Environment Variable Reference

This section describes the different types of environment variables used by Softimage and provides a table giving a detailed description of the variables you can set in setenv.bat on Windows and .xsi_2011 on Linux.

Types of Environment Variables

Many different software applications define environment variables that affect how they run. In addition to Softimage-specific environment variables, Softimage uses variables that control other software.

In the list of environment variables that follows, the type of each variable is indicated. Here’s a summary of the different types of variable used by Softimage and the scope of what they affect:

Softimage variables affect Softimage. Some of them also affect other things, like the standalone programs.

mental ray variables affect the mental ray rendering software.

ADLM variables affect the Autodesk License Manager.

MainWin variables affect the MainWin shared libraries on Linux.

System variables affect the operating system and all programs running on it.

Softimage isolates all the variables it needs in setenv.bat on Windows and .xsi_2011 on Linux and uses these files to set its local environment before running the main program. As a result, the modified variables should not affect any other software on your computer.

However, if you modify your system (for example, by setting variables in .cshrc on Linux, or in Control Panel on Windows), then other software could be affected.

Table of Environment Variables

The table that follows describes the Softimage, mental ray, Autodesk License Manager (ADLM), MainWin, and system environment variables used by Autodesk Softimage.

Environment variable

Description

Platforms

Type

ADSKFLEX_LICENSE_FILE

Used by the Autodesk License Manager (ADLM). See the PDF files installed in the adlm/Docs folder of the installation location.

All

ADLM

HOME

The user’s home directory.

This must be a unique location for each specific user. Softimage creates an /Autodesk/Softimage_X.X folder in this directory for storing custom scripts, toolbars, preferences, presets, and other personal Softimage files in various subfolders.

On Linux, HOME is a system variable and should already be set to the home directory of the current user.

We recommend that you do not change it.

Linux

System

INCLUDE

Location of header files for the Softimage SDK.

The default location is the include subfolder of the directory specified by XSISDK_ROOT.

Linux

Softimage

LANG

Sets the environment language for Softimage on whatever Linux version you are using.

The default value is C which sets the language to English.

This variable sets the default for the shell from where you source the Softimage environment script. In the case where you run the xsi script (lowercase xsi) directly from Application/bin, the shell is not affected by the language settings.

If you are using an International version of Linux, the International settings will apply to everything else on your system.

Do not modify this value.

Linux

System

LC_NUMERIC

Sets the numeric separator.

The default value is C which sets the numeric separator to “.” as defined in the English language environment.

This variable sets the default for the shell from where you source the Softimage environment script. In the case where you run the xsi script (lowercase xsi) directly from Application/bin, the shell is not affected by the language settings.

If you are using an International version of Linux, the International settings will apply to everything else on your system.

Do not modify this value.

Linux

System

LOGNAME

The current user name on Linux.

If this variable is not set by the system, Softimage sets it to the string returned by whoami.

Linux

System

MI_ENABLE_PIPE_MODE

Tells mental ray not to open any TCP/IP sockets. This prevents problems with firewalls when running Softimage.

By default this is set but you may need to unset it, for example, to use imf_disp to show renders in progress.

Windows

Softimage

MI_FORCE_OLD_BSP

Causes Softimage to force the mental ray rendering software to use the older BSP acceleration method instead of the newer BSP2 (BIH) method.

Simply defining this variable uses the default BSP settings. Setting it to a pair of numbers, for example, 60 10, uses the specified maximum depth and size.

Note that certain newer mental ray features do not work properly with this setting, including irradiance particles, assemblies, the ambient occlusion cache, and some final gathering optimizations.

In some cases, if mental ray requires it, such as when your scene uses stand-ins or ICE animated instances, BSP2 will be forced on even if the MI_FORCE_OLD_BSP environment variable is enabled.

All

Softimage

MI_OUTPUT_HELPER_DISABLED

Prevents Softimage from creating stub files for the framebuffers when rendering with mental ray. Set this variable to any value if you parse mi files in your pipeline.

All

Softimage

MI_RAY_HOSTSFILE

The location and name of the .ray3hosts file for distributed rendering.

By default, MI_RAY_HOSTSFILE is set to a version-specific subfolder of the XSI_USERROOT directory. This allows you to have different rayhosts files for different versions of Softimage without any interference.

All

Softimage

MI_RAY3_SERVICE

The IP service used by mental ray to contact slaves on other machines for network rendering.

