View Full Version : Anyone know....

09 September 2004, 04:10 AM
I am 100% new to any form of 3d rendering/creating/ect... What program is best to start out with? Right now, i have a free trial of Softimage XSI, anyone know where i could go find a good strong tutorial for newbies to any form of this.
Thank you.

Dean Skead

09 September 2004, 05:19 AM
Welcome "You've taken you first step into a larger world." ;) I wouldn't necessarily suggest XSI for the first time hobbyist because it can get a little complex but then again, you've got to start somewhere and it might as well be the with one of the best.

For tutorials, This is a great site: ( And don't forget the ever popular: ( also has a bunch of really great tutorials too.


09 September 2004, 05:22 AM
Okay, three posts in and you're asking silly questions already.

...What program is best to start out with? ...

Read this:

...Right now i have a free trial of Softimage XSI...
Good! You're off to a good start. Now get going using it!

...anyone know where i could go find a good strong tutorial for newbies to any form of this...
Since you've got XSI then the best place to start is at the source: Softimage's site has all you need to get started.

Then do a Search within CGTalk, google, buy books, etc.

I recommend trying to stick with a single app until you've got a very good grasp of it. Then try other apps if you feel the need to. I find many folk get frustrated quickly if they are just trying to learn every app they can in a short period of time. Every app has their strengths and weaknesses so jumping from one app to another defeats the purpose of learning CG. XSI has a good workflow and plenty of power to unlock your creative juices so stick with it.

Have fun!

09 September 2004, 11:30 AM
Im with Ngrava on this one, i wouldn´t suggest XSI as a first 3d program to learn, specially if u are learning it on your own. It will confuse u, not because XSI is confusing, but because it´s very very powerfull and all this power comes with a price: Higher learning curve.

If after a couple weeks u feel u are understanding how 3d works (and how XSI works) great, stick with it, if not, i recommend u look for "simpler" software (simpler does NOT mean LESS CAPABLE software).

My personal recomendations go to LW or C4D, C4D is getting a lot better than LW, but LW still has more job places than C4D, lets not forget that job placement also as big role on choosing a software.

Anyway whatever u choose, welcome to the 3d World, i just hope u are entering it because u r fascinated by it and not because u wanna be rich or something, because u certantly wont :p

09 September 2004, 12:11 PM
Bah... SI is perfect for beginners... just do the free beginner tutorials at SI's site, then move on to more complex tutorials. Eventually you get the urge to "play" and experiment.

09 September 2004, 02:00 PM
I wish I could get back all the time I spent learning those "easier" 3D apps. XSI IMHO is not that difficult to learn, but because it is deep and powerful, you sure don't have to worry about outgrowing it and having to start all over with something that can get the job done (what ever that job might be).
But it all boils down to what you want to do. If you know now that you have NO interest in Animation, and you just like to model then maybe XSI is more than you need, but if you're like me and you need to do it all (one man studio) then XSI is a great choice. The power/price ratio of Foundation is just mindboggling. The animation tools alone are worth twice the price. As was already mentioned, check out the great beginner tutorials at

My 2 cents.

Mike McKenzie

09 September 2004, 02:05 PM
I agree with JDex.

If a person has never really tried an app in the first place then it doesn't matter which one he/she starts off with. Everyone has to start with something. For the initiate there is is no way to gauge which app is "easier" than another app to learn. It's the learning that is the challenge. Every newbie is in the same boat whether they start of with Lightwave, Cinema, or max, etc.

IMO, if someone starts off with an app like XSI then they have an edge when taking on another app later.

09 September 2004, 02:25 PM
Sorry but you SHOULD start right away with XSI or similar apps. I lost countless hours in very low end 3d softwares. To be honest there is nothing to be affraid of XSI, just don't try to ingest it all at once. XSI is indeed quite easy to use, and if you start with a good software then it will be a good professional investment.


09 September 2004, 02:47 PM
Hmm. You all have some very valid points. I guess it really comes down to how well the initial learning material explains the basic concepts. I also just remembered that XSI Foundation comes with all those DVD's. That's going to really help boost you're knowledge right out of the box. So, I guess it's really not that bad.

Also, sitting here thinking... What is a good beginning 3D app? I've used just about all of them and I don't know that I could objectively answer that question. Now a days there are just so many more technologies in 3D apps that weren’t there when I started out in 1993. It's difficult for me to remember a time when I didn't know at least the very basics of 3D. I'm not trying to brag that I've been around forever and know everything about CG now... It's just funny because I've been so consumed with it for over 11 years now that I don't have a grasp on what it feels like to be a beginner... Hmmm that sounds kind of pompous. Oh well I think you know what I mean.


09 September 2004, 03:46 PM
I also say start with XSI. Sure it's deep, but that's a lot different from hard to learn. I think XSI works so consistantly across the program that it's learning curve isn't that steep. (Sometimes the baggage of knowing a prior software can work against you too, remember)

If you're totally new to 3D, I would definitely start with a little bit of reading, just to lay a bit of groundwork for yourself. Before I went to school, I bought the first edition of this book:

The Art of 3D Computer Animation and Imaging.

It did a great job of explaining the fundamental concepts and even had little quizzes at the end of each chapter. I don't know if the second edition has the same, but I'd recommend it.

And don't forget the Softimage tutorial books. 4.0 comes with 2 of them, and they're all laid out for the user and if you do them in order they get you a pretty good working knowledge.

09 September 2004, 03:47 PM
I personally believe you should choose an app that has available resources to learn the basics of 3D. Sure, XSI is a deep (somewhat complex) program, but then 3D can be complex and overwhelming in the beginning anyway, even if you're using the most basic program around. I agree with JDex and the others though- you can waste time going too simple, but there's a fine balance between wasting years on simple applications, and getting bogged down in some of the more advanced features that really aren't completely nessesary, in some of the others.

Anyway, if there's one thing I'm learning about XSI, it's that it has a great workflow, and the one thing I regret is that a lot of the low-end apps I used early on didn't teach me to work work as well as I should have been doing. Cutting a long story short- I'd personally go for XSI, get the training (the offer seems to be ending at the end of the month for that) and dive headlong in. You'll gain great work habbits (that will help you in many, many ways) and have strong support from a strong community.

09 September 2004, 04:08 PM
I just thought I'd chime in and say that I've used max, maya, houdini, and xsi and have to say the only big difference in the interface. Since this person hasn't used anything this won't be a disadvantage to him. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't learn xsi. I would recommend for tutorials to download the documents at and do those tutorials, also I would recommend the vtms. When I first tried xsi I watched those and was up and running in no time. They're not to in depth but its enough to get you on your way and if you do buy xsi and get the production dvds you'll be well off.

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