Modeling and Houdini.

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Good luck with Modeler 2024!
Thank you! You can ask any question in the Modeler Discord channel. We will answer any questions related to Modeller and modeling in Houdini in general: https://discord.gg/Ud7xUcQfMu [discord.gg]
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Алексей Ванжула
oldteapot7
Good luck with Modeler 2024!
Thank you! You can ask any question in the Modeler Discord channel. We will answer any questions related to Modeller and modeling in Houdini in general: https://discord.gg/Ud7xUcQfMu [discord.gg]
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Strange, this link works for me.
https://gumroad.com/alexeyvanzhula [gumroad.com]
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There is a YouTube channel dedicated to direct modelling in Houdini, it's called PolyMarvels, very good, and no need for plugins, you might want to have a look...

https://www.youtube.com/@polymarvels
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There is a YouTube channel dedicated to direct modelling in Houdini, it's called PolyMarvels, very good, and no need for plugins, you might want to have a look...
Edited by Alexey Vanzhula - 2023年12月11日 10:46:44

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I'm so thankful for Alexey's modeller - Polypen is worth the price of admission alone!
I find the 'no one models in Houdini' notion very frustrating because it can become a self fulfilling prophecy - ie: 'It's not worth Sidefx developing the tools, because 'no one models in Houdini''. The truth is that Houdini has some very powerful modelling tools and with a more positive outlook more people would use them. It's the implementation and UI/UX that needs refining.
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any upstream topology changes with break the output anyway
Any changes that do not change the number of input points do not interfere with destructive methods. And these are the advantages. I changed my mind and changed the position, increased/decreased the extrusion, moved it here, turned it there and everything continues to work. Isn't that why we love Houdini? Topobuild turns Houdini into a very bad version of blender. Yes, topobuild has its place of application, but using it only for slicing is a rather pointless move, IMHO.

Actually the channel posted by GCharb somehow showcase my point (beside the fact how Modeler is usefull :O)). Especially this video :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcx1xgmIYgE&list=PLjZkvPsldTW_yQRDez_l1ZWMfRf2TpRd8 [www.youtube.com]

When you are at your 140'ish polyextrude, you really don't care that much about the upstream data, the time you will loose to find exactly where in that flow of nodes which one is responsible of the extrusion you are looking for is a waste ... and adjusting it will require you to inspect the rest of the flow because something else will break. At this point you might as well flatten/cache that whole mess.

Now if you build a parametric riffle model it's an other story, and also a very different type of work.
Edited by PaQ WaK - 2023年12月11日 13:38:33
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Actually the channel posted by GCharb somehow showcase my point (beside the fact how Modeler is usefull :O)). Especially this video :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rcx1xgmIYgE&list=PLjZkvPsldTW_yQRDez_l1ZWMfRf2TpRd8 [www.youtube.com]

When you are at your 140'ish polyextrude, you really don't care that much about the upstream data, the time you will loose to find exactly where in that flow of nodes which one is responsible of the extrusion you are looking for is a waste ... and adjusting it will require you to inspect the rest of the flow because something else will break. At this point you might as well flatten/cache that whole mess.

Now if you build a parametric riffle model it's an other story, and also a very different type of work.
Isn't that the whole point of direct modelling in Houdini, not caring at all about the nodes network, I mean, who cares how many poly-extrudes nodes are in the editor if you don't even look at it?

Usually, I model without the editor, the only thing I do with it at the end is to export the model to a USD file that I then import back, effectively flattening the model!
Edited by GCharb - 2023年12月11日 14:22:10
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Isn't that the whole point of direct modelling in Houdini, not caring at all about the nodes network, I mean, who cares how many poly-extrudes nodes are in the editor if you don't even look at it?

This also has a right to life, but in this case I will almost 100% switch to a blender, because everything in it is much more convenient, faster and more beautiful.
What I liked about Houdini is that I constantly use groups (which are broken in the extrusion, when will you fix them, sidefx?) and when I, for example, realized that I would be better off with a different input cylinder resolution - large chains of actions are automatically redrawn correctly with a minimum of manual edits . And I can experiment a lot. And here Blender is crying on the sidelines.
But then I get to the polysplit and then I cry.
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This also has a right to life, but in this case I will almost 100% switch to a blender, because everything in it is much more convenient, faster and more beautiful.
What I liked about Houdini is that I constantly use groups (which are broken in the extrusion, when will you fix them, sidefx?) and when I, for example, realized that I would be better off with a different input cylinder resolution - large chains of actions are automatically redrawn correctly with a minimum of manual edits . And I can experiment a lot. And here Blender is crying on the sidelines.
But then I get to the polysplit and then I cry.

