Softimage to Houdini - Pros and Cons - What could be done?

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Softimage EOL announced to 2016 [autodesk.com]

Apparently there's a lot people interested in Houdini: http://strawpoll.me/1257710/r [strawpoll.me]

Softimage filled many niches without being the king on them all. So now users seem to be going in split-app workflows to do the same thing.
My question is: Aside from better simulation and data access alike in ICE, what is there for an animation pipeline in Houdini solely. My initial guess is that while Houdini is a beast, the daily tools are not in-place and need to be brought to life by who ever is using it.

Modeling
Any hardcore Houdini modeler that can show me that all the rumors of Houdini being bad for good flowing speed modeling are wrong, with some examples?
Any specific tools/plugins to tackle this?

Rigging and Animation
Does Houdini have streamlined tools in-place for someone wanting to establish dependencies, propertie maps, animation controls? Are the deformations and playback fast? Rotoscopy ease? Nice keying system?
Found these examples interesting, but hard to take conclusions on the user effort and the software support: https://www.youtube.com/user/fabiohoudini/videos [youtube.com].

I guess it's an opportunity SideFX could take in the next year or so to take a lot of specialized people in.

Cheers
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About SoftImage ,If Autodesk Discontinue it after version 2015 ,So what's your another option for procedural Software !? Maya ,Modo ,C4D ,3D Max or Just Houdini !?



About Modeling Yes ,I think Modeling in the Houdini is harder than others (I working with Maya for 10 years too)

But sometimes we need to create procedural modeling specially for Games and Motion Graphics ,In this case Houdini is really really perfect :!:

About Animation I think Houdini is really good exactly like others ,But you should familiar to Houdini perfectly (Not Just a little or even normal !)

You can make some interesting parameters and handles for your Animation Setup very easily in the Houdini.

About Play Back Speed ,It's really Fast !
I compared it with Maya and I take this result (Of Course this is just my experience with my Hardware)

Play Back in the Houdini with million of the polygons is 2 or 3 times faster than Standard Maya Viewport ,But It's same with Maya Viewport2 !

About Accessing and controlling Keyframe Animations ,It's really cool with very useful tools.

for example in some different situations we can use CHOP beside of our Animations to make changes or edit animations ,If you familiar to CHOP network ,So you can do MAGIC in it !!!

But the Last thing is :

If you are new in the Houdini or even you are working with Houdini just for 2 or 3 Years ,Yes ,Houdini is really really Hard and maybe Bad software for Modeling and Animation :!:

But If you are Master in the Houdini ,So this is Best in All :idea:

Learning Houdini is Hard ,But After too many try ,Working with it ,is easy !!!
https://www.youtube.com/c/sadjadrabiee [www.youtube.com]
Rabiee.Sadjad@Gmail.Com
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Hi probiner,
I'm an hobbyist. I'm not an houdini expert but I know a little softimage.

Modeling:
In the current state, speed modeling in houdini is not very fast. Softimage has a RMB context menu based selection (example : RMB menu with extrude along normal, extrude along axis, … on polygon selection) but houdini hasn't. Houdini system is like ice, all is ICE node search menu otherwise you need to LMB on icons. For example, you need to press tab + type “polyextrude” and to choose some options to have the same functionalities.
In fact, houdini has a lot of softimage's functionalities but you need more LMB . houdini is not very one push button at startup except for the fx icon part.
For the houdini team, it will be very easy for them to do a context selection sensitive modeling GUI wrapper to configure possible modeling underlying node based on selection(edge/point/primitive) with standard naming convention.
Houdini node = softimage history stack + + +. All houdini is like ICE.

Animation:
Houdini hasn't the animation mixer. But once again, for the houdini team, it will be very easy for them to do an animation GUI wrapper on the chop context to configure underlying node . For infos, Chop context allow to modify animation curve with math node, noise node,…) : very very powerful.
Property maps = which map do you want? weigth map? color map? For info, in Houdini, you can attach user/expression results data on each vertex and/or point and/or polygon and/or object. Weigth map, vertex color map are examples.
Dependencies : Houdini is by definition softimage Schematics windows( 9 keyboard).
Animation control = custom control null shape?If true, very easy!!!

