PDA

View Full Version : newbie: how "big" is XSI?


manuel
05-01-2004, 09:23 PM
Okay, first let me explain my situation. I'm a mac user, so for me it's rather difficult to try out any learning version of XSI and get a feel for the app. I've been to the softimage website and I like what I see there, but before I spend any time and effort trying to get to know XSI better, there's just one question I've got in my mind: what is XSI's workflow geared towards?

I installed maya PLE on my mac, looked at it and thought "life's too short". It felt like a big piece of software, made for big studio's workflows where a lot of IT people are available. Maya is often described as an operating system that provides you with building-blocks to make the 3D app that suits you. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's not what i'm looking for. I know this is a generalisation, but I'm sure you know what I'm getting at.

So is XSI also an building-blocks app that only comes into it's own after you downloaded a dozen scripts/hire an IT person? Would it benifit a small animation-team that is not very technically minded, or would it be wasted on them? Can you generally stick to the default settings for Mental Ray if you only ever work on small to medium sized projects? Would the render-tree benifit a smaller project or would it just end up slowing you down?

Per-Anders
05-01-2004, 09:30 PM
if you found Maya too "big" then you'll most likely find XSI too big too. though of course first you will have to be getting a PC to run it on.

all of the high end apps are "big" as in in depth, however the only way you will find out what suits you is by trying them all out for yourself. even if an applicaiton is designed for a studio workflow, sometimes it can still click. for many XSI feels quite homely, for others different apps.

though if you feel that lifes too short for Maya, then chances are you're not likely to be putting in the time required to learn 3D in the first place. Especailly not with the higher end apps. Perhaps you should start off with something simpler, more geared towards a specific area that you're interested in. For instance if it's visualisation and architecture then maybe what you need is something like SketchUp! www.sketchup.com .

JDex
05-01-2004, 09:33 PM
Well I know that you want a simple answer, but you asked alot of questions there... I'll do my best.

So is XSI also an building-blocks app that only comes into it's own after you downloaded a dozen scripts/hire an IT person?

No... it is well layed out, easy to understand and does not required an advanced degree in script writing to do the regular day-to-day stuff. Although it is perfectly capable of being built upon, right out of the box it is functional and ready for production.


Would it benifit a small animation-team that is not very technically minded, or would it be wasted on them?

Definitely "more" of an artists tool. There is technical areas that they will have to learn... but this is the case with any and all apps.

Can you generally stick to the default settings for Mental Ray if you only ever work on small to medium sized projects?

Yes. You will benefit from hiring or developing TD who loves delving into MR, but this person is not a necessity on general projects.

Would the render-tree benifit a smaller project or would it just end up slowing you down?

It will only be a hinderance to those who are intolerant about thinking logically. The render tree is by far (IMHO) the most logical and flexible way to get shading done.

;) hope that helps a bit.

TheLostVertex
05-02-2004, 02:20 AM
All 3d apps have to be indepth and "big" otherwise no studio would waste there time on them if you can only make and bevel boxxes. But as for the interface and work flow...well...xsi is very different. It is much more forgiving in its non-linear work flow and the interface looks OH so much nicer than anything i have seen(IMHO) but as with any program, the more complex the scene, the more indepth knowlege you will have to know. Animation is pretty easy in XSI, but right now particles need nice scripting for them to come out alll perdy and complex sexy-ness. But not only would I suspect XSI4's particles are updated, but for a small or medium studio, I dont think you will need to much in regaurd for particles.

The render tree is Gods gift to XSI users :)

So all in all, find a nice PC that you have access to and try it out (Exp for HL2, it is 3.5.1 rather than EXP 3.0)

yukuhiro
05-02-2004, 03:20 AM
I totally agree with mdme_sadie.

Well, I am quite new in xsi as well, but I know it is very deep tool, and I personally think it would be extremely difficult to learn if you don't have much previous 3D experience. Actually, even if you have previous 3D experience, it could be quite challenging.

