Sorry, lengthy post ahead.
very well said by this guy at XSIBase.com:
I think it is a good release.
I think some of you don't know what a bad release is. Bad releases are when nothing is fixed or changed. You guys need to go to the Max and Maya forums from time to time, to see how many times they got essentially nothing. Softimage is obviously getting R&D.
With all due respect, i think there's a little bit of rose tinted glasses effect in that assessment. Max and Maya have to leverage a wider range of fields they get utilized in. Plus, maya is fully multi-platform... They have a tougher crowd to please. Its not my field and i might be wrong, but softimage does not get too often a foot in architecture, manufacturing, automotive etc. When those two get updates, sometimes they look like they are nothing updates because they spread a lot. Granted, most of the new features are stuff they bought and than just blatantly thrown on top of the pile, but soft is not exactly innocent of having alien code either (polygonizer, lagoa, craft, facerobot). I do agree that something really impressive happens only once in a while and the development takes time, but i do get the feeling that softimage gets far less resources for RnD than it should. What it gets, goes into ICE or, more recently, a viewport. Yes, little things are always added here and there, but can you tell me, with a straight face, that those are really something more than tweaks and adjustments of existing technology?
Im more familiar with maya so thats what i use as a straight comparison. Disregarding the quality, AD has developed it more evenly. Every corner was given some attention at any given time. Only modeling has been stagnant and the little work they've done on it has been poor, but thats about it. I will acknowledge that im looking at this from my own subjective perspective, but if maya can go through major changes in animation, rendering, interface, data handling, file referencing, interoperability, dynamics... and at the same time target game developers, animators, vfx artists, mocap guys, TD's, light&rendering guys etc. I would expect softimage to be able to do the same seeing how it is priced the same.
It is weird to complain about this when it clearly took time to develop that viewport, but as a comparison, the year maya announced VP2 they've done a new skinning method, rewrote the interface and even went full editorial among other things.
If Sofitmage guys are to tell me that they do not wish to develop half-baked features for the sake of having something shiny every year, or that this was a major bug fixing year, than i would be fine with that. But there are areas in softimage that are really strong and one should play to those strengths
(its a plural), not ignore them.
Instead, i am consistently wondering where is softimage headed? Is it going to be a vfx tool for autodesk? Is it a companion destined to fill in the gaping holes of max and maya? Is it trying to compete with houdini?... Or is it a full fledged 3d modeling, animation and vfx package as i believe it is?
I have lots of praise in store for softimage developers, i do not wish to offend anyone. I am fully aware of softimage's quality, but that does not make you excluded from critique.
If anything, im going to link here a video
that Chinny made in 2010. It doesnt show that many features, but they are all very interesting/impressive and he took the time to present them really well. Now i look at the area page and they seem to think softimage is a vfx tool (this is not your corporate site, this is AREA). I also took a look at max page and they embedded every little thing they could to make up for the lack of features. Softimage doesnt even bother... Would it make me feel better? Nope. But at least it would stop me, and other people complain about it.
Btw, this is how they announced VP 2.0 in 2010 and how HQV is presented today:
Just as a counterweight, and to show that i see the other side of the argument, this is what i stumbled upon while searching for that video:
Maya 2012 has some cool new features and updates. I’d love to say that I could now use it in production, but i’ve become too dependant on the mod stack, pflow, and all my lovely plugins. XSI continues to intrigue me. It is still the most under-utilized and under-marketed 3d app. It’s the only app in Autodesk’s lineup that has a fairly new core and they are definitely using it. ICE has got me VERY interested.
Thats a max guy and ive seen more positive reactions so at least the plan to attract the users from other applications might be working. I just hope you do not take it too far.