|3Dv 3.5, 3.51 released on the Windows NT platform, delivering high-end animation tools to a wide-range of CG artists.

• SOFTIMAGE|SDK Trance CD released.

• "Sumatra"(code name) and RenderFarm unveiled.

• SOFTIMAGE|DS prototype on Windows NT platform unveiled.



1997

•SOFTIMAGE|DS, one of the world’s most comprehensive nonlinear production systems (NLP™) for creating, editing and finishing videos, is launched. Over 10,000 people attended launch events in over 20 cities. Based on an advanced new software architecture, SOFTIMAGE|DS enables users to redefine the way they create content and improves the creative process by seamlessly integrating picture and audio editing, compositing, paint, image treatment, special effects, character generation and project management into one environment. Digital audio editing and non-compressed images meet painting, compositing, titling, image treatment and special effects as never before.

• SOFTIMAGE|3D Version 3.7 Service Pack 1 is designed to meet the creative needs of artists in the film, broadcast and games industries. 80% of the improvements are the direct result of contact with customers in production environments improving the trajectory between creative idea and realization.

• Softimage is the first to offer high-end comprehensive noncompressesd post-production system on the Windows NT platform (SOFTIMAGE|3D and SOFTIMAGE|DS).



1998

• Avid Technology, Inc. acquires Softimage. The two companies join forces to develop the next generation tools for digital artists.

• SOFTIMAGE|3D v. 3.8 and SOFTIMAGE|DS v. 2.1 shipped.

• Animation Sequencer introduced.

 


1999

• Animation Redefined™: "Sumatra" (code name), the world’s first nonlinear animation editing system introduced. Dubbed "the next generation animation production solution". Based on the same architecture as SOFTIMAGE|DS, "Sumatra" merges all 3-D animation, editing, and composting tasks, taking digital technology to the next level.



2000

•SOFTIMAGE|XSI begins shipping.

The Motion Factory, Inc., is acquired. The Fremont, CA-based company specialises in applications for the creation, delivery and playback of interactive rich 3-D media for character-driven games and the Web.



2001

• Softimage enters in to Xbox tools and middleware agreement with Microsoft.Softimage announces support for Linux.

• SOFTIMAGE|XSI v1.5 begins shipping.

• Softimage and Electric Rain collaborate to bring Flash, EPS, AI and SVG exports to SOFTIMAGE|XSI customers.

• SOFTIMAGE|XSI v2.0 unveiled at Siggraph 2001

• SOFTIMAGE|3D v4.0 unveiled at Siggraph 2001

• SOFTIMAGE|XSI v2.0 begins shipping

 



2002 (so far)

 

• Softimage releases free, open-source solutions for 3-D interoperability

• Softimage releases the SOFTIMAGE|XSI Experience, a no-cost educational software and training kit, to give any aspiring artists and animators access to industry-leading technology

•SOFTIMAGE|3D v.4.0 begins shipping


 

Motion Pictures Created Using Softimage Products (Representative Sample)

 


101 Dalmatians / Industrial light & Magic (1996)

 

Saving Private Ryan / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)


12 Monkeys / Peerless Camera (1996)

Shadows / Mitch Levine, Director (2000)


A Simple Wish / Blue Sky (1997)

Small Soldiers / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)


AI: Artificial Intelligence  / 
Industrial light & Magic (2001)

Snake Eyes / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)


Air Force One / Cinesite (1997)

Space Jam / Industrial Light & Magic (1996)


Alien Resurrection / Blue Sky | VIFX (1997)

Spawn / Industrial Light & Magic (1997)


An American Werewolf in Paris / Santa Barbara Studios (1997)

Species II / Digital Magic & Transfer (1998)


Anastasia / Fox Animation Studio (1997)

Speed2 / Industrial Light & Magic (1997)


Antz / Pacific Data Images & Dreamworks Pictures (1998)

Sphere / Cinesite (1998)


Babe: Pig in the City / Animal Logic (1998)

Starship Troopers / Tippett (1997)


Balto / Amblimation (1995)

Star Trek: First Contact / Industrial Light & Magic (1996)


Batman and Robin / BUF Compagnie (1997)


Stuart Little (1999) / Centropolis FX


Casper / Industrial Light & Magic (1995)

Star trek: Generations / Industrial Light & Magic (1994)


Contact / Sony Pictures Imageworks / Weta Ltd. (1997)

Star Wars Trilogy / Industrial Light & Magic (1997)


Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace (2000)


Death Becomes Hers / Industrial Light & Magic (1993)


Surviving Picasso / Peerless Camera (1996)


Deep Impact / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)

T2-3D / Digital Domain (1996)


Deep Rising / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)

The Adventures of Pinocchio / MediaLab (1996)


Dragonheart / Industrial Light & Magic (1996)

The Borrowers / Framestore (1998)


Eraser / Mass Illusion (1996)

The Edge / Peerless Camera (1997)


Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas / Peerless Camera (1998)

