We didn't expect to see the Autodesk 2014 software lineup begin to appear until later this week, but the company surprisingly released the free, 30-day trial version of Softimage 2014 earlier today.

After making sure the program would install correctly on our desktop Windows 8 system, it was time to give it a go on the Surface Pro. And as you can see by the screenshot below, the program runs reasonably well with a few caveats.

When Softimage first runs, it complains about only operating in small fonts display mode. The Surface Pro defaults to 150% magnification. Cancelling the error doesn't seem to bother the software at all.

Regardless of magnification, the Softimage interface loads normally: that is to say, too small for long-term use. But if you know your way around the UI and its many keyboard shortcuts, you should be able to use it in a pinch.

I've only experienced one crash when attempting to manipulate an OpenGL scene. The new HQV realtime display takes forever to load the sample Garage scene, but it does eventually do it and allows you to orbit, rotate and pan with realtime reflections and shadows, etc.

The biggest drawback to using Softimage on the tablet is the absence of the 3-button mouse, which is critical for most functions. There are workaround keyboard shortcuts, etc. but it will definitely slow down operation.

Given the Surface Pro's i5 processor, rendering time is fairly quick, although the limited RAM will definitely become a barrier with all but the simplest of scenes.

We'll keep testing and report back as we find other hiccups. And stay tuned to this site as we will test all the new Autodesk entertainment software as soon as it becomes available.

AuthorRick Rodriguez