I have a few co-workers who started using it since a couple of months ago and one of them who had Maya experience before had better transition, but me and other 2 who had different background like EI/FormZ/LW/MAX/C4D had quite hard time to adapt, Especially in modeling.
(By the way, this is specifically in architectural modeling, and character modeling might be a different story)

It's definitely not the tool for people don't want to spend much time to learn. (IMHO) There are many sites that have nice tutorials, tips and supports, but since the tool is so deep, it surely helps to have some experts at your work when you have problems.

There are lots of cool staff in XSI. RenderTree is awesome, yet takes time to really understand. But you can do lots of similar things in simpler/cheaper application. It is really depends on what you want, but if you want to learn quickly and still want to stick with Mac, Cinema4D or Lightwave might be a good option.

I hope it helps,

manuel
05-02-2004, 08:33 AM
Okay, thanks for all the replies. I know it's a bit of a vague question I was asking.

I guess I should have said where I'm coming from. I have been a classical animator since 1995, but I also have worked a lot on the computer: Flash, After Effects, Combustion, Moho... And since a year I have been getting my head around the third dimension using a demo of C4D (didn't like it) and Electric Image Universe: very down to earth software that just wants to get the job done. For an app that's considered dead by many, it performs rather well. Until you try character animation that is.

Computers don't faze me, all the above programs I thought myself by opening them and figuring it out for myself. Maya is one of the few times where I couldn't be bothered. The ugly interface didn't help I guess.

I noticed there is a London XSI user-base that will have its first meeting in June. I'll just contact them.

Again, thanks for all the replies.

implicit
05-02-2004, 10:03 AM
if you're a mac-user already, then i would suggest you rather to look at cinema4d and lightwave...
they should statisfy you, and on a mac.

francescaluce
05-02-2004, 02:08 PM
ronf... ronf...
:surprised

Computers don't faze me, all the above programs I thought myself by opening them and figuring it out for myself.
yes, this time you'll be forced to understand something serious and not just try to figure it out !!



ciao
francesca

KillMe
05-02-2004, 03:12 PM
jsut a simplen little observation of mine while playing with teh learning editions xsi is more artist friendly - i fired it up and though i'm nto quick with it i could make afew thigns in matter of minutes

maya on the other hand i struggle to to pull afew points around

still think the modeling workflow of lightwave takes some beating but if i was gonna switch to another app it would be XSI assuming i had the cash =) as the foundation version seems to crippled in res =/

manuel
05-02-2004, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by francescaluce
ronf... ronf...
:surprised


yes, this time you'll be forced to understand something serious and not just try to figure it out !!



ciao
francesca

Guilty as charged. I have a natural talent for understanding software, but it has made me lazy. :blush: If something doesn't click in my brain within an hour, I walk away, like with Maya.

If it does click, I will dig my teeth into the app and learn it relatively quick. So I have to fall in love within an hour. When I look at the video's with the new features, specially the lip-sync one, something tells me XSI could well that sort of app, everything just made so much sense, I never had that when watching Maya tutorial video's, add to that the second-to-none render quality of Mental Ray and something tells me I could well learn to like XSI.

SpeccySteve
05-02-2004, 08:23 PM
It's a "big" app, very big.

I've been poking at it for a few months and feel like I've just about got my head around the basic modelling functions, but I've had very limited computer time with it.

At some times I feel like "wtf! why do it like that?, surely there's an easier way of doing this?" , at others, I'm thinking "Sweeeeet, that's such a cool feature, why don't all apps do it like that?" ( view camera controls, XYZ / LRM buttons..oh yes, nice. )

Seems to really suit some people , not others.

I can only really suggest borrowing a pc, downloading the HL2 EXP, work through the tutorials and see how you get on.

:wip:

-Steve


( noob / hobbyist / student, not the opinions of a pro by any means. )

CGTalk Moderation
01-18-2006, 04:00 AM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.