User Interface thoughts

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I'm quite interested to hear what do SI users think of the Houdini User Interface?

SI looks nice, though, Houdini is considered clean when working for many hours/days/weeks/months on a project.

n.b. please no Houdini user to take offence here, thanks!
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I like how houdini ui looks.
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I love it, just nodes and shortcuts, like Nuke.

Although I do wish you could have a floating viewer like Nuke, and just press a shortcut to hide or show it.
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Neil78
I love it, just nodes and shortcuts, like Nuke.

Although I do wish you could have a floating viewer like Nuke, and just press a shortcut to hide or show it.

What about saving copy of current desktop (without Scene View) but with one floating panel that is set up to Scene View. That way you can switch between these two desktops and that Floating panel (Scene View) is showed only in the desktop where it was saved. So it hides when desktop is switched back to the one without the Floating panel.
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Nice idea, although one problem with that might be that any specifics you have set in your viewer, such attribute displays or grid alignment, will be lost on the reloading……


But I might be wrong I'll try this tomorrow. Thanks
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I like the Houdini interface so far. Here are my thoughts in general…

1. I like to learn the defaults and the standards of the existing software and community and I'm no where near that point yet. I can see already that the way things are, and the community and active developers, are quite good enough to get behind as is, without requesting anything or looking to other packages, that part is the biggest and it's why I am here to stay.

2. I like to customize or request features best only when I'm experienced enough for that to make the most sense, I'm no where near that point yet with Houdini.

My gut feeling is that Houdini is a powerhouse for Hard Surface Procedural modeling, and Organic Procedural modeling so far as mountains/trees etc. But that there is room for speed of use improvements that will help both of the above and actually at the same time make it a great organic modeler for standard or procedural character modeling. aka. every modeling function I need, ready at the keys, remembering my last used settings as a default for speed of use.

All of the core modeling tools and various interactions (snapping etc.) amazingly and intuitively at the ready using mostly only the keyboard and sophisticated mouse combinations and interactions. When combined with the procedural back end, you have an even bigger monster on your hands and there is no reason to do anything at all that would upset the existing Houdini base, only seamlessly add tools like Tweak Component/Proportional modeling, with very interactive manipulators, great snapping tools, and easily customiz-able or default hot-keys/mouse interactions for loop splitting, extruding (while remembering last used extrude settings) and so on and so forth.

Honestly, my primary modeling set is Tweak Component with and without Proportional Modeling combined with Loop-splitting and loop selecting, face extrude, splitting new edges manually without loops, welding, deleting/creating faces and snapping tools. It's a simple set, but when it's all available instantly at the keyboard, it's fast and powerful. Sticky key functionality makes it even more insane. AKA. I can be in proportional modeling with the tweak component tool, basically sculpting a form, and I can just hold down the “]” key and middle click any edge to split a loop and when I let go of “]” I'm by default right back in to tweak component/proportional modeling without having to exit or enter any tools again. It's fast, it's like this for all of the functions and it's all a great modeler needs.

Most of this already exists in Houdini, it's the keyboard/mouse speed of use that isn't fully there. That said, I'm already seeing things Houdini does a lot better than Softimage, for example, converting a selection of edges to points, is automatic in Houdini and doesn't require diving into a right click menu, it's brilliant and I love it.

My approach for Houdini is going to be to learn modeling and procedural modeling and creating custom re-purpose-able assets, followed by shading, render and lighting, followed by rigging, skinning and animation, followed by Houdini's most known functionality of procedural special FX (dynamics, particles, fur/muscles, etc.) If that takes 2 years, I'm perfectly fine with that, things are going smooth so far.
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Thanks Derek, great feedback!


Derek Mondelli
That said, I'm already seeing things Houdini does a lot better than Softimage, for example, converting a selection of edges to points, is automatic in Houdini and doesn't require diving into a right click menu, it's brilliant and I love it.

This is an interesting point, on the modelling thread there is a lot of talk about bringing in SoftImages selection memory into Houdini, and it might mean that the selections don't convert from edges to points automatically. It might be good to add your ideas to the discussion there:

'project "Houdini, a great modeler'
http://www.sidefx.com/index.php?option=com_forum&Itemid=172&page=viewtopic&t=31040&start=150 [sidefx.com]
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What I plan to do Marty, is to learn Houdini as is, ask questions, study guides, read the manual, etc..

