I have a wish for H15:
A simple method to keep the normal SOP automatically at the end of the network with the viewport flag on, so I can see my angle based normals -
Perhaps a new shader, ‘Cusped’ could be added below the Scene level, Display As menu.
Unfortunately that wouldn't helped and it would induce another confusion when objects are exported.
This display mode have nothing common with actual normals on the object.
See this example after exporting to the Maya:
I can imagine plenty of beginners that would be confused why their normals aren't exported correctly out of houdini while they can see them correctly with this “cusped” display mode. And even harder to convince them why they are wrong.
Well, others applications somehow manage to provide proper object display in the viewport. In fact maya has the most elaborate viewport of all of them and a lot of what it shows has nothing to do with what gets rendered or exported. The viewports purpose is mainly to provide an approximation of what the final scene or object should look like before it is rendered or even finished. It is so much more that a Dataview as it seems to be perceived by the “simguys”.
I really don't care how it's done. I just know we need it for modelling, for rapid prototyping, for our supervisor and clients who want to get an impression of the look as early as possible and so on. I think “Better Viewport” is the most requested feature in all 3d programs and there is a reason for it.
There could be, for example, and I suggested that when I submitted the rfe for it, a switch saying: “use display cusping for rendering (and export)”
Those are all minor technicalities, that can be handled by an outstanding team like sidefx and user who are capable of learning houdini, don't you think?