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hrgiger
06-05-2008, 03:15 PM
Hi all, I'm another Lightwaver who is in the process of making a switch to XSI. I'm on the Essentials Demo now but will be getting the real thing in the next few weeks or so.

I've been going through a lot of the tutorials from Leonard and on the VAST site and there's a lot of information so forgive me if my next few questions seem too newbie for ya.

Ok, on navigation. I got it down but coming from Lightwave, I find it kind of a workflow buzzkill that I need to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate in my scene. I don't suppose it's possible to add navigation icons to the viewports either through scripting or something already built-in? I just hate having to drop tools just to rotate my object a little and then pick a tool right back up. I suppose you'll tell me that it's faster this way somehow and to suck it up. I'll try honestly, but in the meantime, is it possible?

Also, on selection. Is there a way to change my default select mode from rectangle? Can't say I'm a fan of it yet.

Thanks for taking the time. Working as fast as time allows to get up to speed with XSI.

visualboo
06-05-2008, 03:40 PM
Viewport Navigation: It's faster so suck it up ;)

No in honesty though. Try to relax a little on the workflow you know, and focus on learning the way that XSI works and it's workflow. A little pain now but you will benefit hardcore in the long run.

Selection: Mouse up on the right hand site (above the big waste of space arrow) to where it says "Select". Press that and check out Tools and Modes.

SFDD
06-05-2008, 04:14 PM
I just hate having to drop tools just to rotate my object a little and then pick a tool right back up. I suppose you'll tell me that it's faster this way somehow and to suck it up. I'll try honestly, but in the meantime, is it possible?

This is one of the very nice things about XSI: you don't "drop" one tool just to temporarily use another. (Translate, rotate and scale are each considered commands just like any other.) The trick is to hold down the appropriate key (defaults: s=translate, x=scale, c=rotate) and not let it go before you start the action. Then, when finish moving/rotating/scaling, just let up on the key and you're right back in the previous tool you were using. (Think of it as being in one room and poking your head into another, without actually walking into it.)

You don't lose your active tool, you can do this in the middle of a command, and it really is a quick way to work. This "sticky" mode of temporarily activating commands also works for other commands too so, for example, if your moving vertices around and you decide you need to scale a group of them, you can select them and "sticky hold" the scale tool for a moment while you do you thing. When you let go, you're back where you were, in "move vertices" mode. It works really well!

I've never used Lightwave--I made the mistake long ago of buying Electric Image when I had the chance to buy Lightwave!--but I came to XSI from Max and, to this day, it still amazes me that a program like Max can be so popular when something like XSI is available for so much less money, and it floors me that EI is even still in business with $500 Foundation around. (Not to just bash those programs--I got used to them for the most part--but XSI really is that might nicer.)

hrgiger
06-05-2008, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I've just never been a shortcut guy so it will take some getting used to using the keyboard for navigation. I have always just used a handful of shortcuts but generally I like to use the interface for the most part. There are somethings I used so much that it became easier to use shortcuts (the usual culprits; scale, move, drag (like XSI's tweak), bevel, save, etc.... I suppose after using XSI for a while it will become more natural.
I hear ya about Max. It was my first 3D program long ago back at version 2.5 back in like 98-99 somewhere in there. Too bad you didn't go with Lightwave SFDD, it has it's drawbacks (obviously, I'm here aren't I?) but it's pretty easy to learn and is quite capable in many aspects.
I've just been using the demo for the last day or two of XSI, but other then the few things that are throwing me, I'm pretty impressed so far.

BruceBlack
06-05-2008, 06:21 PM
Sorry to hi-jack this thread but I am also a XSI curious Lightwaver. Just downloaded the demo and gonna give it a go. One thing though, I cant find anything on the Sofimage site relating to extent of licence. Is the $500 (299 UK Sterling) price tag for Foundation a one off? Or os it a rolling licence like Autodesk stuff? Also, can anyone point me in the direction of some character rig examples to help me jump straight into exploring the animation tools?

Much appreciated.

Sil3
06-05-2008, 06:38 PM
Welcome Aboard :)

The first times with XSI you will curse some things and laugh at the ease of others, but majority of the time you will think the prog. is dificult because you are used to years of using another tool, so its perfectly natural to feel "lost".