The default is:

mi-raysi2011_3_8_1_31

All

mental ray

MI_ROOT

The location of mental ray configuration files such as ray3rc.

The default location is the Application/rsrc subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

All

mental ray

MW_TMPDIR

The directory used for temporary files by MainWin.

Linux

MainWin

MWHOME

The location of MainWin runtime and configuration files.

The default location is the Application/mainwin/mw subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

Linux

MainWin

MWIGNORE_DESKTOPINI

Controls whether MainWin looks for a desktop.ini file when it accesses folders. Setting this variable to 1 can prevent delays caused by time-outs on NFS systems.

Linux

MainWin

MWREGISTRY

The path and file name of the MainWin registry file required by Softimage on Linux.

The default depends on the computer name and is located in the Softimage subdirectory of your home directory:

$SI_USERHOME/registry.xsi_2011${hostname}

Linux

MainWin

MWWM

Controls whether Softimage obeys window manager keystrokes on Linux.

By default, Softimage does not obey any window manager keystrokes. For example, Alt+Tab is used to switch tasks in Gnome, but this key combination does not work with Softimage.

To change this behavior, source your .xsi_2011 file and then type the following in a terminal window before starting Softimage:

setenv MWWM allwm 

Now Alt+Tab will switch windows.

Linux

MainWin

MYMEDIAPATH

Used by My Media Shelf in the SDK Samples workgroup to display various types of media files. Set this variable to the path of a folder of your choice to enable the shelf in the Softimage user interface.

All

Softimage

MYPROJECTPATH

Used by My Project Shelf in the SDK Samples workgroup to display the contents of a Softimage project. Set this variable to the path of a Softimage project to enable the shelf in the Softimage user interface.

All

Softimage

PATH

A list of paths used by the system when searching for executable files.

On Windows, multiple paths are separated by semicolons. On Linux, multiple paths are separated by colons.

Softimage adds itself to the existing PATH value on Windows.

All

System

PROXY

The name of the machine to use as a proxy server for Netview on Linux.

Linux

Softimage

PYTHONHOME

The location of the Python scripting engine.

On Linux, the default value is $XSI_HOME/Application/bin. This should not be changed.

On Windows, Softimage uses the version of Python installed in %XSI_HOME%/Application/python if Use Python Installed with Softimage (Windows Only) is on in your Scripting preferences. Otherwise, Softimage uses the version of Python specified by PYTHONHOME.

All

System

PYTHONPATH

The locations of custom Python modules, if they are not installed in $PYTHONHOME. Use colons to separate multiple entries.

On Linux, the default value is $XSI_HOME/Application/bin.

On Windows, this variable is not set by default.

All

System

SI_BROWSER_DONT_CHECK_CHILDREN_FOLDERS

Controls whether Softimage checks folders for subfolders when displaying the file browser. Setting this variable to 1 may speed up file operations on NFS systems, particularly on Linux. When set, folders are always drawn with an expandable ‘+’ whether or not they contain subfolders.

All

Softimage

SI_HAIR_CHUNK_SIZE

The number of strands in each data chunk for rendering hair. See Setting the Hair Chunk Size for Rendering[Hair].

All

Softimage

SI_HELP_PROGRAM_ENV

Sets your preferred browser to be used to display any HTML files called from within Softimage.

If SI_HELP_PROGRAM_ENV is not set, then on Linux, the hardcoded default is mozilla, and if that browser is not available, firefox. On Windows the default value is iexplore.exe.

If the directory containing the executable program is not in your system PATH environment variable, you must include the full path to the executable in this variable.

All

Softimage

SI_HOME

The location where the Softimage program files are installed, for example, C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack.

It is important to declare SI_HOME at the beginning of the environment script because it is referenced in the environment variables that follow throughout the script.

All

Softimage

SI_IMAGE_PATH

The location of shared libraries for image manipulation required by certain standalones.

This variable should be set to the /sil subfolder of the directory specified by XSI_BINDIR.

If SI_IMAGE_PATH is not set, then by default the /Application/bin/sil subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME is checked for the required libraries. That value is also set by default in setenv.bat on Windows and .xsi_2011 on Linux.

All

Softimage

SI_LINKTAB_LOCATION

The location of the linktab file.

This file maps between the equivalent Windows and UNIX paths for textures and other external scene files when working on a mixed network.

