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Jonsson

"A New Era" Question

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Hey,

Just read the blog "A New Era" at sidefx.com.

As a XSI user I was gutted by the acquisition of Softimage by Autodesk and considered changing my software because of it (or just not upgrading to an Autodesk license which still might be the go for me!).

I found the" New Era" article a little iffy at times and it has received some criticism in some corners of the web for a number of reasons. The part I thought was in poor taste was where Kim says "Given the recent news, I cant help but think about our own past innovations including a product called ICE (Interactive Compositing Environment) which we released in 1992, many years before XSI users first started building networks with nodes"

The problem is that Softimage's 3d software, from as far back as 1994 or 1995 or so, allowed for the "building networks with nodes" to a limited extent...I believe there was a material editor of sorts or some plug-in which had node network editing. Though I'm prepared to be corrected on the details I know for certain that the was some node based editing long before XSI.

I think its unfair and unnecessary to gloss over this as It does not change the fact that Prisms was one of the first 3d app to integrate node based

editing and definitely beat Softimage to it, though probably not Alias, but its a stretch to say we had to wait till XSI.

What do you guys think?

Edited by Jonsson

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Hey,

Just read the blog "A New Era" at sidefx.com.

As a XSI user I was gutted by the acquisition of Softimage by Autodesk and considered changing my software because of it (or just not upgrading to an Autodesk license which still might be the go for me!).

I found the" New Era" article a little iffy at times and it has received some criticism in some corners of the web for a number of reasons. The part I thought was in poor taste was where Kim says "Given the recent news, I cant help but think about our own past innovations including a product called ICE (Interactive Compositing Environment) which we released in 1992, many years before XSI users first started building networks with nodes"

The problem is that Softimage's 3d software, from as far back as 1994 or 1995 or so, allowed for the "building networks with nodes" to a limited extent...I believe there was a material editor of sorts or some plug-in which had node network editing. Though I'm prepared to be corrected on the details I know for certain that the was some node based editing long before XSI.

I think its unfair and unnecessary to gloss over this as It does not change the fact that Prisms was one of the first 3d app to integrate node based

editing and definitely beat Softimage to it, though probably not Alias, but its a stretch to say we had to wait till XSI.

What do you guys think?

Hi there,

You're a little wrong there: I used Softimage|3D back in the early nineties and it definitely did NOT have any notion of networks anywhere within the package. What it did have is a standalone compositor called "Softimage|Eddie" which was a node based compositor - and didn't have the concept of networks within networks. Eddie was promising but was, unfortunately, doomed. PRISMS, at the same time, had "Ice", their node-based compositing software, related to Silicon Grail's Chalice.

I used Softimage|3D until 3.0 then moved to PRISMS (which was procedural, but not node-based) and at that time, SESI introduced Sage, which was a node-based 3D environment alongside it - and the progenitor of Houdini. XSI wasn't around at this time, so Softimage still did not present a node-based 3D solution yet.

AFAIK, the only node-based material editor at that time was a 3rd party commercial product called Cinemagraphics's ShadeTree - which was focused on texture/shader evolution.. but I can't really remember what it was about and there is little info our there. (http://www.cinegrfx.com/)

There was no definitely NO network-based material editor in Softimage|3D. There was a static shader interface, even when mental ray was introduced.

I think Kim definitely felt some pride when XSI swooped upon the name ICE and presented this node-based context in XSI. Houdini has their own node-based product called ICE and have long been node-based for all aspects of their software, including 3D, 2D and code generation for all context, including shaders (VOPs code for VEX code and RSL code). I think with the media blitz behind XSI's ICE, it's perfectly acceptable to take a small one-sentence stand against this foe with marketing punch.

I hope I haven't messed up any order here,

Cheers

Jason

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As far as I know, PRISMS beat both Softimage and Alias in the node based stuff. What is even more important, I think, is the fact that Softimage's ICE is basically a verbatim copy of the concepts introduced by SESI around 2000 with VEX/VOPS (VEX appeared in Houdini 4, VOPs in 5.5 I think).

To be honest I found Softimage's campaign for the launch of ICE absolutely disgraceful. I don't have necessarily a problem with people copying stuff (although that gave me a clear view about Softimage's capacity to *really* do some innovation) but presenting copied stuff as a "revolutionary innovation" is truly bad taste.

And then we have situations (on cgtalk for example) when XSI users have no problem with Softimage spreading lies ("hey, that's marketing") but get very offended if a Houdini users plainly tells them: "I had this and more in Houdini for 10 years".

The style of the article can be debated as its perception is subjective (still, is strange that XSI users are the ones getting offended by some of the statements. Why is that?), but the facts in the article are accurate.

Dragos

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"As far as I know, PRISMS beat both Softimage and Alias in the node based stuff"

Im nearly positive Power Animators Multilister was node based...from around 1990.

The earliest integrated node based editor in a 3d app...though I not certain.

"Softimage's ICE is basically a verbatim copy of the concepts introduced by SESI around 2000"

How then would you implement a node based programing language (a concept SESI borrowed) into a program - trying to solve the same problems as the other - without there

being similarities? Notice how Modo's base modeling tool set is eerily similar to every other poly modeler out there...like using extrudes and such.

