Introducing Softimage 2012 with ICE Modeling

Posted by Mark Schoennagel, 1 March 2011 4:00 pm

Wow time flies.  It was just back in October when we shipped 2011.5 and already we are announcing Softimage 2012.  It should only be a few more weeks until we actually ship this too.

Until then here are a few videos made by Chinny and a big list of the features in the release.

Updating the modeling tools has been a pretty common request in the last couple of years.  So rather than Softimage building a few new ones, we built the architecture for others to do it in ICE instead.  This means while we can build new modeling tools using ICE, so can the community without waiting for us.  ICE modeling can be fully procedural, including the ability to create topology from basically nothing... which was not possible before.

Also, for you TDs out there check out what's new in the SDK.  Really sweet stuff like being able to create your own custom manipulators, the OnCommand event and being able to create an undo complex.

Anyway here is the eye candy - enjoy!


ICE Modeling - Basics




ICE Modeling - Copy and Merge




ICE Modeling - Strands



ICE Modeling - Track Bulding




ICE Modeling - Fracturing




ICE Modeling - Primitives




Syflex on ICE




ICE Subframe Sampling



Everyday Workflow Improvements



UV Pinning, Relaxing and Regularize




Vector Displacement Maps



 A list of the features in bullet form:  


Scene Layer Manager - changes and highlights

  • Child layer now supported (can now parent in the Explorer as well)
  • Ability to create layers as children (or as separate layer)
  • New icon to quickly create a new layer

File Menu -Recent Scenes now respects non-project paths

  • A file D&D from say C:Temp will now show C:Temp in the recent scenes menu (instaed of the current project)


  • Scene Layers can now be parented


  • Expression in Resolution Plane of Chain now supported
  • New indicator for CustomOP and ScriptedOP
  • New Hotkey options for commands
  • Maya interaction mode can use "P" key and drag to parent


Texture Editor

  • New ability to "Pin" the selection in the texture editor for use with texture editor operators.
    • The pinned selection will not move when applying texture editor operators or commands
  • New icon to allow selection the pinned components
  • New Relax operator by Polygonal Design
  • New Regularize operator by Polygonal Design


Play Control

  •   New 'Stop' icon in the Play Control
  •   For heavy scene this will not speed up exiting the evaluation - but it will stop any toggling of the play button

Consistent FCurve Editor

  •   Common Icons across Softimage, Maya, 3ds Max, MotionBuilder
  •   Isolate Selection
  •   Suites mode and Classic Mode


ICE modeling


  • Syflex Cloth now uses ICE
  • The Syflex legacy toolbar remains for backwards compatitibilty

SubFrame Sampling

  • When creating new simulations a new "Simulation Settings" property is created. Used for more accurate collisions and fast moving emitters.

