The default project

The default project is the active project at startup (the project whose name appears in the Softimage title bar).

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When you first install Softimage, the default project is XSI_SAMPLES.

After that, as you open scenes and exit and restart Softimage, the default project becomes the project that contained the scene you last opened. This is saved in your Default.xsipref file like this:

data_management.last_sequence_dir	= C:\Users\SOLIDANGLE\Projects\My Project\Scenes

But you can explicitly set a default project with the Project Manager, then that is saved in your Default.xsipref like this:

xsiprivate_unclassified.DS_SZ_LOAD_DEFAULT_PROJECT	= #STRI#C:\Users\SOLIDANGLE\Projects\Support

Disabling Customer Error Reporting (CER)

In general, we’d prefer you didn’t disable the CER reports. But if you’re in the middle of debugging a plugin that constantly crashes, for example, you might want to temporarily disable the CERs.

To disable CER reporting, edit the Softimage setenv.bat file and add this:


Maya, and presumbably 3ds Max, work the same way.


Changing the default startup layout

To have Softimage start up with a certain layout, you don’t really have to do anything. When you exit Softimage, it writes the current layout to your preferences file, so that the next time you start Softimage it starts up with that same layout.

For example, if I change to the Tools Development Environment layout and exit Softimage, then my %XSI_USERHOME%\Data\Preferences\default.xsipref file will include this line:

xsiprivate.UI_LAYOUT_DEFAULT	= Tools Development Environment

So when I start Softimage again, it will start up in the Tools Development Environment.

Here’s how to access that preference in scripting:

# Python
from win32com.client import Dispatch as disp
from win32com.client import constants as C
si = disp('XSI.Application' )
log = si.LogMessage

log( C.siUILayoutDefault )
log( si.GetUserPref( C.siUILayoutDefault ) )
log( si.Preferences.GetPreferenceValue( "xsiprivate.UI_LAYOUT_DEFAULT" ) )

# INFO : Compositing
# INFO : Compositing

Quick peek under the covers: Send To functionality

Send To isn’t really something you can implement yourself. It’s a combination of application code, plugins, and an inter-application hub.

OneClick plugins take care of the Send To commands. In Softimage, you can use the Plug-in Manager to check out the OneClick plugin (it’s under the Factory location):

In Maya, there’s also a OneClick plugin. It’s not set to auto-load, so if you have problems connecting to Maya, try going into the Maya Plugin Manager and loading OneClick.mll.

The inter-application hub that handles things like finding running instances of an application, starting applications, and passing messages between applications. The inter-application hub uses a set of XML configuration files to describe the applications available on the local system.

You can find these .syncfg files in %PROGRAMDATA%\Autodesk\Synergy.

For supported inter-application workflows, these .syncfg files determine what Send To menu commands are available. For example, Softimage will check for .syncfg files for Maya, 3ds Max, and Mudbox, and if it finds the right versions, add the Send To commands to the File menu.

The .syncfg files are created and destroyed as you install and remove Autodesk applications.

On older versions of Windows where the location of the .syncfg file contains non-ascii characters, you may need to set the SYNHUB_CONFIG_PATH environment variable to specify the location.

IMO, you shouldn’t be messing about with the .syncfg files themselves, despite what this KB article says. For example, you can’t get Mudbox 2012 to send to Softimage 2011 by hacking the .syncfg files…Softimage 2011 just doesn’t support the Mudbox workflow, that was introduced later.

Softimage 2011 always falls back to for network licensing

I’d forgotten about this until the other day when I tried to break my licensing for testing purposes.

I spent 20 minutes trying to get Softimage 2011 to not start! No matter what I did it kept starting up, and to make matters worse, my ProductInformation.pit file has some minor corruption that crashes Softimage when I try to use Help > About Softimage > Product License Information. So I couldn’t check where Softimage was getting its license.

I eventually resorted to using Process Monitor to watch the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\FLEXlm License Manager\ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE registry value, and I saw that xsi.exe was sticking into the registry every time I started Softimage. So all I had to do was stop my local license server.

PhysX and CUDA-enabled GPU

Softimage 2011 includes PhysX 2.83 and supports CUDA acceleration for PhysX rigid body dynamics (this includes ICE rigid bodies). So what do you need to do to take advantage of CUDA ?

You need an NVidia card that supports CUDA, and you need to enable PhysX hardware acceleration in the NVidia control panel.

If all requirements are met, an INFO message “PhysX Hardware is Enabled” is logged in the script editor the first time you use ICE RBD.