Houdini 20 Rumors

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hMonkey
So how do you rearrange tabs/windows on the fly, dock and undock windows and generally have less static ui?

Like this :-)

Edit: In Linux XFCE I use workspaces that allows me to have only two windows open with Houdini. That way it is easy to use Alt + tab to toggle between them. One is the "primary" and the other is "secondary" and used when needed. Having two windows is sort of equivalent of having dual screens. Once you get used to it this become a habit. With Photoshop I'm used to toggle the display of panels so it is nothing new actually. Each Houdini Desktop keep track of both these windows.



Also, ctrl+alt+s will toggle the "Stowbars" providing less clutter. I'm not sure if this hotkey is default (check the bottom of the Edit menu).




Enjoy!
Edited by SWest - July 14, 2023 14:32:19

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without_stowbars.gif (1.9 MB)

Interested in character concepts, modeling, rigging, and animation. Related tool dev with Py and VEX.
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hMonkey
So how do you rearrange tabs/windows on the fly, dock and undock windows and generally have less static ui?

Like this :-)

Edit: In Linux XFCE I use workspaces that allows me to have only two windows open with Houdini. That way it is easy to use Alt + tab to toggle between them. One is the "primary" and the other is "secondary" and used when needed. Having two windows is sort of equivalent of having dual screens. Once you get used to it this become a habit. With Photoshop I'm used to toggle the display of panels so it is nothing new actually. Each Houdini Desktop keep track of both these windows.

Also, ctrl+alt+s will toggle the "Stowbars" providing less clutter. I'm not sure if this hotkey is default (check the bottom of the Edit menu).


Enjoy!
Edited by hMonkey - July 14, 2023 12:22:50

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With Houdini you can make your node UI with drag-and-drop. You just need basic skills with Python to use it. People complaining too much about Houdini without such experience. Anyway, keep complaining and see you later.

So how do you rearrange tabs/windows on the fly, dock and undock windows and generally have less static ui?

Not to mention that the scene navigation is not a primary "tool" in the viewport, and that Houdini generally has no idea of monitor geometry and dialogs popup under cursor, highly unreliable viewport, unresolved camera workflows (yes you can build something convoluted and call it better...), unreliable undo, terrible viewport gizmos, "hud" although useful it’s mostly in the way (yes you can turn it off, etc, not the point, it’s not well designed), viewport mask that screams at you (red) every time you lock the camera (although I solved that one), unreliable save and scene crash recovery (solved that one too to some extent), unreliable group selections if switching modes, terrible manual selection "tools", poorly organized display options (sidebar) and and main display dialog, horrendous operation toolbar in most cases, especially icons that look like splotches coupled with sideways click scrolling, under utilized drag and drop, shelf that could be more useful instead of just taking up real-estate (yes many ways to get rid of it non of them elegant and mostly hacky), inelegant bezier drawing tools (maybe with few more iterations it’ll catch up to industry curve drawing standards), disjoined contexts (sort of, although that one requires an in-depth explanation), parameter panel (too many things wrong with it visually from ui and ux pov), poorly named operators and options (hence the high learning curve) and all of this leads to the overall poor ux. All of it is just not very well blended together.

Can you work with it? Absolutely, since most of this falls under the category of QoL annoyances, and I only mentioned the more prominent ones. Other than that there’s nothing wrong with Houdini, it’s more than feature rich and up to any task.

The main issues for me are:
- Nodes that do too much and what they do (or part of they do) has nothing to do with their name
- Abysmal naming of parameters
- Parameter pane that is literally looking like a UI prototype, with exception of some recent work
- Viewport in general, including selections, gizmos, etc.
- Animation Editor
- Autosave that doesn’t work
- Overall dated look, including, yes, icons, overall elegance

But the biggest problem with Houdini for me, besides the UI quirks is the documentation. This, combined with horrendous naming of nodes and parameters is literally the worst combination.

I was doing something recently with volumes in VOPS, nothing worked, needed to add a node at the end to make it work (don’t remember what it was, can look it up). And honestly, the documentation on it was the most useless thing ever… and focused on something like reading from a file, where it had absolutely nothing to do with it.

