Isn't it time for Houdini to deal with Importing better?

   5354   23   3
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
I buy a lot of assets online (Artstation, Gumroad, Turbosquid, etc.) and every time I import that FBX file I cringe at the insane node trees that are created.

By the time I'm done sorting things out and cleaning things up I might as well have modeled the thing myself.

It's 2020, shouldn't there be a smarter way for Houdini to deal with .fbx files than this nonsense?


Attachments:
Screen Shot 2020-09-05 at 1.46.15 PM.png (563.2 KB)

>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
At the very least, Houdini should be smart enough to sub-group and merge hierarchically-related objects in order to limit the madness of the node tree.


By comparison, this is how Blender imports the file, and right off the bat it's infinitely more manageable.

Attachments:
Screen Shot 2020-09-05 at 1.52.40 PM.png (675.4 KB)

>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
6837 posts
Joined: July 2007
Offline
you can just import it with File SOP which should come with name attribute representing the path, so you can deal with it as with alembic in procedural way faster than in any other software

or if you want it as obj hierarchy you can check Import Nulls As Subnets to get it in multiple levels that you can see in tree view as Blender hierarchy
Tomas Slancik
FX Supervisor
Method Studios, NY
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
You don't think I've evaluated all of the different ways of dealing with this before posting in frustration?

The current implementation is not good and you know it. We're all Houdini fan boys here, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't demand improvements when something is clunky compared to other DCC's.

Importing directly into a File node solves some issues and creates others that have to be dealt with in other ways, and when doing a great deal of re-shading the resulting network can get just as complicated real quick.

Importing Nulls as Subnets isn't a fix either, it breaks things down in a slightly more manageable way (depending on how organized the person who created the geo was), but it's also still an incredibly clunky way of dealing with more complex models.

Recently Kitbash 3D started offering Houdini native files, where they basically take it upon themselves to organize and arrange their kits in a way that makes more sense to the end user, but unfortunately they're just one developer out of hundreds.

I think SideFX needs to rethink the way importing geometry into Houdini is handled, it's been long overdue.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
524 posts
Joined: Nov. 2013
Offline
Agree. I think houdini need a better outline editor that can do something as many other DCCs.
User Avatar
Member
6245 posts
Joined: Sept. 2011
Offline
Midphase
Importing Nulls as Subnets isn't a fix either, it breaks things down in a slightly more manageable way (depending on how organized the person who created the geo was), but it's also still an incredibly clunky way of dealing with more complex models.

In what way is that different than importing to other software?
User Avatar
Member
188 posts
Joined: March 2013
Offline
I'm sure there is something on the horizon ;-)

But also, FBX sux.
I'm not lying, I'm writing fiction with my mouth.
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
Thank you Lewis….that gives me hope, although this horizon has been on the horizon for considerably longer than expected this year!


FBX isn't ideal, personally I prefer Alembic for this type of thing; unfortunately it's not really up to me as most of these models keep using FBX as the standard file exchange and I suspect this ‘standard’ will continue for quite a number of years.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
jsmack
In what way is that different than importing to other software?

Due to the node-centric nature of Houdini, it creates a considerably more difficult layout to work with than in something like Blender, C4D or Maya. For instance, combining nodes in Houdini requires diving in and out of several layers of nodes, copying the appropriate File node, going back up a few levels, pasting the File nodes and using a Merge node. When dealing with literally hundreds of nodes (see my screen capture above), this makes me just want to curl into a ball and cry. Perhaps this process is better weathered by a large studio that can throw the repetitive task at the lowest paid intern, but for a one-man team this adds a huge amount of hours to the simple process of making a purchased model usable…let alone actually do the rest of the things that typically need to be done such as re-texturing, sometimes re-build UV's, animation, lighting, etc.

Combining and simplifying one of these models in another DCC simply involves a quick shift-select and hitting the appropriate shortcut for merging geometry.

The most sane solution at the moment is to prepare the model in another DCC, re-export a new FBX or ABC file and re-import in Houdini the simplified version where it can be managed within Houdini's nodes in a more sensible way and with considerably less nodes.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
294 posts
Joined: April 2017
Offline
There's a workaround for this… use the Agent SOP in “FBX File” mode to load your FBX, then unpack it.
MOPs (Motion Operators for Houdini): http://www.motionoperators.com [www.motionoperators.com]
User Avatar
Member
41 posts
Joined: Dec. 2019
Offline
If Attached Multy Object to single object With Difference material ID ,Can troubles,I Export FBX separated,And Can get Easy selected using material ID.
User Avatar
Member
806 posts
Joined: Oct. 2016
Offline
Joining into the discussion part of this - while I do agree that there are workarounds possible for most issues with imports in Houdini, stating that Houdini needs better imports all over the place is definitely true.

I am not quite sure what snapag is saying, but it might be something I have been struggling with to solve in my FBX-import-enhancer tool: Houdini tends to rename imported material tags in a way that isn't always predictable. For once, Houdini doesn't support blanks in tags. If it was ONLY that, it would be easy enough to assume that “_” is a blank. However, there are material tags that have both, blanks and underscores - and the screw-up just starts there.

