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Ethervoid
12-19-2012, 05:29 PM
Hi. I know Max, Maya, Z-Brush, Mudbox, Solidworks, Modo, fiddled with C4D and XSI. Houdini's procedural paradigm looks quite interesting, although i think its agreeable it has its shortcomings on modeling and the need for learning some expression writing, at least from what i'm seeing in Sidefx's tutorials. From all those programs i already learned it seems that Houdini would be a beast to learn in terms of time and attention to details required to master, although general consensus is also that its a respected knowledge and apparently well payed.

So i am wondering if, for someone wanting to start a career in CG right now, it pays off to invest the time required learning Houdini, or if it is the type or program that you only use in specific situations (like heavy sims and procedural modeling for time reasons), making it a tool you learn it only when you need it and i'd do better off improving on the ones i already know.

PS - Why is Hou the go-to for complex scenes that Maya apparently can't handle ? Can't MEL and Python make it do literally anything? Any specific example on some vfx shot where it HAD to be Houdini?

arctor
12-20-2012, 08:25 PM
if you're interested in Hoduini grab a copy of the free Apprentice Edition and have a look through the first steps tutorials at the Side Effects site...if you like it keep on truckin' if not, no big deal...

"...the need for learning some expression writing"
VERY limited...
most of the time you're dragging one parameter onto another and that's it...at most you're writing something like sin($F/12)*3 - you will use 0.1% of the code that you NEED to use in Maya.

mastery of Houdini does take a long time, and it does have a steeper learning curve than most programs, not because it's hard but because it's just different - if Houdini was your first application it would be much easier.

I'd say take it for a spin over the holidays and see for yourself...do some of the tutorials and see where Houdini might benefit you...or not.

"Can't MEL and Python make it do literally anything? "
no.
Houdini for the most part doesn't need any coding in order to get things done.

Ethervoid
12-20-2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks, have been doing that, so far i am enjoying it, i love the procedural way (Greeble was my favorite toy for Max some years ago) and the infinite possibilities. I'm am getting worried though, that in the time it seems to take to prepare a procedural modeling network, i.e., most traditional modelers would already have the work done. (i know the advantage is in being able to tweak after and propagate it , but with a good pre-production planning isnt it still quick to adjust a traditional mesh?)

Also, if i needed to create detail in that model in Z-Brush or mudbox, i would be losing the "time travel" capability since i'd be needing to export in .obj , so the idea of later changing a variable in the network would be lost no?

My purpose so far is exploring if Hou can replace all my other packages (besides sculpting), and provide me with the same speed and practicality, becoming my "one stop shop", because i'm kind of a jack of all programs and master of none and would like to focus on it , if i can make it "click" :)

arctor
12-20-2012, 10:45 PM
there are not many occasions in real world work where Houdini's procedural modeling come into play...
the usual workflow seems to be
model in maya/zbrush/etc
animate in maya
export to houdini - etc etc

where H's power lies is in it's ability to build a system that can take ANY geometry (for eg) and "do" whatever to it...Houdini doesn't care...it just bring it in and sends it out...

however...some things can be built in Houdini that can be truly procedural...like a road system or a building...if you have the time and ability to set things up correctly then you can change the shape of the road or the number of floors of the building or the type of windows etc (and ALL of the associated doo-dads) with a slider...and this is something that CANNOT be done in any other package...

in my work (mostly character rigging/character finaling) I can build tools that allow me to take an animated character and make corrections etc...then if the animation changes I just feed that new animated mesh into the tool and everything just works...I often don't have to do much more than that, again, not something that is as easy to do in another app...
imagine this case
model in zbrush
rig in maya and houdini
change the model in zbrush - change the point count or something major
in maya it will take quite a bit of work to get everything working again
in houdini it's a 5 minute update.

Houdini usually requires more time/work at the beginning of a project - but that gives you freedom to adapt to changes throughout the project - esp at the end
most other apps give you really quick turnaround times up front - but most changes require more work to adapt to - if not a re-do to some degree

mr Bob
12-21-2012, 12:46 AM
Hi. I know Max, Maya, Z-Brush, Mudbox, Solidworks, Modo, fiddled with C4D and XSI.

So i am wondering if, for someone wanting to start a career in CG right now, it pays off to invest the time required learning Houdini, or if it is the type or program that you only use in specific situations (like heavy sims and procedural modeling for time reasons), making it a tool you learn it only when you need it and i'd do better off improving on the ones i already know.

PS - Why is Hou the go-to for complex scenes that Maya apparently can't handle ? Can't MEL and Python make it do literally anything? Any specific example on some vfx shot where it HAD to be Houdini?

Well it all depends how smart you are. Learning Houdini and actually being good at it, your never going to be without work. Houdini is now the weapon of choice for FX departments. Only MPC dont seem to use it that I know of. Its just plain better for creating solutions to complex problems without the need for mel or python at every turn. ie in Maya you cannot even build your tool GUI interfaces without mel / python. Houdini can build interfaces on the fly , what a time saver ! .

B

Ethervoid
12-21-2012, 04:26 AM
Thanks all, i think i'm going to bite the bullet and push into Hou. :thumbsup:

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