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Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014 - by Paul Roberts


Softimage 2015 to be last release


After much speculation and rumour Autodesk has now confirmed that the Softimage 2015 release, expected on April 14th, will be its last. Autodesk will continue to support the product until April 30, 2016. Existing subscribers are being offered a free transition to 3DS Max or Maya. To read the statement in full visit Autodesk's Softimage page and visit this link to sign up for live Q & A on March 17th, 12pm EST about the news.


by Grant Miller - March 4, 2014 12:41 pm

Zero surprise, saw it coming the second they bought Softimage. They gutted it and stuck everything then Maya then killed it off.

by charkins - March 4, 2014 1:01 pm

Not surprising, but really disappointing. The new “features” for 2015 are more like simple service pack fixes, not even a proper send off. It’s a premature death IMO.

Reading the comments in various forums, I’m surprised at how many people are already assuming Max is the next to go. Autodesk trust and public image is in the can right now. I feel like a lot is riding on the next release, at least morseso than 2014.

by Zendo - March 4, 2014 2:01 pm

2012 – “Autodesk denies intent to kill off 3ds Max, Softimage” >>
2014 – “SoftImage 2015 to be last release”

Trusting Autodesk is obviously a major mistake !!!

Interesting to see, what they will answer all the users and plugin developers, who invested time, money and efforts during those two years in Softimage ?

by Roger - March 4, 2014 2:45 pm

Softimage had some really great plug-in and plug-in developers. Hopefully they move over to Max. (I know this is not the best time to talk about this.)
Maya is essentially in development with Pixar so there’s not a lot of room there for plug-in development.
I think Max survives because it serves a broader market than Maya. I say this because I see Maya (under Pixar’s influence) becoming a pure animation software with everything built in to meet the needs of Pixar Animation.
Arch-viz, live action VFX and games (though Maya targets game developers) may not be on the top of Pixar’s list.

by MauricioPC - March 4, 2014 3:50 pm

Maya is going to be pushed to Games, Film and Animation. What’s left may go do Max, it’s been showed with the way AD handles things.

I for one am off of AD products. Never more. Piece of crap company.

“Please note that the right to use the Softimage license will terminate at the end of the transition period if you are still on Subscription. You will be transitioned to the latest release of either 3ds Max or Maya depending on your initial choice. If you want to continue to use your Softimage license after Feb 1, 2016 you should not renew your Subscription contract for a period beyond that date. You will be able to continue to use Softimage but will forfeit any future updates to either 3ds Max or Maya.”

by Maziar - March 4, 2014 3:54 pm

There are many ways to read into this, about how it affects, or what it can indicate for the future of Max, some grim, some bright(btw Autodesk you really need to end this state of perpetual suspense that you’ve created for your users), I am going to look at the bright side for now, which is that Autodesk has done this so they can seriously concentrate on improving Max and even use the expertise of the SI team to do so, and hopefully that would also mean that the recent restructuring and inclusion of Martin Coven and Tom Hudson hasn’t been just for show, as some have come to believe.

But, keep doing what you’ve done for the past decade Autodesk –that is keep feeding every single feature to Maya and keep Max and it’s users in need of MUCH needed features, i.e. Bifrost) — and I too will join the ranks of the many people who believe you are nothing but an immoral, opportunist and untrustworthy company that would stop at nothing to cut some expense even if that means the demise of an entire user base.

That being said I highly doubt Max would ever have a similar fate, simply because it covers a variety of different fields and markets, Arch-Viz is currently pretty much dominated by Max as far as I can see, it’s still a big player in the games industry and with the right tools, it’s a VFX power house, not to mention the amazing list of plugins and plugin developers out there, Max has been pretty much sustaining itself all these years with these 3rd party plugins (no thanks to adsk), so it kinda doesn’t make sense for them to do the same thing with Max.

by rs - March 4, 2014 4:01 pm

Wow, I’m speechless even though I felt it coming… they killed their most progressive platform and they probably won’t sell it to another company that might become their competitor one day. That’s a very sad day for the whole 3d community!

by deko - March 4, 2014 5:02 pm

Let’s hope AD will get some serious anti-monopoly penalties. And who knows, maybe there is a chance forced to sell Softimage in a public auction.

by wellander - March 4, 2014 5:22 pm

And while the make their roadmap to maximize the return to their investors they f* the user base by inviting you to upgrade and pay more of your hard earned money on a yearly basis. And I was that close to fall for the temptation of getting a first class xsi software.

