Cool things in XSI no one knows!


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.


holding ctrl while browsing in the left panel will make the next property window to not popup.


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.


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.


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


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.


This keeps getting asked:

To make the S key behave like the ALT key in maya go to preferences > Tools > Use alternate mapping.

Under transform options turn on use 3d manipulators to be able to move the manipulators in the viewport with the mouse.


ok, here’s something for the LWers among the xsi’s.

Just first a quick quote from Ablefish, to important to get lost:

Under the Transform menu there is a toggle called Collapse Points for snapping/Absolute Translation. When it’s on, you can tag points and set a value for them. If you leave it on, the center of that selection will move to the set value. Is that the same behaviour you’re looking for?
I tried it, perfect, but now how merge the extra points ( I used a sphere for a test )?
The sphere has 58 points but after collapsing one axis it should have 33 points.
Well, press t select and all the points, select Modify->Poly.Mesh->Filter Points. Deselect the cleanup selections and play with the distance slider to get what you want. Look at the points count and look at the view window.

Edit:All merged points/edges are drawn thick. Wrong, those are the double sided ones.
Can’t manage to delete them, grrrr


This is a very general tip - but try RIGHT-CLICK everywhere. There are context menus all over the place. One I use very often when modeling is to r-click on a component selection, you’ll get a list of commonly used commands, and check out the short cut key for the commands. It’s short work to select some faces, r-click the selection and press V (to dissolve, for example)

R-click on the render region border to access the ppg or save out a still or toggle the refresh.

Assign the Global command “Repeat” to something handy, I use the G key. It’ll save you even more time than middle-clicking on a menu to repeat the last command.

Shift-d will subdivide selected edges.

You can duplicate passes by selecting them in the explorer and Ctrl-D. Note that in 4.0 your new passes will have a different output name so no accidental rendering over passes.

When you have Transformation Manipulators active, in the preferences you can adjust it so that when the mouse is outside of the manipulators, you get a free move (works on the plane of the viewport). Also - r-clicking outside the manipulators will give you a menu to adjust your transform reference/cog/prop/sym, etc…

Oh, and if you’re using the Softimage 3D style (which I DON’T like…), you’ll have to Alt-Right
click to get most of these context menus.

In 4.0 you can adjust the viewport to sync up with the current Construction Mode. This will let you view your enveloped and animated model in the context of the Modeling Mode, ie, with no deformations. Makes it a breeze to make modeling changes (then Freeze M button to freeze just the Modeling area of the history stack).


Generally in XSI you want to avoid any operation that produces coincident or overlapping faces, because those can be hard to get rid of. eg in the sphere example, i would first delete half the faces, to get a hemisphere then collapse the points.


Yeah, gives quite a headache to find a way to delete these double-sided polygons. I really can’t imagine that there isn’t a command for this. The only solution I can imagine right now is to export to LW, do the stuff and reexport to XSI again, can this be true??


XSI doesnt let you have double sided polygons like you can in LW. You simply cant have 2 polygons with the same points, XSI will always insert a double edge to keep them seperate from each other. This also applies to other kinds of offending geom like more then 2 polys sharing the same edge etc. Even if you export/import from LW, XSI will still insert the double edges for the offending polygons. Your only option is to delete the extra polygons.

This is mainly because in XSI every poly mesh is a potential SubD just at div level 0, and the algorithms dont allow non-manifold geom. (even in other apps like Maya this limitation is present)


Link with tip
Let’s say you’re doing a “Link with” of a Obj A Y Rot Chanel with Obj B Z Pos Chanel. You also set various “Set Relatives Values” . This automaticly create an expression.
Now the cool part :
If you RMB on Obj A Y Rot Chanel (the one you applied “Link with”) and choose “Animation Editor”, you see a Fcurve with all your “Set Relatives Values” .
You can now edit/change those values to your liking, and, for example, create some super smooth transitions using the Slopes as the “Set Relatives Values” is reached.


Here are some lesser known camera functions:

1- ALT-Right-Click on the empty space in any camera view, you’ll get a camera specific context menu. From this menu you can:

-Start Capture
-Select Camera
-Select Interest
-Isolate Selection
-Set or reset the background colors
-Open camera properties

This works for any and all scene cameras, including the Object View. This is one way to get at many settings for the Object View camera that aren’t directly available from the icons in the window.

2- Open a camera properties, lock it, and switch the PPG to the camera visibilities tab. Scroll down to Clipping Planes. Select some items in your scene and Clip To Selected. This will set your Near and Far camera clipping plane based on your selection. This works for selected components as well as objects, and comes in quite handy for many modeling situations.

3- Try the following script (jscript):


This will select all your scene view cameras. You can press enter and edit the properties for all your scene cameras at the same time using the multi PPG that opens.


I recently started using Isolate selection and isolate all options inside the camera Button menu

very useful with HUGE scenes or a quick object view, Just select your object and then go Camera(icon)>Isolate selection, then isolate ALL to return everything, its great becasue it doesnt change the visibility options in the objects(which can take AGES if you are working with a huge scene with lots of objects, it is instant



Moving UV trick

I don’t know if everybody noticed, but the trick for having UV Projection modified at the same time as the modeling (ie M move point) has changed in something better :slight_smile:

Lets say, you want a UV projection to follow your modeling :
Drag and drop the Texture OP on the Modeling Construction Mode node.
It follows !
Now you want this thing to stop :
Drag and drop the Modeling Construction Mode node on the Texture OP
it keeps the UV as is, stops following the modeling from now.

Ain’t that powah… :smiley:


Oh this sounds very handy. Where can I find those nodes? I open up explorer and go to scene root, but can’t find them anywhere. Can you be painfully more specific? I would really like to try this one out. :slight_smile:


make a cube, move a point, open explorer, find your cube, open it, and open the P/Polygonmesh operator, it’s in there. All the construction mode nodes and the operations you’re doing are stored and accesible from there.


In Foundation, if you attempt to rig from a proportional guide, you get the funky behavior where it looks like it’s working to rig from your guide, then all of the rigging disappears and you get the warning that you need to rig from the “proper” guide.

xzevlin had come up with a tip for getting the proper proportional guides through a net search (alt-5). However, I found that those biped and quadruped proportional guides ALREADY exist in my XSI samples/Models folder as:


So even as a Foundation user, you can do an explicit “import” of the desired proportional guide from your local drive, then adjust and auto-rig away!!!

I haven’t had a chance to work with these rigs yet, but according to xzevlin, there are some missing elements, such as “foot roll” in the rig. Still, it’s a great rigging shortcut.

UPDATE: The foot roll and hip controls aren’t missing: you just have to make sure that you do a full right-click select of the guide, otherwise certain rig elements don’t get added. Also, you need to either use the default rigging options, or select one of the presets that includes foot roll.

This functionallity IS meant to be included with foundation. However, I can’t find anyrhing in the documentation telling you that you have to explicitely import the guide models, which you do have to do.

Finally, I DID get the menu-created biped guide to rig by renaming the hierarchical sub-tree to match the sub-tree in the file-based guide (added the work “Details” to the name). This allowed the “rig from biped guide” to work, although elements such as ears and belly weren’t available, and I noticed that the foot rig had fewer joints than the guide. I’m sure that this is due to the fact that Foundation includes only the “standard” character rigging scripts, without all of those little extras.

But hey, even this basic autorigging from a guide is sweet sweet sweet.


Hi, very helpful topic…
just a quick question, may I ?

is it possible to select backpoints without switching to wireframe mode ?