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DZL
09-01-2004, 05:25 PM
Hey 'all - i was wondering if there are any recent converts from 3ds max that can give their overall impression of Softimage as it relates to Max... Was it easy/hard to change software? what are Softimage's strengths/weaknesses? Anything else you can think of would be great.

I'm thinking of finally jumping discreet's ship, and would like any input.

Thanks in advance,

ma++

pappuftp
09-01-2004, 07:24 PM
ooo touchy topic .. hehe

by all means make the jump .. U won't miss much but it depends..

u might take some time getting ur head around the animation system and the materials system..
modeling is a breeze ( as in max ) so no probs there.
I found the rigging side a bit different ( especially the IK node at the tip of ever chain ) but have gotten used 2 it now.

BUt over all .. u might miss some easier features .. but u gain a lot more ..
so jump in .. the water's pretty cool !

If u want anything specific let me know !

CiaránMurphy
09-02-2004, 12:31 AM
Well there are a few things that I found lacking in XSI (or maybe I just haven't found them yet... if so please point me in the right direction because overall I'm impressed)

XSI seems to have only very basic spline support
A) I can't see how to boolean two splines.
B) I can't seem to join two splines together or attach one to another.
C) I can't see how to join two vertexs together - only the "close" option... this seems so restrictive.
D) I can't see where to chamfer or fillet a vertex
E) I can't see where to select a section of a curve and detach/copy it
F) I can't see how to trim segments of a spline
G) I can't see how to weld vertices of a spline

Camera matching utility would be nice... very important tool (especially for arch viz)

Scripting however, is XSI's saviour. VB Script is much much nicer than MaxScript and it's probably possible to include XSI's objects in a VB project (If you have Visual Studio) and get full intellisense, code completion, syntax highlighting etc. Very nice... and I'd say it's probably possible to code A thru G with not too much difficulty.

mr Bob
09-02-2004, 12:56 AM
ok first off xsi only has nurbs curves ,it does not have b splines like max .

i suggest you read the manuals as to what the curves can do its all there and should be your first port of call .
as for camera matching it does have a basic 4 point tracker again read the manual. Im not sure if thats in the foundation version though.

hope this helps

B

Layer01
09-02-2004, 01:43 AM
well i have been using max for ages now but ijust bought my copy of Foundations yesterday and it should hopefully arrive on friday..or maybe monday, but when i get it i'll let you know (if your still interested) my first impressions :)

Snooba
09-02-2004, 11:26 AM
I've used MAX since 3DS 3 for DOS. I bought XSI Foundation two days ago, and its taking me a while to get used to the new interface.

I suggest you head over to www.3dbuzz.com (http://www.3dbuzz.com) and get all the VTMs about XSI. It helps a lot. And you'll have more than one good laugh ;)

I already modeled my first human torso in XSI, and for what I can tell, it has a few nice tools MAX doesn't have. The subdivision tool kicks meshsmooth's butt. The material editor is weird. And you'll miss the stack...a lot. But thats it.

I guess I'll find out more once the box arrives with the manual and the dvds.

robinb
09-02-2004, 01:34 PM
I've also been looking at XSI from a Max perspective. Not to replace it, but just to expand my options. I have only been using EXP for a little while so I'm still very much getting used to it.

My first impressions were mixed. I couldn't do anything without going through a load of tutorials. Even selecting faces works in a surprising way. There are a LOT of keys required. And I mean required. There simply don't appear to be buttons for a lot of functions (viewport navigation for instance). The mouse wheel does nothing. The three mouse buttons are used for different functions for most tools, so keep an eye on the prompt bar.

I haven't found anywhere near the poly modelling tools of max (my main interest is in modelling rather than animation). Most like bevel seem to work with a pop up dialog box rather than interactively, which I'm not so keen on (I tend only to use the pop up boxes in max only when I want to type specific settings in).

I haven't found out whether objects can be manipulated via the gizmo. Not by default they can't, trying to move an object in a certain direction by dragging on the tripod thing doesn't do anything (well it moves in x if you're using the left button).

