Hard Surface modeling test

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A quick video of me playing with a cube and the awesome boolean tools. You will see some bad artifacts at around 1:23
but it does not affect the end product.

Things I learned (RFE's to come) while doing multiple sessions like this…

- Cube or box should have a built in bevel slider.
- The new alignment tools are great but needs some workflow tweaks
- Wish we had a better looking viewport. Even Quality lighting with shadows settings looks bleh.
- Radial menus is a life saver.
- Booleans could use a better interactive workflow.

Werner Ziemerink
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One more…

Werner Ziemerink
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Nice work. How long did it take? How does the network look?
What about exact numeric point positioning? Across multiple objects?
Are you rendering on a laptop, by any chance?
Edited by OneBigTree - Dec. 16, 2018 21:08:17
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It took one evening of playing around…no plan.

I did not need exact numeric point positioning on this one, sins it was just me playing around with the tools.

Nope, this was on my desktop.
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I like the final results, looks great for some types of media output although modelling with boolean to me is a cheap shortcut to clean quality edge flow modelling, ngons and thin strip polys always end up everywhere, especially after triangulation.

Would like to see a triangulated or quad mesh wireframe out of curiosity.

Having tried many ways to get good results from Houdini boolean seems to be the way for now but as I said ngons and poor topology just dont sit well in my modellers heart….had some luck with vdb for a few shapes but still mainly comes out a mesh mess.

It's really great seeing people start to model with Houdini but I fear it still has a very long way to go to compete in today's market place in that department.

I second your RFEs!
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Here is another video after I made some radial menu and preset changes. Just playing around, so no final usable model, but you get the workflow idea.
This exercise is good to work out new RFE's

Werner Ziemerink
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One more. This time organic modeling.
What can I say about this. Workflow is slow and tedious. No proper way to work with symmetry, and editing of points in space is cumbersome. I will submit more RFE's I guess.

Werner Ziemerink
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Here are some hda's I'm working on. Nothing spectacular like DM tools from Alexey, but having fun in the process.
Everyday I go through the H17 changelog/journal and hope to see some fixes for PolyBevel.

Edited by Werner Ziemerink - Feb. 21, 2019 02:15:38
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more playing around with modeling Hda's and other stuff.

Werner Ziemerink
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This time I tried DM tools developed by Alexey Vanzhula. Great workflow tools. It speeds up the process so much.
Love his tools.
Video is way too long, but I had so much fun without any idea what I wanted to do.

Attachments:
Road_drill_001_wz.jpg (226.9 KB)
Road_drill_002DM_wz.jpg (196.9 KB)

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Hi Werner,
The problem with "not have any ideas…just model and see what it can do“ approach, from which only the head modeling exercise is exempt (which is not actually hard-surface modeling), doesn't really provide a proper avenue to think about what improvements, corrections and additions to the Houdini's current modeling tool-set and workflows have to be done.

The inherent issue with this approach is that you're being ushered by the very limitations and problems you're trying to sort out. A much better approach would be to try modeling something an artist in a studio or a freelancer would have to do - that would be a vehicle, a weapon, a character's props or any object that doesn't pertain to a greeble like looks.

Am not saying there isn't any value in doing this, in fact you should probably do a tutorial start-finish, from modeling to final rendered image, if you're interested in helping out some new comers while possibly monetizing the effort.

Now, I'm in full agreement regarding your observations for which you filled RFEs. One feature that is still missing in H17, but not because it has been barely mentioned around here, yourself included, is the lack of simultaneous editing of multiple objects. How's that going to work with say, a tank or a Hollywood's Transformer robot model, where you have thousands of pieces and you need to keep them separate objects for various reasons, such as rigging and animation, and you have to modify some modeling with the current object-merge workflow. I'm not willing to try, not even with a much less ambitious model of mine.

If I had to condense the main issue with Houdini's current hard-surface modeling state of affairs into an abstraction, I'd say it's ”a difficulty to edit and manage SOP level geometry of which topology lines span over and vary along all three axis". In other words, as long you're operating with a line of which end points do not vary in all three axis, you're fine. From my experience, practical models rarely care about topology that varies in just one axis or in a plane.
Cheers!
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McNistor, I might just give that a go. I'm finding it hard to schedule time on this at the moment as I have a family and need to balance that. Part of my frustration is actually not having a plan to work from. That would most certainly improve production value of these videos.

The missing features you speak of where part of my Houdini 14 RFE's Being able to edit multiple objects is a must…even Blender can do that now. I've learned to keep everything under one object and move it out later. What can you do other than submitting RFE's.

Biggest problem areas for me after workflow enhancements, is the ability to edit components on their individual local space. SideFX knows this very well, and we've had numerous discussions around this. I'm hoping to see this in H18.

