Softimage XSI Foundation.

Community Forums/Developer Stations/Softimage XSI Foundation.

GameCoder(Posted 2004) [#1]
I'm litterally minutes away from buying this. I just wanted some opinions on the product from anyone that may have it.

I have truespace 6.6 but its proving to be a pain as it crashes too much. I'm used to the UI of Truespace but its just its buggyness that stops me modelling with it. I also have silo and thats tops.

Anyway, does anyone have Softimage and can they give me some info on how it handles?

[edit] My trial has run out so I cant test it further

JoeGr(Posted 2004) [#2]
The only real criticisms I can come up with so far are:

1) 'Smooth' and 'polygon reduction' are both locked in xsi foundation. To me these are very useful tools (one might almost say essential) and it was something of a kick in the teeth when I realised they weren't there. Definitely a bad decision on Avid's part.

2) Although you get heaps of documentation, tutorials, dvds etc with the software, it all seems a bit random. There is a frustrating shortage of tutorials which demonstrate basics in an efficient and rewarding way. For example if you follow the tutorials on the 'media cd' sequentially, it will be days or even weeks before you've been shown how to render anything, even just a cube. Be prepared for a steep learning curve...

That said, it 'handles' nicely in many ways, has lots of impressive features, and it feels good to know that you're working with 'proper' software - it makes the huge investment of time and effort seem more worthwhile. I'd say go for it.

boomboom(Posted 2004) [#3]
well polyreduction is always best if the user does it themselves.

Bob3D bought it and found it very nice, and worked well with blitz.

Bob3d(Posted 2004) [#4]
I'd say...

it's maybe lest steep learning curve for someone with experience in other packages. It cost me zero effort to have all what i wanted to work before buying with a single look to the tutorials.

haven't had a deep look at modelling or uv mapping. Other than I could say it has an impressive arsnal of uv mapping and modelling weapons, can't say how they behave.

I purchased XSI perfectly knowing was only going to use it's kickass character animation system...about not having advanced rigs...huh I don't think I've used something like that ever...CFX didn't have anything more than bones and weights...So I use this uber powerful package for now as a bones and weights [underline here with whatever the forum tag]AND[/yep, close the tag] joint pinning made really easy.

basicly all the remaining stuff I needed, apart from building basic rigs, exporting x files to ultimate unwrap, etc, was pretty easy to learn (...but...I am afraid..i come from learning same stuff in -recently Blender- , cfx, max/gmax bones, character studio, wings3d, metasequoia, organica, amorphium, zbrush, softy 3d, hamapatch, lith, Unwrap3d, and a huge etc, more than my brain memory can dump here. And worked at this for profession.)

Bout smoothing, poly reduction, not to contradict JoeGr, but...well, if refers to meshsmoothing, that is , subdivide, is never used in real time games, here we make each polygon count...same stuff with poly reduction...I rathe prefer have a workflow that allows me head the targeted count, and reduce only slightly but by hand, if needed.

And even if it were crucial to have...I rather prefer to model in WIngs, and the native OBJ import that XSI has is the best I have tested yet in any, for me, so cool. I model in Wings, animate in XSI , so happy. :)

I have read several pros do this way, too. Wings has adepts in very unexpected places and professional people.

I am now modelling an organic character in so great this tool...

But...if you have not learned to the last element a list of packages like I listed, blender, job, etc, you arrive anew there, with ur first 3d package, I am totally sure you'll get intimidated and will have quite a hard learning curve. But it depends, each one's brain has a different way of dealing stuff, you may find it ok..never easy, though.

It's rock solid in stability, the undo works :p , it's been used since very old times as film professional tool, and you notice why when see many details.

Even though, I have read soo much sad stories of people trying a fantastic package, but finding a wall in learning, and then , dishing the package...if u buy it,please, prepare a load of patience, and study hard the tuts and info...

Perhaps the most hard stuff, is rendering an that. But you don't actually need that much for b3d games.

I'd strongly advice yet though, the purchase also of Ultimate Unwrap: dx8 x files aren't read by Blitz3d, so, you need Unwrap3d (40$) to convert it to b3d. It works nicely. I have done with sample character animations I made.
Same way, I doubt I'd use XSI for uv mapping,I'm too happy with Unwrap3d, I prefer it even to Max UVW, when I have been at game job.

Other than that, I'd say : Truespace 6.6 is very good. It have some stuff that does not convince me though, specially in character animation, but is probably by far the easiest 3d UI. I just rather prefer XSI, but you should not rely on my opinion, nor in any a very personal thing, and a bit sad the trial cancelled now, as the only safe way is test strongly what YOU want to do with apackage. IE: I just worried bout rigs , bones, weights, joint pinning and general ik posing, keyframing, plus the x export working fully once inunwrap3d. I also wanted finally a good overall package for my renderings and for if I have again time and quiteness some year to re-take my hobby activity (besides comics) that was high res rendering stuff.