If all you need is direct modeling, then yes Blender is almost certainly the better choice than Houdini. Until very recently most people wouldn't even consider Houdini for this purpose. Modeling your models somewhere else then importing them into Houdini isn't just a common workflow, it's THE workflow.

Things are getting changed, but I don't think Houdini will be the industry standard for direct modeling before we're all replaced by AI.
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Blender modelling tools are archaic at best, if Houdini isn't your cup of tea for direct modelling, then I suggest you have a look at 3D Coat, not only is it a better tool for modelling than Blender, but it is also a much better option for sculpting, retopo, UV mapping, texture painting, kitbash, and so on!

3D Coat Website [3dcoat.com]
3D Coat on YouTube [www.youtube.com]
Edited by GCharb - 2023年12月11日 20:42:03
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BTW, I learned to sculpt in Blender back in 2013, my first sculpt was a troll, I was so proud of it that I kept it on my Mediafire account, here's the link if you guys are interested, just to point out that I am no stranger to Blender...

troll_textured_basemesh.zip [www.mediafire.com]
Edited by GCharb - 2023年12月11日 21:55:36
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Someone has an allergy to Blender. Please use 3D-Coat for modeling, just not Blender. Can you even imagine what it's like to model with SubD in 3D-Coat?
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Blender's direct modeling competence has reached a point where it's self-evident that we don't need to defend it any more. Youtube is flooded with people who model in Blender anyway.

Perhaps one day it'll be flooded with Houdini videos. Probably after SideFX acquires Modeller... one can dream, right.
Edited by raincole - 2023年12月12日 01:38:48
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I'm a simple man, I needed to model in Houdini, I bought Modeler plugin then happily ever after.. until H20 (not modeler) came with a fair share of modeling bugs.

Now to be frank I would be modeling in Blender if not for the existence of Modeler but here we are, one could for sure model something then import it back to Houdini but why would you do that when you can buy an incredible convenient plugin and stay in Houdini.
Edited by terry_williams - 2023年12月12日 03:32:10
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So, SideFX, what's terrible about polysplit, .
1) If you need to make cuts, you almost always need to make a LOT of them at once. This means that the node must be multi-string and not turn the tree of nodes into a garbage dump. And you need to make the cuts quickly. And now it's very slow.
2) Finding the shortest path is a bad choice for a tool. In the current version, if you cut according to an uneven model, the tool may end up making cuts not where you expect. A striking example is the cylinder. And if you draw a line over the indentations, it can skip polygons or create overlapping polygons. You will have to click each edge to avoid this and you will end up with a very crooked line instead of a straight line. And even in this case, sometimes after pressing enter the node can unexpectedly rebuild the path into the wrong one, and if you press ctrl-z expecting the last step to be canceled, the entire path and all your hundred clicks on the edges will disappear. Start over. Terrible. Projection is the right way and that’s how it’s done in Topobuild, right? Now we have to split any suspicious path into several polysplits, which is slow and labor-intensive.
3) Very bad snapping. Often I have found that subsequent nodes do not work correctly and when I zoom in I find that the polysplit snapping did not work and it created points near the target ones and made small edges and polygons there. And additional cleaning begins. A very inconvenient node becomes painful. Terrible. And snapping is not subject to any settings. And snapping to additional (blue) edge points is generally on the verge of unrealistic.
4) It is not possible to draw a line strictly along the axis. Especially considering the need to click all the edges to ensure the correct path. This means all the lines will be curved. Ugly and sometimes unacceptable. So we write Wrangle again to align each line. "Slow and even slower." The alternative is one click in blender. Really one click.
You say - "Knife" node? Ok, this is a solution for very special cases. Because you can accurately place the knife node at the starting point, but you will not hit the target. Or write a Wrangle again with vector math for each cut, which makes the process meaningless.
5) We need snapping edge loop to other points. You have an edge and there is a target point. This means you have a plane and a perpendicular from the point to the edge. So you can easily snap your loop to this intersection point, right? This is pretty simple mathematics for Houdini? But this is not the case. And even if I make a Wrangle, the time it takes to set up a Wrangle for each loop makes it pointless. But Cinema4D and Blender have it right away. This is a fairly common need.
And in total we get an unfinished, inconvenient node, communication with which is a real pain and cannot be bypassed.
There are also various poorly working or missing actions in Houdini for modeling, but they are needed much less often than this damned polysplit.
Yes, the modeler add-on partially solves something, as I managed to form an opinion, but it is not unable to eliminate the main ulcers of the polysplit.
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IMO Houdini is the best DCC out there for VFX and CFX, there is no doubt in my mind about that, it is also very adept at direct modelling, with or without the Modeller plugin (I never used the Modeller plugin TBH), again, just watch the PolyMarvels YouTube channel, but there are things that Houdini just can't do, like sculpting or texture painting, you need a separate application for that...

