Announcing the Houdini Engine with experimental Maya and Unity Plug-ins

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  07 July 2013
Yeah max would be sooo great!! Please make it happen!
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  07 July 2013
Never used Houdin before but this demonstration of the workflow in Unity makes it seem smooth for creation of params. There has been a lot of mystery surroundng the new Mecanim featire and how to transfer animation successfuly into Unity for its use. Other than Mixamo I have not seen a successful demonstration of this by a casual creator. How is the support for animation frames transfer and morphs. Is there baking involved? I'm sure Blender has already got a pretty good workflow as it seems to work well with Unity but can't say for sure where things stand...
 
  07 July 2013
Not cool man. You are giving the guys at Autodesk one more reason to be lazy, or one more reason to buy you out.

Jokes apart, this is some majorly impressive stuff. I can't wait to try it out. Also, will this be available for us poor guys who use the free version of houdini?
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  07 July 2013
I think this super cool, but also a bit of a run around.

It seems like Houdini itself is just being used as a Node-Based editor, and then you export that node hierarchy to a file, load it into Unity. But the thing about that is, Unity has the ability to create very comprehensive custom node-based systems entirely in it's own UI. I don't see why you couldn't control the 'Houdini Engine' directly from a custom built node system inside the Unity UI itself. Having to go back to Houdini just to use it as an external node-based editor seems like bad workflow, and something that is done only to sell licenses of Houdini. Plus what if I wanted to control things from code? Build new effects at runtime in a game? Having it be a system that is only fully controllable from Houdini lowers its potential value. Which is fine that they want money for there system and all, but they are charging a strict premium, a full houdini license, for a system that has it's workflow purposely gimped just to sell the licenses. I would much prefer SideFX integrate the Houdini engine directly into Unity, have it's API's be open to C# and be fully controllable inside Unity via a node-based editor in Unity, then they just put that on the Asset Store for like $500 or something.
 
  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by techmage: .
Having to go back to Houdini just to use it as an external node-based editor seems like bad workflow, and something that is done only to sell licenses of Houdini.


You say this, as if it's a bad thing? They are a software company selling a product. And, this is an interesting method they've chosen. I'm skeptical of their success with it, but happy to see some sales innovation without the word cloud in it.

Originally Posted by techmage: I would much prefer SideFX integrate the Houdini engine directly into Unity, have it's API's be open to C# and be fully controllable inside Unity via a node-based editor in Unity, then they just put that on the Asset Store for like $500 or something..


So, you would much prefer, Sidefx charge less money for the plugin (obviously lose money here), and then further integrate the plugin so that Houdini Master is not needed at all (lose major $money), oh and also, to further invest in an API, for the massive charge of $500? Now, I don't work at Sidefx, but if I did, I might feel insulted.
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  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by KidderD: You say this, as if it's a bad thing? They are a software company selling a product. And, this is an interesting method they've chosen. I'm skeptical of their success with it, but happy to see some sales innovation without the word cloud in it.

So, you would much prefer, Sidefx charge less money for the plugin (obviously lose money here), and then further integrate the plugin so that Houdini Master is not needed at all (lose major $money), oh and also, to further invest in an API, for the massive charge of $500? Now, I don't work at Sidefx, but if I did, I might feel insulted.


I didn't think the plugin had a price on it, just that you had to buy Houdini to utilize it.

And ya I do think they should fully integrate the Houdini Engine into Unity and remove the need for a Houdini license to fully control it. Theres a few reasons for this:

- Unity is largely a 3D Programming IDE, alot of people want to see it as a 3D application, but really it's more like a programming IDE that just has the ability to display and hook things up to 3D assets. Having a procedural plugin that only lets itself be fully controlled by a completely seperate application is really incongruent to this. It's cool that I can make some kind of procedural chunk of something in Houdini and import it, and to someone who only works with 3D assets that might seem sufficient. But as a programmer, if I can't interface and fully control a plugin programmatically I don't see the point.