I’m sorry for the third party developers. I’m definitely focusing on a non Autodesk related future.

by Glen - March 4, 2014 5:46 pm

Softimage was truly an amazing program. So much creativity with ICE and a great rigging/anim tool. I believe Autodesk will eventually combine it’s two main DCC packages into one in the next ten years.I feel abandoned, thanks ADSK.

by LL - March 4, 2014 5:57 pm

Maziar, Max is for Viz market, make no mistake, all the rest: simulation, particles, effects, character animation will be Maya. That is why they are putting Softimage ICE 2 aka Bifrost with parts of Naiad code) in Maya after gutting and moving the Softimage crew 2 years ago to Maya.
Games will be totally Maya LT.

I agree they will not kill Max if it brings lots money, but it is not where they will push.

by Ravihara Weerathunge - March 4, 2014 11:12 pm

@LL Max won’t be pushed only for VIZ market anymore. if you look at the sneak peak, its apparent, the fool who took the decision to force max and XSI users in to maya was fired long ago. Now i really believe there is a new hope for max users.
and what will happen to Arnold for softimage?
I wish they now realize what kind of poor decision they were making ignoring max, literary coding for a dying software.

by Stark - March 5, 2014 4:41 am

Ravihara, that last sentence is what really made my stomach turn. I hadn’t even thought about the Arnold aspect. For years I was curious about using Arnold in Max with all the buzz I heard about it.

I even listened to an interview talking about how they are super careful about their code because they don’t want to release an inferior product. It looks like Max users will end up getting Arnold by default. It’s really sad, though. I enjoyed seeing the amazing things artists were doing with ICE.

by LL - March 5, 2014 4:42 am

I don’t agree, you see who will get Bifrost it will be who have the special effects and who have the game market is Maya LT
That it will show the Max path. Today even a good arch viz gets particles and Max have ofcourse PF but it will not have the huge power and flexibility of an ICE 2 aka bifrost. If ICE was superior and much more vast than PF you just have to imagine ICE 2 even if autodesk find always way to disappoint.

I disagree about Arnold, they make correct decision supporting Softimage and Marcos Fajardo already said they will continue to support it.
Because they can’t do in Max what Arnold does with Softimage. You can’t put billion of particles in Max like in Softimage, you don’t have strands in Max. Max doesn’t even have a multicore particle system.
See this http://vimeo.com/85581391
and this http://vimeo.com/81081389

Same for Redshift, they already said they will continue to support Softimage.
-when it will arrive to Max you’ll have a blast believe me if it is well integrated like in Softimage -

I work more with Max than with Soft, but i like more Soft.

by cube - March 5, 2014 5:41 am

excuse my ignorance but why can’t they sell it on?

by Shoohrat Yuldashev - March 5, 2014 6:30 am

Sad, very sad to hear that. Whatever they do with max-maya(improvements), the name itself – Softimage XSI – deserve to be existed. Amazing tool. And it is really unfair to kill XSI, specially now days,when there is a lot of users.

by Jim Todd - March 5, 2014 7:00 am

I am a long time (3dStudio era forward) Max user, and I actually thought it would have been cool to keep Softimage with its architecture, and build that up. Problem is that they have to, just as good business, differentiate products, so any thought that Max as a general-purpose tool will ever be as strong as Maya for something like film/VFX is probably very wrong.

