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

   38436   63   3
User Avatar
Member
4189 posts
Joined: June 2012
Offline
pusat
Especially considering the default materials used in the viewport washes out the wireframe in shaded modes, making it more difficult to identify the polygons.

Until it's implemented, try changing the Default Diffuse in Display options/Effects/Material panel to a darker colour.
animatrix_
Member
3458 posts
Joined: Feb. 2012
Offline
MartybNz
Until it's implemented, try changing the Default Diffuse in Display options/Effects/Material panel to a darker colour.

Thank you, that does help for working in shaded mode. It would also be cool to be able to change the wireframe color but that's less important.
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
User Avatar
Member
4189 posts
Joined: June 2012
Offline
Wireframe colour can be changed under Misc tab at the Scene level, Set Wireframe Color
animatrix_
Member
3458 posts
Joined: Feb. 2012
Offline
MartybNz
Wireframe colour can be changed under Misc tab at the Scene level, Set Wireframe Color

Sorry I meant a global setting, but thanks for letting me know. I will let the thread carry on for SI users
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
User Avatar
Member
207 posts
Joined:
Offline
halfdan
I'm looking quite closely at viewport interaction in Houdini and how we can make it awesome. Any and all suggestions are welcome.


Halfdan,

Thanks for the warm welcome… I've been lurking (and doing some work) in Houdini for several months so by now I've got a few notes for sure. Granted I'm really new to Houdini so there's a spectacularly high probability that there's something I'm missing… and if that's the case then I'd be quite grateful to be pointed in the right direction.

This first note isn't so much related to viewport interaction, but in the beginning I found that the workflow for editing groups of components (created by selection) was not terribly obvious. Like it was unclear (just by looking at the UI) how to go back and add or remove selected components from a group after the fact (other than by typing in numbers). Eventually I found the “~” key and figured out the “enter-key-to-commit” thing, but I certainly missed the simplicity of the old SI “add/remove to cluster” - I'm still not entirely sure what the tilde key really does or if there's a gui equivalent to it, although I did see what command that hotkey maps to…

And while I know that a group can be generated by any operator, and that it's maybe not as simple as putting in a or icon in the active toolbar, I'm pretty sure there's gotta be a good design solution for that somehow (I still don't remember how I found the tilde key thing, probably on the very-helpful forums or odforce or something).

In general, I think the component selection tools themselves could also benefit from some love… the tools I've missed are “select parallel edge loop”, “select border components” (it's there, but maybe broken for prims in 13.0.314?), “select border edges” (like open mesh edges, the kind you'd want to cap in order to close off a mesh), and while the existing edge loop tool “works” it's still a little funky sometimes.

Even though I'm doing mostly procedural tasks in Houdini, I still often need to do things like shape a mesh surface or model a quick and dirty collision or control object and it would be nice if modeling were just a little easier than it is.

In SI proportional modeling was a big, huge timesaver. and while softPeak and softTransform are really nice, it would be even slicker if I could then drop down a weightmap and paint the effect back down without leaving the 3d viewport (is there an existing way to do this without doing it manually?).

Another minor annoyance is (transient) windows getting lost underneath the main viewport window. So if I'm browsing for a SOP path in a parameter field or doing that “edit parameter interface” thing and I make an errant click somewhere, then I have to go looking for the window I just opened which is now lost beneath the main UI. Anyway it would be nice if windows with “accept” or “cancel” just stayed on top until I was done (like the help window).

The other big one is being able to visualize custom attributes more easily. I've taken to building a set of default display attributes (scalar/vector.. can we have an axis for matrices?) so that I can drop down a “bind export” (if I'm say in a VOPSOP) to debug an attribute at a specific point in the node graph, but I wonder if there isn't maybe a better way.

Oh and passthrough (or “dot” like in Nuke) nodes would really help with node graph legibility and accidents when “drop on a wire” is active (which I like, but is really dangerous for big crazy graphs). Really miss those passthroughs…

Thanks for listening… It's been interesting and fun spending time in this new package.

-T
User Avatar
Member
2624 posts
Joined: Aug. 2006
Offline
takita
The other big one is being able to visualize custom attributes more easily. I've taken to building a set of default display attributes (scalar/vector.. can we have an axis for matrices?) so that I can drop down a “bind export” (if I'm say in a VOPSOP) to debug an attribute at a specific point in the node graph, but I wonder if there isn't maybe a better way.

