The Houdini Engine can be accessed using plug-ins built using the Houdini Engine API. The plug-in works in a host application then uses the Engine to cook the results and make them available to the host application. You need to have Houdini software installed on your computer and a valid Houdini, Houdini FX or Houdini Engine license.
Artists can access the Houdini Engine using existing plug-ins for applications such as Autodesk Maya and Unity. Plug-ins for Cinema 4D, 3DS Max, and Unreal are being worked on. Studios can also use the Houdini Engine API to create their own plug-ins for large scale pipeline integration.
The Houdini Engine for Maya plug-in has now been released for use in production. Houdini Engine for Unity is in experimental testing and the Cinema 4D, 3DS Max and Unreal plug-ins will be released for testing in 2014.
The Plug-ins are available for free, however, they do require a Houdini Engine, Houdini or Houdini FX license to run. When the plug-in tries to load a Houdini Digital Asset then an appropriate license is checked out.
Artists with Houdini or Houdini FX licenses will be able to run the Houdini Engine using their existing keys. For artists who only need to work in a host application, a new Houdini Engine license has been created. Houdini Engine workstation licenses will be available for $499 annually while floating licenses for use in a single facility will start at $795 annually. Volume pricing will be available for floating licenses.
The new Houdini Engine license is being merged with the Houdini Batch license so that it can also run batch processes on the farm. Now studios can use one license for both purposes and distribute them as needed. The Houdini Batch license-type will be retired and customers can contact Side Effects about converting them into more versatile Houdini Engine licenses.
As an added bonus, artists will be able to run the Houdini Engine in multiple host applications, such as both Cinema 4D and Maya, making it easier to manage floating licenses. In addition, Houdini Engine licenses will only be acquired when a Houdini Digital Asset is opened in a host to make sure that licenses are not being consumed when the Engine is not in use.
Houdini Engine workstation licenses will be available for $499 annually while floating licenses for use in a single facility will start at $795 annually. Volume pricing will be available for floating licenses.
The Houdini Engine for Maya plug-in will work with Autodesk Maya 2012 or higher. It is available on OSX, Windows and Linux.
Since Maya LT currently does not support plug-ins, Houdini Engine for Maya will not work.
To make it easier for studios to manage multiple licenses, the new Houdini Engine license will have two purposes. First it will run the Houdini Engine inside host applications and second it will run batch processes on the farm. Those batch processes could come from Houdini itself or from a host application using the Engine on the farm.
As long as your studios pipeline is using Houdini 13.0 Build 401 or higher then it is OK to switch all of your Houdini Batch licenses into Houdini Engine. If your pipeline still relies on earlier versions of Houdini then you will need to retain your Houdini Batch licenses.
You can find the Houdini Engine API documentation at http://www.sidefx.com/docs/hengine
Yes, you can access a one-time 30-day trial for Houdini Engine when you first install it. This will give you full access to the features of the Engine. After the 30 days, you will need either a Houdini, Houdini FX or Houdini Engine license to continue.
Houdini Apprentice and Apprentice HD can not be used to run the Houdini Engine.
Houdini Education licenses will run the Engine but Houdini Apprentice or Apprentice HD licenses will not. Students will need to work with Education licenses in a school lab to run the Houdini Engine in a host application.
To encourage contributions from the community and to allow studios to create customized versions of the plug-in. You can modify this source code and compile your own versions of these plug-ins, and you can contribute your source code changes back to be incorporated into the official plug-ins that ship with Houdini.
You can find the source code for the Maya plug-in and the Unity plug-in on the SideFX Github page.