I feel like SideFX should pause feature delivery until they figure out the viewport, basic selection tools and quirks mentioned above, fix the UI things mentioned above and rewrite ALL of the docs. The docs are not written for humanoids, they are written for programmers with a lot of experience with how 3d works behind the scene.

However, with all that said, Houdini is still a kick ass software. Unmatched. And the speed of development is simply amazing.
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LukeP
The docs are not written for humanoids, they are written for programmers with a lot of experience with how 3d works behind the scene.

Yeah, you got that right!

My impression, which could be wrong, is that the legacy of Houdini seem to be that it was made to be the most advanced 3D software on the market. Then, over time, as the market started to include more Indie people, they (SideFX) seem to have tried to add more simplicity. For example with the shelves as well as some tutorials from SideFX.

However, with that, you still see this rather technical part shining through. Maybe that is one reason why I like to combine ZBrush (or Blender) with Houdini. Somehow I get the feeling of the artistic side as well as the more technical power. Probably the tutorials are much better for artists that the docs.

Anyway, one reason why I use Houdini is actually simply because of the access to that technical part.
Interested in character concepts, modeling, rigging, and animation. Related tool dev with Py and VEX.
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Here are some things that, in my opinion, don't work well:

* Inability to use a custom hotkey layout.
* Sometimes hotkeys do not work when the layout is activated.
* If a key is assigned to the scene viewer, the viewport flickers during activation. This does not happen if the key is globally assigned.
* Unable to repeat a custom shelf tool using Repeat Current Operation (Q).
* In Display As Subdivision mode, isolines are not displayed as in other programs.
* In Display As Subdivision mode, it is impossible to select/see a point that is inside the smoothed mesh.
* It's very difficult to identify whether a polygon is selected if a SOP node is selected inside the tree, that is, the one with an inactive display flag. This significantly complicates editing inside the tree and also does not allow the implementation of "modeling with modifiers".
* Absence of a global concept of symmetry in selection mode or in other modes, with the exception of Edit mode.
* In the Edit node, in sculpt mode, symmetry is violated if you run a brush near the seam of symmetry.
* It is impossible to model in Solaris if you do not create a separate ObjNet container.
* Working with handles is significantly complicated compared to other programs.
* Lack of the ability to programmatically control handles of standard nodes.
* If you activate Python state after the PolySplit (EdgeLoop) state, it stops generating the hou.uiEventReason.Picked event that is designed to catch a mouse click. This is a serious architectural issue that is present in every version of Houdini since the emergence of Python States.
* The HOM selectGeometry function is standard in Houdini's tools. It is very slow compared to a similar function written in Python using hou.SceneViewer.currentGeometrySelection method. The selectGeometry function slows down modeling with standard tools, while the viewport often flickers.
* It is impossible to repeat the action with the Redo function if you activate the selection mode during cancellation.
* A multitude of actions in the viewport require multiple uses of the Undo function.
* A huge number of useful modeling functions are only available as hotkey symbols and they cannot be activated in user scripts. The ability to use them in Python would greatly simplify the creation of custom user tools.
* Slow viewport.
* Materials disappear in the viewport.
* Sometimes there are messages about Qt errors related to the UI.
Edited by anon_user_95266836 - July 15, 2023 14:27:52
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LukeP
The main issues for me are:
- Nodes that do too much and what they do (or part of they do) has nothing to do with their name
- Abysmal naming of parameters

Here’s the thing, houdini’s been in development for a lot of decades, yes the naming of nodes is odd, but one can argue that the other dccs got it wrong However this odd naming scheme is directly responsible for steep learning cuve, so perhaps global alias presets for tab menu, so when you search for something that is named as expected it’ll offer a closest match to user set list of aliases for a given dccs? Other than that put in a lot of time into learning the houdini nodes and after a looong while it’ll all start to click.

LukeP
- Parameter pane that is literally looking like a UI prototype, with exception of some recent work

This is an odd one, because it has to account for a lot of things, but my main issue with it is that it’s packed into a tab with in a tab with in a tab with in a 600x400px box. Static object collision dop is a good example of poorly organized ui, a very high frequency of use node.

