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Softimage died to help Max and Maya, says Autodesk

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Autodesk’s original Softimage migration plan. Since this story was originally posted, the company has changed its policy, and will now provide subscription customers with access to Softimage indefinitely.

Autodesk has confirmed that the upcoming Softimage 2015 will be the last release of the software, after the information leaked online earlier today via a UK reseller’s website.

Speaking at a press conference, Autodesk industry manager Maurice Patel described the discontinuation of the software to focus development resources on Maya and 3ds Max as a “tough decision”.

“The industry has been going through some challenging times. To address this we needed to focus our energy on [two products],” he said. “The cost of continuing Softimage and keeping it up to par [was prohibitive]. It has long been the case that we’ve not been able to do that.”

Softimage users on maintenance contracts will be offered either 3ds Max or Maya cost-free for the next two years, until Softimage support, hotfixes and service packs are withdrawn in April 2016.

After that, switching to Max or Maya will be the only way to continue to receive support.

Updated 10 March: Autodesk has now changed its migration policy in response to user feedback. Users on subscription contracts will now be able to access Softimage “indefinitely”. You can read full details here.

Putting the strengths of Softimage in other software
The Softimage development team has been moved on to other projects, including Bifrost, the fluid simulation technology formerly known as Naiad that Autodesk acquired from Exotic Matter in 2012.

In addition, some of the developers have been specifically tasked with “making the transition [to 3ds Max or Maya] easier” for Softimage users.

Patel noted that users could expect to see changes in other products to incorporate “the best of the strengths of Softimage”, but warned that anyone expecting Softimage Mk. II would be disappointed.

“Ultimately, we’re not going to recreate Softimage in Maya or Max, because it won’t be efficient,” he said. “Maya users are comfortable with their existing ways of working.”

Asked whether Softimage’s ICE visual programming system – often regarded as one of the key strengths of the software – would be integrated into 3ds Max or Maya, Patel commented that “the [design] concepts behind ICE will continue to live on, but we will not build ICE again within those products”.

Entertainment product suites reshuffled
The discontinuation of Softimage will also mean a reshuffle of Autodesk’s Entertainment Creation Suites, with the $6,825 Premium suite – the Standard suite plus Softimage – being withdrawn, and the top-of-the-range Ultimate suite being cut in price from $8,395 to $6,825 to take its place.

Read the official FAQs about the discontinuation of Softimage on Autodesk’s website

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32 responses to “Softimage died to help Max and Maya, says Autodesk”

  1. ned said:

    The writing was on the wall. The crowd simulator, face robot, ICE and integration with Motionbuilder were all nice tools. But Houdini was killing Softimage as the go to program in this category and a lot of industry chatter was wondering why Autodesk had 3 3D packages with XSI falling to a niche clientelle. It’ll be a bummer to see it go but if that makes Maya or Max stronger by incorporating XSI’s face robot and crowd simulation technology…we all win.

    6:06 pm on Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  2. digitalnomad said:

    This was coming after they moved development to singapore a team with no experience that was the beginning of the end. Sad day but no way in hell was this a difficult decision given how bad Autodesk is doing in media and entertainment, I wonder if this was the plan when the bought it in the beginning.

    6:43 pm on Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  3. Guest23 said:

    Where is the Houdini in this autodesk´s dream transition chart? :))

    1:46 am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  4. Francky said:

    Softimage was by far the best of the 3 (I’ve used all 3 professionally) This is ridiculous.and I for one, will move on to Houdini. The fact that this means the death of ICE makes the move to Houdini a no brainer and this might prove to be the case for a lot of Softimage users.

    4:11 am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  5. Juan Gea said:

    What happends with subscription price for premium suites?
    Will it be cutted down?


    4:25 am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  6. Oz said:

    yeah, for most experienced Softimage users, moving to maya or max, is a huge downgrade..
    Kill softimage once you ported it’s technology to maya/max, not when it’s not ready yet!

    6:02 am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  7. Rendertwit said:

    They kill the app that is clearly better in so many ways, and offer a free switch to one of the 2 olders apps. No thank you.

