XSI Foundation ... Few Questions Please ...


#1

Hi All,

With the new price of Foundation and the inclusion of the 5 DVD training set Im seriously considering picking up XSI as another tool in the kit bag … Im currently proficient with Maya …

I just have a few questions as to the make up of Foundation (Im totally new to XSI Jargon …so please excuse if some questions are a bit stupid :wink: ):

Also …if there are any work arounds or alternative methods to reach the outlined effect/feature Im all ears

  • What exactly is Polygon Reduction ?

  • What exactly is Smooth / Relax ? …and is there the ability to just subdivide or convert to SubD to acieve similar smoothing ?

  • What is the texture layer editor as Foundation misses that option

  • Advanced Rigs, Guides and Motion Deform … what am i missing here ? Can i still rig advanced character setups myself ?

  • No rigid body dynaimics …this is a real killer …are there other options for creating/using RBD in XSI ? … why would they give you soft but not rigid ??

  • Any disadvantages to not have a stand alone MR.exe ?

  • No Batch Processing …surely this doesnt mean that one cannot batch render an animatin from XSI ?

  • Custom Display Host …what does this mean ?

  • Creation and Editing of Referenced Models* …just like Maya referencing for charcter sets etc ?

  • Creation and Editing of Scripted Operators … is this NO scripting…or just reduced scripting ?

THANKS A LOT!!! for all your help here guys…appreciate it heaps!

Cheers

Paul


#2

pretty nifty tool to reduce a polygon count interactively (preserves edges, textures, concave/convex/spikey surfaces) and so on.
all in all the best polyreduction on the market by far, but it’s most useful as a game tool or to reduce scans.
not your everyday occurrence for “normal” artists.

  • What exactly is Smooth / Relax ? …and is there the ability to just subdivide or convert to SubD to acieve similar smoothing ?

smooth and relax are really the same operator with different settings.
it’s basically a complex averaging operator to smooth out irregularities and topologies.

  • What is the texture layer editor as Foundation misses that option

in the rendertree (the equivalend of a shadernet) in v4 they added a PhotoshopLayers like serie of inputs to mix nodes on the fly, it comes with its own interface too to easily assign and detach connections.
nothing that couldn’t be done before with mixer nodes (and still can be done that way in foundation), but it’s a nice timesaver sometimes, especially for people coming from simplier/non graphbased surfacing systems like MAX’ or LW’

  • Advanced Rigs, Guides and Motion Deform … what am i missing here ? Can i still rig advanced character setups myself ?

yes, they are fancy tools and a character development kit (a superset of the SDK made of complex functions and rigging primitives) to aid and speed up rigging, but not fundamental.

  • No rigid body dynaimics …this is a real killer …are there other options for creating/using RBD in XSI ? … why would they give you soft but not rigid ??

no other ways around it.
hey it’s 500 bucks, they had to leave something for the other versions :slight_smile:
SoftBodies are in because they are an older technology.
the RBDs is pretty new and still needs to be capitalized upon.

  • Any disadvantages to not have a stand alone MR.exe ?

yes, you can’t render MI files, but you can still render scenes from a shell.

  • No Batch Processing …surely this doesnt mean that one cannot batch render an animatin from XSI ?

batchprocessing allows to run a NO-GUI XSI that runs scripts from a shell.
you can still and easily render from a shell.

  • Custom Display Host …what does this mean ?

the CDH is a new thing in v4 that basically exposes completely a view/window/viewport to external plugs.
this means you can run ANYTHING you feel like writing or connecting INSIDE XSI.
not fundamental for the non hard-core TDed pipelines.

  • Creation and Editing of Referenced Models* …just like Maya referencing for charcter sets etc ?

sort of, except they work.
you can still load them if they were created in another version, but you can’t create multiresolution referenced models in foundation or edit the reference system.

  • Creation and Editing of Scripted Operators … is this NO scripting…or just reduced scripting ?

