xsi's 3rd party tools always a bit behind their counterparts?

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  11 November 2007
xsi's 3rd party tools always a bit behind their counterparts?

posted on xsi base, and ill post it here too.
i know it sounds a bit dodgy but i just couldnt find a better way to name what im about
to rant about (again).
i hope some of the guys using xsi on a daily basis in production will help me shed some
light on this neverending question.
the question is: why is it that the same standard tools like mental ray , syflex or shave and a haircut are always behind the same variants for the autodesk appz.
is it a clear marketing strategy, is it on purpose, or am i just blind and can never find the same tools and options in xsi's plugins that i can find in the other apps.
i have given numerous examples in other threads about syflex and its apparently missing options, that u can find in the plugin for maya. and i talk about the exact same release version. also everybody knows mental ray has always been 1 version behind the one released on the same dev cycle by autodesk. i can live with that too, no problem.
but now i just finished a commercial using shave for maya and im just blown away by the results, speed and looks that u can achieve with that puppy compared to xsi hair.
again, xsi hair is the same shave and haircut that u can find in the other apps. same licenced plugin. it has almost the same options, same dialogue boxes.i remember when it was first launched with xsi 2, remember the manta marketing images and all that jazz, i thought wow, finally a really well implemented hair solution. well, almost 7 years after this im still bashing my head on the wall with it.
we've seen so many people complain about the way xsi hair works, and i can say those people definately havent used shave in maya, they would've been really pissed right now.
now to end this with a solid argument. for example, shave in maya has options like voxel resolution, a third rendering mode besides geometry and hair, built in selfshadowing tools, hair pass divisions with interpolation (renders the hair in 2 or more passes and then stiches them together making it look softer and smoother), and i can go on. but that is not so important.
what is important is that i cant find these options anywhere in xsi.
and some are crucial to getting a great hair render fast. like the voxel res and pass interpolation. is there anything im missing here or am i just paranoid
dont have any renders right now cuz im on vacation at this netcafe in budapest, visiting a friend, but im going to add some renders to better describe what im talking about when i get back home.

and dont throw boiling oil on me plz. those who have used syflex or shave in other tools know what im talking about. i just want to understand if theres something im doing wrong or if im working in some wrong way. ive gone thru all the possible trainings, the xsi production dvds, the digituts hair stuff, the special siggraph sessions, the help, but honestly i still cand find a straightforward way of making xsi output great hair renders, wheras in the other shave it takes me about 10 minutes, out of which 5 were the actual render to do what it would take me hours of tweaking in xsi, and most of times getting close but nowhere near.
 
  11 November 2007
Do you really find syflex and s&ah that much better in Maya/Max... I see complaints here in the forums and hear them from artists I talk to frequently. It seems hair and cloth tools, as they stand are pretty much like pissing in the wind as soon as you want to do something harder than simple in any of the apps. I'm sure that soft doesn't have the latest/greatest of either of them anymore, because they've drastically slashed their price and have been spending heavy in R&D to build a better dynamics platform and improve the core app... should they be paying the writers of the current best but still mostly broken plugins, or focusing energies on redefining how dynamics work and building a better core app, where at least 80% of the work is done?

That's not a hypothetical.
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  11 November 2007
I think the differences between Shave, and XSI hair is quite expected, XSI is an integrated solution that Softimage has to update and support.

Maya's version is a plugin, that's available seperately from Maya hair, thus giving Joe a bit more incentive to try and sell his plugin in Maya, by constantly updating them.

If would seem Syfelx would be fairly similar, when the company buys the plugin they don't automatically buy the right to all future updates or enhancements, that then up to Softimage. Not Sybiz or Joe Alter.

I've been testing all hair plugins lately, and while the latest version of Shave for Maya is better than XSI hair, or Max's equiv, i've decided that C4D simply craps on all the rest of them anyway...
 
  11 November 2007
When hair first appeared in Max (8?) it was the shabbiest, laziest, most pathetic implementation one could imagine (just like the reactor thing). It looked and felt like some kind of Java applet linked to the main app.

I don't know Maya but I think it's quite neat in XSI.
 
  11 November 2007
Regarding Syflex, the guys from Syflex replied on a similar question, that because
the difference between maya and xsi, they can't have all options on both syflex versions,
for instance, he said XSI's zipper in Syflex, couldnt be done in Maya due to
some maya limitations, and on the other hand, some of mayas syflex options are not
avaialbe in xsi for the same reasons.

