Support Will Be Available Until April 2016; Subscription Customers Can Switch to Maya or 3ds Max for Free

Confirming rumors that started spreading in late February, Autodesk announced today that it will ship the final version of its 3D modeling and animation application Softimage in April. Autodesk said it will support Softimage, including offering hot fixes and service packs, to subscription customers until April 30, 2016.

Autodesk indicated that it would try to take care of subscription customers, offering them a free "migration" option that will let them use Softimage along with either Maya or 3ds Max through April 2016. At that point, those customers will be switched over entirely to one or the other. However, Autodesk said migration will not be required. Softimage customers can choose instead to keep using their last version of Softimage.

In announcing the decision, Autodesk Industry Manager Maurice Patel said it is part of a strategy allowing the company to "focus more energy and effort on fewer products" and invest more money in research and development for 3ds Max and Maya. "We will continue to support [Softimage] for two years," Patel said, "but the product won't receive any new feature development."

Responding to a question about the possibility of selling Softimage to another vendor, an Autodesk official said the software now contains too much proprietary Autodesk IP to make such a transfer feasible. 

Along with the demise of Softimage comes a drop in price for Autodesk's Ultimate Entertainment Creation Suite, which will drop in price from $8,395 to $6,825, along with a discount in the cost of an advanced subscription from $1,395 to $1,090. The Premium version of the suite has been discontinued, while the standard version will remain priced at $5,775.

The lifespan of the standalone version of the software will be even shorter — Autodesk said standalone licenses will no longer be offered beginning on March 28. Autodesk Softimage 2015 is expected to ship on April 14, the company said.

Softimage was founded in 1986 by filmmaker Daniel Langlois, went public in 1992, and ended up being purchased by Microsoft in 1994. Avid bought Softimage in 1998, and finally Autodesk bought Softimage from Avid in 2008 for about $35 million. 

Autodesk has released a detailed FAQ about the last days of Softimage. In case your question isn't on that list, the company has also scheduled a live, web-based Q&A for Monday, March 17. Interested users can register at the Softimage product page.