I do love my recently purchased xsi foundation. The wings+xsi combo is wonderful. And I have no money yet to buy a 17 or 19 tft, as this thing requires seriously 1280x1024 resolution. Anyway, as all can be accessed and customized by shortcuts, and u can build ur own layout, no probs.
I am -yep, incredible- using the animation for characters in 800x600, in a 15" sony, just cause I like to have it at 100 Hz. I use an special layout , and i setup certain hotkeys which are the main I use all th etime.Anyway, that’s how I work with practically all packages.
Where I am really finding it great is in character animation. But probably, while I don’t think Blender will catch xsi in that, I think Blender in a pair of releases more (as some features I like I have not seen them planned) will at least be worthing it better than xsi if u put it with the money issue (that is, will provide some ways of work that people who animate really love) .
The gi rendering with metal ray 3.3 is sweet…but remember, NO HAIR.
Not sure if with Cinema 9 u have it. As I think it was an apart module, shave and a haircut, I think. Still, I think I like more xsi UI, but it also is a beast on its own…u may not like its ui.
And the video learning doc is…simply great. the book can come handy, but a bit too basic, often.
for 500$, I think it’s a bargain. As is a price more of an ebay scam, knowing the power of the package.
BTW, I am more and more less in favor of midcost tools, when Blender is out there. I think actually those are the really in danger ones (not the highend) I wonder how these companies see the lightspeed evolve of Blender… maybe they improve their tools even more/lower prices, so , we get the advantages, hehe.