Introducing Softimage 2011

Posted by Mark Schoennagel, 8 March 2010 12:00 am

Softimage 2010 came out just seven months ago - yet we have another huge release to tell everyone about - check out the feature list at the bottom.

Here are just a few videos showing some of the new features in 2011.  For more information check out or The Softimage Wiki

I might add some more videos later, or maybe I will do another blog entry for those.  Either way check back here soon.  Push the full screen button too when watching the videos, its much better that way.


Automatic Lip Syncing for Face Robot

I had so much fun playing with this! ...try saying "super simple to setup" 5 times!

 ICE Kinematics

We only scratch the surface of what ICE kinematics can do and what it will mean for rigging in the future. 

No more needing bones, debugging is easier, massive reduction in the number of objects needed, the rigs are much more difficult to break as the dependencies are far fewer, secondary dynmics can be easily added -  and the factt that the relationships of the entire rig' and its behavior are separate from the rig itself means referencing can be completely re-thought,   Just crazy


Soooo much new stuff for everyone - yay!


A few enhancements to texturing and uv unfolding


Camera and Render Slates

Simple but so useful.

Scripting enhancements



A quick breakdown of the new features in 2011


  • Icon to Maximize Floating Windows
  • Extra-wide icon to close PPGs and Views
  • New Views
    • Shader Code Editor
    • Shader Version Manager
    • Cache Manager
    • Lip Sync
  • New Preference to get Softimage text announcements

Camera and Viewports

  • Viewport object transparency
    • Object>Display>XRay Surface Display Opacity slider
      • Change the viewport opacity of geometry using a slider
    • Display Options>XRay Display Type>Transparent
    • Viewport visibility menu>XRay Surfaces
  • New buttons in Camera PPG to keyframe camera
  • Camera frustrum display
    • Camera clipping planes values now sliders
  • Viewport Slate
    • Text or tokens can be used to display scene information
  • New menu toggle for X-Ray (display option)


  • Updated Booleans
    • Booleans are now faster and more stable
  • New implicit bone primitive
    • Useful for ICE kinematics


  • Update to UV unfolding
    • New option to unfold islands generated by the unfold operator
    • Symmetry - if the geometry and cutlines are symmetrical so will be the unfold
    • New PPG option to update the Unfold without packing as well
  • Multiple UVs in the Texture Editor
    • control+click to set the UV editable/non-editable
  • Copy/Paste UV Improvements
    • Edit > Paste UVs
    • Edit > Paste Special > Using Source UVs Indices
    • Edit > Paste Special > Using Target UVs Indices
  • RenderMap/Ultimapper now use Pass Renderer (including 3rd party)
  • Automatic Tangents and Binormals


  • Function Curve Editor & Dopesheet & Mixer
    • Highlight playback range in background
  • Preference for Collapsing Animation Layers
    • Preserve Animation or Preserve Tangent Handles
  • Preference for scanning for old plug-ins in fcurve editor
  • Get>Property>Static Kinestate
    • Used for reference (neutral) poses

Face Robot

  • Automatic Lip syncing
    • A new workflow for creating phonemes (and visemes)
    • A new lip sync tab for Stage 5>Act
      • Viseme Setup
    • Support for English and Japanese phonemes
    • Lip Sync Creation options
      • Use AIFF, AVI, Quicktime or WAV
      • Add text
      • Automatically creates animation
    • The new view can display the Phonemes and weight curves


  • Update PhysX library to version 2.83
    • NOTE: Due to a change in the PhysX library, actual shape collision results will be different in 2011
    • Support for CUDA acceleration for PhysX Rigid Body Dynamics (including ICE)


  • Springs and damper attributes for ICE rigid bodies
  • ICE Kinematics
    • ICE can now drive the Global kinematic property
    • The rigs' relationships can be expressed in a graph contained on a separate object (like a null)
    • You can use the simulate ICE tree to easily do secondary dynamics
    • ICE Kinematics and traditional Kinematics can live side by side
  • ICE Tree
    • User Tools>Replace model name with this_model
    • Preference for disabling cycle checking when connecting nodes in ICE tree
  • ICE Compounds and Nodes
    • Includes much of Phil’s ICE Pack
    • Around 130 new compounds and nodes

Scripting and SDK

  • Python now installed with Softimage
  • Script Editor now support tabs
    • MMB or control+W to close tab
    • RMB on tab to open containing folder
    • New file options including "save all tabs"
  • Scripting Preferences
    • Show spaces instead of Tabs
    • Use Python installed with Softimage (Windows only)
  • Custom Dynamic Shader creation
  • RenderMap exposed to Custom Renderers
  • Shaders
    • Shader Plugin API
    • Shader Parser Plugin API
    • RT Shader Wizard (HLSL and CGFX)
  • ImportFromSI3D Command No Longer Supported
  • Many Object Model additions
  • many C++ API additions

