How to Create 2D Style 3D Animation in Houdini

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I am a big fan of 2D style animation. Especially if it is created in Japan or by the Disney corporation. That is why I am interested in trying to come as close as I can to creating a visual style like that using Houdini Indie and its 3D animation tools. I have found some video examples on how the concept is being developed and explored. But unfortunately, I have not been able to find a video tutorial that can show me how to develop a visual style like that while working inside of Houdini Indie specifically. So any help in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

https://madewith.unity.com/en/stories/creating-a-visual-novel-with-unity3d [madewith.unity.com]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oorajmbSJUM [www.youtube.com]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mM6cLnscmO8 [www.youtube.com]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhGjCzxJV3E [www.youtube.com]
Edited by WaterBirdx2 - June 29, 2017 18:38:47
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Hey waterbird, I believe it depends more on the rendering technologies you apply rather than Houdini itself,

see the corresponding video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9tyA9dM15k [www.youtube.com] (example from OTOY's Octane)


If you are stuck building the shader, you could export your video and apply something toon-shading related in your post processing app.
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Hey waterbird, I believe it depends more on the rendering technologies you apply rather than Houdini itself,

see the corresponding video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9tyA9dM15k [www.youtube.com] (example from OTOY's Octane)


If you are stuck building the shader, you could export your video and apply something toon-shading related in your post processing app.


Hi, glitchigami. Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling that the rendering tech had something to do with it. Although, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by “export (my) video and apply something toon-shading related in (my) post processing app” since I'm a newbie when it comes to Houdini. I know that Renderman is included with Houdini, but is it capable of rendering toon-shaded imagery like the stuff seen in your video? If so, then what are the specific steps that I would need to take to accomplish that?
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WaterBirdx2
export (my) video and apply something toon-shading related in (my) post processing app

By that I meant like you render your scene (or animation) as you usually do, and then apply the toon-shading effect in post, for example using After Effects, Final Cut Pro, or any other app that can post-process with the similar result.

As for rendering toon-shaded style ways, they are different for each render engine. It would be a good idea to ask this on Renderman's forums if you are doing it with Pixar's engine.
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Just to clarify - Renderman is supported by houdini out of the box, but it is not included with houdini.

If you intend to render with houdini's own renderer mantra, you can try the Toon Color Shader and Toon Outline Shader houdini comes with. The approach is very similar to the Guilty Gear video you posted.

I'm not sure about the best approaches to do this in comp, but I assume you would need a few rendering passes like a normal pass etc. Do you have a tutorial for another 3d software that discribes how to output the correct passes, or the passes you may need and then does it in comp?

That would help with pointing you in the right direction.
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Apart from rendering, you can of course do the whole process in houdini.

16's auto-rigging tools are great for cartoon characters.
Kai Stavginski
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KaiStavginski
Just to clarify - Renderman is supported by houdini out of the box, but it is not included with houdini.

If you intend to render with houdini's own renderer mantra, you can try the Toon Color Shader and Toon Outline Shader houdini comes with. The approach is very similar to the Guilty Gear video you posted.

I'm not sure about the best approaches to do this in comp, but I assume you would need a few rendering passes like a normal pass etc. Do you have a tutorial for another 3d software that discribes how to output the correct passes, or the passes you may need and then does it in comp?

That would help with pointing you in the right direction.
KaiStavginski
Apart from rendering, you can of course do the whole process in houdini.

16's auto-rigging tools are great for cartoon characters.


At the moment, I don't think I have a tutorial like the one your describing for doing render passes, KaiStavginski. But if I could do the whole process inside of Houdini and achieve results like the ones seen in the links I included with my first post, then that would be my first preference. Could you show us how to do so, please?
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Oh, by the way, I have already created a bunch of rigged/textured Pixar-styled characters inside of an old edition of Maya that I have. Bringing them all into Houdini Indie would be wonderful because I could directly animate them interacting with the special effects that I would like to create inside of Houdini Indie, like snow and water. When I purchased Houdini Indie earlier this year, though, the program wasn't capable of bringing rigged Maya content into the newer workstation. Does anyone know if the latest system updates have addressed this compatibility problem?
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When I purchased Houdini Indie earlier this year, though, the program wasn't capable of bringing rigged Maya content into the newer workstation. Does anyone know if the latest system updates have addressed this compatibility problem?

you'll not find this ability in any DDC app.
FBX import has improved in H16.xxx but you wont get IK etc.
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WaterBirdx2
When I purchased Houdini Indie earlier this year, though, the program wasn't capable of bringing rigged Maya content into the newer workstation. Does anyone know if the latest system updates have addressed this compatibility problem?

you'll not find this ability in any DDC app.
FBX import has improved in H16.xxx but you wont get IK etc.

Thanks for the reply. I had a feeling that was the case, especially since I used the Anzovin “Setup Machine 2” and “Face Machine” plugins to set up the characters' rigs, but I'm still glad that the FBX import has seen some improvement. With this in mind, what would be your approach to working through this problem if you were in my position?
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import the FBX, then use the nulls to define the positions of new bones, then re-rig
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import the FBX, then use the nulls to define the positions of new bones, then re-rig

Understood. Thank you very much for the quick reply.
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I have been giving it a good deal of thought lately, and I have come to the conclusion that recreating my characters inside of Houdini might not be a bad move to make after all. The Auto Rig system that Houdini has included with the latest system updates doesn't appear to be too dissimilar to what I created inside of Maya. The main difference is that the Auto Rig system doesn't appear to provide facial rig controls. Would the system developers consider incorporating such a function the next time that area of Houdini gets updated?
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WaterBirdx2
I have been giving it a good deal of thought lately, and I have come to the conclusion that recreating my characters inside of Houdini might not be a bad move to make after all. The Auto Rig system that Houdini has included with the latest system updates doesn't appear to be too dissimilar to what I created inside of Maya. The main difference is that the Auto Rig system doesn't appear to provide facial rig controls. Would the system developers consider incorporating such a function the next time that area of Houdini gets updated?

We will be looking into providing facial rigs in the future, yes.

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WaterBirdx2
I have been giving it a good deal of thought lately, and I have come to the conclusion that recreating my characters inside of Houdini might not be a bad move to make after all. The Auto Rig system that Houdini has included with the latest system updates doesn't appear to be too dissimilar to what I created inside of Maya. The main difference is that the Auto Rig system doesn't appear to provide facial rig controls. Would the system developers consider incorporating such a function the next time that area of Houdini gets updated?

We will be looking into providing facial rigs in the future, yes.

Cristin

That's terrific! Thank you very much for answering my question, Cristin. I will be looking forward to it.
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