About the scene management,can we have a new solution?

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Houdini's node-based nature is great for vfx,but it really sucks on scene/object management,especially painful when you importing complicated models(eg.CAD models or kitbash) .

Blender or C4D's layer-based object system is great for organizing thounds of objects.That's why most of us choose to do the whole shot(eg.scene building and shading)in other DCC,only open houdini for some hard vfx work.

That's really a pity,we should complete a shot/scene in houdini,but it's really painful to do this.Can we have a new solution for this? By the way,C4D R23's node system is closly connected to the original layer system.
Edited by wanglifu - Sept. 11, 2020 02:25:59
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Can we have a new solution for this?
Solaris/LOPs is targeted to be the new layout and lighting solution, it may need some time to mature and become more user friendly and functional alongside with usd itself, so time will tell, but it's good to start getting familiar with it
Tomas Slancik
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wanglifu
Can we have a new solution for this?
Solaris/LOPs is targeted to be the new layout and lighting solution, it may need some time to mature and become more user friendly and functional alongside with usd itself, so time will tell, but it's good to start getting familiar with it

I haven't touched the Solaris,but can the traditional workflow will benefit from those usd stuff?
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I haven't touched the Solaris,but can the traditional workflow will benefit from those usd stuff?
possibly not directly

however solaris is much better at managing large scale scenes than traditional /obj context where you have to have node per object LOPs don't work that way (but a bit closer to packed prim workflow in SOPs as a relatively small graph can manage as many object as possible) and in that sense it's also probably better than any system Blender or C4D offers in terms of scalability, the UX however may be another issue
Tomas Slancik
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Hello,

that was my issue in the beginning as well and still is to some point.

In Modo there’s a similar system like C4d with layers and nodes for quite some time. But these systems are not perfect either and feel inconsistent in my opinion.

If you really like to manage scenes like in Blender, then why not use Blender to prepare the asset? It’s free after all!
You can easily stream the Asset into Houdini as an Alembic and use selection by Path or Name attribute to select the layers in Houdini and assign materials.

There‘s also the stage manager in Solaris, which lets you sort layers like in Blender or Cinema.

Solaris is more like Clarisse or Katana and very very cool for creating huge scenes. Solaris is still new and has some growing pains, but I really look forward once these get ironed out.

Best
Christian
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Every method has its strengths and weaknesses, the key is that you simply *can't* represent non-linear workflows (think deformers branching and mixing), the kind only Houdini can do, on a purely hierarchical manner, therefore, although strange at first, imho Houdini's approach is vastly superior.

True, visually is odd and sometimes uncomfortable but you will soon enough change your approach when using Houdini to manipulate those objects in a more effective way. For example, you may change from node view to tree based view when needed, or encapsulating things in subnetworks, or using bundles…

Furthermore, with the latest versions of Houdini you can add images to your networks to help group visually very complex things and when used in conjunction with groups, managing data is very very efficient.

Perhaps the question would be to bring a better node arrangements, clever extracts and other appraoches to make it easier?

It may look strange at first, but don't bee fooled, Houdini's is a highly effective method.

If on top of all that you look at Solaris, things get even more interesting.

my 2 cents.
jb


wanglifu
Houdini's node-based nature is great for vfx,but it really sucks on scene/object management,especially painful when you importing complicated models(eg.CAD models or kitbash) .

Blender or C4D's layer-based object system is great for organizing thounds of objects.That's why most of us choose to do the whole shot(eg.scene building and shading)in other DCC,only open houdini for some hard vfx work.

That's really a pity,we should complete a shot/scene in houdini,but it's really painful to do this.Can we have a new solution for this? By the way,C4D R23's node system is closly connected to the original layer system.
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If you really like to manage scenes like in Blender, then why not use Blender to prepare the asset? It’s free after all!
You can easily stream the Asset into Houdini as an Alembic and use selection by Path or Name attribute to select the layers in Houdini and assign materials.

This thread is somewhat related to the one I started last week bitching about how unnecessarily complicated it is to work with Kitbash type of elements that far too often are only offered as FBX or OBJ files:

https://www.sidefx.com/forum/topic/75574/ [www.sidefx.com]

I think an import node with a better abstraction layer is sorely needed. SideFX LABS FBX Archive node is a move in the right direction, but we need something like that on steroids, and not just for FBX files.

My understanding is that 18.5 will bring some improvements, which lets me know that SideFX is aware that this is a problem, which IMHO invalidates anyone who says that it's fine as is.

Solaris/USD is – after almost a year of having it around I'm still unsure how exactly to fit it into my workflow. The many tutorials that I watched only make me want to steer clear of it. Being a one-man-army, I don't need to share my project files with anyone else, so any benefit that USD seems to offer doesn't really apply to me.

