SOFTIMAGE|XSI Software Helps Advance Cinematic Artistry in 300 Film


Two Quebec-based visual effects studios created characters, environments and elements in the record breaking film staying true to author Frank Miller's graphic novel

Last Updated: March 29, 2007 3:59 pm GMT
(Tewksbury, Mass – March 29, 2007) Avid Technology , Inc. (NASDAQ: AVID ) today announced that SOFTIMAGE®|XSI® software--the flagship 3D animation and character creation solution from its Softimage, Co . subsidiary--was used to produce key creative visual effects in director Zack Snyder's (Dawn of the Dead) ground-breaking feature-film "300".

The film has been number one at the box office for three weeks and set a record ($70.8 M) for the biggest March weekend opening in box office history.

300 is the story of King Leonidas’ (Gerard Butler) heroic stand against the Persian King Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) in 480 BC. Although Leonidas and his band of 300 Spartans were greatly outnumbered and ultimately defeated by Xerxes and his invading army, the courage displayed by the 300 Spartans has since inspired countless generations.

To capture the dark, moody look and feel of Miller's story, Snyder shot live action footage of the actors against green screens and 'virtual sets' in Montréal, and then created the environments, lighting, and other elements in CG. This technique helped keep budgets down--but more importantly--allowed the visual effects teams to create a highly stylized balance between realistic and surrealistic environments.

Piedmont, Canada-based Hybride--known for its work on Sin City, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the SpyKids trilogy—produced a considerable share of VFX for 300, totaling 540 shots and 45 minutes of film, including the character-animated wolf, from the film’s opening sequence. For 300, Hybride established a cinematic style that very effectively supported Snyder’s creative vision.

“The choice to use SOFTIMAGE|XSI on 300 was obvious--particularly to create the unique environments and the menacing wolf sequence at the beginning of the film--which was a complex animal with snarling teeth, fur, unique walk patterns and scary eyes,” said Philippe Theroux, 3D Graphics Supervisor at Hybride. “We’re a long time customer of Softimage, and we’ve built our 3D pipeline on XSI software to help us create the customized looks and lavish environments in 300. It’s a vital part of our pipeline and part of our culture.”

Montreal, Canada-based Buzz Image Group--known for its work on The Covenant, The Fountain, Brokeback Mountain, and Stay--also contributed 91 VFX shots around a single environment, adding CG beams of light and flocks of birds into scenes to populate the historic environments in 300.

Carl Gagnon, Lead Modeler at Buzz Image Group, said, “We consistently relied on SOFTIMAGE|XSI software for its multi-faceted strengths--modeling, texturing, lighting, animation, effects, rendering, etc. It gave us the creative possibilities and access to tools that allowed us to deliver our best visual effects for 300.”

Softimage recently unveiled SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6 software, the latest version of its 3D modeling, rendering, character creation, and animation software. With a next-generation scalable architecture called the Gigapolygon core , XSI 6 software offers artists and studios, like Hybride and Buzz Image Group, the ability to easily set up and integrate a 3D pipeline in a collaborative workflow environment.

A full feature list for Softimage XSI 6 can be found at:

About Softimage Co.
Softimage Co., a subsidiary of Avid Technology, Inc., delivers innovative 3D character creation and effects tools to animators and digital artists in the film, broadcast, post-production and games industries. Its product line includes SOFTIMAGE|XSI, the most advanced 3D animation and character creation software for next generation games & film, and SOFTIMAGE|FACE ROBOT®, the first production for lifelike facial animation, SOFTIMAGE|CAT™, a complete character animation system plug-in, and ALIENBRAIN®, an industry leading production asset management solution for creative teams. For more information about Softimage, please visit

About Hybride
Hybride is an internationally renowned Quebec based company specialized in digital visual effects. Hybride has contributed to world-class productions including 300, Sin City, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and the SpyKids trilogy.

About Buzz Image Group
Since its establishment in 1988, Buzz Image Group has been a leader in the creation and processing of visual imagery, offering state-of-the-art services in video post production, 3D animation, broadcast design and visual effects for the film and television industries. .

About Avid Technology, Inc.
Avid Technology, Inc. is the world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games, and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively, and creatively. For more information about the company’s award-winning products and services, please visit:


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