Student licenses for Softimage

The free three-year Student licenses that you can get at the Autodesk Education Community have some restrictions. First, you cannot use them for commercial purposes. If you try to load assets created with the Student version into the Commercial or Educational Institution version of Softimage, you’ll get this warning:

Autodesk® Softimage® 2012
This file was created using a Student Version of Softimage. Use of this data by an educational institution or for commercial purposes is a violation of your Softimage License Agreement.
OK   Cancel   

Also, you cannot batch render Student-version scenes:

// INFO : Student Version created file will not be loaded in batch mode
Failed to load :   Error code: 8004000C.
// ERROR : 2000 - Failed to load :   Error code: 8004000C.
// WARNING : 3030-FILE-OpenScene - Command was cancelled.
OpenScene(null, false, true);
Command failed, returned -2146827065
// FATAL : Could not load scene to render.

Tip – In a Softimage command prompt, you can use printver to check whether a scene was created with the Student version:

%XSI_BINDIR%\printver -l  C:\Users\Stephen\Documents\Test\Scenes\Scene_from_Student_version.scn

This Scene is a Student Version
This Scene was built with version:
History (from oldest to newest) Save
End of History

If you need to batch render assets from a Student version (for example, if students used the Student version at home to do their homework, and now want to batch render with the Educational Version), then try this:

  1. Start Softimage with a commercial or EDU Institution license.
  2. Load the scene (that was saved from the free Student version). You will get a warning:
    This file was created using a Student Version of Softimage. Use of this data by an educational institution or for commercial purposes is a violation of your Softimage License Agreement.
  3. Create a new model and move the assets under the new model.
  4. Export the model.
  5. File > New.
  6. Import the model.

Scene debugging tips

Here’s some tips on what to do when Softimage crashes while loading a scene.

To debug scene load problems:

  1. Create a new scene.
  2. Set a viewport to Explorer or Netview, and maximize the viewport.
  3. In the Data Management preferences, enable the scene debugging preferences:
  4. Disable all geometry operators on load
  5. Detect corrupted polygon meshes and clusters upon load/freeze
  6. Skip loading of floating objects
  7. Merge the scene. If you still cannot load the scene, then the scene is probably corrupted. Check the Backups folder in your project: by default, Softimage keeps the last four versions of your scene in the Backup folder of the project.
  8. If the scene loads, you try to isolate the problem. For example, delete half the scene elements and save the scene. Then try to open this new scene. If that scene crashes, merge it into a new scene again, delete half the scene elements, and save the reduced scene. Repeat until you find the problem.

Tip An alternative to the “maximizing the explorer and merging the scene” trick is to simply mute your viewports and then open the scene. Either way, you prevent Softimage from trying to update the OpenGL viewports, which prevents Softimage from evaluating operators.

Friday Flashback #20

While I was cleaning out my basement, I found Computer Graphics World, Feb 1998, sitting on top of my pile of decades-old Sports Illustrateds.

On the cover, Geri from Pixar was created using a new surface modeling technology called “subdivision surfaces”.

In the Spotlight, “Maya…appears to have positioned itself as a true competitor with the likes of major players such as Softimage…”

Click to view full page from CGW

Formerly code-named Digital Studio, Softimage/DS is “a complete turnkey system [that] costs approximately $100,000”

Click to view full page from CGW

Feature article: Unraveling Riven
To achieve the “next level of graphic reality…Cyan switched from Mac-based Vision3D from Strata, which was used to develop Myst, to the SGI version of Softimage 3D.”

This huge set, which consists of more than 2 million faces and 20,000-plus models, required two hours just to load in Softimage.

Converting point positions between coordinate systems

On the XSI mailing list, a poster asked:

If I have a sphere and I want to get the point positions from the sphere and
see what their point positions are in reference to another null’s transforms
how would I do that?

It’s basically a two-step procedure. First convert the point positions from the local coordinate system of the sphere to global coordinates. Then, second, convert the global coordinates into the local coordinate system of the null.

It’s a little more efficient to combine the two matrix combinations, and then apply that to the point positions:

Here’s a video walkthrough of how to build an ICE tree that converts point positions from the local coordinate system (aka reference frame) of one object to the local coordinate system of a second object.

Getting PolygonPosition from the PolygonIndex

Assuming that the PolygonIndex and PolygonPosition sets are in the same order, then given some polygon indices, you could get the corresponding polygon positions by using the indices to index into the PolygonPosition array.
Here, I’m using PolygonInsideNull, which is a set of polygon indices:

Here’s another screenshot that I took to verify that I was getting the right positions.
The purple numbers are the PolygonPosition and PolygonIndex arrays:
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Maya Entertainment Creation Suite 2012 Review: Greater Interoperability | AWN | Animation World Network

The big news with Premium is they have added Softimage to the bundle. You now get Face Robot for dealing with complex face rigging, the simply incredible ICE visual programming system and the much talked about and drooled over Lagoa Multiphysics dynamic solver system written in ICE. I know what youre thinking: I have not used Softimage since Maya 1.0 came out, why would I now? Well, Autodesk made it easy to add its very powerful toolset to the pipeline with one click Send To functions letting you push and pull data between the other suite software via the updated .FBX format. Also helpful are the Maya navigation and hotkeys for a quick transition. Want to use ICE to make amazing effects and send it over to Maya? No problem. I think it is time to add some Softimage artists to your “to be hired” list if you havent done it yet.

via Maya Entertainment Creation Suite 2012 Review: Greater Interoperability | AWN | Animation World Network.