But Ravihara, it’s still Bass at the top, and as recently as a week or so AD people were telling folks that the solution to shortcomings in Max for film/VFX was ‘buy the suite’,,,Mr Hudson has joined the team, and that’s fabulous, but I’m not certain that will have any real impact, and I would also think it likely that any benefits won’t be seen in until perhaps Max 2017…and that’s assuming that Autodesk actually keeps the team and strategy intact that long, which would be almost unprecedented. Long live Autodiscrekinetix!

by deko - March 5, 2014 8:20 am

Guys, there is a petition to save Softimage:

by Tommy - March 5, 2014 10:08 am

the greatest joke is that they call it “The Final Release” that hurts!
No idea whats going on at adesk, but killing softimage is like a really bad joke. What about ICE?! Or all of its nice rigging features?
create something like that with max or maya: http://vimeo.com/groups/masterofrigging/videos/88245138
its possible but times harder to do…
they show there real face how they care about customers again.

by Steve Green - March 5, 2014 10:08 am


It’s not in their financial interest to sell it on since they have 2 competing products.

Of course it will destroy what customer goodwill they have left, but it seems they think that’s a price worth paying, and people will shift to Maya or Max.

Personally I think that’s highly optimistic.

by Stefan Didak - March 5, 2014 12:16 pm

@Cube, @Steve Green

The competing products aspect is certainly one but not one that ranks very high in my experience. I was at ADSK a long time ago when another (let’s leave it in the middle what it was) product was going to be EOL’ed. There was an interest from outside parties to buy the IP but it never even got as far as an acknowledgement because selling it would (paraphrased);

1) Makes us look like a failure for not being able to make this a success and selling it is admitting to that failure

2) If the buying party turns it into a success we’ll look like even worse failures because we couldn’t do it

3) EOL’ing shows leadership and decision making in the interest of the company

I’m sure that in all those eons nothing about that has changed since these were fairly high-up ingrained unwritten policies.

by James - March 5, 2014 12:18 pm

“Autodesk denies intent to kill off 3ds Max, Softimage”


Notice there is NOTHING about Maya.

And with the Max users complaining they temp did something – but Softimage users complained too. But it still got killed.

Looks like 1 down 1 to go. Leaving only Maya, and Maya LT for games.

Seriously Max lovers had better get prepped for the worst is yet to come.. Money says you’ve go 2 years, and then your head is on the chopping block.

That link should serve too not to believe anything AD say.

by Maziar - March 5, 2014 12:20 pm

LL… I don’t know why you keep comparing Bifrost and ICE and PFlow as if they are the same things or are even in the same category, they are different tools, built for different purposes, one a fluid simulator, one a particle system and the other one a visual scripting toolset(which can script particle systems if need be), so I don’t know why you keep calling Bifrost “ICE 2″, and while we are at it ICE will remain ICE, it’s not like they’re going to dismantle SI, as far as I can tell it will exist alongside Max and Maya and you will still be able to work with it and with ICE.(unless I’ve missed something), if you look at it realistically it’s not like they were doing much development work for it these past couple of years, nonetheless, it still is a very sad thing happening and nobody deserves to go through this with the software they love and cherish, specially a great tool such as Softimage.

As for Max, I have a feeling they wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing Python to Max if they don’t intend to open more pipeline-integration and VFX doors for it in the future, as for PFlow not being Multi-threaded, Orbaz(the original creators of PFlow) are working on that, and as far as I know have been working on it for a while now, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it out some time in a not too distance future.

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to cheer up and be happy about three new features that I’ve wanted in Max for ages. :)

You can give it a try Jim, cheering up, there’s always time to bash, I’ve been doing it for ages, not today… maybe tomorrow though. ;)

by LL - March 5, 2014 1:08 pm

Nicely put Stefan.

Btw the Autodesk transition rules – another stab in the back, adding insult to injury – if people want to go Max or Maya is that you can’t open Softimage anymore.
No work done in all this years can be opened.

This obviously affects heavily freelancers and small studios with very few seats.

by LL - March 5, 2014 1:54 pm

@Maziar i talked to ex.Softimage developers in Bifrost.
If you don’t believe me read this

Even PF today is more vast than just particles. You just have to go to box 3 or see Anselm stuff .
I don’t think PF is fixable without a huge change of how it works.

This is just an example but it is a quote from Realflow connection Pdf:
“The main drawback of the 3D Studio Max PFlow system is that it can’t be used in a non history-
dependent manner. That means every frame depends on the last one. When you move back in time
using the slider, PFlow will automatically evaluate the operators for ALL the frames between frame 1
and the current frame. This is not needed for RealFlow, but it cannot be disabled and therefore
searching backwards using the time slider is slow.”

