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View Full Version : working with XSI and MAX, side by side


DerPapa
11-15-2004, 10:47 AM
Hi
We are a little 3D animation studio and decided to add XSI to our production pipeline.
We currently using 3dsmax for all our projects and we will still have to, in future. We have some clients in the game industry where max is the standard and we're forced to use it.
So we can't switch completely (in fact I, for myself, won't)

Does anyone use XSI and MAX prallel in daily work? Is it possible to switch between both workflows and, espacially shortcuts, without getting lost in confusion?

From what I heard and saw on the DVDs, XSI brings a lot enhancements into workflow and seems to be more stable.
On the other hand MAX has a much easier Network rendering concept, very important for us.

Does anyone used both in production? E.g. modelling/texturing/rigging/animation/ in XSI and then export it (FBX?) to render it in max?

greetz
Michael

ray-f
11-15-2004, 04:06 PM
hehe good post there! =)

once i posted a work modeled in XSI and rendered in VR (Max) some my mates didnt get me right.. =)

imho there is dotXSI import script for max, that can imports animation data along with geometry from XSI.. though not sure about textures.. :shrug: (never gave a try to FBX yet)

i'm looking forward to bring in my pipeline XSI as well and use both of XSı and 3dsmax..

no doubt, going be very useful topic..

francescaluce
11-15-2004, 04:49 PM
Does anyone used both in production? E.g. modelling/texturing/rigging/animation/ in XSI and then export it (FBX?) to render it in max? no.. this is just for hobbists.. you'll never find someone that will be proud to switch to another software just when he has all the stuff already in an apz like xsi.. and for what??.. to get it on a plugin renderer.. when in xsi you have mentalray... nahh.. be serious use max for the game stuff and xsi for what you need.

another thing is model and texture in xsi.. and then rig, animate and render in 3ds... that is.. you always used max for animation and render and you just introduce xsi in your workflow as a modeler for the while.. also this pipe is guarantee the above one not.

when I need to finish complex projects.. I use xsi for model, texture and maybe animate.. then maya for add particles, fluids, dinamics.. and whatever, then render on mentalray or on prman.. you could do the same with max instead of maya.. but this require an extra layer of work where you plan and buildup partitions passes and dummy animations for simulation and vfx, to get the whole free to be composed in a platform indipendent way.. I plan all of this in xsi.. where also I return to layout the composting and get out the first beauty images.

I use fbx all the time.. discard the dotxsi plugin.. it is a bluff.



ciao
francesca

JimPanse
11-16-2004, 11:55 AM
i used xsi and max together in production and it was really no fun.
at first we wanted to use xsi for the whole production, but mental ray was a little too slow
to render all the stuff within the deadline. we had two weeks productiontime for a 3 min. musicvideo.
fbx always crashed for some reasons - so we had to export all animations via obj-sequences
(8 gb obj files).
this pipeline really sucked.
now i am hoping for the point oven plugin to be released for xsi.
this would make expoting animation data from one app to another quite seamless.

francescaluce
11-16-2004, 12:43 PM
i used xsi and max together in production and it was really no fun.
at first we wanted to use xsi for the whole production, but mental ray was a little too slow
to render all the stuff within the deadline. a little specification .. this is not a side by side workflow.. and nor you can say -you used xsi and max together in production.. guys.. you used xsi for all and then just tried to merely render the thing on max.. it's quite a queer behaviour.. it has nothing of professional.. you cannot say that this pipeline sucks.. you made a fabulous error.. 'coz this is in general a inconsistent way to work.. you cannot charge anything about this if not yourself.. it's true there's not a one click button to swap from an apz to another sure speaking about animations.. and sure speaking about 3dsmax.. but to make a serious jump you should find the time to understand mentalray.. that is one of the fastest renderer on the market.. not only it is going to be the industry standard raytracer solution.. until you think(or better you feel) that in 3dsmax there's something faster.. you'll finish always to get sucked things.. and to avoid such things will be better for you to stay entirely on max.. or the break will be quite visible.. as a low level product or missed deadlines.

you generally ask to get a solution for your troubles.. not to implement a new apz and renderer in your workflow so that kind of problems will not reappear or reappear in a different way.. and it is always the same old story.. you end up with more problems than before and without have a real prod ready workflow.



ciao
francesca

JimPanse
11-16-2004, 02:33 PM
i have to agree with you francesca - this was not a prductionready workflow.
we really wanted to do the whole production in xsi and our rendering guy, who made rendering tests in xsi for about a month said everything will work fine.
but in the middle of the production he changed his mind and said that he cant do it with mental ray... so we had to go back to max.
very chaotic, i know.
my boss says that this was the first and last production with xsi.
sad for me, because i am a character TD and fell in love with softimage :(.