If Houdini cannot or does not want to deal with a broader range of characters (UTF8 would be a minimum in my world), fine, that's something I can accept. But PLEASE make it USER-definable, don't always pretend that Houdini “knows better”. Let the user set up a replacement matrix instead of brute-forcing underscores to everything.

Also, if there is a mix of material tags stemming from different geometry “layers” in the FBX, don't start a COUNTER for those tags. That's just unnecessarily crude if a script tries to make sense of the output.

Don't get me wrong, I will continue filing RFEs every once in a while, despite the fact that I can neither check existing RFEs, or even see my own ones (which makes me file RFEs about 0.00001% of the time I would like to do so). But I welcome an exchange of perspectives BEFORE I do so, since some RFEs I have seen before they got filed (and thus vanished from my view) are kind of contrary to what I consider a good idea and could have been improved by a short discussion.


Marc
---
Out of here. Being called a dick after having supported Houdini users for years is over my paygrade.
I will work for money, but NOT for "you have to provide people with free products" Indie-artists.
Good bye.
https://www.marc-albrecht.de [www.marc-albrecht.de]
User Avatar
Member
41 posts
Joined: Dec. 2019
Offline
I recommend watched This Amazing Two tutorial python,Can You Solve some icho

https://www.mixtrn.com/bites-of-python [www.mixtrn.com]
Bites of Python - 03 - HOM, OBJ loader custom tool
Bites of Python - 09_ JSON Custom Importer part 1

https://www.pluralsight.com/courses/houdini-python-procedural-cities [www.pluralsight.com]
User Avatar
Member
374 posts
Joined: Nov. 2010
Offline
jsmack
Midphase
Importing Nulls as Subnets isn't a fix either, it breaks things down in a slightly more manageable way (depending on how organized the person who created the geo was), but it's also still an incredibly clunky way of dealing with more complex models.

In what way is that different than importing to other software?
Managing subnets and hierarchies in Houdini is a PITA and much more limited than in other software.
User Avatar
Member
374 posts
Joined: Nov. 2010
Offline
Midphase
You don't think I've evaluated all of the different ways of dealing with this before posting in frustration?

The current implementation is not good and you know it. We're all Houdini fan boys here, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't demand improvements when something is clunky compared to other DCC's.

Importing directly into a File node solves some issues and creates others that have to be dealt with in other ways, and when doing a great deal of re-shading the resulting network can get just as complicated real quick.

Importing Nulls as Subnets isn't a fix either, it breaks things down in a slightly more manageable way (depending on how organized the person who created the geo was), but it's also still an incredibly clunky way of dealing with more complex models.

Recently Kitbash 3D started offering Houdini native files, where they basically take it upon themselves to organize and arrange their kits in a way that makes more sense to the end user, but unfortunately they're just one developer out of hundreds.

I think SideFX needs to rethink the way importing geometry into Houdini is handled, it's been long overdue.

I have to agree. There is no toolset to handle large scene management specifically. The Tree view is just that: A viwew. The list view is limited and doesn't even save the sorting method.
We need better centralized scene management with grouping/partitioning (expanding the bundle functionality), Material overrides per group/partition and render/view layer assignment/management, quick multi renaming and multi operations in the tree view on object level.
At the moment you can somehow do parts of it but you need 3 different windows at least and it is still not half as efficient as any other scene management.
User Avatar
Member
374 posts
Joined: Nov. 2010
Offline
toadstorm
There's a workaround for this… use the Agent SOP in “FBX File” mode to load your FBX, then unpack it.

It's not just the importing and displaying - it is also the management and handling once imported. We need a solution, not a work around.
User Avatar
Member
374 posts
Joined: Nov. 2010
Offline
jsmack
The most sane solution at the moment is to prepare the model in another DCC,

..at which point you have to wonder why you would not do the rest of the work in the other DCC…
User Avatar
Member
374 posts
Joined: Nov. 2010
Offline
snapag
If Attached Multy Object to single object With Difference material ID ,Can troubles,I Export FBX separated,And Can get Easy selected using material ID.
Yeah: If. Have you ever imported a complex CAD dataset, exported by an incompetent person?
Edited by OneBigTree - Sept. 8, 2020 07:12:33
User Avatar
Member
818 posts
Joined: Jan. 2018
Offline
OneBigTree
..at which point you have to wonder why you would not do the rest of the work in the other DCC…

Sadly that's exactly what is happening. This and the weird SideFX silence regarding any sort of updates, and the kinda buggy H18 release that only recently has regained the stability that H17.5 had right out of the gate, has me using Blender more than I thought I would have just a year ago.

I am hoping that 18.5 or 19 will bring some much needed improvements to this and other parts of Houdini, including modeling which has been discussed in other threads.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
User Avatar
Member
41 posts
Joined: Dec. 2019
Offline
Some time I use max for export FBX complex scene ,third part support CAD,then work fine between soft include in Area Autodesk, A lot people use models format FBX ,More advantage FBX can keep UV place And Animation.
Edited by anon_user_35845555 - Sept. 8, 2020 23:25:42
  • Quick Links