I have had a few problems picking faces. For some reason, when I click on some it just selects completely different faces. This was on an imported OBJ file, so that might have had something to do with it. The model looked fine though- no obvious problems with normals.

XSI is very fast though. Much much faster than max for sub-d models. In max you pretty much have to toggle off the subdivision to edit the model then turn it on to see the result. Not so in XSI. Having the original model on top of the subdivided one makes it a bit messy to see what's going on, but that can be sorted by moving one of the models or no doubt by applying a shader to the cage or something. I haven't sussed out how to toggle the control cage on and off yet, but I'm sure there's a way.

UV editing looks pretty good. I haven't done much with it other than the tutorial, but it includes all the extra options that are in the Unwrap Tools maxscript (flatten in x and y etc). You can also do spherical and cylindrical projections from within uvedit and it updates live which is nice. Being able to put uvedit in a window rather than simply having it floating over the viewport and getting in the way of the model is something Discreet should have done in max ages ago.

XSI seems to handle big scenes much better than max. This is likely to become more of a problem for game artists like myself in the future.

The interactive mental ray rendering is lovely. Much quicker than max's interactive renderer (after the initial render anyway) and it's great to just be able to drag a box over the bit of the viewport you want to see interactively. I haven't had a go editing materials using it, but it seems like it would be really good for that.

Just a few first impressions from a long time max user.

ray-f
09-02-2004, 02:08 PM
like robinb, me too, long time user of Max and nowadays trying hard to learn the XSI. :D
the main problem in Max (actually the only for me) is the slowness of polymodeling in meshsmoothed condition.

Well, I had a look in Maya couple of month ago and recently tried XSI.. Even though XSI seems like has a more user friendly interface than Maya i confused a lot.

I have my own combination of keyboard shortuts (like many people do) so with in time, i'd like to apply similiar buttons to XSI..

but as far as i heard, "s" button which makes a viewport operations (like "alt" in max) is unchangeble and user cannot change it.. (i wish i was wrong)
coz when I press an "alt" by habbit, it changes the pivot point of face.

also i found the transforms by an mouse buttons extremely unusable :((

well, it's my first opinions about XSI as a long time max user. (most of the times i do modeling, rather than animation)

2robinb: i think the "+" and "-" numpads are buttons you need to control the cage of subdivs

robinb
09-02-2004, 02:19 PM
2robinb: i think the "+" and "-" numpads are buttons you need to control the cage of subdivs


Aha. I'll try that. I thought there would be something. (runs off to check). Yes, that's great. Much more useful. Knew I should have looked into it more, it's just that my brain got full. ;)

Ablefish
09-02-2004, 02:57 PM
Robinb: I don't think the Transform Manipulators (gizmo?) are active by default - they're just a display. So head to the Transform menu over on the right hand side and choose Enable Transform Manipulators. Now you'll be able to pull on the manipulators and the planes between the arrows. Also, in the preferences you can set how you want the mouse to act outside of the manipulators (as a select tool, as a free move, or the 3-button axis way that you've seen so far).

ray-f: You can certainly remap the Naviagtion button (s), but most people, myself included, would strongly recommend you try it out first. The Alt key is heavily used by almost every other tool as a modifier. Ie, when transforming it lets you set a temp pivot, when moving points (m-key), it welds, when selecting components it lets you select loops and rings... Besides, it's close to A and F which are also viewport controls.

robinb
09-02-2004, 03:10 PM
Ablefish- Thanks. I'll look into that later when I get a chance. Sounds like I'm going to get on with XSI much more easily like that.

Normally I'd want to remap keys too (I've long since got a favourite custom setup in max, most of which I've also set up the same way in maya and Silo), but I'm reluctant with XSI as it uses so many of them I think I'd constantly be shuffling them around and forget where I'd put half of them that I don't normally use in max or maya.

Besides, I heard you can't save customisations in EXP so there's not much point for me.