These videos made me aware of small features that where hiding away under RMB menus, and they work really well, but nobody seems to know they exist. It also made me question why we have two different PolySplit tools. One(PolySplit) can cut into centers of primitives while the PolyDraw can't. PolyDraw can cut multiple primitives all in one session, but PolySplit can't. ???

I've said this allot over the last couple of years on this and other forums. You can have all the individual modeling tools in the world, but if the workflow sucks, it will be all for nothing. Radial menus helped allot to keep mouse pointers in the viewport, but more can be done to solve this…just look at DM tools.

Lastly, these modeling sessions are allot of fun and helps me to request more features. Sidefx has proven to put allot of effort into requests, but I also know that allot of my requests are hard to integrate into the already existing procedural workflow, and I will have patience.

Let me see if I can come up with a better plan and work with an actual concept while doing a video. That way I can keep it short and break it down into sections and show it at realtime(not sped up 600%).
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Speaking of RMB menus - I find the Align Handle menu that contains the Ref Space cycle (M) extremely cumbersome and I only made some dirty editing to imported meshes so far. This is not awkward just for modeling but for rigging and animation too, where you have to constantly cycle through space with M, when grabbing body controls to transform them for posing.

I find myself very often, orbiting around, looking at the origin gnomon or the grid in order to figure out whether i'm in global, local, etc space. Having these spaces nested under a submenu is very debilitating.
The fact that you can't create a radial menu for these makes things worse. So maybe instead of the useless X menu for snapping (which should be assigned to a transient on/off key - Z maybe, as it's conveniently close to ctrl/shift), SESI should assign it the transform spaces.

Another solution would be to expose them directly under RMB menu. Or even better, also expose them on the transform upper bar (above viewport) for one click access (so no drop-down list) and away from one quick glance to see in what mode you are.

These are just two ideas that would enable the user to quickly switch between trasf. spaces.

Do you also find this to be a problem and if so, did you find a solution that somewhat ameliorates the issue?
Edited by McNistor - April 1, 2019 16:21:32

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Yes, very much so. I have made so many posts and requests just to get Local and Global space to be more part of the every day process of Houdini.

x (for snapping) must be at the top of most wasted hotkeys, as I don't think I've ever seen anyone use it. I rarely use snapping these days, as it's just tedious not having a volatile hotkey for snapping. Rather use the Align tool (' key)where possible.

Using x (radial menu)for transform spaces would be much more appreciated. Especially if local mode was able to work on individual components. And no, I would not want it on the top bar. It needs to be under the mouse pointer at a click of a button. Radial menu all the way.

I will RFE this, if you do the same?
Edited by Werner Ziemerink - April 2, 2019 02:37:58
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Radial menu is cool and all that, will definitely RFE it for the X key. However, I do think the top bar needs to at the very least show the mode you're in, if not interactive. Not my intention to pull out the “others have it” argument, but they do have it (XSI, 3dsMax, I think Maya too) because it's a crucial visual cue for transformations, no modeler or animator wants to work without in my experience.
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Yep, my m key on my keyboard is fading because I continuously cycle through transform space.

Not good.
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Hi Werner,

If you don't know this already, have a look at the Blender addons HardOps, BoxCutter & KitOps for some interesting workflow stuff.
Might give you some more ideas for the RFE's

cheers, and love your Hard Surface modeling tests

rob
Edited by RobW - April 3, 2019 04:18:13
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Hi Rob,

Yes, we bought box cutter, and I love how easy it is to draw out boolean shapes. This would be very handy in Houdini. Very good RFE right there.
Unfortunately blender does not deal very well with massive geometry counts at this stage. It slows down fairly quickly, where Houdini handles it with ease. Besides boxcutter and Hardops, there are other modeling areas of blender that has very fast workflow, which always draws my attention.

Thanks for the kind words…glad you like the videos.
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Hi,

Yeah, Blender does bog down quickly when the scenes become a bit more dense, or with heavie(r) particle work.
Something Houdini has no problems with indeed. And Blender has still a long way to go regarding anything with larger pipelines and VFX work.

It is a nice 3D package with some interesting bits (Eevee), and due to all the modules one can stay within one application.
I know it is in no way a replacement for Houdini (or Softimage), but it does some things really nicely.


Good luck on your hard surface adventures

rob
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McNistor
Not my intention to pull out the “others have it” argument, but they do have it (XSI, 3dsMax, I think Maya too).

Just for info, Maya doesn't. It also is not showing the selected vertex position. At least not in out-of-the-box version. ‘Combined’ move and tweak tool is Maya ‘specialty’ as well. So unfortunately, yeah it is a kind of negative, of “others have it”. It seems they choose the worst possible ergonomics as reference, that is, Maya one, or to say precisely, no reference. As far as I know, Maya developing ‘philosophy’ when it comes to modeling tools, it is to avoid any significant effort, any change in UI exactly for that purpose, and Houdini seems to admirably follow that style.
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