As soon as you go deeper into it you will start to use more and more of XSi' s workflow and Shortcuts and they will seem second nature.

I advise you to not go into the temptation of changing shortcuts to mimic the LW ones, although you can change the default Minime/Maximize Viewport F12 to something else (Alt+S in my case) :cool:

Also dont use the Maya or Max navigation either, stick to XSi default ones, later on change the ones that may see more fit.

I told this today to another LW user that wanted to try XSi:

- Dont start to learn XSi (at least for the first week) on something you were very confortable at first in LW, in he's case it was Modeling.

Why you might ask?

Exactly because you were so used to it that you didnt even think about it LW and it will completly mess up your Brain "automation", and it might (notice the IT MIGHT) put you a bit dissapointed thinking:

- I was so fast in LW and now im so dam slow in XSI...bahhh... im going back to LW.

Instead start by Animation or so something else you were not so proficient or didn't do so much in LW, this way everything is NEW and since you dont have habits your Brain wont fight your will to learn new things.

You probably have a better start up experience and you will learn XSi's workflow and shortcuts, now that you are more at ease with XSi its time to go back to Modeling :)

Now this is not the way to do things, its only a sugestion that you might want to try or not, its up to you, others might disagree of course :p

I dont know if the LW shortcuts still behave the same like they did on LW 7 or 8, but first thing that I really advise you is to CHANGE the S key on LW settings, you will get so used to it in XSI that later you might accidently save over your work in LW.. I did ;)

Have a blast with XSi :D

9192
06-05-2008, 07:39 PM
The things I miss in LW are
1) Click and drag to create box, since I mostly do architectural 3d studies. So, I build walls not cubes.
2) Auto snap, depending on zoom level.

9192

hrgiger
06-05-2008, 08:34 PM
9192, did you ever use LWCAD? You would have enjoyed that immensely. The wall tool in itself is a joy to use. You can layout an entire floor plan and extrude the walls in mere minutes with great results.

And thanks for the advice Sil3.

pooby
06-05-2008, 09:42 PM
I find XSI's navigation really nice compared to LW..
You dont need to worry about it now as it will come in time. Its really good that you are forced to use it rather than viewport icons because it will soon become second nature without you realising it.
Dont whatever you do get tempted to periodically go back to the LW comfort zone, Learning is made up of dealing with and overcoming frustration, and you'll really confuse and slow down the process if you keep swapping back to LW.
I had XSI about a year to try it out before concentrating on learning it, but I was still doing productions in LW.. In this time I got nowhere with XSI even though I could see it was cool, but once I focussed on it and stopped using LW for a period, I quickly built up the familiarity.
Its like the difference between learning a language at school or going to live in that country with no-one to speak to in your native tongue for a while. The two dont even compare in terms of speed of learning.

adrencg
06-05-2008, 09:44 PM
the only thing I miss about LW is Fprime. Oh dear god, how do I miss Fprime.

Overall, LW is a toy compared to XSI.

richcz3
06-05-2008, 11:00 PM
hrgiger - you are not alone. :) I am making my decision in the coming weeks on which version to go with. I've been going through saving the assortment of videos on XSI site. Although XSI is a different mind set, the tool and operation consistancy I'm observing so far looks promising.

Pooby - you and others gave some excellent informative responses in Carms thread. Especially the points on rendering. I'm not dropping Lightwave but plan on using it for rendering. This will be the first time I'm not considering upgrading to next version of LW. It looks like XSI will more than cover the bases on other aspects and having so many objective LWers to share their experience is a definite plus. :thumbsup:

mocaw
06-05-2008, 11:39 PM
Welcome! I knew it would just be a mater of time before we saw you in here!

If you can't force yourself into the mental mosh pit of command keys and modeling in XSI after coming from LW then I agree/suggest you go with what Sil3 has said.

I came in to XSI v4 with the same reasons in mind that others did- to animate with it. I did that for about a year and a half, and much like pooby, the other parts just slowly seeped in over the next few years, because I realized there was a lot more power in things the more I kept them on the XSI side.