I find the amount of keys just for selecting things to be completely overwhelming. Max is context sensitive so you can only select verts in vert mode, polys in poly mode, Ctrl adds and Alt removes to the selection. You can either click to pick or drag to select in an area. All this is just active all the time (move/translate is actually select and move, rotate and scale are the same). Much simpler in my mind. Of course that does mean you have to select an object, then go into sub object mode (poly for instance) first, then select stuff, but it does keep things under control a bit more.

.oO-cloak-Oo.
09-02-2004, 03:48 PM
Actually I've just switched to XSI from Max about a month or so ago and to be honest the only thing that max does better IMO is materials and it also has the handy edge turn tool. Max's material system seems way more user friendly than the render tree or material editor in xsi, but maybe I just need to spend more time with it. XSI's uv tools and poly tools (besides missing edge turn) are definitely better and overall it seems to be a more stable program... oh and sticky keys are great. :)

A few concepts I thought to be confusing at first were clusters and mutiple uv sets, but life was much easier after figuring out that clusters are the same as material id's and uv sets are the same as uv channels in max. Also, I changed all the hotkeys in XSI to what I was used to in Max and that made the transition soooo much easier.

cheers.

Ablefish
09-02-2004, 04:29 PM
Robinb: I'd also recommend that you turn off the last 3 options at the bottom of the Select Menu. That will give you the add/remove to selection behaviour that you're used to. Although XSI does use the windows conventions of Shift to add to selection, Ctrl to toggle, (and Shift-Ctrl to remove from selection). This goes for objects, components, in viewport, in editor, in explorer...etc.My personal keymap has the keys for Edge Poly and Point selection mode as E, R and T so they're close. And with sticky keys you can just hold the button down, say T, and select some points, then release and you're still in whatever mode you were before.

robinb
09-02-2004, 04:38 PM
Thanks. This is becoming a very useful thread for me. Can't wait to get home and check all these tips out.

Sorry to hijack the thread a bit Mattconway, but I hope these things will be useful to you too.

I don't mind using Shift rather than Ctrl for add to selection. I've been using Maya a bit recently and that uses shift to add to selection and Ctrl to remove (or something like that, I forget).

And yes the sticky keys/supra keys or whatever are nice. I'm liking them a lot.

capt chuck
09-02-2004, 05:59 PM
I'm finding the ui a little hard getting used to (used Max forever and xsi for a few days might have something to do with it). Someone on 3dbuzz posted this max-toxsi cheatsheet (http://www.xsibase.com/users/max2xsi/MAX2XSI.htm)which I think will become very handy.

I've run through some of the tutorials and found some real gems that aren't in max (like creating a missing poly by selecting opposite edges vs. selecting all the points). Did manage to crash xsi once, but overall it seems very stable and even in that case it recovered the data nicely.

robinb
09-02-2004, 07:42 PM
Yeah XSI does have some nice tools that max doesn't. On the whole the only tool I regularly miss in max is bridge. Even that is only about three or four clicks and drags and I don't do it enough to be that bothered.

capt chuck- Sounds like you need Cap Holes for that situation in max. Only available in edge loop mode (which makes sense). It's a few less clicks than creating a poly and lot less for a multi-sided poly (like the top of a cylinder).
That jumpstart document look useful, thanks.

pappuftp
09-02-2004, 07:54 PM
robinb


I haven't found anywhere near the poly modelling tools of max (my main interest is in modelling rather than animation). Most like bevel seem to work with a pop up dialog box rather than interactively, which I'm not so keen on (I tend only to use the pop up boxes in max only when I want to type specific settings in).
just press cntrl+D and u get an extrude op .if u want u can add segments when u check the operators history in the explorer. repeat as desired.

ray-f
but as far as i heard, "s" button which makes a viewport operations (like "alt" in max) is unchangeble and user cannot change it.. (i wish i was wrong)
coz when I press an "alt" by habbit, it changes the pivot point of face.
I have mapped the viewport navigation default frm 'S" to 'Spacebar'.

also have set selection mode to 'Z" and swapped the scale and translate hotkeys.makes all my interaction keys very near.

cheers

robinb
09-02-2004, 08:55 PM
Robinb: I don't think the Transform Manipulators (gizmo?) are active by default - they're just a display. So head to the Transform menu over on the right hand side and choose Enable Transform Manipulators. Now you'll be able to pull on the manipulators and the planes between the arrows. Also, in the preferences you can set how you want the mouse to act outside of the manipulators (as a select tool, as a free move, or the 3-button axis way that you've seen so far).
Maybe I'm being a bit dim, but I can't find either of those options. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place or they're labelled as something I don't expect. There's no mention of manipulators in the transform options panel that I can see.

