Latest Version: 3.20
May 05, 2014

mbFeatherTools is a production proven plugin for Autodesk Softimage (formerly Softimage|XSI) which features styling, animation and simulation of bird feathers. While the primary focus of this tool is indeed feathers, it is also beneficial for all kinds of tasks: Leafs on a tree, spines of a hedgehog or clammy fur, to name a few.


All Softimage versions from 7.01 up to Softimage 2015 are fully supported. The plugin runs on windows and linux systems.

Since mbFeatherTools makes use of the multi-threaded ICE platform, you will experience dramatic performance gains on multi-core machines.

Download 3.0 Demo Scenes Now

"It is worth every penny, I dont know what kind of nightmare I would be in now without it." - Laurence D. (Porkpie)

"Your plugin is a masterpiece!!" - Malcolm Z.

"The best option we have come across for our production." - Mike Buckland (Triggerfish)

  • Quick setup with a single button
  • Direction Controls - Perfect styling within seconds. (New in 3.0)
  • Collision Constraint during setup (New in 3.0)
  • Drive the feather type with the Type Envelope Mesh (New in 3.0)
  • Filter the feather type for easy exporting(New in 3.0)
  • Unlimited amount of styling controls
  • Works on any polygon mesh
  • Automated creation and attachment of control objects to the animated mesh
  • 3 different distribution methods:Random, Per Poly, Shrinkwrap
  • Shrinkwrap placement allows exact positioning of each single feather
  • Realtime playback of the simulation with direct response to user's actions
  • Customizable and extendible with the ICE tree
  • Color can be controlled with a Texture Map
  • 4 types of controls: "Direction" (global), "Standard" (local), "Rotation Map" (local), and "Goal" (global)
  • Symmetry: Simply "Duplicate Symmetry" the direction controls. Symmetric styling and animation with mirrored Rotation Map.
  • "Use Live Feather Controls" option allows baking the standard styling (New in 3.0)
  • Soft collisions
  • Plane-to-Plane Intercollision (also referred to as Self-Collision)
  • Wind Simulation with realistic wind resistance
  • 6 Simulation Constraints: Collision, Spring, Cone, Plane, Intercollision, Uniform Distance
  • Intercollision options inside setup node to reduce initial intersections
  • Stiff Spring option for faster previews and animation
  • Initial World Rotation allows integration of custom styling tools
  • What mbFeatherTools is NOT:
  • Feather deformations are not natively supported. However, they can be added in a few steps! (read tutorial)

  • Watch the new 3.0 features on vimeo

    mb_FeatherToolbar, the main toolbar of the plugin.

    The toolbar allows you to easily create a feather system and inspect the operators without having to dig around in the explorer.

    The simulation is based on the Verlet algorithm. This algorithm was popularized by the French physicist Loup Verlet in 1967 who used it to calculate molecular dynamics. In Verlet integration, we use a "velocity-less" representation of the particle system. Instead of storing a particle's position and velocity (Euler integration), we store it's current position and it's previous position (at the last simulation tick). The benefit of this method is a much greater stability.

    This is the equation for the feather dynamics:

    Verlet integration equation

    Where x is the position, v the velocity, a the acceleration and t the time.

    "WOW man this is amazing, you are really taking this to another level!" - Claudio P. (Lung Animation)

    To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser.

    Watch the feature tour by clicking on the picture above. You can also watch this video in HD on vimeo.

    Some of the features shown in this video are from version 1.10. When purchasing a license of mbFeatherTools, you automatically get updates up to version 3.9.

    Click on an image to view

    View more images in the Customer Showcase

    To watch this video, you need the latest Flash-Player and active javascript in your browser.

    This video shows a comparison of some simulation settings. The ball on the left side shows you what is happening below the feathers. Click on the picture to start the video, or watch this video on vimeo.

    When animating feathers, you actually modify the rest pose of the feathers, so you get all benefits of keyframe animation, and full dynamics on top of that. If feather animation without any dynamics is needed, the simulation operator features a "Stiff Spring" option.

    Order mbFeatherTools Now

    What you get when buying mbFeatherTools 3.2:

    An effort will be made to give you email-support, but please be aware that no response time can be guaranteed. Usually all emails get answered within 12 hours.

    Click here to order mbFeatherTools

    "[...] I'd just like to say how impressed I am with your plugin." - Laurence D. (Porkpie)

    "the plugin is ace" - Darren C.

    View Changelog

    Each license is bound to one MAC address (physical IP address). When you start softimage, the plugin checks the MAC address of the computer and all connected devices and is activated if a registered MAC address is found. To find out the MAC of your PC, open a console (cmd) and enter "ipconfig /all". To find it out on linux, enter "ifconfig". You can bind the license to your bluetooth,wifi or any other ethernet adapter as long as its physical IP is shown in ipconfig. You can use a USB device as a dongle this way. The plugin will sometimes contact the server to validate your license. No private or unnecessary information is being sent and the data is being held confidential. An internet connection is not required to run the plugin.

    You can transfer your license to another MAC address by writing an email to support (at) michael-buettner dot com. The fee for a license transfer is 30.


  • Softimage 2010 - 2015, Softimage|XSI 7.0/7.01, Softmage 7.5
  • For older installations of Softimage, Python version 2.5 (2.6 on 64bit) needs to be installed manually
  • View known issues