project "Houdini, a great modeler"

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pezetko
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.

Embrace change

The toolset will have to evolve as the industry purchases software on a which tool works best philosophy, and currently this is arguable lacking in some parts of Houdini. If Sesi could extend the procedural nature to the toolset level, ie at the handle level so the user could modify the scale handle to suit their needs then there would be no need to plead and beg to the developers to change it. Btw can we code Houdini HDK at that level? Maybe we need to all just learn to code
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MartybNz
Embrace change


Which is an ironic statement at this point in the discussion. It should be a two way road.

I like most of the suggestions, RayCast selection, selection memory, component conversion, screen space rotation; all great.

However I agree the renaming of Primitive and Scale tool are a stretch. Primitive extends to Curves, Nurbs, etc.

If we're proposing changes. 3DS Max has a better scale gizmo than Maya and Softimage and is immediately distinguishable from a usability and visual standpoint. Houdini's Scale tool is more or less a take on the Rotate tool. Just like Maya/Softimage are a take on the move tool.

Introducing another scale gizmo that doesnt replace the one in the Y tool would only add more confusion.
Edited by - March 7, 2014 13:57:02

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3DSMax_ScaleTool.jpg (31.4 KB)

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Netvudu
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 ).

i agree. do not change the namings of anything!! thank you ♥

here some stuff that i encountered working on some project last night that where kind of annoying:

-scaling tool: if you are in orthographic views it doesnt work. you cant scale seperate X and Z from the top view for example. its useless to use scale in ortho views. or am i doing it wrong??

- snapping to points, snapping in general: It just seems to be buggy. sometimes it works great and suddenly it stops working. Sometimes you have to display the points manually to make them snap to them. also when you template something i cant snap to the points most the time. once i go in the display settings and activate the markers flag for templated geometry it works, soemtimes it doesnt. it just feels like luck. and i dont know why.

-polyknit: same issue here sometimes it wont register and snap on the points and its impossible to use the tool. especially when you have some selection while doing the polyknit. sometimes it just keeps selection from previous sop and those points do not snap at all.

features i missed:
- transform, rotation etc (interaction):
I always missed a 45° snapping while holding ctrl, shift or alt. it would be nice to have snapping for rotation, transform etc. so it snaps to 0.1 units when transform. its very handy for doing 90° rotations etc. quickly without manually entering the value in the properties.


thats it so far. gonna try find some more tonight
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pusat
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

You know I love you ♥

some inputs why i think it would be better to have them in the core app:
for slide edge i would like to have this within the edit sop/softtransform etc. like the peak/sculpt is. dropping a node to slide some points seems overkill to me when i model. for procedural stuff sure this is perfect.

for ring selection its the same, i'd like to have it like loop selection (L). not an actual node but hey for now this sure does its job.

thank you again.
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Chris McSpurren
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Sshtickied.
Thank you.

Gyroscope
MartybNz
Embrace change


Which is an ironic statement at this point in the discussion. It should be a two way road.

I like most of the suggestions, RayCast selection, selection memory, component conversion, screen space rotation; all great.

However I agree the renaming of Primitive and Scale tool are a stretch. Primitive extends to Curves, Nurbs, etc.

It has been already mentioned that it was just a suggestion. Let's move on please.

chrism
If we're proposing changes. 3DS Max has a better scale gizmo than Maya and Softimage and is immediately distinguishable from a usability and visual standpoint. Houdini's Scale tool is more or less a take on the Rotate tool. Just like Maya/Softimage are a take on the move tool.

The clutter in that gizmo is palpable. The holy grail for any user interface is to achieve as much as possible with as little as possible.
I have worked with all three (or should I say two?:cry: ) from Adsk and Maya's and Softimage's minimalist approach is better. Of course, you can make a case to justify any imaginable preference, but under the above stated philosophy Max's gizmo is not one to be taken as an example.
To win the argument one has to show why the minimalist approach is not the best (provided it ensures the same functionality).

chrism
Introducing another scale gizmo that doesnt replace the one in the Y tool would only add more confusion.