Like you, I like softimage. This soft has a very good design and a very good speed. But, give a chance to houdini!!!

If you need more information, ask me with some examples. I'm not a professional but I can give you some clues about houdini and softimage equivalence.
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katana13
If you need more information, ask me with some examples. I'm not a professional but I can give you some clues about houdini and softimage equivalence.

Raycast (U,I) selection in Houdini?
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For Raycast(U,I), answer is yes and yes. But there is a little difference.

1.First, you need to go on “Geometry selection mode icon” (edge,point, primitive selection) : left pan of the 3d viewers (2nd icon above the arrow), then RMB and choose the option among 3: “Select Front facing only”. This 3 options can be toggle with B shortcut.

2. Select the type of component you want : point, edge, primitive(polygon). (2, 3, 4 of american keyboard)

3. do a micro box selection above the component(point,edge, primitive) to be sure to do selection at 100%. One click on the component like softimage works sometimes. I think I find a little bug thank to you. But Sidefx is not like Autodesk. Bugs are always fixed in 2-3 days chrono. I'm going to download the last build to verify if it was fixed. If not, I will report this little bug.
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Thank you for your reply.

This is not at all how Raycast selection works in Softimage. What you're suggesting is a simple rectangle selection with a “backface masking” (ignores the polys away from you).

ANother sugestion for SideFX if I may:

it's great that you added an interactive way of placing the pivot temporarily, but emulating Maya is not the best idea IMO.
Please consider implementing a “sticky hey” (function activated while the key is pressed and deactivated once released) for rapid placing of the pivot.
In XSI you simply hold Alt and pivot gizmo appears ready to be palced (or snapped) to where it's needed. BTW, in Softimage many tools are “sticky” - move, rotate, scale, tweek tool, etc.
If there are “gold star” Houdini users that are worried that this feature would mean you have to hold a key permanently in order to have a tool activate, no need to worry as it's not the way it's supposed to work - for toggle you just need to tap the key: tap once it's ON, tap again and it's OFF (returning to the previous one).
For example:
you have selection (S) tool currently activated. For translate, tap T and it's ON. Tap T again and it's off returning to selection tool. Hold T pressed and it's ON while you keep it pressed.

Since we're at a “sticky key” like feature, a sticky activation of the snap would be great. In XSI you hold ctrl to temporarily activate Snap, but a custom assignable key would be better in Houdini.

With the power of this platform and of course the SideFX's know-how, Houdini could be turned into the modeling power horse Softimage and others currently are.
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This is not at all how Raycast selection works in Softimage. What you're suggesting is a simple rectangle selection with a “backface masking” (ignores the polys away from you).

This would be the “Area Select Visible Geometry Only” option in Houdini (Shift+V). Single clicks will only pick the top visible face (point, edge, vertex, etc). But area selections (box, lasso, paint) will select everything under them by default. Toggling on the “Area Select Visible Only” option will restrict them to non-occluded faces (or points, etc).

The feature is fairly new with v12.5.
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Hi probiner,

riviera propose these links.
http://qlab.github.io/qLib/ [qlab.github.io]
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/qLib/145692112131248 [facebook.com]
album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.396009720432818.98425.145692112131248&type=3 [facebook.com]

I didn't try it. Maybe, some parts are interesting.
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twod
This would be the “Area Select Visible Geometry Only” option in Houdini (Shift+V). Single clicks will only pick the top visible face (point, edge, vertex, etc). But area selections (box, lasso, paint) will select everything under them by default. Toggling on the “Area Select Visible Only” option will restrict them to non-occluded faces (or points, etc).

The feature is fairly new with v12.5.

