Why is Houdini constantly making decisions for me?

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Why is secure selection on by default? It is the first thing I turn off when I open Houdini.
Why is Houdini switching tools for me without being asked in the most inappropriate time?
As an example: Why I create a grain sim via shelf tool it asks me to select the source object but switches from Selection mode to Handle, which makes selection more complicated especially if I forgot that secure mode is on.

There are so many cases where Houdini produces extra unnecessary work for the user. As if node management wasn't enough overhead.

Instead of simplifying interaction schemes and thus speeding up workflows and making Houdini a joy to use, they come up with new blockers, bumps and stones in your path.

I really would like to use Houdini permanently for more basic stuff so I can slowly dive into advanced functionality, but every time I do something in it I am glad when it is done and I can switch back to something else, where you work is not constantly interrupted by undoing something the software has done for you unsolicited. This makes it really hard for me to adopt Houdini.

Over all the brilliant sophisticated stuff that is great for big studios with a lot of TDs and IT geeks, SideFX seems to forget about the normal artist who's job it is to create images on a tight schedule.

The overhaul of the timeline was a great step forward. But the primary interface (viewport, tools, scene management, and direct interaction) is still in a state from 20 years ago. It somehow doesn't match the ingenuity of the rest of the software.
Edited by OneBigTree - Aug. 31, 2019 12:47:54

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OneBigTree
Why is secure selection on by default? It is the first thing I turn off when I open Houdini.
some like in on some off, that's why its a preference, if you don't like it on by default make it off by default
Preferences/ObjectsAndGeometry
Tomas Slancik
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OneBigTree
Why is secure selection on by default? It is the first thing I turn off when I open Houdini.
some like in on some off, that's why its a preference, if you don't like it on by default make it off by default
Preferences/ObjectsAndGeometry

I know I can set a preference. I picked this example because it show a certain way of thinking that encompasses everything to do with interaction in Houdini. Not the easiest most required options are the default, but that what needs the most clicks and actions.

I would be a lot happier if there was an option to switch off the automatic tool or mode selection by default.
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What does one do when there are no preferences to be set though? I guess, one can file RFEs and hope for the best, while deciding whether H is the tool they want to work with in the meantime.
Methinks, Houdini becoming an artist friendly app is becoming a less and less realistic expectation. The complaints have been shot long ago, but there's no one to hear them.

I, for one, have weighted the crap Houdini puts me through against the goodies it offers me and the latter has won.
Live or die… Make your choice!
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pickled
The complaints have been shot long ago, but there's no one to hear them.
Or, have been heard and deemed unreasonable. The end result is the same.
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What does one do when there are no preferences to be set though? I guess, one can file RFEs and hope for the best, while deciding whether H is the tool they want to work with in the meantime.
Methinks, Houdini becoming an artist friendly app is becoming a less and less realistic expectation. The complaints have been shot long ago, but there's no one to hear them.

I, for one, have weighted the crap Houdini puts me through against the goodies it offers me and the latter has won.
Live or die… Make your choice!

Or we can at the same time still keep complaining.

There has been change, but babysteps and slow…..
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Overall SideFx engineers are spending all their collective energies in pushing performance out the hardware that they don't have time to optimise human-computer interaction. Humans are unpredicable, whilst hardware isn't
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I understand your complaining because it's my opinion too that Houdini is growing at the speed of light for so many aspects, it's so powerful and advanced, but lacks very basic functionalities that would make it easier to work with. There are many aspects that look rudimentary. Coming from Maya I miss a lot of very basic stuff, it's not a matter of habit because I started using Houdini more than three years ago and I did a lot of work with it, but working is sometimes harder than what it could be with some small adjustments to the basic interface.
Working in the viewport is the first: selections are hard, manipulators are complicated and hard to pick with the mouse; when you move the camera it looses every time the center of interest or clipping planes suddenly hide half of the scene or you find yourself with a tilted point of view on the Z axis and it's space+g again and again. Snapping is a nightmare and animation editor is so overly complicated …
I love Houdini and its advanced features, but I'm sure that if Sidefx could concentrate to solve these little problems it would attract so many more people to use it even for the everyday work and not only for advanced stuff.

Ray
Edited by madrenderman - Sept. 1, 2019 22:54:34
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Thanks Ray. The main issue I believe is that SideFx have no identifiable technique to capture your experiece as data.

Polemics are brushed aside, with active listening techniques, and experienced beta tester aren't so useful here, as they are biased to their histories.

Maybe most importantly is that there is no current roadmap that talks about viewport UX… handles visible in Karma don't count
Edited by anon_user_37409885 - Sept. 1, 2019 23:46:28
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No problem, I'm sure things will change, very slowly but they will change.
Meanwhile all the “normal” people will keep using Houdini as the biggest plugin ever made
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Yeah, Houdini really lacks of basics functions, e.g. can't select/edit multiple points in Curve SOP. Can't select SOP node in viewport which will cause merge multiple parts to one node and select a single part becoming such a hell.
SideFX is good to make cool things, but unfortunately, these won't change soon.
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Overall SideFx engineers are spending all their collective energies in pushing performance out the hardware that they don't have time to optimise human-computer interaction.

I don't think so, quite the opposite actually. Houdini was a very niche product just a few years ago, and today it's becoming one of the most mainstream DCC's due to a few factors (namely the attractive price of Indie, and disappointment in the competition such as Maxon and Autodesk).

I think SideFX understands this quite well, and is reacting by making advanced features more user friendly. Take Vellum for example – it's a direct response to making what would have normally been a very complex DOP system into a couple-of-nodes-and-you're-done solution.

I think H18 will move further in this simplifying direction. Even fully adopting USD is a step toward being more artist-friendly.