Scripting and SDK are still there and full fledged, what it lacks are scripted operators, that are scripts actuallu connected to parameters and an incontext update, very much like not having MEL expressions but only regular expressions AND the MEL run-once scripts

THANKS A LOT!!! for all your help here guys…appreciate it heaps!

that was a long one… :slight_smile:


#3

hey mate…thank alot…I guess the only ‘real’ bummer there is no RBD … if I could work out some way around this or whatever…then it would be an easy decision …but at $500 …its still an awesome steal …especially with the training DVDs …

Thanks again…im sure ill be back with lots more Qs :wink:

cheers
paul


#4

That was the best reply evar. :wink:

I really can’t believe the new prices. Think of it as getting what many think is the very best modeling app in the industry, Throw in the best Mental Ray connection evar… and well so many features beyond that even.


#5

I’m quite sure about all of the above, and it’s been discussed a few times during beta and immediately afterwards, so it should all be fresh and valid information.
the only thing you shouldn’t quote me on are the shell limitations/possibilities.

while I’m 100% positive it can’t use xsibatch or render MI files via the ray3 standalone, I think it should be able to, but can’t confirm from experience, render from a shell with the classic xsi -r -scene"scene" (my license is an advanced and I always worked in fairly large studios, so I never actually ran a foundation license to render).

just to make sure you’d better email SI and ask them about it, but it should be the way I wrote it.

if anybody has any official corrections please post them.


#6

Anyone try ordering Foundation online yet?

I went to order but whenever I click on the Buy link I get an order page where it lists Foundation at $565US! I sent Avid an email enquiring about this. I’m ready to dive in but don’t want to be paying $70 extra if I don’t have to. I’m sure it’s a glitch but I hope to get a response soon. Unless the $70 is the maintenance fee…

Side note: I noticed over the last several weeks a few CGT members posts of buying and receiving their copies of XSI. I wonder if they will be compensated for the recent price drop?

(I have purposefully double-posted this query here and in the CGNews thread covering the price reduction announcement. I figure we all can benefit from knowing if this price differential is real or not.)


#7

A few more questions for someone looking at the new price drop favourably:

  1. Are the poly modeling tools in Foundation the same as they are for Essentials and Advanced?
  2. A quick look on the softimage site basically points to Essentials having Dynamics, more render nodes and rigs and Advanced adds hair and 2D painting on top of Essentials. Am I in the ballpark?
  3. What are the upgrade prices and do the upgrade prices include point releases after a purchase of 4.0?
  4. As a freelancer, not using dynamics that much, but mainly modeling, texturing, animating and pushing the render button, does Foundation have all that covered, as a toolkit in a box for a freelancer?
  5. Are the printed manuals included?
  6. Do the dvds cover most of the package and bring people up to speed fairly quickly if they are semi familiar with another package?
  7. Are there any problems with SubD texturing? (it drives me nuts in Lightwave!)

Thanks.


#8

I’m trying the 30day trial version of Foundation right now and it is an unbelievable bargain. Actually I would have bought XSI instead of MAYA when I moved from LW but XSI hadn’t even had it’s first price reduction at that point so there was a huge price difference. :slight_smile: Anyway, I just looked and there is a Render “Export to MI2” option which I assume is for rendering with MR standalone.


#9

Thanks everyone for the replies, i am also thinking of adding it to my collection particularly because of the training included and being a maya user wanting to also learn xsi i think this is a great buy for someone in a similiar situation as myself. Maybe down the track is it possible to upgrade to essentials for a slightly cheaper price?


#10

QUOTE=midosujisen
A few more questions for someone looking at the new price drop favourably:

  1. Are the poly modeling tools in Foundation the same as they are for Essentials and Advanced?

Apart from the the relax tool, yes, exactly the same. The modelling tools in Foundation unbelievable deep, yet easy to use.

  1. A quick look on the softimage site basically points to Essentials having Dynamics, more render nodes and rigs and Advanced adds hair and 2D painting on top of Essentials. Am I in the ballpark?

That’s the basics of it.

  1. What are the upgrade prices and do the upgrade prices include point releases after a purchase of 4.0?

I opted for the maintenence package, which is optional and includes all updates minor and major for a year and personalised support which I thought I might need in the first year, but haven’t yet. It was at the time the same price Foundation is now, so it might be lower in light of the price drop, but no official news yet.

