Search - User list
Full Version: Quick, simple rigging questions (SI users)
Root » SI Users » Quick, simple rigging questions (SI users)
Paul Griswold
I rarely get asked to rig anything, but the issue came up and I realized I never really made the transition from the Softimage way to Houdini.

All I'm rigging is a leg from the shin down to the toes (with a shoe on the foot). In Softimage, I would have set up some simple bones and created some low res geometry to envelope. Then I'd use that low res geometry to drive the high res mesh.

In Softimage anything could be used as “bones” - you'd just select whatever you wanted to use and apply an envelope to your geometry.

However, in Houdini rigging seems to be totally different than Softimage. And, unfortunately all the guides & tutorials either are ones that take you through rigging an entire character or just cover one or two nodes, but there's nothing that covers the basics of how the Houdini way works.

I've looked at Jordi's guides and it's helped but I'd love a bit more insight.


Moin, Paul,

the bone-way-of-rigging in Houdini uses point weights to deform the mesh. You do have a “basic cage” structure, but the shape of that is limited to a capsule (that you can only deform in parameters of width, length, start/end position, orientation). BUT you can change point weights individually by using a capture override node e.g.

The bone here serves as a visual representation of the underlying capture-capsule (and as “grab-able handles” for animation). You can actually switch off the bone and visualize the capsule itself - or you visualize the point weights.

I know this does not help that much, yet I feel like Michael Goldfarb's rigging series actually is quite good at explaining the fundamentals, you don't really need to watch all of it, just browse over the content and concentrate on what you think you need to learn specifically.

Paul Griswold
Thanks! Yep, I had a look at his series. The problem I had was, there was just too much information for something as simple as what I am trying to do. Even that series gets into Python scripts, etc., etc., which is something I never had to deal with in Softimage.

I ended up using the autorig tool to generate a leg and foot. I tried just generating a foot, but for some reason, a foot alone had a lot of issues with the weights being strange. When I added the leg, it did a much better job & once I used the paint tool to isolate and smooth them, it worked pretty well.

Actually, if you look at Michael's section on rigging the foot: [] You can see why I thought I could set up a rig like in Softimage. He has the foot split by groups forming lower resolution sections. It looks like that split geometry would then be used to drive higher-res geometry. But as far as I could see, he left it as is with the splits intact.

In any event, it's not something I do more than once a year at most, so no big deal. It was the first time where I really felt like Houdini still lagged way behind Softimage. Softimage's rigging tools always seemed very straightforward and easy to use.


I find Houdini's rigging to be superior to XSI. The fact that one can use nulls or almost any kind of object to drive your weights (didn't try with a light object, but I wouldn't be surprised if it were possible) in Softimage, seems like a minor advantage after some experience in both.

The weak part, weaker than XSI, is the weight painting in Houdini. It gives you better results from the get go, but it's harder to adjust afterwards.

Oh and the animation… XSI's still better than Maya, which in turn, is better than Houdini.
Pick your poison…
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Powered by DjangoBB