Now I'm seriously contemplating getting some scripting training- the power is just too tempting! Would have never come that far in my thinking with many other programs.

The fact that so much is chainable and animatable should give you enough stimulus to keep drudging ahead. Just the "link with" function can have your head spinning for days with the possibilities of that little tool!

I have to say that mr and the render tree end up being the "final frontier" for most, but once you get half a brain around it all it's a really nice setup esp. if you want to try some traditional lighting techniques. The thing with mr is to make sure you get your info from reliable sources or you'll waste HUGE amounts of time. Its complex enough to getting it "working" but to get it working right, go with real pro learning and posts. The difference is not just between frustration and not, it's HUGE amounts of render time (hours vs. seconds at times).

I suggest, when you're ready, the book mental ray for maya, 3DS max, and XSI. you'll learn a lot about mr, and raytrace render engines in general.

Glad to see you're looking at those free videos- good stuff to look over even if it goes over the head a bit at first. When I bought FND v.4 I was lucky enough to snag that training for free on DVDs, but now it's free!

Glad also to see you're following the not always unspoken RTFM mantra of most long time users of softimage before you ask any questions- there is enough good stuff in the help and the videos to answer 95% of questions. Be sure to check out the sticky thread too at the top of this forum- lots of little gems in there.

Welcome!

9192
06-05-2008, 11:55 PM
A lot of people moved to XSI and adding XSI to their pocket after XSI lower Fnd price back in 2004. I am one of that.

Hrgiger, I used LWCAD but I don't like LW workflow, layer in stead of objects. Because I am architect, I have zillion objects in the scene. So, I want layer that is more CAD style than LW or Modo style.

I agree with Mocaw, having everything done in package is better. I am not against using the best of each package, but I do not use 3D software for nice illustration. As said earlier, I am architect, I use software as design tool, rendering for me is more design in term or lighting, materials. It is why I want to make a lot of changes and rendering forth and back in design process. I do not use sketchup either because it has no material and lighting. After I am done, liking everything I render scenes for presentation with minimum photoshop work and the CAd drawing will be done later. This process is totally opposite with typical CAD works to 3D works in general architectural firms. But here we are small design firm we utilize 3D to help us design. It is the other reason I like Object oriented style beter, becasue I will move, scale, rotate objuects until I like it before moving fur in detail design and eventually to color, materials and lighting.
People use software differently. Good people use main stream software, great people use the one they can utilize it most.

9192

cgswami
06-06-2008, 01:07 AM
Wow !!

I am now getting into XSI and LOVING it. I do consider myself versed in LW handling and also Max, but I really am loving the workflow of XSI, its like a hybrid of LW and Max. No icons, and modifier stacks aka as components stacks in XSI.
I think I have finaly found my resting ground in a 3d software ... at last ... look out for me now ;)

Welcome everyone ... so i am still going to see familiar faces. ... avatars I guess ...

hrgiger
06-06-2008, 01:26 AM
Mocaw, is this the book you were referring to? http://www.amazon.com/mental-ray-Maya-3ds-Max/dp/0470008547/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212711751&sr=8-1
Consider it gotten.

Question, I'm not a big fan of electronic docs. Will I get a printed manual with my purchase of XSI or does it depend on which version I get? And if not, can I buy a printed version on the side, ala carte? Because I read computer manuals like most people read a good Stephen King.

mocaw
06-06-2008, 02:14 AM
That's the mr book! This will be some good bedside reading for you then!

I don't use the paper manuals since I upgraded from 4, but when I ordered 4 it came in a sexy shoe box sized box complete with manual. I'm not sure- you can always call up sales and ask- I'm sure they'll be able to give you a quick answer.

nemac4
06-06-2008, 03:00 AM
Hi all, I'm another Lightwaver who is in the process of making a switch to XSI. I'm on the Essentials Demo now but will be getting the real thing in the next few weeks or so.

I've been going through a lot of the tutorials from Leonard and on the VAST site and there's a lot of information so forgive me if my next few questions seem too newbie for ya.

