Any rumours of Houdini 19?

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Jeez. The TD approach earned Houdini the label of being that odd app in the DCC universe. Sidefx' management seemed to have recognized that, thus having started changing this bit by bit, but without breaking it's TD friendly foundation. Stopping where it is now would be a horrible mistake. On the one hand I'd like to learn coding but as it stands, I've already a hard time to get deeper into some areas of 3D because of the amount of work I'm doing.
Edited by Sygnum - Oct. 8, 2021 13:46:24
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eikonoklastes
The other day, on the Houdini Discord, someone asked if there was a way to copy a node and have a hotkey to immediately paste it as an Object Merge node with the correct reference.

I made a small python script that does that. You can paste it into a custom shelf tool and assign a hotkey to it.
It works like that: You select the node you want to have in an object merge. Then you press the hotkey. The next time you Ctrl+V an object merge will be pasted with the formerly selected node in it.

I use it all the time.
Cheers
CYTE

import hou
import os.path
import random

selectedNode = hou.selectedNodes()

basecolorr = random.random()
basecolorg = random.random()
basecolorb = random.random()


if len(selectedNode) !=1:
    hou.ui.displayMessage('Please select one Node')
else: 
    for node in selectedNode:
        nodePath = node.path()
        node.setUserData('nodeshape', 'chevron_down')
        node.setColor(hou.Color([basecolorr,basecolorg,basecolorb]))
      
        curPath = os.path.dirname(nodePath)
        
        objectMerge = hou.node(curPath).createNode('object_merge','MERGER')
        objectMerge.parm('objpath1').set(nodePath)
        objectMerge.setColor(hou.Color([basecolorr,basecolorg,basecolorb]))
        objectMerge.setUserData('nodeshape', 'chevron_up')
        objectMerge.setSelected(1,1)
        
        
        sel = hou.selectedNodes()
        hou.copyNodesToClipboard(sel)
        objectMerge.destroy()
        
Edited by CYTE - Oct. 8, 2021 13:52:02
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Jonathan de Blok
Ok, maybe they were idiots All I'm saying is that there is a subtle cost by making things more accessible.

I gained a much deeper understanding of Houdini because I actually had to write a lot of tools myself, discovering a lot of stuff while going through API docs or even hacking stuff beyond the api. And looking back the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs I did are those involving both epic technical and artistic challenges, growing both skill sets in the process.

It a balancing act between challenging the users vs scaring them away.. Just like in videogames, no feel of achievement makes a project quite boring.

i disagree.
Challenging the users? what? This is work, they should make our life easier, not the other way around. wtf?
For learning, maybe. but for work you have to push for efficiency in every aspect, even if that mean saving ONE click in a 2-clicks task. At the end of the day, our job its making better visuals, it doesnt matter how or what we use to achieve the end result.
the faster the process, more iteration, better result.

Technology would always make us lazier, but its not a bad thing per say. Why would anyone spend time in learning how to skin a rabbit, for example, maybe 5000 years ago it was a necessary skill for surviving but now its just a useless skill for the avarage human, except if its your job, ofcourse. But that didnt took away the quality of our cooking skills, on the contrary, it mean more time to explore other technics for better dishes(?
maybe its a shitty analogy, but you get the point.

The ultimate UI/UIX its taking inputs directly from our brain, and the ultimate 3d Software its our imagination, and if we are not there, then there is a lot of room for improvement.
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SIgor420
Jonathan de Blok
Ok, maybe they were idiots All I'm saying is that there is a subtle cost by making things more accessible.

I gained a much deeper understanding of Houdini because I actually had to write a lot of tools myself, discovering a lot of stuff while going through API docs or even hacking stuff beyond the api. And looking back the most rewarding and enjoyable jobs I did are those involving both epic technical and artistic challenges, growing both skill sets in the process.

It a balancing act between challenging the users vs scaring them away.. Just like in videogames, no feel of achievement makes a project quite boring.
Buddy, just because you loved it, enjoyed it, and so on, doesn't mean everyone else will. I don't want to be a programmer, I don't want to suffer for days searching for solutions and then to realize I missed one letter in the code and that's why things didn't work. I want to be an artist that can do cool stuff without ever touching the code. If I wanted to a programmer, I would go to programming school. If Houdini wants to be an artist-friendly software, then programming should be left for geeks and technical artists, and should not force anyone into it. As much as I respect programming as a calling, I simply don't want to do it, it's still a pain for me and I don't enjoy it. Luckily for me, I still find Houdini very enjoyable to work with because we can do a lot even now without any kind of Vex or Vops. I am sure things are going to get only better for those seeking simplicity over tehnicalitiies.


It's just sone thoughts I'm having about the subject based on my own personal experience, I know a lot of people see it differently for reasons good to them.

