PDA

View Full Version : XSI Foundation ... Few Questions Please ...


Paul Moran
08-10-2004, 01:06 AM
Hi All,

With the new price of Foundation and the inclusion of the 5 DVD training set Im seriously considering picking up XSI as another tool in the kit bag ... Im currently proficient with Maya ...

I just have a few questions as to the make up of Foundation (Im totally new to XSI Jargon ...so please excuse if some questions are a bit stupid ;) ):

Also ...if there are any work arounds or alternative methods to reach the outlined effect/feature Im all ears http://www.xsibase.com/forum/YaBBImages/smiley.gif

- What exactly is Polygon Reduction ?

- What exactly is Smooth / Relax ? ...and is there the ability to just subdivide or convert to SubD to acieve similar smoothing ?

- What is the texture layer editor as Foundation misses that option

- Advanced Rigs, Guides and Motion Deform ... what am i missing here ? Can i still rig advanced character setups myself ?

- No rigid body dynaimics ...this is a real killer http://www.xsibase.com/forum/YaBBImages/cry.gif ...are there other options for creating/using RBD in XSI ? ... why would they give you soft but not rigid ??

- Any disadvantages to not have a stand alone MR.exe ?

- No Batch Processing ...surely this doesnt mean that one cannot batch render an animatin from XSI ?

- Custom Display Host ...what does this mean ?

- Creation and Editing of Referenced Models* ...just like Maya referencing for charcter sets etc ?

- Creation and Editing of Scripted Operators ... is this NO scripting...or just reduced scripting ?

THANKS A LOT!!! for all your help here guys...appreciate it heaps!

Cheers

Paul

ThE_JacO
08-10-2004, 01:28 AM
- What exactly is Polygon Reduction ?
pretty nifty tool to reduce a polygon count interactively (preserves edges, textures, concave/convex/spikey surfaces) and so on.
all in all the best polyreduction on the market by far, but it's most useful as a game tool or to reduce scans.
not your everyday occurrence for "normal" artists.


- What exactly is Smooth / Relax ? ...and is there the ability to just subdivide or convert to SubD to acieve similar smoothing ?
smooth and relax are really the same operator with different settings.
it's basically a complex averaging operator to smooth out irregularities and topologies.


- What is the texture layer editor as Foundation misses that option
in the rendertree (the equivalend of a shadernet) in v4 they added a PhotoshopLayers like serie of inputs to mix nodes on the fly, it comes with its own interface too to easily assign and detach connections.
nothing that couldn't be done before with mixer nodes (and still can be done that way in foundation), but it's a nice timesaver sometimes, especially for people coming from simplier/non graphbased surfacing systems like MAX' or LW'


- Advanced Rigs, Guides and Motion Deform ... what am i missing here ? Can i still rig advanced character setups myself ?
yes, they are fancy tools and a character development kit (a superset of the SDK made of complex functions and rigging primitives) to aid and speed up rigging, but not fundamental.


- No rigid body dynaimics ...this is a real killer http://www.xsibase.com/forum/YaBBImages/cry.gif ...are there other options for creating/using RBD in XSI ? ... why would they give you soft but not rigid ??
no other ways around it.
hey it's 500 bucks, they had to leave something for the other versions :)
SoftBodies are in because they are an older technology.
the RBDs is pretty new and still needs to be capitalized upon.


- Any disadvantages to not have a stand alone MR.exe ?
yes, you can't render MI files, but you can still render scenes from a shell.


- No Batch Processing ...surely this doesnt mean that one cannot batch render an animatin from XSI ?
batchprocessing allows to run a NO-GUI XSI that runs scripts from a shell.
you can still and easily render from a shell.


- Custom Display Host ...what does this mean ?
the CDH is a new thing in v4 that basically exposes completely a view/window/viewport to external plugs.
this means you can run ANYTHING you feel like writing or connecting INSIDE XSI.
not fundamental for the non hard-core TDed pipelines.


- Creation and Editing of Referenced Models* ...just like Maya referencing for charcter sets etc ?
sort of, except they work.
you can still load them if they were created in another version, but you can't create multiresolution referenced models in foundation or edit the reference system.


- Creation and Editing of Scripted Operators ... is this NO scripting...or just reduced scripting ?
Scripting and SDK are still there and full fledged, what it lacks are scripted operators, that are scripts actuallu connected to parameters and an incontext update, very much like not having MEL expressions but only regular expressions AND the MEL run-once scripts


THANKS A LOT!!! for all your help here guys...appreciate it heaps!
that was a long one... :)

Paul Moran
08-10-2004, 03:00 AM
hey mate...thank alot...I guess the only 'real' bummer there is no RBD ... if I could work out some way around this or whatever...then it would be an easy decision ...but at $500 ...its still an awesome steal ...especially with the training DVDs ...

Thanks again...im sure ill be back with lots more Qs ;)

cheers
paul

minus23
08-10-2004, 03:21 AM
That was the best reply evar. ;)

I really can't believe the new prices. Think of it as getting what many think is the very best modeling app in the industry, Throw in the best Mental Ray connection evar... and well so many features beyond that even.

ThE_JacO
08-10-2004, 03:26 AM
I'm quite sure about all of the above, and it's been discussed a few times during beta and immediately afterwards, so it should all be fresh and valid information.
the only thing you shouldn't quote me on are the shell limitations/possibilities.

while I'm 100% positive it can't use xsibatch or render MI files via the ray3 standalone, I think it should be able to, but can't confirm from experience, render from a shell with the classic xsi -r -scene"scene" (my license is an advanced and I always worked in fairly large studios, so I never actually ran a foundation license to render).

just to make sure you'd better email SI and ask them about it, but it should be the way I wrote it.

if anybody has any official corrections please post them.

Signal2Noise
08-10-2004, 06:08 AM
Anyone try ordering Foundation online yet?

I went to order but whenever I click on the Buy link I get an order page where it lists Foundation at $565US! I sent Avid an email enquiring about this. I'm ready to dive in but don't want to be paying $70 extra if I don't have to. I'm sure it's a glitch but I hope to get a response soon. Unless the $70 is the maintenance fee...

Side note: I noticed over the last several weeks a few CGT members posts of buying and receiving their copies of XSI. I wonder if they will be compensated for the recent price drop?

