Cool things in XSI no one knows!

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  08 August 2004
in any text field, assuming you have multiple selections, not only you can type simple maths operations, you can also use incremental linear and random values with L and R and indicating ranges for the values.

select 10 cubes, type in the Y translation box L(2,20) and, according to the order of selection the first will be moved up by 2, the second by 4, the third by 6 and so on.

typing R(1,10) will assign a random value inside that range.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  08 August 2004
When working with spot lights you can use the following shortcuts to tweak different parameters:

B then Tab activates the Light manipulator
Control+Click on the outer ring of the light cone toggles Light Falloff
Control+Shift+Drag in the middle of the light cone controls the distance of the light cone
Click+Drag in the Spread area (Yellow cone) will set the spread angle
Click+Drag in the white lines of the light cone will set the cone angle
Alt+Left and Right Arrows will toggle between Light and interest

Control+': Closes the PPG under the mouse pointer
Hitting Enter with something selected will open it's PPG

Alt+1: Toggles COG
Alt+2: Toggles Proportional Mode (Prop)
Alt+3: Toggles Symmetry Mode (Sym)
Alt+4: Toggles Parent/Object
Alt+5: Toggles Reference
Alt+6: Toggles Plane
Alt+7: Toggles Global
Alt+8: Toggles Local
Alt+9: Toggles View

J: With a projection selected tweaks the projection
Shift+J: With an object selected hides it's projections
diogo girondi | ••• | IMDB
  08 August 2004
Blending two shaders with a weight map

It took me a while to work this one out. I thought I could use the weight map in the "weight" slot of a mix2colours node, unfortunately this always gave odd results(seemed to override the image maps and just used the original colours from the Mix2colors node), so instead I used a gradient mixer with the weight map plugged into the Input slot and each Phong node plugged into a colour input.

The weight map is extracted using a Map_lookup_color node.

Kernow bys vykken!!!
  08 August 2004
Displacement maps.

In XSI by default black is the neutral colour on a displacement map, white is the maximum displacement, and mid-grey is halfway between.

This means that by default any displacemnt map will always enlarge the volume of the surface it is applied to, with areas of black having the least "enlagement".

If you want a single displacement map to displace "in" as well as "out", it can be done with a Scalar_Math_Basic node with the operation set to Subtract and a value of 0.5 in Input2.

Now mid-grey will be the neutral area of the map, helping to keep the original surface volume.

Kernow bys vykken!!!
  08 August 2004
I suggest not to use the scalar math basic but rather use a change range.
old value range 0, 1, new value range -1,1

subtracting 0.5 you end up with the top value being different from the expected 1 when you need to do the maths for other displacments that don't need the range conversion and would force you to either adjust the geometry approximation value for the object or overload other trees that wouldn't need it.

both things can become tricky with groups and overrides.
Come, Join the Cult - Rigging from First Principles
  08 August 2004
I also have a very cool thing. You know how often you have to change your camera settings from NTSC to PAL or the otherway around or you want a different Default value for the Bevel command. You can change all the Default values of most of the Tools in XSI.

Here is how:
Go to this folder:
C:\Softimage\XSI_X.X\Data\DSPresets\Primitives simply uncheck the Read Only of the Preset you want to change. Now launch XSI change the values of that preset you made writable and save the values in the ppg and overwrite that Preset. Don't forget to make it read-only again and make a copy of the Preset before doing this

  08 August 2004
**PageUp button: Opens the most recent PPG, then browses back through your PPG history.
PageDown button: Moves forward through your PPG history.

CTRL-~ Closes current active PPG or view.

CTRL-Shift-Right-Click on a PPG title bar gives you access to the PPG source SPDL.

**-All time favorite.
  08 August 2004
Fun with displacement

Something I appreciate is the precision you have over converting gray values into worldspace distance.

Black = 0 SI units
White = 1 SI units

Displacements can be thought of as a push operator where the numerical value is distance in SI units in the normal direction (multiplied by the scale of your object center). So black = 0 distance travelled while white = 1 SI unit. Try it with a checkerboard texture in profile.

Use a Math>Change Range node if you want to precisely tune quantity and direction.
Make sure your object center scale = 1. Example:

Old Range Start: 0
Old Range End: 1
New Range Start: -1
New Range End: 1

This pushes black -1 SI unit into the surface, and white out 1 SI unit.

