iMacPro, Metal2 and beyond --> -->

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I'd rather inflict some sort of injury on myself than use windows all day
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Since the new Mac Pros aren’t coming until 2019 now, I think I’ll switch Houdini to a Linux box. Recommendations on models, places to buy, Linux distros?


Also, would love it if Sidefx published a recommended build from time to time.
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Modular Mac Pro release date (q4?) 2019

https://techcrunch.com/2018/04/05/apples-2019-imac-pro-will-be-shaped-by-workflows/ [techcrunch.com]

Lots of rubbish in the article, shall we call it glib , but the driver part is most interesting for MacOS users and Houdini:

“In that case we found something in the graphics driver was not right, and once you know where to look and you fix it, it completely changes the kind of live-on-ability for that system — the productivity for that user completely changed.”

“We’ve been focusing on visual effects and video editing and 3D animation and music production, as well,” says Ternus. “And we’ve brought in some pretty incredible talent, really masters of their craft. And so they’re now sitting and building out workflows internally with real content and really looking for what are the bottlenecks. What are the pain points. How can we improve things. And then we take this information where we find it and we go into our architecture team and our performance architects and really drill down and figure out where is the bottleneck. Is it the OS, is it in the drivers, is it in the application, is it in the silicon, and then run it to ground to get it fixed.”
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kevinthebright
Since the new Mac Pros aren’t coming until 2019 now, I think I’ll switch Houdini to a Linux box. Recommendations on models, places to buy, Linux distros?

Go with a Windows box tbh. Linux can be a world of pain that MacOs does not train you for. Windows seems a bit more crashy than Linux but a hell of a lot better than MacOs.
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Can you elaborate on the pain? I’m pretty comfortable with Unix, using the terminal, etc and AFAIK, most Linux users seem to be happy enough with their builds.

Also, I’ll still have a Mac for the rest, Nuke, PS, Zbrush…this would just be for Houdini.
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kevinthebright
Can you elaborate on the pain? I’m pretty comfortable with Unix, using the terminal, etc and AFAIK, most Linux users seem to be happy enough with their builds

If you're a comfortable with unix then linux is fine. Not sure why you are asking about hardware then? It's simply a multi-core/gpu system with the latest mobo, the fastest ram, pci lanes et al. HW is easy compared to bash!
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kevinthebright
Since the new Mac Pros aren’t coming until 2019 now, I think I’ll switch Houdini to a Linux box. Recommendations on models, places to buy, Linux distros?
Also, would love it if Sidefx published a recommended build from time to time.

https://www.sidefx.com/Support/system-requirements/ [www.sidefx.com]
http://www.vfxplatform.com/FAQ/ [www.vfxplatform.com]

Every big VFX house use Linux based workstations, usually RHEL(Red Hat Enterprise Linux) or the “free version” of it, CentOS (branding, support(includes security “channel” updates) removed).

kevinthebright
Can you elaborate on the pain? I’m pretty comfortable with Unix, using the terminal, etc and AFAIK, most Linux users seem to be happy enough with their builds.

Non-straightforward driver installs, lack of documentation, too chaotic community (every Linux user knows the best solution, and they tell proudly on forums etc… but it doesn't work… just on your machine, just with that subversion of course… or simply too geek)

However I always wonder how can people work on a flashing jackpot machine (sorry, I'm not a hater just when I worked on that Wonder last time, khm…), so I chose the less worst: Linux (CentOS)
With Amiga or IRIX it would be better I guess… but RIP. Maybe we can ask Boeing or Airbus to share their softwares, those are just a tiny bit more reliable ones
artstation.com/scivfx
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fuos
kevinthebright
Can you elaborate on the pain? I’m pretty comfortable with Unix, using the terminal, etc and AFAIK, most Linux users seem to be happy enough with their builds

If you're a comfortable with unix then linux is fine. Not sure why you are asking about hardware then? It's simply a multi-core/gpu system with the latest mobo, the fastest ram, pci lanes et al. HW is easy compared to bash!
I’ve never bought / built one so distros, specs, seem like a good place to get advice. Also, h/w atm is a changing landscape, eg, eGPUs, RAM costs, etc.
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Thanks Xilofoton, that’s good intel, esp re drivers.
I had an Amiga back in the day. Seriously solid machine.
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Hi there, I'm just starting out with Houdini as mainly a Mac user but have lots of exp using windows and some linux. I'm thinking that an iMac Pro would be a great workstation but maybe not the best for rendering where a custom build targeting HW that is adapted for the renderer of choice would be better. (like a few 1080 ti for Octane or Redshift, or dual socket xeon for mantra and arnold).

Anyway, I get the impression from this thread that the Mac version of Houdini is unstable? Is that the case or is it just some kind of “flame war” between fans? I would not like to invest in a iMac Pro only to find out that it doesnt work fine in Houdini which would have been one of the reasons for the investment.
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In my experience with the Mac Pro (not the iMac Pro), Houdini has gotten much more stable since the Mac Pro came out into thousand 13. And or, it might be the other way around, the Mac OS has gotten more stable. At this point, I wouldn’t hesitate to use Houdini on a Mac pro, I would prefer it in fact, but the delayed and unpredictable Apple roadmap, not to mention the continuing divorce from Nvidia GPUs, makes me want to consider other options, like the one you laid out.
Ultimately, we’re considering an iMac Pro (although there you have to consider whether you want to be tied to a single display) With an eGPUs vs a speedy, thunderbolt 3 Linux box, maybe also with an eGPUs.
Edited by kevinthebright - 2018年4月9日 17:34:04
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filipw
I would not like to invest in a iMac Pro only to find out that it doesnt work fine in Houdini which would have been one of the reasons for the investment.