The Fifth Element / Digital Domain (1997)


Fight Club / Pixel Liberation Front / BUF (1999)

The Flintstones / Industrial Light & Magic (1994)


Flubber / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)

The Frighteners / Weta Ltd. (1996)


Forces of Nature / Dreamworks Pictures (1999)

The Island of Dr. Moreau / Digital Domain (1996)


Galaxy Quest / ILM (1999)


Gladiator / The Mill (2001)

The Lost World / Industrial Light & Magic (1997)


Godzilla / Centropolis (1998)

Harry Potter / Industrial Light & Magic (2001)

The Mask / Industrial Light & Magic (1994)


The Matrix


The Mummy and The Mummy Returns


Jack Frost / ILM / Warner Bros (1998)

The Relic / VIFX (1997)


Joe’s Apartment / Blue Sky (1996)

The Shadow / R/Greenberg & Associates (1994)


Judge Dredd / (1995)

The Thin Red Line / Animal Logic (1998)


Jumanji / Industrial Light & Magic (1995)

Moulin Rouge / Animal Logic (2001)


Jurassic Park / Industrial Light & Magic (1993)

Mission Impossible / Industrial Light & Magic (1996)


Jurassic Park 2 / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)

Mortal Kombat: Annihilation / The Digital Magic


Jurassic Park 3 / Industrial Light & Magic (2001)

My Favorite Martian / Tippett Studio (1998)

The One / R!OT Pictures(2001)


La Cite des Enfants Perdus / BUF Compagnie (1995)

Prince of Egypt / Dreamworks Pictures

(1998)


Lost in Space / Framestore (1998)

Lord of the Rings / Weta Ltd. (2001)

Queen of the Damned / R!OT Pictures(2001)


Mars Attack! / Industrial light & Magic (1996)


Matrix / Animal Logic (1998)


Men in Black / Industrial Light & Magic (1997)


Meet Joe Black / Industrial Light & Magic (1998)




 

Games Created Using Softimage Products (Representative Sample)


20,000 leagues – The Adventure Continues / Southpeak Entertainment (2000)

NHL Hockey / Electronic Arts ( 1996)


3D Movie Maker / Microsoft (1996)

NHL Hockey 2000 / Electronic Arts ( 2000)


9 – The Last Resort / Tribeca Interactive (1996)

Nanostorm / Dream Mechanics (Fall 2000)

Aero Dancing F / CRI (CSK) (1999)

The Need for Speed / Electronic Arts

( 1996)


Apocrypha / Dream Mechanics (coming in 2000)

Nights / SEGA


Assault Rigs / Psygnosis (1996)

Obsidian / Rocket Science Games (1997)

Onimusha 2 / Capcom Co. Ltd. (2002)


Battlezone / Activision (1998)

Panzer Dragoon / SEGA (1998)


Battlezone II / Activision (1999)

Power Stone 2 / Capcom (1999)


Beowulf: Attack of Grendel / Terraglyph (1996)

ReBoot / Electronic Arts (1998)


BioHazard Code: Veronica / Capcom (1999)

Resident Evil / Capcom (1997)


BioHazard 3 Last Escape / Capcom (1999)

Riven / Cyan (1997)


Chaos Break / Taito Corporation (1999)

Rumplestiltskin / Terraglyph Interactive


City of Lost Children / Psygnosis (1997)

Rune / Human Head Studios (2000)


Colony Wars / Psygnosis (1998)

Shenmue / CRI SEGA (1999)


Dance Dance Revolution 3rd MIX / KONAMI (1999)

Ski Champ / SEGA (1997)


Dark Earth / Kalisto Entertainment (1996)

Solar Crusade / Infogrames


Daytona USA / SEGA (1996)

Soldier of Fortune / Raven Software (2000)


Dead or Alive 2 -3 / Tecmo (2000)

Sonic Fighters / SEGA


Destruction Derby / Psygnosis (1996)

Soldier of Fortune / Raven Software (2000)

 

Devil May Cry / Capcom Ltd. (2002) Sonic Adventure 2 / Sonic Team (2002)


Drowned God / Inscape (1996)

Soul Blade / Namco


Dungeon Keeper 2 / Bullfrog (1999)

Soul Caliber / Namco (1999)


F1 World Grand Prix / Video System (1999)

Space Channel 5 / SEGA (2000)


FIFA Soccer 97 / Electronic Arts (1997)

Spoon / Capcom (1999)


FIFA 98 / Electronic Arts (1998)

S.P.Q.R. / Cybersite (1996)


FIFA 2000 / Electronic Arts (2000)

Starship Titanic / The Digital Village (1997)


FIFA 2002 / Electronic Arts (2001)

Storm Sled / Electronic Arts (1999)


Fighting Vipers / SEGA (1996)

Star Trek: Voyager - Elite Force / Raven Software


Final Fantasy VII / Square (1998)

Super GT / SEGA


Formula 1 / Psygnosis (1997)

