Concept Art. Is Houdini up for it?

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Greetings!

Im a concept art student, souring into my third year of slef study.The reason why Im asking is because there are very few videos that Ive seen that actually are talking about pure modeling and concepting in Houdini, and I had the luuck to use both Maya, Modo and a little of 3ds max. My tasks will be to rapidly create prototypes out of ideas and directions. For that I need a tool that can be flexible and fast, but also very adaptable. I will be both modeling high end models, deal with look dev. So if I will create a vehicle for example, I want to know why I should choose Houdini instead of Maya or Modo or any other package. Im aware of Fushion 360 etc. and Moi, but I want to get into one package and really learn it and make it my own. There is also a question of plugs that are available.

The idea is to get to hear some cases and listen to the knowledge of people who use it and have experience.
Edited by Kristoffer Kolompar - Dec. 19, 2017 13:12:11
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wrong package - flexibility in Houdini equates to longer development time.
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Hi Kristoffer,

Just saw your ArtStation home page. Impressive work!

Full disclosure I'm a SideFX employee of 24+ years and have seen a lot of users very successfully use Houdini for many types of modeling. In the past it's mainly procedural modeling.

We are constantly improving modeling tools, especially of the procedural type. For example your Alien Environment concept could have been bashed together with Houdini very quickly.

If you give Houdini the same amount of time to learn as say Maya and Modo and you get working with the nodes, you are definitely in the zone of Houdini thinking, then this crystal prototype would take only a couple hours to bash together and continue to refine. Much of the other work seems better suited to Z Brush or 3D Coat or Blender for rapid prototyping and not so much at all Maya or Modo. With 3D Coat and Z-Brush you don't even have to worry about topology as you rapidly sculpt out your ideas. Maya and Modo force you to futz with topology right from the beginning and that isn't rapid prototyping sculpts imho.

Houdini would definitely be a tool to put under your belt as it is the ONLY one that represents a proper first class procedural approach to modeling using free-form SOP geometry nodes in very playful ways that is time proven. Apprentice is free and fully functional from the modeling point of view so the only commitment is time. I highly recommend the Entagma videos if you are inspired by procedural systems.

I'll let others chime in here as well.

—-

aRtye your comment is so general as to be dismissed as a casual passing remark. Please remember that this is a professional question from a very talented artist so a respectful answer would be much appreciated. Perhaps revisit this and clarify specifically just what you mean. Actually so as not to troll this thread, fire up a new thread outlining your ideas for improvements. We are always looking to improve the modeling workflow. H16.5 was yet another good move forward.

I have grown to love the radial menus as finally we have tool under cursor and tumble under cursor as it is always the little things that improve workflow.

The Boolean SOP is unfreakingbelievable in H16 and loving the UV Layout in to 3D Coat for texturing myself. More to come as well.
There's at least one school like the old school!
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@old_school sorry Houdini is discussed exactly like this in the Vfx industry. It is dismissed with one line such as ‘you don’t model with Houdini'. TBH didn't know it was controversial to say you don't do concept work with Houdini. I look forward to anyone who actually does. In regards to ‘starting up new thread’ you may notice 3.5K+ posts, 800+ bugs and Rfe's that I have contributed to that exact purpose but hey…
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In my experience Houdini is all-give, especially for animated or easily variable things. There are so many ways to work-around problems, or one-shot repetitive tasks, or reduce tedious tasks to simple ones, or re-use and alter work.
There's a lot to learn tho, payoff is too slow for many, especially if they're already competent with another program, and derive a great deal of enjoyment and confidence from that competency… going back to being a nub is asking too much.

Persevere, work hard at challenging yourself, build that muscle-memory and you'll be able to knock out work in a few hours that would've taken a week in other software.
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#oldschool


oh thank you so much for your kind words. Well, yes, Houdini seems to me like a tool I could use for my work. I want to be able to understand how it thinks at first. Even the small things are important to me and I´m definetely ready and happy to invest lots of quality time in it, and tools that align themselves towards what is being created are always the one´s that really speak to me.

As an artist, its really just overwhelming because you can do so much in it

Also thank you for the link. I will be hanging here, reading and getting ready to start diving into it. There seems to be lots of people who have the knowledge and it would be really sad if I didn´t take advantage of it.

#cpb

Yes, I have no problem learning a new tool if it benefits my work and allows me to be more creative giving me possibility to do the things I want to do. I´m more than happy to become a nub in order to learn something. Its part of an artists quest I think. Houdini also has alot speaking for it. All which can be used by a concept artist. Thank you for your great advice. As a student we struggle with the notion of being capable or learning “enough to”. I think that it is important to use not the most popular but the best tools.
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Absolutely it is - Houdini is for creating anything you can imagine. Using it right now to concept a vast biological world - if you want to backup illustration and painting Houdini is a great choice, and can take concepting to the next level.
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Hey #Neil78 Sounds good. Oh a biological world? You mean inside the body?

I got a link at Polycount to a plug that this Russian artist wrote. I was wondering if there was a “polystein Kit” kind of plug for H. You could write it, but its important to support others good work. And there is but more complex which is perfect for my artistic endevours. The artist´s name is Alexey Vanzhula.
Here is a link if you want to check it out.

https://vimeo.com/247915321 [vimeo.com]


Like #oldschool so kindly took the time to write. There is NO tool like this on the market right now.

Thanks to you all.
Edited by Kristoffer Kolompar - Dec. 22, 2017 13:04:02
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@old_school sorry Houdini is discussed exactly like this in the Vfx industry. It is dismissed with one line such as ‘you don’t model with Houdini'.
Unfortunately the world is full of sheep that blindly follow what a bunch of other people say.