(I have purposefully double-posted this query here and in the CGNews thread covering the price reduction announcement. I figure we all can benefit from knowing if this price differential is real or not.)

midosujisen
08-10-2004, 06:41 AM
A few more questions for someone looking at the new price drop favourably:

1. Are the poly modeling tools in Foundation the same as they are for Essentials and Advanced?
2. A quick look on the softimage site basically points to Essentials having Dynamics, more render nodes and rigs and Advanced adds hair and 2D painting on top of Essentials. Am I in the ballpark?
3. What are the upgrade prices and do the upgrade prices include point releases after a purchase of 4.0?
4. As a freelancer, not using dynamics that much, but mainly modeling, texturing, animating and pushing the render button, does Foundation have all that covered, as a toolkit in a box for a freelancer?
5. Are the printed manuals included?
6. Do the dvds cover most of the package and bring people up to speed fairly quickly if they are semi familiar with another package?
7. Are there any problems with SubD texturing? (it drives me nuts in Lightwave!)

Thanks.

CraigT
08-10-2004, 07:12 AM
I'm trying the 30day trial version of Foundation right now and it is an unbelievable bargain. Actually I would have bought XSI instead of MAYA when I moved from LW but XSI hadn't even had it's first price reduction at that point so there was a huge price difference. :-) Anyway, I just looked and there is a Render "Export to MI2" option which I assume is for rendering with MR standalone.

Julius
08-10-2004, 10:13 AM
Thanks everyone for the replies, i am also thinking of adding it to my collection particularly because of the training included and being a maya user wanting to also learn xsi i think this is a great buy for someone in a similiar situation as myself. Maybe down the track is it possible to upgrade to essentials for a slightly cheaper price?

yog
08-10-2004, 10:44 AM
QUOTE=midosujisen
A few more questions for someone looking at the new price drop favourably:

1. Are the poly modeling tools in Foundation the same as they are for Essentials and Advanced?

Apart from the the relax tool, yes, exactly the same. The modelling tools in Foundation unbelievable deep, yet easy to use.


2. A quick look on the softimage site basically points to Essentials having Dynamics, more render nodes and rigs and Advanced adds hair and 2D painting on top of Essentials. Am I in the ballpark?

That's the basics of it.


3. What are the upgrade prices and do the upgrade prices include point releases after a purchase of 4.0?

I opted for the maintenence package, which is optional and includes all updates minor and major for a year and personalised support which I thought I might need in the first year, but haven't yet. It was at the time the same price Foundation is now, so it might be lower in light of the price drop, but no official news yet.


4. As a freelancer, not using dynamics that much, but mainly modeling, texturing, animating and pushing the render button, does Foundation have all that covered, as a toolkit in a box for a freelancer?

This is exactly what it's aimed at :)


5. Are the printed manuals included?

Yep, one reference manual and two tutorial manuals, all on the large side. The online reference is pretty good too.


6. Do the dvds cover most of the package and bring people up to speed fairly quickly if they are semi familiar with another package?

I think this is exactly what the DVD's are aimed at. The impression I get is they are not so much aimed at total beginners, but rather at people with some prior knowledge of 3D, very likely coming from other applications. The are incredibly deep, some of the most comprehensive I have seen for any software, but XSI is deeper still :D


7. Are there any problems with SubD texturing? (it drives me nuts in Lightwave!)

None at all, works just like you think it should :thumbsup:

Thanks.

antero
08-10-2004, 12:11 PM
Just a simple question ... to compile a plugin for XSI do you need Microsoft Visual c++ or you can use any complier ( in windows ).
Thanks.

yog
08-10-2004, 12:27 PM
Just a simple question ... to compile a plugin for XSI do you need Microsoft Visual c++ or you can use any complier ( in windows ).
Thanks.I know there are at least three options for compilers, but it's not really my field, so hopefully somebody more knowledgeable will jump in.

Then again creating custom scripts is incredibly easy for certain things. You have a combined History Log (that records all commands you make), and a script editor. It's possible to make a script by creating/modifying anything you want, drag the logged commands into the the script editor and save as a script with no further editing.

Even knowing nothing about scripting I was able to make myself a script that automatically created a custom render test object. I just sketched the required curve, refined it's shape, revolved it around an axis, applied a Sub-D level, renamed it , dragged all the commands to the script editor, saved it and bound it to a hotkey. Now when I want to experiment creating a new shader I hit the hotkey and a gloriously complex object appears :thumbsup:

StephanD
08-10-2004, 01:10 PM
Yes Softimage supports c++,Vb and a few other languages.

One of the first tutorials that come with Exp lets you VERY easily design your own button using drag N drop with using the command 'listener'.

midosujisen
08-10-2004, 03:32 PM
Thanks Yog. Maybe the wait for Modo just got bumped for a fuller suite.

ThE_JacO
08-10-2004, 04:01 PM
Just a simple question ... to compile a plugin for XSI do you need Microsoft Visual c++ or you can use any complier ( in windows ).
Thanks.
since we are talking windows only, this is my experience with both maya and XSI...
the official development suite is visual studio 6, but insofar me and a lot of other people have used .net2003a and the intel compiler (unofficially approved) without a glitch.
I know of a couple of instances where a boroland compiled succesfully one of my plug-ins, but that wasn't without a lot of tweaking and it failed on others.

I haven't tryied with free compilers for windows, but my guess is you would be up for some really big surprises.

to be on the safe side assume only the most widespread environments (VC++6, VC++.net and the intel compiler) to be safe.

VC++ .net 2003 is an incredibly efficient and polished IDE, and the new compiler is up there with what only intel could boast about until only shortly ago (performance wise).
it's well worth a few hundred bucks, but if you are really on the cheap side you can find lots of perfectly legal and unregistered (so you will result as being the first owner) boxes of VC++6 on ebay for peanuts.

Velk
08-10-2004, 04:13 PM
Wow, this is some interesting news. I have been planning on switching from Max to Maya but this might just change my mind...

My_Fault
08-10-2004, 04:40 PM
So what do you do if you need a hair solution? Is that only available in the higher end versions or is there something else you can purchase for Foundation?