    Softimage was more stable code, more flexible, more elegant, not loaded with old one-way tools that dead end with no connections across the app (as in Maya), innovative as hell, didn’t require plugins to be re-compiled for each new version of Soft (worked with plugins created all the way back from V1), had the best integration with mental ray (even though THAT thing is getting REALLY long in the tooth), etc. I could go on and on. It has been a wild ride the past 10 years I have used XSI (Softimage for the newer folks). I switched over from Maya for a reason. I will not be going back to Maya.

    All I can say is this: 3DS Max users better watch their back. It never made corporate sense to have more than one app that does the same thing. Softimage is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Mudbox and Motionbuilder also are on shakey ground, in my opinion. If I am right, I feel for them. This, quite honestly, sucks.

    8:31 am on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  8. Javier Vega said:

    So, totally agree with you. I’ve use the three packages too and Softimage is the best. I will move, for sure, to Houdini too.

    4:25 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  9. Jason Shoumar said:

    This sucks… sigh. There’s a petition happening. Maybe something might come out of it.

    6:15 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  10. LouisPh said:

    Autodesk love to buy softwares and kill them like Naiad

    8:43 am on Thursday, March 6, 2014

  11. Brian Lockett said:

    SHHHH!!! Be quiet, you fool! O_O

    1:18 am on Friday, March 7, 2014

  12. Guest23 said:

    Please, explain me your hostility.
    You dont mind autodesk killing great software like xsi?

    7:16 am on Friday, March 7, 2014

  13. Fuk_MAX_And_Autodesk said:

    Softimage the best 3D software – max is (Chiavica)

    3:09 am on Monday, March 10, 2014

  14. 3dLook said:

    that is great as they can now make 3ds max and maya a better, more complete applications.
    that was a very good decision.
    I guess we can now expect great things from 3dsmax and maya

    3:15 am on Tuesday, March 18, 2014

  15. aerebi said:

    Softimage is better than the other. I work with 3 Autodesk’s softwares. But Softimage have ICE and only Houdini have like this.

    4:16 pm on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  16. Guest23 said:

    Hmm no answer. What a surprise.

    5:08 am on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  17. Brian Lockett said:

    Wow, dude, relax. You’ve completely missed my tone here.

    I wasn’t being serious. I thought that was rather obvious. I’m pretty sure 99% of the folks here would’ve gotten that I was kidding, but I guess you didn’t get the humor.

    The humor in my comment is if you don’t mention Houdini as a part of Autodesk’s offerings, they won’t buy it (since they’d have to buy it in order to offer it as a choice to which one Autodesk customer can transition).

    Thus, my comment is merely saying, “Shh! Don’t give them the thought of buying Houdini, man!”

    Of course, it’s not like such will happen merely at your mentioning it, but still, the overall indication here is, “Autodesk buying Houdini from Side Effects Software? That’s horrible!”

    But my joke’s the fastest way to say all this. Well, it was, until I had to explain it just now, simply because you apparently don’t understand the comical nature of emoticons.

    For future reference, whenever someone displays usage of emoticons in their comment, such as >_< or 😉 or O_O, it's typically denotes a non-serious nature to the person's comment.

    10:16 pm on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  18. Guest said:

    Giant conglomerates tend to do such, just as Microsoft has killed many smaller products they’ve acquired.

    11:17 pm on Tuesday, April 1, 2014

  19. roy barry said:

    I So agree. Autodesk is just a compañy that only wants to make money as There only goal. To never innovate but buy a program as is, then reuse The sorce code as a autodesk program with a autodesk logo on. I give Credit to The old school maya dev team that is still around working on maya now. It has got better, a lot better but a lot was taken from softimage. What’s left is facerobot or they buy faceshift and implement it in. Gator from softimage to maya and other functions from softimage. The plan from the start was maya was dieing and they put so much money in maya this made sence to buy softimage, take the code, take the strengths, put it in maya and kill softimage. I been using maya for 13 years and softimage of and on 8’years. Maya is the stronger package with support of scripters and such but out the box with a small team or start up company softimage is the way to go.
    With houdini you need a programmer and the modeling sucks and animation is not that of maya or softimage. If you have a dev team then your fine with animation. Maybe you can use zbrush or what ever. Depends on market really. Games don’t use houdini for modeling, texturing and some animation.
    But times are changing autodesk days may be numbered as long and the monopoly does not run crazy and they buy ipisoft, faceshift, sidefx, cinema4d, then reuse the source code and kill the product and slap a autodesk logo on it.