Ok, on navigation. I got it down but coming from Lightwave, I find it kind of a workflow buzzkill that I need to use keyboard shortcuts to navigate in my scene. I don't suppose it's possible to add navigation icons to the viewports either through scripting or something already built-in? I just hate having to drop tools just to rotate my object a little and then pick a tool right back up. I suppose you'll tell me that it's faster this way somehow and to suck it up. I'll try honestly, but in the meantime, is it possible?

Also, on selection. Is there a way to change my default select mode from rectangle? Can't say I'm a fan of it yet.

Thanks for taking the time. Working as fast as time allows to get up to speed with XSI.

Hi hrgiger,

You may be interested in a 3dConnection Space Navigator. It has helped me with the lack of navigation icons.
http://www.3dconnexion.com/3dmouse/spacenavigator.php
You can place buttons for navigation on the "Main Shelf" but it is cumbersome.

You can press the "B" key to quickly edit an object rather than dragging out a box like lightwave. Hold Alt+Shft and LMB to drag the corners.

Also, be sure to check out Tiny tools for a thickener like plugin for xsi.

http://kim-aldis.co.uk/drupal-6.1/taxonomy/term/16


Welcome and Good luck with XSI.

PerfectLine
06-06-2008, 07:33 AM
Well welcome, welcome!

I'd say that Pooby's post mirrors my own experience. I fired up XSI4 when its demo came out but didn't stick with it. Tried again around 5 -5.11 to use its physx dynamics engine and have used both FBX crosswalk and point oven to move data back and forth between XSI - LW - Maya - Max - Modo. Stuck with me ever since even though I have had to ask a few stupid RTFM posts here and at XSI base liek about AAliasing etc etc,.

After getting familiar enough with the interface in late 2006 early 2007 I noticed I was getting around in XSI much better then I could in LW and this was after using Lightwave since 1995. Sure, some parts seemed redundant at first like having the model, animate, render, simulate and hair tabs findable in many places and shortcuts but it quickly made sense after I got used to it and then having that redundancy became genius because I could get to anything from any part in the workflow easily and effortlessly.

After having many successful simulations and wonderful rigs I started to mess with the fur and hair and this started me playing with Mental ray (again, many sessions in maya and max) and found mental ray's integration with XSI the absolute best.

Render region can be set up seperately then the rendered output so you can use it as a previewer similar to F-Prime (careful with the settings). Plus that slider on the right can be moved up or down to get quick previews or nice final render previews.

I quickly started playing with enveloping the rigs onto characters I had around and found the weight painting to be a quick and painless experience. You'll see that if you watch enough Vast Videos.

Eventually all the quick keys were easily memorized and I could get anything I needed from LW in XSI. It was like a halfway house between LW and maya and max.

Instead of WER as move-rotate-scale its XCV as scale- rotate- move... etc etc....as you probably are already aware.

Scene editor? press 8, and not only do you have your scene editor but you can look at all the layers and clusters and passes in that same browser.

UV editor? alt+7

Need to subD your model... just press + or - to up or down the subD level.

One thing that threw me off with XSI was that the texture projection seems more complicated then it needs to be. In LW we just select a projection and a projection plane like x, y, or Z but in XSI they are using the two planes to tell you which planes the image lays across so for the Z planar projection in LW you would use XY since the image is laying up on the Y axis and out on the X axis. This confused me for a week before I figured out what they meant.

Render tree is not much different then LW render nodes. Getting some of the nodes that are not built in to the menu requires file browsing so I end up moving all my favorite materials not in the node list to the first folder XSI opens (shaders).

Another thing that drove me nuts was having to turn on the shadows for the lights and then turning the umbra down to 0 and then turning ambient to 0 as well everytime I started a scene to ge a nice render from mental ray so I edited the spdl files so that every light has shadows turned on and umbra at 0 by default.

Man I could go on.... I'll just say I am testing a few render engines coming soon for XSI (NDA applies sorry) and they are nice.

I highly recommend i3d tutorials for mental ray or even modeling in XSI and they have a getting started in XSI thats good as well.

Even though I use modo for modeling I did the tutorials at i3d and it made the learning process go quickly.

