Houdini 12.5 Released with Ocean and Cloud FX Tools

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  03 March 2013
But do they have a grease pencil?
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by wizlon: But do they have a grease pencil?

Nice one. I can see the irony Wizlon...grease pencil? phhhht. Of all the features a 3D app could have, some think grease pencil is what they should implement in a major yearly release.
But guess what, with vex or vops, any average Houdini user(not necessarily a Houdini guru) can get one done in houdini in record time. I am not very sure but based on my 1 year experience of Houdini, I can bet a couple on that.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by wizlon: But do they have a grease pencil?

I wish it did to be honest. Houdini is really lacking in animation workflow and intuitiveness. I get that it is a fx td's wet dream but as an animator it offers me little.
  03 March 2013
regarding character animation, houdini character work became easy once i'd found a quick tut on the features and setup.


i knew what i was looking for, but as you know, those features are not readily apparent. they are there, but i did need the vid to show me where they all were.

then after this tut at cmi i had quite a lot of fun in the houdini character context.


what was key in that one is this animator's workflow during a simple walk cycle.

axis did some pretty amazing work on dead island with the houdini facial rig setup.


the axis guys talk a bit about it here:


lastly, the mixamo animation tools work well with houdini.

the siggraph demo with them was pretty impressive to me.


  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by SheepFactory: I wish it did to be honest. Houdini is really lacking in animation workflow and intuitiveness. I get that it is a fx td's wet dream but as an animator it offers me little.

I've used it a bit for animation recently, and while I'm not a pro, I didn't find it that bad, and there's a lot of really powerful stuff you can do with it once you realize how to make use of CHOPs to alter and blend keyframes. I'd be genuinely curious what you didn't like or found missing.

As for the rest of the release, there's some *really* cool stuff in there, the volumetric stuff looks really cool. Great job Sidefx!
  03 March 2013
Finding Houdini Very Capable

If you come from a Maya or Softimage (or even 3ds Max) perspective, the "Houdini Way" may seem a little odd, and off-putting at times. Believe me, I am with you. Or, at least I was until fairly recently. I have been animating and teaching for almost 18 years, and have been around since 3ds Max 1.5. I have used Softimage 3.8, Maya since 2.0, XSI since version 4 (and really falling in love with its elegant systems) and am currently using Maya and Houdini as my main teaching tools, with a little sprinkle of Soft for good measure. I can tell you that although I haven't thought of Houdini as primarily a character animation tool, I am really starting to find myself being won over by the flexibility its system offers me. Just a few things come to mind:
1. The channel window (curve editor) is one of the best I have come to use. It is so easy to control the angles, weights of each of the curves, nothing I've used comes close. You can pin up channels and group them, group individual keys, and I keep finding more to like about it.
2. It is so easy to control sets of channels on any object by doing some simple expressions. The possibilities are endless, and the more I use Houdini, the more I find Maya's system to be downright clumsy in comparison. My caveat is that I do most of these things in Soft, so I perhaps don't know all the tricks that the big studio riggers use.
3. The rigging system is amazing. I can rig up a biped and quadraped in a fraction of the time it would take me in Maya or Soft, even using some of the rigging systems out there. The results using Houdini's built in muscle system make the most difficult areas (shoulders, armpits and groin) deform in the most reliable way. Skin weighting to bones seems like living in the dark ages. And, if you would like, the muscle system is also realiable and rocket fast. I don't want to compare it to Maya's muscle system, but didn't they just take that from Mike Comet? Thanks Mike, by the way. Miss you at our user groups in Schaumburg.
4. Blend shapes. You can do just about anything you want with these. Go nuts. Build yourself something amazing. It's flexible and no nodes are hidden. Hard to screw it up. Believe me, I've tried.
5. Motion FX and Chops. You can do so many incredible things with these systems that it would take pages to talk through them completely. Maybe not for character animation per se, but attach hoses and pipes and bits of dangly things from your mech creature, and you are in for a real treat.Nothing simulated. All procedural, which really speeds things up.
6. The cloth system is nothing to sneeze at, and the hair system is one of the best in the industry. It's built in and is used by the big boys.
7. You get to render in Mantra. And, it's built in. And, you get lots and lots of render nodes. All for the price that matches Maya (or really beats it). No more Mental Delay. I'm done with that noise for good.
Okay, there is no motion mixing or layering system that's built and ready to go like Maya, but really, didn't it take Trax a few versions to become really ready for prime time?
Don't get me wrong, Maya is a great tool and used by some damn talented folks. With some python scripting, you can make it do some really great things. LOTR, Hobbit, Transformers, etc, etc. It's an incredible tool. The great thing is, you can send your stuff to Houdini via Alembic and add all the goodies on top of that. It's a great workflow. I still love Softimage for its simplicity and elegant design. But, some people find the software that just "clicks", and I'm finding that this is becoming my favorite tool that just about does everything I want it to do. And, at a price of $99, it's a great way for my students to start producing great looking work right off the bat. And, for just over 4 grand (including a year's worth of updates) it's a genuine all in one bargain. Heck, Cinema 4D costs as much. And, Sidefx sends out updates on a regular basis, not just once every few months.
Anyway, thanks for letting me ramble on a bit. I'm passionate about Houdini these days, and from the looks of my students when they saw version 12.5 came out, the enthusiasm is really starting to build in my classrooms.
Awesome site. I hope to hang around here much more often.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by JimCrafton: I'd be genuinely curious what you didn't like or found missing.

