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NanoGator
11-27-2004, 02:26 AM
Greets,

I'm a Lightwave user, and I'm considering adding XSI (Foundation) to my toolbox. I hope you don't mind a few questions:

1.) LW uses a dongle. This is good in the sense that I can move between my desktop and laptop without violating the user license. Just wanted to ask: XSI doesn't use a dongle, but is it still possible to go back and forth bewteen two machines? (Note: Just to be clear, I'm not talking about having both running simultaneously. I like to do R&D on my laptop and work on my desktop for convenience reasons.)

2.) What's the biggest "ooo neato, I'm glad I did this!" feature ya'all might think I'll run into? What about gotchas?

3.) I'm not thinking 'switch' here. My philosophy is more of "Right tool for the job." Any hints on where XSI'd excel? From what I've gathered, its character animation tools are far richer, plus Mental Ray seems to have more features to play with. I was wondering if anybody'd like to go into detail?

4.) I've heard hints of Foundation supporting multi-pass rendering. I'm really curious about what kinds of things can be done with this. Right now, I enjoy rendering different layers (i.e. one layer for light one, one layer for light 2.. etc.) and compositing them in AE. Could I get a layman's description of what XSI offers here? What can I say, I'm a tinkerer!

I know most of this information is available, and certainly I plan on doing a few searches to find out what I can. But I was hoping to get a good informal discussion going. Seems like one's getting a lot for $500!

Cheers and thanks in advance :)

leigh
11-27-2004, 02:39 AM
Hey Brian! Sorry, I've been meaning to reply to your email (where you mentioned XSI) but I've been hooked on The Sims again this week :blush:

1. Actually XSI does use a dongle. Well, at least the version I have does... So it does stand to reason that you technically can install it on more than one machine, and then run it on whichever one has the dongle.

2. Too many to mention! For me, it was the Render Tree, where you set up your shaders and textures. Ultra cool. Also the UV texture toolset is unsurpassed. The modeling toolset is really intuitive with a streamlined workflow. I really enjoy using it for detailing models. Regarding gotchas... I haven't run into any major ones yet... although I am sure there are some!

3. You've already mentioned two awesome things.

4. I can't comment too much on this since I don't know exactly what is in Foundation and what isn't. Is the FX Tree in it? XSI's built-in compositing is fantastic combined with the multi-pass rendering. To set up multiple passes is a simple act of clicking on a button to add a new one.

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 02:43 AM
Hi Leigh,

No worries about the email. Here's probably a better place to answer these questions anyway. :)

1.) Hmm.. Anybody got a tie-breaker? I read an FAQ on XSI's site that says no dongle is required. I'd personally rather have a dongle if I can buy it. Maybe it's only software locked on Foundation?

4.) I'll look into whether rendering tree is in Foundation or not. I do have a question, though. Can I set up two layers like this:

a.) Specularity is off on all surfaces.
b.) Specularity is on for all surface, but color, diffuse, etc is all off?

Thanks!

CraigT
11-27-2004, 07:24 AM
Foundation only uses a software key which should work out fine for what you want to do.
It has the Rendertree but DOES NOT have the FX Tree- only the top version has that. Really though, Foundation has most of the tools that the other versions have. Probably the most major missing components would be the FX Tree(use any other compositing app.), the Hair module and Rigid Dynamics.
I haven't had a chance to play around with render passes yet but it appears that it is very capable in that area, though comments by those who have actually used them would be more meaningful. :-)
I used LW for years(1.1-7.x) before migrating to Maya and now XSI(which is what I really wanted instead of MAYA) and I think transitioning from LW to XSI is much easier than LW to MAYA.

Craig

wmendez
11-27-2004, 07:36 AM
Hi Nano,

Here is a complete list of what is included in each flavor of XSI
http://www.softimage.com/products/Xsi/v4/comparison/default.asp

Essentials and Advanced are tied to a dongle / license server. Foundation is tied to a serial number

Render passes are included with foundation. Biggest "ooo neato IMO is the animation tools that you get with XSI, Fcurve editor, animation mixer, Rigs and Construction modes.

MJV
11-27-2004, 07:38 AM
Foundation only uses a software key which should work out fine for what you want to do.
It has the Rendertree but DOES NOT have the FX Tree- only the top version has that. Really though, Foundation has most of the tools that the other versions have. Probably the most major missing components would be the FX Tree(use any other compositing app.), the Hair module and Rigid Dynamics.
I haven't had a chance to play around with render passes yet but it appears that it is very capable in that area, though comments by those who have actually used them would be more meaningful. :-)
I used LW for years(1.1-7.x) before migrating to Maya and now XSI(which is what I really wanted instead of MAYA) and I think transitioning from LW to XSI is much easier than LW to MAYA.

