What would you want from Softimage to Blender 2.8?

I don’t know for the undo system, but probably for the highly dense meshes, some progress in the performance will be seen … at least from what seems to understand from this to_do


1 Like

That’s until you press Ctrl Z

1 Like

I think the NUMBER ONE FEATURE no one is talking about, and that we (ex XSI users) have been taking for granted it seems a second nature now… it´s the fact of DRAG AND DROP DIVOTS. You know: Drag drop parameters onto anywhere into the user interface. Blender has it only for number input fields only.
But just imagine what we could achieve with drag drop animated properties everywhere? :smiley:


and the ik/fk system, like the ghost ik addon in dev


What does this do in practice ?

I’ve only worked with an XSI trial version many years ago, but I remember the non-destructive object creation history was quite complete, like 3ds Max modifier stack, but even more flexible, enabling you to go back and tweak just about any parameter. That’s what I’d wish for in Blender, although I guess it’s on its way with the Everything Nodes project.

1 Like

Yeah I used that a lot, and found it useful.

Also not mentioned I think is working with Models.

The best equivalent in Blender would be a Group Instance.

1 Like

If you meant DELTAS and LODs, we all fell you bro’ …

1 Like

Yes and another small - or not so small thing - was Point Oven included as a way to get vertex animation into some applications such as LightWave .mdd. Though maybe not so relevant now with Alembic getting support everywhere. But it was just one of those cool things included in Softimage out of the box that was very useful in its time.

Blender also has support for .mdd, but again, Alembic is probably a better choice.

I could make a whole video about what I like about Softimage, using it since version 1.0.
Where should I start?

I love the whole interaction model with the sticky keys and just using the 3 mouse buttons to choose transform axis X/Y/Z, instead of having to press X/Y/Z repeatedly.

The non-destructive workflow with the operator stack splitted into useful categories, although in some way I prefer Blender’s modifier stack, because applying (freezing) modifiers is more flexible.

The layout of the interface. All the important tools are just 1-2 mouseclicks away, important information is displayed all the time, it feels intuitive and just makes sense.

Grouping of objects to share certain properties.

Models - special kind of parenting objects under a “sub-scene” node that can be duplicated, instanced or referenced without the usual “namespace” clashes that other 3D apps have.

ICE of course, although I never got really good at it.

The render passes/partitions system, although I have to admit that I never fully understood the overrides completey to unleash it’s full potential.

The material manager. When will Blender finally get one?

1 Like

ICE is coming on Everything nodes. Don´t worry. Will land somewhere at the end of 2020 as solid…
I guess if your video will show how useful (toggle) Sticky keys are, I guess it will pickup the interest around here.
Material manager is a thing of the past. Ever since the introduction of blueprints in U4, every package out there is pursuing realtime shaders. Maybe you´d like to check how that progresses. We have that on Blender through eevee. (new math nodes just landed on 2.81 experimental this monday).


Material manager:


It’s shader-agnostic. Blender has never had one. Maya has a similar thing.

It is a place to manage materials separately in a scene. And it has nothing to do with what kind of shader system people are using.

I am not sure of the status of it in 2.8 right now. But here is the blog:


I think Everything Nodes would be the first step to create a similar thing to ICE. I would not say it is ICE.

But on a related subject. part of why the Interactive part of an “Interactive Creative Environment” works is due to Softimage’s GigaCore engine. Blender would choke trying to do some of the stuff ICE could do in real time.

Blender’s ability to handle data has to be fixed before it can accomplish an ICE equivalent.

1 Like

Maybe this will illustrate the 10% of the total progress on everything nodes? Transforms, matrixes, instances, materials…long list…

@Richard_Culver, other than the performance, what shortcomings can you see in Everything Nodes compared to ICE? I haven’t had a chance to look into it properly, and I’m rather curious. I develop a sort-of-competing system called Flakes (remember that? It has been a while :slight_smile: ; the thread and the video are really outdated), and I’m kind of trying to assess if it’s still needed or wanted in Blender. The project was a bit stale during my master’s degree, but it’s well back on track now. Funnily enough my ETA is also around late 2020.

My point of contention with node systems has always been, that they tend to be domain specific systems with highly opinionated architectures that serve very particular purposes. Flakes is entirely generic programming language with no such restrictions. How everything works depends entirely on how the modules are built. E.g. we might have several entirely different particle systems with wildly different governing logic structures.

The problem with integrating something like that to Blender is that everything has to go through these really clumsy low performance interfaces. I also really wish they’d address that before building these grand systems on top of the old core.

1 Like

Yeah I think that last point you made there would be a good place to start.

But I would not consider myself an ICE expert.

For that you could go here:


Paul Smith “pooby” has been a real champion for ICE. And there are still a lot of Softimage users around.

What I could contribute would be more on a very high level. In essence they are trying to achieve the same thing.

Its just that ICE is/was already an advanced tool. And a few tools have been written using it.

Ice Rigging
Ice Modeling
Syflex on ICE.

All of this was available out of the box in Softimage. I still own it by the way. But have not used it in years.

The only thing I have seen that comes close or surpasses ICE is Houdini.

And although you could say the goal is the same in Blender, the level at which ICE was developed was quite far.

So I guess, like you say. The core language has to be there on an equal level with everything. In ICE this was so. All systems were talking the same basic language, Be that rigging, dynamics, particles or meshes.

I don’t know the in depth plans with this in Blender. So I can’t be that great of a help.

Ok, fair enough. Since you said it’s not quite ICE, I figured you might have deeper understanding of what’s coming to Blender. I should say I used ICE quite extensively for some time. Autodesk buying Softimage was actually the original motivation behind the Flakes project, since they clearly didn’t have the best of intentions for it.

I would stay cautiously optimistic about Everything nodes. Obviously we are lagging over a decade behind the commercial packages, but once we’re there, we’re there for good. A lot of people jumped ship to Houdini, but who knows what’s going to happen to it in the long run. I’d rather slowly build a solid (and free) foundation that can’t just be yanked off by some big company on a whim.

If it turns out to be really good, people might build all those things pretty quickly. If it turns out to be crap…well, I’ll just have to figure out some workaround for the performance barrier for Flakes. I could probably just implement an external viewport system that can render everything in real time and sync things to blender as needed. It won’t work for everything, but definitely does for things like particles, mesh animation, modifiers, cloth/hair simulation and such like. I might have to do that anyway when we get to things like 3d-texture painting, since I highly doubt Blender nodes will have that kind of low-level control.

1 Like

Yeah sounds cool.

hei @anvilSoup I notice that you are an expert,
I think you should take a look at this thread, those of the particles will be the first piece that will be completed of what will be “everithyng nodes” …