New view attributes in 2012

For the Scene Layer Manager, there is a selectedlayer attribute.

For the Schematic view, there are two view attributes: AnchorPointID and Target.
Target is available for the node context menu only.

Here’s some code from the new Schematic example in the XSI SDK workgroup:

def XSILoadPlugin( in_reg ):

def LogNodeInfo_Menu_Init( in_ctxt ):
	oMenu = in_ctxt.Source
	oMenu.AddCallbackItem("Log Node Info","log_info_cb")	
	return True

def log_info_cb( ctxt ):

	Application.LogMessage("log_info_cb called")

	# Returns the view object or a list with the view object and the target node (siMenuSchematicNodeContextID only)		
	target = ctxt.GetAttribute('Target')
	anchorPtID = ctxt.GetAttribute('AnchorPointID')
	# ...

Service packs and disconnected shaders

This post is about the latest 2011 service packs:

  • Softimage 2011 SP2
  • Softimage 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack SP1

and the “disconnected shader” issue.

How do I use the Service Pack to fix shader corruption?

The Service Pack repairs corrupted shaders, but it cannot re-connect shaders, so you will still have disconnected shaders. But the shader corruption will be removed.

To repair corrupted shaders:

  1. Open a scene or import a model.
    If a scene or model is already corrupted, you may see warnings in the history log when you open the asset. Softimage repairs the corruption while loading the asset.
  2. Save the asset to remove any corruption.
    If a scene/model is corrupted, you’ll see warnings in the history log when you save it.
    Softimage repairs the corruption while saving the asset.
  3. Load the asset again. The corruption is removed, and you can work with the scene as usual.
    Now you need to repair the disconnected render trees.
    Watch for any errors or warnings when you save the scene again.

IMPORTANT: If problems still occur when working with external material libraries, change them to be internal.

What causes the problem, and when can it happen?

  • The problem can occur anytime you do anything that requires Softimage to create a shaderdef (the internal master definition of a shader).
    For example, when you load a scene, import a model, import a mat lib, load a preset, and so on. Any action that creates a shader.
  • Shader corruption can happen in Softimage 2011 and Softimage 2011.5 (SAP) problem.
    It won’t happen in 2010 (or in 2012, 2011 SP2, or 2011.5 SAP SP1).
  • It doesn’t matter what version of Softimage was used to create the asset. The problem can happen when the asset is loaded into 2011 or 2011.5.

What does the Service Pack fix?

The Service Pack repairs corrupted shaders, but it does not re-connect shaders in render trees.

In some situations, corrupted shaders may not be repaired.

For example, if the shader definition is unknown (for example, an Arnold shader) or if the shaderdef was not persisted for the shader (can happen through the loading and saving of a scene with a corrupted shader—at some point you could have a scene that contains the shader but no shaderdef).

To remove these corrupted shaders, you can use shift-delete if delete is not working.

Why a SP instead of a HF?

If you’re wondering why we released a service pack instead of another hot fix, here’s an explanation from Luc-Eric, our sw dev mgr:

The thinking is that the scene corruption hot fixes are important enough that you should delete other version of 2012 Softimage 2011 and just have this one. With a service pack versioned, you can tell that you have the fixes installed, otherwise there is no telling if you are you using “the good” or “the bad” version of 2012 2011, because we’re just distributing hotfixes as zip with loose DLLs and you can’t tell if you’ve installed it correctly. Hotfixes are normally for things that are important, but not absolutely essential. I think this one is critical.

edit: fixed typo in version number

ERROR : RCMP 0.4 error: cannot open temporary map file “mrmap0_tmp.a08740” for writing

This is an issue that we recently discovered. When final gathering is enabled, mental ray writes temporary files (such as mrmap0_tmp.a08740) to the Softimage installation folder:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2012\Application\bin

To workaround this issue, either Run As Administrator (on Vista and Windows 7), or make sure that XSI.exe and xsibatch.exe have write permissions in the Application\bin folder.

In Maya 2012, the file is written in a project folder.

Tips for searching the new online help

You can use the wildcards * and ?.
* matches one or more characters, and ? matches a single character.

Special Characters Ignored
The following special characters are ignored and treated as white-space:
[ ] ^ $ . | + ( ) ` ~ ! # % & – = { } ; ‘” ,

Stop words
Common words like “a”, “an”, “the”, and “get” and “set” are filtered out of searches, even if you do a phrase search.

Note that searches like “g?t s?t sum” won’t find the ICE node “Get Set Sum”.