Hi N2e when I tried some character animation all character reaction became so much slow and all the time I need to use flipbook to check the animation…
Any deformation in a character face is very slow too.
I Know 3 packages one is Blender other is Maya and now a little about Houdini… no software is perfect simple modeling in Houdini is not good but of course in direct modeling Blender can help but if Houdini i so powerful in a lot of aspects for game and movie I missing some help in character animation.
But I start in Houdini 15 and step by step Houdini have been improved.
I complain about it only to remember SideFX that us character animation still love Houdini we only wait for a opportunity to jump in.
To make things in Maya and finishing in Houdini is a “mantra” but do more in Houdini will be better.
I and a lot of users complained about render some time ago and now we have Solaris and Karma… Ok now I think only one step more…(laughing).
When it comes to the char animation, maybe we indie artists rely too much on the technology here, and not enough on the skill and imagination. I produce also in the stop-motion and 2D char animation and in the stop-motion there is no much choice other than working frame by frame and then playback that animation to check your movement. If you want to change something, most of the time you have to reshoot the whole shot. In the 2D, unless you use some 2D puppet style animation, you also have to draw, frame by frame, and then you can test it, after that, you can fix every drawing. I have no problem doing flipbooks to check my movements, and that is the case even for the FX shots, particles, etc. The realtime is still not fully there yet. There are workflows (some are covered in fantastic Goldfarb's rigging tutorials on this site)where you use the proxy geometry which represents all the movements and speed things out quite a lot. In the hands of experienced animator, this is not a problem. If you think how Lasseter did his first CG movie, which didn't have any of the fancy deformers and skinning, but they all had to make tools as they go, they were still able to make pleasing char animation. Saying all that, I would greet performance improvements in working with characters in H, since we have packages like Maya which can handle that much better, so obviously, the technology exists, but it has to be brought in Houdini, as well. When I look at the demos where Pixar artists are able to have responsive characters, fully textured and even with the fur, just let's keep in mind that they are multi billion company with enormous resources for R&D. One day this will also be available to indie artists, but so far, these tech is there to optimize industrial production of the CGI, therefore, not indie. Once when you go and play in the bigger league (for example, they commission your show for Disney+) then it is another story, of course.