Turning off those three selection options has certainly helped though. Is there any way to select polys by dragging the rectangle over part of them rather than them having to be completely surrounded by the rectangle? There's an option in the user preferences but it only seems to work for edges.

I'm having big problems with picking in perspective and user views. I don't think the raycasting is liking my graphics card. (a search confirms XSI and ATI cards don't get on- damn, no option to change it as it's built into the laptop).

.oO-cloak-Oo.
09-02-2004, 09:08 PM
Maybe I'm being a bit dim, but I can't find either of those options. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place or they're labelled as something I don't expect. There's no mention of manipulators in the transform options panel that I can see.

Turning off those three selection options has certainly helped though. Is there any way to select polys by dragging the rectangle over part of them rather than them having to be completely surrounded by the rectangle? There's an option in the user preferences but it only seems to work for edges.

I'm having big problems with picking in perspective and user views. I don't think the raycasting is liking my graphics card. (a search confirms XSI and ATI cards don't get on- damn, no option to change it as it's built into the laptop).Left click anywhere in the grey bar where the words "Transform" are and a whole window pops up where 'Enable Transform Manipulators' is located.

Raycast poly tool is what u want so u dont have to draw a rectangle around the whole poly.
You can also use the 'Freeform Select Tool' by hitting f9 and that will alow u to draw a line across the polys that you want.

sigge
09-02-2004, 09:40 PM
...On the whole the only tool I regularly miss in max is bridge.I haven't given xsi a testdrive yet so I don't know how it's bridge tool works. But if you've missed it, bridge is in meshtools, but it's named connect.

robinb
09-02-2004, 09:42 PM
Yeah, I got that far, but that option doesn't appear to be there. Maybe EXP is missing that option. Here's what I get.

Never mind if it's not there in this version.

And yeah I know about the raycast option, that's what doesn't seem to work properly with my graphics card. That's why I was looking for the option for rectangle select which seems to work properly. :(
But thanks for the help .oO-cloak-Oo.

Ablefish
09-02-2004, 09:51 PM
Hmmm... Maybe the interactive manipulators showed up in 3.5. They may not be in EXP which I think is based on 3.0, is it not?

.oO-cloak-Oo.
09-02-2004, 10:20 PM
Yeah, I got that far, but that option doesn't appear to be there. Maybe EXP is missing that option. Here's what I get.

Never mind if it's not there in this version.

And yeah I know about the raycast option, that's what doesn't seem to work properly with my graphics card. That's why I was looking for the option for rectangle select which seems to work properly. :(
But thanks for the help .oO-cloak-Oo.ahh, my guess is same as Ablefish. Probably, not in the version you are using :(.

If exp has the freeform poly select (F9) I would try using that...u just draw a line on the poly that u want instead of using rectangle select. The line can be ultra small, so small that someone watching you would think you were just clicking on the poly to select it...so you dont have to draw it across the whole poly. And if you want a whole row u just draw a line across the row of polys that u want. Really easy. Sorry to hear about your vid card :shrug: I use raycast almost exclusively...very handy. :scream:

.oO-cloak-Oo.
09-02-2004, 10:22 PM
I haven't given xsi a testdrive yet so I don't know how it's bridge tool works. But if you've missed it, bridge is in meshtools, but it's named connect.
ahh nice. I for one didnt know that. Good info.

markdc
09-03-2004, 01:15 AM
I’ve been using the XSI 4 demo for almost a month. Here’s what I noticed:

1. Subd’s are much faster in XSI than max 6.
2. The move point tool is very useful.
3. The raycast poly select mode is nice for painting your selection.
4. The proportional modeling (soft-selection) in XSI doesn’t seem to have as much flexibility with falloff curves as soft-selection in max.
5. XSI doesn’t have a true symmetrical modeling mode like the symmetry modifier in max. You can use symmetrize polygons to get auto welding when you’re done, but while you’re working you have a mesh and a separate instance.
6. Obj import and export doesn’t always work properly in XSI.
7. I like XSI’s Project management system. Helps keep all of you assets organized.
8. XSI doesn’t have increment on save but it does have a timed backup system. I prefer increment on save because then I know the exact state of the model when the file is saved.
9. The add edge tool in XSI works much better than the cut tool in max--more accurate.
10. The add polygon tool in XSI is nice. The max tool works as well.
11. If you go below the 1280 x 1024 resolution you lose part of the toolbar. All of these commands have menu items though and you can customize the UI. Max scales properly to whatever resolution you are using.
12. You can’t modify the context menu in XSI and it only has the standard single dropdown menu. Max has fully customizable quad menus.

I haven’t touched animation or rendering or done enough with the curve tools to compare them.

I like XSI just for the fast subds, but I want to try the max 7 demo before I purchase. Hopefully the DVD special won't run out before then.

DZL
09-03-2004, 09:06 PM
thank you all for you thoughts on this... i have been AWOL the last few days, but i appreciate all your thoughts...

besides customizing hotkeys, is there a particular way to go about learning that will be the most efficient way to go? - if i buy Fundamentals, i will get the DVD's, which i hear are excellent. are there other tutorials that you found especially helpful?

much thanks,

ma++

chesterjoe
09-04-2004, 03:19 AM
Hmmm... Maybe the interactive manipulators showed up in 3.5. They may not be in EXP which I think is based on 3.0, is it not?

If it was not available in 3.0 ( don´t remember about that ) then they can download half life version of EXP since it is basically the same as standard EXP but based on 3.5 BTW this topic has being started before ( here and in xsibase ) if anyone is interested use a search and you might get some extra info. I love both max and xsi my self and use the one that fits my need in particular situations, I don´t believe in perfect all mighty software so each has it´s own great stuff, and once you get used to xsi´s work flow you might love it too, specially the rendertree, as I posted before about this: it is way easier to have all your nodes viewable at once for complex material networks since you would need to get into every single parameter (slot) influenced by another material to tweak. And imagine having a falloff affected by a noise wich is also affected by an image, also affected(driven) by another material and so on. If you have a complex material you end up with a maze. In the rendertree you will always see what is affecting what on the fly, so I kind of like it better.

chesterjoe
09-04-2004, 03:30 AM
thank you all for you thoughts on this... i have been AWOL the last few days, but i appreciate all your thoughts...

besides customizing hotkeys, is there a particular way to go about learning that will be the most efficient way to go? - if i buy Fundamentals, i will get the DVD's, which i hear are excellent. are there other tutorials that you found especially helpful?

much thanks,

ma++
In softimage´s site you can find several tutorials and some ( few ) video tutorials, some quite usefull. also you might allready know but www.edharriss.com is a place to find lots of tutorials. Some of them where made foir previous versions so sometimes menus commands, etc have different names or can be found in different places but at least can give you an idea of how to go about some tasks. ( other tuts, even though made for previous versions, work exactly the same with current versions)

ray-f
09-08-2004, 06:21 PM
i think exactly the wat you do, brian_dlm :thumbsup:
you've realy read my brain :applause:

well I just want to add that i didnt find in XSI chamfer, shrink selection and lock selection tools.
(maybe i saw in wrong place)

i also disappointed when find out thet there is no symmetrical modeling there in xsi. :shrug:
but the speed of polymodeling is really amazing.. tested only modeling so far.
will continue test driving of XSI till the release of 7th Max, then will make a final desition.

neods
09-08-2004, 08:33 PM
Is there really no way to model like in 3dsmax, with a symmetry? Or is there a hack to it? like a instance or something. I havent found the camfer too either, is there one?

gent_k
09-08-2004, 08:49 PM
I havent found the camfer too either, is there one?
In XSI you do it with bevel (Bevel Components).

