project "Houdini, a great modeler"

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Hello people.

I'm creating this thread in the hope that everyone interested in making out of Houdini a great modeler on top of the other things it's great at, will chime in and focus their attention here instead of having the info diluted in various threads.

I have created a page which will be constantly updated. Currently I haven't even touched modeling and even though it took me a whole day to hunt after resources (free apps for creating gifs or screen capturing with mouse cursor visible, trying different ways to quickly generate html pages, etc.) from now on I have everything set up and it will go much smoother.
The main focus will be modeling and scene (viewport) interaction for the time being. Later for animation (channel editor, etc.).

Please take a look and voice your opinions.
Current Houdini users are welcome (or rather encouraged) to point out mistakes and to share workarounds as temporary solutions which should not replace well optimized and implemented solutions.

check this page for updates
http://mcnistor.com/h_improve.html [mcnistor.com]
Let's have fun! 8)

p.s. To a mod: please make this thread sticky

Please keep the discussion on topic!
Edited by - March 9, 2014 14:09:49
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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Until it's all implemented, you can add keyboard shortcuts for restricting moves to on a plane and maybe the screen space.

Not sure how you came up with the scale tool being bad design as the ‘little arrows’ are just as functional as a ‘little center control’?
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MartybNz,

Thank you for your suggestion regarding shortcuts, although I'm not sure I intend to model in Houdini more than necessary for testing (at least not until I fully adopt it and the modeling and interaction is improved).

Also, thank you for taking the time to read the page. Please make sure you read everything.
As for why is the scale tool bad design, I'm not sure what else I can say than I already said there. But still, to address your point directly, I have to say that the way it's currently implemented, you have to be very precise, much more than with the move tool which has the center thingy.
Cheers!
Edited by - March 7, 2014 04:11:20
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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There is redundancy in the scale tool, having 3 arrows, which is rarely efficient Maybe a temporary fix could be SESI to add larger arrow heads for easy picking Twod is that possible?
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MartybNz
There is redundancy in the scale tool, having 3 arrows, which is rarely efficient Maybe a temporary fix could be SESI to add larger arrow heads for easy picking Twod is that possible?

As a temporary solution this sounds good.
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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Anyone who wants this should submit it as a Request Feature Enhancement in the Support menu above. Thanks!
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page updated: added 1.03 component selection
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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i'm so excited about whats hapening. I also hope modeling and interactivity in the viewport gets some improvements now.

i'm using houdini as my main modeling tool beside some 3dcoat for sculpting. i'm only a generalist but what i learned is that most modeling approaches from other apps can somehow be achieved in houdini. But I think we all can agree that a few stuff needs to be done more artist friendly.

Also you need to customize a lot and make your own presets and some assets depending on what you do. the qlib and the tools from animatrix help a lot. i thik some of those tools should be in the main houdini package. also basic stuff like polybridge, edge slide, ring selection are missing. The sculpt sop needs more love too imo. it works but its not really artist friendly and compared to Modo cant match.

I must also say i'm pretty new to Houdini. I'm a Student and been learning every day for over a year now. It was really hard to get into but also worth it. Houdini is my favorite Software now. If I find the time I put together a List with all the things i encountered that i thought could be done more easier/artist friendly.


cheers!
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Doudini,

Thanks for stopping by.
Should SideFX implement these features and those yet still to come, Houdini would instantly become an amazing modeler out of the box. Custom tools are present in every 3d artist's toolkit, however a strong foundation has to be laid first.

I have experience modeling in 3dsMax, Maya, Softimage and now Houdini and along the years I gathered enough knowledge in modeling and speedy workflow and now I want to pass that along to others that didn't get into this so deep as I did.
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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page updated: added 1.04 selection conversion (point/edge/poly)
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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Hi,

very good suggestions so far, and I agree with most of it, but as a seasoned Houdini user I would cry in terror if the “Primitive” name was changed for “Polygon” as suggested in 1.03 (albeit in small fonts ).

Maybe from a modeller´s POV that name makes sense, but I tell you it would break so many conventions all around the software you would hear an evil laugh every time you selected a “polygon”.
Please, keep “primitive” . It´s healthier.
Javier Meroño.
FX TD at Double Negative.
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In no way would I want to step on experienced Houdini users' tails.

If this is a compatibility problem, perhaps change the naming of the other different entity that's also called “primitive”? We can't have two different things called the same. Well, we obviously can but I'm arguing it's not good practice
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'Primitives' are homographs, words that are spelled exactly the same but have different meanings, like wind and wind. Never confused anyone afaik.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homograph [en.wikipedia.org]
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I like every proposal done by McNistor.

Also, I don't find nothing similar to softimage Move Component Tool

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EYfUR1S_Fc [youtube.com]

note every fuction of this tool can be activated by GUI or through shortcuts.
In Move component tool you can also rotate and scale, select interaction mode by reference (a polygon, vertex or edge) clicking with middle mouse button on a edge, face or poly, merge vertex, slide vertex edge or edge loops, use the move componet combined with proportional mode, all without leave viewport using fast shortcuts or mouse button interaction.