  1. As a freelancer, not using dynamics that much, but mainly modeling, texturing, animating and pushing the render button, does Foundation have all that covered, as a toolkit in a box for a freelancer?

This is exactly what it’s aimed at :slight_smile:

  1. Are the printed manuals included?

Yep, one reference manual and two tutorial manuals, all on the large side. The online reference is pretty good too.

  1. Do the dvds cover most of the package and bring people up to speed fairly quickly if they are semi familiar with another package?

I think this is exactly what the DVD’s are aimed at. The impression I get is they are not so much aimed at total beginners, but rather at people with some prior knowledge of 3D, very likely coming from other applications. The are incredibly deep, some of the most comprehensive I have seen for any software, but XSI is deeper still :smiley:

  1. Are there any problems with SubD texturing? (it drives me nuts in Lightwave!)

None at all, works just like you think it should :thumbsup:

Thanks.


#11

Just a simple question … to compile a plugin for XSI do you need Microsoft Visual c++ or you can use any complier ( in windows ).
Thanks.


#12

I know there are at least three options for compilers, but it’s not really my field, so hopefully somebody more knowledgeable will jump in.

Then again creating custom scripts is incredibly easy for certain things. You have a combined History Log (that records all commands you make), and a script editor. It’s possible to make a script by creating/modifying anything you want, drag the logged commands into the the script editor and save as a script with no further editing.

Even knowing nothing about scripting I was able to make myself a script that automatically created a custom render test object. I just sketched the required curve, refined it’s shape, revolved it around an axis, applied a Sub-D level, renamed it , dragged all the commands to the script editor, saved it and bound it to a hotkey. Now when I want to experiment creating a new shader I hit the hotkey and a gloriously complex object appears :thumbsup:


#13

Yes Softimage supports c++,Vb and a few other languages.

One of the first tutorials that come with Exp lets you VERY easily design your own button using drag N drop with using the command ‘listener’.


#14

Thanks Yog. Maybe the wait for Modo just got bumped for a fuller suite.


#15

since we are talking windows only, this is my experience with both maya and XSI…
the official development suite is visual studio 6, but insofar me and a lot of other people have used .net2003a and the intel compiler (unofficially approved) without a glitch.
I know of a couple of instances where a boroland compiled succesfully one of my plug-ins, but that wasn’t without a lot of tweaking and it failed on others.

I haven’t tryied with free compilers for windows, but my guess is you would be up for some really big surprises.

to be on the safe side assume only the most widespread environments (VC++6, VC++.net and the intel compiler) to be safe.

VC++ .net 2003 is an incredibly efficient and polished IDE, and the new compiler is up there with what only intel could boast about until only shortly ago (performance wise).
it’s well worth a few hundred bucks, but if you are really on the cheap side you can find lots of perfectly legal and unregistered (so you will result as being the first owner) boxes of VC++6 on ebay for peanuts.


#16

Wow, this is some interesting news. I have been planning on switching from Max to Maya but this might just change my mind…


#17

So what do you do if you need a hair solution? Is that only available in the higher end versions or is there something else you can purchase for Foundation?

And man, the shockwaves from this price drop must have some executives losing a lot of sleep :slight_smile:


#18

Thanks for the information :slight_smile:


#19

Well my experience is quite different! Many shaders released recently will not work because of a unprovided runtime library that is need in the Windows\system32 folder. Also even with that, I saw few shaders released on the internet that would just not work. However it seems that shaders compiled with MSVC 6 works pretty much flawlessly. Anyway this is my experience, never why shader would not work. Note that at work we have many custom shaders and most of them require that runtime library, but beyond that they work very well.

Cheers
Bernard


#20

Thanks for the nice anwsers. I’m a 3dsmax user now and so far the the $495 looks very good.

I’m wondering about the $100 tax that is added to the price, maybe its something it adds because it can see that I live in Denmark (added my adr). And also wondering about when this XSI4Foundation is shipping, and how long it might take to arrive to Denmark… hmmm I should properly just email avid about this.