Craig
I remember you going on about how Maya wasn't that bad, and I had the feeling you didn't really believe it. ;)

When I read up on what was missing from Foundation I could barely believe my eyes. It's practically all there, and I figure it will be at least a year or maybe two before I can learn it well enough to start missing things. And by that time, who knows where we'll be.

Ablefish
11-27-2004, 07:51 AM
Render passes are fully operational in Foundation and a thing of beauty in my opinion. They are incredibly useful and flexible.

In a nutshell - you can have as many passes as you want in a scene. In each pass, you can set up custom render settings - aa, fg, raytracing, camera to use. In each pass you can divide up your renderable objects (geometry primarily) and lights into as many partitions as you like.

Once an object is in a partition you can apply properties or overrides to the partition and it will effect every object in that partition. One example of a property might be a full material - ie, all the objects in this partition will render with a constant white. Or it might be a geometry approximation property set so that all the objects within will render at a subdivision level of 2. It can also be as simple as hiding certain lights or geometry.

In the case of overrides you can set individual properties of every object in the partition - maybe turning off only secondary rays in each object's individual visibility properties. So they don't show up in reflections or refractions. Or set all the lights in a partition to only affect specular.

And all of these settings are non-destructive - they don't impact the local properties of the object. They only assert themselves when the pass is active. You can adjust the animation of the scene, and you don't have to redo anything in the render passes. It's sooo sweet.

They're also very handy just as a means of breaking up your scene while you're animating - similar to layers. If you want to isolate a character, create a new pass with 2 partitions - 1 for the character, and one for the rest of the geometry but set to hidden.


Now, I have VERY limited exposure to LW (little more than converting models and shaders from LW to XSI), but for me, XSI's overall 'workflow first' mentality(including everything under one roof) is what put it ahead of Soft3D and Maya. If anything was an 'ooo neato' factor, that was it.

Cheers,

T4D
11-27-2004, 08:34 AM
Get it NanoGator :buttrock:
there's more options, more power and more to learn ( so you feel like a Newbie again for a week or so ) But it's well worth it, XSI feels 3 or 4 years head of LW
there's still the odd bug here and there But feels nothing like LW's work around workflow :thumbsup:

Just having Modeler and layout in one app you'll find cool things about that one feature everyday let alone the rest :eek:

Klowno
11-27-2004, 08:55 AM
About the license question, according to avid/softimage you cannot have xsi foundation
installed simultaneously on two or more computers. You have to uninstall from one computer
before you install on another. That's what I got from avid as answer, I mailed them about this same question.

But anyways, coming from Lightwave myself and actually only doing modeling stuff I think
xsi 4.0 fnd has been a dream to use :)

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 09:51 AM
Briliant! Thanks for the answers!

@CraigT: May I ask: What turned you off about Maya? Hopefully I'm not opening the wrong door here, but I've been thinking about it as well. XSI just seems more friendly for somebody with my interests.

OT: Your name's familiar, were you on the LW mailing list a few years ago?

@wmendez: Thanks for the link. What are 'construction modes'?

@Ablefish: Thanks for the detailed answer! Got another q if you'll indulge me: What about assembling them back together? Is that a "keep AE around" type of thing, or does Foundation support some form of compositing? (Err I think somebody later on answered that, but I'm having trouble keeping track of feature names here.)

@T4D: Heheh. I have no problem with feeling like a newbie. I just want to grow.

You know, I used to be really against the unification of the two modes... but then I started thinking about it, and well I'm basically forcing LW that way. If you were to open up my scenes in LW, you'd find everything's split up into a bunch of different objects. Though I do enjoy that workflow (i like keeping simple things simple.) it seems like XSI would be more beneficial for that sort of work flow. (BTW, does XSI support instancing?) I recently watched a video on how XSI works, and it seems like they've split things up quite nicely when working on modelling or animating. (What I hated about MAX was accidentally doing one when you meant for the other...)

@Klowno: Doh!! Hmm. Oh well. Guess I can just use it on my desktop, but that stinks for doing R&D when I'm not home.

So, can I probe ya for more info on what about modelling is improved with XSI? I'm looking to get hyped up here. :)


Btw, I just want to say, I'm really impressed with the community here. Thanks guys, I have a huge smile on my face.

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 09:54 AM
Question: What can you guys tell me about Mental Ray? I understand that I've got some organizational things to play with (i.e the multiple passes), but what about graphical features? Micro poly displacement, for example? How does it handle high detail scenes? I'm a bit.. uh.. extravagent with polygons and textures. Am I going to find that it handles detail more gracefully than LW, or am I going to find myself optimizing everything? (I should also probably mention that I'm a ZBrush user and love going nuts with detail...)

