Houdini 18.5 Sneak Peak

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Hi Drasko Ivezic good morning from Brazil :-)
When I was a kid I loved a lot 2d animation I watched so much cartoon around year's 80.
To be honest on that time I never thought about character animation but some years ago I had contact with Maya 5 PLE and it change may life.
After It I start to learn a lot about computer graphic and what got may attention is to tell stories and I love to use characters.
The life change and I became CG instructor with some packages like Maya, Adobe, Blender and so on, I was a little bother about this software and I turned my attention to Houdini 15, since that time Houdini have improve a lot for character animation with good tutorials and great tools for character animation.
Today I'm waiting for Renderman XPU and started to study Motion Graphic inside Houdini, all the time I think about to use character animation in Houdini.
The problem is simple the character animation is some thing that demand a lot of work and training maybe it is my opinion but if I want to do it a lot of times I need a tool that can help to bring my vision to the light in a level that I can make money and help other people like may clients.
If am I wrong why a lot of people use Redshift3d, or Arnold Render and today Renderman? We Houdini users have Mantra and Mantra is very powerful.
It is true that we can change our vision to make what is possible like stop motion or maybe more simple animation.
But let's think a little why people use Maya for character animation and jump to Houdini to finish the FX Maya have a good tool set for FX.
I love Houdini so much all the SideFX team have my respect I never will spend may time to came here only to boring SideFX team or discourage other user to use Houdini no, I came here only to remember SideFX team that some user want to use Houdini to different things like character animation.
If I remember Houdini is a procedural animation tool and not a procedural FX tool.
Exactly right now I am writing some stories to make a short movie in Houdini with character of course ;-) but some things we need help from our developers in Houdini.
I tried to make some character animation in Houdini with the default characters and the respond time is not good…Ok I was back to Maya and make some tests…the respond time was good.
Yes I can use Flipbook in Houdini when I started animation in Maya I used to watched all the testes in Fcheck but I am a freelancer what I can finish in a good time put food in my table for this reason I wish that Houdini continue improve in a lot of areas but I can not stay here with my both feet.
Any way I still here ;-)
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Okay, we're talking some different things here. What I'm looking for is decent performance with realtime characters. I'm not interested in feature nor rendering capabilities. Does Houdini perform well with a 200k poly skinned mesh with only bones and blendshapes?
Edited by n2e - Oct. 11, 2020 11:40:25
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Assume that Houdini doesn't have the performance needed for character work until they address it, 18.5 has a new character framework that could do it, or at least, lay the foundations.
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@n2e
(testimony from a foot soldier)
I recently posted a rigging job, on the usual global websites of freelancing, regarding rigging because I have a character that I want to animate in my free time. I rigged the body and face based on some paid courses as well as YouTube free videos. Everything went great until I got to the mouth rigging. I got stuck there as I was not happy with the results, hence my need of a pro rigger.

Two freelancers told me that they'd rather start the face rig from scratch. One told me he needs a few days to analyze the scene/rig and tell me whether they can help me. For rigging a mouth.

Now, I understand that taking a scene/rig from someone else is going to take some exploration. But in Maya, this is ridiculously and unnecessarly complicated. The node editor is a mess. Trying to understand the in/out connections in that editor is utterly ridiculous.

After a week, going back to my scene, it's as if someone else made it. This shouldn't happen in a so called “industry standard” animation package.

My conclusion is that I'll take lower viewport performance over stupid scene management any day, as someone that has to rig.

As someone that has to animate, I'll probably choose Maya and that's something sidefx has to think about.
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Hi. Most animators I work with just want two things in this order:
1: realtime playback
2: a rig that works (not an over complicated uber rig that does too much but not the basics correctly).

Like it or not Maya is really good at shifting lots of transforms and verts around. I agree that in theory rigging nodal makes it easier to “see” your rig. I am sure SideFX will crack the nut of faster playback in viewport in time. Damm. It would make things so much easier to do the rigging and animation in Houdini. What I would like to do at some point is build the same rig in Maya and Houdini and get an animator to try both. The animators I have worked with are very precious about their software. Getting them to try something else needs a big carrot on a stick. Just my random thoughts ;-)

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My bet is that SideFX know about the issue about character animation.
If the character animation will not came in Houdini 18.5 in Houdini 19 probably we will see some good news.
But today is a party day let's waiting our new baby 18.5 ;-)
Let's go procedural.
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SideFX YOU ARE WONDERFUL
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Hi. I almost chocked on my dinner when a look at gpu karma came up. The speed sidefx all work at is insane!
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More robust Karma and GPU Karma – awesome….but why not make it available in the OBJ context like Mantra? I don't get why it's restricted to the Solaris context?
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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MotionBuilder just got killed.
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Midphase
More robust Karma and GPU Karma – awesome….but why not make it available in the OBJ context like Mantra? I don't get why it's restricted to the Solaris context?

