Cool things in XSI no one knows!

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  03 March 2005
Just discovered this shortcut, was new to me so...

Right clicking the "selection" button opens up this practical menu:

Surface Shader...
Last operator in stack...
General Properties
Modeling Properties
Animation Properties
Rendering Properties
Simulation Properties
Viewing Properties
Custom Properties
All Properties

also accessible via alt-RMB but I find this nicer. The alt-RMB menu is huge.

__________________________________________________ ____________________

A trick I use during modeling on highres models, which is similar to ZBrush's "hide outside rect".

If you're reaching your machine's speed limit with your model, do an "extract from polygons (delete)" on the part of the model that you're working on.

Then freeze the extracted part and continue working with it instead of the grand model. This will be much faster obviously. Just take care not to modify the boundary points.

When finished then, just merge the two parts together again.

Last edited by ray : 03 March 2005 at 06:46 PM.
  03 March 2005
Posted by Sil3 who obviously still doesnt know where to post this stuff


Here is a small trick to be abble to export/import Ploted Shape clips from scene to scene like regular animation clips:

- Select the froozen shape clip.
- RMB and choose Source, in the PPG that opens, simply Save it using the save button.
- Then just load it into the mixer in another scene with Load from file.

Hope it helps someone not loosing hair on it "
  03 March 2005
Originally Posted by Vertizor: So how did I resolve this? See those XYZ buttons in the viewport menu, just to the right of the camera and eyeball icons? RIGHT MOUSE click on the X and it flips the viewport on that axis. So for this Right ortho camera view, it does exactly what I need it to do, show me the left side without messing with the geometry itself ...
...So again, if it's been discussed before or if it's just common knowledge I appologize for the redundancy!

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure those buttons are a little more complex than that. They're still really cool though. With any object selected, they actually show an orthagonal view from the objects local axis. LMB for the positive axis and RMB for the negative axis. I've found them quite handy for seeing any necessary view of any object in a scene, especially ones that have been rotated in various ways.
  03 March 2005
Hey here's a cool one I found last week I didn't know about and I've been using XSI forever...

In XSI you can draw curves that go through the control points exactly with Curve > Draw Curve by Knot points. But if you want to rig up behavior that always sticks through the points it's trickier.

Previously I was either using operators like the one's at the bottom of this page:
or making little bezier handles by doing a bspline left handle point, 3 points in a row for the center then a right handle point and rigging them under a single parent and rotate it around to control the interpolation.

However I just figure out there is a way easier faster way to do it... what I didn't realize is that Model > Curve > Fit on Curve goes exactly through the control points on a linear spline. That's very different that the old SI3D where it just tried to fit the linear shape.

So the trick is:
1) Draw a linear curve through the points you want to go through. Rig to control that curve.
2) Model > Curve > Fit on Curve to have a curve that goes exactly through the points.
3) Tweak the Subdivsion level for how tightly to fit.

Could be this is commen knowlege or others know about it, this has been possible since 1.0, but it slipped by me so I figured it's a good tip.

Take care,
Michael Isner
  04 April 2005
Ok here’s another area in XSI with lots of secrets that are not well known: springs.
In general there are 3 different kinds of springs in XSI and they all are good depending on what you are doing:

======== Spring Type 1: Rigid Body Spring ==========
located: Simulate > Rigid Body > Rigid Constraint > Spring
> These springs are bests for dynamics like robots or plates of lava or anywhere where you need bi-directional control like a necklace on a character or hanging telephone pole.
> You can also wire the springs into explosions and stuff like that to make chunks of debris stick together.

======== Spring Type 2: Evolve Op Spring ==========
> This is the newest Spring in XSI it was introduced in 4.2. The main purpose of this spring is for secondary animation that works over a renderfarm.
> located: (draw a linear curve for tail shape) > Animated > Skeleton > Create Tail.
> also located in Essentials + Advanced Biped Guide if you duplicate off the tail bone to create a tail or use a stomach.

This spring is very powerful having lots of options to blend between animation and simulation. It also has a bunch of different caching modes so you can do stuff like scrub backwards through your dynamics.

You can also apply this spring on single objects through scripting:

//--- start jscript here
var mysource = ActiveSceneRoot.AddActionSource("MySpringSource");
var a = CreatePrim("sphere", "NurbsSurface")
var b = CreatePrim("Sphere", "NurbsSurface")
var opcoll = ApplySpringOp
(a+","+b, // simulated object, control object
40, // mass
5, // stiffness
3, // damping
mysource.FullName // spring simulation cache
//--- end script here

Make sure you experiment with Rest State and Initial State it’s on a bit of a diagonal by default.

======== Spring Type 3: Special Projects Spring ==========

A couple years ago Special Projects put a spring operator in XSI scripting to help solve some of the challenges at high end accounts. That spring operator is still in XSI and even has some new features not well known.

> located: Scripting (ApplyOp)

In general this spring carries bounce a lot more than a textbook spring algorithm. The only disadvantage is it’s live like a videogame so you need to plot if you are going to send it to a renderfarm.

