Andy Moorer is a VFX artist and TD working in the film industry.
Mar
03

Good news for XSI is good news for the industry.

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Mark Shoennagel posted some good news on his blog on the Area a few days ago. XSI’s sales have been quite good of late and the dev team is likely to expand. Why is this a good thing for the industry as a whole? Because let’s face it… Maya is showing it’s age.

Maya Community?

I have to admit, I’ve got a love/hate thing going on with Maya. It’s an industry standard. It changed the world. It broke new ground. And it… well, kinda sucks.

Look, before you get out the pitchforks and torches, Maya fans hear me out. You have gotten used to coping with things you shouldn’t have to worry about. Every dedicated maya user I know has a cornucopia of tricks, scripts, workarounds and fixes just to get the basics done. Want to constrain an object on a curve? Sure, you can. Kinda. If you know the trick, and are willing to think about it, or have a script handy. How about editing the animation curves on an animated texture? Visually? Make particles flow on a deforming surface? The answer is always the same – yes you can. But it’s not going to be straightforward….

Folks, that’s not good. It’s the legacy of an old architecture which has had additions and patches layered on it year after year.  Sure, to be fair all 3D apps are complicated and have their caveats aplenty. XSI sure does, and it’s also taken it a long time to get to the point it’s at now.

But I have to tell you… XSI’s newer architecture and more consistent methodology make a difference.

It’s new and scary and confusing for longtime Maya users to learn XSI. It was the same for me when I learned Maya. But you know what? When I learned my way around Maya I was rather staggered by how many tasks are unnecessarily  convoluted.  After a few months of production in Maya my suspicions solidified… from the perspective I come from, this app kinda sucks. I mean come on, I know people are used to it but exactly how is it ok that to get a decent rig built you have to route shit through the hypershade?

Burn the witch!

Whoa don’t throw those torches. This is just my opinion…. One I’m sure I will take plenty of heat over. But if you haven’t used XSI in a production that knows what it’s doing (psyop anyone?) you honestly don’t know what you’re missing out on. Particularly now that XSI users have ICE.

So I’m glad to see that XSI is doing well and progressing ahead nicely under Autodesk’s banner – not because I’m a mindless fanboy (don’t say it!)… but because I have used XSI and Maya extensively. And having done so I can’t wait for the industry as a whole to get to a point where the capabilities I’m used to having in XSI. I want to see some of this next-gen workflow end up in the hands of the brilliant artists who have been turning out amazing work in Maya, despite it’s creaky rusty workflows and endless workarounds. XSI isn’t the enemy guys. It’s actually pretty effing cool. And more and more artists and TDs are beginning to exploit what it can do – give it a honest effort and you’ll see what I mean.

You'll Like it!

Just try it!

Some maya rant links to reward you for reading this far….

http://www.ireallyhatemaya.com/

http://www.xsibase.com/forum/index.php?board=2;action=display;threadid=17620

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Andy Moorer

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