In this tutorial, we will be taking a detailed look at each of the Data Access nodes found in Softimage's Interactive Creative Environment. Each video in this course is a self-contained tutorial centering on one of the nodes found in ICE within Softimage. This means that these tutorials can be viewed in any order you wish, allowing you to jump straight to the content that is most relevant to you. These tutorials will take a detailed look at each of the nodes found within the Data Access section of ICE, and we'll learn how they can be used to speed up our workflow. Software required: Softimage 7 and higher.
Introduction and Project Overview The Cache on File Node will cache your ICE results by writing out attributes like position or color to your hard drive, and it'll give you the ability to read and apply them to your ICE Tree at a later point in time. This node can be very useful, from saving time and preventing re-simulation. Now let's take a look at basic workflow for the Cache on File Node. First, we need to create a particle simulation of some kind, so go the Model Menu and drop in, use the Get Primitive Menu and drop in any poly mesh, I'll go with the grid, and now let's go to Simulate, ICE, Create, Emit Particles from Selection, hit the Play button, ICE particles come up, no problem at all. Now let's randomize these colored particles, you'll randomize these particles here, so we have random colors, alright. Go the Emit from Surface Node, and connect a randomize color node inside of the initial color value port. Connect it like so, hit play, we have some random color particles coming up, let's go to the Randomize Color here, increase the mean value, so we get brighter results. Try just a little bit more, alright, there we go. Now let's introduce the Cache on File Node, drag and drop it in, it will come in with current frame node, that way it will know when to use what frame of your cache, now the best place to connect this Cache on File Node, is at the end of your ICE Tree. So connect it as the last port in ICE Tree, and when you hit Play, at first, nothing is going to happen, that's because your Cache on File Node is not set to do anything. The file mode is set to do nothing, you either want to write it to your hard drive, save it, basically, or you want to read from it, so you can apply it to your current ICE Tree. Let's go ahead and select the Save option, and rerun this. You'll notice the playback will be a little bit slower, and that's because it's writing individual cache files to your hard drive, alright. Once you have that done, here's the cool thing about this, we can disconnect the emission and the simulation nodes, and change the Cache File Mode to read from file. We'll still get our simulation results, because these were written to our hard drive, now we're just getting that data back into our ICE Tree. So as you can see, hit Play, and you can basically jump across, or a cache, or read your cache results. You have some other options in here, such as choosing where you want to save it, and how you want to blend it, and so on, and so forth, what you want to read, et cetera, et cetera. This node becomes very useful when you're dealing with intensive particle simulations, or any simulation, for that matter, that takes a very long time to solve, this will just basically store your end results, so you can read them at a later time. This node is also useful for ensuring you get the proper result, no matter which system you're running off of. So be sure to use this node to cache your data for when you need it.