Avid Technology subsidiary Softimage announced Softimage: Face Robot version 1.5, described by the firm as "the industry’s first software application dedicated to the creation of believable facial animation for high-end film, post and games productions." The company will demonstrate the new software, alongside other releases such as Softimage: Cat version 2.5 and the latest version of Softimage: XSI at the 2006 SIGGRAPH conference taking place in Boston from August 1-3.
Designed for studios faced with high-quality or high-volume facial animation requirements, Face Robot software is intended to enable professionals, including game developers, to animate a digital human face with higher quality results and in less time than using traditional methods.
The tool is designed so that artists can generate emotive expressions that replicate natural, organic movement of skin and soft tissue. In addition, the software works with all major 3D applications.
The latest release of Softimage: Face Robot offers a number of changes from past versions, including a game export solution which allows artists to deliver in-game acting with detailed facial nuances, with support for all major game platforms. With the new game export pipeline for Face Robot, artists have a scalable solution where they can add and remove detail on demand. Face Robot software transfers acting into runtime information by using standard bones and weight maps. In addition, significant performance improvements to the software have also been implemented, as well as added support for the new Mova Contour Reality Capture system.
In addition, Softimage: Cat version 2.5 is the latest update to the newest member of the Softimage suite of character tools, as part of Avid’s recent asset acquisition of Character Animation Technologies, Ltd. Softimage: Cat, a plug-in for Autodesk’s 3ds Max software, is a complete character animation system that offers artists in game development, film and post industries a unique toolset with which to produce better animations more quickly in a completely flexible environment. The latest version, as demonstrated during SIGGRAPH, features new logical rig components, new support for animation layers, and an unique procedural walk-cycle system.
Finally, demonstrations of Softimage: XSI version 5.11 at the event highlight the software's unique tools designed to help art teams collaborate and save time on their projects. The GATOR (Generic Attribute Transfer Operator) tool allows artists to automatically transfer any surface property between any two models, saving time if fundamental changes need to be made to existing assets.
“At Softimage, we are dedicated to helping our customers work together better, animate faster, and focus on their art,” said Marc Stevens, vice president and general manager for Softimage. “With a significant update to Face Robot just several months after its release, our recent acquisition of CAT, and a sneak peek at future solutions during the show, we are continuing our mission to deliver intuitive, production-proven solutions that enable 3D artists to create the world’s most compelling characters.”