Other tools in softimage like knife has useful functions can be activated on the fly (about knife press CRTL and knife snap on the middle of an edge, press alt and automatically triangulate a polygon).

Another example of softimage workflow by great Bulgarov:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r8AxXG_6jyA [youtube.com]
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@MartybNz I know what an homograph is and what I'm arguing here is that perhaps we should avoid them when dealing with 3d jargon. You wouldn't declare two variables ‘Y’ in your code, would you now?
(either way, it was a suggestion it's not a very important thing)

@Jholen Patience my friend. :wink:
There's more to come on that page. A lot more. At this point I only hope the devs. are as interested in this as I am (and many others hopefully).
Edited by - March 7, 2014 06:35:40
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*Zap*
Edited by - March 7, 2014 07:08:08
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Sorry but there are plenty of other modeling solutions.

That improvement list seems a little bit shortsighted to me. Please do not try to remake xsi from houdini, that will not works. I see some points, but I see also some terrible misconceptions like removing tools or renaming Primitive. Try to understand how houdini works in first place. Then ask what you are missing there.

1.01 Better would be - add possibility to remap this to different shortcut. But from my point of view get used to it. You cannot have same shortcuts in every software. Piano has different controllers than flute but both can create beautiful music.

1.02 I like that you can see what is under actual stroke. Just removing something because you are not used to it seems stupid to me. Possibility to turn the stroke visualisation on and off, yes. I would like to see middle mouse button ladder for quick change of brush size.
P.s.: You can select those points you mentioned with brush selection if you decrease brush radius.

1.02 2) How you would visualise brush radius then? XSI has also brush radius visible in viewport when the tool is on.

1.02 3) Realtime selection update only if there would be no speed penalty. But there are other tools for paint selection with realtime update like GroupPaint sop.

1.02 4) LMB click works. For deselecting hold Ctrl, for deselecting all while clicking outside don't hold any modifier key.

1.03 If you make group sop from selection it's permanent forever.
Memory for selection would be nice thing for interaction instead of the select adjacent functionality that is there right now.

It's called primitive for good reason. It represents polygon primitive as well as procedural primitives like sphere, circle, etc., Packed Primitives, NURBS surfaces etc.
And yes, I can reuse same variable in code quite often.

2.01 For screen space just align gizmo to the screen space. (Right click menu -> Align Gizmo -> Screen

3) There is Uniform Scale attribute on Transform SOP. There are big plane handles. It's different but it works well and imo better then in Maya/XSI. The reason why there is not global scale controller in the center of scale gizmo is Show Handle tool that combines transform with scale/rotation (try hit y key to switch different gizmos).
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I'm proposing ways to make Houdini a better tool for modelers too, the way I know. It's inevitable that most of this is going to be based on past experience which in my case is Softimage (mainly but not only), but that's irrelevant.
What's relevant is this: “will this improve the workflow or not?”

A dev. team member endorsed my idea of creating a list with things for a better modeling and viewport interaction which is exactly what I'm doing. In the end, if people like it with the will of the dev. team, things will get implemented. Or not.

Most of your points are workarounds. I'm proposing improvements. If I wanted workarounds I'd stick with Adsk, Maya or god forbid, 3dsMax.

There are plenty bad tools out there and people are used to them. Not long ago, people were used to the idea of a flat Earth.
Ultimately, I'm not going to fight “get used to it” arguments as this is not a rational approach by which progress is made.

Thank you for your input.
Edited by - March 7, 2014 06:38:08
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pezetko
The reason why there is not global scale controller in the center of scale gizmo is Show Handle tool that combines transform with scale/rotation (try hit y key to switch different gizmos).
I didn't mention the ‘Y’ tool. It's good as it is.

“Raycast selection” is a type of selection, entirely different than the brush ‘W’ in Softimage, therefore the type of selection I'm proposing should be in addition to the brush picking perhaps?

edit: Upon further searching the help it appears that the brush picking is in fact as I thought, only a selecting tool which would make all my points in the webpage valid.

The brush tool used for sculpting is a different tool altogether, one that would obviously require a visual cue regarding radius and what not.

Can someone please confirm or negate this? I will update the page if needed.

edit: Confirmed by twod on the next page. Sorry pezetko, but it looks like you're not very familiar with neither Houdini nor Softimage selection tools.
Edited by - March 8, 2014 13:27:59
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Doudini
Also you need to customize a lot and make your own presets and some assets depending on what you do. the qlib and the tools from animatrix help a lot. i thik some of those tools should be in the main houdini package. also basic stuff like polybridge, edge slide, ring selection are missing.

https://www.orbolt.com/asset/animatrix::slideEdges::1.00 [orbolt.com]
https://www.orbolt.com/asset/animatrix::selectEdgeRing::1.00 [orbolt.com]

SESI is more than welcome to add any of my tools to Houdini freely

On the topic of primitives, it's done for a higher level of abstraction so you can work with primitives at a higher level without having to know what they really are. When I first started, it also confused me, but I think it's a better design.
Senior Houdini FX TD @ MPC

patreon.com/animatrix

vimeo.com/animatrix3d
linkedin.com/in/animatrix3d
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