So last week on 04/03/2014 Autodesk confirmed what several of us 3D Artists had been dreading, by breaking the news that they will be ending the life of Softimage after it’s next release in April of this year. After only 6 years since acquiring Softimage from Avid in 2007, Autodesk have decided to discontinue it.
This news has been met by a community united in sadness and anger at such a decision which has no rhyme nor reason to it. Autodesk themselves officially claim it is due to financial reasons, and they want to put more investment into their other two big 3D applications, Maya & 3DS Max. This, however, is largely rebuffed by the community as the current team developing Softimage is very, very small, based out in the east. This coupled with Softimage currently having somewhere in the region of 10,000 licensed seats worldwide, it seems unbelievable that Softimage was doing anything other than creating more funds for Autodesks other investments.
There has been some great open letters and fantastic blogs on the subject of Softimages end (some of which I will share in a moment) which have gained so much ground that Autodesk has even back tracked a little on it’s end statement. The original intention was that Softimage would have 2 years support from final release, meaning it could be used up until April 2016, and then all licenses would become non functioning, meaning the software would simply stop working. However, now due to a vocal community they have retreated somewhat and stated that, although support will end in April 2016 licenses will continue to function indefinitely. This is somewhat good news, as many users believe that Softimage in it’s current state is good enough to compete with whatever updates Autodesk put into Maya and 3DS Max for the foreseeable years to come.
The other point that makes this a little bit of good news is that Autodesk are actually hearing the communities voice. So with that in mind allow me to share this change petition so that you may register your vote to save it from extinction as have I.
If you need more of a push to register your vote to keep Softimage in the game, and keep the 3D software market from becoming a monopoly please read this blog. It details popular opinion of how Autodesks management and marketing of the software since acquiring it led to it’s inevitable ‘Autodesk’ destiny. There is also this well worded open letter from Alastair Hearsum, founding partner, director and head of 3d at Glassworks.
Please sign the petition, the quality of your future entertainment depends on it. The commercials you watch and the films you pay to see are made better with Softimage. The proof is in the pudding, The LEGO movie is entirely made using Softimage. It makes no sense to kill a software capable of creating such box office success.
I will leave you with my favourite tweet from that fateful March 4th by an anonymous tweeter
“Autodesk had to kill Softimage, it was making the rest of their portfolio look bad!”
Thanks for caring and for your signature on the petition 😉