- Unity is meant to be a fully integrated enviroment, with everything you need existing within and controllable from only Unity for the sake of workflow. Unity is all about workflow. The Unity editor API is set up to be really easy to make your own editor interfaces that run inside unity. Having to go to a completely seperate application to control some component of your scene is really incongruent to the Unity philosophy of design.

From the perspective of someone who programs in Unity, and in comparison to the other plugins available. This seems like a very limited plugin that is implemented in a manner not in line with the design philosophies of Unity, and all for the price of $2000. Which no Unity plugin is ever more than $300.

I think the Houdini Engine looks really cool, and I think it's brilliant they turned their core procedural engine into something that can be plugged into any application, but I don't think it will be very popular in the unity community the way it's currently being presented.
 
  07 July 2013
Maybe not for Unity, but Houdini is popular on the VFX realm for sure, so it is like having something even more powerful than ICE, totally parametric and nodal, and good to be plugged in Maya AND other DCC applications. Not bad at all.
As for game market is a really huge one so it is a good move going for Unity support as well. If not, it could be plugged for into other applications.
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  07 July 2013
Originally Posted by techmage: From the perspective of someone who programs in Unity, and in comparison to the other plugins available...


I think your looking at this from entirely the wrong point-of-view, this isn't designed for the programmer creating tools to work specifically in Unity or Maya - why do that when as a programmer you could probably designed and implement a much more focused and robust tool yourself?

This is designed for a technical director to build and create tools and assets in Houdini which can be utilized in any other application by other artists. It also might pay to think of this on a larger scale, where a technical director isn't just doing this for themselves but is instead releasing a tool to hundreds of artists.

They don't specify whether or not you can tap into the API yourself, but I would assume you can as I'm sure a large chunk of their customers who would find this useful would want it to interact with their own in-house applications or off-the-shelf software which isn't Unity or Maya.

I see this as being similar to cortex or fabric-engine - it being a application-agnostic set of libraries and modules which allow for quick and easy tool development.
 
  07 July 2013
what?

Quote: Originally Posted by techmage . Having to go back to Houdini just to use it as an external node-based editor seems like bad workflow, and something that is done only to sell licenses of Houdini.


thats a good one :-) every other tool works like that and now somebody say thats a bad way?
allegorithmic Substancer Designer is a 590$ program and yes node based and external
Speedtree Procedural Tree generator is a 10k - 15k$(per titel) SDK for top tree system and even this one has a external gui system too.
and yes for creating a 3d model you also have to use a external tool(maya, blender, 3ds max...).

it's not a bad way to have a external gui it's the only way to reach big audience, to integrate the houdini gui in to unity cost alot of money and unity dev's wouldn't pay for that. sidefx has got surely intresst to reach more developers then the unity community has. lets wait till they release the first plugin and then we will see what we can do. :-)
 
  07 July 2013
Substance Designer initially was $900, then they dropped it down to $500 and now they have had to release a $99 indie/non-commercial version in order to appeal to the Unity community.

Algorithmic's Bitmap2Material asset on the Unity Asset Store, which actually integrates into unity, is the only thing from them that I see get any real discussion on the Unity forum. Making me assume thats the only item of theirs that gets any real use in unity. Maybe this will change a bit now that substances designer can be had for $99, or $50 now on Steam. But it highlights to me that if your plugin is not well integrated into Unity and less than a few hundred, it's not going to get adoption.

Unity specifically avoided speedtree generator and has their tree system integrated right into it's Unity's UI.

Of course I'm speculating here. But if this plugin comes out working in the same manner the substance designer did, where you have to make things in an external program, then have limited control inside Unity, for $2000, it's not going to catch on with Unity at all. Which if Unity isn't considered a viable target audience thats cool too. But theres been a bit of media from them pointing the direction of Unity so I assume they want Unity to be a target audience.
 
  07 July 2013
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