Tips and tricks

CGI coffee

Tips and tricks on various CGI-related topics.

Using Cloth Simulation and Delta Mush deformer for skin collision in animation

I'd like to present the results of a study I conducted recently:


Working on the animated short film I am constantly updating a list of tasks to do in order to achieve a descent final result. One particular topic took my sleep away recently when I remembered that in order to correct skinning errors on animated characters you'd either have to sculpt and then script a bunch of blend shapes or would need a muscle system available in your DCC software.

I then turned to Maya, which has had a muscle system for ages.

Maya Muscle system

Maya provides several deformers to manage soft- and hard-tissue interaction between muscles like smart-, self- and multi-object collisions. Even though they aren't terribly performant, they get the job done.

Maya multi-object collision

Unfortunately as soon as I would've used any of Maya's Muscle system tools I'd be tied down to a 185$ a month subscription plan for the whole duration of the project which would be outrageous. There is a lite-version of Maya available for indie gamedevs - Maya LT - which only costs 30$ a month, but it doesn't come with the Muscle system.

Maya vs Maya LT comparison

Hence I had to improvise and develop a simple and straightforward solution for this problem in a DCC of my choice.

VDB cloud with Softimage ICE and Redshift - a step-by-step tutorial

Since my first post about Softimage and OpenVDB was more of a brief overview than a tutorial, I decided to create a step-by-step guide on how to create a .vdb cloud-like grid with Softimage ICE using Mr.Core's (Oleg Bliznuk's) compounds and explain how they work on the way.

rendered vdb clouds

To follow the tutorial, download the compounds and connect the extracted workgroup in Softimage (File -> Plugin Manager -> Workgroups -> File -> Connect):

vdb compounds workgroup

Create and render OpenVDB volume grids with Softimage and Redshift renderer

Note: a detailed tutorial is now available.

Since current version of Redshift requires OpenVDB-compliant voxel grids for its volume rendering, we need to somehow generate and export .vdb files from Softimage (not everybody has access to Houdini, you know).

OpenVDB logo

Thanks to user Mr.Core from SI Community we have a set of ICE-compounds to do just that.

Mr.Core provided compounds to voxelize particles and geometry as well as perform actions on .vdb grids and polygonize them.

Here's an example on how to make a vdb cloud in Softimage, export it to a file and render with Redshift:

Softimage hotkeys mapping infographic

Since Autodesk officially EOL'd Softimage, XSI blogs and discussion groups have been gradually vanishing from the web which is a shame.

As a tribute to the great piece of software that Softimage is I will try to consolidate the most useful XSI-related stuff from the net.

Today we have a Softimage hotkeys infographic originally posted at XSIBase which is now non-existent. It's just too good to just perish so here are cleaned up versions in glorious PNG.