Is this even possible?

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Hello,

Is it possible to take a finalized asset in Maya, say.. a house. Break it apart, and then use those pieces in Houdini to create a procedural HDA in order to make many variations of that house back in Maya? Or would you have to build the house from scratch in Houdini? Model, UV, etc.

Let me know, thanks!
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You could, but each of the pieces would just be geometry. So you could have an instancing workflow transform the pieces and puts together a new house but unless you broke down the maya geo in such a way that it corresponded to the lowest level controls in your house building asset, you wouldn't be able to do much with it.

e.g. if your house builder asset accepts a window geo as an input, it could scale the window and place it all over your house, but you couldn't control the number of panes. If instead, it had a window frame input and a pane input and molding input (or however you construct your windows) you could construct variants of the window with different pane layouts. But you may have had to break down the window into parts that didn't correspond to its original construction. In which you could have just built the parts in Maya, and not the whole house.

It seems that, unless you've already built the house, and expended a lot of effort assigning Uv's and shaders etc, you're still better off building a truly procedural house in houdini. (but I'm a programmer not an artist, so I may be unclear on the desired workflow)
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If you want to build a house from parts, have the tool take parts and not a complete building. The game dev tools have such a tool, I'd start testing that.

You can also go for the fully procedural aproach, doing it in Houdini from scratch. This path will give you control at the cost of artistic freedom. Depends on the needs.
B.Henriksson, DICE
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What Kahuna031 suggested is the best idea.
I can add to his point by suggesting a workflow for sending multiple parts to houdini at the same time. Here you can still achieve a houdini->maya approach without tediously adding individual parts. what you can do is:
1) assign the parts(geometry) into several groups like Window_Type1, Window_Type2, door_Type1, door_Type2, etc.
2) Then inside of the houdini when you get your object merge, you will see in the primitive panel, of the geometry spreadsheet, the groups as “Window_Type1/geometry…” etc.
3) You can then parse the geometry in a wrangle to separate out the components.

But that being said, it may be a cute way for Houdini to parse out your models, but the fundamental logic of construction of a house will rely on the Houdini side of things. So you can use this approach to send multiple parts as a single input to Houdini for house construction but it will be better to have barebone construction of house first and then point instance the parts in place (Just like others advised).
Edited by som - Sept. 27, 2019 20:18:13
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