Learning path: RIGGING IN HOUDINI 16+

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Hello everybody,

as the title suggests I would like to ask SESI, and whoever might be able, to think about some serious, in-depth, rigging tutorials for Houdini, using H16 which is clearly improving on the Animation area.
The series of tutorial I have in mind would be very similar to what I bought on CGWorkshops when I first learned Houdini (thanks to Spencer Lueders, awesome mentor, will never thank you enough!), but focused on rigging only.

I have read a lot of posts complaining about lack of learning material for this particular area in Houdini and, as I in primis couldn't find updated tutorials or other material on the web for in-depth rigging in H, maybe SESI could fill the gap and give us all a nice old moral slap in the face providing super-cool rigging tutorial.

Something like BIPED RIGGNG: Rig a biped from start to finish or QUADRUPED RIGGING: Rig a quadruped from start to finish


Because auto rigs are awesome, yes, but people often have to build their own rigs and Houdini is always been the best tool for "creating your s**t, EXACTLY the way you want it (+1.85e10 ways))
I myself am on the look for something like that (I know, 3DBuzz has their owns, but they are outdated and although the principles still apply, so many things have changed since H9). Having those Masterclasses on muscles and auto rigs is absolutely awesome but many (me included) feel the difficulty in getting to that point where a masterclass on muscles will be the final addition to those already solid rigging techniques.

And yes, Houdini has many ways to do achieve the same result, but to learn rigging in H I think people (myself included) need some proven techniques which will get 80% of the job done, namely having a solid basic body-rig and facial-rig, to which we can add any kind of crazy feature on top.

I am not concerned about viewport performance for now as I believe that once people will start using rigging and animation a lot more in Houdini, the developer will listen to the user based as they seem to have done pretty well all their years. So this thread is not at all about that.

Last but not least, I would happily pay the mentor or mentors who put their effort to create such material. I wanted to specify this because money spent on learning, anything in any area, are always money well spent, and I know that putting some serious rigging lessons is both time consuming and complex, so a reward would only be fair from my perspective.

What do you guys think?
Edited by Cristotek - Sept. 26, 2017 11:50:48
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We're currently in the planning stages of a Rigging Tutorial Series very much in the style of this one for Maya that was recommended to us.
https://www.3dtotal.com/tutorial/1836-maya-rigging-introduction-to-rigging-by-jahirul-amin-animation-character-vehicle [www.3dtotal.com]

the Houdini series would start from a base mesh and go through the stages of:
making a Houdini Digital Asset
importing geometry
building a Spine/Head/Eyes/arm/hand/leg/foot
mirroring
FK/IK/Constraints
Shelf Tools/scripts for rigging
final rigging bits…etc

then another Series on Geometry Capturing/Painting Weights.

if you know of any other tutorials that you'd say were good introductions to rigging that you'd like to see done in Houdini please let us know.
Michael Goldfarb | www.odforce.net
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Wow, super quick reply, thank you so much!
Very good to read that you guys were already planning on some serious kickass tutorials! That is exactly the in-depth kind of tutorials I meant in my post!
if you know of any other tutorials that you'd say were good introductions to rigging that you'd like to see done in Houdini please let us know.
I will search for the ones I recall first thing tomorrow morning and write down a list here!

Again, thanks for taking the time, I know we all really appreciate it!
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Good morning arctor,

I have made a very short list of those tutorials that I think helped me the most learning the main concepts and techniques of rigging.
I chose to keep it short as I think that the bulk of content will come later with people actually experimenting with rigs in Houdini (I am looking forward for that day to come!), plus the lessons I am going to list here are the “must learn” for anyone who wants to be autonomous and efficient, even while being just a beginner.
So here it is:

Human/Biped techniques
1- http://www.cgsociety.org/training/course/rigging-techniques-cartoon-to-realistic [www.cgsociety.org]
2- https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/advanced-char-rigging-maya-879 [www.pluralsight.com]
3- http://www.joshsobelrigs.com/tutorials [www.joshsobelrigs.com] (the ones on Kayla facial rigging)
4- http://www.cgsociety.org/training/course/character-facial-rigging-for-production [www.cgsociety.org]

Quadruped techniques
1- https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/rigging-quadrupeds-maya-1371 [www.pluralsight.com]
2- https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/enhanced-ik-animal-rigging-maya-179 [www.pluralsight.com]

That's it for tutorials already there. I think those alone are A LOT to do already.
If I were to make a longer wishlist I would love to see specific tutorials on:
- bird rigging
- mechanical rigging (stuff like Transformers and such. Now, I imagine these would be the easier ones for a software like Houdini where you can link parameters values with such ease, but still, production rigs that I have seen for all kinds of mechs and robots are mind-blowingly complex)

I think that's it for now, but I would love to know what people thinks if they have something to add.
I have a personal project in the pre-production phase and I would love to be able to use Houdini exclusively for it, rigging and animation included. I really hope I will be able to!
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Thanks for the list!
Michael Goldfarb | www.odforce.net
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www.sidefx.com
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arctor
Thanks for the list!

You are very welcome, thank you all guys for the effort
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how about Debra Isaac's tutorial “houdini animation pipeline” when will it be available.
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seifdune
how about Debra Isaac's tutorial “houdini animation pipeline” when will it be available.

