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righteous
03-24-2008, 02:42 AM
Hi All,

I have a serious question regarding XSI. Basically I wanting to do some character animation but I am basically starting from scratch. I know how to Rig characters in lightwave to a basic degree. I have learnt that from a couple of training videos I have picked up. I am finding some things a bit frustrating in LW and notice that XSI seems to be everywhere. I have been using LW for many years as a hobby but am about to move into a compay where I will be able to do some commercial things with it, however, I will have free reign to purchase some more software if needed. I am also a teacher which means getting educational versions of software is an easy option.

So.. My question is, seeing that I am only into the basics of LW character animation, would it be worth my while learning XSI instead? I hear that it is a bit more intuative then lightwave?

Once upon a time I was very loyal to programs but from what I can see, these days, some programs are better at things then others, so why be so blindly loyal?

I have noticed the recent changes with 9.5, does that bring LW more into line with XSI?

Very last question, does the basic (foundation) version of XSI do all the character animation stuff that the Essential version does?

Thanks in advance.

Carm3D
03-24-2008, 02:56 AM
> I have noticed the recent changes with 9.5, does that bring LW more into line with XSI?

Not allowed to answer this yet... Not until 9.5 is officially released. But I'll say that I am looking to buy XSI as well.

Carm3D
03-24-2008, 03:02 AM
Very last question, does the basic (foundation) version of XSI do all the character animation stuff that the Essential version does?

From what I have heard, yes.

pooby
03-24-2008, 04:20 AM
Its quite difficult to explain without visuals, but XSI is designed from the ground up with a sharp focus on rigging and animation. It has a toolset that is very very economic, so there are not loads of tools, but tools can be combined endlessly, and everything works with everything else.
This might not sound amazing if you've not experienced the frustration of incompatibilities in LW, but any rigger/animator in LW that advances technically will get to a point where they have to decide whether to fight LW's tools or give in and succumb to the simplistic approach that LW currently demands that you take.
Personally I believe that simplicity is good in terms of animating and control, but that does not mean that a rig has to employ very simple engineering.
Those 'super-rigs' that you see in demos from TD's in Maya and XSI etc, look simple to use, but might be employing all kinds of clever engineering tricks.
XSI's auto rig, for example is quite complex behind the scenes, but it's simple to setup and to control, and for non-stretchy rigs, it will do the job 95% of the time.
The beauty of XSI is that it makes the engineering fun. It's the software that requires the least amount of scripting etc to achieve what you want. The interface is very well designed and all the panels employ a unified design, so learn one bit, and the rest looks familiar.
It has probably the fewest 3rd party plugins because it's so well thought out and comprehensive in the first place.

righteous
03-24-2008, 04:32 AM
SO Does XSI communicate well with LW? If I animated something in XSI, I am assuming I could bring it back into LW to render?

pooby
03-24-2008, 05:04 AM
I have a model in layout that is reading an Mdd file 'live' using the mdd pointer node from the DP kit.
I have XSI open too, and adjust the animation, then hit 'bake' in point oven.
When I switch back to LW, the animation is updated.
Its the same kind of connection for animation as modeller is for modelling in LW. Instant and no-loading or re-saving or anything once set up. (setup takes about 30secs and just involves pointing the Lw object in layout to the mdd file)

The other great thing about this system is, If you wanted numerous scenes in LW for different passes such as shadows or depth passes etc, then because they all read from the same mdd file. Baking your animatio in XSI will mean that ALL scenes are updated in LW automatically. You can't have one that is out of whack.
It's a very efficient and simple workflow.

righteous
03-24-2008, 05:37 AM
OK, thanks all for the assistance. I have ordered the Teacher version and will play around with that for a bit. Can anyone recommend some good starting points in terms of training vids tutorials etc? Digital tutors stuff looks pretty good. Is there some good free stuff about?

3D Kiwi
03-24-2008, 05:50 AM
www.xsibase.com is where you want to go, there are also alot of tuts on the softimage site and a new forum started there, you can also check out
http://www.vast.ws/resources/xsi/tutorials/tutorials.html

nemac4
03-24-2008, 05:51 AM
The softimage community web site is a good place to start. Lots of free video tutorials there.

Intuition
03-24-2008, 12:08 PM
Benefits of animating with XSI are many.

Follow those links and be patient when learning the new interface. After a while it will become as familiar as Lightwave and you'll be on your way to some really nice productivity.

JuanCS
03-24-2008, 01:52 PM
I have both and you have to remember that softimage was used in Jurassic park back in 1993 and they had IK and bones and deformations back then that we're just started to get little by little in Lightwave now but with the new version of 9.5 it's beginning to step to the same level as XSI but it's not quite there yet at least not till the final release is out and probably not as matured as it should be and probably not until version 10 as xsi is right now with 6.5.

having said that foundation is $500 and it doesn't bring Gator/Fur(hair)/clothes(syflex) and if you want any of that you will have to buy essentials which is a $3000.00 software and that is where Lightwave comes into play at price/performance. all the tools that you need for straight character animation with no clothes or hair is found in the foundation package.

and they can communicate what softimage is doing now with crosswalk and pointoven is that it wants to get along with everyone, crosswalk is for it to communicate with maya and 3ds max and point oven is for it to communicate with Lightwave. read LW files but not output to lightwave. for that you have to buy point oven for lightwave. hope this helps to clear up some confussion.

