Daniel Langlo’s soul still resides in an office in Montreal

Softimage was founded in 1986 by Daniel Langlois and his team on Saint-Laurent Boulevard and is still alive. The software, a world leader in 3D animation, has changed its name but is still the result of the work of a team of developers based in Montreal.

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They’re at Autodesk on Duke Street, just steps from the Bell Center, developing Maya software, a direct descendant of Softimage.

In 1994, they were at 200 rue Saint-Laurent when Daniel Langlois sold Softimage to Microsoft for $200 million. They are also at the height of their fame thanks to the success of Jurassic Park, their first home run.

“It was a favorite of then-Microsoft CTO Nathan Myhrvold. They broke all the rules when they bought Softimage. Before that they only developed in Redmond,” says Marc Petit.

This telecommunications engineer was vp 3D products at Softimage from 1991 to 1999. Let’s assume he knows the software that made his friend Daniel Langlois world famous.

“Daniel had already seen interactive content coming. He also felt the need for a universal tool to achieve this,” says the man who is working today to build the metaverse of tomorrow.

Between Bill Gates’ Redmond in 1994 and Autodesk’s Duke Street in 2023, Softimage software has come a long way.

innovation

“I see the impact of Softimage every day,” explains the general director of the Quebec Video Game Guild.

Jean-Jacques Hermans was head of the product team at Softimage from 1992 to 1995. He saw the software catapult video games into the stratosphere in the early 2000s.

In his opinion, it was the process of creating Softimage that changed everything. It could be integrated anywhere to facilitate the translation of artists’ thoughts into images.

“From a thousand sheets of paper and months of work to a few lines on the computer.” This is how he sums up the change that 3D represented at the time.

recreation

The software only remained in the hands of Bill Gates for four years. After 10 years at Avid, the company came back into the hands of Marc Petit in 2008.

The former accomplice of Daniel Langlois then became vice president of media and entertainment at Autodesk, a listed American company.

He is the one who convinces the board to buy the software. About fifty of his friends and Softimage team members then moved to Autodesk.

The company dropped the Softimage name in 2014, a few months after Marc Petit left the company. However, she retained all of the talent behind the software.

The soul of Softimage has therefore lived for nine years in Maya software, one of the world’s leading providers of 3D animation.

This makes Daniel Langlois the grandfather of the metaverse, believes Marc Petit.

– In collaboration with Francis Halin

Softimage in just a few appointments

1986

Softimage was born on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in Montreal.

The software’s 3D modeling takes global multimedia into a different league.

1993

The Langlois gang founded Jurassic Park with Universal Pictures at Universal City.

The dinosaurs in the film made an entire generation dream about archeology.

1994

Microsoft will pay $130 million – $270 million in 2023 – for the software.

The team joins Bill Gates’ team for 18 months, a first in Redmond.

1998

Softimage passes into the hands of Avid.

2008

Sotfimage is sold to Autodesk, where Marc Petit is vice president of media and entertainment.

The former vice president of 3D products at Softimage from 1991 to 1999 will lead the team.

2014

The Softimage name disappeared when Autodesk – an American company – focused its efforts on Maya software.

2023

At Autodesk in Montreal, a team of developers still manages Maya, one of the market’s leading software products and a direct descendant of Softimage.


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