Modeling in Houdini may still not be quite as fast as some other packages, but it's very solid now. And all the additional procedural power it gives you under the hood comes in handy every now and then even when doing pure viewport modeling.

Concluding that “you don't model with Houdini” is ignorant and silly. Maybe this was true 5 years ago, and maybe bigger studios will always stick to their 25-different-specialized-applications pipeline. But for me, having done quite a bit of viewport modeling in Houdini lately, I see no reason to use anything else except when it comes to sculpting.
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I think this discussion could be shortened if someone capable just screencasts a non-procedural modeling session.
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Hi Kristoffer, hi people.

Concept art is a very complex task. Thing in your scene, the Cristal scene. In Houdini, you can call a solution at least one more thing, a solution You apend your geometry add some points, attributes, density,pscale,orient, you use that combine to relax points, for each or copy to point sop. Add glass shader, volume materials ,lights. But how many thing before made that make the understanding up. Put this or that in that sense
Please, keep learning and make awesome things.
Edited by chevita. - Dec. 29, 2017 12:48:43
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The colloquial meaning of “concept art” is an illustration, created with 2d techniques, of which the main goal is to be either consumed as is or used for a 3d reproduction.
Clearly Houdini is not the best tool for this type of work. Right?

Now, if you're using the term to express “brain storming” or “idea exploration”, especially related to topics that lend themselves to a 3d procedural environment, such as biological or natural formations, alien patterns or anything of a fractal or pseudofractal nature, then Houdini is probably the best choice.

If we're talking about modeling high end models, sure, you can use Houdini to model a truck say.
You can do it for a pure academic endeavor, personal growth or recreational, or even for professional purposes. Modeling a truck start-finish will surely require you to learn lots of stuff, which in turn will be useful for lots of others type of work in Houdini, so it wouldn't be a pointless exercise professionally speaking, but I wouldn't recommend doing it in a studio, especially as a pro modeler. Other pro-modelers will run circles around you with other apps and a “but it's all procedural and a smart non-destructive way of working” reply from you, which would be 100% true, will produce little more than shrugs, in the best case scenario.

I have to end on a positive note and not because I'm the kumbaya type of forum poster, but before that, let me dig a bit deeper the hole I've dug myself in, in the eyes of other forum colleagues at least, and confess that I'm in the “ignorant and silly” camp. I think “you don't model with Houdini” is currently a valid strategy, especially on the pro-scene where time is still mainly money. Saying otherwise, in my eyes, you're not employing critical thinking, but feelings of attachment for this package and forum, which have their place for the community's social cohesion, but not when giving advice to a new comer, lest he or she might think has stumbled upon another 3d cult.

Now for the positive note: this won't be true for much longer if the SESI's trend continues.
At the moment I'm posting this, Houdini is at v.16.5
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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something to think about .
https://vimeo.com/211742962 [vimeo.com]
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Development cycle from SideFX is insane. We took the leap during H14 and never looked back. Best choice we ever made.

Modeling organic or hard surface geo is absolutely possible and powerful. The first month will be different, but after that you will be happy. Make sure to use and set up your own radial menus, and you will be well on your way.
Edited by Werner Ziemerink - Dec. 31, 2017 04:33:46

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Werner Ziemerink
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@old_school sorry Houdini is discussed exactly like this in the Vfx industry. It is dismissed with one line such as ‘you don’t model with Houdini'. TBH didn't know it was controversial to say you don't do concept work with Houdini. I look forward to anyone who actually does. In regards to ‘starting up new thread’ you may notice 3.5K+ posts, 800+ bugs and Rfe's that I have contributed to that exact purpose but hey…

Yes, but is based on the public notion, and followed which creates problems for the software maker. Rumors etc. are not healthy. Im sure Houdini is capable of anything that other software can, you just have to go around it in a different way.
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Kristoffer Kolompar
Yes, but is based on the public notion, and followed which creates problems for the software maker. Rumors etc. are not healthy. Im sure Houdini is capable of anything that other software can, you just have to go around it in a different way.

If you are convinced that it can be done regardless of what is actually done, today, then why did you even pose the forum question?
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I'm fascinated by the power and stoked by recent tools/workflows such as fur and terrain. These are laid out for very intuitive interaction - assuming you are open to a nodal workflow, which most 3D artists are.

I trip up over things that I think are taken for granted by the more generally technically fit houdini user base… like entering code snippets instead of having a drop-down list of options. And I trip up every time. the ‘hook-it-up’ interface for masking terrain and fur are examples of how this is changing for the better (my POV), whereas hooking up a gradient mask for other parts of houdini… trips me up.

These are things I'm happily taking up as part of the power of the tool… Ultimately I feel it's like most things… I can't concept some things as quickly as I can in other software, but concepting other things would definitely be faster.
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We recently had a VHUG here at Dneg where Jasmine Furby demonstrated a very cool concept piece she did in Houdini. She was able to visualize something unique and interesting using VDBs, particles and various other things but with “direct” artist control.

She happens to be an FX TD, so she knows Houdini well but used it outside “normal” industry expectations, to good effect!

Cheers,

Peter B
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Houdini is the perfect tool for prototyping (far better than maya or modo or anything else )

PS: Concept Art can be related to anything (not limited to illustrations)
Good learning
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Kristoffer Kolompar
Yes, but is based on the public notion, and followed which creates problems for the software maker. Rumors etc. are not healthy. Im sure Houdini is capable of anything that other software can, you just have to go around it in a different way.

If you are convinced that it can be done regardless of what is actually done, today, then why did you even pose the forum question?

Hey man!

Well, because I´ve increased my knowledge since the time I asked. There also has been very interesting answers to my questions, and they are more likely to modify and bend my question at hand.
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