To push in 2 units, and out 5 units, set the range to the following:

Old Range Start: 0
Old Range End: 1
New Range Start: -2
New Range End: 5

You can also invert the values:

Old Range Start: 0
Old Range End: 1
New Range Start: 1
New Range End: 0
  08 August 2004
If you leave render region active (Q) and capture viewport it makes nice quick rendered preview instead of OGL only.
  08 August 2004
This has got to be one of the coolest hidden gems I've seen so far. I found it on the XSI list, and it answers some questions and makes the workings of the TextureOp much clearer to me. The cool part is the second workaround...

For necessary context, here's the original question from FB:

"Is there any way I can move points in the texture editor and in the viewport at the same time?

I'm making a stone wall, so I have a really cool stone map and I want to model the wall edges so it doesn't look flat.
I aplied the texture to the geometry so I can match the points that I already have to the image.

The problem is that when I'm editing those point in the viewport they strech the texture along with my movements. So I'm making a new projection every time I move a point in order to don't strech it by editing points.

Is there any way to see the texture while editing the object, but when moving points don't strech the image? It will be something like rotoscoping the object having the texture aplied to it."

---Here's one workaround from Jérôme Couture-Gagnon:

"A workaround is to clone your object onto another one, and texture the cloned one with a projection.
Then, you can move the points on the source object, and look at the result on the textured clone, which should update without texture stretching."

---Here's the gem from Guy Rabiller:

"Here is another workaround, on the object itself ( you don't need a second object ):

1) Move a point of your object - for instance with 'm', just one point and one time, so you will see one 'MoveComponent' Operator appear.

2) Drag&Drop the 'TextureOp' Operator - found under the Texture Projection, directly on the 'MoveComponent' Operator.

Nothing happens, but this tells the 'TextureOp' to 'read' the Geometry at the 'MoveComponent' level.
( hidden 'read' connections from 'readed' operators.. ) At this point the texture projection will 'unstretch' itself regarding the moved point.

3) Right click on the 'MoveComponent' Operator -> Disabled From Here

4) Now you can edit your points, move them, the texture will stay 'in place', no deformation, no stretching, so you can freely move your points around to place them exactly where you want them to be regarding the texture.

5) Once you are finished editing your points, just delete the disabled 'MoveComponent' Operator.

Everything back to normal, if you now move a point, the texture will follow."

IMPORTANT EDIT: This was written for v3.5. After playing with this in 4, it looks like the correct step 5 is actually to "Enable from here," and not delete.

Really neat trick, and as an additional point, hovering your mouse over the TextureOp tells you where it is reading from. I've seen this before, but never really got it until I saw this trick.
Real Fun Art, LLC

Last edited by DougNicola : 08 August 2004 at 02:58 AM.
  08 August 2004
holding ctrl while browsing in the left panel will make the next property window to not popup.
  08 August 2004
Originally Posted by horst hrubesch: To do a quick uniform numerical scaling Shift+rightclick just below the S in the Transform Panel and enter your number in any field.

You can also hold shift and richtclick under S, R and T to have ALL values selected and modified. Or you could just ofcourse only do S, R or T or combinations.

Great Thread btw, I'm a newb but learned alot of handy stuff in this thread that probably some pro's don't even know off.. keep them coming.
  08 August 2004
Opening up help files in netview:

Drag drop the start.html file to netview or open it and copy the url to netview to view the XSI online help files inside XSI. that way you dont have to alt+tab between IE and XSI.

Last edited by SheepFactory : 08 August 2004 at 10:08 PM.
  08 August 2004
I am sure a lot of you already know this but these are things that increases my animation workflow in xsi.

-transform setup to go to a manipulator when you select an object
-create marking set for setting key on for example translation and rotation when you press alt-k
  08 August 2004
Let's say you want to:

-preview 20 seconds of character animation
-change the preview as you watch and see it from any angle or distance
-preview at full-screen, full-frame, totally smooth, 24 fps
-get all this ready in less than one minute
-with a character that is about 85,000 triangles at one level of subd.

Fast Playback is your friend! (only catch, it will be wireframe!)

-Turn on Fast Playback in the view type menu.
-Open display options, performance tab
-Turn on Wireframe Capture Only and Use 3D cache
-Hit play and go!

XSI will make about three very quick passes as it caches the animation, then it will play back totally smooth as you track, dolly and orbit the animation to your heart's content.
Real Fun Art, LLC
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