Autodesk wraps Softimage buy

Deal effectively gives company ownership of the market

Autodesk has completed its purchase of 3-D computer graphics software developer Softimage from Avid Technology for $35 million.

The deal effectively gives Autodesk ownership of the market. Softimage's XSI is one of three key 3-D software programs used in entertainment production. The two others -- Maya and 3ds max -- already are owned by Autodesk.

There have been questions and speculation about the impact of the deal in the CG/VFX industry since it was announced last month.

"I'd like to reiterate that we plan to maintain and grow the Softimage product line while doing the same with our existing 3-D animation, modeling and rendering software products," said Marc Petit, senior vp of Autodesk Media & Entertainment. "This acquisition is expected to complement and accelerate Autodesk's work in building real-time, interactive 3-D authoring tools."

Former Softimage GM Marc Stevens has joined Autodesk's management team.

Avid bought Softimage from Microsoft in 1998 for $285 million in cash and stock. With Tuesday's deal, Avid exits the 3-D computer animation market, which CEO Gary Greenfield has said was not a "strategic fit" for the company.

Autodesk plans to continue to use the Softimage trademark and brand, though it intends to make changes to product branding with the next software releases.

Softimage is headquartered in Montreal, as is Autodesk's Media & Entertainment business.