And look, I'm not saying that Sidefx shouldn't do it, if it brings in more people and makes a large portion of existing ones happier all fine with me, that's not the point. Point is that for some, like me, the problem solving aspect of a job is the most rewarding part of it all.
More code, less clicks.
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Jonathan de Blok
the problem solving aspect of a job is the most rewarding part of it all.

Trust me, that part will never go away. We have to remember that "easy" in the CG world is a relative term which still requires a ton of problem solving skills and smarts. I look at video editors frowning at having to learn a new editing app like Premiere or Resolve and all I can think of is "hold my beer!"
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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Midphase
Jonathan de Blok
the problem solving aspect of a job is the most rewarding part of it all.

Trust me, that part will never go away. We have to remember that "easy" in the CG world is a relative term which still requires a ton of problem solving skills and smarts. I look at video editors frowning at having to learn a new editing app like Premiere or Resolve and all I can think of is "hold my beer!"

I`m doing 3D for so long now and actually gave it up for a few years because of the unbearable amount of problems which had to be solved. I of course picked it up again, but it still gives me an uneasy feeling sometimes when I start a new job because I know that clients will come up with insane ideas, there will be bugs and strange problems from all over the place. 3D stuff can be so frustrating by itself at times, I don`t need the additional "thrill" of having to burden myself with programming and the respective issues on top.
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up until 2018 iirc there was no node that would make helix for you. it took sidefx labs to make it, called Spiral
it should have been made that way 15 years ago, but oh well
i did not magically become lazier using it. i did become less annoyed. and yes i did have half-assed solution for it myself, but imagine how stupid new users will feel if they were to model a thing as simple as spring, which has a preset in any other DCC by default?
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tsiwt
Obviously SideFX needs to revamp its U.I/U.X I have to jump between so many windows just to render. This is absurd. Material assignment and the material interface is such a drag visually. Parameter windows needs better organization not everything on the same hierarchy. Just making some text bolder than other to differentiate the operations can go a long way. What if you hover over a node and there is another icon that if you click it gives you an example of how to use that node in a small window.

Please-please-please do not Adobefy our beloved houdini...
Edited by ubcsdelta - Oct. 9, 2021 04:21:05
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osong
up until 2018 iirc there was no node that would make helix for you. it took sidefx labs to make it, called Spiral
it should have been made that way 15 years ago, but oh well
Several years back I watched some math videos because I've forgotten a lot since school. The one that has helped me BY FAR the most was an explanation of the unit circle and what cosine and sine are. This has helped me on so many occasions when putting together 3D tools.

The spiral is one such example: if you have a standard input line (line SOP), to turn it into a spiral all you need is this point wrangle:
v@P.x = cos(i@ptnum);
v@P.z = sin(i@ptnum);

You can give it two simple parameters for more control:
v@P.x = cos(i@ptnum * ch("resolution")) * ch("radius");
v@P.z = sin(i@ptnum * ch("resolution")) * ch("radius");
Edited by Digipiction - Oct. 9, 2021 04:32:34
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like i said, i had my own solution, and now it is in labs. that's not the point
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osong
like i said, i had my own solution, and now it is in labs. that's not the point
Of course a spiral preset is convenient and good to have. I guess my example was to show that not having a preset is usually not a big deal.

You compared the new user experience to other DCCs, and when the task is slightly less standard (e.g. a pyramid of boxes instead of a spiral) it's not the new Houdini users who will have a hard time.
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osong
up until 2018 iirc there was no node that would make helix for you. it took sidefx labs to make it, called Spiral
At first I used to make a cylinder when I needed a disk and extract it from there, ha ha.
Soon after that I discovered that the circle object is a good disk starting point.
And for some objects, like the grid and sphere, when having to decide the number of poly loops you have to add or subtract (don't remember which) 1 to have the desired number for some reason. And the list "weird stuff found only in Houdini" is rather long.
Yet there's also a long list "amazing stuff found only in Houdini" and as such, here we are.
Edited by citizen - Oct. 9, 2021 11:51:55
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ubcsdelta
Please-please-please do not Adobefy our beloved houdini...

What does that even mean?
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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seems like Sidefx is doing something right when the only thing people hope for these days are improvements in UX and convenience tools
quite opposite to what we see in C4D where people are getting UX and convenience updates as opposite to features
I'm personally happy with features, tech and building blocks having priority and convenience tools creeping in later based on what people came up with and what workflows emerged, but I do consider solid UX and ease of use important
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i do not personally care much about these things, i've solved it as i went with my H journey like we all did/are doing
the initial idea was to "bring more people", so i think having simple problems having simple solutions will go a long way for new users or people who are switching
simple example is renderman - with maya it is setup and done, in H it will point to wrong python version, so you have to go edit env file manually, writing the necessary folder names by hand
hard? not really. annoying? you bet

