In a surprise announcement, 3ds Max and Maya owner Autodesk has revealed that it has acquired Avid's Softimage business unit for $35 million, uniting three of the most-used and formerly competing 3D game art construction tools under the same roof.
A dominant player in the market, Autodesk acquired Maya creator Alias
in early 2006, and since then has continued its expansion, also purchasing Mudbox creator Skybox
in late 2007 and AI firm Kynogon
in early 2008.
Softimage was founded in 1986 by Daniel Langlois; its flagship product is Softimage|XSI, an extensible 3D animation software solution used by game companies including Ubisoft, Capcom, and Sega as well as major CG companies.
However, the division is a reasonably small portion of Avid, which also produced industry-leading editing and media asset management software and hardware, and which evidently decided to divest its Softimage division to Autodesk.
According to an official statement released by the two companies, "Upon completion of the acquisition, Autodesk intends to continue developing and selling Softimage's core product line, while integrating certain Softimage technology into future versions of Autodesk solutions and products."
Autodesk plans to acquire and continue developing the following Softimage products:
- SOFTIMAGE|XSI: Including XSI Essentials, XSI Advanced, XSI Academic, XSI Mod Tool and the XSI software development kit.
- SOFTIMAGE|Face Robot: A complete software solution for easily rigging and animating 3D faces.
- SOFTIMAGE|Cat: This advanced character animation system is a plug-in for Autodesk 3ds Max software. It is intended to be integrated into the 3ds Max
- SOFTIMAGE|Crosswalk: This interoperability solution is intended to be integrated with Autodesk's own interoperability technology."
Marc Petit, senior vice president of Autodesk Media & Entertainment, commented, "As we have demonstrated since the acquisition of Alias in 2006, we're committed to giving our customers choice when it comes to their 3D tools. We plan to maintain and grow the Softimage product line, and through Autodesk FBX provide better interoperability between Softimage products, 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya.
"FBX also provides interoperability between Softimage products and our specialized applications such as Autodesk Mudbox, Autodesk MotionBuilder, Autodesk ImageModeler and Autodesk Stitcher, as well as numerous third-party applications."