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stoob
06-06-2006, 01:34 PM
I am considering getting a job in 3D sometime in the future and one course I am considering is the MA Computer Animation course at Bournemouth University in the UK which uses Softimage. I hope this will be a course to landing a great job in the future.

Can anyone tell me, just how easy is it if you are a reasonably good modeller/animator to get a good job using Softimage?

I know there are countless jobs for Maya, 3D Studio Max and the emerging Cinema 4D, but just what are the benefits and options for learning Softimage over these other packages?

I would love to get into character animation or product visualisation, what are the advantages of using Softimage and has anyone got experience in working with Softimage so that they can advise me on this?

My current portfolio is here http://www.sutherbaker.com I've been working with Cinema 4D for about a year now.

Thanks for any help I can get!

StooB

CoolCalb
06-06-2006, 02:22 PM
As far as I know, XSI is very popular in the UK (and Japan?)
it's less popular in the rest of the world... so if you stay in the UK, you should have
enugh options.

But I am talking from general knowledge, and I might be wrong :)

stoob
06-06-2006, 02:29 PM
I'm considering moving to Norway in about 2 years, I know that Maya is great to have out there, how's about Softimage there I wonder?

Devils1stBorn
06-06-2006, 02:43 PM
It's very popular in Canada...

visualboo
06-06-2006, 07:27 PM
It's gaining ground in the US also. NYC even has quite a few xsi studios now.

inneractive
06-06-2006, 08:40 PM
I'm an animation student and my school teaches XSI and Maya. For the first year I chose XSI, but I think I will be switching to Maya this summer, even though I like XSI better.

This is because I need to for the job market where I live. I have seen a lot of job ads for positions in Canada and the UK asking for XSI experience. Unfortunately I live in Northern California and all of the animation jobs I have found around here ask mostly for Maya experience, a few for 3DS Max/Biped experience, none so far for XSI. So I guess I am going to have to start learning Maya.

stoob
06-06-2006, 11:18 PM
I'm an animation student and my school teaches XSI and Maya. For the first year I chose XSI, but I think I will be switching to Maya this summer, even though I like XSI better.

So I guess I am going to have to start learning Maya.

Yeah it's true, if you want a job always chose Maya, but I've heard Softimage is the best 3D program out, why can't there just be one 3D package!!

Why do you like Softimage better?

tredeger
06-06-2006, 11:35 PM
While it is certainly the case that there are fewer "XSI jobs" out there in absolute terms, please bear in mind that where there is any demand for an XSI position, that demand is quite high relative to a Maya job. Which is to say that it is harder for that studio to fill the position because the user base is limited. Every teenager and his mother is running a cracked copy of Maya on their computer and for every Maya job you are basically competing with the entire world. If you have the chops in XSI and can find a house that is looking for that skill set, you're in great shape and your skills will be highly valued indeed. Of course ninja skills will be valued in any app, but with Maya or Max, your generally a lot more fungible as an employee simply because they are sooooo popular.

If you got mad Houdini skills, you can't get a job just anywhere, but the places that need to do some crazy particle sim will beat a path to your door. Just a thought.

mr Bob
06-07-2006, 12:13 AM
As an animator it does not matter what app you use , I know many an animator who can use both maya and xsi.
If your actually any good at 3d you will always get work no matter what application you use.My best advice would be to be flexible in what tools you use and to be open to learning new tools .

B

inneractive
06-07-2006, 12:22 AM
Why do you like Softimage better?

When I first started last summer I tried Lightwave, Max, Maya, and XSI out. The XSI UI was easiest for me to get into. Since I started out Modeling and UVing I liked that XSI had all the tools I needed for that and I never had to search for and download scripts or plugins. Version 5 added even more modeling goodness along with time savers like GATOR and Ultimapper.

After getting used to modeling, UVing, and the techniques and terminology for it I am much more comfortable jumping into another program and getting to grips with their UI and tools. Recently I tried out Hexagon 1.2, Silo 1.4, and Modo 103 demos and had no problem learning their UIs and modeling tools. So the initial reasons for my liking XSI more than other apps are not as relevant anymore.

Now I am doing a lot more animation and started looking into Maya for my summer break. Right now the animation workflow seems to be very similar in Maya to XSI, so I cannot say I like one over the other in that respect, at least for character animation. When I get into needing to animate cloth or using physics and dynamics my opinion may change.