JC:thumbsup:

Steamthrower
03-24-2008, 02:05 PM
it doesn't bring Gator/Fur(hair)/clothes(syflex) and if you want any of that you will have to buy essentials which is a $3000.00 software

Good point. You could buy Messiah and have a bit of software directly integrated with Lightwave which, for a cheaper price, provides fur, clothes, and rigging.

Righteous, you should also take a look at Maestro (http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/maestro/). I recently bought it and it's really impressed me with its ease of use and flexibility. Plus it's a plugin instead of a standalone program which is much easier for my personal workflow.

pooby
03-24-2008, 03:44 PM
and they had IK and bones and deformations back then that we're just started to get little by little in Lightwave now but with the new version of 9.5 it's beginning to step to the same level as XSI but it's not quite there yet at least not till the final release is out and probably not as matured as it should be and probably not until version 10 as xsi is right now with 6.5.


IK and Bones are about 10% of rigging and making a comparison on that level based upon the new changes is really missing the point.
LW's Ik has the fundimental flaw that it cant communicate with any modifiers, it can only read ones that are applied before IK, and modifiers can only see IK if set to 'after IK'. This linear processing of one element after another in a row is very limiting when it comes to rigging.
XSI's IK will always see constraints, expressions and scripted operators.
It will even react to dynamics. It always works and is calculated throughout as part of a much bigger scene solve.
To say LW is not quite there yet is like starting a walk across a continent and saying after a week that you're not quite at the finishing line.

antsj
03-24-2008, 04:07 PM
Does the Project Messiah add to LW work flow and provide similar tools to XSI Foundation?

Does having Maestro and Project Messiah Studio add more function to LW?

AJ

Steamthrower
03-24-2008, 04:24 PM
Does the Project Messiah add to LW work flow and provide similar tools to XSI Foundation?

Yes. Messiah includes different fur, cloth, and renderer solutions.


Does having Maestro and Project Messiah Studio add more function to LW?

Yes also. Messiah is more of an external program that works with LW. Maestro however is integral to LW, and provides a lot of different tools as well as an excellent rigging/animation setup. There's even a radiosity button that automatically sets up lights/globals for a test render.

pooby
03-24-2008, 05:16 PM
Does the Project Messiah add to LW work flow and provide similar tools to XSI Foundation?


Its biggest drawback is that it has no modelling ability.
One of the most useful things you can have when rigging is to be able to put a limb in a pose, then remodel the knee or elbow to make a really nice shape, then be able to drive that shape with the angle of the bone.
Without the ability to re-model when you are rigging, this process (and others involving vertex manipulation) can become very cumbersome.

righteous
03-24-2008, 09:58 PM
All good points. I guess what it came down to for me was that I want to learn some software that is a bit more at an industry standard. You most certainly can do many, many things in lightwave and I will never stop using it, but it's not something that is commonly used in Aus. Once you know a couple of packages I think you become a much more appealing prospect as an employee.

I have watched a few different vids and am pretty excited by the things created in XSI. As I said earlier, I have purchased the teacher edition which means I get the advanced copy for 300 bucks. I won't be using it for profit and when I do I imagine it will be through a company rather then off my own back.

I am about to make my LW licence the commercial version any who so should I do any profit work it will be with that software. Maybe it will help me raise funds to buy a commercial version of XSI :)

Ian McBean
03-25-2008, 07:48 AM
Pooby,

At the risk of turning this into an XSI forum, once you've created your joint morph in XSI, is there a way to go back and remodel it in secondary shape mode? The shape manager throws you into shape modelling mode where things don't really work too well in terms of modelling the morphed (bent) shape.
Incidentally, a while ago you posted a very nice jointmorph video here, but unfortunately the link no longer works. Any chance of reposting? I'm an XSI novice and at the moment am struggling with how it handles shapes and secondary shapes.
Lastly, if I could do this stuff in Lightwave I would...

cresshead
03-25-2008, 08:03 AM
if you have the option i'd sign up for the 9.5 open beta to go and try/see where lightwave is heading next regarding character animation tools and see if that will be what your looking for or not.

then you can be sure of your needs yourself first hand with your own projects.
do that...then once the beta is complete you can decide if 9.5 will suit you or if you need to start to look at alternatives such as plugins or other animation software sch as messiah, cinema4d, maya, 3dsmax or xsi.

Chris S. (Fez)
03-25-2008, 09:10 AM
Lastly, if I could do this stuff in Lightwave I would...

Amen.

Intuition
03-25-2008, 09:24 AM
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?threadid=610144&utm_medium=plugblock&utm_source=cgtalk

Thought this should be mentioned here.

Cgtalk is having a contest. You get a free copy of essentials good until June 2008 and you can keep it if you finish your entry.

This is a good way for those who want to learn XSI to start.

You can also try out many XSI <-> LW methods during this time. :tongue: :heart:

pooby
03-25-2008, 09:25 AM
Pooby,

At the risk of turning this into an XSI forum, once you've created your joint morph in XSI, is there a way to go back and remodel it in secondary shape mode? The shape manager throws you into shape modelling mode where things don't really work too well in terms of modelling the morphed (bent) shape.
Incidentally, a while ago you posted a very nice jointmorph video here, but unfortunately the link no longer works. Any chance of reposting? I'm an XSI novice and at the moment am struggling with how it handles shapes and secondary shapes.
Lastly, if I could do this stuff in Lightwave I would...

Yes, turn on 'display with animation deformation' in the shape manager, and it its a joint morph or any animated morph, then it will automatically switch to secondary mode and you can adjust it in context.

pooby
03-25-2008, 09:30 AM
heres the vid

Ian McBean
03-25-2008, 11:46 AM
Pooby,

Thanks, works very well - it's amazing how just one little tip can save untold hours of searching through forums, docs etc. Oh and thanks for the vid.

