Houdini 20 Rumors

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Forget about Houdini 20. I think we should all start learning spelunking, knitting, fly fishing or any other activity that gives you a sense of purpose, 'cause soon enough AIs will make agriculture, industry and any other activity, including CGI, be something in which humans are not needed if not downright prohibited
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I'd rather suggest we begin our coding exercises, so that we can create an AI that will keep other AIs in check and control their behavior, because that can not possibly go wrong.
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I think AI would suit Houdini. Imagine: AIops
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Some machine learning thing, definitely. I don't know how it could be split up into nodes and networks but there are many applications. Upres sims, generally finding your way through a parameter space, mesh LODs, fluid meshing, lookdev, render optimizations, rigging stuff, hair stuff, etc.
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iirc Ari has shown ML-assisted terrains in Houdini a couple of years ago (siggraph presentation or something). Not sure what became of it, but it looked pretty great. Hopefully it is still a thing. I wish UV and retopo had ML assistance at some point... one can dream.
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Some machine learning thing, definitely. I don't know how it could be split up into nodes and networks but there are many applications. Upres sims, generally finding your way through a parameter space, mesh LODs, fluid meshing, lookdev, render optimizations, rigging stuff, hair stuff, etc.
I can definitely see a NOPs context for building neural networks. Each Houdini NOPs node could represent one layer of the network. You could set up activation functions, dropout etc. as parameters on each node. You'd want a bunch of data wrangling nodes for bringing in data and working with it.

This could be quite powerful, considering how good Houdini is at working with large data in a visual way.

I've thought a few times about putting together an NN as a bunch of connected point wrangles where each point wrangle is a layer and each point is a neuron. That'd just be messing around with it though, having a real framework available as an actual context would be incredible.
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need more kinefx
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With kinefx, Sidefx has an opportunity to make Houdini a revolutionary tool for character animation. It's so close to making that a realtiy, I don't see why more people aren't talking about it. But it's missing the following:

-Better animation tools - akin to Maya's Animbot for editing animation curves.
-Non Destructive node based animation layers
-Kinefx Modular rigging tools - Drag and drop prebuilt nodes for rigging bipeds, quadrupeds, birds, etc
-Physics based animation tools - Imagine Cascadeur but within Houdini (they can do that, can't they?)
-Better sculpting tools - Along with the blendshape node (and with better sculpting), creating non-destructive complex shot sculpts would be a breeze.

My finger is hovering over the "cancel" button for my Maya subscription, but until there's a contender, animators are forced to use an inferior software.

Sidefx - make it happen!
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I've started learning Houdini for real when i realised its the only 3D software that have the future. Its node base approach is perfect for AI wich is the future. Also i was very happy when i've heard its improving in character animation field. so i hope that kinefx/animation will be constantly improving and its not one stop project (like CAT plugin for MAX that was bought by AD and since then its dead)

My Houdini of dreams have:
Better UI/ UX. iam not talking about nodes wich have nice UI and functionality. not philosophy of the software that is like coding with nodes. iam talking about all exept nodes. UI should be redesigned to look more modern, reactive, nice looking not distracting background. (i hate those red snap magnets icons wich reminds me of MAX from 10 years ago)

parameter panels looks like a chaos now, all generic, hard to memorize. sliders lines are too thin, this vertical line is also too thin wich makes me hard to grab this 3 pixels with mouse. There are too many fonts, font sizes and fonts are not very readable. all this is against all basic rules of design. i think there could be more icons, mayby some subtle color coding to make it more corespodant to selected nodes. i donno. but if Blender could make quite nice UI from totally terrible one and therefore more people are using it, SideFX can upgrade it to 2023 year standards too.

next thing in UI that should be fixed is all related to animation. starting from curve editor (Maya one is best to inspire from), keyframes manipulation (Cascadeur have nice ideas in this field) to some spreadshit/non linear stuff (mayby Sculptron have good solutions) detachable animations layers with more room (please)

keyframe animating is about moving objects, keyframes and spline curves. nice, ergonomic UI is what i look at first place becouse ill be using this a lot and i mean a lot. Ah, RAM cache node would be great to have wich will work in background like its is in Maya. fast playback of animation is very important too.

from little things id love to see better help integration. fe. when selecting node from tab menu, having mouse over specific node it'll be very helpfull to read what this node do in status line (at bottom of screen) it will help memorize nodes for N00bs. quick tip windows should be more readable, now its white small text on black. also help web browser schould load faster IMO.

from AI i hope for some general node for training all kinds of data in Houdini (something like hdd cache but into AI model) similar to copyCAT in Nuke. also for some pretrained models for different common tasks like upscaling particle count, retopo, UV segmentation, etc. also low level AI where it'll be possible to chose different AI algorithmes used for training. All this not for Houdini 20 but hopefully for 20.5

Working with materials. well its hard right now. theres no visual feedback. perhaps all those VEX and material nodes should be redesigned too as a part of UI redo. i dont get why COPS have nice visual feedback so its possible to see how bump map looks like and where could be potential bug. i really hope that working with materials will improve. from autoupdating material library throu visual feedback on every node to materials assigment. some smart type of UI is needed in this field. and mayby merging COPS with VEX material nodes. MaterialX and Solaris is the future all iam looking for is better UI/UX for materials.

itll be great to have better sculping tools that work like Otoys Sculptron. good for quick fixing simulations like muscles and cloths but also particles and rigid bodies (there was another software based on Lightwave engine for that long time ago) but as an  not destructive node.

for animators morphs are second best friend and it should be state of art (like new bazier node is) sculpting tools could be used for it too.

