Multi-core and multi-threading wtih Softimage|XSI

Okay - I'm a recovering animator - so I'm going to start things off with the character animation application, Softimage|XSI. If you're a game developer you know all about this package - if you're a hardcore gamer interested in building your own mods and characters and DON'T know about Softimage|XSI - definitely have a look! Softimage even has a FREE mod tool (hit the link and choose mod tool). If you're a game programmer you probably know all about the Inverse Kinematics (IK)system - or, at least your engine has to deal with skeletal animation of some kind. If you'd like to move over to the Visual Art's side of the house someday - or at least be able to talk to those odd guys from the building next door in the black T-shirts and dark cubicles - download the tool and see how IK works. Softimage|XSI is one of the most feature-filled tools you'll find for making characters walk, talk, swing swords or shoot railguns and plasma rifles. Do some modding - have some fun. Softimage was the first to come up with a working Inverse Kinematics system - they had to find a way to make dinosaurs move realistically in some film called Jurassic Park awhile back. So yes, they've been at this a long time. At least since the Jurassic Era. So where does multi-core and multi-threading come in? Lots of ways. Character animation involves a lot of things happening at once - and the faster and more powerful your application is the more of those things can happen concurrently. Ahhh concurrence! Think of a dinosaur walking through a swamp, or a polar bear through a snowstorm (if it's even possible to see that). Muscles bulging, slime, snow, or whatever, sliding off their skin or fur. That's physics, dynamics, IK, surface deformation and a whole lof of other stuff happening at once. It's also nice to be able to work on an animation while the last scene you worked on is animating. You used to turn all the good stuff like ray-tracing off, set your resolution to the size of an I-pod screen, and then go off and make some coffee while you rendered. Now you can keep the ray-tracing and set off that render in a resolution you can actually see - and keep right on working. Softimage|XSI is not only threaded, it's integrated rendering engine, Mental Ray (by Mental Images), is highly threaded as well! Got multiple cores? Use 'em all. And keep right on animating. Very cool. - Pitz
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