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I'm waiting on my Apprentice CD to come in the mail, but I'm confused on a few things. I know that Houdini has many capabilities, from modeling to, compositing, to particle systems. What I don't understand is what most houses ACTUALLY DO USE IT FOR. Now I'm not knocking Houdini, especially since I've never even used it, but it seems to me that since there are other applications that focus on character modeling/animation and that seem to be more widely used, Houdini would have to have some sort of niche market that uses it for a specific purpose. I've heard that it has very strong particle systems. Is that what most places use it for?…particles? Its just that you never hear about people modeling characters in Houdini. Also, how long has it been around? I hear people saying that its a fairly “young” program.

Someone please fill in some of the mysterious blanks for me. I hear about high-end companies using Houdini, but I'm clueless as to what, exactly, they use it for and why.

Don't forget that Houdini has also been used by small studios and single artists as well. For some inspirational Houdini work, see Doug Struther's website at []

My personal favourite is the fullsize version of this image: []
I guess I am just going to add a little bit more noise here. Currently, I am only a student studying visual effects. So I am pretty much lacking the credentials to say much.

I have used Houdini since near the end of version 3 a few years back. Houdini 5.x's modeling toolset are just totally awesome compared to any of its previous version. SideFX definitely has come a very long way. I am far more impressed with them – considering the size of the company is much smaller than all the major players. I still remember how before version 5 was released, I wouldn't even attempt to do any complex polygonal modeling in Houdini. NURBS were much more managable, but Maya was easier. But that was version 4.x and earlier. Things are changing now. Houdini 5.x is just unlike any other, in my opinion. The openness of the entire interface and workflow is just plain incredible.

For example, even after I have completed my modeling, day 1 of my work is still there – up at the top of the chain. I can easily teach my friends here how to model by simply giving them my project file and have them go through the Operators and study my work like a time lapse - all my success and failures of methods are right in there for them to learn. What's more, it's all non-linear. Now, this, is uniquely Houdini and there are no packages out there like it – in my opinion.

So, understanding that's the non-destructive nature of Houdini's procedural paradigm, imagine what you can experiment without having to worrying about your previous method works better than the current one! This, in my opinion, is one of the very important workflow for visual effects artists to solve problems quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy! :wink:
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