New compounds

  • Tool>String
    • String to Array
  • Tool>Conversion
    • Reference to String
  • Task>Particles>Strands
    • Create Strand from Curves
  • Tool>Array
    • Build Array from Set
  • Tool>Vector>Math
    • Get Plane
  • Tool>Topology
    • Add Edge
    • Add Polygon
    • Add Vertex
    • Collapse Edge
    • Create Topo
    • Delete Polygon
    • Delete Vertex
    • Disconnect Component
    • Extrude Polygon Island
    • Invert Polygon
    • Merge Vertices
    • Merge Polygon ISland
    • Merge Topo Array
    • Merge Topo
    • Primitive Mesh
    • Slice Polygon
    • Split Edge
    • Subdivide Locally
    • Transform Topo
    • Triangulate Polygons
    • Get Topology
    • Set Topology
  • Task>Topology>Conditionals
    • Test Edge Index
    • Test Index is Valid
    • Test Polygon Index
    • Test Polynode Index
    • Test Vertex Index
  • Task>Topology>Copy and Merge
    • Clone Polygon Mesh
    • Copy Edge Data From Source
    • Copy Material Attributes
    • Copy Polygon Data from Source
    • Copy Polynode Data from Source
    • Copy Texture Projection from Source
    • Copy Vertex Data from Source
    • Create Copies from Polygon Mesh
    • Merge Edge Data
    • Merge Material ID
    • Merge Polygon Data
    • Merge Polygon Meshes
    • Merge Polynode Data
    • Merge Texture Projections
    • Merge Vertex Data
    • Random Material ID per Copy
    • Transform per Copy
  • Task>Topology>Generators
    • Create Extrusion Along Strands
  • Task>Topology>Getters
    • Get Closest Edge Index from Null
    • Get Copy Nodes
    • Get Edge Index
    • Get Edge Index from Test
    • Get Edge is on Edge Loop
    • Get Edge Loop
    • Get Invalid Index
    • Get Material ID
    • Get Materials
    • Get Polygon Index
    • Get Polygon Index from Test
    • Get Polygon is on Edge Loop
    • Get Polynode Index
    • Get Polynode Index from Test
    • Get Vertex Index
    • Get Vertex Index from Test
    • Get Vertex is on Edge Loop
    • Get Vertices Index from Edge
  • Task>Topology>Setters
    • Set Material ID
    • Set Material ID from Cluster
    • Set Material ID from Libray
    • Set Materials from Strings
    • Set Texture Projection Camera
    • Set Texture Projection Planar
    • Set Texture Projection Spatial
    • Set Vertex Position on Edge Loop
  • Task>Topology>Modifiers
    • Apply Collapse Edge
    • Apply Delete Polygon
    • Apply Delete Vertex
    • Apply Disconnect Component
    • Apply Extrude Polygon Along Axis
    • Apply Invert Polygon
    • Apply Merge Polygon
    • Apply Merge Vertices
    • Apply Slice Polymesh
    • Apply Split Edge
    • Apply Subdivide Locally
    • Apply Triangulate Polygon
  • Task>Topology>Shattering
    • Build Slice Planes
    • Create Basic Shatter from Point Cloud
    • Set Data from Chunk
  • Tool>Syflex>Simul
    • syflexISimul
  • Tool>Syflex>Force
    • syflexIGravity
    • syflexIDamp
    • syflexIDampAir
    • syflexIWind
    • syflexIVolume
    • syflexISpring
    • syflexISpringGeo
    • syflexISpringBorder
  • Tool>Syflex>Collision
    • syflexICollideSphere
    • syflexICollidePlane
    • syflexICollideCapsule
    • syflexICollideMesh
    • syflexICollideSelf
  • Tool>Syflex>Constraint
    • syflexINail
    • syflexIPin
    • syflexIMimic
  • Task>Syflex>Basic
    • Syflex Cloth
    • Syflex Curve
  • Task>Syflex>Collisions
    • Syflex Collide Capsule
    • Syflex Collide Mesh
    • Syflex Collide Plane
    • Syflex Collide Self
    • Syflex Collide Sphere
  • Task>Syflex>Constraints
    • Syflex Mimic
    • Syflex Mimic Null
    • Syflex Nail
    • Syflex Nail Null
    • Syflex Pin
    • Syflex Pin Null
  • Task>Syflex>Forces
    • Syflex Cloth Springs
    • Syflex Curve Springs
    • Syflex Damp
    • Syflex Damp Air
    • Syflex Gravity
    • Syflex Spring 2pt
    • Syflex Volume
    • Syflex Wind
    • Syflex Zipper


Just a HUGE update to the SDK - especially the Interactive Tool SDK

  • PPGLayout.SetViewSize , SetViewPosition, ViewSize, GetViewPosition New API for OM and C++
  • Allows setting and getting the size of a Modal Property Inspector
  • New Image Clip Control to PPGLayout (siControlImageClip)
    • A control that shows an Image Clip. A string parameter sets the Image Clip full name. Supported attribute is siUIShowClip Set to True to show the thumbnail of the Image Clip control. The control toolbar is always displayed, regardless of this attribute value. For example, see PSetUIDemo in the SDK Workgroup
  • Static Bitmap control (siControlBitmap)
    • siUIFilePath to set the bitmap to show. For example, see PSetUIDemo in the SDK Workgroup
  • CreateView now displays name in titlebar of created view
  • siBegin/EndFileExport and siBegin/EndFileImport events now support Action and Shape actions.
  • RenderAbort Event
  • Added OM shortcuts to for python (see Docs)
  • New commands
    • FBXGetPluginVersion
    • FBXGetSDKVersion
    • CreateLayerGroup
  • New C++/OM API for manipulating schematic view and schematic nodes.
  • New example added to the sdk workgroup: SchematicDemo
  • New Anchor points (View, View Context, Node Context)
  • Menu anchor points for the scene layer manager
  • Get/PutChecked methods to MenuItem object to support checkmarks
  • An C++/OM API for UV elements pinning
  • New Events
    • siOnBeginCommand: Fired when a command is about to be executed. The event can be used to abort the command execution, modify the command argument values or launch other commands.
    • siOnEndCommand: Fired when a command has been executed. The event can be used to access the command return value or output argument values. Contrary to other event types, this event is always fired when the current command has been aborted by a previous event.
    • Added ActionSource support (siFileTypeAction) to siOnBeginFileImport/siOnEndFileImport events.
  • Application.OpenUndo: Open undo complex.
  • Application.EndUndo: Close undo complex.
  • Application.IsUndoing: Returns true if some command is undoing or redoing.

