Softimage XSI (which the company refers to as the "next generation" with regard to Soft image 3D), is an integrated modeling, non linear animating, and rendering system that its creators hope will revolutionize animation production with its speed, interactivity, and ease of use. One of the major features offered by XSI is its nonlinear animation (NLA) that allows users to assemble and organize intricate animations in a way the company compares to an editor com posing video clips. Users can also create a library of animation for reuse or modification. Other features include interactive rendering (Mental Ray is now incorporated), scripting, a customizable UI, and NURBS modeling, with the additional option of importing models created in Softimage 3D.
Softimage XSI runs on Windows NT and SGI Irix systems. The Essentials package is priced at $7995. An Advanced package, which includes integrated particles, soft bodies, and an additional Mental Ray license, costs $11,995. (Avid Technology's Softimage; Mon treal; 514-845-1636; www.softimage.com)-JD