Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q: Can i render feathers on a renderfarm without extra licenses?
A: Yes, you need to cache the simulation as 'ICECache':
Animate->Tools->Plot->Write Geometry Cache
Then create an empty pointcloud and choose -
Animate->Tools->Plot->Load Geometry Cache

2. Q: Can i save presets for my simulation settings?
A: Yes, you can use the "Save ICE Node Preset" Addon by Fabricio Chamon.
Download Mirror

3. Q: Is there a way to export a simulation?
A: Yes, to export a simulation to other 3d packages, follow this tutorial. These are just a few of the many possible ways to get the data out of Softimage.

4. Q: When I export the feathers as a model and then import the model into a clean scene, why do the point clouds not show the instanced geometry?
A: When importing a model, the name of the model sometimes changes. To avoid hardcoded model names in the compounds, open the ICE compounds and change all references of the model to "this_model".

5. Q: How do I make the feather color show up in the render?
A: The particle color is set accordingly to the texture map on the reference emitter. To use this color for rendering, the material on the feather instances need to have a color attribute. This can be plugged into a diffuse slot for example.

6. Q: What can I do to increase performance while editing the feathers?

  • Temporarily delete all parts of the shrinkwrap mesh except the part you are concentrating on. This usually reduces the amount of feathers to 5%. Don't forget to delete the "dissolve points" operator afterwards to restore the mesh.
  • Work in "Shaded" view and plug a simple phong shader into your material. This resulted in a 5 fps gain in the test scenario.

    7. Q: How can I subdivide a mesh that already has a feather system applied?
    A:This is often needed when more control through a weight map is needed. Since the mesh gets duplicated when creating a feather system, you need to subdivide both the deformed and the reference mesh.

  • To do so, apply a subdivision operator to the reference mesh. In the explorer, pull it below the "mb_FeatherInitialize" node. Don't worry if the feathers disappear or get misaligned during this process.
  • Subdivide the deformed mesh and make sure both meshes have the exact same amount of vertices. The feathers will show again and will be aligned on your subdivided mesh.

    8. Q: How can I update the feather orientation when changing the UVs?
    A:The tangent operator gets frozen during the initial "Setup Feather System" process and thus does not update the feather orientation when you change the UVs afterwards.
    To create a new live tangent operator:

  • Select reference mesh and from the toolbar choose Property -> Tangent.
  • Under the reference mesh, open the PPG for the "Tangent" custom property (an orange "C" in the explorer).
  • Click on the Pick button for the tangents, and choose the Tangents that you want to be updated. These can be found under Clusters -> UV_Cluster_AUTO -> Tangents.

    9. Q: Can I reorder the feathers of the feather group?
    A:Yes. Please follow these steps and be careful because ICE likes to crash when doing this.
    To reorder the feathers:

  • In the setup node, under Appearance, disable "Use Instance Geometry"
  • At the very top rename "Instance Geometry" to something that cannot be resolved. E.g. "feather_grou" without the "p". This needs to be done so ICE does not crash while reordering the group.
  • In the explorer, choose View > General Sort > None (creation), then choose View > Reorder Tool and drag and drop nodes within the group. For more info, see the Softimage doc.
  • In the setup node, restore the name of the "Instance Geometry" and enable "Use Instance Geometry" again. The feathers should now appear in the new order.

    10. Q: Is there a way to prevent the plugin from adding the property "mb_FeatherToolsProp" to every scene I open ?
    A:You can always deactivate the plugin. To do so, go to File -> Plug-in Manager -> expand the Tree until you see "mb_FeatherToolsPlugin. Then right-click -> Unload. Once it is unloaded you can manually delete the property and save the scene.
    You can enable it again by right-clicking on the folder and choosing "Update".

    11. Q: Does mbFeatherTools work under Linux?
    A:Yes, but some Linux distributions come with slightly different python libraries that can cause problems. If the plugin crashes because of the hashlib (error message complaining about "md5"), here is a fix that should work.

    For example, using the centos6 libcrypto and libssl crashes out xsi on linux. A version that works can be found in the adlm folder of the install which matches. Just link the links into the application folder of xsi and it should work.

    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 34 Jul 23 12:20 /user/server/apps/SOFTIMAGE/linux-x86-64/Softimage_2012.SAP.98.1057/Application/bin/ -> ../../Adlm/R4/lib64/
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 31 Jul 23 12:20 /user/server/apps/SOFTIMAGE/linux-x86-64/Softimage_2012.SAP.98.1057/Application/bin/ -> ../../Adlm/R4/lib64/

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