I wasn't aware of any lessons/tutorials from Debra Isaac, could you post a link where we can read what are those about?
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I was asking for the information about this tutorial because it's one of those “sneak peak of upcoming houdini 16 tutorials”
by pluralsight.I just saw trailer of it but i can't find any information about it, i don't may be it's completed or not.
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If Houdini team would release good tutorials like the ones mentioned above for Houdini it would be a game changer for many people, especially in game dev because we rely more and more on proceduralism to generate assets and animation, I and many other would jump from Maya to Houdini. The major disadvantage in Houdini is the lack of tutorials in the rigging department, especially in facial rigging techniques. Some of my colleagues would love the procedural nature of Houdini implemented in our pipeline, but don't risk much because of the lack of structured tutorials in several departments. With today's time constraints, it's incredibly difficult to try new software approaches in establish pipelines imagine if we have to figure out more about a particular software translation of methods.

Please, consider a group of tutorials in rigging and animation those would do Side effects more than any marketing campaign could. Just invest a little in paying a master artist on those departments to develop a good methodical course.

Maya is adopted more because of the availability of tutorials in ALL aspects of any pipeline. There a tutorial for every need in a pipeline in Maya. A user base is directly connected with the support and documentation of a software. Houdini is viewed as the hardest 3d program to learn but actually, it is not, I got a few tutorials from Rohan Dalvi and we manage to replicate all of that material in literally half the time we would in Maya. The problem came when we tried to translate our knowledge of Maya rigging to Houdini, we got confused, we needed more examples and just stopped wasting time with Houdini. I know Houdini would cut our development time in half but without solid practical examples, one cannot give a leap of faith and miss deadlines.
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Sergio Peixoto
(…)especially in game dev because we rely more and more on proceduralism to generate assets and animation
I wouldn't focus the learning material about Rigging “especially” on anything, just for the fact that rigging itself is an open box: once you have the base knowledge to build a functional rig is then up to you if you just wanna use it for an application or another, or if you want/need to have a certain type of hierarchy or not. I would say that that is more a game-engine specific request.

The effort should be (at least for now) to make the H users confortable on rigging without the need of thinking “ok, in Maya/XSI/C4D/Max it works like this…so how can I translate it to H?” because that simply isn't gonna work most of the time, plus, as you rightfully saied, the leap is not worth it when you got a deadline.

Sergio Peixoto
Houdini is viewed as the hardest 3d program to learn but actually, it is not, I got a few tutorials from Rohan Dalvi and we manage to replicate all of that material in literally half the time we would in Maya.
This is so true! Once you understand the basic logic within Houdini everything just adds together, your brain just connects the dots

I am very happy to see that this post is attracting people!
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There was also a 3DBuzz Series on technical Rigging that is supposed to be very good!
Maybe other know of it.

https://www.3dbuzz.com/training/bundle/houdini-rigging-bundle [www.3dbuzz.com]
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Yes, I have mentioned them in my first post indeed. As I said, they ARE good, but unfortunately outdated (H9…)
I guess people need actual techniques on actual versions given the new features of H16
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Sorry fraspo - i totally missed that!
Im very exited that SideFX plans to do a series on Rigging. i hope it wont be webinars - but focused lectures. I think this is important that they just teach it what they think is best and then they could still do additional webinars.
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I've run into a bit of a roadblock here as well. I need to create a physics rig for the chains on a game-ready chandelier I'm making, but can't find any decent rigging tutorials.
Does anyone know of some helpful ones that exist right now? The only one linked so far was the one from version 9…
I know how to rig, I just don't have any idea how to do it in Houdini.
Edited by Grimwolf - Oct. 23, 2017 14:19:00
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I'd suggest you the Bullet constraints route for that.
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fraspo
I'd suggest you the Bullet constraints route for that.
I don't know what that means
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Grimwolf
I've run into a bit of a roadblock here as well. I need to create a physics rig for the chains on a game-ready chandelier I'm making, but can't find any decent rigging tutorials.
Does anyone know of some helpful ones that exist right now? The only one linked so far was the one from version 9…
I know how to rig, I just don't have any idea how to do it in Houdini.

I think we need to make sure we're talking about the same things…

from my perspective there are two kinds of Rigging:
1 - character/prop rigging
this is building structures with bones/null/wires/constraints/etc that are animated by an animator or through some dynamics.
so characters/vehicles/props etc
2 - dynamics rigging
this would be things like power lines, ropes/chains, etc
things that wouldn't be animated by hand most of the time, but are not just free dynamics sims, they have a specific structure. they would use a combination of nulls/bones/wires and the kinds of constraints you might find in an RBD simulation.

@Grimwolf
I think for games you're need to build the chains and then use the game engine to do the dynamics.
Michael Goldfarb | www.odforce.net
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What I'm doing is nearer to the second one.
I'm not looking to animate it; that would be handled by the game engine through physics simulations. I do need to rig the chains to bones inside of Houdini, though. The physics simulation relies on this.

I need to do this procedurally, as well. Since the length of the chains can be altered.

I should actually be a little more specific about the problem I'm having. I've been able to find a few tutorials here and there showing how to use the rigging tools in the viewport like a traditional modeling program. The real problem is that I can't find a single tutorial showing how to set up procedural rigs through nodes.
The same problem's actually there with UV mapping; plenty of tutorials talking about the basic traditional process, but nothing on the procedural method.
Edited by Grimwolf - Oct. 23, 2017 17:16:10
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have a look at the Bones From Curve tool

draw a curve in the view port (or make one from the geometry you have)
then you can, in the view port, do TAB > Bones From Curve
in the toolbar type the name prefix
and the number of bones
then select the curve
Enter
boom! bones on curve
then:
TAB > Bones
in the toolbar : Kinematics > Follow Curve
RMB and select Add Kinematics
Follow the Prompts to get the bones to use the curve

all this can be done procedurally through python
Michael Goldfarb | www.odforce.net
Senior Technical Director
SideFX
www.sidefx.com
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