Why is Houdini constantly making decisions for me?

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@powerstroke we have seen over the past decade Houdini go from a niche TD product to something that students use as a standard part of their animaton and fx courses. It's quite incredible tbh. To the new artist it's no problem to use Houdini but to the older ones they appear not to be able to transition due to lack of time, skills, habits and drive.

If there is bug/rfe you want to bring up that can be addressed, please do, as the post you reference shows that change happens.
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Dont think Houdini went from niche TD/VFX to something more. Its just that niche TD/VFX area just became bigger/popular.
There are now not more people modeling, rigging, animating, texturing etc. in Houdini than there were 10 years ago i would guess. In my opinion SideFX does not even have to aim to conquer all the fields, but in case they do at this level it should not take someone like me to get them take a good look at something like modeling or animation and see what could they could in order to have Houdini be more used in those fields.
If you take something like modeling in Maya and just compare it to modeling in Houdini you cannot say that this is a similar experience and that this is something that can be improved by doing a few fixes here and there from a few RFEs.. its the overall approach and something that someone referred to as feeling before.
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powerstroke3000
its the overall approach and something that someone referred to as feeling before.

This is the most interesting part - on one hand you have SI users who say it the tools/nodes that need to be up to scratch, whereas you are saying there is a lot more to it.

The ‘feeling’ you are refering to is most likely partly addressed via Norman's 3 stages of visceral, behavioral and reflective UX design. So far there hasn't been a major push from SideFX to acknowledge this area is in their roadmap. It kind of is, via the suped up node graph, but the viewport and complex animation editor et al still shows non-adjustment of their modus operandi.

Maybe some history of Houdini's development would help here - all those modern tools, like poly bridge, poly bevel, viewport normals etc are direct responses to the forum requests. That's the culture here.
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Without being too critical, I honestly feel that this thread is living in a bit of a bubble of its own making.

Yes, Houdini is still niche and obscure and terribly difficult to grasp for a newcomer. I'm a new user (about 8 months now), transitioning from Cinema 4D, and I've used Maya, Max and Modo all heavily before. I fully understand the pain and bafflement of having to employ obscure routes to accomplish tasks that are trivial in other packages.

Having said all that, it's entirely disingenuous to claim that SideFX is tone deaf to the needs of the less programming-savvy users, and entirely unwilling to employ more traditional workflows within Houdini. It's simply not true.

I still have a long way to go to getting truly comfortable with Houdini, but I'd rather SideFX continue with their measured, entirely open approach, than what other developers do, where they just hurl poorly thought out, poorly optimised, and poorly implemented “headline” features into their releases. Cinema 4D has been doing this for years now and is a pile of dog shit where performance is concerned. Very pretty UI though…

At the end of the day, the developers are human, and have limited resources. Nobody is saying Houdini is perfect as it is and doesn't need anything changed. Change will come, but in a reasonable time frame. Meanwhile, keep submitting those RFEs, because they really do listen.

PS: To reiterate what Pickled said, Shift+W entirely addresses OneBigTree's concern about not seeing components in component mode. It's the best of both worlds where you can freely toggle between either state.
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@eikonoklastes

No one is saying SideFX is tone deaf. Most people are saying that useful features are not getting implemented because of the way Houdini is used, that the majority of Houdini users do not care about certain things (ie. modeling, rigging, animation, and so on)

Keep submitting RFE does not cut it in some cases - looking at the guy who is asking for improvement to the Curve SOP for years now.

You can always see what the hardcore users of a software are usually doing by the stuff that is getting added/improved over time and with Houdini its almost exclusively VFX.
This is why i liked madrendermans post in the first place, because he has been using a software that is the absolute standard for animation since forever and more importantly he actually does some animation in Houdini so that he can point to several issues. One is that basic features are missing, but much more importantly that he presented those problems to a community of Houdini users that just didnt get the problem.
That the feature was then implemented quickly after Houdini users suggested CHOP and other workarounds kind of highlights this.

Its the same for something like modeling and i just find funny because when H18 comes around people will go out of their way to say how awesome Houdini/SideFX is because “Houdini does everything and has USD now”.
You can clearly tell that these people are not using Houdini for everything, or are not using it at all. Because if you try to model or animate in Houdini and compare it with softwares that are actually used for these things the problem is not RFEs that need to be submitted. And at this point it is still the community that needs to see this - and in case they do, RFEs will matter again. But since the majority will never use Houdini outside of its strengths that will likely never happen. This is why the Curve SOP issue is probably still unaddressed too.
Edited by powerstroke3000 - 2019年10月14日 19:18:04
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You're absolutely right about the Curve Tool. It's probably the worst curve tool I've ever used across any app. However, that doesn't equate to SideFX not improving other areas of the application to make them more accessible. It's just that they haven't got around to addressing the Curve tool yet. It's been RFE'd, so it's literally on their list.