The bad taste left in my mouth about the campaign was that incredibly embarrassing Vanilla Ice shit which made want to ditch the software almost as much as the acquisition...then I

look at that forced photo of Kim Davidson trying to look "resolved" and think to myself "the universe has a way of balancing itself!"

Edited by Jonsson

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Im nearly positive Power Animators Multilister was node based...from around 1990.

The earliest integrated node based editor in a 3d app...though I not certain.

I don't know where do you pull those "facts" from, but that is false. That's why Maya was produced actually, it was Alias' approach to node-based software.

How then would you implement a node based programing language (a concept SESI borrowed) into a program - trying to solve the same problems as the other - without there being similarities? Notice how Modo's base modeling tool set is eerily similar to every other poly modeler out there...like using extrudes and such.

If you actually read what I wrote, you'll see that I was talking about Softimage's way of presenting that stuff like something "invented by them", "groundbreaking" etc, when in fact it was not. And yes, there are different, innovative solutions to the same problems, but Softimage was never the one to offer them (except for the introduction of IK in a commercial system, a century ago).

look at that forced photo of Kim Davidson trying to look "resolved" and think to myself "the universe has a way of balancing itself!"

A great way to judge innovation in CG software, based on how much you like the photo of the president of some company. This phrase actually puts you from "well meaning, wanting to know" forum poster category in the one usually referred by the name of "troll". And this forum is not a place for those.

Dragos

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Anyone remember when Softimage invented attribute transfer? Good times.. :lol:

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I found the" New Era" article a little iffy at times and it has received some criticism in some corners of the web for a number of reasons. The part I thought was in poor taste was where Kim says "Given the recent news, I cant help but think about our own past innovations including a product called ICE (Interactive Compositing Environment) which we released in 1992, many years before XSI users first started building networks with nodes"

This was meant to be a tongue in cheek reference to the fact that we used to have a product with the same name as the XSI feature that is "philosophically" taking the same approach as Houdini has for years. It did hit a sore spot with XSI users which was not the intent. The reference was more to the branding of the two products as opposed to any comment on the technologies.

The bad taste left in my mouth about the campaign was that incredibly embarrassing Vanilla Ice shit which made want to ditch the software almost as much as the acquisition...then I look at that forced photo of Kim Davidson trying to look "resolved" and think to myself "the universe has a way of balancing itself!"

Several XSI blogs etc have criticized or even made fun of that photo of Kim which seems very bizarre to me. I am constantly telling my grade school kids to not make personal attacks on people but on the web I guess "anything goes." I wouldn't read too much into the photo which was simply the best fit for the layout.

The "New Era" article was meant as a recognition the industry is changing and the days when Sidefx/Alias and Softimage went head to head in the high-end 3D space (the "good old days" for those of us who have been around for a decade or two) are now changed forever. It also offered a chance to get some mindspace for Houdini - A bit opportunistic for sure but these "moments in time" only happen once in a while and deserve to be marked.

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For your seeming lack of historical accuracy, you sure are taking things way too personally.

And this really isn't a forum where you'll find much support.

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The bad taste left in my mouth about the campaign was that incredibly embarrassing Vanilla Ice shit which made want to ditch the software almost as much as the acquisition...then I look at that forced photo of Kim Davidson trying to look "resolved" and think to myself "the universe has a way of balancing itself!"

Oddly enough I read you post before the edit, and I'm pretty sure this wasn't in there. Correct me if I'm wrong of course, but this little addendum took your post from (borderline) politely inquisitive to obnoxiously rude. If it was there to start with, well then it started off as rude... so there you go.

We're always up for some lively debate here, but keep it civil will you please? Random trolling won't get you very far.

M

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"As far as I know, PRISMS beat both Softimage and Alias in the node based stuff"

Im nearly positive Power Animators Multilister was node based...from around 1990.

The earliest integrated node based editor in a 3d app...though I not certain.

I also used PowerAnimator until 6.5 and the Multilister in PowerAnimator had a crude tile view of the connections made in in a dive-down list view. It was not a node-based editing shader editor.

http://www.3drender.com/jbirn/Invasion/jpe...ultilister.jpeg

How then would you implement a node based programing language (a concept SESI borrowed) into a program - trying to solve the same problems as the other - without there being similarities? Notice how Modo's base modeling tool set is eerily similar to every other poly modeler out there...like using extrudes and such.

Definitely true - these things are all converging on the "good" concepts and their technologies overlap quite a bit, at least what's presented to the user. There is very little "new" in any of this these days, unless you believe the marketing.

Node-based programming languages have been available in many popular CASE tools for many a year (eg. VirTools); SESI definitely never laid claim to inventing it, yet I believe they were the first to make it available integrated completely into multiple contexts in a commercial 3d package.

I think you're being a little too sensitive to the marketing backlash; you're reading into it, assuming there is dubious doubeltalk. Try the software, if you like it, awesome. And I'll tell you from experience that you won't get a more personable experience from any team out there on any commercial software.

Oh, and PS: we do appreciate the open voice over here on odforce :) We'd much rather have issues aired than quelled!