And man, the shockwaves from this price drop must have some executives losing a lot of sleep :)

antero
08-10-2004, 05:11 PM
Thanks for the information :)

Atyss
08-10-2004, 05:29 PM
since we are talking windows only, this is my experience with both maya and XSI...
the official development suite is visual studio 6, but insofar me and a lot of other people have used .net2003a and the intel compiler (unofficially approved) without a glitch.

Well my experience is quite different! Many shaders released recently will not work because of a unprovided runtime library that is need in the Windows\system32 folder. Also even with that, I saw few shaders released on the internet that would just not work. However it seems that shaders compiled with MSVC 6 works pretty much flawlessly. Anyway this is my experience, never why shader would not work. Note that at work we have many custom shaders and most of them require that runtime library, but beyond that they work very well.


Cheers
Bernard

mlykke
08-10-2004, 06:06 PM
Thanks for the nice anwsers. I'm a 3dsmax user now and so far the the $495 looks very good.

I'm wondering about the $100 tax that is added to the price, maybe its something it adds because it can see that I live in Denmark (added my adr). And also wondering about when this XSI4Foundation is shipping, and how long it might take to arrive to Denmark.... hmmm I should properly just email avid about this.

ThE_JacO
08-10-2004, 06:56 PM
Well my experience is quite different! Many shaders released recently will not work because of a unprovided runtime library that is need in the Windows\system32 folder. Also even with that, I saw few shaders released on the internet that would just not work. However it seems that shaders compiled with MSVC 6 works pretty much flawlessly. Anyway this is my experience, never why shader would not work. Note that at work we have many custom shaders and most of them require that runtime library, but beyond that they work very well.


Cheers
Bernard who did the compiling? because there's an ordeal of options and includes you can setup and change, and you could need to setup the pragmas and linking differently.
the lack or presence of a runtime library doesn't mean anything from an IDE point of view since it can be fetched from the previous version or from an online library and eventually included in the packaging.

I take that for the custom shader part you are mostly referring to Stefano's work, did you try and ask him if he can rectify the problem?

which library is that? because frankly all the work we did recently on a couple of movies involved A LOT of custom shaders, some by Andy and of a certain level, and we always used VS.net.

I suspect you are confusing what really is a project related problem (working on a project that started on a different IDE) with an IDE related problem(that is not).
fishing up somebody else's stuff and failing to compile it is a sign of poor retrocompatibility of VS.net with VS6 maybe, but the benchmark for compatibility between VS.net and XSI/MRay is starting with a new project.

last but not least VC++6's compiler is laughable, especially in its lack of comformity to standards, with projects made to work in VC++6 I often had projects that needed a lot of tweaking to compile under linux with GCC, insofar everything I've done or seen done in VS.net has always compiled straigth away in Linux.

P.S.
glad to see you are starting to pick up proper C++ development as well.

ThE_JacO
08-10-2004, 08:11 PM
just got some details from a friend in Soft and been allowed to make it public:

"if you have an old 3D Base or Extreme, you can upgrade to Essentials Windows for USD $995... and to Essentials All OS for USD $1195, and to Advanced for $2995...
-for our old faithful 3D clients :)"

this DOES NOT mean the old and annoying workstation licenses scheme has been re-introduced, only that if you get a license that is windows only you get it cheaper
"Win only is cheaper, but All OS runs both (for the linux folks)"

last but not least:
"btw, foundation has no more licensing
only keeping dongles for Ess and Adv"
Foundation will rely only on an activation code.

Milho
08-10-2004, 08:28 PM
QUOTE=midosujisen
...
3. What are the upgrade prices and do the upgrade prices include point releases after a purchase of 4.0?

I opted for the maintenence package, which is optional and includes all updates minor and major for a year and personalised support which I thought I might need in the first year, but haven't yet. It was at the time the same price Foundation is now, so it might be lower in light of the price drop, but no official news yet.
...


That's a big hook:
"....No maintenance available for this product.

Thanx
Sébastien Dion
Softimage|Avid Graphics Support Engineer "

Seems to me the upgrade policy is similar to edu software, you have to buy new one on every upgrade.

Atyss
08-10-2004, 09:49 PM
>> who did the compiling? because there's an ordeal of options and includes you can setup and change, and you could need to setup the pragmas and linking differently.
the lack or presence of a runtime library doesn't mean anything from an IDE point of view since it can be fetched from the previous version or from an online library and eventually included in the packaging.

Well look, I was mainly referring to the UV displacement shader by XSI Base user waterblue, as well as the Blender shader. Just no way to make them work on my machines, and it's the same for the others.



>> I take that for the custom shader part you are mostly referring to Stefano's work, did you try and ask him if he can rectify the problem?

Like I said in my previous post, all our custom shaders work very well as long as there is the msvcr71.dll file in the system. There is nothing from Stefano to fix, that said, if something needed some fix, I'd ask him directly :)


>> which library is that? because frankly all the work we did recently on a couple of movies involved A LOT of custom shaders, some by Andy and of a certain level, and we always used VS.net.

>> I suspect you are confusing what really is a project related problem (working on a project that started on a different IDE) with an IDE related problem(that is not).
fishing up somebody else's stuff and failing to compile it is a sign of poor retrocompatibility of VS.net with VS6 maybe, but the benchmark for compatibility between VS.net and XSI/MRay is starting with a new project.

You are surely right, Raffaele. I was just referring to my personal experience and the conclusions I drew from it.



>> glad to see you are starting to pick up proper C++ development as well.

Ahum! I don't know where you got that idea from, but it is not the case at all! Although it is my long term plans (maybe in early 2005), C++ is still ahead in the future. That said, I know a little bit because I'm the one that has to trouble shoot shaders when they screw up :)



Cheers
Bernard

mlykke
08-10-2004, 10:03 PM
http://www.softimage.com/products/Xsi/v4/comparison/default.asp

That might be usefull.

SevenString
08-10-2004, 11:03 PM
Yes, that chart is useful, although a little out of date: as a couple of examples, Sysflex cloth and compositing are now included in XSI Foundation.

JDex
08-10-2004, 11:05 PM
Yes, that chart is useful, although a little out of date: as a couple of examples, Sysflex cloth and compositing are now included in XSI Foundation.
Ummm... no they're not.

