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Old 09-08-2012, 10:40 AM   #1
TwistedAlien
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Martin Hughes
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Xrefs, Containers, Scene Management, and 'The Pipeline'...

Hello all (and happy weekend! ),

Apologies for the long post. If anyone could share their thoughts though I would be incredibly grateful!

I have a few questions if I may about xrefs, containers, and how it all fits into a *single user* 'pipeline' (a word that seems to have so many different meanings at the moment. I am using it in the context of the data/asset pipeline as described in this series of articles).

I am trying to work out a "best practice" system which is a) simple enough for me to manage without an IT team behind me, but b) comprehensive enough to allow me to stay organised (my OCD comes into play at times like this ). My asset versioning will be done using Perforce (the free 20 user/workspace in recent versions is incredible! Kudos to Perforce!). For my purposes, there is no need (unless someone can think of a compelling reason why a single user would need it) to separate my models from my rigs (I will be doing no character/creature animation. It will be vehicles and other "props").

So, my questions are:

- What are the main differences between xrefs and containers? I can't seem to find much information about them on the net.

- I'm assuming that files referenced into other files be animated independently of the "master" file?

- Does the same hold true of dynamics simulations? If I have a scene where I perform a dynamics simulation on an asset (I am specifically thinking about a VolumeBreaker destruction), can I do that by referencing an asset into a scene and then performing the simulation on that reference? Would that best be an xref or container?

- IS there a compelling reason to separate animation rigs from models in my case (no bi- or quadrapedal animation, purely rigid body stuff)? Would that be achieved with a referencing workflow:

model --[ref]--> rigged_model --[ref]--> scene

? And would that be Xref or a container?

- Finally(!), can you use lo-res proxies in a scene the same way you can in Maya, swapping them out using MaxScript before rendering?

Many thanks for any help!

Martin
 
Old 09-09-2012, 01:25 PM   #2
muhammadfredo
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muhammad fredo
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Quote:
- What are the main differences between xrefs and containers? I can't seem to find much information about them on the net.

if you use xref you cannot edit and changed master file from reference file. if you use containers you can

Quote:
- IS there a compelling reason to separate animation rigs from models in my case (no bi- or quadrapedal animation, purely rigid body stuff)? Would that be achieved with a referencing workflow:

model --[ref]--> rigged_model --[ref]--> scene

? And would that be Xref or a container?

in my pipeline which i created i separate two ways #1 animation #2 lighting. model will be referenced in animation and lighting

i fix your workflow, because you cannot animating referenced rig file :
model --[ref]--> rigged_model --[merge]--> scene

i use Xref, never use container

Quote:
- Finally(!), can you use lo-res proxies in a scene the same way you can in Maya, swapping them out using MaxScript before rendering?

yes you can, in xref theres option for doing that. but i dont use that since i use pointcache in my pipeline
 
Old 09-10-2012, 11:46 AM   #3
robinb
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We use containers to hold sections of a continuous world. They're good for that. They're basically a max file that can be opened in another one. I'm not sure they're really designed for animation or rigging though as the animation would still be stored in the original container, not in the current scene. At least I think so.
 
Old 09-10-2012, 05:35 PM   #4
PiXeL_MoNKeY
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Eric Craft
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Currently there are 2 types of referencing in 3ds max. Scene and Object.
  • Scene: Xref Scene and Containers.
  • Object: Xref Object, there is no Container equivalent.
Static Object referencing, or things that aren't scene dependent are best done with the Scene type. It comes in as a single Object and everything is referenced from the file. In the case of Xref and Containers they each have their positive and negative features.

Object type referencing is best used for things that are scene dependent. With Object Referencing you control what is referenced based on Object, Material, and Animation. You can reference all, select specific ones to reference, etc. It is more controllable, but more complex as well.

I typically use Xref Object as I need to reference Objects/Geometry, but the animation, materials, lighting, etc are typically scene dependent.

On the subject of versioning tools I am in the process of moving from nothing to TACTIC, which moved from strictly Commercial over to Commercial and Open Source Eclipse Licensing at Siggraph. While Perforce handles Versioning, TACTIC handles that plus pipeline automation. Since it is based around Python and Javascript you can do all kinds of things with it. For example, you could use Lukáš Duběda's Repathing tutorial with Python to have TACTIC automate that on check out, or use it to make sure all referenced files are brought in when you check in a file, etc.

So it really depends on if you need a versioning tool or an asset tracking and automation tool.

-Eric
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:35 PM   #5
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