ThE_JacO
11-16-2004, 03:26 PM
if you have such a figure in the studio as a rendering guy (that I suppose being a rendering TD) it's shameful to say the least that he first grossly misjudged his skills, then forced a Uturn on a pipeline (despite what the rest of the team might think) and lastly preferred a tool known for its simplicity (read NO NEED for an inhouse TD) to one giving him power over what's going on.

but I digress.

for the max<>xsi pipeline FBX is your only chance, and even then you are looking forward to some serious problems.

here we have XSI, Maya and Houdini in the pipeline, and we manage to make them coexist just fine, whenever we outsource, or pick up, work made with max there's always problems.

point indexing reordered randomly, corrupted meshes, animation transport issues...
it literally is the least cooperative and most platform dependant app I've ever seen in my life, and unless you absolutely need to you are better off with single-tool pipes with ANY app rather then a split pipe involving max.

if the only point is rendering though I'd suggest investing some time in learning to exploit MRay properly.
It's not a simple one click engine, and anybody pretending otherwise is lying knowing he's lying, but it's for sure NOT SLOW, quite the opposite instead.

forgive me if I'm a little blunt, but matteroffactly I just spent abundant parts of every day over the past 4 work days writing tools just to FIX the way max screws up things in a crossapp pipe.

putting up with crappy craftmanship of some people (a supposedly top film studio that uses max especially for his rendering engine plugs) who had to bail out of a contract for a flick because they found out very late in the production they couldn't meet expectations.

And writing plugins that figure out mesh and shapes correspondancies by point positions and try to fix everything downward just with that isn't fun at all trust me, but then point positions were roughly the only thing max agreed to I/O correctly most of the times (even if it often was with their IDs shuffled in a totally random manner).

paul k.
11-16-2004, 05:47 PM
Bottom line I have worked in Max, and Lightwave pipes ( I'm new to XSI) ......and I have never experienced a tool more incapable of producing "flexible".... " directable " work than 3DS... every time we wanted to use another tool Max got in the way. If you want to take something to Maya for fluids, or to Lightwave for render or animation it absolutely did everything it could to stop us.

It is the politics of 3D. Discreets position is one of isolation unless you are using other discreet tools! Even Adobe stuff will open Macromedia stuff, or Corel. I flat don't understand it. It just doesn't make any sence at all. Discreet must change this in the future. Just before this post I was in the Modo forum reading posts from Max users trying to get Modo objects into Max. They couldn't take advantage of a fantastic tool because of politics, and in the end we users are the ones who pay....

dantea
11-17-2004, 04:11 AM
And writing plugins that figure out mesh and shapes correspondancies by point positions and try to fix everything downward just with that isn't fun at all trust me, but then point positions were roughly the only thing max agreed to I/O correctly most of the times (even if it often was with their IDs shuffled in a totally random manner).
You do know about the MatchTopology SOP in Houdini 7 right?

ThE_JacO
11-18-2004, 12:34 PM
You do know about the MatchTopology SOP in Houdini 7 right?
yeah, but neither XSI or Max allow access to the point ordering straight away (unless you literally rebuild the mesh), so the easier thing is to have a set of tools that compares entities, build LUTs for elements (I'm currently thinking of implementing a generic layer of LUTs into a file format) and allows rebuilding of properties and sets in the respective native formats.

also, try ask an animator to even only fire up HDN for anything :)

thanks for the heads up all the same.

StephanD
11-18-2004, 01:10 PM
I'm sorry if this sounds like a rant but really working with Max has been a pain for our last project,I couldn't imagine how hard it would have been if Xsi had been a part of the pipe.

Turned out,the animator used an earlier version than the employer's and he couldn't open later revisions of Max's scenes(a feature from Discreet :rolleyes: ) so we had to take all kind of workarounds and script coding to get it to read it's own file format.

I highly doubt that XSi is such an inconvenient player,only future projects will tell...

DerPapa
11-18-2004, 06:28 PM
Thank you, for all your very interesting replies.

Michael

dantea
11-19-2004, 02:29 AM
<nevermind>

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