SevenString
08-10-2004, 11:22 PM
Full cloth dynamics and particle simulation make the XSI v.4.0 Foundation package the most comprehensive offering on the market at this competitive price point.

that's from the most recent softimage foundation page

plus, the trial version of Foundation that i'm using has compositing enabled, whereas all sorts of other elements that are part of the other versions are not.

Aegis Prime
08-10-2004, 11:38 PM
The cloth simulation included with XSI Foundation is Softimage's own built-in cloth not Syflex - that's only available with Advanced...

BTW, hi everyone! - just got an Academic license of Advanced - looking forward to bugging you all with lots of questions ;)

SevenString
08-10-2004, 11:52 PM
my mistake... but fxtree compositing seems to be working just fine in the Foundation trial.

which is odd because it's not mentioned as part of Foundation ???

Cometsoft
08-11-2004, 01:20 AM
XSI looks pretty tempting. Anyone have any idea what the price will be to upgrade from Foundation to Essentials.

Maya has some ridiculous policy that if you want to upgrade from Complete to Unlimited and are not on the maintenance plan you have to pay the difference of 6999-1999 plus all of the maintenance fees from the time you bought Complete.

ThE_JacO
08-11-2004, 01:32 AM
e-mail sales@softimage.com
what you get in a forum about commercial policies for something that is around since less then a day is only relatively reliable and usually speculative.
previously it was the price difference between the 2 apps + eventually an upgrade on your lower version OR retroactive MNT (whichever would cost you less).

SevenString
08-11-2004, 02:10 AM
sales@softimage.com = unknown user

try: webmaster@softimage.com

ThE_JacO
08-11-2004, 02:18 AM
DO NOT write to webmaster, it's for totally different things (reporting broken links, malfunctioning forms and so on).

if the short (sales) has been flooded or removed just go for
salesinformation@softimage.com

Milho
08-11-2004, 02:33 AM
my mistake... but fxtree compositing seems to be working just fine in the Foundation trial.

which is odd because it's not mentioned as part of Foundation ???

That would be really interesting. Maybe only the tracker/stabilize and all teh new stuff are missing.
Would be really cool to have kind of a small compositing module included.

Any detailed info?

SevenString
08-11-2004, 02:38 AM
the_jaco,

Perhaps that's true, but the main "contact" link listed on the main softimage page was for "webmaster", with no limitations posted on what sort of messages were appropriate. Since I couldn't find a link to sales, that's who I contacted, and I also received a reasonable response.


If salesinformation@softimage.com is a more direct route that works, then all the better for the next person.

Milho
08-11-2004, 04:42 AM
Since this is a thread about features:
I heard that you can use VB, JavaScript, Python and Perl Bindings for scripting in Windows.
How about Linux. Python right? Anything else?

Also I read that you can write Plugins in VB (at least for Windows I believe). Any other cool SDK features to mention?

(Hope the DVDs are available on the foundation when....i mean IF the linux version comes out)

ThE_JacO
08-11-2004, 04:53 AM
VBS, Javascript and Python are supported in Linux, Perl isn't because there's no activeperl for linux.
the SDK is always exactly the same to use, but you can use it in those 3 languages OR in C++ (with or without ATL/COM) and VBfA.

Atyss
08-11-2004, 09:04 AM
VBS, Javascript and Python are supported in Linux, Perl isn't because there's no activeperl for linux.
the SDK is always exactly the same to use, but you can use it in those 3 languages OR in C++ (with or without ATL/COM) and VBfA.
Just little details, in case you're really picky about langages.....

JScript on Linux is not the latest version, but something in the 3.something and not 5.6 as it is on Windows. So several features are not available (try/catch statement for example).

ActivePython for Linux is also not the latest version, it's 2.2.3. Also, afaik it's available only through Softimage and is not available for "free", so atm any upgrade to the langage will have to go through Softimage.


Cheers
Bernard

Bertha Big
08-11-2004, 10:55 AM
That's a big hook:
"....No maintenance available for this product.

Thanx
Sébastien Dion
Softimage|Avid Graphics Support Engineer "

Seems to me the upgrade policy is similar to edu software, you have to buy new one on every upgrade.
Hi everyone,

will Foundation users get cheaper upgrades to future releases or do they have to pay the full price again ?


Bertha

Cometsoft
08-11-2004, 04:35 PM
If anyone else is interested. From salesinformation@softimage.com there is an upgrade path from Essentials to Foundation for basically the difference in price, $1500. I like that, no pressure to decide now.

Bertha Big
08-11-2004, 05:12 PM
If anyone else is interested. From salesinformation@softimage.com there is an upgrade path from Essentials to Foundation for basically the difference in price, $1500. I like that, no pressure to decide now.
That's good news !
Another (maybe stupid) question. Does the Hair addon 'MuhHair' works with XSI < Advanced ?
http://animus.brinkster.net/index.html
http://animus.brinkster.net/downloads/muhHair.zip

Bertha

ThE_JacO
08-11-2004, 05:49 PM
Daniel's muhhair is a shader, NOT a hair plugin.
it's something that takes MIhair primitives generated by XSI's hair system and shades them.

so, unless you have something to setup, groom and generate MIHair primitives there's nothing to handle to the shader.

in layman terms: it's useless without a hair system.

Bertha Big
08-11-2004, 06:00 PM
Thanks ThE_JacO, as i said it's maybe a stupid question !

ThE_JacO
08-11-2004, 06:22 PM
it wasn't, I understand that if someone doesn't come from a technical (or at least MRay savy) background it can be confusing.
I just try not to abuse smileys in every single post I make.

bolek
08-11-2004, 06:48 PM
anybody know how to bring up shader balls in XSI 4 trial version ?
also, can't seem to just click and have the poly select and click on it to deselect ?

hamu73
08-11-2004, 06:56 PM
when the linux version is out do you get both the linux and win version for 500 $ or do you have to buy both if you tun a system with linux and windows??

Milho
08-11-2004, 11:54 PM
when the linux version is out do you get both the linux and win version for 500 $ or do you have to buy both if you tun a system with linux and windows??