Now, I wonder if I can make one last request of you for XSI joint morph wisdom before getting kicked out of the Lightwave forums for non-Lightwave stuff.

Here's what I want to do: Have 2 morphs, one for 45degree (half) bend, and one for 90-100 degree (full) bend - this is to accomodate the fact that a full morph at 50% doesn't accurately represent what is happening at that angle. At the moment I have a bone keyed at 90 degrees and that works fine for the full-bend morph but odd things happen if I try to key a shape at the unkeyed 45 degree angle - the morph is still there at zero degrees. Now I know I can muck around with deform falloffs, but I wonder if you know a better way. I'm sure there's something obvious I'm missing. And I know I need to read the manual. If there was one. Sometimes online help systems are maddeningly frustrating when you try to get information out of them.

I would also just like to personally thank Pooby - regardless of his reply to this - for his help here. And by the way, the goblin WIP is fantastic!

Cheers,

Ian

Nicolas Jordan
03-25-2008, 12:25 PM
Here is a quote from the details on CGSociety site just to clarify you actaully have to win in a category in order to get the full commercial license of Essentials.




SOFTIMAGE is offering all contestants entering this CGChallenge access to a copy of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 Academic Edition licensed FREE for the duration of the contest.

SOFTIMAGE is also offering all contestants who complete the challenge and qualify for judging, a permanent license of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 Academic Edition to keep.

PLUS all winners of the challenge will receive a permanent license of SOFTIMAGE|XSI 6.5 Essentials. This is a full, commercial version of the software with a permanent license valued at USD$2995.

pooby
03-25-2008, 12:27 PM
thanks for the thanks.

I'm not sure I fully understand, but here is an alternative method which I find more controllable.

Make your morphs at whichever degrees you want, then use Linkwith to drive the morph amounts based on the bone angles instead.
'Link with' can be used to make any parameter in XSI be driven by another parameter, and an Fcurve sets up a relationship between the 2.

Personally I find it much easier editing curves than playing with falloffs.

By the way. You know that the shape keys are stored in the animation mixer? That knowledge will help you.

It's best to search through the help files, and figure it out, but if you get stuck, feel free to PM me, or even better start a new thread at XSI base and I'll reply there.

JuanCS
03-25-2008, 01:18 PM
I believe the question was about character animation and not how it interacts with dynamics, you see the foundation version of XSI doesn't have hard body dynamics so it makes no difference whether it can with IK or not interact when there is none to start with. for you to be able to have hard body dynamics in XSi you need to get the advance version which is $5000.00.

So i do stand by what i said when it comes to the IK tools that lightwave has compared to the tools that XSI has always had, lightwave isn't there yet. But after playing with the beta 9.5 it seems like its getting very close and like i said i strongly believe with the release of 9.5 or version 10 it will be there head to head.

and if you do want something that communicates with everything inside then minus well go with maya who's internal scripting was based on nodes and one end can communicate with the other end but the learning curve is tough, i've seen animators go through hell using maya to do a simple thing that in lightwave is a just a click of a button.

pooby
03-25-2008, 01:42 PM
That's why XSI is good.. It's simple and user friendly, but has Maya's power.


for you to be able to have hard body dynamics in XSi you need to get the advance version which is $5000.00.

It's in essentials now

JuanCS
03-25-2008, 01:51 PM
As far as i can tell from softimages website i see that essentials has now fur and syflex doesn't say anything about Ageia Physx or behavior. can you please send me the link where it says this so that i can show my XSI distributor.

JuanCS
03-25-2008, 01:58 PM
You are correct i did find the place

http://www.softimage.com/products/xsi/modelcomparison.aspx

but still lightwave's $895.00 compared to $3000.00?

and please no -cracks- i'm talking official versions. who has that spare change?

RebelHill
03-25-2008, 03:05 PM
I gotta add my tuppence here too... as I was recently asking pooby bout such things, and yes... the xsi<>lw flow seems damn good.

I see that xsi has built in lwo import that will bring in morfs that are in my lwo into the xsi shapes, so u could even sometimes animate in LW, sometimes xsi, using the same meshes n all if u wanted... if u model new shapes in xsi, u can export those back to lw... its immense.

So, poob... thanks very much for ur advice... u really delivered a shocking endorsment of xsi, and coming from the fella who got that goblin lookin so damn good, that can only be a good thing.

Once i clear my workload at present out, ill sure be starting to experiment with the ol xsi, and u can be sure of seeing xsi/lw threads appearing by me over at xsi bas in the future.

foundation for 150.... that effectively makes xsi a anuimation plugin for lw for less than messiah.... rock!

righteous
03-26-2008, 04:18 AM
You are correct i did find the place

http://www.softimage.com/products/xsi/modelcomparison.aspx

but still lightwave's $895.00 compared to $3000.00?

and please no -cracks- i'm talking official versions. who has that spare change?

As I said earlier, I can just get an educational license to play with for a while. If I feel it is a worthwhile purchase I will get the company I work for to pay for a commercial license.

Thanks all for the input :thumbsup:

colkai
03-26-2008, 04:38 AM
Or you can join the CGTalk challenge and get a full version of XSI 6.5 to play with until June. ;)

Sil3
03-26-2008, 05:24 AM
Foundations also has CLOTH..not syflex but the original XSi Cloth that is a lot better than LW one (at least the one that was available in LW 8, dont know about 9)

If you do a lot of CA, then not spending 500 bucks on a tool and then spend huge amounts of time in LW and still not getting it like it should be, is being stubborn and not very clever IMO.

