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From cartoon characters that squash and stretch to hyper-realistic digital creatures, character rigs continue to get more and more sophisticated to meet the growing expectations of audiences. Houdini provides a robust character solution that can be used as part of a visual effect or as a larger animation pipeline.

Character Assets you can rely on. Characters in Houdini are created as Digital Assets that encapsulate all the bones, geometry, deformations, facial poses and even materials. You can then reliably reference your characters into multiple scenes and seamlessly edit and update them as needed.

Production-ready Auto Rig Tools. Created by animators, the Auto Rig tools make it easy to rig up any character. Set up an animation rig in less than an hour with proxy geometry and start animating right away. Capture your actual surface to a separate deform rig that can be plugged in once you have painted capture weights. Biped and quadruped setups are ready to go out-of-the-box while custom auto rigs can be quickly built using a wide variety of both human and animal body part tools.

Interactive Muscles and Skin. Adding realistic muscles and skin to your characters has never been easier. Build up your underlying musculature using metaball-based tools then capture the metaballs to drive the character’s skin. This unique system provides interactive feedback that does not require simulation even for systems built using jiggle and skin sliding.

 

Auto Rig Tools

  • Default toon character that is fully rigged and ready to animate including many facial expressions
  • Quadruped Auto-rig tool
  • Autorig Deform rig comes with simple muscle system that cab be used to capture your geometry
  • Auto-rig body part tools that you can use to build your own custom auto-rigging tools
  • Biped Auto-rig tools let you set up a framework that matches your geometry then quickly generate an animation rig with proxy geometry and a capture rig for binding skin

Bones

  • Bones can be easily parented, split and mirrored to set up complex chains
  • Bones-on-curve tool lets you create evenly spaced bones in a specific shape
  • Default bone geometry can be replaced by custom bone geometry or even proxy geometry from the character to help create fast rigs that are easy to work with

Kinematics

  • Easy to define kinematic solvers for your bone chains
  • Forward Kinematics let you animate the joint rotations of your character’s bones
  • Houdini’s Pose tool gives selected bones a temporary end effector to let you quickly position a Forward Kinematic chain before switching to rotate handles to refine the pose
  • True 3D inverse kinematics that include complete twisting controls
  • Kinematic override gives you access to the Rest positions for all your bones during edits
  • Follow Curve solver links the motion of a bone chain to the shape of a curve
  • Path CVs can be rotated to twist the kinematic solution right down a chain
  • Build stretchy spine setups by sizing bones with an arc length expression and set up an object for controlling the twist of bones down the chain
  • Seamlessly blend between FK and IK
  • Use a blend operation to interpolate between multiple IK solutions

Capturing Geometry

  • Capture procedurally by breaking down the capturing, painting of weights and deforming of the geometry into distinct nodes
  • Bones can be used to capture surfaces using either a capture region method that makes it possible to update the capture geometry procedurally and the more well known proximity method
  • Direct access to the capture pose through a kinematic override
  • Paint capture weights on surfaces and save out the attribute information with the captured surface to re-use it in other files that share the same bone setup
  • Capture weight blending makes it possible to add new bones and have the new capture blended with the existing setup

Deformation and Muscles

  • Create realistic muscle deformations with skin sliding using metaball-based muscles
  • Use muscle control handles to sculpt your muscles quickly and easily
  • Intuitive Blendshape controls let you easily animate the interpolation between multiple targets
  • Wire Deform a surface by capturing points with a curve and then animating it’s shape
  • Inflate tool utilizes muscle and bone geometry to shape and define your character’s skin

Productivity Tools

  • AttribComposite tool lets you easily composite capture weights painted by different riggers on the same model
  • Attribute Mirror tool lets you quickly mirror capture weights and other attributes across your geometry
  • Attribute Transfer tool lets you quickly transfer capture weight and UV information to other models
  • Match Topology tool lets you match point numbers of two pieces of geometry with the same point count, and shape