You're probably right about this. But then the direction should be forward with making the Y tool a better design rather than backwards by giving up improving the scale tool. I will come up with a design - shouldn't be that hard given the fact that we already adopted a minimalist approach for the simple tools.

Thank you all and keep them coming.
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McNistor
It has been already mentioned that it was just a suggestion. Let's move on please.


Are you going to change anything your page based on our feedback? It would be much more constructive to have a wiki perhaps.
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Yes, the page will be updated. However there will be some expected delays (as I find time and keep up with the forum), not more than a day or so hopefully.

Thinking about the Y tool a bit more, I don't think you can make one out of two “classical” gizmos which are very similar. I think ‘Y’ tool should be kept as it is.

The simple (uncombined) gizmos are appropriate for working with points, edges and polys which require a gizmo as light as possible for minimal clutter.
The ‘Y’ tool is acceptable for manipulating objects in “primitive” mode for quickly scaling and positioning of boxes and other controls.

One nice behavior in the “memory” category would be that whatever tool you have active, when ctrl+LMB to create a primitive, to remain active not switch to ‘Y’ tool regardless of what tool you had selected.
The current behavior is what I call “fighting the interface” as it seems to have a mind of its own.
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McNistor
The clutter in that gizmo is palpable. The holy grail for any user interface is to achieve as much as possible with as little as possible.
I have worked with all three (or should I say two?:cry: ) from Adsk and Maya's and Softimage's minimalist approach is better. Of course, you can make a case to justify any imaginable preference, but under the above stated philosophy Max's gizmo is not one to be taken as an example.
To win the argument one has to show why the minimalist approach is not the best (provided it ensures the same functionality).

Thank you all and keep them coming.

Holy grail of -a- user interface is to present only relevant information. You're describing a minimalist user interface. Max's gizmo is not one to be taken as an example? Why? Visuallly it presents what you can do with no outside intervention needed. Works great in the Orthographic views too. And it's no more cluttered than the Rotation Gizmo in Softimage which employs large selection areas instead of a wire line.

Softimage has a mouse icon change and a small yellow gizmo area for 2 Axis, which can get lost in a mess of information.

Maya's implementation is by far the worst. I've had to tell far too many people to scale on only two axis you have to control click drag on the axis you don't want to scale on. That's where my aversion comes from that style.

Anyway. We can disagree all day on a gizmo, haha. I'm glad these talks are on and I can't wait to see what's SideFX has in store for Houdini. It's a little sad that it took the demise of one software though. Lots of these QOL suggestions have come up in the past. But it's great to see a passionate Softimage person put it plainly and clearly for SideFX which I don't recall happening too often. Keep on the good fight!

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ScaleGizmo_3_Axis.jpg (33.2 KB)
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I'm glad these talks are on and I can't wait to see what's SideFX has in store for Houdini. It's a little sad that it took the demise of one software though

Coincidentally, there was already a lot of internal discussion at SESI about modelling, animation and general viewport workflow prior to Autodesk's sharpening of the axe. Thus we're pretty open to making changes at this time, both subtle and drastic. Funny how things work out sometimes.

Please keep up the discussion, we're listening. I just don't want to inject my 2c because I'd much rather see how this discussion evolves (except to correct an incorrect assertion about the current state of Houdini).
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Modelling wise I love softimage approach in which tools are sensitive to the elements they are manipulating, so if are moving vertices and you hover over an edge the tool switches to edges automatically, and poligos.. and you can edit multiple objects at the same time.

Sticky keys are amazing in the sense that you can temporarily exit a tool to use another tool while holding a shortcut key, and when you release you go back to the previous tool.

selection is absolutely amazing too, from ray casting to node vs hierarchy selection… I am convinced it was very close to perfect.

The same for proportional editing taking in account distance the right way, calculating by travelling through the mesh so if you are touching the top lip of the character with a big brush you won't affect the lower lip as it is distance is greater than X, defined really easily by the size of the brush.

Also the subtle tools like duplicating edges results on bevels, duplicating a polygon results in an extrusion, duplicating a vertex results on a vertex bevel.

