Arnold limitations as render engine for Houdini FX

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Hi!
First post in this forum, I'm a newcomer to the Houdini world, recently researching Houdini FX and playing with the indie version, as I think, given time, it could be my main working tool (such an amazing beast!).
I'm aiming to use Arnold with Houdini, as I am already familiar with it, but a question arises: what are the current limitations I will stumble upon with this choice on the long run? What kind of scenes and behaviours will need me to failback to Mantra? What worklflow issues have you found when working in a Houdini + Arnold production environment?

Thanks in advance!
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We switched to Arnold completely. Its way faster and more predictable compared to mantra (but this depends who you ask).
I will talk about the current biggest limitations you might encounter in Arnold.

It doesnt support packed alembic procedural, neither packed bgeo procedural. This means you will have to save your geometry to ass file every single frame. Saving 10gb worth of geo every single frame (animated geo) might be bottle neck for you (definitely its for us).

As there is no support for packed geo, rendering crowd (stadium shots) is not possible (it is possible, you just dont want to do it as it would mean unpack every agent).

You cant use pointclouds inside shaders (pcopen).
You cant instance lights (Arnold core problem, but worked in XSI )
Baking textures is useless in HtoA

If you come from Maya, prepare your self, that its not even close to render refresh speeds you are getting in Maya IPR (still way better then Mantra).

Besides that, no surprises, all works as expected.

Test it for your self and decide.
Prom production point of view; its definitely ready (if you can live with missing ABC/BGEO procedural)
Edited by martinkindl83 - Jan. 28, 2018 21:51:50
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martinkindl83
Its way faster and more predictable compared to mantra
Give it time… considering who's managing what.
https://www.artstation.com/artist/mcnistor [www.artstation.com]
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Have you checked out Redshift?

It got allot of the same limitations as Arnold in Houdini, but it's allot faster.
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You said:

It doesnt support packed alembic procedural, neither packed bgeo procedural. This means you will have to save your geometry to ass file every single frame. Saving 10gb worth of geo every single frame (animated geo) might be bottle neck for you (definitely its for us).

But the Houdini indie licence does not support exporting files as .ass files.
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My understanding was Indie doesn’t allow full scene conversion to proxy formats, but does support asset conversions. It’s widely used over in the Redshift world.

Speaking of, RS does handle packed primitives. It doesn’t directly support their usage for rendering (mostly for viewport support), but you can slice it up into proxies for quick rendering once you have things the way you want. Does Arnold not have a similar workflow? I’m still a bit new to Houdini (coming from Maya), so are packed ABC/bgeo different from packed primitives?

Cheers,
Mike
Edited by Michael Rochefort - Feb. 26, 2018 09:26:18
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