So since the apps are so much alike the deciding factor has been that the vast majority of jobs available in the San Francisco area, game or film industry, ask for Maya experience. Few ask for Max, and none ask for XSI. A year ago I thought no prob, I wouldn't mind relocating to Canada or the UK, but now it is not so easy. I am engaged and both our families live here, so I feel more pressure to stay in California.

stoob
06-07-2006, 12:53 AM
Wow, why do people use Softimage then when Maya is so widespread?

Why don't people only learn Maya if there is a wider job market?

3dtutorial
06-07-2006, 01:45 AM
Wow, why do people use Softimage then when Maya is so widespread?

Why don't people only learn Maya if there is a wider job market?

Again, it's not the software application, it's the skill that one has that matters. If really understand this stuff you can move between packages with little or no problem depending upon your needs and circumstances and that of your employer. It's skilled people who are hard to find and if I've got a job and need someone I really don't care what they use to get the job done, as long as it looks great and the end of the day and keeps the client happy. People get so hung up on software and really it's not about that -- at least not in my view.
I know great award winning animators who don't know crap about the nuts and bots of 3d but sure as eggs is eggs they can animate. On the other hand I know people who can spit out every technical detail and physics fact but can't animate a character to save their life.

It's kind of like learning to play a guitar -- if you are a great player you can play a piece of crap, a Les Paul, Stratocaster or a Martin for that matter. They are all a bit different, but if you have the underlying skill and understanding you can make them all sing.

That's what's important.

So don't limit yourself, concentrate on the package that you like best. Once you learn that, learn a bit more about some of the others, you can never have too many arrows in your quiver.

That's my view anyway.

Best of luck in future.

Kind Regards,

/joe

Sbowling
06-07-2006, 02:43 AM
It's kind of like learning to play a guitar -- if you are a great player you can play a piece of crap, a Les Paul, Stratocaster or a Martin for that matter. They are all a bit different, but if you have the underlying skill and understanding you can make them all sing.

/joe

Well, I can play a les paul, but I feel I play much better on a strat (les pauls have really fat necks and are not as comfortable). I can also do character animation in lightwave <shudder>, but I'm much more proficient in XSI and I get stuff done in much less time and it looks better.



Wow, why do people use Softimage then when Maya is so widespread?

Why don't people only learn Maya if there is a wider job market?


While many people like to play down the importance of the software software, it does make a big difference in my opinion. Some may appeal more to one kind of person than another. Maya is generally considered to not have the most artist friendly interface, but I hear it great if you want to get down and dirty with the code. XSI on the other hand has a very artist friendly interface, allows access to scripting through artist friendly languages (Jscript and VBscript) and is still capable of very high quality work.

For me the reason for using XSI is that I'm the only animator where I work, and I make the decisions on what to use. :thumbsup:

So, I guess what I'm getting at is that you can do character animation in pretty much any animation package, but the time you need to spend setting things up or coding workarounds, or rebuilding work (because some apps don't have a decent undo, and require a lot of starting from where you last saved when there is a problem thank you very much lightwave) can be quite substantial. You also need to condsider how much you will need to spend on plugins to overcome shortcomings of the application, which can also be substantial. So, why I use XSI instead of something else, is that it turned out to be the cheapest in time and money for what I need to do.

BTW, I also feel the old saying "it's a poor artist who blames their tools" does not really apply to Software. I bet Da Vinci never had a paintbrush crash on him. :rolleyes:

3dtutorial
06-07-2006, 03:00 AM
Well, I can play a les paul, but I feel I play much better on a strat (les pauls have really fat necks and are not as comfortable). I can also do character animation in lightwave <shudder>, but I'm much more proficient in XSI and I get stuff done in much less time and it looks better.



While many people like to play down the importance of the software software, it does make a big difference in my opinion. Some may appeal more to one kind of person than another. Maya is generally considered to not have the most artist friendly interface, but I hear it great if you want to get down and dirty with the code. XSI on the other hand has a very artist friendly interface, allows access to scripting through artist friendly languages (Jscript and VBscript) and is still capable of very high quality work.