That's a good question, but I doubt there is an answer yet since there is no official info if or when XSI foundation for linux will come out in this price tag.
As for me I believe you'll have to choose between one, cause (thats how I understood it) the foundation is only activated and has no dongle.

I bet when it's out the promotion with the DVDs will be over, that's sad and unfair for linux users but let's wait and see what happens.

PivotPoint
08-13-2004, 06:03 PM
I am still a little confused about what is an Advanced Rig. From what I read so far, there doesn't seem to be much difference form Foundation v. Essientials/Advanced, with respect to rigs and animating them.

What am I missing?


-Pivotpoint

Thalaxis
08-13-2004, 10:04 PM
I am still a little confused about what is an Advanced Rig. From what I read so far, there doesn't seem to be much difference form Foundation v. Essientials/Advanced, with respect to rigs and animating them.

What am I missing?


-Pivotpoint
There are other features, like the custom rendering system, that you get with Essentials (that one allows you to "plug in" a game engine like, say, Source, and use that in an editor preview window). So it seems to me that your impression is correct, and that the extra stuff is just not as easy to market with a sexy-sounding catch-phrase, like extra rendernode licenses and that sort of thing.

ThE_JacO
08-13-2004, 10:14 PM
essentials/advanced have into them the prebuilt rigs and guides.

the guides are skeletal layouts for quadrupeds, bipeds and bipeds with Zlegs that one can adjust to any size and proportions and then "render" into a rig (according to a lot of options).

pretty cool and they help a lot if you are in a hurry, but the lack of those doesn't limit the rigging capabilities of foundation.

what limits them a fair bit, but only to the most advanced users, is the lack of SCOPs writing.
those are very much like very powerful scripted expressions in rigging, and are also what one uses for scripts that need to stay resident in the scene and update/be updated, but again we are talking about something that not many people, even in the old school userbase, use frequently or properly yet.

SheepFactory
08-13-2004, 11:36 PM
That would be really interesting. Maybe only the tracker/stabilize and all teh new stuff are missing.
Would be really cool to have kind of a small compositing module included.

Any detailed info?

No compositing is only in advanced. You can launch the fx tree and the fx viewer in foundation and essentials but you cant do anything more complex than loading images into it and saving them out. I use it as a image viewer.

flingster
08-14-2004, 12:00 AM
No compositing is only in advanced. You can launch the fx tree and the fx viewer in foundation and essentials but you cant do anything more complex than loading images into it and saving them out. I use it as a image viewer.can you do a quickie explanation as to what fx tree is?

EDIT: i presume its the compositor..sorry ignore my post..just re-read yours.

btw...the shader part for foundation..is there any differences between using it and creating shaders between foundation and the other versions that i would need to know about?

Thalaxis
08-14-2004, 12:22 AM
can you do a quickie explanation as to what fx tree is?

EDIT: i presume its the compositor..sorry ignore my post..just re-read yours.

btw...the shader part for foundation..is there any differences between using it and creating shaders between foundation and the other versions that i would need to know about?
Yes, FXTree is the compositor. If you've never seen it in action... well, think "Digital Fusion". It's very similar... only tightly integrated.

As far as I know, there is no difference in shader systems between Foundation, Essential, and Advanced. The interactive renderer is there in Foundation, at least :)

SheepFactory
08-14-2004, 12:40 AM
Texture Layer Editor is not included in Foundations. That does not mean you cant make layered textures in Foundations only not with the new editor.

Thats about the only difference between foundations and the rest in terms of texturing as far as I know.

ghopper
08-14-2004, 12:51 AM
...
what limits them a fair bit, but only to the most advanced users, is the lack of SCOPs writing.
those are very much like very powerful scripted expressions in rigging, and are also what one uses for scripts that need to stay resident in the scene and update/be updated, but again we are talking about something that not many people, even in the old school userbase, use frequently or properly yet.

I'm still not 100% sure what these SCOPs are, so please excuse my ignorance ;)

If you say lack of SCOPs writing in Foundation, does that only apply to rigging, or is it disabled in general.

Basically, in Foundation, do I have full access to XSI's Object Model with Javascript for example, so I can write scripts to manipulate lights, geometry etc ?

Thalaxis
08-14-2004, 01:09 AM
I'm still not 100% sure what these SCOPs are, so please excuse my ignorance ;)

If you say lack of SCOPs writing in Foundation, does that only apply to rigging, or is it disabled in general.

SCOP: scripted operator. It's an automation tool, I think; but I don't know much about it yet. I probably won't anytime soon, since I'm not likely to have access to them :)


Basically, in Foundation, do I have full access to XSI's Object Model with Javascript for example, so I can write scripts to manipulate lights, geometry etc ?
I think so. They say that it includes the SDK and scripting languages (a plethora of them, including Python which is very cool), so you can write plugins and shaders in C++ if you want to with it.

ThE_JacO
08-14-2004, 01:46 AM
I'm still not 100% sure what these SCOPs are, so please excuse my ignorance ;)

If you say lack of SCOPs writing in Foundation, does that only apply to rigging, or is it disabled in general.

scops are resident scripts.
rather then run-once they stay in the scene, have connections to constantly monitor and refresh the parameters you connect and a native sub called update context.
think of them like expressions on speed.
in foundation you can't create or edit them, but you can apply them (from presets/plugins) and foundation will use them just fine if any are already present in the scene.


Basically, in Foundation, do I have full access to XSI's Object Model with Javascript for example, so I can write scripts to manipulate lights, geometry etc ?
scripting itself (the API) and the SDK are provided in full with no limitations of any kind.

flingster
08-14-2004, 01:58 AM
would i miss not having texture layer editor then if its not included?
was this added to do things like export your depth channel or whatever to apps like photoshop..ala multi-pass save in PS format like c4d? and if so can i still export/save this data from whatever the old shader stuff was before TLE. what can you do in TLE you can't do with the old method?

:shrug:

ngrava
08-14-2004, 06:36 AM
scops are resident scripts.
rather then run-once they stay in the scene, have connections to constantly monitor and refresh the parameters you connect and a native sub called update context.
think of them like expressions on speed.
in foundation you can't create or edit them, but you can apply them (from presets/plugins) and foundation will use them just fine if any are already present in the scene.


scripting itself (the API) and the SDK are provided in full with no limitations of any kind.
So it sounds like Scipted Operators are just operators (nodes that can modify things in real-time) that are writen as scripts instead of compiled machine code? In Mel, I don't think there is a distinction between real-time scripts and command sequences scripts. Is this true?

