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[non-Blender] Autodesk Kills Softimage



Autodesk has just announced the discontinuation of Softimage after a final release in April.

From the announcement:

We regret to inform you that the upcoming 2015 release will be the last one for Softimage® software. This final version is expected to ship on or around April 14, 2014. Autodesk will continue to offer product support until April 30, 2016. We will also provide Softimage support services (including Hot Fixes and Service Packs) to all Softimage customers with Autodesk Subscription, at no cost, until April 30, 2016.

We understand that you will now need time to re-evaluate your production capabilities. To help you, we are offering Autodesk Softimage Subscription customers special no-cost options to migrate to either Maya or 3ds Max software while continuing to use Softimage in production. These options will be available until February 1, 2016. Upgrade paths are also available for customers who are not on Subscription.

Although this decision is a difficult one, we do believe that by focusing our development efforts, we can better serve the needs of the media and entertainment industry and provide customers with better products, faster. Autodesk wants to continue its relationship with you into the future. We regret any inconvenience that this may cause; however, we believe that you will find our new transition product offerings very attractive.


About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Bloomin heck, thought Softimage was quite popular.... But I guess it is a bit much for a company to have so many different applications that do the same thing...

    • Popularity is rarely a factor in this type of decision. Since AutoDesk owns all the major 3D apps, it's more likely they decided to cut back on staff and the easiest way is to drop one of their on-going development projects. It's entirely possible they put the names of all the 3D apps in a hat and just picked one. That's corporate-think for you.

  2. I heard it's being discontinued because sales were soft. Bwahahah, omg, I'm rollin' over here. lol, did you see what I did there, bwahahaha... :)

  3. Over the past few years it's slowly started to go under. The big few (in this i include Blender) seem to dominate whilst the weaker apps go under. Never used it myself but all the same sad to see it go. It's not just the software but jobs and livelihoods that are affected. It's going to make some people annoyed but if they have the chance to be (pushed) able to learn another application then onward and upward. Maybe more people will take notice of Blender.

  4. i knew it was only a matter of time .. feel bad for the Softimage users.. they did some awesome work with it over the years

  5. Richard Bensley on

    Kill Softimage but keep 3DSMAX? The Lunatics really ARE running the Asylum. Maybe we can save the source code, like they did with Blender.

    • Martín Eschoyez on

      the 3dMaxSnail is one of its bestselling app. Is like books: best sellers are 90% bad written, tedious, easy...

  6. I hate to say it but I am not at all surprised; anyway, the obvious question: anyone know Softimage well enough to add a keymap for it to Blender, alongside Maya and Max? A set of tutorials for converting Softimage users? There are about to be a lot of disenfranchised users out there and we might as well put out some sandwiches and beer;-)

      • I'm a SoftImage use that has recently started using Blender pretty much out of necessity. I agree with Richard Bensley... Blender is a good tool btw but I'm not used to it yet at all. I would be willing to make a keymap if there's not one running around.

  7. such a shame... the only tool with decent mental ray integration.... and not to speak about ICE... i used it a few years ago and really liked it. now it seems that switching from maya to blender was the right decision after all :)

  8. This seems to be the corporate mentality. Gobble up your competition and then kill the product. Adobe did the same thing with Macromedia Freehand and Fireworks.

  9. Robin Wilson on

    I'm very sad to see it go. I liked it way more than I did Maya.

    However, I hope this means that a number of tools will become open source... including GATOR! Softimage's GATOR is the most amazing rigging tool I have ever used. There is simply no comparison.

    I also think Blender should learn a thing or two form Soft's weight-painting tools. It's way easier to create a good blend in Soft, and it's harder to accidentally paint the wrong part of the model.

    • Kirill Trideshny on

      I think that the guys will go somewhere... Who knows, maybe they'll be interesting to work in Open Source area?
      Yeah, the feelings are sad about XSI's users anyway.

    • Brian Lockett on

      Only one of the better ones out there. Softimage was pretty innovative. It was a sad day when Autodesk bought it, and now a sadder day stands.

    • I suspect they'll stick it in a vault somewhere and forget it; I doubt there's much that could be transferred directly to either Max or Maya. Haven't seen what's going to happen to the Softimage dev team will but they'll probably be given their marching orders so there won't be a lot of people left who'll be able to help port anything over.

  10. And now we all have another reason to support Blender, its a program that will always be here and Autodesk can NEVER kill it, bunch of corporate a-holes.

    • Brian Lockett on

      But if we don't improve Blender's usability among new users, Blender will only matter to Blender users.

        • looong time max user

          i use blender from time to time mostly only for the fluid sim stuff. but it would be really REALLY appreciated if blender had SOMEKIND of user interface.... its nice that after 3 years of occasionally using blender to hear that some things only are doable with keyboard shortcuts... which is straight insane to expect people to find out on their own.

  11. David McDermott on

    That's a real shame, I really enjoyed working with softimage on various projects. Not surprising though. This is why open-source and blender are so important.