ZBrush is still the king of sculpting, no question about that, the UI is still a bit clunky to me, but once you are used to it, there is no real limits to what you can sculpt in ZBrush, as it can handle hundreds of millions of polygons (I suggest at least 64GB of RAM to be able to use ZBrush to its full potential), just look at all the great artwork on ZBrush Central, ZBrush is amazing.

But ZBrush also has limitations, it is pretty good at auto retopology, but it is somewhat lacking for manual retopology, it is not the best at UV mapping either, ZModeler is a nightmare IMHO, and you can't paint PBR textures with it.

The second best at sculpting is 3D Coat, Voxel Sculpting is awesome, and the new live boolean is better than the one in ZBrush IMHO, it is the best tool I have ever used for retopology, better than Topogun or Retopoflow (Blender plugin), it is also really good at UV mapping, and it has the reputation of being better at PBR texture painting than Substance Painter, it also has top notch modelling and kitbash tools.

Another viable option for sculpting/painting is Mudbox, it is dead simple, it can handle high poly counts, but you can't create a base mesh with it, you need to either use one of the provided base mesh, or you need to create one in another application.

Pablo Dobarro, a former Blender developer, improved the Blender sculpting tools, he developed some very cool sculpting brushes for Blender, he also developed the Voxel Remesher (very cool), and a few other goodies.

But you can't sculpt high frequency details in Blender, mainly because Blender just can't handle large polycount like the other sculpting software can, your only option for high frequency details is to texture them, which gives mixed results, takes a lot of time, and it is not the way professional character artists work in the industry.

In 2021 Pablo Dobarro published a proposal on the Blender Developer's blog (see link bellow), in his proposal he acknowledges the limitations of Blender and the importance of high polycount for sculpting, so he proposed that Blender sculpting be handled in a separate application, one that does not have such heavy polycount limitations, the Blender Institute rejected his proposal, last I checked Pablo has left the Blender community and is now developing a VR sculpting application.

Asset Creation Pipeline Design [code.blender.org]

As for retopology, you need Retopoflow to have decent retopology tools in Blender, you need a plugin for decent UV mapping tools as well, and Blender sucks hard at texture painting, even with a plugin like BPainter, and the modelling tools are more than 15 years old.

I am 59 years old, I have been animating (2D) since I was 12, I have been at 3D since the late 80s, I used many pieces of software over the years, and I learned that the KISS principle is the best way to go, the less software I use while still being able to do the job at hand in the shortest amount of time, the better.

So I use two different pieces of software these days, Houdini and 3D Coat, these two can do anything I could ever need for my work/production, and they cost me a mere 248 USD a year (3D Coat cost 48 USD a year for updates after the initial purchase which include 12 months of updates), I truly believe that these two are the best combo for 3D artists/freelancers these days!
Edited by GCharb - 2023年12月12日 07:48:58
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So, SideFX, what's terrible about polysplit, ..

I'm quite sure at this point SideFX is aware of the issue of PolySplit. People (myself included) complain about it all the time. It's just not their priority.

People had been complaining about Curve Tool since forever. And they did fix it in H19, after years and years. PolySplit might be fixed tomorrow, or in H25. Before that just take your poison: Modeler or Topobuild.
Edited by kodra - 2023年12月12日 08:21:59
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IMO Houdini is the best DCC out there for VFX and CFX, there is no doubt in my mind about that, it is also very adept at direct modelling, with or without the Modeller plugin (I never used the Modeller plugin TBH), again, just watch the PolyMarvels YouTube channel, but there are things that Houdini just can't do, like sculpting or texture painting, you need a separate application for that...

ZBrush is still the king of sculpting, no question about that, the UI is still a bit clunky to me, but once you are used to it, there is no real limits to what you can sculpt in ZBrush, as it can handle hundreds of millions of polygons (I suggest at least 64GB of RAM to be able to use ZBrush to its full potential), just look at all the great artwork on ZBrush Central, ZBrush is amazing.

But ZBrush also has limitations, it is pretty good at auto retopology, but it is somewhat lacking for manual retopology, it is not the best at UV mapping either, ZModeler is a nightmare IMHO, and you can't paint PBR textures with it.

The second best at sculpting is 3D Coat, Voxel Sculpting is awesome, and the new live boolean is better than the one in ZBrush IMHO, it is the best tool I have ever used for retopology, better than Topogun or Retopoflow (Blender plugin), it is also really good at UV mapping, and it has the reputation of being better at PBR texture painting than Substance Painter, it also has top notch modelling and kitbash tools.

Another viable option for sculpting/painting is Mudbox, it is dead simple, it can handle high poly counts, but you can't create a base mesh with it, you need to either use one of the provided base mesh, or you need to create one in another application.