-=GB=-

Layer01
08-14-2004, 07:11 AM
sorry to ask a no doubt answered-already question, but this deal with the free DVDs when does that end...because depending on that i may have to rethink my finances and get XSI sooner rather than in a months time, as i have planed atm. i checked the site but couldn't see anywhere where it gave an exact (ish) date...
also while i wait for the email with the link to the demo version..whats do you guys think my impressions will be as a max user for 3 years ,i have heard good things about XSI but it was always been a tad bit on the expensive side (until now lol). from looking at their online avi's and reading some reviews it seems to me like a hybrid Max/Maya thing...better than max, not as powerfull as maya? with a nice interface (unlike maya) but with more depth and control (unlike max)...is this mor or less the case, or am i wayyyyy of?

ghopper
08-14-2004, 09:21 AM
scops are resident scripts.
...
in foundation you can't create or edit them, but you can apply them (from presets/plugins) and foundation will use them just fine if any are already present in the scene.
...
scripting itself (the API) and the SDK are provided in full with no limitations of any kind.

Thanks for the info. Still slightly confused though ;) So to automate stuff, manipulate objects etc, we can use

Expressions
SCOPs ( resident scripts )
and I guess non-residents scripts ? If these exists, how are they called in XSI, just scripts ?

If scripting itself and the SDK are fully provided in Foundation, how can I make use of it, if you can't edit or create SCOPs in Foundation.

Furthermore you said those scripts could be applied from presets. Are these presets text files, so could I basically create these scripts externally ? But I guess debugging would be a pain, since the editor is disabled.

Sorry for these simple question, but I couldn't find more detailed info about this on the softimage website.

Thanks

RayenD
08-14-2004, 11:11 AM
Ghopper, scripted operators are little (not so little) scripts which work at object level.
For example you can use expressions to setup an arm roll division. But you can also write a scripted operator in VB or Java or even C++ which will do the same.

Or you need a very special twisting deformation operator which reacts to intensity of ligthing in your scene and at the same time will subdivide your mesh according to distance to the camera.
You can do this using scops (they have access to everything), probably hard to do using expressions.

Regular scripting is in foundation, you just can use it to write your own, custom operators which can be attached/embedded into objects.

ThE_JacO
08-14-2004, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the info. Still slightly confused though ;) So to automate stuff, manipulate objects etc, we can use

Expressions
SCOPs ( resident scripts )
and I guess non-residents scripts ? If these exists, how are they called in XSI, just scripts ?

scripts can be run-once or resident.
a runonce script is something that will, in example, take all the points and average them according to a smooth algoritm, and that's it.
a resident one instead is written in a different way and doesn't take selections, but direct connections to objects, but it will stay there.
so if you wanted to write your own interactive constraints, that need a resident connection with the target and the match, you'd use a SCOP, where a script could only move the object once and then leave it there.


If scripting itself and the SDK are fully provided in Foundation, how can I make use of it, if you can't edit or create SCOPs in Foundation.

writing all kind of script, if you wanted a tool that takes an image map and converts it into a weight map you do it with a script and you are good to go, or a script that takes the differences between two meshes and creates a displacment for one of the two.. all these things that create a result as soon as you run them can be scripted.
it's interaction with the same script over time and conditions that you'll miss.


Furthermore you said those scripts could be applied from presets. Are these presets text files, so could I basically create these scripts externally ? But I guess debugging would be a pain, since the editor is disabled.

no, presets are packaged from XSI itself and only the SPDL (the file describing the interface) is in plain text format.


Sorry for these simple question, but I couldn't find more detailed info about this on the softimage website.

in the learning section download michael isner's videos for the guild of scripted operators.

ThE_JacO
08-14-2004, 12:47 PM
So it sounds like Scipted Operators are just operators (nodes that can modify things in real-time) that are writen as scripts instead of compiled machine code? In Mel, I don't think there is a distinction between real-time scripts and command sequences scripts. Is this true?

-=GB=-
in maya you have mel in expressions, in XSI you have expressions with their simple and old school language AND SCOPs.
the difference between SCOPs/Scripts and MELexpressions/runonce MEL is the same, expressions/scops provide a set of connections to objects, runonce scripts have no connections and you either start a pick session or work on selections/names. Also the already described resident state VS run-once applies to both.

for both maya and XSI the syntax and the SDK is the same between SCOPs and Scripts, but in both interactivity limits you to only some SDKobjects (not inscene objects) you can interact with, simply because some other don't correspond to the necessities of an operator structure.
but for what operators need to do you very rarely bump into these limitations (the only 3 annoying ones, that you need to work around in an awkward manner, are image processing, geometry creation and UVWs in SCOPs).

ngrava
08-14-2004, 07:23 PM
in maya you have mel in expressions, in XSI you have expressions with their simple and old school language AND SCOPs.

the difference between SCOPs/Scripts and MELexpressions/runonce MEL is the same, expressions/scops provide a set of connections to objects, runonce scripts have no connections and you either start a pick session or work on selections/names. Also the already described resident state VS run-once applies to both.

for both maya and XSI the syntax and the SDK is the same between SCOPs and Scripts, but in both interactivity limits you to only some SDKobjects (not inscene objects) you can interact with, simply because some other don't correspond to the necessities of an operator structure.

but for what operators need to do you very rarely bump into these limitations (the only 3 annoying ones, that you need to work around in an awkward manner, are image processing, geometry creation and UVWs in SCOPs).Hey Man, Thanks for all your time in giving all this great detailed information. It's great to see all these coders getting excited about XSI. Hopefully it means that there will soon be a wide variety of scripts and plug ins out there for the user. One of the issues that I think taunts prospective XSI users is that the Maya community is so much larger and the variety of customizations freely available is so large. I'm betting this will be changing soon because of the inexpensive XSI foundation.

So... Get to work you coders!! :)

-=GB=-

P.S., Someone should start a list of script and plug in ideas.

ghopper
08-14-2004, 10:44 PM
...
in the learning section download michael isner's videos for the guild of scripted operators.