SI_LINKTAB_LOCATION can define both the path and file name or just the path; if no file name is explicitly set, Softimage assumes the name is linktab.ini.

All

Softimage

SI_OGL13TEXTURE_FLOAT_INTERNAL_FORMAT

If you are having difficulty displaying float or half-float texture images defined in a realtime render tree using the OGL13Texture node, you can manually set a size-specific internal texture format with the SI_OGL13TEXTURE_FLOAT_INTERNAL_FORMAT environment variable. You must specify an integer value for the format that you require.

For example:

set SI_OGL13TEXTURE_FLOAT_INTERNAL_FORMAT=34836

Where GL_RGBA_FLOAT32_ATI 0x8814 is expressed as the integer 34836 (this is the default setting).

Note that not all OpenGL implementations support all the available internal texture formats. Requesting a format does not mean that your texture is guaranteed to be stored in this format. Your OpenGL implementation will give the most appropriate internal texture format available and this may result in a size-specific format that provides less or more precision than you requested.

All

Softimage

SI_TXT_EDITOR_ENV

The external text editor used to edit expressions. On Linux, it is also used when you right-click on an HTML page in Netview and choose View Source.

The default value is notepad.exe on Windows, xterm -e vi on Linux.

Note that no error message is given if Softimage cannot find the editor defined for this environment variable. Check for typing errors or that the editor does actually exist on your system.

All

Softimage

SI_USERHOME

The location of various user-specific Softimage files on Linux.

The default is the Softimage subdirectory of your home directory.

Linux

Softimage

SICOREPATH

The location of some required libraries.

This variable should be set to the Application/bin subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

Do not modify this value.

Linux

Softimage

SPDLDISABLECACHE

Disables SPDL caching and forces a reload of the SPDL file for each use.

This variable may be useful if you are doing heavy development work with scripted operator presets or other plug-ins that use SPDL, such as shaders.

To turn off SPDL caching define the environment variable as follows:

set SPDLDISABLECACHE=1

Setting this variable may slow down the running of Softimage, so it is not recommended for machines that are actively being used for production.

Note that it is also possible to reload SPDL files manually or by using the Softimage object model.

All

Softimage

STORMPATH

The location of some required libraries.

This variable should be set to the Application/bin subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

Do not modify this value.

Linux

Softimage

SUMATRAPATH

The location of some required libraries.

This variable should be set to the Application/bin subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

Do not modify this value.

Linux

Softimage

SYSTEMDRIVE

The drive on which Windows is installed.

Softimage uses this variable to define XSI_USERROOT on Windows systems.

SYSTEMDRIVE is set by Windows and should not be changed.

Windows

System

USERNAME

The current user name on Windows.

Softimage uses this variable to define XSI_USERROOT on Windows systems.

USERNAME is set by Windows and should not be changed.

Windows

System

XSI_AUDIO_OPENAL_DEVICE

OpenAL is the only supported audio for Softimage on Linux. It uses the default playback device installed on your system, but you can set this environment variable to specify another OpenAL device driver to use. The following values are supported:

" ALSA Software"

" OSS Software"

" PortAudio Software"

" PulseAudio Software"

" Solaris Software"

" Wave File Writer"

" DirectSound Software"

Linux

Softimage

XSI_BINDIR

The location of the Softimage executable binary files.

This variable should be set to the Application/bin subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

Do not modify this value.

All

Softimage

XSI_CACHE_ASCII

Outputs .icecache files in ASCII format. Although this format cannot be read, it can be useful for understanding the format for the purpose of creating plug-ins. To use, set this variable to any value.

All

Softimage

XSI_CPU

Identifies the type of CPU in the machine. The CPU type is set during installation.

Do not modify this value.

All

Softimage

XSI_CPU_OPT

Identifies the CPU version in the machine.

The CPU version is auto-detected and set during installation.

Under normal circumstances, you should not modify this value. However, you can force Softimage to use p3 instead of p4 binaries by setting XSI_CPU_OPT to “linux-x86-p3” instead of “linux-x86-p4” (Linux) or “nt-x86-p3” instead of “nt-x86-p4” (Windows). You also need to disable the autodection in the environment script.

All

Softimage

XSI_CURVER_HOME

The path to the default version of Softimage used when double-clicking on .scn files. This variable can be set using the Softimage Chooser application.

All

Softimage

XSI_CURVER_VERSION

The version number of the version of Softimage used when double-clicking on .scn files. This variable can be set using the Softimage Chooser application.