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 09:55 AM
Yet another question: Okay, I feel REALLY dumb for asking this, but I actually heard a rumor once that XSI only runs in 1280 by 1024 mode. Is there any truth to that? Also, how's dual monitor support?

Klowno
11-27-2004, 10:28 AM
I am still a newbie with xsi, but what I like about modeling is following:

1. Modeling in symmetry, you just make a clone and scale it to the other side making
it a mirror and model away. You don't have think about loosing symmetry when adding
geometry or whatever. Ok, so the crease in the middle will be there but it's not so bad.
If you wan't to work the Lightwave way you have that possibility also by applying a
symmetry map to the whole object.

2. The snapping functions in xsi are great.

3. Ngons, edges :thumbsup:

4. Selecting poly or edge loops, very easy. Also splitting/subdividing them is easy.

5. I also love the options you have when extruding along a curve, like rotating and scaling
and alot more. Also after the extrusion you can move the points of the curve and
the extruded object follows the changes :)


Hmm, that's what I can come up with for the moment.
Perhaps someone else could continue my list, as there propably is much more to add.

T4D
11-27-2004, 10:28 AM
@T4D: Heheh. I have no problem with feeling like a newbie. I just want to grow.

You know, I used to be really against the unification of the two modes... but then I started thinking about it, and well I'm basically forcing LW that way. If you were to open up my scenes in LW, you'd find everything's split up into a bunch of different objects. Though I do enjoy that workflow (i like keeping simple things simple.) it seems like XSI would be more beneficial for that sort of work flow. (BTW, does XSI support instancing?) I recently watched a video on how XSI works, and it seems like they've split things up quite nicely when working on modelling or animating. (What I hated about MAX was accidentally doing one when you meant for the other...)

>>(BTW, does XSI support instancing ) yes there's a instance button works on any models

love being again newbie, but it's better this time around you know what you have to do but Have no idea where the button or the order to do it in is, and after you find out most of the time I've found XSi has a better method ( due no modeler Layout switching ) and I started in Max as well and XSi does not have that problem and XSI is nothing like Max 3 was anyway..

one thing that i keep finding are features Lw no way of doing or features that are half baked in LW ( because of the Lscript ) & Lw has no way of repeating what you can easily do in XSI
I should not say it but the Auto Rigger is Amazing, simple and wonderful if NT fixes lscript i would love to update my tools with some of the logic in XSI but still waiting for that .......

also Note there's not real Plugin developers for XSI the Inhouse team do such a good job on it there's just no real need for them ( tho there's 2 or 3 free plugin i have install that are cool mainly LW like tools ) but sure in 4.5 they will be in the main release.


Yes dual monitors works better then LW

Mental ray and surfacing is more work then LW But SOooo Much more Power and I mean ALOT MORE POWER !!!

and yes the min screen rez is 1280x1024 for each montor


anyway Back to learning this thing :bounce:

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 10:39 AM
"I should not say it but the Auto Rigger is Amazing, simple and wonderful if NT fixes lscript i would love to update my tools with some of the logic in XSI but still waiting for that ......."

Ha! I didn't realize who I was talking to! Pleasure meeting you. :)

I know what you mean about LScripting and auto-rigging. You wouldn't believe what I had to do to make expressions work with LScript. :banghead: Actually, though, LScript is one of the reasons I'm interested in XSI. The 3D world changes dramatically when you become capable of creating your own tools.

Which begs the question, have you tried scripting in XSI? Dig it?

"Yes dual monitors works better then LW"

Could I bug you for more details about that? Are you able, for example, to create new viewport windows for the other screen? I guess what I'm really asking is, what do you mean by better?

As for 1280 by 1024, I meant that what I heard was that it was the only resolution XSI supporsts. Dumb, eh? Glad I wasn't too naieve about that.

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 10:42 AM
I am still a newbie with xsi, but what I like about modeling is following:

1. Modeling in symmetry, you just make a clone and scale it to the other side making
it a mirror and model away. You don't have think about loosing symmetry when adding
geometry or whatever. Ok, so the crease in the middle will be there but it's not so bad.
If you wan't to work the Lightwave way you have that possibility also by applying a
symmetry map to the whole object.


So, the other side is a flipped instance of the geometry? Slick! I actually tried to make a solution like that for Lightwave. Unfortunately, I need the ability to flip the normals of an object in Layout, but was never able to do it.

Can you merge the points in the seam in the middle when you're done? I guess that's kind of a silly question, but if it is an instance, I can see that being a problem.

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 10:44 AM
OH yeah, edges! Can weighting be done on a per edge basis? With LW it's only on a per-vertex basis, and the weighting is applied both ways. If you wanted to create a knife blade, for example, you end up having to create additional geometry. Does XSI have a solution for this?