A toast to your cheer then, i like to see people happy.

by Roger - March 5, 2014 4:21 pm

@Maziar- also Bifrost is a stand alone program and only needs to be “plugged in” to 3ds Max the way it is plugged into Maya. So in a sense Max has the same access to Bifrost, it just hasn’t been created yet. ICE may take the same approach.
Maya character animation is really in Motionbuilder and that also is linked to Max seamlessly.

Unfortunately, with Maya LT it does seem like AD is moving everything over to Maya. I just perfer Max and just never fell for Maya. Max seems just more intuitive.

by Maziar - March 5, 2014 5:17 pm

@LL.. Particle systems are inherently ‘History Dependent’, what you are describing isn’t unique to PFlow, and again, your are comparing a fluid simulator(Realflow in this case) with a particle system(PFlow), I know they both work with particles so to speak, but they are not the same thing and don’t operate the same way, and believe me, PFlow is extremely flexible(I’m working with it on a daily basis), especially now that both Box#2 and Box#3 have been integrated in it, of course you shouldn’t compare it to something like ICE, because again they are not the same thing, but as a particle system PFlow is very flexible.

@Roger.. That’s true, I know and that’s why I expect and hope to see it in Max, and I’ve always hoped the same could happen with ICE, even before all this, and as for HumanIK, you are again right..

by LL - March 5, 2014 9:45 pm


Realflow is also a particle system, in fact it is importing particles from Realflow to Particle flow that this issue exist.

Particle systems aren’t necessarely history dependent. It depends how calculations are made. If a particle system have velocity, vector, acceleration per frame or even better subframe it doesn’t need to to know what happened 100 frames before.

by Stark - March 5, 2014 11:35 pm

@LL And to be fair. No one in their right mind is using pflow to read in sim caches. For that, the standard practice is to use Krakatoa and manipulate them with Magma. Although, it would be nice if it was a built-in solution.

by Waqas - March 6, 2014 4:44 am

Your expierence with ADSK merely shows that there is no brain activity in the top, something I think we all have known for quite some time now…

by pieforme - March 6, 2014 6:34 am

We have been hearing that Olegs been cooking for a while now hope its ready soon. Its a pity Genome hasn’t taken off like it should.

by LL - March 6, 2014 2:04 pm

“No one in their right mind is using pflow to read in sim caches. ”

It is in their Help file. That is the only export option of Bin files to get any control in Max.Well natively.

“For that, the standard practice is to use Krakatoa and manipulate them with Magma. ”

I always wonder where maxers have an hidden pot of money to buy so many plugins :)

by superrune - March 7, 2014 4:33 am

Autodesk should have taken better care of this gem of a program. It was superior to their other packages in many ways, it only lacked a sizeable user base. I was just about to move over to SI from Max some years ago, had a demo, did the tutorials. And then Autodesk purchased it, and it looked like SI had an uncertain future.

Are there any other alternatives to Autodesk than Houdini at the moment? At least for a high-end generalist? I don’t think so. I hope this is a Shake situation, with a new Nuke suddenly popping up…

by MauricioPC - March 7, 2014 6:23 am

I guess Houdini is our best bet. And the support we are having from Houdini users is pretty cool also.

Some transition docs made by a Houdini user to help us out.


by Shawn Olson - March 8, 2014 4:58 pm

I used XSI briefly. Honestly, I hated the interface. As a Max user wanting to see AD stop splitting attention and wanting their efforts to pump into 3ds Max, I actually feel good about this situation. However, it obviously sucks for XSI users. The best scenario all along for all users and apps would have been for AD to not buy XSI. The more competition the better.

I wish that AD had ONLY Max and that Maya and XSI were thriving in other companies. This would drive features in all apps because of competition. Unfortunately, this is not what has happened and is idle day dreaming.

I’m always for Max. But if AD were ever to make me feel Max really has no future or does follow XSI, I’d never go to another AD product (like Maya). I’d take the route above of Houdini or even Blender.

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