All

Softimage

XSI_CUSTOM_BUFFERED_IO

Controls the buffering for saving files. It will not affect the contents of the saved scenes or files, but only affect how the data is buffered during the persistence process.

0 turns off XSI_CUSTOM_BUFFERED_IO

1 turns on XSI_CUSTOM_BUFFERED_IO

The default is on.

Performance is known to improve by turning off the custom buffered IO in certain situations:

• Machines saving locally on Windows

• Machines running 64-bit Windows saving to another Windows server.

Performance is known to drop by turning off the custom buffered IO when saving to a Linux SAMBA server.

All

Softimage

XSI_DSPRESETS

The location of factory shader presets. This is set at runtime and should not be changed.

All

Softimage

XSI_EMULATE_OPENGL

Specifies the version of OpenGL to use when starting Softimage. For example:

XSI_EMULATE_OPENGL=1.4

Runs Softimage without support for Vertex Buffer Objects.

XSI_EMULATE_OPENGL=1.5

Runs Softimage with support for Vertex Buffer Objects (as for all versions above 1.5).

XSI_EMULATE_OPENGL=2.1

The highest OpenGL version supported by Softimage 7.01.

All

Softimage

XSI_EXT

Identifies the file name extension used by shared libraries.

This value should be dll on Windows or so on Linux.

All

Softimage

XSI_FORCE_SHADER_RENESTING_DURING_LOAD

Fixes a problem where shaders connected to the material node have disappeared in the render tree, even though they are still visible in the explorer.

You should set this variable to 1 before loading and saving affected scenes. After you have fixed a scene, unset the variable because it slows down scene loading.

All

Softimage

XSI_GTK_INIT_ON_STARTUP

Performs gtk_init() when Softimage starts up. This can avoid some compatibility problems with plug-ins that use the GTK library.

To activate it, set this variable to any value. The default is unset.

Linux

Softimage

XSI_HOME

The location where the Softimage program files are installed, for example, C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Softimage 2011 Subscription Advantage Pack or /usr/Softimage/Softimage_2011_Subscription_Advantage_Pack.

All

Softimage

XSI_LOG_LOAD_TIME

Logs the load times for installed libraries and plug-ins at startup. This can be useful for diagnosing problems with long startup times when launching Softimage.

To activate logging load times, set this variable to 1.

All

Softimage

XSI_LOG_LOAD_TIME_FILE

Logs the load times for installed libraries and plug-ins to a file. This variable must be used in conjunction with XSI_LOG_LOAD_TIME.

To activate logging load times to file, set this variable to a path and file name, for example, C:\xsiloadlog.txt.

All

Softimage

XSI_NO_DEFAULT_SHADERS

Allows you to open the preset manager and the render tree Node menu without any of the default factory shaders being displayed. This is usefull if you have a complete library of custom shaders and these are the only shaders that you want to work with in the render tree.

All

Softimage

XSI_NO_VSYNC

Disables any attempt by Softimage to set or query the vertical synch option for your graphics card.

The Sync Redraw to Display (v-sync) preference instructs Softimage to query the video card and switch the vertical sync on or off. For more information about v-sync and display performance, see Troubleshooting Viewing Problems [Interface and Tools].

The Synch Redraw to Display (v-synch) preference is available on Windows systems only, and does not work with all display cards and drivers. If you are experiencing problems with your video card, you can disable the Synch Redraw to Display (v-synch) preference by setting the XSI_NO_VSYNC environment variable. Set the variable to any value (Softimage will check for its existence).

Note that if Softimage detects an NVIDIA GeForce-based video card, the Sync Redraw to Display (v-sync) preference is ignored: Softimage will not attempt to switch the video card’s v-sync on or off regardless of the preference or environment settings.

Windows

Softimage

XSI_NOSIGNAL_CATCHING

Removes all signal trapping which disables Softimage’s automatic crash recovery mechanism on Linux. This allows the system to produce a core dump file so that you can debug plug-ins more easily. You must also enable the core dump mechanism on Linux, by typing the following in a csh shell:

limit coredumpsize unlimited

To disable signal trapping and Softimage’s crash recovery on Linux, set this environment variable to any value.

The environment variable overrides the Enable Crash Recovery option set in the Data Management preferences.

Linux

Softimage

XSI_NOSTD_REDIRECT

Outputs printf messages to the console rather than redirecting them to Softimage’s command log. This may be useful when debugging plug-ins using printf on Linux.