I will look for tutorials on this and get back to you.
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jordibares
Modelling wise I love softimage approach in which tools are sensitive to the elements they are manipulating, so if are moving vertices and you hover over an edge the tool switches to edges automatically, and poligos.. and you can edit multiple objects at the same time.

.

All sounds very cool - out of interest is there any part of SoftImage modelling/selections that you wouldn't want to see transferred. What was the most painful part in Soft modelling/selections that should be avoided?

Thanks!
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pusat
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

You know I love you ♥

some inputs why i think it would be better to have them in the core app:
for slide edge i would like to have this within the edit sop/softtransform etc. like the peak/sculpt is. dropping a node to slide some points seems overkill to me when i model. for procedural stuff sure this is perfect.

for ring selection its the same, i'd like to have it like loop selection (L). not an actual node but hey for now this sure does its job.

thank you again.

Thanks That was what I was trying to do when I made them, which is to do these operations procedurally whether you are interactively modeling in the viewport or directly in the network editor.

Loop selections wise, I find Houdini's approach very different, since it acts on the last selected edge, rather than everything. IMO a good edge loop tool should select limited and full loops in the same selection at once. I did the first implementation of this for Max long ago but now even with Graphite Modeling Tools, it still can't do this:





You would have to select each of these loops separately and then append/load selection for each edge loop. I personally think being able to select edges like in the above images speeds up the modeling workflow tremendously.
Senior Houdini FX TD @ MPC

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McNistor
Please take a look and voice your opinions.

Wow, that was a lot of work already! I'm sure everyone appreciates the time and effort that you're undertaking here!

Regarding screen space, have you tried right-clicking on the transform handle and choosing Align Handle > View?

If you right-click on selected geometry, there are also “Grow Selection” and “Shrink Selection” options as well. Not sure if that was something mentioned that you were looking for.
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The preference menu of softimage is very efficient. The concept of list on the left side permit to navigate rapidly. The right side corresponds to his corresponding options.
Houdini should improve his customization like softimage because a lot of things are “hard coded”.
In softimage world “cluster” = houdini “group”
Edited by - March 8, 2014 04:30:13

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The keyboard mapping of softimage is very nice. The keyboard mapping show commands available (command box) for a selected editor (group box). Commands shown are color coded with a drag and drop concept.

If no modifiers (Alt or/and Shift or/and Ctrl) are selected, the mapping shows only commands without these modifiers.

If modifiers (Alt or/and Shift or/and Ctrl) are selected, the mapping shows only commands with these modifiers.

You can also generate a html file for displaying all the keys regrouped by editor(group box) and create your own keyboard mapping.

To improve it, we could add a textbox to construct a sequence of keys. For exemple, in Blender software to translate along x direction, we can type T then X then numerical value.

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keyboard_mapping_no_modifier.png (303.2 KB)
keyboard_mapping_shift_modifier.png (309.7 KB)

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The preference menu of softimage is very efficient. The concept of list on the left side permit to navigate rapidly. The right side corresponds to his corresponding options.
Houdini should improve his customization like softimage because a lot of things are “hard coded”.
In softimage world “cluster” = houdini “group”

Very good points.

edward
Wow, that was a lot of work already! I'm sure everyone appreciates the time and effort that you're undertaking here!

Regarding screen space, have you tried right-clicking on the transform handle and choosing Align Handle > View?

I have, it is a good tool because it allows you to translate the object towards or away from you (a unique and useful feature), however, for a fast interaction a modeler should have the option to move in screen space without fiddling with the menu (unless, in this case wants to take advantage of the unique feature) but by clicking in the axis origin of the gizmo.
Thank you for the appreciation.

pusat
Loop selections wise, I find Houdini's approach very different, since it acts on the last selected edge, rather than everything.

Good point. I will update the selection section.

MartybNz
All sounds very cool - out of interest is there any part of SoftImage modelling/selections that you wouldn't want to see transferred. What was the most painful part in Soft modelling/selections that should be avoided?

Thanks!