Combine LW and XSi and you have amazing powerfull tools at your disposal.

JuanCS
03-26-2008, 05:36 AM
I Agree with you 150% Sil3 that's why i bought both XSI and Lightwave somehow there is a silent harmony between the two. I mean other than the character animation features there are other things that XSI can do that lightwave can't, like deforming around a curve which is another thing i would love for NT to add to lightwave... but like everything else... eventually.

That's why you get both to get the best of both worlds. and no matter how you slice it it all ends up in after effects anyway (or photoshop - rare for me though)

By the way i love Lightwave 3D, the modeler is the best out there. period.

3D|Dave
03-27-2008, 03:16 PM
One of the biggest issues with XSI is the cost of rendering. Currently you can't network render with Foundation or Essentials. You need at least Essentials to be able to create MI files to send out to be render farmed or Advanced with Batch to render over a network.

LW Rocks with 9999 render nodes.

I agree that Modeler is awesome, but XSI modeling still has some great tools over LW's.

Of course the rigging and animation system in XSI are sweet.

Lastly Point Oven can be used to send XSI animation to LW for rendering.

3D Kiwi
03-27-2008, 03:53 PM
The cost of rendering with XSI isnt to bad for a studio with say 5 or more staff if you get advanced, you get 6 render licences with each copy so that is 30 nodes you could have and with render passes and buffers in XSI you can get alot more out of a single XSI render than lightwaves, but i agree there is nothing like free render nodes, Think Max has it sorted there with free Mental Ray nodes.

Only draw back for me with XSI is the lack for real world units, eg it used softimage units rather than meters etc, You can still model very accuratley but it is easier in lightwave. I find i use lightwave to set up the base mesh with the right dimensions then send it to XSI for the main modleling as i find XSIs modeling tools way better than lightwaves, but that is just me.

I do like the XSI to lightwave work flow only problem i find is you can set up a large scene in XSI then take it to lightwave just to find out that lightwave cant handle the scene size so then you have to break it all down again. Painful i must say.

PS you can use foundation to send scenes to a XSI farm you just cant use a Foundation lic to render in a farm.

3D|Dave
03-27-2008, 04:14 PM
Yes, you can render farm scenes with Foundation but you may have limited shader plugin options. MI files are self contained frames without the need for any external plugins or texture maps. Only requirement is the same MR version. (same goes with scenes).

righteous
04-01-2008, 04:24 AM
Well. I ordered this software last Tuesday Night I think and I had a Fedex note in my letter box on Friday saying it was ready to pick up. That's pretty impressive from Canada to Australia.

As for the software. I'm in love. The interface feels familiar to me having used LW for so long. I can't really handle max and the like Due to Icons...

I have purchased a couple of training DVDs from Digital Tutors and have found myself sitting here smiling whilst I am learning. I have bought a few training DVDs for Lightwave and as good as the people are that created the training, I still found them hard to follow (no offense Larry).

I have looked at the modelling side of things and didn't like it as much. The tools don't feel interactive enough for me, so I will stick to Lightwave in that regard.

So for me I am super happy and impressed with my purchase, I look forward to sharing some stuff soon. I already feel like I can do more with this software, CA wise, then what I could with Lightwave.

Now I just need to learn the process of getting things from XSI into LW for rendering.

:)

colkai
04-01-2008, 05:18 AM
Now I just need to learn the process of getting things from XSI into LW for rendering.

:)

I know a lot of folks use point oven to shift animation data, I guess the export of OBJ files with UVMaps would handle that side. Though I've only ever played with XSI Mod Tool so dunno if the "full" versions have other methods, or indeed, if there is a better way.

If I have the money, the choice between the level-entry XSI and a LW10 upgrade in the future is going to be a tough one for me.

3D Kiwi
04-01-2008, 05:30 AM
I wouldnt give up on modeling in xsi if i was you, personaly i find it better than lightwave but that is just me, the real power comes with being able to keyframe almost all of your modeling tools, eg, bevels, extrudes (extruding along a spline to make tentacles is just so easy and fun,)

UVs transfur well from xsi to lightwave with pointoven so you shouldnt have any worries there.

And just a note on softimages customer service, we ordered a upgrade to 6.5 adv and bought a new copy of ess, it took almost 2 mths just to get our licence key, luckly our dealer in sydney loaned us his dongle to help us out. but the service was really bad, in saying that i have heard good things as well so i guess we lucked out, but i have been fighting hard to get work to move to xsi rather than max, so the delay didnt work to well in my favour.

righteous
04-01-2008, 05:30 AM
Yeah, I just had a look at the point oven stuff. It seems that it will be very straight forward.

Someone said earlier in the thread that XSI makes rigging fun, I have to agree with that comment. My Brain still hurts but now it's because it's thinking of possibilities rather then just getting things to work.

I nearly fell off my chair when I realized when I draw 2 bones, they sre automatically setup with an effector. IK is already applied if you want to use it. No need to add nulls, limit rotation, set IK for that particular area etc. FUN!

righteous
04-01-2008, 05:31 AM
And just a note on softimages customer service, we ordered a upgrade to 6.5 adv and bought a new copy of ess, it took almost 2 mths just to get our licence key, luckly our dealer in sydney loaned us his dongle to help us out. but the service was really bad, in saying that i have heard good things as well so i guess we lucked out, but i have been fighting hard to get work to move to xsi rather than max, so the delay didnt work to well in my favour.