To activate console output, set this variable to any value.

Linux

Softimage

XSI_OPERATOR_EVALUATION_TRACKING

Provides low-level access to the operator trace. As an alternative to using this environment variable, see Analyzing Scene Performance and Memory [Data Management].

Prints the operator ID and the time span for computing each operator called during a Softimage session to the script editor history pane.

The following output shows that the computation inside the secondaryshapemarker took about 4 milliseconds (54.30355 - 50.33573), but a total of about 50 ms to pull all its inputs:

All

Softimage

secondaryshapemarker<15907>, BeginEval {
  animationmarker<15906>, BeginEval {
  shapemarker<15905>, BeginEval {
  modelingmarker<15904>, BeginEval {
  customop<4513>, BeginEval {
  customop<4513>, } EndEval, EvalTimeMs:37.85397, itself:37.85397
  modelingmarker<15904>, } EndEval, EvalTimeMs:41.98550, itself:4.13153
  shapemarker<15905>, } EndEval, EvalTimeMs:46.04496, itself:4.05946
  animationmarker<15906>, } EndEval, EvalTimeMs:50.33573, itself:4.29077
secondaryshapemarker<15907>, } EndEval, EvalTimeMs:54.30355, itself:3.96782

Custom operators should take between 4 and 10 ms to compute. In some cases you can speed up the computation of custom operators by recompiling them in C++. The optimization can be particularly good for custom operators that modify geometry or cluster properties.

The operator ID (customop<4513>) can be cut and pasted into the object-selection text box in Softimage’s main command panel to quickly locate and select the operator in the scene hierarchy.

The data can also be put into a spreadsheet and sorted to identify, for example, how many operators of a certain type are computed or which are the most expensive operators in the evaluation sequence.

To set operator evaluation tracking, set XSI_OPERATOR_EVALUATION_TRACKING to 1. To unset it, set it to the empty string.

 

 

XSI_PLAYER

The native player used for flipbooks on Linux.

If this variable is not set, the default is mplayer.

Linux

Softimage

XSI_PLUGINS

A location where Softimage looks for self-installing plug-ins and SPDL files on start-up, in addition to the standard factory, workgroup, and user locations. Use semicolons to separate multiple paths.

The recommended location for self-installing plug-ins is within a workgroup. Set alternative path locations using XSI_PLUGINS only for special cases.

All

Softimage

XSI_PRELOAD_DLLS_LIST

The location of the file containing the list of libraries (dlls /.so) you want to preload at startup (one library listed per line).

All

Softimage

XSI_SHAVEINSTANCES

You can set the environment variable XSI_SHAVEINSTANCES to control the number of hair (shave) instances used when you need to split the hair generation into batches for rendering.

There is support for up to 8 hair (shave) instances, which is the default.

All

Softimage

XSI_USERHOME

The location of version-specific user files for Softimage. The default is a version-specific subfolder of the directory specified by XSI_USERROOT.

All

Softimage

XSI_USERROOT

The user’s home directory.

This must be a unique location for each specific user. Softimage creates an /Autodesk/Softimage_2011_Subscription_Advantage_Pack folder in this directory for storing custom scripts, toolbars, preferences, presets, and other personal Softimage files in various subfolders.

On Linux, XSI_USERROOT is set to the user’s $HOME directory by default.

On Windows XP and earlier systems, XSI_USERROOT is created by Softimage. The default value is:

%SystemDrive%\users\%USERNAME%

On Windows Vista, the default value is:

%USERPROFILE%

which is normally %SystemDrive%\users\%USERNAME% anyway.

By default, XSI_USERROOT is set to a local drive. However if individual users often move between machines or work on several machines each, then you may want to set XSI_USERROOT to a user directory on the network, for example:

set XSI_USERROOT=\\server\users\%USERNAME%

Because multiple users cannot share the same user directory, make sure you include the current user name (%USERNAME%) in the variable definition.

You also need to change the setenv.bat file on all applicable machines. Note that the shared drive on the server must have read and write permissions.

Note: use a workgroup to share plug-ins and add-ons across multiple machines. Do not share a user’s home directory for this purpose.

All

Softimage

XSISDK_ROOT

The location of the Softimage SDK files.

By default, this is the XSISDK subfolder of the directory specified by SI_HOME.

All

Softimage

 



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