project "Houdini, a great modeler"

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I moving to module system where any of DM tools you can get from Orbolt in future. No separate HDA for DM. Only tools. No main window (widget) anymore. Only clean viewport with temporary creation of mini windows when need. User can assign hotkey to this tools on shelf. This will speedup my development and also alow user to select tools that he realy want. First tools that I`m planning to upload:
1. Selector
2. Tweak
3. PolyBridge
4. Retopology
5. …
https://www.patreon.com/user?u=14076972 [www.patreon.com]
https://vimeo.com/user43923185 [vimeo.com]
https://gumroad.com/alexeyvanzhula [gumroad.com]
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Hey Vux.

These modelling tools look really nice. However I have a question, how procedural are they in nature? Are they completely viewport dependant tools? or are they built in a way where I can trigger and manipulate in procedural ways. I am really looking forward to trying your tools and even buying your toolkit if you sell it, but Houdini becoming a regular modeller would be a step backward I feel ( if that is the intention ).

Personally I have been trying to do a lot more modelling in houdini but the things that are getting in the way are things like the bevel tool not being as complete as it could be ( I will be making some RFEs soon ), and the poly bridge tool even though it works it often requires manual tweaks to get it to work perfect in some situations. This unfortunately breaks its procedurality if the incoming shapes change.

Really looking forward to your toolset though, regardless which way you take the tools.
-m-k-
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Hey, is this thread still living? I have a couple of ideas that I believe would be fabulous if they are possible to implement.

It would be ohhh-sssooooo sweet if there were a “quadrangulate” sop.

Also, there is one of those videos on gametutor where he shows how to make nice tiling UVs. unfortunately it is a bit fiddly to set up. it would be nice if there were a node that just makes nice perfect UVs like you get with his technique.

http://www.gametutor.com/live/tutorials/houdini/procedural-uv-mapping/ [gametutor.com]
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It is alive if we make it alive.
Have ideas? Shoot!
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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Would like to see the handle tool shortcut key duplicated over to the left side of the keyboard where the select, move translate keys are. Not so good that such an important key requires a full keyboard traverse.
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For me, a shortcut for cycling through a list is not such a good way to work.
I agree that hotkeys used very often should be closer to the left hand, but for this particular case I'd much prefer to have these options moved from a sub-menu to the main RMB menu (or any other solution, like having a separate menu to shift+RMB) so I don't have to click and point to a sub-menu to access them.

edit: Have suggested this before I think, but I said many things so I can't know for sure…
Best approach, IMO, for this issue is to have contextualized menus. In this case, when say transform tools is active, upon RMB have only options relevant to this tool. If you want to access other things related to the object itself, RMB on it when in select mode. RMB in viewport (outside the wireframe/silhouette of an object) should give you other options. Currently there's some contextualization, but not to a degree which is desirable for reaching a more organized interface.
Edited by McNistor - May 7, 2017 06:43:27
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Soo,
How do you guys think about houdini 16.5 now ?
I saw 2 great little thing in the what's new

Fixed
You can now click buttons in the toolbars around the viewport while holding Space to enter the view tool.
I think this means you are not forced to release alt or space each time you want to adjust you position while in a quad view ! a so small fixe makes so huge experience changes ;-)

Improved
Objects now have a separate Pivot Rotate parameter to rotate the geometry’s local axes, for better animation control. Press Ins or ' to switch to the pivot handle.
OMG !

One of my biggest grip was the viewport with the wire colors and styles not so great to the eye while modeling compared to the clarity of Soft..

And you did you think it's time to say bye at Softimage ;-) ?
Edited by NNois - Nov. 24, 2017 11:23:26

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And you did you think it's time to say bye at Softimage ;-) ?

No way! At least not if you're talking just about Sub-D modeling.
I could make a detailed list with descriptions where Houdini falls short, but I'll exercise brevity and just mention this:
you're aware of the “transformations thread”, yes? well, there's that; snapping is not unified and cumbersome to activate on the fly due to no transient key (transient X works only for radial menu which is one of the worst idea one could come up with for snap activation); no polyknit tool; point fusing workflow is from hell; edge divide is scant (no roundness or shift options); polysplit is not as versatile, although better in one regard; poly-subdivide - no option to connect the corner points; no option for tweak tool to pick a reference edge (or point/poly) on the fly (not even possible in principle due to current transformations); the bevel tool lacks at least one useful option compared to the XSI one; extruding edges produces non-manifold geometry; handles and curves with glowing mouse-over and selection respectively…

Mind you this is not a mere theoretical exercise in creating a bullet point list of features, I really use all these, and they're just from the top of my head, I'm sure I can think of others. Good progress has been made without a doubt, but we're not there yet.
Now if we're talking about anything else other that sub-d modeling, then yeah, for most people it's time to switch. It has been so probably two versions ago.
Edited by McNistor - Nov. 24, 2017 14:55:19
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Maybe I should put my money where my mouth is and adhere to the idea that spurred this thread into existence by actually going into depth regarding tools I use in modeling, which are lacking or are very awkward to use in Houdini. Some improvements and changes have occurred since H14 so maybe a refreshment is necessary.
Some of them I've probably covered before in various threads, but having them all here will surely be helpful to both the community, should it want to get involved, as well as to the dev team. Will try to analyze things thereafter with Support to sort out what has been filed and what goes as a new RFE.