You are in New Zealand :screwy::D

3D Kiwi
04-01-2008, 05:32 AM
i know what you mean, im going through the Digital tutors intro to rigging as we type and it just looks great.

3D Kiwi
04-01-2008, 05:33 AM
You are in New Zealand :screwy::D

Well i was, then i moved to sydney for work, tried to change that on my avator but it wont let me, must know something i dont :-)

righteous
04-01-2008, 05:38 AM
He he. Couldn't miss the opportunity :)

3D Kiwi
04-01-2008, 05:41 AM
That is ok, someone had to come here to raise the iq of austrillai astriala aust

aussie......

righteous
04-01-2008, 05:43 AM
:thumbsup::agree::beerchug::hijack::lwicon::D

jin choung
04-18-2008, 12:23 AM
holy crap,

they gave me XSI ADVANCED EDUCATIONAL! ($400 value i think!)

i just went to the gnomon xsi event tonight, had myself some pizza and soda and sat down to watch their presentation.

one guy from a studio called proof demo'd their previz stuff... not tremendously impressive and certainly not anything that can't be done easily in almost any app...

BUT MAN - THAT XSI EVANGELIST WAS AMAZING!

his voice had virtually no BASS... it was all tenor! but his presentation was awesome.

that's the kind of non-destructive capability that is essential for character work. no matter where you are in the process, whether you are rigging or making face shapes or EVEN ANIMATING or whatever, you can pretty much at any point go back to modeling or any previous process in the pipeline... without losing ANY work! amazing.

and you can toss around animation and uv maps, weighting between characters like it is an after thought!

can also uv map a low poly proxy mesh that shares no topological or poly count with a more hi poly mesh and just unwrap the hires version using the low poly one as a template. automatic and amazing.

and they have stuff in beta that i don't think we're allowed to talk about but it's technologically just terrifying....

they've got some sci fi stuff comin' down the pipe.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
fyi, i use maya primarily at work but man this just blows the doors off of some of mayas workflow.... and that's saying something.....

jin

3D Kiwi
04-18-2008, 02:20 AM
Did you get to see some moondust, Two guys from softimage came to our work and gave us a demo of XSI 7 with moondust, very cool stuff

pooby
04-18-2008, 02:23 AM
I think everyone whos' aware of my posts knows my view on XSI.
Even taking it out of context of 3D software, I consider it to be a work of design genius.
Its really consistant throughout and it's really easy to pick up because of that. Theres a logic to it that means that once you get the jist of the UI and the way parameters work, the rest is pretty easy to work out because it all uses the same paradigm. I think there are less than a 3rd of the tools that are in LW, but they work like simple component parts that can be combined to make complex procedures. And anything (appropriate) can not only be animated by hand, but can be automated based on other inputs.
I had a very hard time with expressions in LW, but they almost write themselves in XSI. In fact, many of them literally do, as there is a drag and drop approach to much of it.
Almost everything about it is non-linear so it does make you feel very comfortable that you can't screw things up to a non-fixable degree.
That Imp (goblin - see below) character I made involved tons of complex rigging, such as three rigs feeding into one final mesh and re-modelling and making morphs and adding rigging parts even during animation that simply would not be possible without such a flexible system.

I'm envious that you had a showing of what was codenamed 'moondust'. Its designed to enable complex (but user friendly) nodal programming for artists, and is going to be the new core of XSI.

XSI certainly sets the bar in terms of Power and user-freindly-ness.

jin choung
04-18-2008, 02:24 AM
yeah, it was really brief but it did look like it was using fluid simulation though i might be wrong on that count.

the presentation focused a lot of time on something else that just blew my mind.... as revolutionary in my mind as MEL was to maya.

...

but BETTER.

jin

jin choung
04-18-2008, 02:25 AM
OH! that's moondust? they called it something different at the presentation.

i thought moondust was the particle demo....

yeah, that thing is FING AWESOME!

jin

jin choung
04-18-2008, 02:27 AM
i also fired up my very own academic version of xsi advanced (registered and everything now... i feel all warm and fuzzy) and yeah, it feels MODERN.

well designed and modern.

and if you've read my critiques around here, you know i'm a stickler for DESIGN of software... not just slapping things in.

but just in every way, xsi feels modern and that non-destructive workflow.... after seeing that in action, i can't imagine why so many studios (including mine) are still using maya! it's just sooooooooo well thought out.

jin

p.s. hey pooby, how much of moondust NDA'd? am i allowed to talk about what i saw at the presentation? i wouldn't imagine an nda applies to me in terms of talking about it but still want to play it safe... he did ask people to turn off their cameras and such but we didn't sign anything....

pooby
04-18-2008, 02:35 AM
As far as I'm aware (and this is 2nd hand through reading and talking to others, so I'm no authority)

In simple terms Moondust appears to be a way of having complete control over any point in space and it's surrounding points over time, through nodal programming. These points could be vertices or particles or whatever. You could make particles act like a mesh, or visa versa.

XSI's sub-tool component parts (such as collision detection, or smoothing etc) are being broken down to nodes, so you can combine bits of tools to make brand new ones and then compact that nodal network into a simple user interface with inputs -effectively making your own plugin to do a custom procedure.
Hopefully it will allow 'total control' over everything.. I am hoping that, as you say it will be like a supercharged MEL but for people who dont know how to code.

