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Softimage 2013 to get new CrowdFX crowd tools

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk has announced the new features of Softimage 2013, adding a complete new ICE-based crowd simulation system, CrowdFX, and a new high-quality viewport display.

The upcoming release will form part of Autodesk’s 2013 digital entertainment creation product line, which also includes updates to 3ds Max, Maya, MotionBuilder and Mudbox; and a new Ultimate product bundle.

Aimed at TDs, CrowdFX offers a complete ICE-based crowd-simulation system. The demo video above shows the basic features you’d expect in a high-level system: emitters, switching motion states, object and actor avoidance, path-following, and so on. The system supports both biped and non-biped characters.

There’s also another (non-embeddable) video on Mark Schoennagel’s blog showing the system creating an entire stadium simulation, which gives a good idea of the kind of complexity that can be achieved very quickly.

Since the entire workflow is ICE-based, calculations are optimised for multi-core machines.

The other major new feature in Softimage 2012 is the new high-quality viewport.

During the launch event for the 2013 products, a recurring theme was the importance of enabling artists to work in as close to final-quality lighting as possible from the very start of the production pipeline.

Accordingly, the HQ viewport supports screen-space ambient occlusion, depth of field, infinite lights, shadow softness (if you’re using shadow maps) and anti-aliasing.

There are also a number of smaller updates to the rendering and animation toolsets, a full list of which can be found on Schoennagel’s blog. ICE updates are largely confined to those related to CrowdFX this time round.

And, in keeping with Autodesk’s current focus on interoperability between its DCC products, Softimage 2013 also includes the option to switch to 3ds Max keyboard shortcuts and use Max-style on-screen manipulators.

No official release date has been announced for Softimage 2013 yet.

Read Mark Schoennagel’s blog post on the new features in Softimage 2013

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