The new features in 4.0 were:

> mute slider: Will blend between the spring being active and inactive. So you can blend out springy animation.

> init: When active drains all the energy out of the simulation. So if you have a very bouncy system you can blend the mute to 0, key init on for one frame and then when you blend back out you won’t have the carry over of all the bouncy energy.

//--- start jscript here
var a = CreatePrim("Cube", "MeshSurface")
var b = CreatePrim("Cube", "MeshSurface")
a.length = 3;
b.length = 3;
var op = ApplyOp("Spring",a +";"+b);
//--- end script here

Hope people find this useful,
Michael Isner
  04 April 2005
Snapping good translation

I thought I would add my Favourite.
Under transform set the mode to `Enable tranform manipulators'.
You can now toggle between your previous transform mode and the `Enable transform manipulator' mode by middle clicking on the `Transform' button.
While in `Enable transform manipulator' mode in a scene with a few poly objects select a point and then grab one of the manipulator handles and hold down control and the point will snap only on the axis selected in relation to any point which falls under the square (which in this mode appears) under the mouse.
Snapping to deadly accuracy.
  04 April 2005
nice post Isner

For those who are intrested in the spring operator and dont have a clue whats going on in the above post . u can easily test it out by doing the folowing

1. open script editor

2. type this
applyop "spring" ,,2

(the editor should be VB script by default but if its in jscript mode change it to vb)

3 select two objects and "Run" the script from the editor. The first object u selected will be "attached to the end of the spring" and the Spring will follow the second selected object.

4. to edit the spring properties= open the explorer and expand the "First selected object" to >kinematics>Global>pos>posx,y or z. you should see an "S" on the posistion values, Expand one more time and click that "S"Spring to get the spring properties

5. PLAY, key the "Second Selected Object" in a few positions and see what the values will do


or use Isners Quick little script
(Change editor to jscript and make sure immediate mode is off the run his script )
//--- start jscript here
var a = CreatePrim("Cube", "MeshSurface")
var b = CreatePrim("Cube", "MeshSurface")
a.length = 3;
b.length = 3;
var op = ApplyOp("Spring",a +";"+b);
//--- end script here

just mentioned the other way of making them incase you want to start using the spring on different obects than cubes and to give a better understanding of whats going on when u make the spring

Chad Fox
Chad Fox

Last edited by XsifoX : 04 April 2005 at 07:00 AM.
  04 April 2005
This next tip was given to me by close friend of mine and is very useful

If you want to Cut (knife tool) but dont want it to go across the whole object. Select the Polygons you want to Cut and use the Knife Tool!
GREAT for making strait Lines across Large Distances of polygons

I find that no one knows this but its one of those things staring us right in the face

Chad Fox
Chad Fox
  04 April 2005
Basic math

Punch in the basic /, *, - or + i.e /60/2.3 = 26.087) directly in the input boxes and get the result. No Calc needed
  05 May 2005
Volumic Properties

When you set a property for a spotlight, such as volumic properties, if you Start a Capture, and play it back, you will notice that the light self-animates. A time saver for those who are trying to mimic splinter cells lighting.
  05 May 2005
by making a shortcut to the xsi->open Attachments cmd (/default F3), you'll get an on fly
explorer 'embeded' window if any attachment, for the scene or objs selected.

  05 May 2005
Don't know if this one has been mentioned before, but I just realised it today and it's fantastic:

When editing UV maps, the polynode bisectors (those little lines eminating from each vertex in the UV viewport) are really useful for grabbing and creating your own seams in overlapping areas of the UV map.
  05 May 2005
To expand on what someone had said earlier, holding CTRL turns snapping on, but holding it can also temporarily turn it off for features that have snap turned on by default, like when you move the center of geometry. This can really help.
Dialog and characters that transcend their video game origins, thus highlighting humanity's place in the universe. -Paul W.S. Anderson IMDB Trademark
  05 May 2005
If you are in any geometry mode (Object, Polygon, Edge, Tag) and hit the Backspace key, your selection arrow will have an "X" in a circle - this then becomes the amazing Object/Polygon/Edge/Point deleting tool - makes cleaning up geometry really slick and fast - and it won't leave behind geometry that doesn't make sense - like an edge leading into the middle of a polygon (just hit Backspace again to exit the mode).

For those with less than a 1600X1200 screen resolution, you can Right-Click on the headings in the MCP (Layers, Select, Transform, etc) and temporarily collapse the sub-menus - helps eke out a little more screen space.

No man is your enemy.
No man is your friend.
Every man is your teacher.

Advice for Children: Be good....and you will be lonesome. Mark Twain
  06 June 2005
Something I just found out that renewed my faith in XSI.

If your having problems scrubbing the timeline, getting realy choppy playback then go:

Playback>Playback/Audio preferences... then change the default scrubbing mode to "Direct seek"

You may already know this, but or those who don't, its a life saver.
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