The mental ray book that is being recommended goes into finer detail but the i3d tutorials had covered most of the general mental ray functions that it takes all the mystery out of it and you get up to speed in it quickly. I was off and on with Metal ray for a better part of a year until I did the i3d tutorials and now I am comfortable with it enough to use it for any tast a client may need if I have to use MR.

Ok, some links for you.

Bhairy is good for hair and so is Muhair. They both render better and faster then the default mental ray hair shader.

http://shaders.moederogall.com/BHairy/downloads.html
http://animus.brinkster.net/index.html <-- go to stuff..

alternative fast SSS shader is wicked cool..and wicked fast...

http://www.xsibase.com/forum/index.php?board=6;action=display;threadid=34836;start=0

Binary alchemy... go press the volume shaders3.6. This is a hypervoxels in XSI. Much faster to render too. Great for clouds.

http://www.binaryalchemy.de/index_dev.htm

Tgen is a nice tree and plant generator for XSI too....

http://www.simartom.com/

Anyways... sorry I could go on forever. This is too much to take in all at once...but they are here in your post for future reference now.

If you have any questions just send me an email.... cbenn@edenfx.com

pooby
06-06-2008, 09:04 AM
Pooby - you and others gave some excellent informative responses in Carms thread. Especially the points on rendering. I'm not dropping Lightwave but plan on using it for rendering. This will be the first time I'm not considering upgrading to next version of LW. It looks like XSI will more than cover the bases on other aspects and having so many objective LWers to share their experience is a definite plus. :thumbsup:

Thanks,

I didn't mean to suggest dropping LW in my post, as I too use it (fprime) for rendering (although I'm not sure for how much longer) but I would recommend to any new XSI user a temporary self-imposed ban on LW just to train your head and hands in XSI. ( I still get a little confused for a moment when I go from one to the other after a prolonged period, but at the start, it was obviously heavily biased toward XSI being the one that was getting shunted out of my brain when swapping)
Once you have the navigation and selection sorted out you can concentrate on learning all the tools without having to use that extra brain overhead.
I just spent a day selecting components and moving them, and navigating around the object and hiding components, then revealing them etc.. it sounds really dull, but you CANT do that for hours on end and still be confused. It's a fast track onto more interesting things.

hrgiger
06-06-2008, 11:14 AM
Thanks for all the great links and info Casey. Much appreciated. And yeah Pooby I thought a day of mindless selecting and navigating was the way to go as well. Still have a ton of tutorials I'm going through!

mocaw
06-06-2008, 06:24 PM
Those i3D tutorials look like a good replacement for digital tutors in terms of general rendering and modeling- and they have a friendly approach and interesting payment style for chapters. It's nice to see so much training material out there now. When I started using XSI (not that long ago really) there was much less of it. Now there are at least five sources for quality training (I'm excluding DT), and some of it is free!

There is the Vast training (free) which is the old but still good softimage training, the 3Dmastermind training, 3Dquakers training, i3D training, and pixelcorps. I think 3Dtutorial is going to get back in the mix soon with new videos too. Man what a difference a few years make! This is leaving out the books too. It used to be one of the main complaints of new users to XSI- lack of training materials.

What ever training material you get- be sure to keep in mind there is more than one way to skin a cat in XSI/mr and that you should never take something as gospel. Just watching the i3D tutorial on FG and GI and already saw several areas that others would do things differently- but to accomplish the same task (not that any was more correct that the other depending on the task).

ThE_JacO
06-06-2008, 06:49 PM
hmmm, we'll have to build a bigger reception desk it seems, every day there's one or two people who convert.

Well, welcome.
Things around here are pretty easy.
Title your threads well, rtfm first if you can, say you did if you couldn't find anything and then posted (so we don't point you to the fine manual), and stay away from the cheese, ninja monkeys guard it.

Sil3
06-06-2008, 10:08 PM
hmmm, we'll have to build a bigger reception desk it seems, every day there's one or two people who convert.



Maybe after all these years they are finally seeing the Light :D (Sorry couldnt resist hehehe)

Anyway, yes its pretty noticeable actually that more and more people are getting atracted and into XSI wich is cool and needed to balance user bases, it makes progress in development instead of stagnation.