this is what UX (User eXperience) is all about, not color scheme tweaks

tamte
seems like Sidefx is doing something right when the only thing people hope for these days are improvements in UX and convenience tools
i think GPU Karma, more KineFX, and Sparse on OpenCL or nanoVDB is on everyone's minds, but it was either listed already or just don't wanna jinx it by writing it
Edited by osong - Oct. 9, 2021 13:57:04
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osong
up until 2018 iirc there was no node that would make helix for you. it took sidefx labs to make it, called Spiral
it should have been made that way 15 years ago, but oh well
Several years back I watched some math videos because I've forgotten a lot since school. The one that has helped me BY FAR the most was an explanation of the unit circle and what cosine and sine are. This has helped me on so many occasions when putting together 3D tools.

This is exactly the point I'm trying to make.. had the spiral function be in there from the start you would not have seen that video and might not have made those other tools as easily.

And just to be clear, I'm all fine with making Houdini more accessible and easier to get into by adding more basic features that are a given in other DDCs!

But it does take away those small learning opportunities that will benifit you as a user in the end. Doing things really fast with the tools provided or be able to make tools really fast and go faster/beyond what you could have done with the basic tools set.

For most projects I do the math on this:

if (custom_tool_dev_time + project_time_with_custom_tools < project_time_with_default_tools )
{
buildTools()
} else
{
UseDefaultTools()
}

This only starts to work out if you can develop tools fast, and there is lots to gain, because it does takes away from project time, and sometimes it's gamble. But even if it takes a bit more time, in the end there is always this new tool in the toolbox that might be of use later.

So making things easier will make things more complicated when there is no easy option available.

I Realize it's not all that black/white and everyone has a different approach to this. And there is always learning and advancing oneself no matter the approach, not calling anyone lazy or complacent or anything, just food for thought.
Edited by Jonathan de Blok - Oct. 9, 2021 14:52:36
More code, less clicks.
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at this point you are loosing a small learning opportunity of coding your own houdini competitor from scratch
you see where i am going with this... right?

edit: i do not want this to be offensive or whatever, it was just maybe too direct to drive the point across. if i were to be someone looking to get into houdini, i don't think i'd be thrilled to write vex to do simple things or whatnot

edit2: i just realized i'm doing exact opposite of what i'm suggesting in unreal engine, e.g. making most things from scratch to learn, but that is not exactly applicable since i'm aiming for different goals in that endeavor
Edited by osong - Oct. 9, 2021 15:13:01
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osong
at this point you are loosing a small learning opportunity of coding your own houdini competitor from scratch
you see where i am going with this... right?

edit: i do not want this to be offensive or whatever, it was just maybe too direct to drive the point across. if i were to be someone looking to get into houdini, i don't think i'd be thrilled to write vex to do simple things or whatnot

edit2: i just realized i'm doing exact opposite of what i'm suggesting in unreal engine, e.g. making most things from scratch to learn, but that is not exactly applicable since i'm aiming for different goals in that endeavor

It's all getting a bit academic/philosophical at this point but coding my own Houdini competitor would not satisfy the equation in the post above, that would probably make a project run longer then just using what Houdini has to offer out of the box

And you're absolutely right! A simple project, one would expect to be reasonably doable in any DCC should be just that.. doable in Houdini as well without typing any code.

Anyways... Hoping for a Houdini 19 sneakpreview soon so we have something more concrete to talk about in this thread
More code, less clicks.
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Ha, I ran into that "where's the spiral preset?" early on in my Houdini journey. I did indeed write one in Vex based on a vid I found on YT and it was a good learning experience. But... come on, nobody wants to do this. Not a beginner who has no idea how to, and not a busy professional who is under pressure to get a big job done.

Anyway, it's a non-issue now since Labs made a spiral tool. It does raise the question though: at some point are there going to be like 1000 Labs tools that are more useful to your average artist than core Houdini is? We've got trees and maps baker and spirals and auto UV and they're still releasing new ones all the time.
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SIgor420
I want to be an artist that can do cool stuff without ever touching the code. If I wanted to a programmer, I would go to programming school.

I think it's not Houdini's fault, it's just the generative/procedural design methodology that is hard. I'm not a programmer myself but it seems sometimes the code might be the most approachable/readable way of expressing the complicated procedural system.
Anyway I think SideFX is doing a great job with making these advanced paradigms relatively accessible and pleasant to work with (Rhino Grasshopper, I'm looking at you シ)

Midphase
Anytime that a tool comes out that makes something easier and faster, the net result is artists pushing creativity even more -- not less.
That is the exact reason why most of the award winning shots are made in Spline.

Midphase
What does that even mean?
Just look at how "cool" rich tool tips are in photoshop, then try to edit something 32bpc. And the answers will come.
Edited by ubcsdelta - Oct. 9, 2021 17:55:28
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