XSI Tips & Tricks

I work with XSI (Autodesk Softimage nowadays). It is of course in my opinion the absolute best 3D-package on the market and if they would bother spending some more marketing $ I’m sure it would be the market leader too. XSI is also known for its limited and hard-to-use documentation so I thought I’d create a page with all the things I find that I think other users should know about and for myself to remember. Sometimes I forget how a certain feature works so this pages is just as much for my own sake.

The Transform Panel

Multi-Edit Transform values.
Shift-Right-Click on the transform-axis-buttons to copy one value to all fields at once (when pressing return).

Incremental values.
You can add, subtract, multiply or divide the value of a transform by post-fixing + – * or /.  For instance writing 10+ will add 10 to the current value. This is works on selections aswell making it very quick to transform a lot of objects precisely.

Randomizing Transforms.
You can quickly randomize the transformations on several objects by multi-selecting the objects and the writing r(min, max) in the transform field. (min/max obviously being the minimum and maximum of the range for the randomized number.

Hidden Menus.

Fancy ‘Full Color Menu’ (shift + colorbox)
If you hold down shift when clicking on a colorbox, you get a much better color menu than the default one.

GUI Functionality

Repeating Last Action (middle-click)
Repeat the action you just performed by middle-clicking on the action button. e.g if you just created a polygon sphere by Get->Primitive->Polygon Mesh->Sphere, you can create a second sphere by middle-clicking on ‘Get->Primitive’.

Precision in Sliders (ctrl+shift)
Hold ctrl+shift to move a slider precisely. With some sliders it is hard to get a precise value because the increments are too large. If you hold down ctrl+shift while adjusting the slider it will only move 1/10. Very useful.

Stepping through values in sliders (mouse-wheel)
Using the mouse-wheel on a slider will step through the values for fast adjustment.

Precision Stepping (mouse-wheel + shift)
And ofcourse you can combine this with the precision mode by holding down shift. The slider will now step in 1/10 instead. Fast and precise.

Match Channels in ColorSliders (ctrl)
If you hold down ctrl and click on one of the color channels in a colorslider, all the channels will be aligned. It actually works in both RGB, HSV and HLS, but I can only see the use in RGB (for quickly aligning for a grayscale value). This is a bit bizarre for be because I always use the HLS colorsliders and adjusting a grey color is no problem here, but if you always use the RGB picker it might be a useful shortcut.

Attribute Display

One thing that I use a lot when working with ICE is the attribute display. It’s a quick way of seeing various values and attributes on the ICE system and particles. Yesterday, my super-colleague and friend Jesper Wille told me that he’d discovered that the Attribute Display works on regular objects too. In fact they work on just about any scene node… which just proves again that XSI is the shit.

As shown below I used it to display the crease-values on a subdiv mesh. Something that is usually a bit annoying when working with subdiv meshes. The Attribute Display property reads whatever attributes is exposed on the object so there is obviously far too many options and combinations to cover here, you have to experiment.


This might be trivial for experienced XSI users but this feature is very useful and many users doesn’t know how to use it (or simply don’t know what you can do with it).

Press Middle-MouseButton on a Memo-Cell to save the current viewport state. Memocells cannot be overwritten, you have to delete them first.
If you need to get back to that position later, just press Left-MouseButton.

The place where the memo-cells really shines is when used with the Render-Region.

The basic concept is the same, when you see something you like in the RenderRegion, press middle-mousebutton to save it. But instead of storing camera positions the rendering information is stored. You now get a vertical slider that you can drag over the image to compare it to other stored images. NOW, the thing that makes this a really powerful tool is the ability to revert the scene settings (most of the time the materials you are working on), to the state stored in one of the cells.


2 responses to “XSI Tips & Tricks

  1. Pingback: Created a page for simple tips & tricks for XSI « RedBjarne's Blog

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