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Side Effects Software is pleased to announce the release of Houdini 8.1. This new version features an animator-friendly Auto Rig, Muscle System, Character Picker and Pose Library. Enhancements to the Rigid Body and Wire dynamic solvers and support for the importing of Collada files are also included in this latest release.

Animator-friendly rigging tools

The highlights of Houdini 8.1 include character tools like the Auto Rig and Muscle System. With the Auto Rig, animators can quickly create production-quality biped rigs with high-level, easy-to-use controls, such as FK/IK switching. Set up as Houdini Digital Assets, these rigs provide a robust referencing scheme that makes it easy to propagate changes throughout a production. Proxy geometry can be easily added to the animation rig and put into production right away while the riggers work on a separate capture rig to define surface deformations.

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Creating a realistic muscle and skin system is easy with Houdini’s new metaball capture and metaball-based muscle tool. Now animators can set up skin sliding and muscle deformations without relying on lengthy simulations. The results work in real time and allow muscles to become an integral part of the animation process. These character tools, along with the Character Picker and Pose Library, are also featured in Houdini Escape. Houdini Escape provides an excellent platform for lighting, rendering and compositing and is an ideal solution for riggers and animators, while Houdini Master is the industry leader for visual effects.

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Compositing Tools Now in Houdini Escape

With Houdini 8.1, Side Effects Software has also announced that all of Houdini’s compositing features are now included in Houdini Escape. This is to support the lighting workflow, especially the management and post-processing of render passes. Houdini Master has always included these compositing features, which are also used in the creation of visual effects sequences.

Enhanced Interoperability with Collada

For artists who want to bring their work from other 3D animation packages into Houdini, Houdini 8.1 includes support for the import of Collada files. Collada (www.collada.org) is an open digital asset exchange schema for interactive 3D applications and is quickly being adopted throughout the industry. Houdini 8.1 supports the import of geometry, lights, cameras, transformations and keyframe animation through Collada. Animated character rigs can also be imported as a hierarchy of keyframed null objects that can be used with Houdini 8.1’s new muscle tools.

Wire and RBD Dynamics

Houdini 8.1 also features advancements in Dynamics tools, with a significantly faster Wire solver and a new Rigid Body auto-freeze feature. Houdini’s Dynamics environment lets users integrate Rigid Body, Cloth and Wire solvers into a single unified simulation, and includes unique capabilities such as RBD glue. Houdini's advanced physical simulation technology is consistently used by leading visual effects houses in the creation of blockbusters like Superman Returns, X-Men: The Last Stand, Poseidon and many more.

Master Houdini for Less

To coincide with the release of Houdini 8.1, Side Effects Software is also announcing two great opportunities to save when choosing to buy or rent Houdini Master. Learn more….