Sarford
06-07-2008, 01:10 AM
Hi hrgiger, welcome to this side :D

I know Mocaw doesn't like em ;) but you might wanna take a look at some digital tutors trainings. They don't go very deep but they get you up to speed with a subject very quickly, enough to take it from there on your own. I have several of them and use them as my 'manual on dvd'. Also, the 3Dmastermind DVD 'character in motion' is realy realy good. It is a node locked training, but the stuff you learn there saves you at least a year trying on your own with free tutorials. You'll be amazed what is possible in XSI, I know I was.

hrgiger
06-07-2008, 02:33 AM
Thanks for the suggestions Sarford. About the node locked training... I am still considering which license of XSI I am going to get. It's pretty much between the 1 year edu copy of XSI advanced or it's going to be Foundation. The reason I'm considering the 1 year edu copy instead of the permanent one is that I understand that XSI 7 will be coming out hopefully in the coming months and I would like to be eligible for the upgrade which would come with support with a 1 year license. Plus I consider a year to be a long enough time to evaluate XSI and decide how much of a future I would like with it. Between Foundation and advanced edu, I'm leaning towards the educational version. I do not work in the 3D industry and dont' really desire to do so therefore, I will not be making money from the software.
Oh, back to the original question....The educational license I believe is not activated via a node lock so does that mean I won't be able to make use of node locked training? I'm assuming not. By the way, I won't make the faux pas of accusing the people who make node locked training of treating people like criminals like in another recent thread here...:D
Concerning my choice of XSI licenses, does anyone else have any thoughts on this manner?

Sbowling
06-07-2008, 05:44 AM
The most important advice I can give on moving to XSI from LW is to DO THE TUTORIALS that come with the program. Things in XSI are very different (better, IMO) than lightwave. If you just try to sit down and start working and looking things up as you go, you will probably get lost fast. The tutorials that come with XSI are very well done and get you going on the basics fast (the help is also great, unlike that garbage that shipped with LW when I used it).

Sil3
06-07-2008, 10:51 AM
Oh, back to the original question....The educational license I believe is not activated via a node lock so does that mean I won't be able to make use of node locked training? I'm assuming not. By the way, I won't make the faux pas of accusing the people who make node locked training of treating people like criminals like in another recent thread here...:D
Concerning my choice of XSI licenses, does anyone else have any thoughts on this manner?

Node Locked tuts means that you need to send your machine ID and then get a unlocking code from the seller/developer to see it (serial or similar), it only works on the machine you installed it, so if you have a Laptop and a Desktop its preferable to install them on the Laptop since at least you can carry it around and have a bit more liberty to watch something you have bought, and you probably wont be changing any hardware on the Laptop that it justifys you having to ask for another serial to unlock once again what you have bought.

Basically node locked tutorials are like the LW plugins that get attached to you dongle to function, if one day you want to sell (for whatever reasons) them you need to trade the dongle with the buyer and we all know the dam confusion that might lead and that is completly impractible majority of the times.

XSI licensing doesnt interfer in anything with node locked tuts, they are seperate things... but dont give them any ideas ;)

I agree with doing the XSI tutorials that came with it, they are really helpfull and are meant to get you more aquainted on XSI.

ThE_JacO
06-07-2008, 11:54 AM
Concerning my choice of XSI licenses, does anyone else have any thoughts on this manner?

If you don't make any money out of 3d, and you qualify as a student or teacher, I see no reason to get anything different from adv edu.

Only one thing, get in touch with soft to discuss what you want and get some advice (licensing at softimage.com I think), because you seem to think edu 1year is 1year of support, while to my knowledge it used to be a cheaper edu with a timebombed license for 1 year, while normal edu is a permanent license that's legally valid for as long as you qualify for edu requirements.