I love Houdini but one nagging thing that stops me from investing a ton of time into rigging/animating in it, is the lack of maya/softimage style constraints.

I know you can use a blend node for most cases, but it involves parenting and hierarchy changes which isn't possible during animation. I use constraints a lot during animation for simple ground contact, or just on-the-fly rigging to work around gimbal issues/prop issues/baking down, etc. They're such a versatile and important part of my animation workflow that I'd love to know of a good work around in Houdini, besides pre-rigging every single control to have an extra blend node or two build in just in case I need to pin the ctrl or something.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by tuna: I love Houdini but one nagging thing that stops me from investing a ton of time into rigging/animating in it, is the lack of maya/softimage style constraints.

and from your awesome site:
Quote: Looking into other display modes for pre/selection highlighting. Wireframe is an ugly and boldly intrusive way of showing that youíve got something selected. Iím not sure how I can change this though. Maybe openGL shaders? Begging sideFX?

Just demand both! Seriously, they love it. SESI is always welcome for critic comments. One of the reason Houdini rigging toolkit is so unpolished is a lack of feedback from riggers. Tools were introduced many years ago (bones, then muscles, autorig finally), but since there is not enough feedback from advanced users, they don't touch it. One thing that bothers me personally is how viewport and handles discourage animators from using Houdini. They look like they wanted to puke when you ask them to to this. Now, from a rigging point of view there is not much to be complain about, right? That's pathetic.
  03 March 2013
i think that Houdini is the only apps today who have the potential to compete with maya as the core application of an animation workflow. When i say that i only talk about the foundation of the software, houdini has the technicity and the modularity that could allow very complex rig, cloth sims , muscle sims , hair and fur , reading of huge quantity of data etc ...

The thing that block this scenario is the UI and how they manage to expose the level of complexity to each type of artist ( modeller / animator / lighter / rigger / fx ...).

I really think that in CG you really have to make happy both your Artist and your Technical guys. Houdini is compose of 2 package Houdini FX and Houdini. Houdini FX is just a perfect package for any TD (lookdev/rigging/fx/crowd ...) i really love the UI as an FX TD. But when i want to make any modeling or Animation i prefer to switch to Maya. Not because it has better tool, it is just that for simple task you don't need to overexpose evrything.

It's like coding in Python or in C. When you need the low level power you go C, when you need to go fast for simple task you go Python.

I don't believe so much in compromise, so houdini doesn't need to be more user friendly , cause simplification of the process and the UI will create frustration of the initial H users .

But what would be really great is to have
- one core that share the same function and all the same VEX op
- 2 product that are at the end exactly the same , but with 2 different UI
1> Houdini TD => excactly as it is today with the exact same philosophy where riggers , fx guys and lookdev artist would be able to create their assets with all the low level power
2> Houdini Artist => which would be a 100% artist friendly UI where you only load .OTL publish by the TD's and use them in a very simple way

This is sort of what happen today in big companies where senior FX TD create complex FX setup in Houdini FX, then junior guys use those setup in Houdini. But if you take this basic idea of creating technical stuff in a technical environment, and open the result in a user friendly environment. the only thing that must be create is a new UI.

And to me the best UI in a 3D apps is still maya, with marking menus , shelves , easy script , hotbox, unfolding panel in att editor, qwerty layout for shortcuts etc .... so a good source of inspiration i guess

Last edited by SebKaine : 03 March 2013 at 10:03 AM.
  03 March 2013
After version 9, Houdini became more artist friendly. I'm not sure if it's the right thing to give it another try just to appeal to artits (given its TD userbase), but if there was a way to turn it into a very artist+TD friendly app, it would totally overtake the industry (except for hand crafted character animation) Till then users like me will probably be a lifetime apprentice without any hope to become a H jedi. (FLIP tears alarm)

Regardless, H is the ultimate 3d app by far out there and H12.5 looks like a cool update.
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex & more violent..." Einstein
  03 March 2013
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