Interactive Tool SDK

  • C++ API for building plugin tools that can be used in 3D views
  • plugin tool examples in examples workgroup
  • Tool Wizard in the Plugin Manager
  • New Math classes CLine and CPlane (used by the Tool SDK)

Data Management

Reference models and Delta

  • Dynamic Custom Operators are now supported by Delta
  • Hair on objects (ApplyHairOp) now supported inside RefModels.
  • Align Root to First Bone and Move Joint now supported for update of ref model
  • Link Deform With Orientation now supported on an object inside a ref model.
  • Texture projection of material is now supported by Delta


  • Button to dump icecache header and attributes description in xml format.
  • Option to reset all transform before applying caches to objects (useful when cache in global space)
  • Cache ICE sub sampling attribute (scale with the same factor when load into the mixer)


Render Tree

  • Shader Compound versioning now supported in the context menu

Mental Ray 3.9

  • Unified Sampling is an alternative method for aliasing

ICE Attributes on Meshes

  • Get ICE Attribute Shaders are now supporting meshes for the polygon/point/sample contexts.
  • Texture/CAVs/WeightMap lookup shaders can use ICE attributes directly.
  • User Normals
  • User Motions : Gives artistic control over the render motion vectors.

Vector Displacement Maps

  • VDMs can represent directional displacements that do not simply follow the polygon normal
  • Support for render VDMs in mental ray
  • New Vector Displacement Map shader node



  • Stereo camera I/O
  • Importing of Vector Displacement Maps from Mudbox
  • Port to FBXSDK 2012
  • Add "Import Fbx..." under "File->import" menu and "Export Fbx..." under "File->export" menu
  • Scripting commands to create the import/export options
  • Import .3ds, *.dxf, *obj, *.dae formats
  • Ability to select target .fbx version (2010 (Motion Builder compatible), 2011, 2012)
  • multi UV in the FBX Importer/Exporter.
  • Support importing CgFX materials
  • Support for neutral poses
  • Support for user normals
  • FBX One-Click Mudbox
    • Materials : phong, lambert and blinn are supported.
    • Textures : normal, displacement, vector displacement map, ambient, specular, shiny, incandescence, bump, reflectivity and diffuse are supported

Suites and Interop

  • A new Suites mode for the FCurve Editor
  • Single Step interop for Mudbox
  • Single Step interop for 3ds Max
  • Single Step interop for Maya - Updated
    • You can now start in Softimage



  • Moving to Web-based help


Mark Schoennagel

Posted 1 March 2011 4:20 pm


See you at GDC!!


Posted 1 March 2011 5:39 pm

Houdini? What's Houdini? ;-) No kidding, I think the procedural modeling feature is a real game changer for Softimage, and would make it an indispensable tool for any pipeline. I can't wait to see what the community is going to start to do with this amazing toolset. And, just think, I was asking for the graphite tools in Softimage. Way to leapfrog my hopes and expectations! Now, how do I re-create the swiftloop tool...


Posted 1 March 2011 8:25 pm

Could you please provide us with some more info on Unified Sampling in MR 3.9?

Thanks in advance.


Posted 1 March 2011 8:42 pm

ctedin1: Tool similar to swiftloop is available in softimage for a looooong, loooong time already. Way before graphite modeling tools were introduced. Hit ] key on your keyboard (the one on the left or above the enter key - it depends on keyboard layout), then move your mouse over an edge, and hold down middle mouse button. Then move loop to the place where you want to be and release middle mouse button.

I am an ex XSI user who migrated to 3ds max, and i still think that this tool is even better than swiftloop in 3ds max, because it reacts better and more precisely. Get to know your software better before you start to request features that already are there ;-)


Posted 1 March 2011 9:31 pm

You've got to be kidding... I've missed that for so long? Yikes! Thanks a bunch Rawalanche!

