Softimage is dead. Maya hell rises!!
This is a Disaster!
Softimage is dead, definitely the most balanced software on the market was killed by the Autodesk shit heads.
I know that this happened a while ago, but only now I’m accepting it… or not.
So we’ll need to start learning another package. Nice…
If you are a freelancer that works at home or if you have your own office you may have some choice. With all those great packages out there, there must be one that replaces Softimage, they all have amazing tools now. And even if they are different from Soft you’ll get used to it. But for most companies the choice is Maya. It may seem the logical and easiest path to follow.
I’ve worked with Maya for so many years, it can’t be that hard to go back, with all the new versions and new updates I’m sure it got better over the years, right?… NO… I don’t want to be unfair but I can’t say Maya got better. What I can say is that it has more stuff, more tools that it had before. But the workflow is still the same, awkward, old, non-sense, complex, badly designed, illogical, full of bugs. It’s an endless nightmare for an artist a paradise for a TD. It’s not the technology that is implemented but HOW it is implemented that makes a Software the best. I know that they are working on Maya and deep inside I still have some hope then in 2 years or so Maya gets closer to what Softimage is and I pray for it.
I’m still trying do figure out how can I still keep liking my job if I have to go back to Maya. That was the main reason I went to Soft some years ago.
I was starting to get bored, everything was so stupid and buggy, before I was able to be an Artist I had to be a TD, I used to spend more time solving problems and looking for scripts that actually being creative and having fun.
Then I always thought Maya was the best - “All be major studios are using it, it must be the best, this is how it is..One must suffer to be a 3D Artist”. I was living inside a small box though.
Maya was the best for some years before Autodesk bought it, but then it got old and all the other packages got better but almost no one noticed, and was too late, all the major studios had Maya and with the help from it’s powerful SDK they had built they’re pipeline around it.
Soft was opening a new world of possibilities that no other software did, construction History and ICE are the best examples. So Autodesk bought it to kill it. Simple.
Now they have Softimage’s technology, team and ideas, and they are trying to use them in Maya… Let’s all hope they are smart enough to do it well, not like they have been doing it since 2005.
So.. and now? Ok I still have to go back to Maya, the company where I work will start using it soon. But… are there other options? Well….
Almost any other well known software is friendlier and more logical then Maya.
Max (bye bye Max in a few years), Modo, Cinema 4D…Blender… even Houdini. None of them is as complete as Soft though. Soft at this stage is unreplaceable
The one I think has the most potential to become a huge app is Modo, if The Foundry guys do with it the same they are doing with Nuke and Mari, Modo will become one of the main apps in every studio.
So… why everyone still uses Maya? There are several reasons, Maya is still perfect for big studios that want to build a pipeline around it, its SDK its powerful and gives TDs the freedom to do a lot, huge community, easy to find Freelancers, but mainly it’s something called: The Heard Effect - everyone uses it so… so I’ll use it too. It’s not because its better, intuitive or artist friendly. And then a VFX studio can’t say it’s main app it’s Modo, or C4D right? You know what I mean.
But one thing it’s true, a big percentage of Maya users are unhappy users so if The Foundry or any other software company it’s smart enough selling his product maybe it will be easier to change the picture.
I hope that smaller companies start to emerge too, artist driven and with new ideas that will kill those huge monsters like Autodesk.
A few axamples are:
Let’s all pray for Autodesk…
Peel effect using Verlet
Verlet, like nika ragua demonstrates, is a great solution to simulate cloth like materials, I’ve used Syflex on my last Peeling effects and the problem was always Syflex flexibility to create new types of forces. With Verlet you have that freedom because basically each vertex is a particle.
I’ve used a compound I built ages ago based on Bradley Gabe’s Vortex Control Tut, which spins particles around a curve. Here you have the scene (2014SP2) and the compound.
Peeling effect file
Due to alot of people asking me how I did the peeling effect and due to the lack of time to do a proper tut, I’m sharing the file here :)
I’ve been trying to make this effect for a while but one of my problems was always how to break the mesh in a natural way. Voronoi never worked for me, slow and not natural.
So I though that would be great to use a Weight Map to disconnect the edges. And that was not the difficult part. You can do it easily in several ways. This was my first basic approach:
Amazing, the vertices are disconnected using a Weight Map! I’m brilliant! Next step:
Disconnect only the outline edges
That shouldn’t be so hard .. well, it is for me…
This was the result after several days of brain melt.
Fortunately Softimage’s mailing list is amazing, full of nice and smart people always ready to help. In this particular case Christian created a compound called Disconnect Outline witch disconnects the outside edges of the filtered polys. We just have to feed it with a Boolean per Polygon.
Because the Weight Map value is per point/vertex I needed to change the context to be able to feed them to Christian’s compound, here he came to the rescue again and teached me on how to do it. This is what he attached to the mail:
First we pack all the weight values in to an array with Build Array From Set.
Then we find what polygons have that weight values with a Find in Array node.
That gives us an array per Polygon, because each Polygon has 4 points so each Polygon has 4 values of weight.
But we need only a value per Polygon not a group of 4 values per Polygon so we use the Get Array Average witch calculates the average of that 4 values on each Polygon and gives us a value per Polygon.
Then we check if that value is bigger then a certain amount and feed the result to the compound.
On the Greater Then (>) Node I used 0.1 but you can try different values. This will work as a threshold.
Then Christian’s compound will check for each edge and find if its polygons are part of the selection. Only 1 polygon per edge can be part of the selection for that edge to be an outline.
I’ll do another post soon about setting up Syflex.
I have learned a lot from this! I hope this can be useful to someone.
Today softimage.tv,by Cristobal Infante and Cesar Saez, was announced. A repository of videos, tutorials, articles and plugs. Cool idea! Tks guys!
Great stuff about Referenced Models in Softimage by Alan Fregman.
The way we can work with WeightMaps in ICE is great and very powerful. I’ve been trying to learn a bit more so I created two simple compounds witch can be useful:
The last one is exactly the same that Alan Fregtman shows in one of his videos from TD Survival - https://vimeo.com/63880971
And here you have a sample scene (2013sp1)
Note: You can plug a Pointcloud in M_WeightMap to Geo instead of a Geometry if you like.
Update 5Sept - Some of the default values on the compounds were wrong. Fixed now.