It's a jewel, and extremely great gift from Softimage, but not everyone will be happy, I am afraid, with it. Don't blame me if happens so.. ;) You may find you wasted 500$ that later on u wont know how to use, but wont be my fault ;)

I'm just too happy to avoid telling it , hehe.

GameCoder(Posted 2004) [#5]

Thanks for the replies. Well goiung on your advice bob3d and also with the experiance I had with softimage during the trial, I think it would be best if I saved my money.

The current tools I have are

truespace 6.6
ultimate unwrap

I think its best if I kept working with silo for modeling, ultimate unwrap for conversion and unwrapping and characterfx for animating.

Anyway thx for the info on softimage. I think i'll skip buying it for now.


JoeGr(Posted 2004) [#6]
Actually, I pretty much agree with Bob3d - if you're only interested in low-poly modelling, its not too difficult to learn the stuff you'll need. I want to use Softimage for creating rendered animation as well, so I'm trying to get to grips with the rest.

Just to clarify, the 'smooth tool' I was talking about is not for subdividing a mesh (subdivision is in) but rather for 'smoothing' or 'evening out' the positions of vertices in a mesh without changing the number of polygons. It might not be important to some people, but its a function which I've always used a lot in Blender and which I'm used to having available.

Anyway, I bought Softimage and I'm not regretting it overall.

Bob3d(Posted 2004) [#7]
Hey! Another Blender user :) Great to know :)

(maybe you have considered modelling in Blender and character animating/rendering in XSI? Given the strenght and workflow of Blender in this area, maybe a good idea.. )

But if you are into high res...XSI Foundation has no hair, and it directly aplies to high res, as games...I may be wrong, but see long way till games add hair as a render thing, even more for shareware games, that aim low Pcs...

One thing I have thought as an option is, purchase the following version once I really see every area fits me in xsi as a whole round package, as then, it'd be interesting to buy Advanced, as i confirmed you can buy "just" paying the update. Now alone it costs 2k$, I don't know the cost of only the update, but that one has hair rednering effect, and some stuff more. (btw, hair is the only one I could miss, but only in high res)

Yep, I know that function...I used it in Max. It was called...relax? I can't remember, but really used it a lot.Together with Optimize, but was much better Polygon Cruncher, probably the best reduction tool for max. I have a great poly reduction tool, Vizup, but today versions aren't free anyomre. I guess decimator in blender does it ok, I don't know as I always import my wings models in Blender..

Relax(and in uv editing, too, Max has it now better than in the hidden non deocumented way it had in max 5.blender achieved some nice uv tools: pinning, and LCSW(pelting, for me, I think autouv is similar) or however it's spelled :D ) is really important in high res models, so true. I modelled a complex high res model in max in certain job, and...without it, heh, it would have be a nightmare. It makes like a soft average -in max you set the streght of it-

I think Metasequoia has it also,(badly called 'flatten') with a threshold, too. Wings has it but is just a real flatten(flatten region) , though combining inflate in inside direction, with some other tools, it can be ... faked...hmm..nah, not really.

Imho, blender later updates ar strongly in improving modelling features (lasso selection at last, I think moving normal or its planned, finally edit in face, edge real modes (and in a clever way, imho), and a lot more that i've seen in recent months)

Fills me of curiosity why a Blender user purchased XSI, I mean, they use to use only -majority, there are exceptions- Blender. I don't count, I am not a "blender user", that is, I'm more passional about Wings, and not even so. I sometimes feel nostalgic about splines, and model in hamapatch, othe rtimes, nostalgic bout editing single sided faces and other real time 3d artifacts...and launch Metasequoia, then.

I suspected your area was mostly high resolution scenes and models, when I did read that :)

I think you, neither me will regret the XSI purchase. Well, in my case, I buy a software for an specific task(finally a non limited character animation with x export), and all that comes after that, is an addon , a gift, so I guess I'll be like in a permanent christmas from now and onwards. ;)

Funnily, I have only managed by guessing till now, haven't opened yet the DVDs, is first time I'm gonna use video tuts to learn something, hehe. (btw, if I remember well, only time I used manuals was with blender ;) And I don't regret it :).Some looking at them is esential.)

JoeGr(Posted 2004) [#8]
Hey! Another Blender user :) Great to know :)

Yeah, there are a few of us here, hiding away :) Someone called Shagwana was even working on a b3d exporter a while ago.

Fills me of curiosity why a Blender user purchased XSI

Well I just wanted to learn a 'recognized' 3d application and the low price / powerful animation tools made me opt for Softimage.