Super Monkey Ball / SEGA / Amusement Vision, Ltd. (2001)


Gadget / Synergy (1994/1997)

Super Mario64 / Nintendo (1996)


Gearheads / R/GA Interactive (1996)

NHRA Drag Racing / Tantrum Entertainment (1998)


Get Bass / SEGA (1997)

Ted Shredd / Digital Domain


Grim Fandango / LucasArts (1998)

Tenka / Psygnosis


GURADIUS IV / KONAMI (1999)

Tekken1-2-3 / Namco (1996-1998)

Gunvalkyrie / Smilebit Corporation / SEGA (2002)


Hansel & Gretel: The Enchanted Castle / Terraglyph Interactive (1996)

The 5th Element / Kalisto Entertainment (1998)


Harley-Davidson & L.A. Riders / SEGA (1997)

The Lost World: Jurassic Park / SEGA (1997)


Hexen II /Raven Software (1997)

Time Commando / Adeline Software


Heretic II / Raven Software (1998)

Tobal No. 1 / Square


Hot Dogs / TIMA S.p.A. (2002)

Toy Commander / No Cliché (1999)


Incoming Forces / Rage Games Ltd. (2002)

Triple Play / Electronic Arts (1997)

Jet Set Radio Future / Smilebit / SEGA (2002)

Triple Play 2000 / Electronic Arts (2000)


Killer Loop / VCC Entertainment (1999)

Virtua Fighter series / SEGA (1996 – 1997)


Kowloon’s Gate / Sony Music Entertainment (1996)

Virtua Striker2 / SEGA (1994/1997)


Kessen / KOEI (1999)

Wave race64 / Nintendo


Kidsongs / Terraglyph Interactive (1996)

Wild Wild West – The Steel Assassin / 

Southpeak Entertainment (1999)

La Cava de los Sueños / Crea Anima2 S.A. (2002)


Wipe Out / Psygnosis (1996)


Krazy Ivan / Psygnosis (1997)

Wipe Out XL / 2097 / Psygnosis (1997)


Last Bronx / SEGA (1997)

Wipeout 3 / Psygnosis (1999)


Live J-League 1999 Perfect Striker / KONAMI (1999)

Zelda64 / Nintendo (1998)


Mission Pack / Raven Software (1998)


Monster Truck Madness / Microsoft (1996)


MUCK / KONAMI (1999)


NBA Live / Electronic Arts (1996)


NBA Live 2000 - 2002/ Electronic Arts (2000)


NBA Full Court Press / Microsoft


NBA Street / Electronic Arts (2001)



About Softimage Co.

Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc., is an industry leader in 3-D animation, 2-D cel animation, compositing and special effects software, designed to address the demands of the film and commercial/broadcast and games/interactive industries. SOFTIMAGE|XSI software, an integral player in Avid's Make, Manage and Move Media™ strategy, is the flagship product offering from Softimage. It is the industry's first truly nonlinear animation (NLA) system that gives animators and digital artists the freedom to make professional animation, visual effects and games - from major motion pictures, to cartoons and commercials, to animated content for video games and Web sites. The Softimage product family is designed to help users innovate, create and collaborate throughout the production process. For more information about Softimage visit www.softimage.com.


About Avid Technology, Inc.

Avid Technology, Inc. delivers the solutions that Make, Manage and Move Media™. As a recognized digital standard for professionals who Make the world's media—from video, audio and film to animation, special effects and streaming media—Avid's products are used to make more television and news shows, commercials, music videos and CDs, corporate/industrial productions and major motion pictures combined than any other nonlinear editing manufacturer in the world. Now, building on its Oscar®, Grammy® and Emmy® award-winning heritage in creating content, Avid is extending its reach by redefining how digital media is shared, stored and distributed. To Manage today's increasingly rich collection of dynamic media, Avid provides powerful servers, networks and media tools to help customers search files, share media and collaborate on new productions, both locally and globally. Avid's solutions also empower users to easily Move media, whether on air, over cable or satellite or through the Internet. Like no other media company today, Avid's end-to-end solutions span the continuum of media creation, management and distribution. The company's corporate headquarters are located in Tewksbury, MA. More information about the company is available at www.avid.com.


Press Contacts:

Sadie Paris, Bubble & Squeak

T: +44(0) 20 7636 0781

E: sadie@bubblesqueak.co.uk


Veronique Froment, Bubble & Squeak U.S.

T: 617 718 1695

E: veronique@bubblesqueak.com


© 2001 Avid Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. Softimage, Eddie and Avid are registered trademarks and Animation Redefined and NLP are trademarks of Avid Technology, Inc. mental ray and mental images are registered trademarks of mental images GmbH & Co. KG in the USA and/or other countries. Academy Award and Oscar are trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Emmy is a registered trademark of ATAS/NATAS. Nintendo 64 is a trademark of Nintendo. All other trademarks contained herein are the property of their respective owners. Product specifications are subject to change without notice.