Oh and passthrough (or “dot” like in Nuke) nodes would really help with node graph legibility and accidents when “drop on a wire” is active (which I like, but is really dangerous for big crazy graphs). Really miss those passthroughs…

Thanks for listening… It's been interesting and fun spending time in this new package.

-T

The node pass through has been a RFE for a long time . ALA Nuke dot node.

As to viewing attributes. If you look here http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=172&page=viewtopic&t=28648 [sidefx.com] . Look for rse_crossproduct.hip ( sphere scene file ) . This is the workflow I use currently . Is this the sort of thing you are looking for or something different ? .

Rob
Edited by - March 5, 2014 20:29:47
Gone fishing
User Avatar
Member
207 posts
Joined:
Offline
circusmonkey
This is the workflow I use currently . Is this the sort of thing you are looking for or something different ?

Hi Rob,

Thanks for answering - I guess that technically does do the job, but what I'd really like is to be able to pass a full 3x3 matrix (or 4x4, and disregard the translation) and have it displayed (similar to how you displayed it) as a tri-color axis (like we have in ICE) only without having to break it down in to vectors and create three separate attributes and add each of them to the display and then turn them on… Like it's something I know I use(d) a LOT in ICE where I'd imagine it would be worth it.

The thing I miss the most coming from ICE is being able to see any value passing between any two nodes anywhere in the graph just by clicking on the noodle between the two nodes. That and matrix axes.

The other thing I really really miss from SI is getting stable solid orthonormal basis vectors from curves and polymesh faces for free. Would looove to have that…

cheers,

-T
User Avatar
Member
2 posts
Joined: Feb. 2014
Offline
One of the things i loved about Soft was its model referencing system. A ‘model’ object would represent an encapsulation of sorts, and would allow you to export and import models, as well as reference models.

This is really powerful for developing character pipelines because it means your rig can be stored independently of your geometry, thus you can build an ever growing library of geometry components for the rig ( think customisable characters etc ). The skin is stored in the geometry, so when the skin is saved and re-referenced into a scene containing the rig the connections will be made. Doing this in Maya comes with a huge overhead of tool development and maintenance.

I will first apologise because i have not spent the time in Houdini and looked myself, but does Houdini have something to solve this issue? Would the following example be possible :

You build a rig in Houdini and create a HDA
You get some geometry, skin the geometry to rig. You save the geometry ( along with the skin ) in another HDA

Is it then possible to open a new scene and pull in both HDA's and ‘easily’ have the skin reconnect to the rig bones?

They key here is being able to store deformed geometry separately from the rig.

Thanks

Mike
User Avatar
Member
35 posts
Joined:
Offline
Something similar to the edit sop.
Within this “super sop” the user would be able to do regular full blown (destructive/no procedural) modeling, The output of this sop would be a dumb model.

If artists can model just like they would in xsi or modo for example within this “supersop” which allows for,or exposes the kind of modeling workflow and modeling environment similar to all other applications, that woukd be great.

I believe this will attract a lot of users that shy away from houdini because; they feel burdened by a procedural modeling workflow, even when they just need the simplest “dumb” model.

I used houdini in production (as a technical modeler) nine or so years ago, and always wished there was such a sop.
I fell in love with procedural modeling in houdini, but always had to jump into xsi to knock out a model to be used in houdini just because it would be quicker, and i did not need it to be procedural or create an otl out of it.

So please do consider such a sop… an edit sop on steroids
User Avatar
Member
4189 posts
Joined: June 2012
Offline
imensah
Something similar to the edit sop.
Within this “super sop” the user would be able to do regular full blown (destructive/no procedural) modeling, The output of this sop would be a dumb model.

What functions would you like to see in the ‘SuperEditSop’?

Nuke 8's ModelBuilder sounds a bit like what you want. It has in the one node fully destructive extrude, bevel, carve, tesselate, face merging, uv unwrapping, handle alignment options and loop selections.
User Avatar
Member
654 posts
Joined: Feb. 2006
Offline
I houdini almost everything is a reference unless you force it to insert it in the scene, something you may not want… scenes lighter, easy to send, blah blah

With regards with rigs/skinning as separate external models in Houdini you have the same functionality for free, your rig will be an HDA (houdini digital asset) reading an external mesh, reading its weights too if you want from another file, adding the textures from another files, etc…

Furthermore, using the HDA convention you can build versions integrated in your HDA so you could have the various evolutions of an asset all under one HDA. All without coding.