Regarding Hair, I think XSI hair is pretty good, it sure does need a big update,
but still you *can* produce excellent results..

here's an example we did in XSI v4, I think it's not bad at all:

http://www.broadcast.co.il/dispVide...&OID=46&DivID=9
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  12 December 2007
well, here i am back with the test i was talking about
this was done in approx 10 min, including rendering.
im not saying it means anything, im just asking if someone here
can achieve a similar look with xsi hair, cuz i surely havent been able to, at all.
time is irellevant.
so who's up for the challange?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg shave4.jpg (50.0 KB, 64 views)
 
  12 December 2007
Originally Posted by oktawu: well, here i am back with the test i was talking about
this was done in approx 10 min, including rendering.
im not saying it means anything, im just asking if someone here
can achieve a similar look with xsi hair, cuz i surely havent been able to, at all.
time is irellevant.
so who's up for the challange?


Look has little to nothing to do with SnH, since it's just MI_Hair primitives handled to MRay once SnH is done with it. SnH is responsible of creation, manipulation and dynamics, not for rendering or providing shaders (for the record, XSI's SnH is its own branch and has been for a while, it's not Joe developing it anymore and hasn't been for a while).

As for the rest, go out, have a beer, and all the plugins will suddenly look better.
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  12 December 2007
well raffael, im no xsi shave expert here, and i know the work u did on that wolf from
brothers grimm so i wont even try to argue here, but
SH has a third rendering mode in maya besides the two available in xsi (hair and geometry)
called buffer.
now using the other 2 which are also present in maya gives me the exact results i get in xsi (obviously). this example is done with that third buffer mode which cannot be found in xsi.
now how can that not have anything to do with looks?
all im asking is if some people here can achieve this look with those other 2 methods.
This was rendered with mental ray, and that buffer mode is not found anywhere in xsi so IT has something to do with shave and haircut since the option is native to it. right?
 
  12 December 2007
Originally Posted by oktawu: This was rendered with mental ray, and that buffer mode is not found anywhere in xsi so IT has something to do with shave and haircut since the option is native to it. right?


The discussion at this point would risk degrading into a technical argument, but fair enough I had forgotten about buffer mode, which is a SnH particularity that XSI doesn't in fact have (and as I said, you can't fairly call XSIhair SnH).

Said that, buffer mode is largely a useless piece of crap from my point of view, but I understand it can be convenient in some simple cases for other people.
It is pretty much the only situation where rendering is somewhat propietary to SnH (it uses its own internal rendering routines and is handed to MRay as a lens shader if I'm not mistaken).

Shaders/modes like that are often enticing to the people first approaching hair rendering because they come with good presets, and are handled as a unique package from the same plugin, but 100% of the time you can get MUCH better results with proper ricurve/MI_hair style shading, provided you take care of shadowing and self shadowing properly. All of this without even bringing into the picture all the issues it has with occlusion, sorting, memory, raytracing, matting etc.

This is going OT though from what you were originally asking about but in all honesty I wouldn't suggest using buffer mode even if it was avaliable, for the same reasons it's hardly usable in Maya anyway.

Going back to the original topic, for Syflex there's not much of an excuse really other then release time.
Maya uses an independantly developed plugin that is released whenever ready, XSI bundles "for free" whatever is avaliable during the last leg of development of a version, often remaining behind a version or being cutting edge only for a handful of months.

As for MRay, the level of integration in Maya isn't even remotely comparable to what you have in XSI, so that's not really a point I'm inclined to see argued.
Shared scene data is a comodity people too easily forget. Maya is able to implement almost all features as they are made avaliable by MI simply because all they have as far as integration goes, is a glorified parser, that handles a bloated in-memory conversion of the scene to MRay like if it was an MI file rendered from the command line.

Frankly, using MRay in maya is a downright pain in the ass that forces you to use one of the worst implementations of a rendering engine integration I've ever seen hitting mainstream.

The one thing in these regards you can criticize Soft for isn't really the versioning (they also often sit on much more stable and better tested/integratable versions, while alias and now autodesk often included half arsed jobs), as much as the fact that there IS a number of shaders they could easily include that they often overlook for reasons I'm not aware of.

Anyway, and I mean no sarcasm with this, what is the exact point of this thread? Letting something off your chest? Reaching Soft with a plea for help? Just so we know where to steer it.
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Last edited by ThE_JacO : 12 December 2007 at 12:40 AM.
 
  12 December 2007
thank you for the detailed and honest reply.
i agree with u, this example is a simple one, and its usually
in these cases that u get nice results with these out of the box techniques.
now the whole point of this thread was indeed trying to take a boulder off my chest.
i already knew the arguments and the logic behind the subject
and mind u, i already knew softs response in these matters
but i wanted to hear if other peeps went through the same thing and whether or not they had better experiences with the things stated. and maybe that way i would understand what i was doing wrong with these tools.
points taken, message clear.
 
  12 December 2007
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