Then when I am confident a feature is actually missing in whole or in part, I will make a very easy to communicate and understand video. So for the time being, I will leave my gut/initial reactions as they are listed above, many of them are already in the post you link to and I'm sure that guy will see this to pick up the rest.

Back to the Houdini manual for me.
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Derek Mondelli
That said, I'm already seeing things Houdini does a lot better than Softimage, for example, converting a selection of edges to points, is automatic in Houdini and doesn't require diving into a right click menu, it's brilliant and I love it.

On the flip side, you lose your selection if you move to a different frame…
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This tip works great!! - many thanks - i love my floating viewers


pezetko
What about saving copy of current desktop (without Scene View) but with one floating panel that is set up to Scene View. That way you can switch between these two desktops and that Floating panel (Scene View) is showed only in the desktop where it was saved. So it hides when desktop is switched back to the one without the Floating panel.
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I like UI so far!
some minor things I would love to see
+ Preference for drag&drop when wiring nodes (instead of click&click)
+ faster way to display attributes (like rmb on attribute (in vexpression text field)->display in viewport)
+double&triple click support in vexpression editor
+TAB menu history on left side column next to node list, not on the bottom of node list
+drag&drop nodes from TAB menu
+ preference for custom color for viewport background (or 3rd color option, something between LIght & Dark)
http://vimeo.com/origin [vimeo.com]
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PiotrekM
+ preference for custom color for viewport background (or 3rd color option, something between LIght & Dark)

All good points.

For the custom UI bg you can add any it via the Background tab of the Display Option. You can use Cops, compositing operation like a plain color, ramp etc , or disk images

Press ‘D’ whilst the cursor is over the viewport and there is a Background tab.

Edit: You can use a Cop typing oppathToCop/

or drag and drop - see screengrab attachment
Edited by - March 20, 2014 15:49:03

Attachments:
CopBGImage2.png (230.1 KB)

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You can also edit the 3DSceneColors files in the HFS/houdini/config dir (.wb is Dark, .bw is Light), and change the BackgroundColor and BackgroundBottomColor. Using those two you can get a gradient or solid color. A copy can be placed in $HOME/houdini13.0 if you want a personalized copy (instead of affecting the entire studio).
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twod
You can also edit the 3DSceneColors files in the HFS/houdini/config dir (.wb is Dark, .bw is Light), and change the BackgroundColor and BackgroundBottomColor. Using those two you can get a gradient or solid color. A copy can be placed in $HOME/houdini13.0 if you want a personalized copy (instead of affecting the entire studio).

If you open a file that's made using a different UI, Houdini will show up with a different viewport background color though (Light vs Dark)
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I prefer text base interfaces (like Softimage's) but that's non-existent among the new apps and rare even among the old ones.
If I have no choice, like it seems to be the case right now, then Houdini's interface looks good with its icons and panels - clean, not dated and not in your face.
I'm using the “Pro” color scheme, as it's the closest to the neutral grey I'm used to looking at working with XSI for so long.
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McNistor
I prefer text base interfaces (like Softimage's) but that's non-existent among the new apps and rare even among the old ones.


All the shelf tools can be made just to text, no icon.

Attachments:
Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 10.00.16 am.png (31.5 KB)

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THanks for color tips!
One more thing, L key in VOPs seems to arrange nodes top-down instead of left-right
http://vimeo.com/origin [vimeo.com]
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McNistor
I prefer text base interfaces (like Softimage's) but that's non-existent among the new apps and rare even among the old ones.


All the shelf tools can be made just to text, no icon.

Awesome, how does one go about saving that UI preference, if I restart Houdini, it reverts back to icons. Houdini icon's are pretty sensibly designed but I am on a small monitor and prefer the extra space and just text.
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how does one go about saving that UI preference
That is probably saved as part of the desktop.

Try Window > Desktop > Save Current Desktop, to save a customized version of the desktop.
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I feel that the interface is great, but it would be nice to give a bit of an upgrade to what it can be done to configure a digital asset UI interface. I have seen some of the UIs done with pyQt which are very graphical and generally very favored by the artists (I often end up making my own ui using geometry with select scripts). even the UIs that use .ui files can support many things that digital assets cannot (i.e. gallery manager)

I believe there was an RFE for being able to use images in the interface (i.e. as a background, or as buttons, etc.) which could help a lot
-G
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