New Vex Operators (Vops) Allow Artists To Interactively Build Custom Shaders And Effects Without Complex Code Scripting

May 14, 2002 - Toronto, ON - Side Effects Software announced today the upcoming Version 5.5 release of the award-winning Houdini 3D software. Houdini 5.5 includes a host of powerful new features that secure Houdini's leadership role in product innovation for the 3D marketplace. Version 5.5 reinforces Side Effects Software's commitment to boosting productivity and streamlining workflow for Houdini artists with VOPs, a powerful, interactive node-based shader and effects builder. Houdini 5.5 also features an expanded Shader Gallery, a new compositor, a drag-and-drop interface, simplified installation and keying, and enhanced character and animation tools.

Houdini has long been embraced for the flexibility and workflow customization it affords professional 3D artists. This industry recognition has been due, in part, to Houdini's unique VEX scripting language, enabling artists to write code for custom plug-ins and shaders to enhance 3D modeling, animation and rendering. Houdini 5.5 provides a workflow breakthrough, making it much easier for artists to build customization into the application without any programming knowledge. VOPs provide a visual and interactive interface to the VEX language, allowing artists to fully explore a library of over 250 pre-built nodes to create custom Shader Operators (SHOPs), Particle Operators (POPs), Composite Operators (COPs), Surface Operators (SOPs), and Channel Operators (CHOPs). VOPs technology will also be supported within Houdini Select, the $1999.00 (US) professional 3D application from Side Effects Software.

"With the addition of VOPs, we are providing an intuitive interface for all artists to develop and manipulate very advanced shaders and effects without having to write code", explained Paul Salvini, Side Effects Software CTO. "Our library of VOPs contains a wide range of common functions and useful materials like fire, concrete, skin and metal. Because these shaders and effects are built with nested procedural networks, artists can easily manipulate them visually. Many artists have asked for the ability to interactively edit shaders, and we're happy to be able to deliver a tool that enables both shaders and effects to be built in the same intuitive manner. Moreover, VEX operators are easy to share, which will make them very popular given the strong sense of community among Houdini artists."

Additionally, Houdini 5.5 features a greatly expanded Shader Gallery, adding more editable, production-ready shaders written to take advantage of VOPs. The upgrade also features COPs, Houdini's new compositor with significant productivity and speed enhancements. The compositor's brand-new architecture has been optimized for film, and includes support for deep rasters and multi-threading. Other Houdini 5.5 improvements include drag-and-drop support throughout the interface, simplified installation and keying with automated web-based license generation, new video-based training materials, and enhanced character and animation tools.

Side Effects Software is currently shipping Houdini 5; the Houdini 5.5 update is currently in the beta testing phase. Houdini 5.5 will be available for general release in Q3 of 2002. For more information about Houdini pricing and availability, please visit, or call (310) 319-9876.