Karma is optimized to use USD as the scene file format. So it needs USD to work, with all the attributes and co.

They surly could do a converter but it will take time. But i guess solaris will be the new starting point for all projects when karma is production ready.
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If that's true, that seems like a weird choice. So basically Houdini no longer comes with a render engine considering that Mantra is very outdated and seems to be EOL and Karma is restricted to a workflow that many people are not interested in whatsoever.
Edited by Midphase - Oct. 15, 2020 20:12:31
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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The curve SOP still sucks in 2020
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Mark Wallman
Hi. I almost chocked on my dinner when a look at gpu karma came up. The speed sidefx all work at is insane!


As I understand it, GPU Karma was a tech preview and not a shipping product. It's not in the list of features:

https://www.sidefx.com/community/houdini-185-launch/ [www.sidefx.com]
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Hi. It has always been said that Karma is for USD only. I am not a programmer but I'm guessing supporting two ways of rendering in Houdini would be a bit full on. I know Karma GPU is not on the feature list, it was more that I was not expecting even a tech preview until another year or so. There are other options instead of Mantra. 3Dleight, Renderman, Arnold etc that either partially support or plan to support both ways of rendering in Houdini. Not perfect I know. But if you look at Maya. If you want to do any proper rendering on a farm or using batch you have to pay extra to get a licence of Arnold that does not watermark. That is just standard Maya let alone USD in the future versions of Maya.

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Tomorrow is the 20th, that's all I'm saying…

..like…warm the servers up, widen the bandwidth and hold on tight SideFX!
Houdini Indie
Redshift 3D
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Midphase
More robust Karma and GPU Karma – awesome….but why not make it available in the OBJ context like Mantra? I don't get why it's restricted to the Solaris context?
My guess is that Solaris(USD) will eventually become the only pipeline available in Houdini, it is pretty fast and efficient, and to me it makes no sense to support two different pipelines in the same application!
Edited by GCharb - Oct. 19, 2020 19:29:08
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In that case, they need to seriously work on simplifying the USD workflow for mere mortals. At the moment Solaris feels unnecessarily complex and a solution looking for a problem that simply doesn't exists for freelance artists like myself who never need to interface with other VFX studios.

The Solaris context seems to counter all of the other steps that SideFX has taken in recent years to simplify the pipeline. Look for instance at how simple it now is to achieve incredibly realistic pyro with just a handful of nodes.

Perhaps I would feel differently if I was the only one to have an issue with Solaris, but I've spoken with plenty of other Houdini artists who are just as frustrated. Even SideFX seems to be aware of the disconnect. After the release of H18, I had conversations with members of their staff who all seemed to agree that Solaris was far from being user-friendly.

It really feels like USD is being shoved down the throats of all users indiscriminately, whether they actually have a need for it or not.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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Midphase
It really feels like USD is being shoved down the throats of all users indiscriminately, whether they actually have a need for it or not.

Your phrasing is pretty offputting to be honest.

SideFX invested in a new tech that has been the big thing in terms of workflows/pipeline in the last 2 Siggraphs. Obviously they either go all in and get everyone they can on board or they shouldn't have done it at all.

If you take a look at the Solaris Forum [www.sidefx.com] and have a lookout for big names from big studios you will undoubtedly see that SideFX succeeded in getting Houdini established in big studios for more than just FX.

Of course their next task has to be bringing it to the masses and you can see already that with the first .5 release after the initial Solaris release they're doing good steps in the right direction.
Give it a bit of time. It's a huge tool built upon cutting edge tech that pretty much all the big studios are investing in.
Manuel Köster - Senior Technical Procedural Artist @Crytek

http://crytek.com/ [crytek.com]
http://shadesoforange.de/ [shadesoforange.de]
https://twitter.com/ShadesOfOrange_ [twitter.com]
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Shadesoforange I quite agree with you.
USD is developed by PIXAR and it is a new technology for all DCC like Houdini or any other software.
SideFX Houdini became a good example for how implement and use this new knowledge with Solaris.
SideFX all the time listen their customers but any development need time if any one watch the Solaris presentation on cert time of the presentation the beta tester representative told that Solaris have a great evolution to became more friendly for users.
I am a freelancer and I understand that I and all freelancer in the world have a chance to use a brilliant tool like Houdini and we have opportunity to have a edge technology in our hand.
Of course PDG and Solaris will be more friendly when the time came but let's give a chance to SideFx to breath in I was a little sad about character animation in Houdini and SideFX is giving to us KineFx one step after another SideFx have been improving Houdini but I started to asked some thing like this since Houdini 15.
Believe or not SideFx had interest on improve character animation I remember about SHED studio years ago had interest in to use Houdini for character animation but probably SideFx have a big road to implement some new tools in Houdini.
Solaris and PDG will became more and more friendly I believe in it but to code is not easy and take time to delivery a good and stable tool so big like Houdini.
Any way today is the day…let's see our new baby Houdini 18.5.
Let's go procedural.
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