Houdini's USP is the pervasive proceduralism and open nature. Without that, there's nothing to stop people from using other, easier to use applications.

It's obvious SideFX wants to prioritise the core of what makes Houdini great. If they stop doing that, then they start losing their niche as the other apps eventually catch up to it.

Cinema 4D is a prime example of this. Its Mograph toolset was unparalleled about 10 years ago, with really only Houdini able to compete with it, but with a significantly worse user experience. In the interim, instead of taking that niche to the next level and staying ahead of the game, it left it entirely stagnant, while pretty much every other 3D app caught up to it. Only in the last couple of years does it seem to have renewed its focus on Mograph, and even then, the updates come in at a glacial drip.

Houdini is a royal pain in the ass to use in several areas, but it's still used because of what it can do that no other app can do without serious compromise.

There have been significant improvements to the core user experience lately, and the Game Dev Toolset has been a great initiative as well, which is now expanding its remit to SideFX Labs.

Again, there's only so much the developers can do within a time frame. It's inevitable that some things will be bumped down the priority list, and it's impossible to please everyone with every release. They're still pushing the envelope by creating technologies and pipelines that other apps aren't even remotely concerned about, and they're still trying to improve the core experience so everyone can have a happier time.

Meanwhile, patience, workarounds, and RFEs is key.
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eikonoklastes
Meanwhile, patience, workarounds, and RFEs is key.

I'm very curious on this point. Can I ask why you believe that RFEs are key?
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eikonoklastes
Meanwhile, patience, workarounds, and RFEs is key.
I believe the ref for better Curve SOP was refed at least 10 years ago, for so many years without any improvement. Shall we be patient for another decade?
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EricSheng
Shall we be patient for another decade?
There's no point getting snippy with me. Sarcasm towards me doesn't get you a better Curve tool any sooner. I'm not a SideFX apologist; I'm happy to criticise Houdini where applicable. The core sentiment of this thread is that SideFX doesn't care about improving basic functionality, and I disagree with that notion. If you look at the changelog for the last couple of major releases, I believe it backs me up.

Coming to the Curve SOP, for complex curves, I work around it by importing a curve I created either in C4D or Illustrator. Is this a good workflow? It certainly is not, and I personally wish Houdini had a sensible curve tool, and really hope that comes in 18.

However, if it doesn't, will that stop me from using Houdini? If I was a modeler who heavily relied on curve construction, yes it probably would. But I use Houdini for purposes where this isn't a concern, and the rest of the toolset allows me to do stuff that I struggle horribly with in other packages.

SideFX understands their niche, and are choosing to double down on it. For some, this is perfect because it provides them with tools that they can't find anywhere else. For others, this means the delaying of trivial functionality that they've come to expect as standard. You can't please everyone when your resources are limited. Meanwhile, use the tool that best fits your requirements. High end 3D tools are more varied and accessible than ever.
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goat
I'm very curious on this point. Can I ask why you believe that RFEs are key?
It provides SideFX the telemetry that guides their priority list. The more requests for a specific feature, the more likely it gets moved up the list.

Community forums are rarely a good place to request for these. At best, a SideFX employee might drop by to read the thread, and then submit the RFE themselves, but they're probably stacked with the 18 release at the moment.
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eikonoklastes
If I was a modeler who heavily relied on curve construction,
you would use CAD for modeling. I mean, that sounds fascinatingly reasonable, no?


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on topic, if all these criticisms were to be RFEd and not just lengthy forum opinion exchange, i think it could change the narrative of development. I'm eagerly waiting for H18 and then I begin my quest for writing down suggestions in such a manner.
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Personally I believe that Houdini is missing Csikszentmihalyi's flow state. It unfortunatly costs a lot of time and money to survey user's interaction and then address that. It's not taught, except in cognitive psychology I believe, and therefore is easily missed by almost working in the CS field.

Overall that is probably the closest category to what OneBig's is trying to signal.
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Nothing gets me out of the flow like inability to dran-n-drop multiple texture files into material context (a-la UE4), or telling the file to export as .fbx and then manually writing the file extention .fbx because i have no idea why it does not append it automatically.

Things like that are utterly bizarre.
Edited by glitchi - 2019年10月17日 01:06:39
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