For me the reason for using XSI is that I'm the only animator where I work, and I make the decisions on what to use. :thumbsup:

So, I guess what I'm getting at is that you can do character animation in pretty much any animation package, but the time you need to spend setting things up or coding workarounds, or rebuilding work (because some apps don't have a decent undo, and require a lot of starting from where you last saved when there is a problem thank you very much lightwave) can be quite substantial. You also need to condsider how much you will need to spend on plugins to overcome shortcomings of the application, which can also be substantial. So, why I use XSI instead of something else, is that it turned out to be the cheapest in time and money for what I need to do.

BTW, I also feel the old saying "it's a poor artist who blames their tools" does not really apply to Software. I bet Da Vinci never had a paintbrush crash on him. :rolleyes:


I agree but only partly...

You see all software is CRAP.

The fact of the matter is that the best software in the world today will be a big pile of poop in just a few years time. I've been around long enough in this business to know that's true. So, the software you learn today and it's workflow (for the most part) will be obsolete tomorrow, so it's foolish to get to tied to any one software package, tool or workflow.

Overall skill and flexibility is what is most important and the ability to adapt to the situation at hand.

Software, tools come and go -- skill does not.

Trust me - I know of what I speak.

/joe

inneractive
06-07-2006, 03:12 AM
I know that the animation skills are most important as well, but many job ads I see in my area specifically state they want applicants with Maya Rigging and/or MEL scripting experience. At that point software specific skills come into play and I think I will need to be able to demonstrate those skills.

I am not saying it is a bad idea to learn XSI. It was easier for me to learn and because I learned so much with it Maya is now easier to learn. A lot of skills can be transferable. Just see what your job market requires. For my area where many large game and film studios are using Maya I do not think I will see a change towards XSI anytime soon, but if there is at least I will be better prepared :)

3dtutorial
06-07-2006, 03:19 AM
I know that the animation skills are most important as well, but many job ads I see in my area specifically state they want applicants with Maya Rigging and/or MEL scripting experience. At that point software specific skills come into play and I think I will need to be able to demonstrate those skills.

I am not saying it is a bad idea to learn XSI. It was easier for me to learn and because I learned so much with it Maya is now easier to learn. A lot of skills can be transferable. Just see what your job market requires. For my area where many large game and film studios are using Maya I do not think I will see a change towards XSI anytime soon, but if there is at least I will be better prepared :)


Exactly my point - being able to adapt to your situation is the key for survival in this industry.

When I say that all software is crap I do so only to illustrate the point that you are sailing down the river of constant change all the time.

In this business one needs to keep learning, keep adapting and do what is needed to get the job done.

Me.... well I see software as nothing more than a means to and end.

I'll use anything to get the job done because I'm just that kind of pimp daddy.

:-)

But don't get me wrong, I still love my XSI but I understand it may not be the right fit for everyone depending upon their needs and circumstances.

Cheers,

/joe

Sbowling
06-07-2006, 04:39 AM
I agree but only partly...

You see all software is CRAP.

<munch>

Overall skill and flexibility is what is most important and the ability to adapt to the situation at hand.

Software, tools come and go -- skill does not.

Trust me - I know of what I speak.

/joe


I'm sure you are much more knowledgable and definitely have much more experience in the professional 3d arena, and I agree with you for the most part, but I'm not sure I would say all software _is_ crap. Eventually, the software you have now will become outdated and if it's not maintained it will be crap compared to software that has been well maintained.

When I started with lightwave, it held up ok to the competition and there was a possibility it could have become "one of the big boys", but it was poorly maintained and now is considered crap by most (at least those that have used other professional quality 3d software). That being said, the big players (Max/Maya/Softimage) have been around for quite some time, and it doesn't look like they are going anywhere soon (although they do seem to change owners from time to time), so I would expect that they would be kept fairly up to date and the current versions are much less likely to be considered crap. Did that make sense?

mr Bob
06-07-2006, 05:37 AM
Exactly my point - being able to adapt to your situation is the key for survival in this industry.


Is'nt that the truth.... currently I use Maya ...and certain aspects of this software are CRAP ...very CRAP :)

stoob
06-07-2006, 12:52 PM
I agree with Inner, often demand can influence you. I want to work in the furture in Norway, Softimage seems virtually nonexistant in the job arena whereas Maya is the daddy. Why learn Softimage when there is such a demand for Maya experience?


And why is some parts of Maya rubbish?