If you want to put it on steroids you can encapsulate scripts in the asset and via python call these methods to operate on that particular asset (for example, manage low/high resolution variations of your asset at the press of a button inside the asset themselves!

Rigging is something I am getting in and I have been extremely surprised for the good, it is fast and works really well although as usual you need a bit of experiences to get the best workflow and approaches.

For the very sophisticated auto rig, I would suggest to have a look at a tutorial from the CMIVFX that deals with it nicely and will allow you to move quick. My only thing is that the asset is very big and complex inside so learning to use it without knowing the basics of rigging in Houdini may be intimidating. Nevertheless is production ready and I have used it already.

Anyway, hope this helps.


Mike Malinowski
One of the things i loved about Soft was its model referencing system. A ‘model’ object would represent an encapsulation of sorts, and would allow you to export and import models, as well as reference models.

This is really powerful for developing character pipelines because it means your rig can be stored independently of your geometry, thus you can build an ever growing library of geometry components for the rig ( think customisable characters etc ). The skin is stored in the geometry, so when the skin is saved and re-referenced into a scene containing the rig the connections will be made. Doing this in Maya comes with a huge overhead of tool development and maintenance.

I will first apologise because i have not spent the time in Houdini and looked myself, but does Houdini have something to solve this issue? Would the following example be possible :

You build a rig in Houdini and create a HDA
You get some geometry, skin the geometry to rig. You save the geometry ( along with the skin ) in another HDA

Is it then possible to open a new scene and pull in both HDA's and ‘easily’ have the skin reconnect to the rig bones?

They key here is being able to store deformed geometry separately from the rig.

Thanks

Mike
User Avatar
Member
2 posts
Joined: July 2013
Offline
Are many years that i want learn Hudini becouse i think that is the future, as Softimage user since 2000 i think that is time now.. But there is a big problem , character td's are able to find jobs in Europe!!! this is the big question !

Houdini usually is for Dynamics and vfx in general but i dont know how many company use it for Animations and so on.

I dont know, i cannot lose time and after not able to find job!

I will try No AD program anymore !
User Avatar
Member
654 posts
Joined: Feb. 2006
Offline
As an industry you can see lots of companies are finally embracing it and there is more demand than ever for all sorts of positions, if anything, it is the FX side that is the lesser problem as we try to move to areas Houdini is not very well known yet very capable.

For example, I took it as my challenge to get into character animation and rigging in Houdini given there are very very few people doing that. Then I discover how it works and was blown away by the possibilities.

Right now I am handling a complex shot with 100 characters, all mocap with different levels of filtering, constraints, multiple meshes per asset and works very well. In fact, I doubt I could have put together 100 characters in Softimage and move it. You know Softimage was never great with tons objects.

Good Lighters are also need, good animators too… I feel there will be a demand for houdini artists for quite a while so looks promising.

Good luck with your search.


Agosti Alessio
Are many years that i want learn Hudini becouse i think that is the future, as Softimage user since 2000 i think that is time now.. But there is a big problem , character td's are able to find jobs in Europe!!! this is the big question !

Houdini usually is for Dynamics and vfx in general but i dont know how many company use it for Animations and so on.

I dont know, i cannot lose time and after not able to find job!

I will try No AD program anymore !
User Avatar
Member
581 posts
Joined: July 2005
Offline
It is great to see all of this interest from SI users into Houdini.
I think there is going to be a great sinergy between these communities.
SI users are going to be surprised about how well Houdini can do in areas where it is less kown like lighting and animation.
In FX it just rocks.
And for the Houdini community and SESI it is going to be great to have the input from users coming from one of the best well designed tool. SI excels Houdini in many concepts specially user-interaction when working from the viewport, this is for me now the weakest area in Houdini.
If something is stopping Houdini to be more accepted in other parts of the pipeline is the viewport interaction.
So well, let's help each other to have a better tool
Un saludo
Best Regards

Pablo Giménez
User Avatar
Member
2 posts
Joined: Feb. 2014
Offline
Thanks for the feedback jordibares, it certainly sounds promising and I'll take a dive into it.
User Avatar
Member
35 posts
Joined:
Offline
MartybNz
imensah
Something similar to the edit sop.
Within this “super sop” the user would be able to do regular full blown (destructive/no procedural) modeling, The output of this sop would be a dumb model.

