Softimage interfacing with Ice

Next version of its flagship animation tool

Avid Technology's animation software entity Softimage unveiled the next version of its flagship animation tool -- its first major announcement since its parent company reshuffled its management and strategy this year.

Key to new Softimage|XSI version 7 software -- scheduled for availability during the third quarter -- is an open platform called Ice that includes a visual interface and node-based programming model.

"The Softimage Ice platform will allow content producers to easily create, modify and deploy complex tools and effects more efficiently than ever before," said Avid vp Marc Stevens, who serves as GM of Softimage.

Publicly traded Avid hired CEO Gary Greenfield in December. Since then it has added new executives including Kirk Arnold, executive vp and GM of Avid's professional video business unit, which includes Softimage. Avid also launched a new "costumer focused" strategy that included a product line reshuffling.

"As much as we are part of video, we are at a different point," Softimage's Bill Roberts said. "Softimage is the only part of Avid that has a strong presence in gaming. ... It's very core to our strategy." Its other verticals are film, TV and design visualization.

"We prepared our business on a three-year operating plan and five-year strategic plan," Roberts added. "When new management came in, they left that (in place). We've really had no disruption with the changes at the corporate level."

The unit expects to make additional product announcements at the Siggraph computer graphics confab next month in Los Angeles.
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