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Oddly enough I read you post before the edit, and I'm pretty sure this wasn't in there. Correct me if I'm wrong of course, but this little addendum took your post from (borderline) politely inquisitive to obnoxiously rude. If it was there to start with, well then it started off as rude... so there you go.

No it wasn't there. I was going to add another reply to digitallysane in a second post and as no one had posted anything by then I didn't see the problem in adding it that post...

While were at it i should add that if I say the photo looks bad it does not mean I think poorly of the companys tech or that its a personal attack...its just a bad pose thats out of charector.

I thought I was being diplomatic by telling also of how personally embarrassed I am about that Softimages marketing campaign. It was all tongue in cheek...

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Fair enough then, perhaps I too read too much into it ;).

M

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Guest xionmark
Im nearly positive Power Animators Multilister was node based...from around 1990.

The earliest integrated node based editor in a 3d app...though I not certain.

I believe what you are referring to in PA was the SBD ("Scene Clock Diagramer" or some such name) which gave the impression of a procedural system, except for that darn "break construction history" function, that gave it all away, and besides, you couldn't edit the nodes, pooh. Never mind the idea of attributes. So when Maya came along and it was clearly not procedural, I was really disappointed. At that time, I didn't know about PRISMS or Houdini, but coming from a software background and having been around CASE tools, with my first glance at Houdini (ver 2.0), I threw away Alias all together and never looked back. It was cool though, a few years before that we were working with Data Explorer on an IBM Power Visualization Station, fun. Now you can do more with OpenDX and a decent workstation and GPU/GFX card ... looking forward to the next 20 years!

Mark

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Thomson Digital Imaging had a node based material editor (I first saw it in 95 or so), I forget the name now (Material?), which got pulled into maya as the hypershade. Funny, it really has not changed much since then in terms of UI and function. They also had IPR working back then as well.

MD

AFAIK, the only node-based material editor at that time was a 3rd party commercial product called Cinemagraphics's ShadeTree - which was focused on texture/shader evolution.. but I can't really remember what it was about and there is little info our there. (http://www.cinegrfx.com/)

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what really got me about this whole ICE thing was an article in 3DWorld from a few months ago (I have it here somewhere - issue 107 p18-19) that talked about ICE as this 'new revolutionary thingamajig that might change forever the entire industry!!!"....then, I kid you not, on the next page (20) is an announcement of Houdini 9.5 public beta...hahahah gold!

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what really got me about this whole ICE thing was an article in 3DWorld from a few months ago (I have it here somewhere - issue 107 p18-19) that talked about ICE as this 'new revolutionary thingamajig that might change forever the entire industry!!!"....then, I kid you not, on the next page (20) is an announcement of Houdini 9.5 public beta...hahahah gold!

Not having read the article myself I think I can speculate.

There are 4 reasons for this -

1 - The author at 3D World is so stupid and naive that he doesn't know about Houdini. Highly unlikely.

2 - The content was an add or some sort of product placement, or that the author was payed off or "influenced" Possibly, but I don't think likely...a conspiracy theory of sorts.

3 - The author was pandering to a larger demographic than that of Houdini so he felt the need to play it up. Unlikely. Softimage users are a fraction of the pie now...this is not 1996.

4 - The author genuinely believed his statements and may or may not be intimately familiar with Houdini. I think a a variance of this is true.

Having bought the upgrade to ICE myself I can't say to much about it as I never use it...I'm a modeler by trade and only touch ICE when I'm curious...

Edited by Jonsson

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Not having read the article myself I think I can speculate.

There are 4 reasons for this -

1 - The author at 3D World is so stupid and naive that he doesn't know about Houdini. Highly unlikely.

2 - The content was an add or some sort of product placement, or that the author was payed off or "influenced" Possibly, but I don't think likely...a conspiracy theory of sorts.

3 - The author was pandering to a larger demographic than that of Houdini so he felt the need to play it up. Unlikely. Softimage users are a fraction of the pie now...this is not 1996.

4 - The author genuinely believed his statements and may or may not be intimately familiar with Houdini. I think a a variance of this is true.

Having bought the upgrade to ICE myself I can't say to much about it as I never use it...I'm a modeler by trade and only touch ICE when I'm curious...

Oh, I'm sure the editor of the magazine didn't even notice the irony.. and also, those app-specific articles are largely puff pieces anyway. They obviously never check and audit marketing statements for accuracy, or they'd not be able to print a single line;)

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I was using this node based system in 1988 - apE. Not sure if it was the first but it was free and had a developers kit that allowed you to write your own modules. Very cool bunch of people behind it as well, I remember being blown away when I saw this for the first time Eurythmy ?

-Drew

Edited by eloop

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I was using this node based system in 1988 - apE. Not sure if it was the first but it was free and had a developers kit that allowed you to write your own modules. Very cool bunch of people behind it as well, I remember being blown away when I saw this for the first time Eurythmy ?

-Drew

Wow, wasn't that Eurythmy thing on the (initially awesome) "Journey Into The Minds Eye" CG compilation?

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Yes it was!

I've probably watched those Chromosaurus 100 times.

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