T4D
11-27-2004, 11:10 AM
i havn't seen a need to write a script in XSI yet it's a very well done package :bowdown:

But have lefts the script window open and had a play while i worked and WOW think lscript Commander But a properly Connected to everything and then think twice as better then THAT !! :eek:

when the time comes for a custom tool i'm looking forward to it it's got it all

1280x1024 is min you can go higher without a problem tho it is designed for 1280x1024 so everything fits nicely

dual monitor support works better due to the better interface XSI has exsample
the grapheditor is a view option not a floating panel ( Tho is can be a floating :thumbsup: )
and there's alot more Panels in XSI it take alittle getting used to
but again more control = more power ( eg the Bone options go on forever wonderful stuff )

sub-d edge weighting in a dream in XSI a knife is a super easy to model Beleave me
XSi has the same modeling features as MODO it truly ROCKS
you press more Buttons in XSi as you model, but again more control = more power

but the main thing i have to say features in XSI work Properly So stop thinking like a Lightwaver to check that the features fully work with this or that They Just DO :D

Klowno
11-27-2004, 11:24 AM
You cannot merge the seam while the other half is a clone, but I just freeze and delete the clone and select all polys of the other half and click on "symmetrize polygons" function
and it makes a mirrored half and merges the points resulting in a whole object.

I made a image that shows the weighting stuff, in som values the edge weighting does some weird stuff with the edge though so I guess it's not working 100% but still it's good :)

And no, you don't have to add geometry in xsi, the weighting works as it should.

http://www.jaxxat.com/images/xsi/weights.jpg

Ablefish
11-27-2004, 11:34 AM
Hey Klowno, symmetrical modeling is easier than that. Make your clone and then apply a Symmetrize polygons to the clone. It will continually update as you edit the half model, so you'll be able to see exactly what it looks like (no seam), and you can view it subdivided as well. When you're happy with it, just freeze the construction stack on the clone and you have your finished model.

And to answer your question - waaaay back there, nanoGator :) - No, foundation does not include the fxtree so you would want to keep AE around for sure.

You really should download the free trial version and start pushing it around. You'll probably order Foundation shortly afterwards...

Klowno
11-27-2004, 12:09 PM
Thnx ablefish for the tip :) I made yet another image demonstrating that way of working
and added some weighting also, heh it was just fun doing some weighting stuff as I havent
played with it so much yet.

So it's the half object you work on and the clone object on the left you see the updates on.

http://www.jaxxat.com/images/xsi/weights_2.jpg

NanoGator
11-27-2004, 12:26 PM
Damn that's slick! I'm giddy!

So what about OpenGL previews? XSI pretty strong there? Does it take advantage of modern cards? That's one little gripe I have about LW. I have an NVidia ti 4600 here and at work... oh I forget what I have but it's significantly more powerful, but it doesn't really seem to make a difference. Any details on that?

Klowno
11-27-2004, 12:36 PM
Xsi do take advantage of graphics cards.
I made a test where I compared my 9800xt against the same card but drivermodded to
a firegl card. When modded to firegl card it was three times faster than when using catalyst drivers :)

T4D
11-27-2004, 12:38 PM
just download a 30 day demo man

i got a 6800 and it runs Amazing
XSI opengl is what CA is all about in XSI ( no need to make previews )
But who needs OpenGL you have Direct X and afew others in XSi
Just get the demo .. see it for yourself. :deal:

yog
11-27-2004, 02:36 PM
Hi Nanogator, glad to see you are at least tempted ;)

For me the real big thing about incorporating XSI is it's hard body modelling tools, something you will really like considering your past fussion reactor work.
As well as the character type tools listed by others, the modelling tools that have impressed me are; multiple co-ordinate systems for modelling (local, global, parent, referenced off selected polys, etc); dynamic updating of commands like extrude along curve; "real" edge tools (unbelievably useful, even compared to LW's "mock" edge tools); grouping by models; switching different models in and out of a schene on the fly; visual feedback on soft selections; weight (envelope) painting mode (think Vertex Paint on steroids as a starting point, and it gets much better from there). And many more.

My honest reaction concerning modelling after a few weeks uf using XSI was, I had over the last couple years wished the modelling tools in LW would be improved for hard surface work, but I hadn't fully appreciated how far tools could be improved until using XSI :)

yog
11-27-2004, 03:19 PM
How could I forget the Supra mode ?

Basically this allows you to be in one function, hold down a key to switch to a second function, release the key and you are back in the first function. It's like having two functions working at once, i.e. select and transform or transform and duplicate.

It sounds simple, but it is the single most important thing that has improved my workflow.