QUOTE
p.s. hey pooby, how much of moondust NDA'd? am i allowed to talk about what i saw at the presentation? i wouldn't imagine an nda applies to me in terms of talking about it but still want to play it safe... he did ask people to turn off their cameras and such but we didn't sign anything....

I have no idea, as I've not seen it myself, and I dont know what they said to you.. I'm tempted to say that you can tell all you want (but thats me being selfish because I want to know more myself)
If they didn't say you were NDA'd then you can probably say what you want.

jin choung
04-18-2008, 02:38 AM
right,

that's what they were showing off... the demo they did did NOT focus primarily on particles... it was just the new NODAL PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE and how that is basically going to be the new infrastructure to xsi....

every tool is going to be a moondust node (or compound node - you can collapse and expose only relevant inputs for artist - blackboxing - and you automatically get a ui!) and the node will be open for you to look at or modify... so every button is modifiable by you.

(more)

jin

jin choung
04-18-2008, 02:45 AM
also, the entire moondust infrastructure is optimized for multicore - he was demoing on an 8core machine and when you called operations, all eight cores ramped up....

he was comparing moondust button to non moondust button and the moondust button (that he created himself) was 4X faster.... unbelievable that a custom, user made solution went faster than something hard coded... in terms of this, faaaaaaar better than mel.

also, the level of control that it exposes to the user in an easy way, there is a pre-made node for virtually EVERYTHING. it is VERY VERY MUCH A FULL PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE... and you have access to relevant things like vertex normals by just dropping a node.

he also did a demo with a crowd simulation with the crowd particles trying to find their way through a maze - their behavior uses ray tracing and with a couple of clicks, you can see ON-SCREEN in real time what the ray casts are doing and how it's informing the behavior of the particles!

as a TD, you can visually see operations like raycasts to debug and finesse your code....

really stunning stuff.

particles are included as modifiable entities of course but moondust seems to be the entire nodal programming infrastructure that allows you nodal access to virtually any and all aspects of the program.

this is precisely the thing that i wished lw's nodes were... alas.

and yeah, the comparison between the two is devastating....

maya seems clunky in terms of interface in comparison. but still CONSISTENT and well designed. lw is haphazard....

jin

p.s. and virtually EVERY RELEVANT FUNCTION OR PIECE OF DATA in XSI seemed accessible by nodes but the demoer also said that there will indeed be a c++ SDK so you can create your own nodes... but he said that he's never run across the need to yet.

pooby
04-18-2008, 02:55 AM
but just in every way, xsi feels modern and that non-destructive workflow.... after seeing that in action, i can't imagine why so many studios (including mine) are still using maya! it's just sooooooooo well thought out.


It's just that thing of Maya having the foothold and that most people will want to learn the most popular software to get work hence It's a lot easier finding Maya artists .. That makes it easier to run a business.
I was heavily persuaded to adopt Maya by the larger studio that we work with, because of compatibility and fitting into the percieved 'industry standard' I could have had free Maya seats. But after researching I knew that I'd have a much nicer life with XSI despite the fact I'd have to pay for it all out of my own pocket.
Smaller and newer studios tend to be adopting XSI more and I think the balance will shift as XSI continues strong innovation in its new releases against Max and Maya's (apparent) tweaks, using XSI almost makes you feel like you're in on a big secret.

pooby
04-18-2008, 03:01 AM
Wow.. thanks for the extra Moondust info Jin.
I really have to get myself to a live demo somehow. I'm incredibly excited about this.

jin choung
04-18-2008, 03:01 AM
yep,

that stuff with gator would be a great tool to add to our pipeline just to deal with character modification issues.... i still can't get over how robust all the import/export menus are.... you got crosswalk, you got point oven.... jeez.

the thing i really like about them is that they're smart. like you said, the industry is ENTRENCHED in maya. so they make it able to slip into a maya pipeline... even offer a maya interface layout....

they know where they stand and they make the best of it. that's great.

jin

jin choung
04-18-2008, 03:03 AM
Wow.. thanks for the extra Moondust info Jin.
I really have to get myself to a live demo somehow. I'm incredibly excited about this.

np... the guy made a "plump" button with 3 nodes... one to feed in the verts of the selected object, another to retrieve the normals (any data that is being pumped in or out [the noodles between nodes] can be visualized in the displayports in any number of ways - show the normal vector in the viewport, show the numerics... just FANTASTIC way of debugging or refining as you work) and another as a multiplier... wrapped it up into a "compound node", exposed relevant controls to the user....

boom, instant button!

you really gotta see a demo. as a colleague of mine would say - "game changing" stuff....

jin

Intuition
04-18-2008, 09:52 AM
Man, when I left Eden last night I was wondering if I should go to the event, we are like 3-4 blocks from Gnomon, and I had no idea they were going to show XSI7 and moondust.

If I had known that I would have come straight away.

Well, I am glad you got to see it Jin and hey, a free copy of XSi is nice too. :D

I am with Pooby, I have now been using XSi for a little over a year on a regular basis and its a great package and even a nice compliment to LW in the case you don't have money to throw at mental ray.

I will say this though. Vray for XSi is going to be the real killer combo because you'll have unlimited render nodes with Vray AND Vray is releasing an F-Prime like realtime previewer as well so you can work in Vray the same way you do in F-prime.

