Nvidia and Softimage have announced that Softimage|XSI 3.0 is the first digital content creation application to take advantage of Nvidia's Cg programming language. Performance boosts -- Softimage states that operations on polygon meshes are an average of 94% faster, and "typical" deformations are an average of 31% faster
Softimage|XSI 3.0, the company's animation environment which started shipping a week ago, leverages its Cg underpinnings to allow users to drag and drop shader nodes or material presets from XSI's NetView directly into a scene's Render Tree window. You can use XSI's interface to fine tune shaders to control shader variable such as effect intensity, location, material properties and other variables.
Other Softimage|XSI 3.0 features include:
Lightweight model instances and instanced hierarchies reduce memory consumption in scenes containing many similar characters
Interactive camera navigation tools allow you to experiment with and test different camera moves interactively directly within XSI, using simple first-person game-style controls
A variety of setups for building simple or complex character rigs, tailored to fit game requirements
Game-style "shadow rigs" constrain null hierarchies, Box hierarchies, or simple Softimage|3D-style skeletons to a master rig, letting you animate with XSI and then export the appropriate data to your game engine
A motion-deform tool ensures that there is no foot slippage when animating characters around tight corners
A redesigned particle dynamics system that features dynamic particle instancing, a new library of shaders, and sub-frame emission for fast moving partical emitters
Full support for DirectX shaders, including a DirectX custom viewer
Softimage|XSI 3.0 licenses start at $6750, with upgrade pricing available.