ThE_JacO
11-27-2004, 03:47 PM
I remember you going on about how Maya wasn't that bad, and I had the feeling you didn't really believe it. ;)

When I read up on what was missing from Foundation I could barely believe my eyes. It's practically all there, and I figure it will be at least a year or maybe two before I can learn it well enough to start missing things. And by that time, who knows where we'll be.
and the biggest disbeliever ever, who was the most skeptical about the foundation deal, is finally in the multi-tool arena...

says it all ;)

sooner or later something's gotta give

Lique
11-27-2004, 05:14 PM
Hi Nanogator, I've been modelling for quite sometimes in xsi. Coming from Lw, i found that key mapping some commands/tools improve my workflow a lot. I've intensively use edge to model everything, and Add edge tool in xsi is really a bless (I dont know how good edge tool in max/maya) but lw's edge tool is too slow. To delete edge, just select the edge and press delete. Love the add polygon tools as well.

Select Loop in an instant

I'm missing bandsaw tool in lw though. (not just subdivide a row of edges). but im sure this can be done using script. just haven't found it yet.

Dont forget to get mindthinks plugin, as it has a couple of useful tools, such as smooth shift and solidify(thickens in lw)

haven't touch animation at all, but like everybody said, its different level from lw...

ps: dont miss the 3d democracy 5 dvds offer :)

CraigT
11-27-2004, 06:43 PM
Hi NanoGator,

Don't worry, you don't see many app. wars here, unlike some other places. :-) I'm not really turned off from MAYA, it is an excellent app., and I liked it better than any other app. I have used, but personally I feel that XSI's tools have been implemented better(excluding NURBS), including MR previews. I absolutely love XSI's bevel as compared to absolutely hating MAYA's bevel for instance. I ended up buying a 3rd party bevel for MAYA. I do really love MAYA's PaintFX but MAYA is the only app. I know of that has anything like that.

OT: I was on the LW mailing list looong before it got on Yahoo(still am actually). I think the only questions I ever asked were just for bug verifications though. :-) I think you are probably beginning to notice that there are a number of ex-Lightwavers or those learning XSI as an additional app. Frankly I just got sick of the way LW just kept getting more and more pieces bolted on so I finally gave up on it. This isn't to say it's a bad app. though and it definitely has it's strengths- and it's still my 3rd favoriite 3D app. :-) You really should give the XSI demo a test drive and try to avoid thinking LW workflow when going through tutorials and embrace XSI's. :-)

Craig

CraigT
11-27-2004, 07:00 PM
LOL. Actually though, I really do like many aspects of MAYA but the XSI tools just seem to work better. There is no question that MR is easier to work with in XSI but I still feel that MAYA has a little more depth in accessibility to certain areas. I still prefer XSI's ease of use though.

As far as I'm concerned, Foundation is the deal of the century in the software world, especially when ordered in time to get the training DVD's. :-) Hopefully it pays off for them in the long run in being able to get more studios to use XSI, which I assume was the purpose of the whole deal in the first place.

Craig


I remember you going on about how Maya wasn't that bad, and I had the feeling you didn't really believe it. ;)

When I read up on what was missing from Foundation I could barely believe my eyes. It's practically all there, and I figure it will be at least a year or maybe two before I can learn it well enough to start missing things. And by that time, who knows where we'll be.

Vossil
11-28-2004, 07:28 PM
Hello, I am also a LWer learning XSI via the tech guys at my old uni. I was dissapointed to see that there is no "bandsaw" function or equivalent. I saw it mentioned that there might be a plug for that function though. Can you remember where you found it?

Cheers

yog
11-28-2004, 10:57 PM
Hello, I am also a LWer learning XSI via the tech guys at my old uni. I was dissapointed to see that there is no "bandsaw" function or equivalent. I saw it mentioned that there might be a plug for that function though. Can you remember where you found it?

Cheers
I found I don't really miss Bandsaw. If you you the Split Edge Tool (]) with the middle mouse button, you can interactively drag around a new edge loop before dropping it into position.

Not the multiple cuts at once like Bandsaw, but more control where the edgeloops are placed.

R10k
11-29-2004, 05:23 AM
Just thought to mention I run XSI in 1024, without a problem. Some things get lost off the left side of the screen (in the default layout) because it isn't collapsible, but there are always the top menus to make up for it.

Vossil
11-29-2004, 04:38 PM
Thank you yog. (gets out notepad and writes useful XSI tip down)

NanoGator
11-30-2004, 08:29 PM
Very slick guys, thanks for taking the time to answer! :)

I have about 2 weeks left for this project, then a trialin I will go! :bounce:

Vertizor
11-30-2004, 09:09 PM
Just thought to mention I run XSI in 1024, without a problem. Some things get lost off the left side of the screen (in the default layout) because it isn't collapsible, but there are always the top menus to make up for it.
Right-Mouse click the header to collapse them ;)

Odrakir
12-01-2004, 09:09 AM
Right-Mouse click the header to collapse them ;)
I think he means the left side ones...