Hi twod,

Please take a look here, this is what I was referring to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDs_oVkNcdU [youtube.com]
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McNistor
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I'd like to take the time in the next few weeks to dive into a thorough testing of Houdini's modeling and then come up with an organized list of things (with bullet-ed categories and examples were possible) that need improvements or need to be added altogether in order to make Houdini modeling friendly and attractive for artistic minded people too.

My question is this: is SideFX (or the community) interested in such a thing?
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McNistor
I'd like to take the time in the next few weeks to dive into a thorough testing of Houdini's modeling and then come up with an organized list of things (with bullet-ed categories and examples were possible) that need improvements or need to be added altogether in order to make Houdini modeling friendly and attractive for artistic minded people too.

My question is this: is SideFX (or the community) interested in such a thing?

Yes, please

I'm looking quite closely at viewport interaction in Houdini and how we can make it awesome. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
Halfdan Ingvarsson
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Side Effects Software Inc
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halfdan
Yes, please

I'm looking quite closely at viewport interaction in Houdini and how we can make it awesome. Any and all suggestions are welcome.


Now that sounds awesome!
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Wow, this is one very straight forward discussion with the dev. members one can't even dare to dream about in Adsk land.
Sorry for the emotional remark.

Great, I'll take my time to test what Houdini already has, how's working and where is lacking in order to make valid and informed suggestions.
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katana13
Hi probiner,

riviera propose these links.
http://qlab.github.io/qLib/ [qlab.github.io]
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/qLib/145692112131248 [facebook.com]
album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.396009720432818.98425.145692112131248&type=3 [facebook.com]

I didn't try it. Maybe, some parts are interesting.

but keep in mind that qLib is an asset library and while it helps to cut a lot of corners compared to an out-of-the-box Houdini install, it doesn't (can't) provide things like interactive animation or modeling tools, or anything else that only SideFX can implement.
Imre Tuske
FX Supervisor | Senior FXTD @ Weta Digital

qLib -- Houdini asset library
http://qlab.github.io/qLib/ [qlab.github.io]
https://www.facebook.com/qLibHoudini [www.facebook.com]
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McNistor
Please take a look here, this is what I was referring to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDs_oVkNcdU [youtube.com]
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McNistor

Looks like brush picking. RMB on the select tool, select ‘brush picking’
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some Houdini Animation videos about what you can do when you build a custom rigging system:

http://www.authorityfx.com/the-making-of-piranhaconda/ [authorityfx.com]
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MartybNz
McNistor
Please take a look here, this is what I was referring to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDs_oVkNcdU [youtube.com]
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McNistor

Looks like brush picking. RMB on the select tool, select ‘brush picking’

Yes, that's a lot closer, but with a few drawbacks. Thanks for pointing it out.
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McNistor
Yes, that's a lot closer, but with a few drawbacks. Thanks for pointing it out.

Don't be timid let us know the drawbacks!
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MartybNz,

Thanks a bunch for your offer and I will take you up on it in the future with some other matter perhaps.

As stated earlier, I intend to create a detailed list with features in need to be improved or added as far as modeling, interaction and overall functionality goes. :wink:
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halfdan
Yes, please

I'm looking quite closely at viewport interaction in Houdini and how we can make it awesome. Any and all suggestions are welcome.

If I may, I have a small one I submitted but got rejected. I thought it was a bug but apparently it's a new feature

Basically the ability to select polygons in wireframe mode by clicking. Currently it doesn't work in Houdini and I am sure many modelers agree that it's often times desirable to select elements in wireframe mode because it's easier to see what's selected. Especially considering the default materials used in the viewport washes out the wireframe in shaded modes, making it more difficult to identify the polygons.
Edited by - March 5, 2014 18:09:25
Senior FX TD @ Industrial Light & Magic
Get to the NEXT level in Houdini & VEX with Pragmatic VEX! [www.pragmatic-vfx.com]

patreon.com/animatrix | vimeo.com/animatrix3d
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