3dtutorial
06-07-2006, 02:49 PM
I agree with Inner, often demand can influence you. I want to work in the furture in Norway, Softimage seems virtually nonexistant in the job arena whereas Maya is the daddy. Why learn Softimage when there is such a demand for Maya experience?


And why is some parts of Maya rubbish?


Well, it would take me hours to explain why Maya is currently the market leader and XSI is not. For those of us (like me) who have been around since the early days, we are aware the the history but suffice to say that Alias was not always the market leader and I can remember a time when Softimage 3D was king -- but that's another thread.

To keep it short lets just say that the market shifted and Maya was able to gain market share. Does this mean that Maya is better or more capable than XSI - no, it does not.
It does mean however that at the moment (moment being the important word) that Maya is the market leader and that's why you see it being used more widely.

I should also point out that when XSI was coming to fruition that learning materials and education was pretty thin on the ground. On the other hand, Maya since day one has always had quite a bit of training material available and that combined with a very agressive sales campagin won a lot of users over to the Maya camp. Also, for a variety of reasons people grew impatient with how long XSI was taken to be developed combined with how much people were paying for maintainance, thus many, many people jumped ship from Softimage 3D to Maya.

To make matters worse when XSI 1.0 was released it was a bit of a joke, it could barely be used and was not very complete. Many of the people who still believed in Softimage and the XSI dream decided that was the last nail in the coffin and jumped ship for Maya.

So as a result.... Maya is what it is today, king of the hill.

However, it's important to understand that XSI has grown and matured since it's bad start and has now become a really great bit of software. Is it perfect, no but is it a really robust and capable software tool -- yes, most certainly.

The thing is that the 3d market has evolved and the people who left for maya for the most part have stayed with maya. It's a difficult task (perhaps impossible) to get people to up and leave the software that they know and love for something else -- I mean afterall, why should they if they are using something that works for them and get's the job done?

Yes, more and more people are using Softimage XSI and I hope that this trend will continue, XSI is a great tool. I believe that the biggest problem that Softimage has at the moment is two fold...

1. There is a real lack of highly skilled, trained people who know the software inside out and are ready to meet the demands of production.

2. There is a real lack of large studios and facilities who are using XSI.

But this is a chicken and egg problem because one of the main reasons that more studios are not using XSI at the moment is because it's difficult for them to find staff.

However, if they stick with Maya or Max they have thousands of workers to choose from.

See the problem?

However, this is also a plus because if you are willing to learn XSI you will be in demand and likely to get a good job at that, where as if you learn one of the other packages you will have more competiton for less attractive posts.

So, I am of the view that this is a slow process, things are changing, slowly.

Give it time, more people will adopt XSI as the pool of skilled users begins to grow, but this will not happen overnight.

This is why learning XSI is a good thing despite what the current ads for jobs might indicate.

Hope this makes some sense.

/joe

visualboo
06-07-2006, 04:07 PM
1. There is a real lack of highly skilled, trained people who know the software inside out and are ready to meet the demands of production.
Shhhhhhhh. Don't give away our secrets. :P

stoob
06-07-2006, 04:44 PM
Shhhhhhhh. Don't give away our secrets. :P

He he, nice!

Thanks Jo, that's a great post. From what I hear Softimage is a joy to work with and Maya is like a reliable, dependable workhorse.

I'll go to Uni on Thursday and ask more questions there.

If you learn Softimage, is it easy to switch to Maya plus quick to learn partnering software like Renderman?

3dtutorial
06-07-2006, 05:17 PM
He he, nice!

Thanks Jo, that's a great post. From what I hear Softimage is a joy to work with and Maya is like a reliable, dependable workhorse.

I'll go to Uni on Thursday and ask more questions there.

If you learn Softimage, is it easy to switch to Maya plus quick to learn partnering software like Renderman?


I can only speak for myself but I find that pretty much all 3d software (with perhaps the exception of Houdini) is pretty much the same. Sure some commands have different names and you need to learn the interface of each but the ideas, concepts and for the most part general workflow is the same in most packages. Once you learn one 3d software well and more importantly understand the REASONS why you are doing or need to do something it's a pretty easy matter to transfer this knowledge to another software pacakage. That's why I said earlier and maintain that it's the SKILLS, knowlege and understanding of the process that is important, not the software per se.