I don't know why those aren't collapsable anyway.

NanoGator
12-03-2004, 11:08 AM
ooo looks like I may just get me a copy of Foundation! :bounce:

StephanD
12-03-2004, 01:07 PM
Just thought to mention I run XSI in 1024, without a problem. Some things get lost off the left side of the screen (in the default layout) because it isn't collapsible, but there are always the top menus to make up for it.

I personally run it in 1280 but wasn't there a layout available for 1024x768?

I'm pretty sure there is.

gameboy
12-03-2004, 01:56 PM
I am also a LW'er who is considering purchasing XSI Foundation. What is the Relax/Smooth functionality that is NOT included in Foundation but in Essentials/Advanced? Does it have to do with UV editing?

gameboy
12-03-2004, 02:10 PM
Never mind, I found what I was looking for. [*gameboy slaps forehead for not doing a search of these forums first* :rolleyes: ]. Changeling had a question about it which was answered here (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?t=179911&highlight=relax%2Fsmooth).

artista3d
12-07-2004, 12:04 AM
Jumping on this topic, I'm another LW user (since v.1.0) thinking about adding XSI Foundation to my arsenal. I've just got the trial version and I'm beginning to navigate around. It does crash a lot on my old system (Athlon 850, 512 RAM, GForce FX 5600), but I'll insist on learning it. Next step will be the tutorials.

I have just one (not so simple) question to all you LW guys that are using XSI for some time now:

What were the most difficult things to learn in the XSI workflow, coming from LW? I mean those little things that almost made you hate XSI and want go back to LW.

I ask this because, for my little experience on using XSI so far, I've already find some things that made me think something like: "D*mn, it took me 1 hour to do this, and I could do the same thing in LW in 5 minutes!". And, by knowing some of these "hard-to-get-into-workflow-thingies" will help me to concentrate on the right points.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

yog
12-07-2004, 12:56 AM
What were the most difficult things to learn in the XSI workflow, coming from LW? I mean those little things that almost made you hate XSI and want go back to LW.!

The biggest for me was (and still is) using the "S" key as the navigation control (alternatively you can use Z for a slightly different effect), instead of ALT. This is especially frustrating as I also use MAX, which again uses ALT. Each time I change app, this will trip me up for hours :rolleyes:

The only other thing I miss is being able to drag out a cube's initial dimentions where I want them. I'm currently working on a project that has a lot of small components (that inevatably start life as small cubes) that are relatively quite a distance off of the origin, so it becomes a real pain to create the cube, expand the viewport from the area I'm working in in order that I can see the origin, drag the cube over to where I'm working, then zoom back in. :banghead:
If I'm doing a lot of work in one area I have got in the habit of creating a default cube where I'm working, and just duplicating a copy when I need another

That said, those are the only two things I can think of that I miss, compaired to the dozens of useful tools that I wouldn't now want to give up :thumbsup:

T4D
12-07-2004, 05:19 AM
I have just one (not so simple) question to all you LW guys that are using XSI for some time now:
What were the most difficult things to learn in the XSI workflow, coming from LW? I mean those little things that almost made you hate XSI and want go back to LW.

Thanks in advance for any advice!
I like the Keyboard short cuts for XSI i change my LW to fit my XSI workflow :D
But for me the node surfacing and rendering sucks compaired to Lightwave

in Lightwave you can throw in a object & with fprime you can quickly add Layers of Procedural Textures (I have IFW2 for LW so i have hundreds of Procedurals to work with ) and get good Complex Textures Very fast ( and not really using the preset shelf )
XSI on the other hand the Preset shelf is a must and creating Surfaces from ZERO is a real Job and the render is more work

I have to add XSI has alot more power but time is needed to get the most out of it

XSi has better modeling, Rigging, Animation, but is too complex in surfacing and render
but I'm not going Back to LW, XSI is worth the time it takes to learn :buttrock:

Vertizor
12-07-2004, 05:45 AM
To be fair, Mental Ray is a lot more complex of a renderer compared to LW's renderer. Still, neither one of them has a "make cool" button.

Finkster
12-07-2004, 05:48 AM
The biggest for me was (and still is) using the "S" key as the navigation control (alternatively you can use Z for a slightly different effect), instead of ALT. This is especially frustrating as I also use MAX, which again uses ALT. Each time I change app, this will trip me up for hours :rolleyes:

I mapped the navigation control to the "," key. It's right beside alt, so my hand doesn't have to search for an unfamiliar key. It worked pretty well whislt learning XSI.

Klowno
12-07-2004, 07:03 AM
Hardest parts for me until now, and i mainly have only done modeling, have been:

1. The nav key "s", in the beginning, but I got used to it very fast though. I try not
to use modeler anymore because that would just confuse me fingers again.