The hallmark of a skeptic mind. Bravo!
As far as selections and polygonal modelling goes, I can't say there are things to be avoided, at most to be improved upon.
One thing I kept hearing (never bothered me personally) was the lack of a true symmetry feature, but there were workarounds (a thing we have to avoid) like cloning the object and scaling it with -1 on X.
Regarding these two, things work really great and that's one of the reasons you keep hearing people how easy and well thought modeling and interaction is in Softimage.
Regarding modeling in general, I say NURBS modeling in XSI is something to be left alone - look elsewhere for inspiration, like Maya and obviously NURBS modelers like AliasST or Rhino. I'm sure though, that this community understandably doesn't have a particular interest in NURBS modeling.

jordibares
Modelling wise I love softimage approach in which tools are sensitive to the elements they are manipulating, so if are moving vertices and you hover over an edge the tool switches to edges automatically, and poligos.. and you can edit multiple objects at the same time.

You're talking about the tweak tool ‘M’ inside XSI. I didn't get into modeling yet so I was getting there, but I guess it's my fault. I shall create a road map (subject to change) so that we keep our focus on the current chapter.

jordibares
hierarchy selection… I am convinced it was very close to perfect.

The same for proportional editing taking in account distance the right way, calculating by travelling through the mesh so if you are touching the top lip of the character with a big brush you won't affect the lower lip as it is distance is greater than X, defined really easily by the size of the brush.

Very good points. I will update selections section.

Gyroscope
Max's gizmo is not one to be taken as an example? Why? Visuallly it presents what you can do with no outside intervention needed. Works great in the Orthographic views too.

Because everything Max has ever had was done better somewhere else.
Joking aside, the main reason we should not adopt that style I already said previously, but to reinforce - huge distracting yellow areas that bring nothing while taking away visual information regarding what's behind.

Gyroscope
Anyway. We can disagree all day on a gizmo, haha. I'm glad these talks are on and I can't wait to see what's SideFX has in store for Houdini. It's a little sad that it took the demise of one software though. Lots of these QOL suggestions have come up in the past. But it's great to see a passionate Softimage person put it plainly and clearly for SideFX which I don't recall happening too often. Keep on the good fight!

Thank you for the input and stay involved.

twod
except to correct an incorrect assertion about the current state of Houdini

Speaking of which, I posted an inquiry on the previous page regarding brush picking tool - is more than a selection tool?
Anyone can take a swing regarding this question.
Thanks for stopping by twod, I'm very glad SideFX is listening.
I will roll up my sleeves and update the page very soon. We'll get into modeling features soon enough - that will be lots of fun. And work.
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Experimenting with loop selections.
I can't seem to notice a difference between going ‘L’ and ‘shift+L’.
Am I missing something or is it a bug?

page updated
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Nope. They´re similar but not the same.

“L” is partial Loop, while “SHIFT+L” is just loop (or full loop if you wish).

Do this to check the difference:

Create a Torus and select a loop of points/edges/primitives (It doesn´t matter which. The behaviour is consistent through all types of geo)

Now select another TWO elements (let´s say polys) on a perpendicular direction to the first loop. If you now press L it selects the loop just until it finds the previous loop, but if you press SHIFT+L it selects the whole loop no matter what.

PS: also, be sure to check the “SHIFT+R” and “F” combo which is pretty cool.
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“SHIFT+R” and “F” combo is pretty cool indeed.

I managed to reproduce what you said, however this is very restrictive and slow.
Selecting a partial loop/ring should not require TWO elements and neither should it stop anywhere else (till it meets the other loop in this case) other than where I, the user, say it should stop.

I've updated the page and there you'll see a few examples of how you can quickly (as in 3 seconds if not less) select loop and rings making use of alt and shift modifier keys in Softimage.

Here's one of them.



from the webpage
Modifier keys plus mouse buttons paradigm, in contrast to employing a hotkey combo (shift+L for example), has a tremendous advantage when it comes to combining normal selecting (via box or brush picking) with loop/ring selection, as there would be no difference between normal selection and loop/ring selection.
Edited by - March 8, 2014 12:11:55
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