Sorry for this a bit long wishlist but i belive that sooner or later Houdini will improve in those fields and thats why iam investing my time in learning it.

oh i forgot about camera sequencer. actually it could be seqencer for everything. instead of takes (right upper corner of screen) all takes could be made as movie clips like in adobe premiere or davinci resolve with different types in interpolation. so all parameters in the scene could change depending of wich camera angle/movement is picked fe. LOD for simulation.

ah and one more UI/UX thing. Shelves. theres so many of them and i hope it will continue to grow with presets and stuff, so mayby its better to put them on somethink like Mayas hot box? i imagine it as Windows history or wahatever its called for orginising open softwares and documents. those stuff from shelves deserve full screen window bor better read and organising. fe. scrollable from up to bottom bigger icons with longer text. something like pose library. anyway now its too stuffed in those shelves and its not so often use. full screen would be nice or some sort of asset library.
Edited by oldteapot7 - 2022年12月22日 18:55:36
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For the UI, i'd like to see a way to make working spaces like in modo. What i liked about it was the ability to have multiple module arrangement within a single main panel. The desktop manager is ok, but not convenient.
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wouldnt it be cool if the shelves re-ordered their contents based on how often you used one of its items?
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Recently moved from Maya to Houdini and happy to have done so, at this stage my wishes are:

More KineFX docs/videos and improved features.
More Compositing feature improvements as well as docs/videos.

Thanks SideFX and keep up the good work.
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netlander
More KineFX docs/videos and improved features.
More Compositing feature improvements as well as docs/videos.

There is a talk from goldfarb where he noted kinefx big update in H20.

https://youtu.be/KHPDgFGOrao [youtu.be]
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So many great ideas in this thread!

For H20, I’d really like seeing some quality of life changes to the wrangle SOP interface, such as mass renaming and an in-built function for selecting a variable and seeing all the places where it’s implemented throughout the code (standard for most IDEs).

Another tiny thing I’d love to see is a better implementation of the node cleaning function (shift + l). For instance it’s a bit weird when including metadata nodes in loops and other “loose ends.”

Just a couple of pretty insubstantial things perhaps, but also easy to overlook I think!
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While we're talking about UI improvements, I'd like to see something that helps with long strings. If I'm in a geometry spreadsheet and I'm presented with a string attribute like

/showname/char_name_elbow_left_digit_third_nail_0:0:__model__grp__/showname_char_body_var_fight_seq_1000:/l__lock_front_03__single__hair_lashes_grp:12:/showname_mesh__:showname_char_mosnster_LHS__crv__/shot__{version}/charname:artist_root/tail_02_skin_product{type}_version{$VERSION)__eyelashes__static:m_modeltype_down__shot_{$SHOTNUM}/wip/version/003/abc/{shotnumber}/modelname:__msh__Shape

I'd really love have this right aligned or maybe shortened with ... or something like that.

Similar thing for expressions in parms that can get unwieldy.

There's got to be a clever way to deal with it!
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Would be great to have a production-level replacement for the (hidden) Shot Sculpt SOP. It stinks to have to download Blender just for simple sculpting.

Also +1 to improvements in the Animation Editor, there needs to be some Fitt's Law love on grabbing those teeny tiny four-pixel-wide time handles.

The documentation for the Animation Editor also seems incomplete, especially considering that editor is almost two decades old (at least to my eyes it looks UX-ically the same: https://www.awn.com/vfxworld/houdini-7-review-magic-concealed-special-ops).

Lastly something like Maya's K-Drag would be great to not have to move your keyboard hand to the arrows or your stylus hand to the timeline whilst animating. While adding that feature, please fix the timeline HOM functions. Scripting frame manipulations has been buggy for me for the past five years or so.


P.S. Here is an example of the Fitt's Law fail in action... you can see people misfire in almost any video tut featuring the Animation Editor. Instead of grabbing the time handle's microscopic hitbox the marquee mode is activated instead:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=zFPXTp7Sdqc&si=EnSIkaIECMiOmarE&t=180 [youtube.com]
Edited by nicholasralabate - 2023年1月16日 19:07:46
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Also +1 to improvements in the Animation Editor, there needs to be some Fitt's Law love on grabbing those teeny tiny four-pixel-wide time handles.

Absolutely! This is the Animation Editor's biggest sin and what kills the workflow the most, all the mis-clicks. Adjusting tangents, keyframe values and keyframe positions should be doable with the mouse cursor anywhere in the editor, not just over the tiny gizmos. Look at how Maya handles this for example.
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Jus the UI grabbing in general. It should be a user setting, from resizing windows, to the dreaded ramp knots, and
yes the anim handles. I cannot fathom why you need sniper level precision in order to simply pick something to move.

L
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...the anim handles. I cannot fathom why you need sniper level precision in order to simply pick something to move.
L
If you guys are referring to this vertical time handle, while it is slim, the hitbox for it is around 10-11 pixels, which is reasonable? I can't remember struggling to grab these ever, and I use them pretty heavily.

Ignore the black Photoshop cursor I accidentally included in the screenshot.
Edited by eikonoklastes - 2023年1月18日 01:47:40
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Yeah, that's the one I was talking about. I'm using a stylus btw, not sure if that matters...
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