2. The fact that you can't rotate fully over your object in perspective/camera view irritates
a little. (if I understood correctly there is no way fixing it).

3. I still like Lightwaves bend tool better :) But I only played with it a little in xsi so don't
put too much weight on this statement.

4. I was very used to model by making unconnected points in Lightwave and make polys out of them, in xsi you don't have unconnected points. That was a bit hard, but you get used to that also very fast.

Theres propably some more, but you will get used to them. Try to stay out of Lightwave because that will just confuse things.

Btw, I like the node based surface editor, it feels better for me.
And Lightwaves rendere better than mental ray? In my eyes it is not, I like the mr results
much better.

Vertizor
12-07-2004, 05:18 PM
2. The fact that you can't rotate fully over your object in perspective/camera view irritates
a little. (if I understood correctly there is no way fixing it).
You mean the near clipping plane? Try this:

http://www.softimage.com/Community/Xsi/Xsinews/09012001_vol1_iss8/nl_08.htm

"In XSI we don't have the capability of hiding and unhiding individual polygons for now, this is something that will come in a later version. But, like you mentioned, we have the possibility of using clipping planes. Just click the little camera icon in a viewport's title bar and choose Properties. Under Clipping Planes you will see sliders for Near and Far Plane. And don't forget, to change the value of the sliders in small increments just press Shift while moving the sliders; it will be much easier!"

4. I was very used to model by making unconnected points in Lightwave and make polys out of them, in xsi you don't have unconnected points. That was a bit hard, but you get used to that also very fast.
I didn't particularly like the "c" "v" method of creating new points that many LW tutorials tell you to do. I much prefer XSI's create polygon tool. Same result, different way of going about it.

ThE_JacO
12-07-2004, 07:31 PM
that is outrageously outdated.
it's now a while XSI can hide/unhide bunches of polys, either on the fly or by clusters.

Vertizor
12-07-2004, 07:34 PM
Well at least it demonstrated how to adjust the near/far clip planes in perspective/camera views. I'm not sure if that's the exact problem Klowno is having, but I found it useful for myself. It was weird how polys were getting clipped when I zoom in too close.

Klowno
12-07-2004, 08:45 PM
Hello Vertizor,

My problems are not with the clipping that occures when zooming in.

For example you have a head and you are modeling in camera view, try and
rotate a full 360 around x-axis(i think it is) and it will stop when on top of the head and also when under. It's limited that way.
Around the y-axis it goes and also rolling around z-axis it works but not x-axis.

But if someone has a solution to this I would appreciate it alot, but I allready discussed this
issue somewhere else and it seems like there is no answer.

Vertizor
12-07-2004, 09:27 PM
Whoa that is odd, I've never had that happen before. Granted I don't use the *camera* to work on my model. I usually have 2 perspective view ports: the default Camera for quick renders, and I replace the Top view with a User mode view. In User mode I can rotate every which way.

Alternatively, you can try "Object View" mode. The up side is it focuses on just the selected object. Useful for when you have a polygon proxy overlapping a subdiv smooth mesh underneath. Object View isolates your polygon proxy so it's easier to work with. The down side is, the viewport is completely blank when you don't have anything selected.

Klowno
12-07-2004, 10:23 PM
The same limitation is in "object view" also.

Are you saying you can rotate your view 360 around x-axis?

Can someone else confirm my problem, make a cube(whatever) and reset your cam/pers view
and now activate "nav(s)" key and try with rmb pushed down drag your mouse so the viewport is rotating upwards.
I am sorry explaining this a newbie kind of way but just wanting to see if there possibly could exist a solution to this.

Try to do a 360, is it working? I can only do a full 180, and from the middle ofcourse only 90.

Sry for poor english explanations, hope you understand though.

el_diablo
12-07-2004, 10:47 PM
Haven't noticed it until now, but yes you are right. It is not possible to orbit verticaly (around view x axis) more than up to 90 degrees to world axis - you cant tumble the object all the way around. Weird...tried it in Wings3d and you can go all the way around on any axis, also Wings3d has the invisible cursor thingy so you can orbit endlesly (this should be the prefered way, imho), while XSI stops at desktop boundaries.

Maybe Drive, Walk etc modes can be used better for model overview?

(btw. Santa is bringing me Essentials this Christmas if everything goes well, yipee)

MJV
12-07-2004, 11:17 PM
Haven't noticed it until now, but yes you are right. It is not possible to orbit verticaly (around view x axis) more than up to 90 degrees to world axis - you cant tumble the object all the way around. Weird...tried it in Wings3d and you can go all the way around on any axis, also Wings3d has the invisible cursor thingy so you can orbit endlesly (this should be the prefered way, imho), while XSI stops at desktop boundaries.