Myself, I use lot's of software applications, I can work as easily in XSI as I can 3DS Max, etc. I found it very easy to apply the skills that I've learned in one package to another. Again, the details will differ a bit between applications but the general overall process or idea behind what you need to do (or why you do it) will remain much the same.

The more you learn and work with this stuff, the more you come to realize that it's all much the same at the end of the day.

Lastly, when it comes to software I think a great deal of this comes down purely to personal preference and comfort. People often stick with the application that they learn well first and only move away from it if things get to a stage where it no longer meets their needs. I think XSI meets "most" of my needs and I think it's a great application for people to learn more about. That said, I also think it's a good idea to learn other software as well too -- why limit yourself?

/joe

inneractive
06-07-2006, 08:15 PM
I think a large part also has to do with what students are learning to use in college. I know the the major art and design schools in my area like SF Academy of Arts and Ex'pression are big on teaching Maya. My best friend is going to SF Academy of Arts and does illustration and 2D animation and when he decided to learn 3D so we could work on a personal project together I recommended XSI, but his instructors recommended Maya and his first course in digital animation used Maya and After Effects.

It makes sense in a way because their curriculum gets input from the major film and game studios in our area like Disney/Pixar, ILM, EA, and LucasArts. Once those students get into the job market and become the next Leads, TDs, and Managers they probably want to stick with what they are comfortable with. I guess I am just lucky that I have two instructors who love XSI so I was able to learn and use it in my first 3D courses even though the instruction was in Maya. This gives me an open mind about 3D tools and I am now less afraid to approach different apps.

mdee
06-07-2006, 08:46 PM
Well, I can play a les paul, but I feel I play much better on a strat (les pauls have really fat necks and are not as comfortable). I can also do character animation in lightwave <shudder>, but I'm much more proficient in XSI and I get stuff done in much less time and it looks better.


BTW, I also feel the old saying "it's a poor artist who blames their tools" does not really apply to Software. I bet Da Vinci never had a paintbrush crash on him. :rolleyes:

Really, at some point it does not matter if software is at the same level. We all know which software is at the same or similar level as XSI, don't we?:)

Seriously.. I have seen people switching to XSI in less than a week, and those guys were not animators who only use dopesheet. The other way was true as well.

If you know XSI well, you should have no problem rigging or animating in Maya if you are positive and open minded about learning the differences. Personally I do switches sometimes once or twice a month, depends on the projects.

Both packages use mental ray, in a bit different way, but principles apply.

The more experienced you are the less differences between software matter. I'd not recommend to someone who is learning to switch the software if he or she is still learning techniques which apply to all. If you really understand the techniques behind what you do, it's zero problem to translating then to other soft (assuming it is capable of the same) on both technical and artistic level.

Of course if you have never seen Maya and need to do a project tomorrow, this might be a little painfull.

P.S. I play both Ibanez JEM and Les Paul, love both.

stoob
06-08-2006, 12:34 AM
If you really understand the techniques behind what you do, it's zero problem to translating then to other soft (assuming it is capable of the same) on both technical and artistic level.



That's great, I wonder if this opinion is shared with other 3D designers here:shrug: ?

Bucket
06-08-2006, 03:34 AM
I agree with the assesment for Maya. Many houses are using maya and have been using maya why change if it works for them? Even if they somehow found the workflow more efficient the house still has to somehow manage retraining or hiring new people for the new package and that is expensive. The price of software I don't think plays as vital a role as the people who use it, people are the more expensive asset.


Smaller houses might find it easier to migrate to xsi and may benefit from the workflow a lot more than a larger house. A smaller house might even be able to steal some projects from larger houses because the workflow could allow a lower bid.

stefanosoik
06-10-2006, 10:59 AM
Where can i get a list of studios that are using XSI in UK, Europe and probably hiring?

stoob
06-10-2006, 11:04 AM
When you find out let me know!!

Do you go to the University in Bournemouth?

JackZhang
06-10-2006, 12:28 PM
www.xsibase.com check for jobs

Sbowling
06-11-2006, 07:01 AM
Really, at some point it does not matter if software is at the same level. We all know which software is at the same or similar level as XSI, don't we?:)

Seriously.. I have seen people switching to XSI in less than a week, and those guys were not animators who only use dopesheet. The other way was true as well.

If you know XSI well, you should have no problem rigging or animating in Maya if you are positive and open minded about learning the differences. Personally I do switches sometimes once or twice a month, depends on the projects.