Unfortunately most pros, who can battle test such systems, have sworn off MacOS so someone will have to be the Guinea pig I personally wouldn't until some gui bugs are fixed at least.
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Oh if Apple could please just re-release the cheesegrater with new insides and slighty less noisy fans. 1000W Power supply so I can power two internal GPUS, option for dual socket xeons. 256+ GB RAM and 4 separate TB3 controllers so it would be easy to add 4 extra GPUS if needed. Then 5k and 8k cinema displays. Done! No need for any special task group. We have been quite explicit in what we want since 2011….
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Deprecation of OpenGL and OpenCL
Apps built using OpenGL and OpenCL will continue to run in macOS 10.14, but these legacy technologies are deprecated in macOS 10.14. Games and graphics-intensive apps that use OpenGL should now adopt Metal. Similarly, apps that use OpenCL for computational tasks should now adopt Metal and Metal Performance Shaders.
From Apple docs [developer.apple.com]
Edited by jarenas - 2018年6月5日 08:51:46
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ohh that could mean the end of houdini on mac and much more DCC programs.
the effort from opengl to metal is huge so it means for complex tools that when the user base is not big it doesn't make sense to port the code to Metal, cost & resource wise.
Edited by mandrake0 - 2018年6月5日 10:34:29
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Emphasis on “Should” and “Deprecated” which doesn't mean discontinued.

Houdini featured heavily in the latest series of Apple iMac Pro ads, I doubt they're about to kick it off the curb. But fundamentally if new technology is better, shouldn't we all be hoping for developers to adopt it vs. sticking with same old? I suspect Houdini 19 and on will be very different than and likely attract a very different audience than it does today.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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But fundamentally if new technology is better

Better than what? the old technology in context of/ relative to previous macs?

Is the ‘new’ technology better than linux kernel based systems? Both in execution(content creation) and cost, e.g. render farm set ups.

I'm assuming the original and continuing priority end-user base that Side-FX is after are the small to large studios.

Do they(studios) really want to use macs for their Houdini aspect of the pipeline?

No doubt studios of all sorts use Houdini on mac, windows and linux based systems, I suspect though the majority is linux based.

Would be interesting to know if someone has better insight of the industry other than my conjecture.
Edited by BabaJ - 2018年6月5日 12:49:52
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Very interesting development! so why has Apple been fixing more OGL bugs recently then every before.. doesn't make sense unless the OS is free from being reliant on it so they can finally fix it without causing core instability.

Anyways Mojave has Metal 2.1 and by the time OGL is removed then Metal v2.X/3.X will be enough that DCC apps will ‘just work’…. so Houdini coming with Metal support in 2020/21… word is that interns love writing shaders!


@Baja effectively no-one cares about Macs in the industry at this stage except for producers and business people, which is ironic given the heritage of Apple.

On a side note, Mojave has USDz format - hopefully included in H17!
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Quotes from twod from the first page of this topic.

twod
Metal has an API that wouldn't be hard to adopt, as all GL calls in Houdini are wrapped anyway. It's the fact that they decided to design their own shading language that's the real issue, as we have over a thousand shader files. Converting, maintaining, and extending two sets of shaders is a lot of work for a single platform. It's one thing to #ifdef sections of shaders to work around platform and driver specific issues, and completely another to write separate shaders. If they supported SPIR-V or GLSL shaders directly, we could take a look then.

twod
pusat
Does that mean SESI will eventually drop support for ios MacOS?

If Apple dropped OpenGL entirely without allowing 3rd party OpenGL implementations to be installed, we would have to make a determination at that time. It'd certainly dump a large burden on us which would make the GL-core profile sweep look like child's play (also done for MacOS). I'm hoping as a developer they would consult with us on that decision, and at least give us a decent heads up. But this is purely theoretical right now, so I'm not going to worry about it too much.

would be interesting what the decision will be sounds not trival.

@fuos i think USD will be in H17 because they forked the repository: https://github.com/sideeffects/USD [github.com]
USDz looks mostly like it's just a USD zipped

Edit: there are plugins for houdini http://graphics.pixar.com/usd/docs/Houdini-USD-Plugins.html [graphics.pixar.com]
Edited by mandrake0 - 2018年6月5日 16:34:08
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BabaJ
I'm assuming the original and continuing priority end-user base that Side-FX is after are the small to large studios.

Is it? Right now perhaps you're right. In 5 years? 10?

At $200/year for basically a full blown Houdini Indie which is virtually identical to their flagship version, my guess is that SideFX is trying to break into the freelance/self employed/generalist market which at the moment is dominated by C4D and Maya.
>>Kays
For my Houdini tutorials and more visit:
https://www.youtube.com/c/RightBrainedTutorials [www.youtube.com]
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