  12. HA, aint that a kick in the %^$ for people who use XSI. they want to update faster. sounds an awful lot like this program i use all the time, AND ITS FREE. somebody's changing things. shhhhhhhhhhh. lol

  13. Sad to see it go :( Of the big commercial packages XSI was the one I liked the most. It even had multiple script languages (python, js, .net).

    Always good to know Blender will never be swallowed by the AD monster :)

  14. This is very unfortunate. SoftImage XSI, is probably AutoDesk's best 3D package, with great features like ICE. Though, I suspect that the decision had nothing to do with the quality of the software, and everything to do with money. XSI, has a tiny market share, when compared to Maya and Max, so it was the one that had to go. And I guess selling it wasn't an option, as then another company would have a great competing product, that would eat into Max and Maya's market share, same goes for making it open-source.

    Though, I guess this could be a good thing for Houdini, as ICE was their only real competition for complex node based effects, and possibly for Blender too, as disgruntled XSI user may turn to it as an alternative that won't just vanish one day.

  15. What a sad day... the most innovative app in their whole suite and they just killed it... AD keeps buying them choking them and then killing them... Happy Feet, the Lego movie... they just wanted their thecnology to stick it to their bloated Max and Maya... 3 times I bought software that AD would take over and then kill... since the day they bought SI they hid it away while they took the team over to Maya... I see even greater days ahead for Blender, Houdini and even Modo... but sad to see one of the milestones being ripped apart and then discarded...

  16. This type of thinking is one of the reasons I have reservations about purchasing something like Octane Render, I see AutoDesk or another giant acquiring Octane then doing the same thing to it as XSI.

  17. jefferson moreira on

    The autodesck could release the code to the users of the software, and leave the XSI continue living as opensource

    • Brian Lockett on

      They could, but they won't. They're likely to just migrate XSI features into Maya and Max, which they've already been gradually doing.

  18. Brian Lockett on

    Saw this one coming. It was only a matter of time. They're migrating a lot of its features over to Max, and haven't given its development much love. How sad. Softimage was better off not being sold to Autodesk, because it has a pretty sizable user base. When will smaller companies learn that they're better off not selling short to larger conglomerates?

    • Brian Lockett on

      Though, at least Autodesk's offering customers some consolation of Maya or Max. At least it's something. Those in the game industry should take Max, and those in the animation side, Maya. I bet if Softimage pulls in high sales with its 2015 release, Autodesk might reconsider their decision, but then again, I doubt it'd happen.

  19. When companies like this announce the discontinuation of a product such as SoftImage, especially when there is still a user base, they should have to release the entire source into the public domain in order to ensure that user base still has a shot at continuity of their creative process.

    Just my thoughts on the subject.

  20. The worst thing about how autodesk is handling this is that they are actually requiring current users of Softimage to take out a second subscription if they want to migrate to Maya or Max AND keep there old version of Softimage after the migration period.
    This is important because if you have a large back catalog of assets and scenes, like any studio or freelancer. You need to be able to open them up at some future date.
    Autodesk is pouring lighter fluid on the wounds of an already beaten user base and then lighting a match. I cant see anyone in that position feeling like the so called "good gesture" is in anyway beneficial.

    " Autodesk is offering subscription customers special no-cost options to migrate to either Maya or 3Ds Max
    while still continuing to use Softimage in production. However those opting to migrate their licenses to 3ds Max or Maya, will lose their license to use Softimage"

  21. The reality is that corporations are guided by profits, and not by the community interests. Sometimes the two things are the same. Sometimes, not. Because of that I replaced almost all my softwares to opensource. It's more safe.

  22. This is what everyone gets for trusting Autodesk. One company owning most of the major 3d packages on the market? They were planning on killing XSI sooner or later, and if the 3dsmax user base weakens, they'll kill that one too.

    Maybe someone has a different opinion on this, but Autodesk is not really an innovative company. They're a corporation which gets most of their new features through swallowing up other companies. In this case, they bought out most of the competition, and are in the position to trim their product line no matter whether people's livelihoods depend on it.
    It's really good that we've got Blender.

  23. One company owning 3 nearly-similar programs. Had to happen eventually, and will likely happen again.

    Any features we can develop/tweak easily to cater to Softimage users, in addition to keymaps? Would be good to suggest certain features to appropriate module owners.

      • I know that part of what defines each program's advantages is the interface, so I expect some growing pains in that sort of merger, but I certainly hope they can be merged.
        It's downright silly to maintain 2 nearly similar programs, and Autodesk had 3. Even worse for customers, because if you're using all 3 programs, you're likely only using one program for a few unique features, since there's so much feature overlap.

  24. It was just a question of time. They allways said that the goal was to aquire users and keep developping all the programs but it doesn't take a genius to realise that once they own all the top contenders to ensure there won't be a migration to another platform, they'll want to streamline back down to one program if only to merge the R&D.

    On the other hand, after getting familiar with blender, I'd rather support the foundation than buy another autodesk product. The development is much much more focused and it already does 95 % of what I need for work anyways.

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