12 March 2010
Softimage 2011 Preview
There is also a new system for using/building Mental Ray shaders. Now you only need the source code and Softimage compiles it into a shader for you, automatically creating a SPDL and material node entry in the render tree, exposing all the parameters and allowing you to get on with it without the pain of having to seperately compile on specific platforms. As a result, over a hundred shaders that have (up until now) never been exposed in XSI, are now there. Including a IES/photometric light shader and all the features lighting shaders have gained since it was introduced as the built in renderer.
Other stuff includes multiple camera rendering, render slate (which allows you to add text onto renders for play blasts, etc. Be nice to see render times on this.) UV unfold command gets some changes to speed up workflow including symmetry and the ability to reunfold individual islands instead of being forced to unfold and pack the entire object each time.
Pretty solid update for just 6 months work. The Softimage guys really do know what is needed and always surprise me. Of course, there is stuff I wish was in there but isn't yet (perhaps never will be) but I'm pretty sure this 6 month release will mean that Softimage 2012 could get at least a full years development. Then again maybe Autodesk are considering a major x.5 point release for all 3d applications in another six months, that only subscribers can benefit from (just to keep us locked into the subscription cycle.)
Lastly, the two seperate versions of Softimage and Softimage Advanced have vanished. There is now just one version of the software. It has 5 batch licenses for mental ray and comes as either a standalone or a network license (EDIT: no batch licenses with standalone version - thanks for the heads up, Stephen). I'm not sure how people with SI 2010 (not advanced) will upgrade or subscribe as of yet.
Just have to wait and see, I guess. Apparently, early April is predicted for release.