LukeP
- Viewport in general, including selections, gizmos, etc.
This one is a jumbled mess of user requested features that were just piled on over the years, with what feels like, no second thought as to how it should function overall and if all the features are needed to begin with. In my opinion, the selection tools should be separated into three different tools, a brush selection that defaults to visible only, the shortcut should toggle between 0-n-n radius when invoked and scroll wheel resize if needed, where 0 radius would be essentially laser selection state, it would default to add to selection, with shift as a modifier to remove from selection.
Other two secondary selection methods would be rectangle with select visible and non visible geo, same selection options as brush, with ctrl+shift mod while held down to area select fully contained, same for lasso. I’d probably remove secure selection and work around it, till it’s not needed*.

Gizmos are objecs part of the scene, not sure what would happen if they were to move to screen space, or at least hidden and controlled by screen space gizmos / second overlay ui layer or something similar.

LukeP
- Animation Editor
Ugh… I wouldn’t know where to begin with this one, it’s feature rich, and a lot of nice options, but interacting with it is just ugh… and if they were to fix it it would still be ugh, if the bezier curves redesign is anything to go by, vastly better, but interaction is just ugh, since the issue is probably deeper than that node. I mean the elegance of bezier curve drawing has been solved in the industry, and an extra dimension doesn’t change anything in the ui mechanics...

LukeP
- Autosave that doesn’t work
It does, but I’d say it’s unfinished, basic, and potentially highly dangerous...

LukeP
- Overall dated look, including, yes, icons, overall elegance

Actually the icons are unique for every op, very detailed and great if viewed at 256x256px, the problem is they are often 16x16 or 32x32px, so in my opinion only the main ui icons should be redesigned… so toolbox, operation toolbar, display options, path bar, menubar, pin, link, etc., coupled with slight flattening / decluttering of the ui, without gradients, bevels, etc...

LukeP
But the biggest problem with Houdini for me, besides the UI quirks is the documentation. This, combined with horrendous naming of nodes and parameters is literally the worst combination.

Again, they named them first and changing the names would have a domino effect that would grind everything to a halt… Perhaps a Houdini Next 1.0 beta fork with better naming, ui, etc

LukeP
I was doing something recently with volumes in VOPS, nothing worked, needed to add a node at the end to make it work (don’t remember what it was, can look it up). And honestly, the documentation on it was the most useless thing ever… and focused on something like reading from a file, where it had absolutely nothing to do with it.
The naming after a while is fine, but the docs often seem incomplete for some things. For me it’s often the case of easily missing the entity mode in various nodes, which could lead to pointless time wasting trying to figure where the issue is, which could easily be solved if entity was a color coded, iconified, button strip, and as a bonus it would remove the dependency on multiple nodes for each entity, instantly decluttering the tab menu, reduce the amount of nodes that need to be typed, searched for and remembered, similarly vop nodes as bind get etc could be made into one with options for local(bind) and file (external) modes, etc., reducing the amount of nodes needed to begin with, although that would affect vex code as well… so maybe not.

LukeP
I feel like SideFX should pause feature delivery until they figure out the viewport, basic selection tools and quirks mentioned above, fix the UI things mentioned above and rewrite ALL of the docs. The docs are not written for humanoids, they are written for programmers with a lot of experience with how 3d works behind the scene.

The UI design "features" can take up a lot of time to design, develop and test, and lot is probably an understatement, and it’s highly dependent on the ui designer knowing the Houdini inside and out, as well as the ramifications for any given change, but the above mentioned things should be fairly easy to workout and fix…

LukeP
However, with all that said, Houdini is still a kick ass software. Unmatched. And the speed of development is simply amazing.

echo 'However, with all that said, Houdini is still a kick ass software. Unmatched. And the speed of development is simply amazing.*'
:)
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Anyway, one reason why I use Houdini is actually simply because of the access to that technical part.
No reason why it cant be both, it packs a wallop of punch in every area, except in the ui/ux/qol.
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* Sometimes there are messages about Qt errors related to the UI.
And in others a flat out crash due to the Qt UI.
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Personally I love the documentation, better than that of any other software I have used but maybe this is because I've used it for such a long time. Sometimes it's a bit inconsistent but I can live with that. Can somebody point me to some examples that illustrate the problem?
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Today is 1 year sharp after H19.5 Sneak Peek...
So I have only one question:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UArBkfROhY [www.youtube.com]
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Erik Ws
Today is 1 year sharp after H19.5 Sneak Peek...
So I have only one question:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UArBkfROhY [www.youtube.com]