What functions would you like to see in the ‘SuperEditSop’?

Nuke 8's ModelBuilder sounds a bit like what you want. It has in the one node fully destructive extrude, bevel, carve, tesselate, face merging, uv unwrapping, handle alignment options and loop selections.

Interesting that nuke has such a node.. But yes
All the regular modeling functions including drawing polygons, extruding, loop splitting, component editing with ray cast selection and interaction in viewport, etc. etc.

Hypothetically, dropping a “super edit sop” will put you into destructive model builder mode. Where all the modeling tasks become available and are destructive/non procedural.)

Like stuffing a full blown modeler such as SILO or CLAY into an edit sop while leaving all the other sops as-is
Wishful thinking but I think that will be very helpful to even seasoned Houdini users.
User Avatar
Member
37 posts
Joined: July 2011
Offline
Hi lisux,

The performance viewport issue will be fixed in the future. Maybe, the next release : http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=172&page=viewtopic&t=30310&highlight=maya. [sidefx.com]
User Avatar
Member
385 posts
Joined: Nov. 2008
Offline
I cannot see reason to have such black boxed SuperEditSOP node.
It's against Houdini procedural nature. Instead of this blackboxed node you can use other application as well.

You can you whatever modeling package you like as long as it has export feature. Then you can import obj/alembic/fbx or other file format directly to Houdini and you will get this one node modeling solution.

You can use for modeling what you like. Zbrush, 3DCoat, Silo, NVil, Modo, XSI…

It's even possible to have direct connection between modeling app and Houdini. Look at this:
https://vimeo.com/14448626 [vimeo.com]

Or some sort of clipboard (3D Applink, copy paste feature like in Nvil)


On the other side some better more interactive workflow for modeling would be plus. Something like this would be really useful:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2YprHoEWgE [youtube.com]
(Interactive modeling mode that create classic procedural nodes under it's asset, so you don't loose the possibility to modify history of operations).
User Avatar
Member
339 posts
Joined: Aug. 2007
Offline
takita
what I'd really like is to be able to pass a full 3x3 matrix (or 4x4, and disregard the translation) and have it displayed (similar to how you displayed it) as a tri-color axis (like we have in ICE) only without having to break it down in to vectors and create three separate attributes and add each of them to the display and then turn them on…

I'd love to see this as well! In the absence of offical support you could definitely accomplish this with some Add Point/Add Vertex nodes and then wrap it up into a VOP OTL so you can pop it down whenever/share it with your friends/collect all 4.

The other thing I really really miss from SI is getting stable solid orthonormal basis vectors from curves and polymesh faces for free. Would looove to have that…

Do you mean getting this data in VOPs? The PolyFrame SOP calculates these guys (in a variety of ways) and stores them as attributes that you can pull into VOPs.
Jesse Erickson
Fx Animator
WDAS
User Avatar
Member
385 posts
Joined: Nov. 2008
Offline
takita
I'd really like is to be able to pass a full 3x3 matrix (or 4x4, and disregard the translation) and have it displayed (similar to how you displayed it) as a tri-color axis (like we have in ICE) only without having to break it down in to vectors and create three separate attributes and add each of them to the display and then turn them on… Like it's something I know I use(d) a LOT in ICE where I'd imagine it would be worth it.
You can, you just have to convert that matrix to quaternion and bind it to orient attribute. Then in the right menu of the viewport panel there is Display particle origin button. Look at attachment.

takita
The thing I miss the most coming from ICE is being able to see any value passing between any two nodes anywhere in the graph just by clicking on the noodle between the two nodes. That and matrix axes.
Nothing like this on wire connection is in Houdini right now. The fastest thing is bind export to custom parameter and display this one instead. You can also view all parameters (attributes) in spreadsheet at once (something I really miss in SI). Some visualisation tools are in qLib also.

takita
The other thing I really really miss from SI is getting stable solid orthonormal basis vectors from curves and polymesh faces for free.
Polyframe SOP

Attachments:
display_point_axes.hipnc (75.8 KB)

  • Quick Links