Get to know your software better before you start to request features that already are there ;-)
I definitely will! (Although I've been using it for quite a long time, since version 4. The help files are not the greatest, and I just never stumbled on this one as of yet. Up until recently I modeled mostly in 3ds Max and exported to Softimage for animation and rendering. I will use it religiously now, though) Although, I wasn't really asking for a feature, just really proclaiming how wonderful it will be to create your own tools with ICE. Great job, folks!

(edit) I get the functionality of placing an edge loop, but what about the other functions of the swiftloop tool, like interactively removing, moving and "soft" placing with a smoothed result? Are those there as well? I can't seem to find them. At any rate, this is a great start for a custom ICE function, so thanks for the heads up.


Posted 1 March 2011 10:07 pm

ctedin1: Oh, i probably did not got it right. In 3ds max I use just a feature of swiftloop that adds an edge loop, since i got mapped it on a hotkey. I did not notice that swiftloop is a whole set of tools. I have to say that i have not found use for them yet, but i am sure they will be great for someone like character modeler.

I think softimage offers a lot of great modeling tools that will help you to get the same result at similar speed, just through a different way. In softimage, lots of tools has sort of sub-modes that are assigned to different mouse buttons, so there is a lot of ways to get the result you want.

I don't remember that much of softimage already since i haven't used it much in about 2 years, but i believe that if you look around, you will find a lot of tools that will substitute for the functionality of swiftloop toolset


Posted 2 March 2011 3:28 am

Yes, the more I work in Soft for all aspects, (modeling, animation and rendering) the more comfortable I feel, and the less I feel the need to move away to Max (which I've been using since 1.5). This new set of tools in ICE is going to make this a very, very powerful system indeed. I dabbled in Houdini's procedural system and got the hang of it a little. I think ICE is going to satisfy the same kinds of needs that Houdini was so great at filling. Great job, team!


Posted 2 March 2011 6:44 am

Fantastic updates. I wonder if the new MR has got the old bugs fixed. Can't download the Softimage trial because of the AKAMAI installer failing to download the AKAMAI client. Why did Autodesk choose AKAMAI. I am dying to try Softimage 2012.


Posted 2 March 2011 8:23 am

What the??? Autodesk just removed Softimage 2012 from the download links.


Posted 2 March 2011 12:13 pm

@Caveman, there never was a link to download Softimage 2012 since its not gonna be available before april.


Posted 3 March 2011 9:05 pm

The higher male
But it was pretty good if you plugin
Craft Studio animation too softimage was added :-)

Memag Neman

Posted 3 March 2011 9:53 pm

Wasn't Craft included last year?


Posted 8 March 2011 3:10 am

Love your talk at GDC, Mark! Sounded like you had a lot to fit into a very short time, or just loads of coffee. Whatever, man. Either way, your enthusiasm was infectious! With the new Momentum 2.0 that Helge just released, this is going to be an amazing spring for ICE!
Guys, if you haven't checked out the ICE demo videos by Bradley Gabe and Paul Smith on Vimeo, check them out! I'm getting "primed up" for more ICE work myself before 2012 (although I'm probably behind the curve in this group.) Especially Paul's videos, they are less like "here are a bunch of tools in your toolbox... here are their names and this is what they do". It's more like "I picked up some tools here in this toolbox, now watch me use them to build a desk. I'm going to talk through it while I use them, and tell you why I picked them. There are other ways of doing it, but this is the way I chose." Very well done, and because he's a relative beginner (although a brilliant artist, modeler, animator and technical director) his explanations are perfect for the relative beginners, or intermediate level ICE enthusiasts.

Malcolm Zaloon

Posted 13 March 2011 5:31 am

As a 15 yr Softimage user, i just say again... go SI, go!!


Posted 6 April 2011 4:31 pm

Any hints on the release date for 2012?

Memag Neman

Posted 6 April 2011 4:33 pm

Should be any day now. I think I read somewhere April 8th.


Posted 6 April 2011 6:35 pm

You mean I'm going to be playing all weekend with it and getting absolutely NOTHING else done in my life? Well, goodbye gardening plans!!! :-) I hope that's true, all kidding aside. I guess we'll see. I think I might crash the subscription site, I've been checking it so often.

Memag Neman

Posted 7 April 2011 9:38 am

Download SI2012 at the subscription center.


Posted 7 April 2011 7:32 pm

Downloading now. Wow, that answered my question quick! :-)


Posted 14 May 2011 9:00 am

When will the next blog entry be posted? Looking forward to what is next in store for Softimage.


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