Oh no, the world is ending… again.
It should take as long as it takes to get things right.
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More features about camera and camera animation in solaris are needed,like camera composition guide,camera dof focus distance linked to object,camera morph,camera follow spline,render region.

Indeed, Cameras and Lights has to be animated in Solaris, so we need more simplification of tasks.
We also need Nulls (don't like to construct them every time) and we need Null icons in the viewport.

I hope they will find it in Solaris very soon.

Is parenting a camera to a null really like this?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqPbDwofrZw [www.youtube.com]

If I use the parent constraint node and parent the camera to a primitive, everytime I move the camera
there is always a strange offset after moving the cam.
Edited by tomtm - July 16, 2023 18:06:58
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For the h20 release I would be ok to wait until christmas

hMonkey
Erik Ws
Today is 1 year sharp after H19.5 Sneak Peek...
So I have only one question:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UArBkfROhY [www.youtube.com]

Oh no, the world is ending… again.
It should take as long as it takes to get things right.
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From artist point of view iam missing visual feedback in UI while creating materials. Some sort of visualization helps a lot when creating complex materials. Its good for designing and debuging sometimes very complex structures.

itll be great to have 2D bitmap feedback and also 3d render in node area. Now (AFAIK) its only VEX type like idea. Wich means its more for programming then for visual artistic creation.

i imagine it more like composition nodes in Fusion or other Substance designer.

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Looks like H20 won't release until after Siggraph as there is a preview there:
https://www.sidefx.com/houdini-hive/siggraph-2023/ [www.sidefx.com]
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Looks like H20 won't release until after Siggraph as there is a preview there:
https://www.sidefx.com/houdini-hive/siggraph-2023/ [www.sidefx.com]

Saw that… yeah… quite disappointing (that it's not announced , but at the same time if it makes it more feature complete and stable - so be it. But it’s looking like fall release based on this I think. Hope it speaks to the level of change and new features. If I remember correctly during 19.5 reveal sidefx said that big chunk of developers tunnelled under 19.5 and focused on big architectural changes and frameworks for v20. A sneak peak would satisfy us all though lol.
Edited by LukeP - July 18, 2023 12:40:32
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If I remember correctly during 19.5 reveal sidefx said that big chunk of developers tunnelled under 19.5 and focused on big architectural changes and frameworks for v20.

I’m hoping that means they’re working on making things much faster, gpu accelerated perhaps. Houdini is showing its architectural age (embergen, game engines, etc) and if something doesn’t change quickly we’ll be the slow and powerful dinosaur who died out.
Edited by Fx_enjoyer - July 19, 2023 12:58:25
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I’m hoping that means they’re working on making things much faster, gpu accelerated perhaps.

I’m hoping for a more reliable viewport

Even at the expense feature completeness compared to the current one, initially, but if feathers presentation is anything to go by, it looks like it’s not gonna happen for V20, or it was just cleverly omitted

EDIT: or it’s complete and completely matches, visually, the current one
Edited by hMonkey - July 19, 2023 13:16:37
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Houdini is showing its architectural age (embergen, game engines, etc) and if something doesn’t change quickly we’ll be the slow and powerful dinosaur who died out.

Embergen is fine until you push it beyond defaults, then it’s slower than pyro and axiom, just sayin’.
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I honestly don't remember the last time my Blender crashed. Houdini still crashes weekly when I'm lucky. And Blender can use Eevee, a full-feature real-time renderer, as the viewport. And Blender is going to get viewport composition as well.

I guess traditionally Houdini's viewport is literally "view" port -- it's just to preview the result you build in node network, not to manipulate geometry, and that's why it's so unstable with more and more Python state tools. This needs to change.
Edited by raincole - July 19, 2023 19:11:59
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