XSi--->vray preview--->Vray final quality render -->unlimited render nodes = teh L337 epic win!

jin choung
04-18-2008, 11:30 AM
yah,

and with point oven being included (!!!) it makes using lw as render nodes pretty easy.

but it might be a good business move for newtek to start making a stand alone renderer.... if they can get it to tie in directly to xsi and have infinite render nodes and have it competitively priced (i.e. cheaper) than vray, it would be even more compelling i think....

jin

jin choung
04-18-2008, 05:42 PM
http://www.tobiasdeml.com/blog/?p=49

jin

marksch
04-27-2008, 10:38 PM
BUT MAN - THAT XSI EVANGELIST WAS AMAZING!

his voice had virtually no BASS... it was all tenor! but his presentation was awesome.



Hahah Jin, You're killin me!! Well thank you, that would be me with no BASS, and all tenor. heheh is that a good thing, should I be working on a deeper voice for my next demo? :)

Well I'm really glad you enjoyed the presentation, I definitely enjoyed it as well, you all were such a great crowd! Thanks again for the great comments.

mark schoennagel

jin choung
04-27-2008, 10:50 PM
: )

hey mark,

no no! don't change a thing. they do call them the "3 tenors" after all....

nobody gets famous for being bass... unless your isaac hayes or that other guy that was on the simpsons.

and yah, the presentation was awesome. you more than earn your keep. thanks very much for a great evening and a fantastic education. i'm definitely gonna keep my eyes open for the next event as well as for the official unveiling of moondust/ice and/or 7.0.

jin

wacom
05-04-2008, 03:49 PM
I take a lot for granted all the time the powerful "basics" of XSI. Many packages have new, fantastic bullet point, easy to market features with each release, and while XSI has a few here and there all the time, it really shines in the nuts and bolts aspects of 3D.

It looks like ICE will only expand on this, and over come some of XSIs short comings. While the op-stack is great and I can't live without it now, I'm really looking forward to a nodal approach to things.

XSI really is powerful- a lot of people don't even realize how much goodness there is in just the FND package alone- it's not XSI light- it really is the "foundation" of XSI.

Of coarse, just like any gateway drug...

mr is a lovely ratracer- but yeah- it comes at a price unfortunately. Still Softimage is working heavily know to wean XSI off of big mr dependence. We already have 3Delight going, and soon Vray. Between those three render engines, that's a lot of rendering technological ground covered!

wacom
05-04-2008, 07:39 PM
Let me add that if you throw in the obvious point oven part into the equation you add LW renderer, Kray, and Fprime. That's quite a few options all told!

bobakabob
06-11-2008, 07:09 AM
Does anyone know of any tutorials using PointOven for animating in XSI and rendering in Lightwave? (I've already checked out the useful XSI PointOven wicki). Or could anyone offer any links / advice / tips / tricks / dos and don'ts on this workflow?

I mistakenly assumed pointoven was limited to baking out animation XSI but Pooby mentioned a live link between the two apps which sounds similar to a Messiah -> LW workflow. That would be fantastic but despite reading fragments of information on various forums I still wouldn't know how to set this up effectively. Any advice?

Intuition
06-11-2008, 10:21 AM
Well I've used both FBX and Point oven for getting XSI <-> LW translations.

Point oven does a really good job with camera matching I might add.

FBX is good if you don't really need camera's or Lights matched and is a quick import/export.

Did you see Pooby's video tutorial he posted in the 3rd party section?

Probably not. its a bit old now. ;)

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71293&highlight=XSI

In post 12 of that thread he has a rigdbody.rar download that. It shows the point oven export into Lightwave. This works well for XSI Dynamics -> LW

Hope you don't mind me linking that Pooby. :D


---oh btw, FBX is not really for MDD kinds of translation only keyframe data. Point oven will do the MDD for characters.

bobakabob
06-11-2008, 11:23 AM
Intuition,

Thanks, very helpful :) That looks pretty straightforward. Good that camera info can be transferred as well. Any advice on maintaining surfaces of objects being transferred between the two apps. Also this may sound like a silly question but if files are exported from XSI into as LWO objects and scenes is PointOven only necessary for Lightwave when exporting objects from LW into XSI?

Cheers,

Bob

3D Kiwi
06-11-2008, 03:29 PM
You only need pointoven for lightwave if you want to bake out a lightwave scene for xsi, or if you want to import a point oven scene that has been exported from xsi. (point oven scenes use the pointoven mdd reader rather than the lightwave mdd reader). I found the pointoven mdd reader slow, so i am in the habbit of just baking out the lwos and mdds from xsi then loading the lwos into a lightwave scene then assigning the mdds to each object, Can be painful for larger scenes but you only have to do it once. If you need to adjust the animation in xsi you just have to bake out the new mdd and lightwave will pick up on that next time you open the lightwave scene.

As far as surfaces go, you can only copy the basics over like colour spec etc, better just to do all texturing in lightwave, also remember the material node in the render tree of xsi (node on the far right of the render tree) is the one that will give the objects surface name in lightwave.

I had one of the flash guys here make a little script that would read a lws from pointoven and replace the pointoven mdd reader with the lightwave mdd reader, so all you had to do was export the lws from xsi and then run this little app on the lws file then open the scene in lightwave all ready to go.

bobakabob
06-12-2008, 02:39 AM
3D Kiwi, thanks, it seems a lot clearer now :beerchug:

bta1701
06-12-2008, 08:32 AM
3D Kiwi, how does Cinema 4D fit into the mix? I recently acquired version 10.5 Studio, and I'm pretty impressed. Your tutorials have helped me a great deal.

bart

pooby
06-12-2008, 09:46 AM
If you need to adjust the animation in xsi you just have to bake out the new mdd and lightwave will pick up on that next time you open the lightwave scene.



