Q: I thought this was a Softimage learning path. Why are some of the tutorials in this learning path for XSI?
A. Softimage and XSI are the same software. Shortly after being purchased by Autodesk, the software called Softimage|XSI 7 changed names to simply Softimage 7.5. Despite the slight name change, the interface is much the same meaning that the techniques and workflows from XSI tutorials in this learning path are still applicable to the latest versions of Softimage.
Q. Are there any tutorials that I should watch before starting this learning path?
A. We recommend this learning path for artists who are already familiar with moving around in Softimage and want to learn how to take their existing knowledge of Softimage and create highly polished renders directly in Softimage. If you feel comfortable moving around in Softimage then you're ready for this learning path! Otherwise, if you've never used Softimage before, you can get up to speed with the Softimage: How to Get Started learning path.
Q: What is a learning path? How do I use them?
A. Learning paths are a series of courses organized into levels for easier organization. We recommend that you start with the first course in level one and work your way through all of the courses and levels sequentially.
Q: Do I have to follow along with the tutorial? Can I work on my own project?
A. The ultimate goal is to be able to transfer the techniques and tools you've learned in this learning path to your own projects. While everyone learns at a difference pace, we recommend a three-step process before trying to apply the techniques to your own projects. The first step is to watch each tutorial and take notes along the way. Secondly, watch the tutorial and follow along trying to replicate each step in the tutorial. Lastly replicate the project from the tutorial on your own trying not to watch the tutorials as much as possible. This helps to ensure that you not only are able to replicate what was taught in the tutorial but that you understand the techniques and tools that were used so you can then transfer them to your own projects.
Q: What sort of renders will I be able to create when I've completed this learning path?
A. By the time you've completed this learning path, you'll have a solid understand of what it takes to light, render, optimize and take advantage of the wide range of rendering features available in Softimage and mental ray.
Q. What if I have questions while going through this learning path?
A. We have set up a community specifically as a place for you to ask technical questions. Our community is frequented by the Digital-Tutors instructors, staff members, moderators and other helpful members that can answer your questions as you learn Softimage. You can get to the community by clicking on the "Connect" tab at the top of the site or by clicking here.
Q: What if the version of Softimage in the tutorial is different than what I have? Can I still follow along?
A. Yes! While there are certainly new tools and features that get added with each new version of Softimage, a majority of the core techniques taught are the same and can be transferred easily from version to version. Just keep in mind that due to file version differences it may not be possible to open project files that were created in a newer version of Softimage if you're using an older version. And of course you can always post questions on our forums if you ever come across something that looks different in your version of Softimage than in the tutorial.
Q. What if I don't use Softimage? Can I follow along in my favorite 3D software?
A. While we recommend using Softimage to follow along with this learning path, nearly all of the core fundamentals can be ported to another piece of software if you are familiar with that software. If you find it difficult to transfer these techniques to your preferred software, we have a variety of other learning paths for other software. Check out the Learning Paths page to see the learning paths for your favorite software.
Q. Where do I go after completing this learning path?
A. As artists, there are always new tips and techniques that can be learned. After completing this learning path we recommend taking a look at the Creative Development series here at Digital-Tutors where you can learn even more great tips and tricks that are often applicable to any 3D software from experienced artists who have stepped out of production to share their tips, tricks and techniques.