XSI <-> 3DS MAX prod. pipeline experiences anyone?


Hello all,

I’m a long time 3DS MAX user and now after the drastic price drop of XSI Foundation I’m thinking about integrating XSI into my production pipeline, mainly as a moddelling and non-linear character animation tool. I worked with Character Studio before and in the upcoming MAX 7 version it will be integrated, however I don’t like its workflow. For hair, cloth, particles and rendering I still have MAX plugins.

As an exchange format for transfering animation and models I think I will use the FBX file format. I tested the dotXSI plugins for MAX, but somehow only the export plugin in MAX seemed to work properly. Imported XSI scenes in Max were corrupted.

Now my question is, if anybody has experiense with a XSI <-> MAX production pipeline and can give me some advice if this would be a wise move and what kind of problems could araise by using the FBX/ dotXSI format.

Thank you for your insight in advance.



ditch max fullstop …



Used to use it… I agree with him points up


Helpfull lot you are. :stuck_out_tongue:

I too am interested in this, but I will probably end up forgetting about max, unless they play the game with XSI.


I tried to use max with XSI but really there is no point. XSI is just so superior to max that I haven’t opened it in awhile now. The only thing I still use it for is the .ase exporter to the Unreal Engine.

But really there isn’t much workflow between the 2 because only the models are in any way compatible, everything else is too app specific. Except if you are using the fbx plug-ins then you can have some animation in there.


I agree that xsi is superior in many things but for long time users of 3dsmax there are lots of plugin effects that just can’t be duplicated in xsi and are missed too much: afterburn volumetric particle effects for example, some rendering abilities of final render ( 3dmotion blur for example) brazil’s fast and accurate skylight, METABALLS :), NPR effects ( you can sort of replicate some playing around in xsi with the toon shader, but no plugin for that yet).With max you know that if you need a special effect there is most likelly a plugin out there for it and you can pay the cost with the specific project that needs it.

It is unfare to compare two 3d apps since now a days every 3d app available has pros and cons. Each is better and worse in specific tasks.
You can model basically the same stuff in one or the other but I tend to like modelling in xsi so when it comes to needing something else from max I model in xsi my low res and use a mesh smooth in max to get pretty much the same subdivision ( not exactly the same but very close in most cases) I export in .obj that mantains the quads. but I agree that mixing them both in production for something else than modelling can be tedious, not very practical, or imposible depending on the case. So what I do most of the time is use the one that better fits my needs for specific projects… If I had everything from max in xsi ( including the abilities some plugins offer) I would never use any 3d app other than Xsi I love it :slight_smile:


Thank you for your replies so far.

I agree with Chesterjoe, some effects, especially Afterburn or PFlow effects I can create much quicker in MAX (or so I think).

At the moment XSI seems to be much faster when working with polygons and doing character skinning. At least this is my first impression. (Perhaps this changes with MAX 7)
And the missing of a true NLA animation system in MAX (I don’t mean Character studio - I hate CS) is really a downfall.
I think I will try the FBX plugin with its animation export option a bit more. Perhaps I even get the dotXSI2MAX plugin to work properly.

Any more suggestions?




I think the strongest reason to keep Max around is the plugin rederers. For me it’s VRay. Although, there will be a stand alown version that will work with XSI at some point… But that’s getting off the subject. I think the best way to do this is to get XSI to output a sequence of Obj’s that can be loaded into Max. Once there they can be used in a progressive Morph. This system may actually work better then FXB because you can texture and map a base object that can be used in all the scenes. The animation is just a offset to the base’s points after that. I have seen a Max script somewhere to do this with Maya but not XSI. I wouldn’t imagine it would be to hard to write. It might even be a simple “Save obj, move to next frame, save obj, move to next frame.” This is similar to the work flow of point oven or the beaver project.



except vray theres no need to look back to max. we use max every day since 5 years and switch now to xsi. i convert since 4 days all from max to xsi, sometimes i use the fbx plugs sometimes the .dot plugins. in 90% i get the wanted result. the only pain is the converting of the vray shaders… much tweaking :wink: and who knows… maybe vray is make the way to xsi someday. if u have questions maybe i can help via email.