I say keep the suggestions coming, and most importantly submit requests directly to the SideFX staff. Don't expect that just because you gripe about it in the forums, it will be noticed by the people who can actually do something about it.
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If you want change file RFE and Bug reports. They actually listen to feed back.

There are so many things that artists are experiencing they have no idea about and a lot artists forget to compile their thoughts and send it their way to help them see/understand the situations artists find themselves in.
soho vfx
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goat
Overall SideFx engineers are spending all their collective energies in pushing performance out the hardware that they don't have time to optimise human-computer interaction. Humans are unpredicable, whilst hardware isn't
Not making a pit stop once in a while, to optimize the human-computer interaction, could lead us to a situation where only computer-computer interaction will be possible. Not that it won't happen some time in the future, but lets first wait for us to become computers too
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If you want change file RFE and Bug reports. They actually listen to feed back.

There are so many things that artists are experiencing they have no idea about and a lot artists forget to compile their thoughts and send it their way to help them see/understand the situations artists find themselves in.

That is why I started this thread in the first place.
It is one thing to file RFEs and bug reports, but another giving feedback about how something feels.

That needs a discussion first.
I could make a list of things that need changing but I am sure SideFX wouldn't put any work in it as long as they don't think the community actually demands it.
And there is the problem right here. The users who are actually concerned about these things don't use Houdini much because of these kind of flaws. So how would you get a significant amount of users to support these requests?
As it was mentioned somewhere, the majority of users concentrate on the nodes and networks, on pipeline tools, vex and al the other TD stuff. They often don't even see the problem. Remember how long it took to get viewport normals so your geometry didn't look completely broken in the viewport.
I have a strong feeling that the feedback that has the most impact comes from the big companies speaking directly to SideFX devs.
That leaves all the single seat users and freelancer they made the indie license for, standing outside looking in.

But still, this is probably an issue with most software developing companies. What concerns me is that other companies still manage to make user friendly software without users constantly having to request, report or complain about these things.
These things can and must come from the inside. The issue with SideFX seems to be that they are trapped in their high level engineering which is of course the core of the software and it is great, but they need someone to come down the stairs and have a look at what is going on at the foot of the tower - without being nudged or called - every once in a while. Not just react, but take the initiative. But you need the right people for that. From what I've seen in Houdini development over that last decade, this is where SideFX lacks a lot of competence compared to other DCC app creators.

For such a complex piece of software it is mandatory to ease people's way in. If I can use Houdini for all my very basic stuff just as efficiently as I use my “home software”, without having to learn the vocabulary of two script languages and get used to an oddly behaving interface, then I will use it constantly which gives me the opportunity to explore the deeper functions step by step and not use them only once every two months and forget half of what I've learned until the next time I do a sim in it.

I don't see the point in paying for a permanent license with the highest annual maintenance fee in the industry as long as the software is a step back in terms of efficiency for most basic tasks.

It is such a shame, because it is not very much that has to be done compared to the other tech they are developing…
Edited by OneBigTree - Sept. 3, 2019 10:05:54
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@OneBigTree I perfectly agree with what you've saying here, but what I was saying or trying to say above is that these have been brought up before, by yours trully included as you well know. Even starting with H14, when I jumped on-board and after a few major releases some very annoying and flow breaking behaviors (constant handle/cam tool auto switching and others) have been left untouched.

Hence my conclusion that they've deemed these unimportant or that this is how it should be.

Not sure if more complaining, especially if it comes from the same individuals, will make a difference. But hey, keep doing what you're doing, maybe the planets will align and something will change.
Edited by anon_user_89151269 - Sept. 3, 2019 11:42:33
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Few months ago I wrote to support to report a missing feature in the animation editor, it was not possible to select multiple keyframes and change their tangent type without affecting the entire curve. It was incredible for me that such a (very) basic feature was not present in the 17th edition of the software, and when I reported it to the support and to Houdini users Facebook group it was difficult to explain the problem, it was not understood, or it was not considered a problem, many suggested workarounds based on python/expressions/chops (!), but I just wanted to press a button and make some keyframes linear/spline/flat like in Maya.
The feature was implemented within few days, SideFX has really a great support, but it was clear that Houdini is the king for visual effects and motion graphics, but very few people (probably no one) is using it for animation and especially for character animation, and it's a shame because I'm sure that a SideFX programmer with the help of an experienced character animator coming from Maya could make those little adjustments in a week or two (ok, probably something more but not that much) and make Houdini number one in animation too.
And I think this applies to modeling / interface too

Ray
Edited by madrenderman - Sept. 3, 2019 12:10:26
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As it was mentioned somewhere, the majority of users concentrate on the nodes and networks, on pipeline tools, vex and al the other TD stuff. They often don't even see the problem.

It's not that the ‘problem’ is not seen; It's that there is no problem. It really depends on the person, not across the board for everyone.
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As it was mentioned somewhere, the majority of users concentrate on the nodes and networks, on pipeline tools, vex and al the other TD stuff. They often don't even see the problem.

It's not that the ‘problem’ is not seen; It's that there is no problem. It really depends on the person, not across the board for everyone.
The s/w development should be tailored with target users in mind. That is, the modeling related workflow as modelers see it, animation as animators see it, etc.
It shouldn't matter that an animator or TD sees no problem with modeling for example, or a modeler with sims, etc, because it's not only irrelevant that it's just a matter of perspective/preference about different workflows, it is the fundamental principle of the s/w development approach I'm endorsing.
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The viewport UX could certainly do with a similiar jump that took FEM to Vellum, or the old node graph to the new one. H18 might have something there, though it looks more to do with USD support than anything workflow based.

The question these days is it worth Houdini developing that or are we well enough serviced by other apps. There is great value to removing things that don't help you achieve your goals; the opportunity costs are too great.
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