Purpose: To ensure students understand everything they have learned thus far.

Objective: To solidify all previous materials before moving on in the course.

Mod Tool Interface

Main Menu Bar


  • Contains: File, Edit, View, Display, Window and Help menus

Toolbar (Module Menu)

  • Model, Animate, Render, Stimulate, Hair

Lower Interface Controls

  • Animation panel

    • Auto Key, Setting Keys
  • Timeline and Time Range

    • Displays the current moment of the animation in time
    • Range of frames
    • You can also view and edit keys here
  • Playback panel

    • Lets you control animated scenes through a series of playback controls.
  • Mouse/status line

    • Displays the current functions of your three mouse buttons as well as status and error messages when applicable.

MCP (Main Control Panel)

  • Select panel

    • Select elements in your scene through the menu commands, selection icons, filter buttons, and text boxes.
  • Transform panel

    • SRT Buttons, XYZ axis selection controls, SRT axis text boxes
  • Snap panel

    • Set the type of grid or object snap to use for modeling and positioning
  • Edit panel

    • Edit objects, including duplicate, clone, instantiate, group, freeze, and delete


  • Includes Orthographic displays of the Top, Front, Side and Misc other views such as the Camera
  • Can enable shading, wireframe, textured decal, and many other display options
  • Resize icon to maximize any viewport
  • Toggle numerous other features in a view, such as the grid
  • XYZ Coordinates (Cartesian coordinate system)
  • X (red) = Left to Right Axis (Front View Port)
  • Y (green) = Up and Down Axis (Top View Port)
  • Z (blue) = Forward and Backwards Axis (Right View Port)

Transform Tools

  • Scale, rotate, and translate elements in your scene

General Navigation

  • Track, Dolly, Orbit


  • Switching Toolbars (1, 2, 3, 4, CTRL+5)
  • Toggle General Navigation (S)

    • Track (LMB)
    • Dolly (MMB)
    • Orbit (RMB)
  • Object Selection Mode (Spacebar)
  • Transform Tools

    • Translate (V)
    • Rotate (C)
    • Scale (X)
  • Frame Selection (F)
  • Reset the View (R)
  • Frame All (A)

Manipulating Primitives

Polygon Mesh Primitive shapes

  • Cone, Cube, Cylinder, Disc, Grid, Sphere, Torus

Transform Tools

  • Translate, Rotate, Scale
  • XYZ handles
  • Origin Manipulation

SRT Axis Text Boxes

  • Enter in numeric values to transform an object precisely

Object Properties

  • Used to modify the properties of an object

    • Radius
    • Subdivisions
    • Extent (Angles)


  • Transform Tools

    • Translate (V)
    • Rotate (C)
    • Scale (X)
  • Object Properties (Enter)

Intro to Points, Edges and Polygons

Manipulating object components via the Transform Tools

  • Utilizing the Transform Tools

Rectangle Select vs. Raycast Select

  • Rectangle Select

    • Point Mode
    • Edge Mode
    • Polygon Mode
  • Raycast Select

    • Edge Mode
    • Polygon Mode

Lasso Select Tool

  • Allows you to draw a lasso around a group of edges or polygons in Raycast Select mode – or points, edges and polygons in Rectangle Select mode.


  • The snap icon will snap a model (or points, edges and polygons) to greater points in a scene, as well as the grid
  • Holding Shift while in translate mode when working with points, edges or polygons will snap to larger grid points

Match Translation

  • Used To match an objects XYZ position to another objects XYZ position

Isolate Selection

  • Used to isolate a selection in a scene (hide all other objects temporarily)


  • Rectangle Select

    • Point Mode (T)
    • Edge Mode (E)
    • Polygon Mode (Y)
  • Raycast Select

    • Edge Mode (I)
    • Polygon Mode (U)
  • Lasso Tool (F8)
  • Rectangle Select Mode (F7)
  • Toggle Snap (Hold CTRL)
  • Duplicate Tool (CTRL D)


  • Hotkey: A keyboard shortcut to execute a command in a program.
  • Viewport: A viewing area of the interface where you can view and work on your scene.
  • Orthographic View: AKA Isometric view – think of an Orthographic view as a piece of graph paper whereby you can view and edit your object in the X, Y, or Z axis.
  • Panel: An area of the Interface that you can add Toolbars to.
  • Transform: To Move an object (or part of an object) to a new coordinate, to transform it from one location to another.
  • Polygon: Polygons are one of the most all-encompassing shapes in geometry. From the simple triangle up through squares, rectangles, trapezoids, to dodecagons and beyond.
  • Toggle: To enable/disable, turn on/turn off, yes/no, etc.
  • Track: To move the camera up, down, left or right.
  • Dolly: To dolly towards or away from an object.
  • Orbit: To rotate, or Orbit around an object in 3D space.
  • Origin: The center of our workspace coordinate grid is 0,0,0. Note: all models are also created with their own Origin default of 0,0,0.

Q/A:Instructor lead question and answers on Day 1 modules.

Explorer, Schematic and Browser Windows


  • The Explorer Window shows all of the contents of a scene in a hierarchal tree structure. This tree can show objects as well as their properties as a list of nodes that expand from the top root.


  • The schematic view presents the scene in a hierarchical structure so that you can analyze the way a scene is constructed. It includes graphical links that show the relationships between objects, as well as material and texture nodes to indicate how each object is defined.