I had an interesting view on the subject of mixing 3D apps at the end of last year when doing a particular TV title sequence - the company at which I was working used Max and Maya, so being new to Maya I used Max. However there were certain effects I wanted that Max just couldn’t do easily - for which I switched to Maya for it’s Painterly Effects.

Rather than try and convert large amounts of scene information between the two programs, I passed reference objects for cameras and motion-paths and so forth, and then combined separate rendered sequences from the two programs in After FX. I have to say I think this approach is the most sensible one - I’ve never yet seen any benefit of trying to pass data between 3D Apps unless absolutely necessary (like a client wants a particluar format) as it always causes issues.

However in the midst of all this I was amazed to discover that (and correct me if I’m wrong)Max has no facility for creating separate Render Passes, and it was this above all else that led me to choose XSI when I invested in a 3D App of my own a few months later, even though Max was a program I knew better.

I’ve had no cause for regret so far since then.

Hope this is helpful :slight_smile:

jON :wink:


snowctrl: thats a cool workflow idea…i will have to look into it, but i was wondering if you could elaborate how you get the reference objects and motion-paths to match up in each app (sorry but i’m still a massive noob here).
also one thing i am trying to find out is how good are XSI’s particles? can you have volumetric effects? do they use node based controle system? also its animation tools look impressive, i’ve used MotionBuilder5 and Max to animate how whould XSI hold up to either of these apps (i am guessing it is better than max)


Thank you. Perhaps I come back to this offer later.

I have also thought about stand in geometry, however, I think it will get quite complicated when you have modelled and animated your character in XSI and would like to put some hair or clothes on him in MAX for example. (XSI Advanced is out of the reach for me at the moment :sad: )

But I think I will purchase XSI FND nevertheless, especially with these 5 DVDs at the moment. Perhaps it will convince me someday to purchase an Essential or Advanced version and use MAX only for particle and volumetric stuff.

  • Cornelius


and use MAX only for particle and volumetric stuff.
actually I use c4D for that kind of stuff… but regards xsi and volumetrics… I think we will see more and more volumetrics shaders also for xsi (mentalray) 'coz a lot of plugin houses… will just implement also a version for mentalray when they’ll put to the market their upcoming releases for max (or maya)… until xsi is going to earns a great piece of market… I think the same houses will release that plugin also for xsi… a good example are the cebas new upcoming release for their flagship volumetric plugin… the venerable Pyrocluster v.3… well, will be fully functional also for mentalray under max… porting to xsi will be a bit… just begin to send email to cebas. :slight_smile:



How do you like xsi this far? What where the things that made you and the company change from max to xsi? I’m a max user and starting to work on a new animation and I an quite tempted on xsi foundation. should I make the change?


Why not download the demo, try it for 30 days, and see for yourself if it’s a tool you enjoy using and find useful…



I used the demo for about 3 days. And I had to say that I quite liked it. But the lack of dynamics and the quite old particle tools put me off.

But I wanted to hear that what where the principles of Soulpix to transfer theyr pipeline to XSI? I know they’ve used 3dsmax for a long long time, and have done great work with it. And would like to know that what the think about it now that they’ve done the transition.



hey everyone. im curious if anyone knows of a way to import 3ds max 6.0 files into xsi 4.0 any help would be great. i cant understand max at all, makes no sense…


Google for dotXSI4MAX6


thanks, ill check that out


I downloaded the 3dsImport.xsiaddon and drag and dropped to xsi. Now i get a 3ds import file option but when i pick the file nothing happens. I mean nothing. The 3ds file is 15 mb so im presumming it doesnt work if there are lots of objects in the MAX scene. Well… I dont have MAX to test exporting a cube or something simple and then importing in XSI as a 3ds file so if anyone knows how it works ill appreciate too. :smiley: