Maxon has released a plug-in for the Softimage|XSI 3D suite that enables it to connect to the company's BodyPaint 3D painting software. BodyPaint 3D creates textures for use on 3D models, using a 2D 'painting' metaphor that's designed to be similar to real-word creative techniques.

BodyPaint's features include an integrated UV editor, a projection painting mode, and the RayBrush mode - which allows the artist to paint in a raytraced view in the three dimensions.

The plug-in moves models and their associated textures back and forward between BodyPaint 3D and Softimage|XSI. This is so that characters and objects can be modelled in XSI, then moved to BodyPaint for texturing, and finally returned to XSI for animation and integration into scenes. The plug-in also allows the textures to be modified in BodyPaint at any point in the production process.

The plug-in works with the Windows versions of BodyPaint and XSI, and is freely downloadable from the Maxon Web site. BodyPaint 3D costs £424.68 plus VAT. The Foundation version of Softimage|XSI costs £299 plus VAT, with the Essentials version costing £1,249 plus VAT and the Advanced version costing £4,356 plus VAT.

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