Debate question - why would we want SideFX to upgrade COPS?

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Healthy debate question…
Why would we want SideFX to invest money into revamping COPS?
For compositioning - there’s Nuke and others already…
For materials - we have materialsX and VOPs
For complex materials - there’s substance designer…

I keep hearing that revamped COPS would be a Substance designer killer but how?
What could Houdini offer that other don’t?
Can we not already do what Designer does - in VOPS?

Craving your perspectives!
Edited by LukeP - 2022年7月22日 01:38:35
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  • context fluidity. the interoperability of cops with the rest of houdini (when it works) can't be matched by using external software. writing a cops raytracer, having heightfields directly sample into textures, directly convert image sequence cops into volumes, you can't do that with a combo of houdini and nuke and substance. If these cops workflows could be made reliable, hoo boy.
  • realtime needs. its a specific subset of the above, but games and gpus will require baking whatever sort of information down to data textures for a while. again this is clunky if your 3d app can't maniplate textures effectively, it'd be a pain to make this work cleanly by writing out some intermediate format from houdini, to pull into nuke/substance. the labs games tools only work because of the abilities of cops, but it could be so much better with even tighter integration.
  • cost. nuke is expensive, substance designer can get expensive, houdini core is cheap by comparison if you can make it do all the things eventually.
  • workflow for lighting. from what i understand the orginal design of katana was to have a basic compositor within it for bash comps, cg lighting is largely A over B with grades. its surprising but understandable that the foundry removed this when they pushed katana to a commercial product (they gotta push nuke seats after all), but proper useful bash comp tools within solaris would be huge
  • the unknowns. much like kinefx was targeted at mocap editing at first but folk have found all kinds of crazy fun to be had building flower and tree rigs, tentacle rigs, rbd editing tricks, i wager an update to a compositing framework within hoduini would unlock all sorts of ideas we haven't thought of.

Even with vops, yes on paper it does a lot of what substance does, but in practice its not really. All the pixel operations you'd expect are lacking (blurs, convolves etc), its not straightforward to do image exports, nor straightforward to do layering operations or branch outs like what substance can do for diffuse/roughness/occlusion/normals.
http://www.tokeru.com/cgwiki [www.tokeru.com]
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Other existing tools shouldn't be a showstopper at all. Houdini has improved its modeling toolset over the last few years despite plenty of efficient modeling tools out there. A lot of work is put into a GPU renderer when many external GPU renderers already exist. If you don't develop because another option already exists you might as well stop entirely.

From what I understand, Nuke doesn't have the equivalent of a VOPCOP, so there's one thing that COPs brings to the table even in its current state. A while back I had a need for an animated pixelation effect that has different sized pixels top to bottom and gradually refines itself: using a VOPCOP I put it together very quickly.

Clearly, revamped COPs would unlock much more power than just compositing. Of course we want it to be able to layer a bunch of passes together, but I see its main uses in things like texture synthesis, custom effects and direct interoperability with other parts of the application.
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Was it known that SideFX was working their "next generation, procedural image processing system"?

There is a job posting for a compositing software developer which states similar things matt and digipiction have touch upon:

We are developing a next generation, procedural image processing system to provide the backbone for traditional compositing, texture synthesis, realtime 3D preview, and motion tracking. You will be working to integrate these capabilities within Houdini, our flagships software, which has proceduralism, openness, and flexibility as its core philosophies. The new compositing system will embody these ideals, scaling to massive task graphs, supporting both out-of-the-box operations and user-generated algorithms. It will work seamlessly with other parts of Houdini, including the 3D viewer, the Solaris/USD environment, our Karma renderers, physical simulations, and geometry processing.
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Hi. Can you image the new system with PDG added in. There is nothing like PDG in any other app I have used. Best
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