Thanks for taking the time to explain this in more detail. Now it's all clear ;) I've seen the videos before. Very nice.

Thanks

private
08-15-2004, 04:58 AM
I'm looking at XSI Foundation, but I would like some questions answered on some of the features that are missing compared to essentials. Basically:

1. Could someone explain Polygon Reduction and Smooth/Relax. I am familiar with 3D, espeically Lightwave, but are these features a big gap missing from Foundation? Any links showing the features off?

2. Again, basically same question with the texture layer editor.

Thanks in advance.

ThE_JacO
08-15-2004, 05:17 AM
I'm looking at XSI Foundation, but I would like some questions answered on some of the features that are missing compared to essentials. Basically:

1. Could someone explain Polygon Reduction and Smooth/Relax. I am familiar with 3D, espeically Lightwave, but are these features a big gap missing from Foundation? Any links showing the features off?

2. Again, basically same question with the texture layer editor.

Thanks in advance.
this very same thread, just a couple of pages back.
or do a search, both things have been explained a few times by now.

private
08-15-2004, 05:42 AM
Actually, first page. Thanks!

Dire Wolf
08-16-2004, 12:18 AM
Sorry if this has already been asked but how does XSI Foundation compare to Max R6?

- Is the poly modelling tools in XSI Foundation better then Max R6?
- I assume the level of rendering must be close due to the fact they both use Mental Ray. Is my assumtion correct? Does one software have a clear advantage?

I mostly use Max R6 for polymodelling and rendering still images, havent really moved into animation yet. Would XSI Foundation be a better choice then Max R6 for what I do?

Thanks.

Chico
08-16-2004, 12:27 AM
First thanks to everyone who has contributed the the extensive Q&A going on here. You have answered most of the the questions I and many others we likely to ask.

I one left over, what is the likelyhood of being able to transfer files from Essentials to Foundation and back through Exxentials? For instance, if a studio were to purchase a seat of Essentials and the scenes were to be setup in there, then transfered to animators using seats of Foundation to work their magic, finally back through to a seat of Essentials (or advanced for the matter) for final scene prep and rendering?

Hope that makes some sense.
Cheers

Chico
08-16-2004, 12:32 AM
And to add onto what Dire Wolf said (not trying to start a Max v LW v XSI), But is there really anything major missing in XSI Foundation that is in MAX 6 and LW7? I have started to look go through the Foundation training (30 day trail) and for the price, It's really hard to see what you are missing out on really. Our studio uses Max and Lightwave extensively so I'll hit up some other soon enough.
Cheers

SheepFactory
08-16-2004, 01:20 AM
Yes Foundation can open any scene created in essentials and Advanced and vice versa.

you are not missing out on anything if you are a modeller\texture artist\animator , it has all the bells and whistles. Essentials includes Rigid body dynamics and advanced includes Hair and Compositing. All the rest (with the exception of scops and rig guides and CDH) are in foundation.

Its a kick ass deal no matter what angle you look at it from :)

As far as I know max 7 includes reactor and character studio , you need essentials to get reactor functionality. I dont work with mocap so i have no clue about the mocap capabilities of xsi or character studio , i'll leave that to someone who knows.

Lightwave has sas lite and hypervoxels , so if you need to do grass , hair etc in foundation you need to use the plane method or instance it or etc , there are no hair simulation tools in it.

Hope this helps.

Chico
08-16-2004, 02:12 AM
Thanks that does help.
Our developer has been saying great things about the file system and all the support for it.
Another question then...

Lets say we buy 1 Advanced (12 rendering licenses), 2 Essentials (6 licenses each). and 6 Foundations (2 licenses each), and had Advanced at the end of the pipeline for any extra rendering needs... would I be right in assuming that I'd have at least 36 rendering licenses that were capable of rendering everything (hair, cloth etc) without limitation, and still enough money leftover from $15k USD to buy tee-shirts for everyone?

Cheers,

SheepFactory
08-16-2004, 02:36 AM
I dont think you can use foundation in a network render. You can with essentials and advanced though.

i just checked the Softimage site and realized they took off the MR licenses from the store. I heard they are having a new pricing on that soon.

Chico
08-16-2004, 02:56 AM
Okay, well its still a pretty sweet deal, can anyone possibly clarify if Foundation license's would work on the rest of the farm?

Anyone know what the MR license's worth? ballpark?

Would 'Batch' or similar products from Softimage help out this sort of thing?

Milho
08-16-2004, 04:04 AM
Don't know if this helps but anyway.....
I dont know where but I read Foundation supports batch render but you cant render MI files with ray.exe cause it's not included.
But through XSI you can render with mental ray as batch process without the xsi interface.

SevenString
08-16-2004, 06:41 PM
How about this:


Imagine that you have, say, four XSI users on a small team, working on a project. If you don't care about hair, and are using a seperate compositing app, then all four could use Foundation at a total cost of around $2K.

Okay, so you set everyone up on dual-processor machines with a crapload of RAM, and have everyone connected to a common file server.

Whenever a user is going to be away from his or her machine for any length of time, that user loads up any "finished" scenes that haven't been completely rendered, based on some sort of priority system.

In a shared tracking system, for that scene, the user notes the starting frame, based on what's left to be rendered, and an estimated ending frame, based on a previously noted average render-time per frame.

Any other users in the same "away" situation could render OTHER outstanding frames of that scene, or frames from some other scene.

So when the user comes back, HOPEFULLY all of the estimated frames wil be rendered. Whatever the case, the user should note in the tracking system: a) the new "last frame completed", and b) the new "average time per frame".

there will also have to be some common sense applied: for instance, if the frames to be rendered have a whole lot of complexity compared to the previous frames, then you know you have to lower your estimate of the number of frames that you can render in a given time. Eventually, the "average time per frame" can be done away with, simply because users will gain experience regarding how many frames of a particular type of scene can be rendered in a given time frame.

I know some of this stuff seems obvious, but this is a way for a small team to have a little "renderfarm", since the larger studios are probably going to spring for seats of XSI Advanced anyway, giving them lots of rendernodes.