  • The Softimage file browser is a type of window specifically used to browse through scene databases, project directories, preset libraries, and other repositories whose files are required to build a project.
  • Import scene files from databases as well as load scene and project files
  • Perform file management tasks such as moving, copying, renaming, and deleting files.


  • Explorer (8)
  • Schematic (9)
  • Browser (5)
  • Toggle Hide (H)

Advag I

Bevel Component

  • Smoothes corners by adding polygons.

Tweak Component Tool

  • The Tweak Component tool allows you to translate, rotate, and scale points, polygons, and edges with greater ease, and all within the same tool!
  • Transform Tools

    • Translate, Scale, Rotate
  • Magnet Tool

    • Aka the Slide Components Tool. This helps to preserve the contours of objects as you tweak them.
  • Weld Tool

    • You can interactively weld pairs of points on polygon meshes while using the Tweak Component tool. Welding merges points into a single vertex


  • Tweak Tool (M)

Advanced Primitive II

Proportional Modeling

  • When this option is on, neighboring components are affected as well, with a falloff that depends on a configurable distance.

Symmetry Mode

  • Symmetrical manipulation lets you manipulate points and other components and maintain the symmetry of an object.

Tweak Tool

  • The Tweak Component tool allows you to translate, rotate, and scale points, polygons, and edges with greater ease, and all within the same tool!

Distance Limit Tool

  • The distance limit controls the size of the virtual sphere that determines which nearby components will be affected by the proportional operation. The points that are within the distance limit are highlighted in the 3D views.

Duplicating Polygons, Points & Edges

  • One of the most common shortcuts/techniques to develop a model (depending on what you’re doing).

Add Edge Tool

  • You can use the Add Edge tool to split or cut polygons interactively by drawing new edges that connect existing edges or vertices.


  • Proportional Modeling (Alt Num 2)
  • Symmetry Mode (Alt Num 3)
  • Tweak Component Tool (M)
  • Distance Limit Tool (Hold R) when in Tweak Tool mode
  • Duplicate polygons, points and edges (CTRL D)
  • Add Edge Tool ( \ )

Advanced Primitive III

Extrusion Along Curve

  • Using the Extrusion Along Curve function we can create a surface or polygon mesh by extruding a profile curve along a guide or rail curve.

Draw Cubic by CV’s

  • Draw Cubic by CVs allows you to place (or draw) control points (also known as control vertices or CVs). The curve does not pass through the locations you click but is a weighted interpolation between the control points. As you add more points, the existing knot positions may change but the point positions do not.

Q/A: Instructor lead question and answers on Day 2 modules.



  • Phong materials are the default material type available for Models created in XSI

Importing Textures

  • Modify > Texture > Add > Image > New > New From File

Texture Projections

  • Various Texture support used to apply a texture to an object best.

Texture Editor

  • The texture editor displays a two-dimensional representation of the selected objects’ geometry superimposed on a texture that image. The more complex an object, the more complex its appearance in the texture editor.
  • Planar Subprojection

    • Subprojections allow you to reproject a texture onto selected polygons of an already-textured object in a way that better conforms to that selection’s shape.


  • Texture Editor (Alt 7)

Intro to Animation

Parent/Child Hierarchy

  • Hierarchies describe the relationship between objects, usually using a combination of parent-child and tree analogies, as you do with a family tree. Objects can be associated to each other in a hierarchy for a number of reasons, such as to make manipulation easier, to propagate applied properties, or to animate children in relation to a parent. For example, the parent-child relationship means that any properties applied to the parent (in branch mode) also affect the child.

Timeline & Playback Menu

  • Timeline determines which frames are played back.
  • Playback

    • The controls in the Playback panel below the timeline allow you to view and play animations, simulations, and audio in a variety of ways.

Setting Keys

  • You can set keys for anything in Softimage that has an animatable parameter: this includes an object’s transformation, geometry, colors, textures, lighting, and visibility.

Auto Keys

  • Automatic keying (autokeying) sets a key whenever you change a parameter’s value. This means that you don’t have to click the keyframe button each time you change a value at a different frame.


  • Set Keyframe (K)

Animation 101 – The Pixar Lamp

Animation/FCurve Editors

  • The animation editor is where you control the animation of the currently selected element using a number of different editing tools: The fcurve editor (the default editor), The dopesheet, The expression editor, The scripted operators editor

Slope Handles/Tangents

  • The fcurve’s slope determines the rate of change in the animation. By modifying the slope, you can change the acceleration or deceleration in or out from a key, thus making the animation change rapidly or slowly, or even reversing it. The steeper the slope’s orientation, the faster the values change.

Animating Properties

  • You can animate every scene element and most of their parameters—in effect, if a parameter exists on a property page, it can probably be animated. The only things you can’t animate are global rendering options!

IK Chain

  • Inverse kinematics (IK) is an animation method that’s more straightforward than FK (bone orientation) — you define the goal of the action by positioning the effector of a chain and Softimage calculates how to position the rest of the chain to reach that goal. For example, to bend a leg, you drag the leg’s end effector and the rest of the chain follows.
  • Draw 3D Chain

    • 3D chains, however, can move any which way they want. Its joints can rotate freely on any axis, like ball joints. This lets you create anything, such as a dog’s wagging tail.
    • Effectors
    • The basic way of animating IK is to set keys for the translation of the chain’s effector. Translations on effectors of chains created in Softimage are local to the effectors’ parent (by default, the chain root).


  • Animation Editor (0)

Q/A: Instructor lead question and answers on Day 3 modules.

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