And I'm not too worried about not being able to do hair. Any characters I make can wear hats :D

MikeHart(Posted 2004) [#9]
I'm used to the UI of Truespace but its just its buggyness that stops me modelling with it.

Which SP are you using? I mean the Truespace SP. Are oyu running WinXP?
Since I use WinXP ALL my apps, even AnimationMaster are much much more stable. Truespace never crashes on me.

GameCoder(Posted 2004) [#10]
I have truespace 6.6 with Service Pack 2. An example of when it crashes is when I'm in point edit mode and then right click with the mouse to go out of edit mode. I keep getting an error saying truespace has encountered a problem and must close. Then it crashes to the desktop.

Its annoying because i can't trust it to model something incase it crashes.

Knotz(Posted 2004) [#11]
I tried to purchase XSI but i got the notice that a representative would contact me. Never heard of them since. Anybody had the same experience?

gellyware(Posted 2004) [#12]
What is the method of getting DOTxsi into .b3d?

How well do xsi animations work in blitz?

BHoltzman(Posted 2004) [#13]
Hey Knotz, try purchasing from the Softimage online store. You won't have to go through the representative route that way. You will have to pay duties though if you don't live in Canada.

MikeHart(Posted 2004) [#14]
Amon (Posted 2004-10-19 07:13:36)

I have truespace 6.6 with Service Pack 2. An example of when it crashes is when I'm in point edit mode and then right click with the mouse to go out of edit mode. I keep getting an error saying truespace has encountered a problem and must close. Then it crashes to the desktop.

Its annoying because i can't trust it to model something incase it crashes.

Did you try switching graphic modes, from OpenGL to DirectX or opposite? I think it is the old common graphic driver symptom. A lot of 3D apps have problems with it. A:M, Silo, etc. etc. Most of the time the poor people who run ATI cards like you do. I allways had NVidia cards and have not so much problems like others. But on the other end, I never have the newest drivers too.

Knotz(Posted 2004) [#15]
I tried that first and that's were i got the message after I pressed the verify button on the shopping form...It has been more than 48 hours ago and nothing heard of them since.

gellyware(Posted 2004) [#16]
What is the method of getting DOTxsi into .b3d?

How well do xsi animations work in blitz?


BHoltzman(Posted 2004) [#17]
@ lucid, Hopefully I'm remembering this correctly. I've heard you can use Ultimate Unwrap to convert to .b3d format. Check out the site if you don't already own the program.

You can also use a free .x exporter addon for XSI. Blitz3d uses .x I believe. Sorry, I haven't been programming in B3d for a while now. Hopefully I'm remembering all of this correctly.

@Knotz, That's how I got my version of XSI. It worked for me. Maybe you can call Softimage and ask about the order and maybe even place an order with them over the phone.

Also a heads up to keep in mind is the amount of time it took me to get my order. I think it was around 3.5 weeks before the shipment got to my door.

gellyware(Posted 2004) [#18]
I have ultimate unwrap. So far I have not succeeded in exporting from xsi using the .x exporter. Seems that joint information gets a bit whacked out. Do you have a sample file or something to show a good exported animation?

Bob3d(Posted 2004) [#19]

I did export well the x file with the x addon file I found at softimage site. I dunno the setting u did put in the exporter, nor the way you built the skeleton. Your error is in one o fthose two things for sure.

I'm really busy now, so can't do a sample for you, but i tested it to work perfect once exported as x, a basic puppet(even with joint pinning! :) My main reason on purchase. No other software does it at that price range, or free (in a REAL way)), and a simple cilinder bending.

That is, the x file(s) , I imported into Ultimate. As there's a well known graphic glitch (hop u knew that) in the UU 3d viewer, there u see it deformed badly, but u resave as *.x again, and ...try to open deep exploration demo, bang, the animation is perfect. As usual, data is intact, is just that UU does not visualize ok.

And if that is so...b3d format export is perfect from b3d. Several ppl have done so already for there games, certain one with quite a hi res character. Besides, I was in the middle of some tests of the b3d export from Has Am AMtex plugin x export, and Maya x export. Both users wanted to know if U3d served as a bridge to b3d, and they tested the last part , that the final b3d could open well in Blitz.

That's indeed my own workflow as an artist for b3d coders. I can animate with blender or XSI, whichever I decide -xsi most surely- , export as x, convert to b3d (and surely some further editing, if there's some case I need, though I doubt it(u can turn and edge or delete a face in uu), it seems and is preferrable, that my wing3d modelled mdoels, uu unwraped(imported as obj in xsi) get outta xsi with no need of a seems the exporters and importers xsi has are a wonder)

The settings of the x exporter are crucial, as usual, as this format is complex, has too many factors. Also, in how u did setup teh character and keyframe animation etc.

Sorry, i'm too busy, can't help more.

So, in short, yes.