Maybe Drive, Walk etc modes can be used better for model overview?

(btw. Santa is bringing me Essentials this Christmas if everything goes well, yipee)
I was wondering abou the stopping at desktop boundaries thing. Is there a preference somewhere I can make it not do that?

JDex
12-07-2004, 11:40 PM
I was wondering abou the stopping at desktop boundaries thing. Is there a preference somewhere I can make it not do that?

I am pretty sure that it is a hard-coded limitation of the UI infrastructure... but I would adore the devs if they could inplement it.

withanar
12-07-2004, 11:48 PM
An XSI camera rig has a root and an interest. In essence it's just like an IK chain, so they both suffer from the same gimbal limitations, which is flipping at the top and bottom poles. The vertical orbit lock is there to prevent gimbal spin of the camera animation rig when you reach the critical zone.

I guess the original philosophy for XSI viewports was for them to behave the same as your camera view when it came to orbiting, panning, zooming, and rolling, so they would all feel the same way, and you could switch between orthogonal modeling views, user views, and your render camera view indiscriminately. Unfortunately, that meant limiting the viewport interaction to the polar locking behavior.

You can check out the cameras for all the viewports by setting an explorer to the Application scope, and looking in the Views subfolders. In there, you can open the kinematics pages for any of your scene viewports and numerically edit their transformation in global space. You can even set expressions to link your viewports to match your render camera. This is a trick I've used in the past to sync up multiple views to the render camera, while simultaneously showing different display modes.



Haven't noticed it until now, but yes you are right. It is not possible to orbit verticaly (around view x axis) more than up to 90 degrees to world axis - you cant tumble the object all the way around. Weird...tried it in Wings3d and you can go all the way around on any axis, also Wings3d has the invisible cursor thingy so you can orbit endlesly (this should be the prefered way, imho), while XSI stops at desktop boundaries.

Maybe Drive, Walk etc modes can be used better for model overview?

(btw. Santa is bringing me Essentials this Christmas if everything goes well, yipee)

Vertizor
12-08-2004, 04:24 AM
Wow that was strange. I realize what I was doing, and it's not what you were decribing so my bad. What I did was rotate up on the X axis until I was looking at the top of the head. And sure enough it stop me there. But I never ever noticed that, because I never really needed to "invert" the camera. If you keep going in that direction on the X axis your camera would end up inverted which isn't much use then.

What I always did when I reached that point was spin the camera on the Y until I'm behind my model and go back down the X from there.

Klowno
12-08-2004, 09:28 AM
Yes, spin around y-axis works fine.
But when coming from Lightwave you are used to just continue rotating and not stop and spin around y and then continue.

But, in the end this is just a minor detail actually imo.
I still would like it to be fixed though :)

4SweetB
12-08-2004, 09:39 PM
Also, how's dual monitor support?

I've been trying out XSI. In general, I'm really liking what I'm seeing, and particularly the UI has many little things that make you say, "oh, wow!" However, when it comes to dual monitors, my personal experience hasn't been good. I know others in here will swear by it, so just keep in mind it's really a matter of what works well for you personally.

I run my main monitor at 1280x1024 and I have a smaller monitor off to the side.. just a cheap little thing and I only run it at 1024x768.

In most software.. for instance Lightwave, Maya, MS Developer Studio, Photoshop, and the list goes on... I can tear something off the UI... say, a dope sheet, a brushes panel, navigator, debug registers window, what have you... and just drag it over to the other monitor and I'm good to go.

I was extremely disappointed when I opened a property sheet in XSI and tried to drag it over to the other monitor, only to find that it was what Windows programmers call an "MDI child window", which means it is stuck within the confines of the main XSI window. If you've only got that window on the one monitor, tough luck, your other monitor is a door stop.

The only solution is to size the main XSI window large enough to cover both monitors, but in my case, I can't even do that, because the other one is at a lower resolution, so it'll mess everything up. IMHO this is the one really messy flaw of an otherwise elegant UI.

The only other program I ever had do this to me really is Cubase SX (music program).. but even in that case, there is an easier work-around because Cubase doesn't hard-wire anything into the MDI parent window, so you can just size it to fill both monitors and you'll never miss the parts of the MDI parent that don't show up on the lower res monitor.

This is still a messy work-around, and while I usually make games, I have made a mental note to myself that if I ever make a productivity app, I will NEVER make tear-offs, palettes, etc., as MDI child windows. (I know, I know, you want to be able to minimize the app and have all the palettes disappear, too. A little bit of extra coding on the developer's part will make this happen without having to make them MDI child windows.)

But don't take this as a reason not to bother with XSI; in every other respect it's proving to be a great app so far.

Cheers,
Kevin

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