    10:50 pm on Saturday, April 5, 2014

  20. Petar Maksimovic said:

    Everything in Softimage is so logical, well placed, editable and easy to understand and use, all applications should be like this. I struggled with Max and the whole 3D concept back in the days with not so much tutorials, I switched to XSi and it was like I woke up, XSi taught me everything about 3D with so much ease and fun.

    9:53 am on Sunday, July 6, 2014

  21. digitalnomad said:

    The thing is Softimage is not dead its just not being supported by Autodesk its still very much alive. Keep using it learn to scrip and expand it. Autodesk have not done anything at all to stop you from using it. But if you do stop using it then you basically have proven that Autodesks stupidity is worth it. Good software is hard to come by especially one that has a robust modelling toolset as well as animation and particles as well.

    8:55 am on Friday, July 18, 2014

  22. MANDEEP GILL said:

    Why they don’t sell softimage to other company like google or microsoft ?

    8:59 am on Monday, August 11, 2014

  23. Pond Life said:

    Did you all move to Houdini then? Personally, my life (as a tech artist) would be made a lot easier if Autodesk combined Soft, Maya and Max into one single package, seeing as they are so closely related in the first place!

    11:48 am on Monday, November 10, 2014

  24. Todd Groves said:

    I have ZERO respect for Autodesk. I KNEW they were going to kill Softimage the moment they bought it. Autodesk is all about MONEY. They promised Softimage users that they would respect their community. I will never use an Autodesk product ever again, if I can help it. If I’m expected to use an Autodesk package while working for a studio I will openly express my disdain for Autodesk. They will never get another penny from me. Autodesk is the Sith of the VFX/3D software world.

    11:55 am on Thursday, August 13, 2015

  25. Abid said:

    That’s like giving your enemy a gun.

    8:20 pm on Thursday, October 8, 2015

  26. Invertex said:

    Naiad wasn’t killed. It was improved and turned into Bifrost that is part of Maya now. It performs faster than Naiad did because of the multi-threaded optimizations.

    7:45 am on Sunday, December 20, 2015

  27. Simon Dowsett said:

    🙁 3ds max feels like its about to be killed more than ever now. Maya looks like it is getting all the attention. Even Blender has fluids. BLENDER!

    10:38 am on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

  28. Rendertwit said:

    Yeah. 2 years ago I guessed this might happen and it really does feel more and more like I might have been right. I would take no joy in that if I turn out to have been correct. I just feel we all should have been told that was the plan all along. Thankfully, perhaps Autodesk learned something from all this and did the right thing with the acquisition of Naiad. They told people from the start that Naiad would be terminated as a product and its tech incorporated into Maya. They should fess up with 3DS Max, too.

    7:05 pm on Tuesday, August 9, 2016

  29. flek said:

    It’s unfortunate that the users and developers of Softimage don’t bang heads together and invent another software based on those genius tools and workflow. Maybe a back-burner project of open source like blender.
    (Blender is a good open-source start but whomever designed that stupid clunky interface has logic problems.)

    To be honest I’d dance in the streets if Autodick was buried by open source!


    11:36 am on Sunday, December 18, 2016

  30. Simon Dowsett said:

    In 2022, they will use a similar diagram for 3ds max users, except it will be to Maya only.

    10:26 am on Saturday, February 4, 2017

  31. RDlady RDgameplays said:

    Now that Softimage is dead, what alternatives are you using for face robot?

    10:24 pm on Tuesday, May 23, 2017

  32. sandun said:

    Why don’t we get together and use the software again?.

    11:11 pm on Monday, August 14, 2017

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