Data Management

  • New Tokens
    • [Camera] [CameraAspect] [CameraFormat] [CameraProjection] [CameraType] [Model] [Object] [Version] [CameraDisplayInfo]
    • New Tokens and Templates page in documentation
  • Cache Manager
    • View>Animation>Cache Manager, Animate>Plot>Cache Manager, Simulate>ICE>Edit>Cache Manager
    • UI Simplification
    • Cache Manager hosts Read, Write and Simulation caches
    • New Cache lists
      • To read and write multiple objects at the same time (cache list or add one by one)
    • Automatically scans the selection for available attributes to cache (listbox)
    • Tokens are saved with the scene not copied from the template preference
    • Simulation tab list all cache file node in read mode
    • Animation read tab lists all source caches with their corresponding object
  • Caching Improvements
    • Multiple objects can be cached at at time (in the same path)
    • Default template Preferences are used at scene creation, but can be overridden per caching session
    • Consistent paths and file name tokens for all types of caching
    • Current output path for caching is now visible
    • Universal tokens supported (see Tokens and Templates [Data Management])
    • Version token supported
    • No frame padding in the cache File Name mean the frame padding setting from Scene Render options is no longer used.
    • ICE particle ID attribute can be cached
    • Setting the new XSI_CACHE_ASCII environment variable lets you save the .icecache file sequence in ASCII.


  • Shader Authoring
    • All shaders available in Softimage 2011 now use the new Dynamic Shader architecture
    • No longer have to load *.cgfx or *.fx files into hard-coded CgFX or DXFX shader nodes.
      • Files are read directly by the Softimage CgFX or HLSL parsers
    • Shader Versioning
      • Shader Version Manager
      • Versioning of shader compounds supported
    • Option to make shader compounds uneditable
    • Shader Editor
    • Shader Wizard
    • New Shader Events
      • OnCreateShaderDef
      • OnCreateShader
      • OnConnectShader
      • OnDisonnectShader
    • New Shader Port Types to match ICE types.
    • New Array Port Type.
    • Improved Gradient Port Type.
    • Shader Tree XML Export .xsishadertree
    • New CGFX Parser
    • New HLSL Parser
    • New SPDL Parser
    • New .mi Parser
    • New generic .xsishaderdef Parser
  • Shaders
    • Around 35 new utility shaders
    • Around 170 mental ray shaders
  • General
    • Common mental ray
      • Softimage, Maya and Max now share the same version of mental ray
    • Stand-ins for rendering animated ICE particle instances
    • Improved setup for Physical Sky and Sun shaders
    • RMB Material commands available in render tree material node
    • Render Pass Partitions now support Stand-ins.
  • Lighting
    • Support IES light Profiles
      • Use mia_photmetric_light in the light's render tree
    • New flatlight
    • Additional Area Lights Parameters
      • Use Geometry a light source (Area Light>Geometry>Object)
      • Area light>Geometry>User
      • Low Samples options
    • Raytraced Soft Shadows
    • New Light shape attenuation options
      • Barn Door effect
    • Light lists
    • Local Ambient Lighting Property
      • Get > Property > Ambient Lighting
  • Render Tree
    • Connect shaders to the camera node and pass node directly in the render tree (dynamic input ports)
    • New shader families and new node color coding
    • Shader nodes support new data types
  • Render Slate
    • Show scene information (using tokens) in renders and render region
    • Layout and color options
    • Pass options control render, region and preview
  • Multi-Camera Rendering
    • Specify a "group" of cameras to be rendered per pass
  • LUTs
    • Softimage now supports Autodesk LUSTRE .3dl 3D LUT files
    • New LUT Preconditioning options control linear to logarithmic conversions


  • Version 5.0
    • Crosswalk 5 supports 3ds Max 2011, Maya 2011, and Softimage 2011
  • FBX 2011
    • New FBX scene scaling import and export options
    • New FBX batch processing commands to support the scaling options





Posted 9 March 2010 7:56 pm



Posted 9 March 2010 8:30 pm

oh my god!!!! INCREDIBLE WORK AD!!!!


Posted 9 March 2010 8:48 pm

Holy @*$* ICE Kinematics looks amazing!! When is Softimage going to rule the 3d world? It is clearly the best of them all. Great job.

Steven Caron

Posted 9 March 2010 9:44 pm

lots of great rendering updates too! ies lights have been long over due

Mark Schoennagel

Posted 10 March 2010 12:06 am

I guess I prefer google, but yahoooo works too. heheh


Posted 10 March 2010 12:12 am

ops.!! my firefox got exited too.!!