Pablo Dobarro, a former Blender developer, improved the Blender sculpting tools, he developed some very cool sculpting brushes for Blender, he also developed the Voxel Remesher (very cool), and a few other goodies.

But you can't sculpt high frequency details in Blender, mainly because Blender just can't handle large polycount like the other sculpting software can, your only option for high frequency details is to texture them, which gives mixed results, takes a lot of time, and it is not the way professional character artists work in the industry.

In 2021 Pablo Dobarro published a proposal on the Blender Developer's blog (see link bellow), in his proposal he acknowledges the limitations of Blender and the importance of high polycount for sculpting, so he proposed that Blender sculpting be handled in a separate application, one that does not have such heavy polycount limitations, the Blender Institute rejected his proposal, last I checked Pablo has left the Blender community and is now developing a VR sculpting application.

Asset Creation Pipeline Design [code.blender.org]

As for retopology, you need Retopoflow to have decent retopology tools in Blender, you need a plugin for decent UV mapping tools as well, and Blender sucks hard at texture painting, even with a plugin like BPainter, and the modelling tools are more than 15 years old.

I am 59 years old, I have been animating (2D) since I was 12, I have been at 3D since the late 80s, I used many pieces of software over the years, and I learned that the KISS principle is the best way to go, the less software I use while still being able to do the job at hand in the shortest amount of time, the better.

So I use two different pieces of software these days, Houdini and 3D Coat, these two can do anything I could ever need for my work/production, and they cost me a mere 248 USD a year (3D Coat cost 48 USD a year for updates after the initial purchase which include 12 months of updates), I truly believe that these two are the best combo for 3D artists/freelancers these days!

3D-Coat is a wonderful program. I'm really glad that the developer is working on classical modeling. But for now, it's more of a solution for low-poly modeling. You can model in 3D-Coat with subdivision, but it's not comparable to other programs. I particularly insist on SubD modeling because it hasn't been phased out and is still popular, even considering the growing popularity of Plasticity as a convenient solution for hard-surface modeling.

I don't like Blender and its development policy, but YouTube is flooded with videos on subdivision modeling in it. Therefore, it's strange to read about your apparent hatred towards it, at least for this reason.
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I'm glad that Modeler is focused on SubD workflow. Honestly, in terms of SubD, both Blender and Houdini have a lot to learn from it.

That being said, it's a $100 plugin. So your mileage may vary: Houdini's built-in tools aren't that bad. If SubD modeling isn't your main gig, just put up with them.
Edited by kodra - 2023年12月12日 08:36:55
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Hey folks seems like a good opportunity for me to chime in and clarify some things around modeling in Houdini. Before I start, just wanted to say thanks to @GCHarb for recommending my videos.

Now, I've been exclusively studying/researching modeling in Houdini for past 2 years. I am still learning and the amount of things to learn is just crazy. So no wonder people have no clue where to start and how to actually properly model in Houdini. Actually, not just properly model but also doing it effectively with some kind of flow where one can actually model without to much hiccups. And all those tutorials where people constantly reaching for Tab for node menu doesn't help either. Hundreds of tutorials I have watched never showed me a different way of placing a node into a stream, or even showed me different approach, and there is one. At this point no matter what I do, I am bearly reaching for the node menu.

Biggest issue is that Houdini is not set for modeling from the get go and on top of that there is no one to teach you about what needs to be done to start, simply because not many cared about modeling in Houdini for past 30y, including SideFX, even though there is a lot they have improved and implemented in past few years.
I believe I managed to find a way to do proper modeling in Houdini and to actually support what I am saying, I had to model different assets to make sure I am not delusional. So, in the attachment, you can find my small collage of the models I did in past 2y, most of them was done in H20 alpha/beta period for testing purposes, thus not so great renders. By the way, what you see on the pictures is all Houdini, with some models having GSG textures applied.

Now, good news is that setting up modeling environment is really few clicks away because, we can actually save and export important things like hotkeys, radial menus and layout so setting up modeling environment while preserving all defaults is really really a good things. In case you didnt know, hotkey system is kinda powerful in Houdini which makes our lives easier.

I have also made a modeling sheet that I wanted to share at some point, but as we are having this discussion, if you check the link, you can see how I have setuped my modeling environment etc.


Here is a link to modeling sheet/setup https://miro.com/app/board/uXjVP06Hcz4=/?share_link_id=862477513081 [miro.com]
This is something I am still optimizing and figuring out as I go. At the moment I am using Pulse to see what are the most used shortcuts etc. But, even in this stage, this is pretty much solid and what I am using as environment for past few months.

To sum up. You can model pretty much anything hard-surface related in Houdini and you can for sure do some abstract things, no doubt about it.
Edited by PolyMarvels - 2023年12月12日 08:46:40

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