Ultimately, for my FBX files, I ended up doing what CV suggested which is to set things up in Blender which made the process incredibly fast and smooth for me. Unfortunately at some point, the question that begs to be answered is – why go back into Houdini at all?

I really hope that 18.5 (or 19 if that's what's coming up next) will address these issues and make the workflow more efficient than it currently is.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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Midphase
I really hope that 18.5 (or 19 if that's what's coming up next) will address these issues and make the workflow more efficient than it currently is.


Hello Midphase,

to be honest, Blender is quite exciting with Evee and all these new things happening there. You can work really fast with it, depending on the type of work you do.

But even Blender (and other DCC) have limits when it comes to complexity.
Houdini offers you IMHO a lot more power and flexibility to get your projects done.

I think SideFX needs to make a proper migration guide for all the layer people.
After a while you get used to the ways of working with nodes and you might even prefer this way of working to layers for scene management, but there’s a lot more trial and error than necessary.

All the best
Christian
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I know…it's pros and cons. Just today I was banging my head in EEVEE just trying to get a basic opacity map to work (I couldn't) and was having all sorts of issues getting the Normal Map to work properly when using UDIM's (I couldn't).

Blender is extremely cool for certain things, but incredibly frustrating for others….then again so is Houdini.

I just hope that the SideFX team is on the ball…and hopefully they know what they need to improve.




Meanwhile team Maxon seems completely checked out…who the hell is steering that ship?!?
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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Can we have a new solution for this?
Solaris/LOPs is targeted to be the new layout and lighting solution, it may need some time to mature and become more user friendly and functional alongside with usd itself, so time will tell, but it's good to start getting familiar with it

Solaris is not a solution. It creates an additional huge management overhead not suitable for very small teams that do not have complex pipelines.
I suggest you make yourself familiar with software that actually has solutions for this, like Softimage for example. It is important to understand what good scene management actually is to develop or recommend a solution.

It starts with things like being able to quickly isolate a selection of objects in the viewport. When you get a huge set of CAD data from your client it is probably organized in many nested levels of layers, parts and entities, not sorted by material or any other useful property. Try cleaning up a scene with 1000 unnamed objects in 100 different nested hierarchies in Houdini, only to be able to assign a common material to all screws. Try to rename 100 objects in different hierarchies at the same time with automatic numbering.
Assign a material to a group of objects overriding their local material. And then create quickly two or three render passes/ layers with different groups of objects in them - and override the material for half the objects in one pass. And all that quicker that you can do it in any other software.
If you have that, then you can call it a proper scene management and start using solaris
Edited by OneBigTree - Sept. 13, 2020 07:25:54
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Try cleaning up a scene with 1000 unnamed objects in 100 different nested hierarchies in Houdini, only to be able to assign a common material to all screws. Try to rename 100 objects in different hierarchies at the same time with automatic numbering.
maybe a wrong example, this is exactly the task for Houdini
I usually do this in sops for now, may have limitation that need workarounds, depending on expectations, but otherwise very straightforward and as procedural or as manual as you need, definitely not on object level
a lot of times we run heavy CAD through Houdini for some initial processing and even hierarchy editing or renaming after our modelers give up waiting hours to open it in Maya or Max, just cause those DCCs trying to open it as tens of thousands of heavy objects rather than one geo with attributes or groups that can be easily processed, Houdini would also never open it at object level

In Solaris I see the potential, but as I said it's not there yet UX wise, but definitely don't see it as only for large pipelines, it's just missing the artist high level tools and workflows, so for now it's super confusing

don't get me wrong, I'm not opposing to whatever tree/layer centric workflows people are requesting, that's up to SESI to consider, but sometimes understanding the implementent tools and workflows can help ease the pain and sometimes you may find they may be better suited for certain tasks

also Houdini has layers at least in a simple form calling it Groups: Shift+Z in network editor, where you can organize your nodes into “layers” and show/hide in viewport, show/hide in network editor, select/deselect
whether it's useful for anyone or not I don't know, since I've never got into the layer centric thinking, but if you see the potential in them maybe rexuesting the extension of those tools may be easier way to get something tangible in a short run
Edited by tamte - Sept. 13, 2020 14:23:00
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Assign a material to a group of objects overriding their local material. And then create quickly two or three render passes/ layers with different groups of objects in them - and override the material for half the objects in one pass. And all that quicker that you can do it in any other software.
I've been a long time XSI user so I know what you are talking about and yes, that was very convenient, it had some limitations though, like not being able to define membership of groups/partitions procedurally and some other
I believe that with solaris all that should be possible, but it again comes down to UX and artist friendly tools, which as it seems will take some time