Chico
08-16-2004, 08:52 PM
Possible I guess bt don't underestimate the difficulty and hassel of setting up the rendering like that. If you could buy (I think you can) the batch serve application from Softimage, would that help out with foundation.

Even if you added a seat of Essentials onto that pile, you'd get 14 rendering nodes and 5 operating seats for $4K. Thats pretty damn reasonable. Though I am as yet unfamiliar exactly with the different advantages of Advanced's rendering controls.

BTW I have contacted my reseller regarding the $15k option and if that would work as I understand it for a production pipeline, they seem to think that its a great idea and can't see any reason why it wouldn't work as I expect it too. They have however contacted Softimage to get confirmation for me.

Looks like Freelancers and studios win all round. Does seem a little too good to be true sort of thing though.

SevenString
08-16-2004, 09:27 PM
yeah, chico... the seat of essentials is the better way to go.


I'm just thinking of the case of a handfull of people (maybe students) who can now each afford a commercial seat of Foundation, and want to work on an indy project together without having to buy a renderfarm. the old "dual purpose" workstation/rendernode trick.

Oh, and maybe scene/frame management could be automated somewhat through some XSI scripting. If it's set up correctly in advance, then it could be just a matter of a user pressing a custom "machine is idle" button when they leave for the night.

But that sure is a sweet deal, being able to get 4 seats of foundation and one of essentials for only $4K <whips out the credit card> :D

ThE_JacO
08-16-2004, 09:40 PM
batchserve is free with XSI Now, no need to buy it.

as for foundation there's no way to exploit it remotely except with a VNC (that involves just as much manual work as moving to the box and starting a rendering, and even less automation).

foundation has no shell options of any kind, this means no standalone and no batching.

In all honesty though this is only fair.
if it had it would mean that not only you could buy for the value of XSI, but that you could get MRay nodes for less then 250$ each.

contact softimage and ask a quote for a batch of MRay nodes eventually, they went down in price considerably and multiple times over the last 1.5 years.

ngrava
08-16-2004, 10:02 PM
There was some rumor that MR nodes will come down in price again. I don't know how much but last time I checked they where only about $1000. So, I'm hoping they come down to about $500 to $700. We'll see though.

As for Batch rendering, I have a theory that someone could write a plugin that runs inside Foundation that communicates to a render control server via TCP. What it would do is listen for a command to open a scene and render a particular frame from it. It would then report back to the server when that was under way and tell it when it was done and ask for further instructions. This would continue until the scene was done. The server could be a simple server side script that just keeps track of the nodes. This is how most distributed rendering works actually it's just that they usually use a command line render-only version of the software. Doing it like this is a little inefficient in RAM usage but the key is that it should work. Especially since the internal plug in and scripting API is based on COM.

Anyone see any potential issues with this line of thinking?

-=GB=-

SevenString
08-16-2004, 10:04 PM
true, the_jaco, but i'm not talking about exploiting foundation remotely


it would be something like a client-side script that checks the status of scenes and frames through a commonly shared file on a server. Maybe an Excel spreadsheet. Then, based on that status, the script loads the appropriate scene and starts rendering outstanding frames. then, based on what frames are successfully rendered, it updates that common text file. this is all handled from the client side, with no need to directly communicate with other instances of XSI.

this is just a thought-experement, though. maybe no one will ever do this, considering essentials' and advanced's new low pricing.

edit : ngrava's method is obviously the more "correct" approach... i'm just thinking of a quick and dirty client-side thing that could be fairly quick to implement, even if it isn't very robust.

ngrava
08-16-2004, 10:39 PM
LOL! We must have posted at the same time. Well, you know what they say: great minds think alike. ;) I really think this totally possible unless the API somehow limits the communication of plug ins with the outside world but I have a feeling it's pretty open. I'll bet a simple script would do the trick. The server could even be some kind of Java script... Hey! Wait a minute... It might be possible to run the whole thing from a Netview inside XSI!! That way it could all be built as a web application... Holy crap... If I'm right, this could be pretty sweet! The issue is getting the web page to send messages to XSI. I know you can drag and drop things from a Netview... Maybe another script inside XSI to communicate with the NetView. Hmmm I’ll have to call up some of the web developer friends.

-=GB=-

vlad74
08-22-2004, 02:18 PM
smooth and relax are really the same operator with different settings.
it's basically a complex averaging operator to smooth out irregularities and topologies.

Does it mean that I won't be able to smooth my model in SXI. Is there a function in XSI Foun. like in Maya where you got 2 objects low and high poly. And when you manipulate the low poly one it reflects the high poly. It is really basic function and I thinkk it should be included.
I am asking you this because I got pretty exited about this XSI price and I am really thinking of buying it.

thanks in advance.

Thalaxis
08-22-2004, 03:56 PM
true, the_jaco, but i'm not talking about exploiting foundation remotely


it would be something like a client-side script that checks the status of scenes and frames through a commonly shared file on a server.
Launch a thread that's listening on a socket, and built a render manager that sends out status messages over the socket connection. They wouldn't need to ride on the same machine, and you could just send the command line over the socket.

Use GridFTP to send the necessary project data over the wire and you have your data distribution mechanism, and you could also use GridFTP to pull together the rendered scenes.

On the render client, write an application that wraps the command-line renderer by calling the command line that it receives over the socket, and when the command finishes sends a message over the socket when it's finished and ready for another frame.

Hm... when I get my XSI Foundation, I'll have to look at the SDK :)

SheepFactory
08-22-2004, 05:33 PM
Does it mean that I won't be able to smooth my model in SXI. Is there a function in XSI Foun. like in Maya where you got 2 objects low and high poly. And when you manipulate the low poly one it reflects the high poly. It is really basic function and I thinkk it should be included.
I am asking you this because I got pretty exited about this XSI price and I am really thinking of buying it.

thanks in advance.

Thats not the same thing , dont confuse the two. You can of course have the same workflow in xsi (much faster).

Smooth and relax jaco mentions are deformers.

vlad74
08-22-2004, 06:52 PM
Thanks you Sheep Factory. I didn't know smooth and relax were deformers. Thanks for clearing up the things for me. Now it is time for ordering.:scream:

CGTalk Moderation
01-18-2006, 11:00 PM
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.