Ablefish
09-08-2004, 10:43 PM
For Polygonal Symmetry Modeling in XSI...

Select your half Model.
Edit->Duplicate->Clone
Select the Clone
Modify->Polymesh->Symmetrize Polygons

At this point you can put the clone in a layer and make it unselectable, or set up your viewports with the Isolate Selection command (under the Camera icon for the viewport).

Now model as you please, freezing the stack as you like - everything is copied to the clone. When you're done, just select the clone and Freeze. Model is done.

ray-f
09-09-2004, 07:31 AM
thanx a bunch, Ablefish. Your tips realy came in handy!! :thumbsup:
hehe I've rearranged XSI keyboard about 75% like in max :) (i mean only for modeling)
so it beacame max with XSI UI :)
(RC-Tools rock by the way! :buttrock: )

i also downloaded the "edge create.vbs" from mindthink.de, but dont know how to install .vbs scripts yet. :D Coz' i realy need something like connect verices in max so i think that this tool is the right one.

will refresh this topic continiously, cannot wait any for getting the answer :)

Bibo
09-12-2004, 11:26 AM
i also downloaded the "edge create.vbs" from mindthink.de, but dont know how to install .vbs scripts yet. :D Coz' i realy need something like connect verices in max so i think that this tool is the right one.

will refresh this topic continiously, cannot wait any for getting the answer :)
Hi,

go into Edge Mode and use "Add Edge Tool". Its similar to MAXs "Cut" Operation. You can connect Verts and Edges in one go. Very handy one :thumbsup: For Sub-D Modeling and refinement you almost need no other tools... (my advice: don´t make your app unstable with needless scripts and plugins, always look for a workaround first)

Regards

Bibo

boxorcist
09-13-2004, 09:48 PM
looking at buying max until this incredible offer for F4.0 appeared. I'm very impressed with most of the toolset, and there are certainly some neat tools lacking from max such as the move point tool, sub-d modelling (both like lightwave), and the ability to segment and bend extrusions like Maya. Open GL fog is smooth too! And I've not even looked at animation yet.

Materials...mmmm. If you are used to the Max Material Editor with its very visual and logical setup then you will need some time to get your head round the Render tree. I havnt yet.

However, I dont suppose anyone can tell me how to animate phase effects. In Max, for example, if you use noise (modifier or material), volume light, waves, ripples etc, you always have a Phase setting setting which can be animated to acheive an undulating, moving effect.

How can this be acheived in SoftimageXSI. E.g. with the Randomise deformer, Smoke output shader, etc.

.oO-cloak-Oo.
09-13-2004, 09:56 PM
For Polygonal Symmetry Modeling in XSI...

Select your half Model.
Edit->Duplicate->Clone
Select the Clone
Modify->Polymesh->Symmetrize Polygons

At this point you can put the clone in a layer and make it unselectable, or set up your viewports with the Isolate Selection command (under the Camera icon for the viewport).

Now model as you please, freezing the stack as you like - everything is copied to the clone. When you're done, just select the clone and Freeze. Model is done.Or you can CTRL+I and Instatiate the model u are working on, type in -1 on the axis u want to flip the model on, model away until u have what u want, then delete the Instance and select your original and Symmetrize Polygons.

As with the clone the instance updates as you work on the original model.

Either way works and the only difference really is "Duplication creates an unlinked copy. Cloning creates a clinked copy. Instantiation creates an identical replica, but works only for models." straight from the help file, but I thought I would just mention it.

Ablefish
09-13-2004, 10:29 PM
That's all true, but using instances is just a little clunky for my liking.

Using the clone with symmetrize let's you actually see what the finished, symmetrical object will look like while you're working (especially how the center seam is going to work out). Plus you can set the clone to be subdivided since it doesn't share the master's geoapprox settings.

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