also threads like this may be good for a discussion, but to have a chance for any of the suggestions being considered by SESI make sure you submit RFEs for them
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I think sops and lops are both good foundations to tackle the kinds of workflows being discussed here. Like Tomas said it's really about building the UX … an outliner-like tree view in sops that provided a hierarchical view onto primitives based on path attribute would be very useful. If that had really great drag and drop support for reparenting/renaming/combining/etc it would be a good start imo.
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building the UX … an outliner-like tree view in sops that provided a hierarchical view onto primitives based on path attribute would be very useful. If that had really great drag and drop support for reparenting/renaming/combining/etc it would be a good start imo.
while I havent used it personally much, I think Stage Manager may be targeted for this? Not sure how it compares, maybe worth a try
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building the UX … an outliner-like tree view in sops that provided a hierarchical view onto primitives based on path attribute would be very useful. If that had really great drag and drop support for reparenting/renaming/combining/etc it would be a good start imo.
while I havent used it personally much, I think Stage Manager may be targeted for this? Not sure how it compares, maybe worth a try

At least last time I played around with the stage manager, it was very reference focussed. So more of a layout tool. But I haven't experimented with it much recently. Of course it could be extended to handle a wider range of workflows.

Overall though there is nothing preventing lops/usd being a good solution in this kind of space. And the added benefit would be that following clean-up you would be left with a usd-ready asset.
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About scene management tools. Should SideFx remove Tree view? List view set to Tree view works better, being able to multi-select items etc, set flags etc.
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Assign a material to a group of objects overriding their local material. And then create quickly two or three render passes/ layers with different groups of objects in them - and override the material for half the objects in one pass. And all that quicker that you can do it in any other software.
I've been a long time XSI user so I know what you are talking about and yes, that was very convenient, it had some limitations though, like not being able to define membership of groups/partitions procedurally and some other
I believe that with solaris all that should be possible, but it again comes down to UX and artist friendly tools, which as it seems will take some time

also threads like this may be good for a discussion, but to have a chance for any of the suggestions being considered by SESI make sure you submit RFEs for them

It seems to me that actual scene management, which starts way before actual scene layout or lighting, still has to go the same length of time as modeling in Houdini did and still does. I was hoping for solaris being the thing for that but the overhead of actually authoring the usd structure, the fact that material assignment is even more tedious that it was already in Houdini compared to many other DCC apps and the addition of even more nodes made me turn away quickly.
It needs fully automated transfer from SOPs to LOPs with for existing scenes especially with material assignment to subsets of components to the very least before it even gets interesting for me.
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About scene management tools. Should SideFx remove Tree view? List view set to Tree view works better, being able to multi-select items etc, set flags etc.

Perhaps not remove the tree view, but combine tree and list view and give it more functionality.

For example: seeing the object hierarchy, the groups inside the objects and the materials assigned assigned on SOP level without having to dive in (or a filtered set of properties) to get a quick overview and being able to assign materials to groups in that view - instead of navigating huge networks to find your mat or group nodes - would be a huge step forward. Things like that are scene management, not just placing many neatly prepared objects on a stage. Overview over, and feedback from the scene is just as important.
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Try cleaning up a scene with 1000 unnamed objects in 100 different nested hierarchies in Houdini, only to be able to assign a common material to all screws. Try to rename 100 objects in different hierarchies at the same time with automatic numbering.
maybe a wrong example, this is exactly the task for Houdini
I usually do this in sops for now, may have limitation that need workarounds, depending on expectations, but otherwise very straightforward and as procedural or as manual as you need, definitely not on object level
a lot of times we run heavy CAD through Houdini for some initial processing and even hierarchy editing or renaming after our modelers give up waiting hours to open it in Maya or Max, just cause those DCCs trying to open it as tens of thousands of heavy objects rather than one geo with attributes or groups that can be easily processed, Houdini would also never open it at object level

When I say cleaning up I do not even talk about cleaning up geometry. I talk about structuring the scene in a way that you can start working efficiently with the geo in the first place - quickly. I do not see any tools for that at all in Houdini. I also very often experience the fact that “quickly” has a different meaning in larger studios as compared to small ones or “single player” offices

(cleaning up geo is perfectly possible today in H. and I am very glad about what SideFX has done here in that past few years. So here's hoping that the same evolution happens for scene management as well )
Edited by OneBigTree - Sept. 17, 2020 06:12:57
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When I say cleaning up I do not even talk about cleaning up geometry. I talk about structuring the scene in a way that you can start working efficiently with the geo in the first place - quickly. I do not see any tools for that at all in Houdini.
I'm not disagreeing with you at all, but the devils in the details a bit … it'd be great if you could expand on what kinds of tasks you mean by “start working efficiently” since many of the previous posts sounded like asset prep/cleanup type workflows.
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