If you use the Mdd pointer from the DPkit, it reads each frame from the file directly, so you dont even need to reload the scene or file or do anything. It almost feels like XSI is inside LW.

bobakabob
06-12-2008, 03:52 PM
If you use the Mdd pointer from the DPkit, it reads each frame from the file directly, so you dont even need to reload the scene or file or do anything. It almost feels like XSI is inside LW.

Is the DPkit a seperate application or integrated into PointOven? This sounds like a smooth LW - > Messiah style workflow but I don't grasp the terminology. Any more info on how to set this up (e.g. PO necessary for LW?) would be greatly appreciated.

jin choung
06-12-2008, 03:59 PM
dpkit, it's the dennis pontonier guy who does the node shaders... his plugin is part of his "compilation" "kit"... it handles dds info. don't know the website offhand but you can flay "dp".

jin

3D Kiwi
06-12-2008, 04:39 PM
If you use the Mdd pointer from the DPkit, it reads each frame from the file directly, so you dont even need to reload the scene or file or do anything. It almost feels like XSI is inside LW.

XSI inside lightwave, i knew newtek was working on something big......

As far as C4D goes, i think pointoven works much the same but have never used it so dont know for sure

bobakabob
06-12-2008, 04:48 PM
dpkit, it's the dennis pontonier guy who does the node shaders... his plugin is part of his "compilation" "kit"... it handles dds info. don't know the website offhand but you can flay "dp".
Jin

Thanks! That's another piece of the jigsaw :D

3D Kiwi
06-12-2008, 07:21 PM
Yep when they finaly bring out Moondust (Think it is called ICE now) it will be one of the best things to happen to 3D.

Intuition
06-12-2008, 11:33 PM
Yeah, ICE, I'll just say.... um.... wow.

Its sooo darn tasty. Almost takes all the effort out of 3d.... but hey, lets get creative for once instead of fighting the technical stuff all day.

Cageman
06-13-2008, 03:49 AM
I'm envious that you had a showing of what was codenamed 'moondust'. Its designed to enable complex (but user friendly) nodal programming for artists, and is going to be the new core of XSI.

About 6 months ago, Avid were here and demoed Face Robot and Moondust. While certain parts were nice, there weren't that many "new" things (that is, if you ever have used Maya or LW-nodes). I really can't remember the details, but several times I thought "wow... this is exactly what LW-nodes offer".

But I guess alot of things has happened since then... 6 months is quite some time.

Cageman
06-14-2008, 12:37 AM
imaine extending the lw nodal system through all of lw
how would lw be then

Yeah!

That is EXACTLY what I want NT to do. If it weren't for Denis Pontoniers tools (DP Kit and Node Item Motion) I wouldn't been able to do the things I did for some work-related stuff.

JBT27
06-14-2008, 02:34 AM
imaine extending the lw nodal system through all of lw
how would lw be then

We'd hope that that is one of the bigger things being developed for 10.x .....

Julian.

jin choung
06-14-2008, 02:55 AM
alas...

to do it right, they'd have to strip off EVERYTHING but the nodal system, make that nodal system the ALL ENCOMPASSING HEART OF THE ENTIRETY OF LW, refine the living f out of it and then start adding stuff on top of that core infrastructure.

EVERYTHING'S foundation must be this nodal system. from keyframing to mesh data to materials etc, everything must stem from this centralized heart and every conceivably relevant piece of data must be manipulatable and linkable through a node network. that would rock.

this is IDEAL. but this kinda total tear down and re-do... even for 10, i just don't see it happening. and they've certainly given no indication that something this radical is in the works.

from a business perspective it's a tough call. total tear down is a commitment. but half steps are a risk too in that you might be slowly making your app worse... but like i said, a legitimately tough call... shrug.

jin

Cageman
06-14-2008, 03:21 AM
from a business perspective it's a tough call. total tear down is a commitment. but half steps are a risk too in that you might be slowly making your app worse... but like i said, a legitimately tough call... shrug.

jin

True that!

One of the most crucial parts that already benefits alot from a node-approach are Motion Options through Node Item Motion. I don't see how that particular part of LW couldn't be rewritten to be a Nodal interface instead of what we have now when we hit 'm' ?

While Node Item Motion in itself is a MotionModifier, it can't use any MotionModifiers (there are no MotionModifier nodes), but if there were, OMG what a wonderfull world.

It would be dead easy to have a bone target Object A on selected channels, while being constrained to Object B on position X, Z while constrained to point 256 of Object C on position Y. Everything setup in the same nodal inteface...

I can do the above now, but, first... I have to either use the target-tool (and this doesn't allow me to taget on bank), or use Relativity to target (which allows for bones that have had a REC Pivot Rot). Still no controll over Bank.

I then have to use either Follower or Parent Constrain for the X, Z channels (probably Parent Constrain because I want to preserve the position). On top of that, I have to use Node Item Motion and DP Kit in order to constrain to an actual point of Object C. Right now, there is no way I can do that and also preserve the original position of the bone (as in a Parent Constrain with Maintain Offset).

If all tools were lifted out and converted into nodes, lets say a Parent Constrain node with a Maintain offset checkbox and a numeric input indicating which frame LW should look at to evaluate the offset, the rest are just in -and outputs would make things easier.

And I'm quite sure that this could be doable even with the current architecture of LW, because, lets face it... MotionModifiers aren't that integrated into LW (they are just a bunch of plugins). Maybe targeting and IK are, but those should, imho, be moved into this Motion Options nodal interface as well.