Here's a bit of unsolicited advice and what I perceive as wisdom for anyone interested: nobody cares about originality unless it's better than anything else; inferred wisdom: don't set your main goal to be different, but to be better; certainly don't be worse, hence just copy if you can't be better - you're not doing pure art, you're creating a product (for pure art there's another discussion).
“better” almost always implies “different” in some manner while the reverse is not almost always true.

To the pragmatic to the bone crowd: I promise the next post will be more about concrete issues and less about philosophical insights.
Edited by McNistor - Nov. 25, 2017 09:56:58
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OK, so about snapping.

I've written a rather long winded explanation as to why the radial menu is a gimmick for snapping, but I've reconsidered posting it and realized that all that is necessary in order to have a workable snapping is to have the X key remain transient when you reassign it to multi-snapping.
For some reason only keys that are assigned to radial menus are transient. That's too bad, I hope it won't be the case in the near future.

There's one option regarding multi-snapping that is unquestionably missing: after I make my changes, Houdini forgets them next session - there should be a “save as default” button.
As a side note, right now all the sliders for the snapping targets, “geo point” being the exception, are all the way to the left, which apparently means turned off. If you activate multi-snapping it probably means that you want more than points to snap to. I've attached a default which is IMO the most useful for modeling, but this pales in importance to the options save functionality.

I will file a RFE for this and cross snapping off the list as I'm very optimistic about more transient options in 17.
If you think you have better ideas for snapping let's hear and dissect them.

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polyknit - this tool was removed, its role being supposedly filled by the topobuild node. The way it's currently implemented, topobuild does not successfully replaces the extinct polyknit. The latter also had a lot of problems making it almost impossible to use, but the replacement could be a lot better IMO.

Topobuild feels way less “snappy” than what I'm used to in XSI and it's a problem, not just a matter of preference as it affects the speed I draw with.
Houdini's topobuild is not as smart as XSI's “polyknit” as it's not adaptive: XSI's polyknit snaps to both points and edges while Houdini expects only points and there's no edge snapping.

Here you'll notice XSI's polyknit snapping to either points or edges and the snap feels very robust and precise.


Changing the starting edge can be done on the fly without any key pressing, but by just passing the mouse cursor over the desired edge (towards the end of the animation).


Houdini's current topobuild is slower as you can't snap but to just points and you have to click twice, for each edge end point in order to complete the new polygon. Also, the mouse cursor should probably lead with a point not an edge. Of course that would not be optimal when you're doing retopo, but it would be in the case of poly-knitting and if this particular matter is not sufficient to convince anyone that multiple functionality crammed into a single tool is often not the best to way to go, I don't know what is.


If you start by clicking a point, since it's not adaptive, you'll have to click each and every point in order to complete a new face.


The same in XSI - starting with a point.


As I and others have said countless times, small things like these add up and make for a much better experience when working.

The solution I'm proposing is to either:
1. bring back the polyknit tool; it's preferable, as smaller, more specialized nodes are better IMO than those with a ton of features and prefs - they're easier to manage and it's possible that at one point you want to add a functionality that could be impeded by the tool's underlying workings.
2. make topobuild function akin to XSI's polyknit tool for quick interaction. Also you should be able to draw on “empty space”.
Edited by McNistor - Nov. 26, 2017 10:26:03
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snapping is not unified and cumbersome to activate on the fly due to no transient key
After an intensive modeling session I can say it's my big RFE as I snap and move pivot regularly (means many time by minute !!).

So, Totaly agree with that AND also need at same time and on same hand accessible and transient hotkey to activate pivot.
The X will may be used as transient to activate the “multi” like you say (and probably move the snap radial menu option to a combo like “? + X”).
Quick example below of how we do in softimage :

And no matter the keys, they just both need to be accessible with closed eyes with same hand.
Edited by julca - Nov. 28, 2017 05:23:22

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@julca I think we have to pick and choose our battles. All we can reasonably expect is to have the means to change the hotkeys, which we have, albeit currently with some downsides (like losing the transient behavior when reassigning ‘X’). I have a custom keymap in Soft too, so it's not like there's any app out there that satisfies all users, 100%. Transient keys across the keyboard like in XSI would be awesome and pretty much any improvement to the hotkey system which would make irrelevant what the default keymap is.
All in all, I support your proposal for a change from ‘ for the handle detach to a key closer to the left hand. Also, of course it should be transient. ’Z' would proably be a good one - you hold Z and X and you can quickly snap the handle to pretty much anything
Edited by McNistor - Nov. 28, 2017 11:20:27
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All in all, I support your proposal for a change from ‘ for the handle detach to a key closer to the left hand. Also, of course it should be transient.
You got it ! And that's only what I suggest (our battle ) !
About the snap, the X key is good but just need to be adpat to be a transient multi-snapping (like you said :cool.


McNistor
’Z' would proably a good one - you hold Z and X and you can quickly snap the handle to pretty much anything
I appreciate your suggestion but, as I use a french keyboard that is not the best solution.
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