Posted 10 March 2010 3:14 am

ohhh, that's look awesome !!

I am still at 7.01 version but seeing all that nice things will me motivate me to get 2011 i am pretty sure ^^


Posted 10 March 2010 3:58 am

Awesome! Finally, ICE kinematics!!! Really really glad I'm on subscription! Can't wait to use the new MR shaders and Face Robot lip sync on 64 bit (just got a new laptop just to run it.)


Posted 10 March 2010 7:39 am

Great release! Could you post a video that showcases some of the physX functionality?


Posted 10 March 2010 11:04 am

Just amazing. I'm glad to see Softimage in such a good shape. For me, the best app from the 3 big ones (Maya, Max, Softimage)


Posted 10 March 2010 4:56 pm

Hello, i have a question

why on it says the Mental ray version will be mental ray 2011 (3_8_1_13) integration , while in this other link it says instead 3.7.5x ?

Which mental ray version is gonna be integrated ? 3.8 or 3.7.5x ?


Posted 10 March 2010 5:43 pm

IES PROFILES!!! Thank you! Nice improvements all around.


Posted 10 March 2010 6:39 pm

@ langdon
2011 will be 3.8 - the Autodesk website refers to the current shipping mental ray of 3.7.5 for Softimage 2010

iRay comes with 3.8 but is not exposed by Softimage, Max or Maya. Sadly I can't talk about the future when it comes to specific features.

@Marcel Maerz
We are looking to ship next month



Posted 10 March 2010 7:32 pm

Well subscription starts from the moment you purchase it, I can't say when might be best for anyone - but it is definitely the best thing to maintain.


Posted 10 March 2010 10:21 pm

The ICE kinematics is freakishly clever. Makes all rigs up until now look like stone-age tools. Clearly the new way forward in creating, depolying, and updating rigs for production. The future arrived today. Nice work, my hat is off to you Softimage guys.

eternal art

Posted 11 March 2010 9:26 am

Is there any link to the bugs fix in 2011?


Posted 12 March 2010 1:14 am

@ Matt Summers
The PhysX update includes new springs and dampers
It also allows for CUDA acceleration for Rigid Body Dynamics (normal and ICE)

@ eternal art
The bug fix list usually appears when the software is released


Posted 14 March 2010 12:08 am

Nice presentations, can't wait for the new release.


Posted 18 March 2010 7:30 pm

Hi! ICE for kinematics is awesome! And all the new features are very good. Ca't wait for 2011!
Please, excuse me, but is it possible some improvement in FX-Tree even if ICE workflow? FX-Tree to ICE it'ld be very useful. Sorry for my bad english and Thank You.

Mark Schoennagel

Posted 19 March 2010 6:22 pm

Wow 15,000 views so far of this post!! rock on everyone!!

So Chinny and I are going to be working on a few more videos for you that will drop on release day. My interview with Phil Taylor at the pub will be in there as well. I just got back from GDC and just before that a week in Vegas for Autodesks One Team Conference, and of course before that Montreal. Im finally back home and can start cranking away on videos.


Posted 27 March 2010 2:35 am



Posted 31 March 2010 7:10 pm

The new lipsync feature is different from the motion builder technology


Posted 8 April 2010 5:42 pm

wooooot 20k views!


Posted 8 April 2010 7:45 pm

Just installed my subscription download of 2011! The bunny rocks! I was bummed you didn't get a chance to show it off at GDC, but it's more fun to play around with it myself. I'm going to be playing with ICE Kinematics for a long, long time! (As well as the new shaders... but face robot might have to wait a bit. Looks amazing too!) Nice new version, guys!


Posted 8 April 2010 9:25 pm

THE KING has returned.!! with more power.!!


Posted 11 April 2010 7:39 am

Awesome features! thanks for updating us.


Posted 14 April 2010 10:34 am

I would love to see the video with Phil, how is it coming? No hurry, just I would like to know. Thanks!: )

Mark Schoennagel

Posted 15 April 2010 1:48 pm

Glad everyone is enjoying the new release! The bunny wasn't quite finished in time for GDC and with the Face Robot lip sync and game export being a little more relevant for that show I concentrated more on that. For Siggraph we'll see lots of focus on ICE Kine for sure.
It's my bad on Phils video too. A little trickier to edit then I thought but I'll have it up shortly, promise!!
Taking a little vacation in Florida at the moment. I'll post it up when I'm back.


Posted 25 May 2010 8:34 pm

what about Phil's interview?? I'm super interested in seeing what the genius mind behind ICE has to say...

Mark Schoennagel

Posted 27 May 2010 12:56 am

Steven the workgroup addon is already installed you just need to point to it.

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2011\Application\Workgroups

Add Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Please only report comments that are spam or abusive.