At this point I'm not sure, last time I dealt with those licenses was probably six years ago when I was still in Avid, but it's worth checking with Soft before you buy a tin with a label you got slightly wrong :)

richcz3
06-07-2008, 07:45 PM
Maybe after all these years they are finally seeing the Light :D (Sorry couldnt resist hehehe)

Anyway, yes its pretty noticeable actually that more and more people are getting atracted and into XSI wich is cool and needed to balance user bases, it makes progress in development instead of stagnation.
Interesting enough it was before 8 was going to be released that I really started looking at XSI (think that was 4). I registered at the time but couldn't pull the trigger on LW. From what I've read, it looks like others were doing the same. In any case...yeah "Seeing the Light" seems appropriate. It's still a big leap but its easier knowing a good part of the LW is here now. That (for me) makes a big difference on the decision process.

hrgiger
06-07-2008, 09:26 PM
Only one thing, get in touch with soft to discuss what you want and get some advice (licensing at softimage.com I think), because you seem to think edu 1year is 1year of support, while to my knowledge it used to be a cheaper edu with a timebombed license for 1 year, while normal edu is a permanent license that's legally valid for as long as you qualify for edu requirements.



I emailed them the other day to ask the questions about the licensing and here was the response:

Our Educational offers for XSI Advanced come in two options:

XSI Advanced Edu permanent seat for $295 - no upgrade path, when a new version is released it must be purchased.
XSI Advanced Edu Subscription Program for $175/year: this is a one-year license that includes support and upgrades for the duration of the license.

There are upgrade paths for the commercial versions of XSI Essentials and Advanced, but not for XSI Foundation.

So it looks as though the 1 year license includes support and upgrades. I find this a better deal then a permanent license with no upgrades or support, especially since I don't know where I'll be after a year with XSI.

PerfectLine
06-15-2008, 07:27 PM
Any new info HR?

Did you go with the educational? Tutorials turniong out good for you?

hrgiger
06-16-2008, 12:44 AM
Havent' bought the license yet, still working with the demo, have about 16 or 17 days left on it, and will probably purchase before it runs out. I think going with the educational version would be best while I'm learning. I figure too, might as well get Advanced so that I can try out everything. As far as what I can get outside of Foundation, I'm mostly interested in having sycloth and hair so when I do go past the original edu version, I'll probably go for essentials.
As far as the tutorials go, yeah, there's a lot of good stuff out there for free. I also got a hold of a digital tutors intro to XSI DVD and it's pretty good. Not exactly my style, but it's showing me a lot of the tools and the interface which is mostly what I'm after.

Of course at the same time, I'm a bit distracted. I'm working up an entry for the Lightwave July contest before I send the license on it's way. The buyer graciously offered to let me hold on to it until my entry was complete. Very cool guy.

visualboo
06-20-2008, 05:58 PM
Hey Casey,

Another thing that drove me nuts was having to turn on the shadows for the lights and then turning the umbra down to 0 and then turning ambient to 0 as well everytime I started a scene to ge a nice render from mental ray so I edited the spdl files so that every light has shadows turned on and umbra at 0 by default.

Be careful with this. I do this a lot too but something that isn't obvious is that a lot of settings will not be saved with scenes if you edit a spdl. Some do, some don't.

For eg. If you edit an AO node with better defaults, it will work perfectly. I edit mine so it uses .5 for distance. If you open one of my scenes on a computer with default spdl's... it will open my scene with my edited spdl settings.

But some things like lights will not open with your settings unless you move the slider/check box and then back to where you want it. I'm assuming it's because the scene doesn't register the change and save it with the scene. Test it if you want. I learned this doing the very thing you tweaked in lights. I wanted them to always import with shadows and 0 umbra. The Physical Sun was another one I wanted to change. I wanted the intensity to be .01 instead of 1. If you tweak the spdl, add a light, save the scene, open it on a non-spdl-tweaked computer it will use 1.

... Just an FYI

CiaranM
06-20-2008, 07:15 PM
I wanted the intensity to be .01 instead of 1. If you tweak the spdl, add a light, save the scene, open it on a non-spdl-tweaked computer it will use 1.

... Just an FYI

Thanks for the note. Wouldn't keyframing the parameter make it consistent regardless the spdl used?

visualboo
06-20-2008, 07:47 PM
Keyframing? Naa, you wouldn't want to use keys. If you edit the spdl, all your doing is setting the new defaults. If you have an object that does this value reset thing, all you have to do is tweak the setting and move it right back to where you want to. It then saves the value correctly in your scene.

I personally don't tweak spdl's that do this however. Like lights. Simply because of the fact that I will forget to do that value workaround.

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