Both packages use mental ray, in a bit different way, but principles apply.


To make things clear, I come from a lightWave background. Moving from lightwave to XSI has been a complete Joy, but I would guess that moving from XSI to LightWave would be a complete nightmare. Lightwave does not have the same kinds of capabilities as XSI (and MAX and Maya from what I hear). To get the same kind of control and results from lightwave that you get with XSI would require hours of scripting/coding (after you leaned their custom (weak) scripting language) and a whole boat load of plugins (many you would probably have to write yourself, if the SDK even allows you to access what you need), and in the end, you probably still wouldn't have half the control you have in XSI. Last I used it, it was lacking anything resembling constraints or real deformers and the character animation capabilities are dismal.

So, most of my comments are based on my experiences with lightwave. If I had come from Max or Maya, I would probably feel differently. :)

stoob
06-11-2006, 12:49 PM
How easy is it to transfer from Softimage's scripting language to Maya's MEL? I'm guessing this is quite a difficult transition?

BenBarker
06-11-2006, 10:46 PM
I prefer scripting in XSI vastly over MEL. Jscript, Python, whatever you want.

I do think XSI is lacking a full ASCII file format though. Although I think it is part of a much larger issue of how it saves files.

inneractive
06-12-2006, 06:35 AM
How easy is it to transfer from Softimage's scripting language to Maya's MEL? I'm guessing this is quite a difficult transition?

I like how XSI offers the option for multiple scripting languages, but I am not too worried about learning MEL. Once you learn a programming language you can pick up most other languages without a problem. At my last job I learned C/C++ programming, so scripting languages are not hard to pick up. It's mostly about learning the syntax.

stoob
06-12-2006, 11:38 PM
How often do you need to use programming? Is programming a prerequisite for Softimage (+ Maya) animators in the industry ?

stefanosoik
07-17-2006, 11:54 AM
When you find out let me know!!

Do you go to the University in Bournemouth?

no I wasnt a student there...i lived there just for a year... :)

DoubleSupercool
07-19-2006, 08:12 AM
It seems to be a real "chicken and egg" situation, both for studios and those wanting to pick up XSI.

I am coming to the end of my course, but have already landed my first job as a freelancer, but if I want to do remote work or if the company doesn't have the software, what do I do? Max and Maya both cost way too much for someone just starting out. XSI foundation seems like a great option, but I have to ask myself "is there a market for it, how much training material is available for it, is it better to invest time in learning maya?".

At the end of the day I have to equip myself with skills that the market uses. Sure there is the argument that if you are good enough it shouldn't take you too long to get up to speed, but when you are newbie and you are going for freelance work, you don't have that luxury . . .

Still, for me, XSI appears to the best option in terms of bang for buck for someone starting out in the industry.

Nemoid
07-19-2006, 12:57 PM
Personally i'm trying XSI now first time and i'm liking it. it has alot of cool tools out of the box , differently from Maya that asks very much to the user. here in Italy XSI is not well known as Maya is tho, which is a sin. but there actually is some studio adopting it, surely more than Lw, my primary tool now.

What i hope is that through learning XSI i can learn better Maya too, that is complex for me.
in this way, i'll probably use Maya for some animation tasks.
but never for modelling and rendering. i tried modelling there and know that its a pain and MR is not integrated as it is in XSI. in this case, i like more MR or Lw renderer.

sacslacker
07-19-2006, 03:57 PM
I own Maya Ulimited and until about a month ago, I was saying the same things. "Just buy/use Maya. It rocks". Well, it does rock, but I recently had a chance to pick up XSI essentials and wow... I can't believe the improvements made from Softimage 3D. It's a truely amaizing application.

Now that Maya is under Autodesk and I have access to XSI, I'm finding myself migrating to XSI. It really is a stellar application.

sacslacker
07-19-2006, 04:04 PM
I like how XSI offers the option for multiple scripting languages, but I am not too worried about learning MEL. Once you learn a programming language you can pick up most other languages without a problem. At my last job I learned C/C++ programming, so scripting languages are not hard to pick up. It's mostly about learning the syntax.

True but it's irritating when someone uses a scripting language that is counter intuitive. I wish peeps would just stick with ECMA script standards. I learned MEL because I had Maya but for crying out loud, there are several things that make you ask "Why on earth did they do it this way ?!"

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